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Ralston Valley Xpress




NEWS EDITOR Marshall McStraw

Monday, October 4, 2010

We want to know your opinions on these issues. Visit to make a comment, vote in a poll or write to us.

Pledging allegiance now a part of daily routine at RV Marshall McStraw

News Editor

As of the 2010-2011 school year, Ralston Valley High School has begun reciting the Pledge of Allegiance daily during the morning announcements, in compliance with Colorado state law. The history of this pledge itself is rife with controversy and opinions that remain unresolved over 100 years after its original writing. The Pledge would not be written until 1892, by Francis Bellamy, for publication in a children’s magazine; despite the common misconception that it was written in the 18th century by America’s founding fathers. This misunderstanding is more often than not a result of the argument that America’s founding fathers were Christians, and thus religious, and would have wanted “under God” to be part of the Pledge; not to be misinterpreted to mean that they were present at the actual writing of the Pledge of Allegiance. Ironically enough, the author’s ties to his cousin, Edward Bellamy, leads historians to believe he was a Christian Socialist, meaning that he believed in social, political, and economic equality for all American citizens; a political affiliation that stands in stark contrast to America’s Capitalist economy. Though he was, notably, still an ardent patriot. In its original form, the Pledge of Allegiance read as follows: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” and wouldn’t be recognized by Congress as the official national pledge until 1942. The Pledge has been altered four times, in total; perhaps the most noteworthy difference from its modern form is the striking absence of the words “under God,” which wouldn’t be added until 1954, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In a nation with a clear religious majority, the words “under god” are charged with passions that evoke powerful emotions from both its supporters and opponents. As shown by the Ralston Valley students polled, the majority of Coloradoans will affirm the legal right of the individual to abstain from reciting that section of the Pledge, but draw the line at changing the Pledge itself for the opinion of a minority. When the phrase was added, President Eisenhower stated his opinion that “in this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future.” A commonly used justification behind this belief is centered on the concept that America was founded by people of Christian faith. There’s a rather large amount of debate on this subject, and while many of the founding fathers appear to have believed in a higher being, they weren’t all necessarily Christians, and this progresses the debate further onto religious freedom. The foundation of the argument regarding the founding fathers is based on such passages in the Declaration of Independence as “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” which is used to argue that they believed in a “Creator” and founded the nation based on that belief. Opponents of this perspective claim that America’s founders were encouraging religious freedom rather than religion in and of itself. Indeed, the first amendment is frequently cited as “proof” that America was founded on a belief in religious freedom, and not religion itself; and, subsequently, that religion and state should be entirely separate from each other to ensure the rights of the

minorities are fairly protected. So it’s been argued that if students, or schools, are legally required to recite the words “under God” it’s violating the individual’s religious rights, and allows religion to influence a government meant to be unbiased. Few states, a mere eight, do allow students the right to refrain from saying the words “under God” while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Such legislation might imply that there’s a perceived correlation between patriotism and religious beliefs. Perhaps it’s noteworthy to acknowledge that some Americans’ beliefs are polytheistic in nature (meaning that they believe in more than one deity), while the phrase “under god” implies a monotheistic belief system. People that would refrain from saying “under God” aren’t necessarily Atheists or Agnostics. So it follows that the words “under God” may offend more than just the people that don’t believe in a higher being. There’s still more debate concerning whether or not the simple presence of the words “under god” in a nationally recognized pledge is offensive to those that hold different values. When questioned about their opinion, an anonymous Ralston Valley Senior stated that “every time I say the Pledge of Allegiance I never say ‘under God’ because it’s my personal right to believe what I want.” In the historic Supreme Court case of Elk Grove United School District v. Michael A Newdow, it was argued by Newdow, an atheist father, that religious coercion is present in the phrase “under god” through both a fear of appearing unpatriotic and peer pressure to conform, and that the phrase constituted religious indoctrination of his daughter. With this argument follows the frequent citation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” as well as the Free Exercise Clause, “… or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” Considering the Pledge was nationally recognized by congress, in 1942, it could arguably be in violation of one or both of these clauses. Conversely, this argument is criticized as not being realistic in regards to its effect on students’ beliefs. President Barack Obama said “It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase ‘under God.’ I didn’t” when addressing the issue in 2006. His perspective has been scrutinized, as he is biased in the sense that he has Christian affiliations, but his argument still stands that the words “under god” aren’t legally coercing students. Legal coercion is defined as “the intimidation of a victim to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of psychological pressure, physical force, or threats,” and is subject to interpretation by both sides of the issue. While the aforementioned case would have set a legal precedent regarding the constitutionality of the words “under God” being present in the Pledge of Allegiance, the issue wasn’t addressed because of domestic complications; Newdow had a joint custody agreement over his daughter with his ex-wife who disagreed with his opinion. Justice Stevens explained the Supreme Court’s decision by writing that “when hard questions of domestic relations are sure to affect the outcome, the prudent course is for the federal court to stay its hand rather than reach out to resolve a weighty question of federal constitutional law.” Opponents of the phrase “under God” emphasize that the time during which the words were added was a particularly volatile period in American history, as Mc-

Should public schools be legally required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance?


PATRIOTISM: Students pay their respects to the flag. Photo courtesy of Tyler Salen

Carthyism had heightened the patriotic, and arguably religious, fervor of the Cold War. During such a time of political and social instability, it’s a most fortuitous moment to pass such monumental national legislation. Regardless of which side is “right,” this conflict has yet to be resolved, and can only be intensified by the religious contrast that’s so prevalent in current global politics. Outside of the heated religious controversy, there’s also discussion of whether or not public schools and/or individual students should be legally required to recite the pledge. Currently this is left up to the individual states to decide, though they can’t punish individual students for refusing to say the Pledge; with the majority choosing to require public schools to recite the Pledge, but allowing individual students the liberty to abstain. An anonymous Ralston Valley sophomore stated that “it’s forcing your opinions on someone else if you require it by law,” and subsequently is a violation of civil rights. Considering America proclaims itself an individualistic nation, it could also be considered unpatriotic in of itself to legally force an individual to pledge their allegiance to the country. And yet American citizens owe their existence to both the government and country; so does that in and of itself justify a law requiring students to affirm their loyalty? When asked for their opinion on the subject, an anonymous Ralston Valley senior stated “I say you should pay your respect to the government regardless of what you think.” Perhaps it’s important to consider the distinction between what the individual should do and must do; many Americans have conflicting opinions, but they all reserve the right to express them. Particularly relevant to Ralston Valley, Colorado passed a law in 2003 that legally required all students enrolled in public schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance unless they had parental permission to abstain, or a religious obligation that prevented them from doing so; this would be revised in 2004, after the law was challenged in federal court, to allow students the option to individually abstain from reciting the oath at their own discretion. Colorado is also one of only eight states to allow students the option to abstain from reciting the words “under God,” despite choosing to recite the rest of the Pledge. Colorado is one of all but six states that require public schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis. Students at Ralston Valley have a relatively large number of rights, in that they aren’t legally required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, nor are they obligated to say “under God.” However, Ralston Valley itself is obligated to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis, and is likely to remain in that position for the foreseeable future. The debates regarding the Pledge of Allegiance each far beyond the words of an oath; they define America’s beliefs and are relevant to each and every individual student as America progresses onward.

Should the words “under God” be part of the Pledge of Allegiance?



75% 58%


64% 81%

Should individual students be legally reuired to recite the Pledge of Allegiance?


Should individual students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance be legally required to say “under God?”


A total of 100 Ralston Valley Students were polled about their opinions regarding the Pledge of Allegiance.


