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starkville high schoolt 603 Yellowjacket Dr. Starkville, MS, 39759 t70-6.&97** /Pt

New principal Keith Fennell is getting help on improving school spirit from student groups such as the varsity cheerleaders (above). (Photo by Brooke Underwood)

SHS strives to boost school spirit By Cheyenne Underwood & Ebony Robinson Staff Writers As students arrived at school on August 17, a blue 2009 Mustang was parked by the picnic tables near the school’s cafeteria. New principal Keith Fennell is serious about increasing school spirit. Fennell told students in meetings that morning that Starkville High would be giving away a 2010 gold Mustang with black stripes to a student who has no

more than three referrals and three absences for the whole year. At the end of the school year, all students who meet the requirements will have the opportunity to win the Mustang. Fennell hopes that this will increase attendance and teach students to overcome little issues like headaches and being tired. To get classes involved, technology teacher Beth Gunter’s desktop publishing class are making advertisements to distribute

around school providing information about the car give-away. Not only are students involved in school spirit, the faculty and staff have been encouraged to show school spirit as well. Starting this year, Fridays are no longer just an ordinary day, but a day full of school spirit. “It is important for all faculty to have school spirit,� Fennell said. “I am not looking for students and faculty to look alike.� Faculty members can only

wear jeans or casual attire on Fridays if they also wear school colors or logos. “By example, not only with myself, but with the faculty and staff being more involved, students will see this and become more involved themselves,� Fennell said. Athletes are encouraged to step up their school spirit as well. In previous years, the athletes were seated in the senior class section during the school’s pep rallies. The team is no longer seated in the bleachers, but now

Residency form controversy?

on the floor in the midst of all the action. “It was better this year than last year,� junior Conner Callahan said. “The senior and junior classes were yelling more, but we need Tre Robinson back to rap again. That was funny!� Fennell is planning to improve pep rallies by adding a mascot skit which would include the SHS Yellow Jacket and the upcoming opponent’s mascot, depending on the students’ ability to put together the skit in time.

See Pages 6 & 7



SHS Jacket Buzz

Starkville High deals with Spanish teachers swap schools swine flu hysteria By Ruth Brown Staff Writer Sneezing, coughing, sniffing‌ mothers have a bit more to worry about this year than the common cold. Swine flu has arrived in Starkville. No hugging, no kissing, no handshaking, no handholding, no touching without a biohazard safety suit. Well, things aren’t quite that serious, but close. Swine influenza, also known as hog flu and pig flu, is a strain of influenza endemic in pigs. As of April 2009, a new strain of the A virus subtype H1N1 made a massive outbreak around the globe earlier this summer. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), swine flu is very serious, but most cases are usually mild. As far as Starkville is concerned, 500 cases of swine flu have been confirmed at MSU, yet these numbers have not reached a threshold serious enough to warrant shutting down the university. As for Starkville High, principal Keith Fennell considers swine flu to be a concern, but not a majot one. “We need to keep it on our radar,â€? Fennell said, “We need to monitor it in order to keep it under control.â€? According to Fennell, the administration is keeping the janitors on their toes by providing hand sanitizer to students and keeping desks and classrooms as clean as possible.

Cafeteria employee Michael Bell washes his hands as a precaution against H1N1, or swine flu. All students and faculty are encouraged to do the same. (Photo by Ruth Brown)

The administration could find themselves with a major problem on their hands if the swine flu scare reaches the levels reported at MSU. On any given day, a student at Starkville High could walk down the hallways and hear as many as 20 people around them declare that they have swine flu. Paula Siedmiorka, a Starkville High parent,

thinks the swine flu scare has been blown way out of proportion. “People are scared because they don’t know enough about it,� Siedmiorka said, “People can die from swine flu, but they can also die from the regular flu.� Students are encouraged to keep their hands clean at all times and to report any flu-like symptoms to a parent or doctor immediately.

By Tess Long Editor-in-Chief There’s a new teacher at Starkville High School, for this year, anyway. Edgar Pena will be teaching Spanish here while Nicole Jefferson is in Pena’s hometown of Mexico City teaching English for the year. Moving to a new town in a new country provides a lot of changes, but Pena says the biggest change is cultural. “You can’t imagine how different it is,� Pena said. “The students think very differently. The students don’t like to write.� And while that may seem like a very small difference, there are many others that Pena has had to figure out while in the States. “Body language is very different for Spanish-speaking countries and English-speaking countries,� Pena said. In the classroom he has had to learn the types of gestures American students are accustomed to, such as “wait one minute� or “hold on.� Many of the gestures and symbols he is used to making in Mexico City do not mean the same thing to students here. Aside from the many cultural differences and experiences, Pena’s main reason for coming to the States is his love of the English language. One of Pena’s students suggested that he is here because of the American Dream, but he says no. “I’m not here because of the American Dream, I’m

Senor Edgar Pena of Mexico City teaches his SHS students to recognize Spanish names in class. (Photo by Tess Long)

here because I love English,� Pena said. “Some people are language people but I’m not a language person, I just love English.� Jefferson is also enjoying her stay in Mexico City very much. Jefferson was offered several locations that she could exchange at, however Mexico City was one of her top choices. “As an English teacher, I had 12 options,� Jefferson said. “Since I was currently a Spanish teacher, it was one of three options.� Jefferson is also dealing with cultural changes, which she views very positively. “Family is very important here,� Jefferson said. “I probably have at least one adopted family in about six cities!� The exchange program only lasts one year and both Jefferson and Pena will return to their regular jobs next August.