Ralston Valley Xpress NEWS

Point,Counterpoint: Building a Mosque Near Ground Zero

America stands for Tolerance

America’s ideals require we allow freedom of expression, and that we permit a mosque to be constructed near Ground Zero

A Trophy on a Graveyard

A mosque would desecrate the memories of family members left behind by those who died on 9/11

A sensitive heart wrenching story and in history, national and people can come Recently, it was announced that an fire; to build a trophy atop a graveyard. a memory that will be forever burned into together and look pass the differences that Islamic Mosque was to be built just an The sponsor of the Park51 project, the minds of Americans, as well as people other people made. arm’s reach from the Ground Zero reSharif el-Gamal, with a debt of $227,000 all over the world, are Therefore it would create a more mains, through a project called in back taxes at the Mosque’s ways to describe the peaceful and respectful environment Park51. site, has declared: “This is a horrific scene that for people of other religions. And It will be a center for Isdefining moment for you and took place on Septemthat is what we need, because America lamic worship. for I and the First Amendber 11th 2001. is Islamophobic, and Muslims don’t And it will be next-door to ment... I see us passing this Ground Zero is derespect America because of all the the remains of Islamic acts of test as Americans.” scribed as the target of incorrect things we say on a daily basis terrorism. The “test” Sharif el-Gamal a projectile, and that about them and their religion. Would you build a commurefers to is the idea of practicis just what happened Even if we say these things and nity center for fascists outside ing religion freely, which is a on a clear day when a feel a certain way, America is still of Auschwitz remains? Would roadblock that Muslims have plane was taken over looked at as one of the golden places you build a monument to Jack created to divert attention by an extremist Musfor people to come because of our the Ripper near a battered from the true motivation: addlim terrorist group. major melting plot of different women’s shelter? ing insult to injury. Then, crashed cultures and looks on life. And, now, will you ask Nationwide, people Louisa Kennedy Tayler Bunge two planes into So what if this major symbol thousands of people to News Reporter Spotlight Reporter are speaking out against of infusion and diversity was not the Twin Towers, mourn the loss of their the mosque and what it which lead to the built? It would go against the loved ones, who were will mean, over time. collapsing of them. things America has set the standard for by murdered in the name of Allah, while Samantha Koch, RVHS junior, agreed, After this tragic event, there have been telling other nations that we, as Amerijust steps away are Muslims paying their “For the most part, I’m neutral, but I still news stories, pictures, families left with cans, will welcome new ideas and beliefs respects? think [the mosque] is a bad and an eerie pieces of themselves gone, and memoriwith open By allowing this idea because it will still be run by Muslims als. Now, nine years after, another story arms. Unmosque to stand at when [Muslims] caused 9/11.” fills the homes of citizens about a mosque til now, we Ground Zero, our Although peoples’ opinions may differ being built near Ground Zero in New have lived defense in al-Qaeda’s on the situation, it’s a fact that the Mosque York because they are both strong topics. up to this War on Religion has will be infused with concepts of radical The man behind the idea, Imam Faisal reputation, lost all truth. Islam, when it was Islamic terrorists who Abdul Rauf, plans to build a fairly large but we are The founder and ended almost 3,000 lives nine years ago. mosque, which is the equivalent of a now going organizer of the The building of mosques worldwide church for the Muslim religion, very close against mosque, Feisal Abdul makes no difference to me, and in all to the site of the Twin Towers’ collapse. our own Rauf, is a well-known likelihood, to most high school students in This is also causing many news and media applied Muslim contributor Colorado. As pointed out, it is American groups to ask if he should or should not thoughts to the Sharia Law citizens’ right to practice religion freely. be allowed to build this important symbol that movement. Sharia Yet, what does make a difference, in all there. America Law is a method of our lives, is how depraved the Park51 projEven some Ralston Valley students should be living (enforced by ect is. Were this to occur, the handcuffs don’t know about the mosque being built one with the religion of Islam) would be taken off the murderers, and the in Manhattan, which is heavily populated all other and, among its many victims would be victimized again. by people of a Muslim background. people, philosophies, orders Hannah Howard a sophomore asks, and relideath by stoning, “What’s going on where?” when asked if gions. promotes marriages she thinks the mosque should be permitAlso, between children, and ted to be built. After explaining the event, now that disregards the abuse she says “It’s fine for it to be there.” students of females. And why not? Rauf is perfectly justiare talking These aren’t values fied to practice his religion wherever he about I, along with millions pleases, and although 9/11 is an extremely the news of others, want to see touchy subject it shouldn’t take away a and the two blocks away from person’s right to speak their beliefs or principals THE TWIN TOWERS: The dual plane crashes on an American cemTHE CROWD SPEAKS: Family members practice their religion. behind the September 11th, 2001, shook the American percep- etery that wouldn’t of those who died in the plane crashes Some people, like sophomore Cassidy mosque tion of security and killed over 3000 people. Contro- exist without Sharia and their fellow supporters rally to reject Killeen, dispute that “the mosque would and its Law. versy arises from the decision to build the mosque the construction of the mosque. While be a horrible reminder to families that Muslim President Barack owing to its representation of those understood to the religious structure would not actually lost an innocent family member in the traditions, be behind the 9/11 attack. Photo courtesy of Oedi- Obama is in favor of be built on-site, it would still be within pus Lex sight of the memorial. Courtesy of Swoan incident, that come to visit the area.” it is the the mosque, having Parker There are also positive aspects to the perfect stated that “This building though; it may bring other reliteaching motivation for kids to talk about country stands for the proposition that... gions and cultures together by stating that other things other than the football or the they have certain inalienable rights. One RVHSNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS. no matter what horrific scenes are caused new show that came out on ABC. And of those inalienable rights is to practice COM RVHSNEWS.COM RVHactually having them expand their knowl- their religion freely.” edge and become interested in an influThe First Amendment of the ConSNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS.COM ential topic is great. And all of America stitution is our right, as Americans—yet RVHSNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS. should follow even if they all don’t have freedom of religion is not the issue. the same proposal to any idea. The Islamic terrorists who planned COM RVHSNEWS.COM RVHAlthough around 70% of America and caused the attacks on Sept. 11th were SNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS.COM says that the mosque shouldn’t be built, not concerned with religious freedom, as the other 30% may see the possibilities many American citizens understand. RVHSNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS. behind the simple building that could “I realize that in the U.S. there is COM RVHSNEWS.COM RVHeither bring out the better side of people. freedom of religion, but I think these The building of the mosque could bring people are being very unsympathetic with SNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS.COM nations who are at war together. Or the the victims’ families and the people who RVHSNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS. worse side that only looks at the negative died [at Ground Zero],” said junior Dani COM RVHSNEWS.COM RVHthings that could happen over this debate Davies. that may continue for years to come. Former NY Fire Department Chief SNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS.COM So yes, build the mosque to join Jim Riches had a son, Jim, killed at the GROUND ZERO: The site of the 9/11 attack RVHSNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS. World Trade Center. Riches explained: and former location of the Twin Towers prior cultures, unite inhabitants of fighting countries, not to repeat awful undertak“I don’t want to have to go down to a to their collapse. The potential mosque is COM RVHSNEWS.COM RVHnot actually intended to be built on the site, ings, or terrible memories. Do it for the memorial where my son died... and look SNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS.COM but within the vicinity. Photo Courtesy of good and only for the better. at a mosque.” Network to Freedom RVHSNEWS.COM RVHSNEWS. The issue is blatant insensitivity—the purpose of Park51 is to throw fuel on the



Ralston Valley Xpress

Teenagers in Court

Arvada Teen Court program allows for teenage offenders to be tried by peers the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by Emily Kribs law, and to be informed of the nature and Editor-in-Chief cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have Whether by televised judicial drama or compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Aspersonal experience, it’s difficult to locate sistance of Counsel for his defense.” someone yet unaware of what a courtTo translate, one has the right to be room looks like. Teen Court is no diftried by his or her peers—people living ferent; a judge heads the room, a witness under similar circumstances who can near the front of the room extrapolating truly apon a crime, preciate the the prosecudefendant’s tion and desituation and fense tables therefore level with devise a just one another, sentence. separated Ordinarby an aisle ily, a jury that extends is amassed through the through ranrows of waitdom selecing witnesses, tion, which observers in Jefferson and victims. County is The diffacilitated ference here through a list is that the of registered majority of adults at the people presDepartment ent are under RECOGNITION NIGHT: Teen Court judge Roberto of Motor Ramirez, far right, fraternizes with some of the ado18 years of Vehicles. lescent attorneys after a ceremony in which the City age. As might Counsel awarded each of the program’s participants with However, given those a certificate denoting their volunteerism. Owing to laws be surmised from set in place for the defendants’ protection, photos taken applicable in the courtroom were impossible to acquire. Photo by are adults, the name, teen offendTeen Court David Kribs ers would be comprises less likely to receive a fair trial since their of teenage jurors, attorneys, bailiffs, and jury would consist of older people under most notably, defendants. The idea bedifferent circumstances. hind this correlates with the 6th AmendTeen Court, which operates on a volment, as follows: unteer basis, allows for minors’ fair trials. “In all criminal prosecutions, the Participants aged 14 to 17 act as jurors, accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy bailiffs and attorneys to allow 11-17 year and public trial, by an impartial jury of old offenders a jury of their peers, namely

From San Diego to Colorado

like-aged individuals. The Teen Court process begins, of course, with a crime. Felonies, obviously, are taken to standard court, but acts such as petty theft, assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct are possible crimes tried in Teen Court—assuming the person who committed the crime pleads guilty. Teen Court is strictly sentencing trials; an innocent plea defects one elsewhere. After a guilty plea, letters are sent to the prosecution and defense attorneys as well as the defendant. The letter requests they arrive for court on a scheduled date at a predetermined time, and includes a police report written by the officer who apprehended the defendant. In the case of the defense, a phone number accompanies the letter to permit the attorney and client contact with one another. The lawyer will call ahead to remind the offender of his or her court date, learn more about the incident, and to tell the defendant to dress nicely. On the set date, (always a Wednesday,) the three parties will take their places in the courtroom along with a slew of jurors. The attorneys then ensure the jury’s impartiality using a process called “Voir Dire,” which derives from the Latin oath to tell the truth, “verum dicere;” id est, “to say what is true.” The actual word “voir” doesn’t come from the modern French word for “to see,” but the Old French term concerning truth. To summarize, Voir Dire is a process in which the attorneys ascertain an unbiased jury by asking them questions they must answer honestly. A juror may be removed if they have perpetrated or been the victim of a similar crime being tried that day, he or she knows one of the attorneys, defendant or victim, has any prior knowledge of the case, or can otherwise be proven unfit. Once the jury is selected it is sworn in: “Do you swear and affirm to well and truly try the case at hand and deliver a proper

sentence according to the evidence?” The case is then introduced via opening statements delivered by the two sides. There is no impartiality here; where one attorney may laud a defendant’s concerted efforts to restore his or her good name, the other might decry him or her as a thief, a liar, or a trouble maker depending on the case. Then, the defense calls upon its witnesses, often beginning with the defendant him- or herself. The witness will be sworn in, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” and seated. The defense then questions the witness, establishing the course of events in addition to mitigating factors such as remorse, reimbursement, and overall moral character. The prosecution will then probe the defense-prompted assertions, seeking to drag out the aggravating circumstances. The purpose, of course, is not to inflict as much or as little punishment possible, but to ensure that justice is served. In Teen Court, punishment consists of 12-60 hours’ community service, letters of apology, offense-specific classes and reimbursement. It is up to the jury to determine a suitable discipline based on the evidence revealed by the attorneys. “I think it’s very effective,” said Arvada Teen Court Coordinator, Tami Rice. “Our recidivism rate is only about five percent.” “That’s much lower than the city overall,” interjected Bethany Levin, an intern working in the courthouse. Despite the gravity of the position, the volunteers enjoy acting as jurors, bailiffs and attorneys. Said Jesse Call (11), a Teen Court juror and newly trained attorney, “It’s a lot of fun, and it teaches us responsibility.” Teen Court takes place at the Arvada Courthouse on 58th and Carr Street on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm.

Transitioning between schools is a tough task

more, stated, “It has been pretty easy [to transition]. I was in a big school before Spotlight Reporter and playing tennis has helped me make friends.” On the other hand what about Walking up to this school can be the teachers in comparison? Kaitlin Sweequite intimidating for those, like myself, ney, Junior, answered that what helped her who are new to Ralston Valley. “This was, “The teachers make it easier, they’re school is huge!” was the first thing that understanding. It has been more difficult came to mind. It got worse as I entered the main hall-no familiar faces to comfort to meet people than I thought though.” In a school as big as RV it’s understandable. you, no direction to help your bewilderIt’s not like you can randomly walk up to ment. Ocassionally there was a smiling someone and start a conversation without face to make me feel a little better about it being awkward these days. What hapmy choice to change schools senior year. pened? It used to be random conversaPeople have often told me that your tions that brought people together. Sierra senior year should be the best one spent with your closest friends but how are new Manion, Junior, has had the same experience as most including myself. She exstudents to obtain this? Finally getting plained “It’s been pretty smooth;got lost a up the nerve to ask someone for direclot though. The teachers seem to care. Its tions I felt pretty dumb when I realized been harder to meet people because they some halls made sense, such as the “M” have their friends already.” So, it seems hall which dealt with Math and the “E” that unless you’re in sports or a class like hall was English. Each class made things choir or band it is much harder to meet a little worse since, as I expected, cliques are already formed by senior year. Luckily people. Then again that’s obvious. Out of the foreign exchange students I am a friendly person and was able to it seems as though it’s easier to have attempt conversation with others. People here seemed pretty nice for the most part people talk to you and want to get to know you. Stephanie Kruger, Senior from which was a relief. “This will be interestDenmark, says how it has been easy since ing,” I thought to myself, “I wonder how “I like the school, it’s really big. People welcoming these seniors are?” are very nice to me-they talk to me. I like A few quick questions for all of you to be here.” RV’s students are good at who aren’t new to RV: did you know that making the foreign exchange students feel RV has seven foreign exchange students this year? Did you know that RV has: five comfortable. But who wouldn’t want to get to know someone from another counnew sophomores, four new juniors and try? Bent Jenson, Junior from Germany, three new seniors? I began an adventure explained “I like [RV] much but it’s big. to discover how these new students were doing so far. I went around and asked the The teachers and classmates are helpful. Soccer has helped me make friends.” new upper classmen students: “How has My challenge for all of you: show your your transition into this school been for RV pride and spirit, help us new kids see you? If easy then what has helped you?” why RV is a great school. Being a new I asked the foreign exchange students: student in a school this big can be over“How do you like Ralston Valley? How whelming. Worsened by the fact that the are the students?” building is very large and the halls all look Most of the new students I spoke the same. As students of this high school, with answered saying: “It’s been easier it is our job to show our school spirit as to transition since I’m in [sports or a well as spread it. school activity].” Morgan Rowe, Sopho-

Alexa Tomasello

NOT SO SWEET: Federal regulations limit student’s chances to crave sweet tooth.

Sweet tooth cravings curbed Zach Hambright Sports Reporter

Whatever happened to the vending machines that have been here in Ralston Valley for at least a couple of years? Well, newspaper follower, here today is the back breaking news. Vending machines can make things a lot simpler or a lot more difficult. Sure it’s easy to get a quick snack to enjoy. However, vending machines can also be a hassle, with their products getting stuck in the machine and then letting the office know, it can be stressful. Vending machines have a lot of pros and cons and a lot of people think it’s up to one man to decide whether or not to have vending machines available in the halls. However, it’s not really up to Principal Jim Ellis, it’s up to the Federal Food Lunch Program.

A recent interview took place with Ellis to find out about the vending machine dilemma. He said students are more than welcome to use the vending machines after school to grab a drink or snack, whatever it may be but during school the vending machines are turned off because of decisions made by the Federal Food Lunch Program. Another interview was taken with a RV senior Daniel Xiong. “I think it’s dumb having them turned off because some kids don’t want to wait in the long lunch lines,” Xiong said. Although his point is a valid one, the Federal Food Lunch Program prohibits there being any competition during lunch hours with the cafeteria. Therefore, students must wait until after school to get their vending machines fix.

Ralston Valley Xpress

IN DEPTH Friend Vs. Best Friend


Tried and true versus bad and blue. Abby O’Connor

News Reporter

Best friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget. This holds true in all the TV shows, movies and plays we watch. In most of them, there are usually a group of friends that are friends forever, no matter what happens. For example the TV shows Sex in the City and Entourage, highlight the relationships between best friends. From the show Sex and the City, Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda are four best friends who parade around New York City, talking about their relationship drama, shopping, eating, and planning their future, just like most female best friends. On the other hand, Vincent, Eric, Johnny and Turtle are the other four Best Friends from Entourage, who spend their days trying to find love through keeping their jobs and friends. Looking around Ralston Valley High School, it appears we have the same characteristics as the characters do on these shows. Both guys and girls talk about their latest significant other drama/love life, jobs and friendships. Even though there is a big difference between males

“A best friend, I gotta say, I have one word, family.” -Christian Cavanaugh and females friendships, most say the most important characteristics a best friend can have is that they can be themselves around them without worrying about anything. According to sophomore Haley Schuster, “Best friends are people you can always fall back on, they’re the friends you can share some of your best and worst moments with and they don’t judge you.” “I can tell her literally everything and anything,” Nica Zarlengo (’12) said about her best friend. “We do everything together, and we just understand each other.” Almost everyone can tell their best friend everything without worrying if they are going to judge, or spread gossip about them. Whereas with regular friends, almost everyone is more hesitant to tell them their secrets because they don’t know each other as well, and they are afraid that they will judge or spread rumors. When anybody is in a sad mood, they will call up their best friend because they are the ones who know them best, can cheer them up, and give each other the advice they need. On other days you just need someone to listen to you. “To me,” says Kennedy Ficek (’13) “a friend is someone who will just sit there and listen to you vent and not say anything.” Everyone has those days where they need someone to just talk to without getting advice thrown into the mixture. Most guys said that they can hang out with their best

BEST FRIENDS!: Seniors Kelsey Redd and Nica Zarlengo are the type of best girl friends that tell each other everything and never judge. They are with each other all the time and never get sick of each other. Photo courtesy of Jeff Fleischman.

friends almost every day, whereas a regular friend you hang out with once in a while. Senior Joey Brazzale says, “A best friend is someone you can hang out with on multiple occasions.” Best friends are someone you can do anything and everything with, and not get tired of being around each other. With regular friends, you cannot hang out with as much because usually, they get annoyed with each other faster. Just like in the two shows, each group of the four friends are with each other all the time. “A best friend, I gotta say, I have one word, family.” states Christian Cavanaugh (’11) “Like a brotha’ from another motha’. A regular friend is just like a brother-

in-law. You are kinda friends, but you can’t really share similar conflicts and your deep inner secrets because they are more like acquaintances. It’s like less emotion in your conversations.” To almost everyone, their best friends are like their family; whatever they say or do, they are there for each other no matter what. Whatever you do, you know they will always forgive you. You see each other all the time and you know them best. Best friends and regular friends are important to have. They help us get through our days, our nights and our hard times. We share happy, sad, truthful and honest moments with each other. We are lucky to have them. DO THE MESS AROUND: Sophmores Drew Hastings and Jensen Bergman mess around with each other like most best guy friends do. Photo coutresy of Jeff Flesichman.

Monday, October 4, 2010


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Students welcome comfortable climate within classroom

Defining the difference between ethics and education plays key role in student-teacher relationship Warren Tay

At this point many do not understand nor act upon what is right or what is wrong. This line could be crossed by either party. However, the educators should have a Forming a bond between teacher and student noursense of what is inappropriate. ishes not only the educational studies taking place, but When asked what could be the cause of the boundaralso produces a key understanding that mutually affects ies being crossed, Kelsey Kepler, one another. a senior at RV has said “I’ve never Most teachers try to create a bond been involved in one so I wouldn’t with their students in order to quell the really know. I guess it would probuncomfortable environment of their ably be if the teacher isn’t really classrooms. This, in turn, provides a careful about establishing boundarmore relaxed room in which students ies. In high school, we’re sometimes feel more comfortable in approaching not that much younger than our their teachers in a respectable manner. teachers and teenagers can be really With this level of respect, teachers flirty, even aggressive.” are able to maintain control of their As to a teacher’s point of view, classroom while providing the essence first-year English teacher Ace Van of thrill for their students. Students Wanseele replied “I think some will generally work harder in classes students see me as a father figure in which they admire the teacher, thus because I’m older than some of improving the academic gain. their dads. I often see and envision “It’s really nice to have a connection STUDENTS AND TEACHERS: An edu- my students in the classrooms as my cational environment will always need with a teacher,” says Hannah Leutert, kids… and there’s a sacred responsigood teachers for students to learn by. a senior in RV. “Then you feel more bility in being a teacher.” Photo courtesy of bardellrealestate. comfortable with talking with them and Students are rather vulnerable com asking questions in class.” targets due to their growth and lack Not only would this benefit the of life experiences but the figures of respect should student, but the teacher as well. With a healthy bond, the understand the fine line of friendship. teacher would also put out full effort and time in preparWhen chemistry ignites, their minds tend to take over ing for his or her class, thus developing a more effective their actions, whether it be a student or teacher. Both way of educating. subjects of each side requires the maturity and underTeachers have great influences over student’s lives in standings of their boundaries to withhold tempted activishaping their future, behavior and thought processes. ties and to stay within reasonable means of progress. However, a teacher cannot be too friendly or the student And while other schools in the state and around the will transcend his opinion of the teacher as respectable to nation have had, and will continue to have boundary one of a common friend. issues at times, this problem ceases to exist at Ralston The balance between a friend and a figure of respect Valley. is essential. Students understand and respect their role in the During active school hours, many teenagers and classroom as active learners, and teachers, as Van Wanteachers are engaged together for a day. Present within seele insisted, understand the sacred nature and responsithe students, a hormonal geyser is active and ready to blity that comes with a teaching license. erupt at any moment.

News Reporter

Students find friends, foes via social networking websites Digital age fosters different forms of friendship

But can adding people you dislike eventually lead to bad decision making? “I believe Facebook can ruin friendships because people post rumors and secrets lically about each other,” Odnoralov says. News Reporter People find it easier to act tough and be bullies when Facebook is one of the largest social websites out it’s not face to face with someone else. Now, often times there, a household name and an obsession among people bullies target their victims online whereas back in the day, all over the world no matter what age. Founded in 2004, bullies shoved people into lockers or knocked your books Facebook helps people communicate with others effortout of your hands while walking home from school, lessly with their friends, co-workers and family whether but most of that has altered into destroying someone’s they are right next door or half way around the world. reputation where virtually Out of the 500 million everyone can see it. active Facebook users, 70 “My opinion is that they percent are outside of the are trying to be cool by postUnited States. Sophomore ing mean, stupid and inapKevin Odnoralov, has a propriate things,” Odnoralov Facebook account to socialsays, “they make things ize with people from differworse for themselves and ent schools and countries the surrounding people.” in addition to his friends. “I Speaking of making do have ‘friends’ that I don’t things worse for themselves; know on Facebook, I wantpeople, mostly teens, post ed to socialize with some badly chosen pictures and new people,” Odnoralov videos on their own and othsays. “Facebook can build ers’ Facebook walls. new friendships.” “People put inappropriate He surely isn’t the things on Facebook to draw only person that thinks attention to themselves bethis. Freshman Stephanie cause they are insecure,” says Johnson, who has had her freshman Addison Coen. Facebook account for two Sometimes it’s to draw years, says, “Yes, Facebook attention from anyone, but can build new friendships, other times it’s to draw atI have talked to a lot of tention to certain people. new people I really hadn’t Sophomore Alisa Anhold before.” However, unlike says, “I have known people Odnoralov, Johnson only who have posted inappropriTHE ONLY “F” YOU’LL EVER WANT: This infamous adds people she knows, ate pictures of themselves to letter is known worldwide for everyone’s favorite time“There are a few people get a boyfriend or a girlwasting site. Photo courtesy of I don’t really like, but I friend. They’re just craving add them because I know attention from the opposite them,” she says. sex.” But just because some people make new friends via Whether it’s a revealing picture or a post calling out Facebook doesn’t mean the site is a delightful, friendly a certain person because of their sex, race or choices place all the time. Sophomore Amanda Castanuela says, they’ve made; Facebook can be a nasty place. It can ruin “I defiantly have accepted requests from people that I friendships and prevent new ones from happening. Howdo not like that are in our sophomore class, but I don’t ever, to the people who know better, Facebook can be accept anyone I don’t know or have a lot of ‘friends’ in an enjoyable place where one can make new friends and common with. I know them and I do see them at school, keep in touch. I just don’t talk to them or anything on Facebook.”

Hannah Stodden

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In Kabul, Afghanistan, 9 U.S service members were killed in a helicopter crash. This year has been the deadliest year for U.S.A forces since the war against the Taliban started about nine years ago. No reports told that the helicopter was shot down by enemy fire. Along with the deaths of the soldiers, two more troops were injured and taken to an NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) medical facility. President Barack Obama deployed 30,000 extra U.S. forces to Afghanistan this year, increasing the total American troop commitment to almost 100,000.

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Six men were arrested in London for suspicion of preparing to act upon terrorism. The five men were of the ages, 26, 27, 29, 36, 40 and 50 years old and appear to be Algerian. The police have not found any hazardous items. In UK, the official threat level is highly likely, giving them reasonable suspicion for these six men. Police are continuing to search for anymore participants of this planned terrorist attack.

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A prominent leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Imran Farooq, was killed in London on Thursday, September 16th after suffering multiple stab wounds; he was a prominent figure in a Pakistani opposition party and former parliamentarian. He was exiled from Pakistan in 1992, and would claim asylum, meaning that he was basically a refugee, in the United Kingdom in 1999. London law enforcement believes that the murder was politically motivated, though they have yet to name any suspects. Violence reportedly broke out in Karachi at the news of his death, Pakistan’s business capital, though it’s believed that no one was hurt or injured. The MQM declared a 10 day period of mourning to remember one of their parties’s founding leaders.

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On the 19th of September, 2010, the U.S. spill commander informed everyone that they had permanently sealed the leak in Macondo, within the Gulf of Mexico. Pressure and weight tests have been taken to ensure that the cement plug would hold. The pumping of cement into the damaged oil well had been done on Friday the 17th and the awaited test results were successful. The estimated cost of the oil spill was 9.5 billion U.S. dollars for the 4.9 million barrels of oil that had spewed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Ralston Valley Xpress IN-DEPTH


A History of Homecoming The origin story of the annual celebration and its roots in American culture Emily Kribs

Though generally considered purely titular, the word “Homecoming” refers to a celebration welcoming back former alumni and residents to an institution. In Ralston Valley, as with other high schools, this means a dance, a football game, and a week of activities to welcome the student body back to school. Upon its commencement,


however, the concept referred exclusively to collegiate alumni, rather than current high school students, returning with the intention to watch their old home team play a game. Typically, as it is nowadays, this was a football game, though in the mid-1800’s when the tradition began, the game was as likely to be hockey or basketball. Another aspect that

remains similar—in theory—is the Homecoming Dance. While upon the event’s initiation the dance was decidedly more formal, the basic concept remains similar. The actual first Homecoming is contested between Baylor, Illinois and Missouri Universities, all of which claim to have held such an event sometime around 1910.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN: The University of Minnesota marching band leads a parade in celebration of the Homecoming game. Other events included in the festivities include a dance and a dinner. Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota

Holiday’s history a ghostly story still being told today In looking back at the origins of Halloween, Celts play major role in the manner in which we presently celebrate Rachel Brown

When the leaves start to lose their green and long summer days turn to those of the dark autumn, youths everywhere start itching to go to pumpkin patches and beg their parents to take them to costume shops. They’re looking forward to the last night of the month, not to mention the best day of the year . . . Halloween! A night dedicated to mischief, mayhem, and all things bizarre, Halloween has some very old roots. Originally called Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”), Halloween used to be the Celts’ version of a harvest festival. See, their new year marked the end of the summer and the coming of the dreaded winter, which they associated with human death. As if matters weren’t grim enough, future deaths imminent and all, the Celts also believed that upon the eve of the new year, the lines separating the living

Managing Editor

from the dead basically dissolved. However, contrary to how dreadful a night with ghouls and ghosts running amok may sound, it wasn’t an entirely bad state of affairs. The trade-off was that the Druids, their high priests, were more readily able to make predictions about the future. In order to honor such an event, the Celts, dressed in animal heads and skins, built massive bonfires in which they sacrificed various crops and animals to their deities. In their mythos, sacrifice appeased the gods and granted them plentiful foods next season, while their animal costumes obscured them from the eyes of evil spirits. That’s where the Americanized version of wearing costumes on Halloween came from. When the Romans conquered the Celts, two similar Roman festivals were combined with Samhain,

one of which probably inspired the tradition of bobbing for apples. Eventually, the advent of Christianity also spread to the Celts, and with that change came another: Samhain was no more. In Samhain’s stead, All Saints’ Day was created by Pope Boniface IV in order to honor saints and martyrs. All Saints’ Day was interchangeably called Allhallows or All-hallowmans, and October 31st was known as All-hallows Eve. Eventually All-hallows Eve was shortened to Halloween. Nov. 2 was also called All Souls’ Day, and together All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’, and All Souls’ were called Hallowmans. Their celebration was similar in nature to Samhain and included bonfires, parades, and costumes as saints, angels, and devils. When Halloween reached the shores of America, different cultures

Bands You Oughtta Know: Madina Lake One small town you’ll never forget Ashley Haramaki Aesthetics Editor

The 1950s are often thought to be simpler times, and it is the 1950s that set the scene for one band that has not seen enough spotlight. Who might they be? Madina Lake of course. The town of Madina Lake is the forum that the band uses to convey their views and messages; it’s a quiet place lost in time, until it’s biggest socialite Adalia goes missing. The story of Adalia’s disappearance and how it has affected the town are told through the songs, and is planned to span a total of three albums. The band’s initial start up was in May of 2005, when they opened for Inept in Chicago, the place of origin for both bands. From here everything only got better. The band first got its true taste of fame when twins Matthew (Bass) and Nathan (Vocals) appeared on a special edition of Fear Factor. With their earnings from the show Madina Lake was able to self-produce their EP Album, The Disappearence of Adalia, which was released in August of 2006. While their start was still going a bit sluggish, Madina Lake managed to catch a break with their signing to Roadrunner Records (producing the likes of Kiss, Nickelback, and KoRn) in April 2006. They quickly hit the studio, releasing their first studio album in 2007 under the title From Them Through Us, To You. Soon after they hit the stages, they headline toured with Fightstar, then participated in Projekt Revolution 2007 when Linkin Park specifically chose them. From here their popularity began to skyrocket. After a year of touring Madina Lake once again hit the studio, recording their 2009 album Attics to Eden. The story of Attics

revolves around Adalia who is simply trying to find her way home to Madina Lake. During this year they acquired more popularity at home, earning a spot on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour, playing all dates. They followed up with the Soundwave Festival and several dates in Japan. 2010 is a new year for the band, with a new EP album entitled The Dresden Codex, which is a Mayan astrological text, thought to be the oldest existing. Nathan Leone describes the sound as being much more like From Them, Through Us, To You than its predecessor Attics to Eden. It was this year that the band announced their retraction from Roadrunner Records, having not yet found a new label. In recent news, bassist Matthew Leone was hospitalized when trying to assist a woman involved in a domestic violence case when her husband began beating her. Matthew suffered a fracture skull, broken jaw, and swollen brain, while the woman escaped with only scratches. August 2 it was stated that the bassist underwent a second surgery, and is on his way to recovery. It is unknown if the band will resume recording The Dresden Codex any time soon. Through ups and downs of popularity, to a deeper story, to acts of heroism, Madina Lake is something. They are an amazing listen, and they are amazing people. It is these qualities that make Madina Lake one band that you really oughtta know.

brought various costumes and traditions with them, further changing the face of the event. Among the first celebrations were “play parties” in which neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance, and sing. The passage of time brought about our current tradition of “trick-ortreating”, though it started with neighbors asking for food or money. Parades also became more prevalent as Halloween became more community-centered. The focus was moved toward the young, and with this change came the inclusion of schools and community centers in the festivities. Today, according to The History Channel, American spends an estimated $6 billion every year on Halloween. RV’s National Honor Society will host its annual Trick-or-Treat Street in late#_ October.

AND THE PUMPKIN SAYS . . . This jack-o’-lantern hosts seven ghosts arranged to tell their audience “Happy Halloween”! Photo courtesy of

Bands You Oughtta Know: Haste The Day Kyle Piersky Sports Editor

Haste the day is a Christian metalcore band that was formed in 2001. They originally featured Mike Murphy (bass/backing vocals), Brennan Chaulk (guitar/backing vocals), Devin Chaulk (drums/ vocals), Jason Barnes (guitar), and Jimmy Ryan (lead vocals). The name Haste the Day comes from the hymn It is Well With My Soul. “They started the band because they wanted to play their High School Battle of the Bands in Carmel, Indiana. They won that and started playing shows locally.” says current guitar player, Dave Krysl. Their first self-released EP (extended player) That They May Know You reached over 10,000 sales, which is pretty impressive for a new band. One year after their EP release, the band signed with Solid State Records and released their first LP, Burning Bridges, which was followed shortly after by When Everything Falls. In late 2005, singer Jimmy Ryan announced that he would be leaving Haste the Day, and that Stephen Keech would be taking over. Less than two years after Keech joined Haste the Day, they released their album Pressure the Hinges. In July 2008, lead guitar player Jason Barnes was asked to step down from Hate the Day due to the fact that he was no longer a Christian and the band felt that that would contradict their message as a Christian band. He was replaced by Dave Krysl, a long time friend of the band, just after

finishing the recording process for their fourth LP, Dreamer. Within the next year, Haste the Day found themselves down another guitar player and a drummer. Giuseppe Capolupo, was recruited from his bad Once Nothing to play drums, and Scotty Whelan to play guitar and do backing vocals. On June 29, 2010, Haste the Day released their sixth album, Attack of the Wolf King. It was the first album featuring the three newest members. “The band has always been and always will be about showing God’s love to people. In this day and age of fake Christianity, judgment mentalities, and hypocrisy, we want to show people that God loves them no matter what. If they don’t believe that then they can at least believe that we love them.” Recently Haste the Day played on warped tour, making one of their stops in Denver. “I never get tired of playing shows. It can be for 20 kids or 10,000 kids. Shows are what you make of them. If you are passionate about what you do and why you do it, it’s amazing.” Krysl mentioned. Haste the day has played shows with many other bands such as UnderØath, Senses Fail, Hollywood Undead, Norma Jean, Papa Roach, Sum 41, Story of the Year, As I Lay Dying, and The Devil Wears Prada. “We hate to see members go, but this band is not defined by the members in it, but by its mission. Our purpose for making music is the same now as it was 8 years ago.”

Ralston Valley Xpress


Monday, October 4, 2010


Summer Gaming Review Tyler Salen Photographer

Ranked #1: Red Dead Redemption The year is 1911, the Wild West is dying. Enter the story of John Marston, a former outlaw attempting to change his life for the better. However, old friends whom John had once ridden with are budging their way into John’s life once again. Hoping to not get involved, John Marston is forced to end what has started when federal agents hold his family captive and won’t give them over until the remains of John’s former gang members are brought to justice. With little choice, John must load his revolver and hunt down the traitors he once called friends. Rockstar games hit the bullseye on realistic enough times to make this worthy of a movie. The main focus that is set in the game is the look and feel of the

American West during its glory days. The environment that is presented is meant to resemble as much as the west was back then. Ghost towns for example, lie well within the middle of nowhere just as portrayed in famous western media, as well as frontier towns that have those occasional bad guys. With frontier towns extinct nowadays, the only chance to experience it through the best quality is this game here. The computer behavior of the citizens is also realistic at times too. There’s an occasional preacher on the wooden sidewalks spreading the good will of God; a train station teller nailing wanted posters outside and the commuter interactions with one another is astounding. The story is wonderful by itself that gives this game a good back story and a reason for John to constantly fight. At John’s disposal are the most famous guns of the west, the rancher’s revolver, Winchester Rifle and the double barrel shotgun which are very accessible over time as John becomes more involved in local affairs. And players certainly won’t run out of things to do. The game offers a chance to hunt for big game, including buffalo, rabbits and even rattlesnakes to sell off to the best trading posts for the best offers. To soften the game a tad bit is a wide variety of country based songs. In a certain firefight you get a particular song that’s just perfect Ranked#3: Mafia II Set in the mid 1940’s and early 1950’s, Mafia 2 puts the hype up for what really the Mafia is in America. Based in the fictional city Empire Bay (based on New York City), Mafia 2 sets the story of a young Italian immigrant and newly-bred mobster, Vito Scaletta. The son of poor Sicilian immigrants, Vito Scaletta travels to the United States as a young boy in the 1920’s. Over time, money became scarce when Vito’s father dies on the job. Trying to help his family, Vito turns to little robberies with his best friend Joe Barbaro. One night, Vito is busted and forced to join the U.S.


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Top three picks for summer gaming entertainment

and traveling across the wasteland with one that you want to hear until the end. Ranked #2: Transformers: War for Cybertron War for Cybertron is set millions of years before the generation 1 Transformers cartoon series, at the twilight of the civil war tearing Transformers home world, Cybertron apart. Megatron, the Decepticon’s leader has discovered a powerful new energy source called dark energon that will help him conquer Cybertron. Megatron then spreads the energon across the planet and literally corrupts the core. Here to counter the Decepticons are the

Army as they invaded his homeland of Sicily. After Vito spends two years overseas, he is sent home on leave and arrives in a cold Empire Bay. Vito then meets his old friend Joe who drives him for a drink and asks him about the homeland. Vito’s wish to never go back to the Army comes true as Joe makes a quick phone call and from that, Vito begins once again on a life of crime. As the game starts, the player will learn the basics on movement and gunplay as Vito fights as a soldier. When he comes back home, he finds out his deceased father left a $2,000 debt and Vito has to gather the money before the

Band of RV students talk about their life long passion, their band and their future

It’s not always easy to write a song. If

News Reporter the writer wants the words to be under-

The lights were dimmed and the buzz of party chatter had gone down several notes. Some were watching, and some hadn’t realized what was going on. As the four of them step out from the shadows and into view, they become very aware of the obnoxious heater whirring above their heads, the bead of sweat on their upper lip, and the increasing nerves. Someone in the back turns off the background music, and it’s official. Now they are the center of attention. Each pair of eyes magnified, gazing with expectance, watching every move they make. On stage, everything seems to take forever. In building anxiety, the boys adjust the mics, take a deep breath, and somebody hits the first beat. Dead Obsession is ready to play. Started back in April 2009, now sophomores Richard Corso (lead singer), Dominic Dell (lead guitarist), and Bryant Bourgeois (bass guitarist), and fifth grader Jimmy Corso (drummer) put their heads together to create the teen AlternativeRock band Dead Obsession. “It’s better to start off with people you have a relationship with. That way you don’t have to spend the first few practices getting to know each other.” Richard said. “It sort of just excelled.” The band practices once or twice a week, coming up with new songs to play. “[I] very rarely have lyrics that Dom can write a guitar piece to,” Richard explains. “Normally, he just plays a guitar riff and I just write whatever I feel when I hear it.”

stood, and to travel throughout a crowd of different people, a few rhyming words together isn’t going to make it happen. “It’s hard to get that understanding of how you are feeling when you put your thoughts on paper, and I always wanted those songs that people would read and be like, ‘Wow, I know how that guy might be feeling.’” said Richard. His younger brother Jimmy gives him praise for his song writing talent. “Richie comes up with new lyrics like it’s his second language.” Jimmy said. Adults always ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Who says kids have to wait until they grow up to start doing what they love? Bands such as the Jonas Brothers, Coldplay, and The Fray (who actually started right here at Ralston Valley), all took their young-born dreams and carried them out of school and into their adult lives. “I’ll probably see what will happen with it for now, and if it doesn’t work out I’ll join another band,” Bourgeois says. All of them have different views for their futures, but they all include music. Jimmy wants to play for a jazz or rap group someday. “Any kind of genre to make me a better drummer,” he says about his own music ambitions. His drumming talent first erupted three or four years ago, and he’s loved it ever since. “I fell in love with the power and strength behind the drum set,” Jimmy said. “I control the speed, the pace, and

Autobots who are desperately fighting to return the planet to its peaceful state. For almost a decade, Transformer fans have been thoroughly disappointed with recent games that have been ranked between awful and decent. This time, however, High Moons Studios had the correct gameplay and story to make this the best Transformers game to be released so far. The campaign begins with the Decepticons since it sets the main plot and then the Autobots will come along later, which would end the story and campaign. Each level is just long enough to make both campaigns roughly around 6 to 7 hours each. Which in total is about a 12 to 14 hour game. The Unreal engine as seen in Unreal Tournament buts the transformations to good use as they are slick, fast moving and believable. Gameplay scores high as it offers many different aspects of entertainment. The Horde mode, from which a player can battle against wave upon wave of Autobots or Decepticons will keep one at the end of the seat up until it is game over, but even though cooperative play is available in the campaign and horde modes, the multiplayer isn’t as good since there are many bugs that can irritate players in online play. Apart from a few negative things, War for Cybertron has put a better name in for the Transformers franchise.

week is up. From here, the story will begin. During both the winter and the summer of Empire Bay, the local citizens act as the weather is supposed to. More cars would breakdown snow and slide across icy streets. The controls are easy to handle, but offer no challenge in any way possible which includes hand to hand combat since there isn’t much variety to counter, jab, or takedown an opponent. Although the vehicles do resemble the classical days of cars, one will not see a new model car for every street that one passes. Instead it’ll be the same

From the classroom to the open stage Sami Roberts


it’s like the back bone behind our music.” In the band, Jimmy Corso is the youngest, at 10 years old. But he isn’t about to let his youth hold back his talent or love for the drums. The age difference doesn’t separate him from being just like his co-musicians. “It feels cool to be with older kids,” he said. Dell, like the other three, wants to take his music talent past adolescence. “I’ve heard people say to stay small until you get offered a deal,” said Dell. Since he before he was eight years old, he’s shown an interest for music. “For me, what happened was I was really young and really into the Beatles, and then when I turned eight I started playing guitar,” Dell said, “I just like’s something that I could do.” Richard has a different idea. “I’ll maybe want to take a couple years off, and then come back and play a couple shows with Dead Obsession or change my music style and start something completely different.” For a long time, Richard has always imagined his independent life away from

station wagon or the car you aren’t looking for. Across the city, The various neighborhoods (like Little Italy) feature multiple locations to interact with, including clothing stores where you can give Vito a touch of class, garages where you can fix your (stolen) rides, and gun shops to stock up on the tools of the trade. The game’s presentation through cut scenes is excellent too as the characters move and talk like actors in a mobster movie. It is unfortunate that the game doesn’t offer multiplayer as that would’ve bettered the game’s ranking. All together, Mafia 2 is one that really resembles America’s Golden Age. ROCKIN’ OUT: Ralston Valley students (from left) Dom Dell, Richard Corso, Bryant Bourgeois, and fifth grader Jimmy Corso are members of Dead Obsession. They performed at a sweet sixteen birthday party on Aug. 28 in Aurora, and they hope to have many more successful gigs. Photo by Sami Roberts

Colorado. “I always have this trapped feeling,” Richard said, “[The song] ‘Homesick’ isn’t about feeling homesick, it’s about wanting to find where you feel home so until that day I will be traveling.” Even for people with spotlight-experience, nerves never fail to flare up every now and then in the moments before the big performances. Richard says he always has that thought that says he might not be good enough. “But any musician will tell you those thoughts are what push you harder,” he said. “You can’t just put what we have in one word,” Jimmy said, “You can’t fit Dom’s sound or Bryant’s mean bass playing or my punk drumming or even Richie’s lyric insanity. You just can’t. We are DEAD OBSESSION...those are two words you can fit us into.”

Ralston Valley Xpress SPOTLIGHT


CU Journalism reaches its final issue As the University of Colorado Boulder begins the closure of its journalism school, Xpress staff looks into the life of a current 9News reporter Rachel Trujillo

Spotlight Editor

As newspapers, broadcasting, and overall journalism changes throughout the country, advancements and improvements must be made to keep up with them. Unfortunately, this is not always looked upon as advancement. Journalism is quickly losing its appeal due to the immediacy of the internet on phones and iPods. People feel the need to get their information as fast as they can and when it is convenience for them. Reading a long story is not always a reality for the lifestyle of everyone. Getting the general point and overview of the story is the preference now. Due to these changes schools and programs that focus on the old fashioned style of journalism are closing to make room for the future. The University of Colorado Boulder is an example of this transformation. CU Boulder’s journalism school has started the careers of many reporters we know of today including Kim Christiansen, now working for 9News. The success of the journalism school is not the question, but more so the importance of the information being taught. With

the changes going in technology a new school prepared to teach these changes is the future of journalism. In an announcement, Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said the university would form a committee to make recommendations on the best way for the school to continue journalism education, reported the Denver Post. “We want to strategically realign resources and strengths currently existing on the CU-Boulder campus to ensure that course and degree offerings meet the needs of students, the labor market” said DiStefano to the Denver Post. Fortunately, all graduates and undergraduates admitted at the school will still have the opportunity to complete their degrees and graduate. The closing of the school is just now going starting to go into effect but will not fully close down for another few years. As believed by many the switches to a more modern journalism school will only benefit all involved. Journalism is changing and moving into the future along with technology but hopefully will never lose the true feeling behind getting a story.

Q&A with 9News’ Kim Christiansen

Xpress reporter, Rachel Trujillo, sits down with local 9News reporter, Kim Christiansen RT: “While studying journalism at CU Boulder, what areas of the industry were you most interested in pursuing?” KC: “I focused on studying broadcast journalism to achieve my goal of being a reporter. I took all newspaper classes they offered, but only one truly focused on broadcast journalism. I had always been more drawn to broadcast journalism and enjoyed that style of writing. It seems much more personal and immediate.” RT: “Have you noticed a change in 9News and your job recently?” KC: “For sure! I have seen more change in journalism in the past three years than I have the past three decades. Photojournalists never existed 5-10 years ago. That’s when everyone took charge of each aspect of their story.” RT: “What made you realize this change? KC: “We all realized the change when our ratings started going down. There are over 300 channels on TV now and people aren’t going to stop their day to watch the news. They are going to look for the short brief on the internet instead. No one is getting their information from newspapers anymore. Everything is online.” RT: “What changes have you seen in the 9News room?” KC: “We have been doing 24/7 news feeds along with mid-day briefings. We’ve also added My20 which is constant streaming online. It’s funny though. About 15 years ago, Rodger Ogdon (later became 9News Vice President) came up with the idea of constant feed to our website. He wanted to become the #1 website and knew news feed would do that. Everyone kind of questioned where he was going with it but he proved to be one step ahead of everyone else.” RT: “Well and now it’s not even just computers but news is being updated on everyone’s cell phones…” KC: “Exactly! Now there are iPhones and iPads for relaying information and everything is changing so fast. When the story of the boy in the balloon got out in a matter of minutes the story reached a friend of mine

in Costa Rica. It’s such a difference from even 10 years ago when the shooting at Columbine happened. It took about 3 hours for the full story to come out compared to the balloon boy where it took about 3 minutes.” RT: “And as far as CU cutting their journalism program, do you think it was a necessary change?” KC: “I actually think it should have happened a long time ago. In journalism you need to be educated in all facilities now and they should start focusing on every aspect of reporting. When I went to college at CU the professors taught the same thing they had learned about journalism. But now so much has changed in reporting that professors are not teaching all the different aspects needed. The first live report happened in the late ‘70s when most of the professors were reporting and so much has changed since then. They need people who are aware of the current industry and prepared for changes to come.” RT: “Do you think the changes in reporting are all beneficial?” KC: “Yes and no. I think in most aspects of the world the immediacy of the internet has been huge! I remember when Obama was running for president seeing internet messaging and TXT to OBAMA on the screen. It has become a huge, fast way to reach people on their time. Now if fast information needs to get out there is Twitter and Facebook to get everything out……On the other hand I hope journalists don’t lose the old style journalism where you take time to get the full feeling for your story and the time and studying behind getting the story right.” RT: “Do you think you’ll lose any of that in your job?” KC: “I don’t think so. Even though everyone is concerned with getting their story right away and getting the short, easy read version, there is something special about the full story. I just finished a story that didn’t really get to big, but about a man in Wheat Ridge. He had been fishing alone in a remote area almost by the coast of Wyoming when he fell and broke his leg and was trapped for 6 days and 5 nights. After interviewing him I had a vision of doing some of the filming in the area he had

been stuck in. After spending so much time with this man and actually going up with him I got a feel for what it was like and wouldn’t have been able to write the story the same without experiencing it with him.” RT: “Why do you think that made your story so much more special?” KC: “The whole story became so much more personal for me. That’s one thing I hope is never lost by journalists is the face to face personal connection when writing a story that makes it much more special.” RT: “What are your thoughts for upcoming reporters and journalists?” KC: “Anyone can do the short story briefs and quick information, but it takes a great writer to find a story and with that story bring you to tears or make you laugh and

Mens’ Quintet

Ralston Valley’s best male voices get ready for upcoming choir season Tiffany Jones Spotlight Reporter

Above, Francisco Perez (’11), Daniel Guelzow (’13), Addison Coen (’14), Jonathon Gillespie (’14), and Nick Evans (’13) wait patiently for their turn to sing at the Men’s Choir Festival. Photo by Tiffany Jones

Approximately 450 young men, get together annually and sing various songs as a large group, as well as separately by school. Men’s Choir Festival is an all day event that was held at at Ralston Valley on Sept. 17. “[Men’s choir festival] is a fun, enjoyable experience that helps all singers, ‘sing out’,” says sophomore Nick Evans. Each of the young men attending this event comes with different expectations. Evans confesses that he thinks, “Things will be pretty good but there isn’t much time to practice because it’s always really close to the beginning of the year”. By the end of the event, Jeff Talley, choir teacher at Ralston Valley, along with Evans, agrees that the Men’s Choir Festival ran very smoothly, also stating the festival was a very, “energizing experience, that overall went well”. Evans gives kudos to the guest instructor, pointing out his excellence in vocals, and going on to say, “as a choir, Ralston Valley sounded great. All the choirs sounded great performing together, and the solo performances were very well preformed”.


Ralston Valley Xpress SPORTS EDITOR Kyle Piersky

Monday, October 4, 2010



We want to know your opinions on these issues. Visit to make a comment, vote in a poll or write to us.

Mustang Volleyball

PERSEVERE: Hannah Conway struts her stuff on the balancing beam. Despite her numerous setbacks, Conway’s dedication to gymnastics never wavered. Without a team at RV, Conway competes for Standley Lake High School and qualified for state last year in the vault. Photo courtesy of Hannah Conway.

Past successes, budget cuts, and this current season on the court Danielle Davies Sports Reporter

The volleyball program at Ralston Valley started in 2000 with the opening of the school. Since then it has presented this school with numerous victories and several championships. They are currently led by Lisa Nelson, who is the varsity coach, along with Missy Wingard as the junior varsity head coach, Christina Ybarra as the Level III coach, Megan Fitzpatrick as the Level IV coach, and Alicia Benson as the Level V coach. Ever since the inaugural season for Ralston Valley volleyball back in 2000, the varsity team has been the Jefferson County 4A League Champions three times and the District Champions twice, on top of taking 2nd place in the league twice. The team moved up to 5A in 2008 and was a Regional Qualifier. But despite all of the accomplishments of the varsity team, the other volleyball teams haven’t been hiding in the shadows. Junior varsity was the 4A League Champion from 2002-2009, and Level III and Level IV from 2000-2009. Due to this volleyball program’s popularity, a Level V team was introduced to RV in 2006. There was a bit of a setback at the start of the season because of budget cuts. This year, there have been a decrease in the financial funds of just about everything related to schools in general as a result of the recession, and some counties (including Douglas County, the third-largest district, and Adams Five-Star, the fifth-largest district) have actually had to start charging students to pay many other fees (which includes sports for almost every public middle and public high school). Adams Five-Star in particular has increased athletic fees by 25%. As a result of these budget woes the Level V volleyball teams have been cut from other schools who are unable to afford it. The consequence is that Ralston Valley’s Level V team hasn’t played a game up till now. With a season record of 10-8 in 2008 and a season record of 12-6 in 2009, the future of the Level V team was looking optimistic, but the budget cuts have come into play and the consequence is that the girls’ have lost the opportunity they had been looking forward to in the hopes of making their school proud. “‘It’s not going to turn around overnight,’” says Lorie Gillis, the chief financial officer of a district in Colorado, discussing the effects of budget cuts. “‘It took us a few years to get here, it will take us a few years to get back out.’” Other than the lack of competition for the Level V team, this season has gotten off to a good start. Varsity was victorious in both a 3-1 game against Mountain Range and in a 3-0 game against Thunder Ridge. Junior varsity, Level III, and Level IV were also victorious in their games against Mountain Range, with a score of 2-0 for all three. Level IV, like varsity, also won their game versus Thunder Ridge. All of the volleyball teams are only just getting started and there is no doubt that they will continue to be successful. “I think we are pretty good,” says Jessica Osterlund, a player on the junior varsity team. “Whenever you start the season you play for yourself. But as the season progresses you start reading your teammates’ movements and learn to trust them. That’s when you become a real team.” While there was a bit of a setback at the start of the volleyball season, Ralston Valley’s volleyball teams have their past accomplishments to be more than proud of, along with a good start to the present season.

A Balancing Act

Complex, yet as simple as gymnastics Tiffany Jones Spotlight Reporter

Ever had those days where nothing works out for you, where it seems like everyone and everything is working against you? Jan. 2010 was the beginning of a long and painful time for Hannah Conway. One day at gymnastics practice, she tore her ACL and was told her passion must be set aside for three months. Painfully, she did so. Three months later at the first practice, she tore tendons and ligaments in her foot, and was told she must set gymnastics aside for yet another month. Some luck, huh? Conway is a sophomore at RV who may seem like your typical teenage girl, but she is far from it. As a 15 year old, Conway loves to write, take pictures, and ride dirt bikes. She is described as a great listener, someone who loves to help everyone, always respectful, caring, and trustworthy. Alec Roome, a close friend of Conway’s described her as a “great gymnast, an amazing student who really applies herself, a pretty girl and very reliable friend.” He later states that he “has been friends with her for over a year now, and she’s one of the best friends [he’ll] ever have.” Conway is a very complex young woman whose passionate love for gymnastics defines her. She has been involved in gymnastics since the age of three. Like other girls at RV, she goes to another school to do gymnastics. Conway spends 10 hours a week during the summer at Highland Hills, practicing her skills and competing in one to two meets per week, and spends about the same

amount of time during the school year on the varsity team at Standley Lake High School. She has chosen the Standley Lake gymnastics team for a few reasons, the biggest being the influence of older girls on the team, and the reputation of the team. As a team, they have been very successful, making it to state for the first time since 1997. As an individual, her best, but least favorite event, is the vault, while most favorite, but worst event, is floor. In 2009, she even made state for vault! Conway continues to idolize Olympic gymnast, Shawn Johnson, because of her determination and elegance. She plans to continue in gymnastics with the goal of lettering all four years in varsity meets, which she can accomplish by attending 11 varsity meets. Conway doesn’t see herself going to college for gymnastics. “It would be such an awesome experience but I’m not that extreme,” she said. She would like to continue growing as a gymnast, learning skills, and competing in meets. Conway thinks a gymnastics program at RV is a good idea because she knows many people who would be interested. She points out that because the school doesn’t have a program, the gymnasts are not well supported by other students simply because most students do not know about their events. She goes on to say the “the other students cannot feed off of their success as a team”. Gymnastics is how Conway defines herself. She states that gymnastics has helped her in “growing as a person, learning to be courageous, learning to not let fear get [her] down, no matter how bad it hurts.”

Healthy people are happy people How fitness helps make you feel better Emily Emmens

comments sophomore Marissa Carter, “and

Sports Reporter feeling good always make me happy and

   Eating right and exercising are the things that every human being needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  We hear every day how these choices can influence our cardiac health, our strength, endurance, fitness, and our general athletic performance.  We are constantly told how a healthy, active life can impact us physically; however what most people do not know is that it affects us mentally as well.        People who exercise regularly and sustain a healthy diet have been proven to have a more optimistic and cheerful attitude than those who do not make healthy decisions.       “It gives you self confidence,” declares sophomore, Alexa Walters about exercise and fitness.       Scientists have noticed a connection in exercise and endorphins (mood enhancers).  Even after participating in a low intensity workout, one’s general attitude can be improved.      “I feel like the more you exercise and stay healthy the better you feel about yourself,”

wanting to have a good time!”     Psychologists have begun to recommend exercise for people suffering from depression or anxiety.  Healthy lifestyle choices have been proven to relieve chronic fatigue and stress.         “I think exercise makes you more awake and aware and also makes you feel more confident with yourself,” says junior, Benny Schwenk. At Ralston Valley the majority of the athletes noticed a positive change in their attitude after exercising.      “I feel more awake and vibrant once I exert energy” says freshman, Janelle Feidman.      Active students can usually achieve more academic success with regular exercise and with the right amount of effort.  Twentyeight of 30 students agreed that exercising enhanced their attitude, and only 2 students said that it had no impact on their mood.        “Absolutely!” answers Coach Matt Loyd about whether fitness has an effect on attitude.  

     For some people, exercise can seem like a huge challenge; however, after you are done, you will usually notice that you feel much better mentally and physically. “It feels good to know you have accomplished something” says sophomore, Landen Costley.      Even moderate forms of exercise such as running, swimming, yoga, biking, etc. can boost mental health. Improved moods were recognizable after only 10 minutes of active behavior.      “I think that being healthy and working out keeps me more energetic and makes me keep a good attitude about life!” claims sophomore Collin Kloch.      During the school year it is difficult for teenagers to get the right amount of exercise, but when students are slammed with homework and whatever else may be keeping them overwhelmed, sometimes just taking a break and going for a casual jog, a bike ride, a walk or even going to a park and kicking a soccer ball with some friends, can be enough to relieve your stress.  

    “Being active makes me happier and less crabby to people and definitely more forgiving” states Kevin Clough (sophomore)      Not only does health reflect on your personality, but your personality reflects on your health.  Research by medical students of Harvard University, Duke University, John Hopkins and other schools have shown that people with a pessimistic attitude are at higher risk of illness than somebody who is considered an optimist. It is important for everybody to have a generally positive personality. Exercise is something that can significantly help your attitude.  Making healthy food decisions also has been proven to enhance mood.      “I think it makes you a better person to be around,” says sophomore Isaac Arellano, “ People that play sports tend to be the people that basically run the school so that means people usually like them right?”      More and more people are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression each day; prevent yourself from experiencing these problems by staying healthy and being active.  

October 4, 2010  

Volume 11, Issue 1

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