SHS Jacket Buzz



Crossin’ THE DITCH

Academy students say economy made them Jackets, education made them stay By Collin Whitten Asst. Editor

In light of this year’s increase in tuition at Starkville Academy, former students of the private school have begun flocking to Starkville Public Schools. This year alone, 11 students transferred to SHS from SA, joining the ranks of many more students from previous years. Most families are struggling financially in some way. This is especially true for families paying tuition to any private school. Former Starkville Academy students Hal Sullivan (on top) and Jesi Marsh cross the “A major reason students transfer is ditch to Starkville High. (Photo by Tess Long) that because of economic problems,� SHS counselor Juawice McCormick said. “Tuition for any private school is one of the first expenses families cut.� Boasting a wide variety of artistic and academic awards, National Board certified teachers, and what very few people consider anything less than an outstanding education, free admittance to Starkville High School is bound to be tempting for private school families when money must be cut back. Many of the transfer students have plans to remain at Starkville High, even if their parents’ financial situations improve. “A lot of my friends were here, and the tuition was over $5000 a year, so I didn’t see any reason not to come,� senior Alex Poborka said. “This school is very resemblant of my old school in Seattle, and I love that.� Sophomore Lauren Hughes transferred from Starkville Academy to

SHS as a freshman and has never looked back. “Originally, I came for financial reasons, but when I got the chance to go back, I stayed at SHS,� Hughes said. “SHS just offers more as far as class options and extracurricular activities go.� Junior Jesi Marsh, who made the jump to public school at the beginning of this school year, said he had no problems adjusting to SHS, and, within the first week of school, he felt comfortable. “From what I had heard, the academics at SHS were a hundred times better,� Marsh said. “I wasn’t disappointed.� Drama teacher Mandy Kinney has noticed that all of her Academy transfer students are adjusting well. “I have to say, I’m very proud of the old students for helping them get situated,� Kinney said. “I’m happy to see them adjust so quickly.� As with any public school, a growth of the student body is always a positive thing, most obviously because of increased funding and community support. “I think every student that comes to SHS is an enhancement for the other students because they add to the variety of people here,� McCormick said. SHS principal Keith Fennell sees the transfers as a positive thing and even takes it personally. “I think it’s a vote of confidence, if you will,� Fennell said. “The parents of Starkville have entrusted me with our most valuable resource: their children.�

Booster Supporters Rick’s Furniture Personally Yours



SHS Jacket Buzz

Administration changes schedule... again of the teaching process. With periods, teachers didn’t have enough time to access their student’s abilities and the effectiveness reer in the Starkville School of their work. With the modified block District in June, along with several other representa- schedule, teachers are altives from each depart- lowed to provide more opment, decided this type of portunities for the students, especially in state-test-area schedule would be best. After carefully looking at classes where a student’s the schedules of the past knowledge of the material two years, Fennell and the is directly tied to graduaadministrators decided the tion. Overall, both students modified block schedule best met the needs of the and faculty have transitioned well, with minimal students and staff. According to Fennell, confusion. Fennell believes the hardpreparation and planning are vitally important parts est thing for the teachers is

SHS students asked to adjust to third schedule in three years By Ty Ringo Staff Writer In the past three years, Starkville High School has experienced a four-by-four block schedule, a periodblock schedule which combined the two, and now alternating A/B schedules. This year, SHS is on a modified A/B block schedule, institued by new principal Keith Fennell this summer. Fennell, who began his ca-

to keep up with what day it is. “For the most part, I think teachers like it,� Fennell said. “But it has probably been an easier change for the students than for them.� Some teachers still have issues with it. Teachers who have problems with the schedule believe it is too confusing and they easily get lost in the days. Not all students like the new schedule. Some prefer the schedules from previous years since they were already used to them.

“To me, it gets confusing,� junior T’Keyia Davis said. “The whole A-B day is wrong because I hate having to be with the same people all year long. On the other hand, the homework thing is okay.� Other students, however, are in favor of the changes. “I’ve adjusted really well to the new schedule,� senior Collin Whitten said. “I feel like this schedule will prepare people for college.� With no immediate plans for more changes in place, it appears the modified block is here to stay.

PASS Preventing Alcohol with Secondary Students

! Learn the harmful effects of alcohol use ! Explore legal/social consequences of alcohol use ! Compete for the “best” alcohol-free party ! Participate in the mentoring program ! Participate in service activities, art performances such as raps, dance, skits

Contact Information: Family Centered Programs

Project PASS

(662) 320­6484 ext121 (662) 615­0033 E­mail– Funded by: U.S. Department of Education



SHS Jacket Buzz

Do you live her

Students asked to verify residency or leave By Taylor Bowden and Cullom McCormick Contributing Writers Kayla Butters was a sophomore at Starkville High School last year. In May, she will graduate from West Oktibbeha High School. Butters left SHS in September after school officials began requiring students to bring in two proofs of residency. “I didn’t have a way to move into the school, so my only other choice was to

transfer to the school whose district I was in,� Butters said. Butters now attends WOHS, where the number of credits required for graduation is only 24, not the 27 required by SHS. “Since I have so many credits from Starkville High, I’ll be considered a senior after Christmas of this year,� Butters said. “I only have to take one online class [to graduate].� Butters is one of 42 SHS students who have still not been approved for residency in the Starkville School District. The state auditor’s office has required school districts around the state to make sure that the students attending each school live within that district.

“We asked all students to submit two proofs of residency to prove they lived within the district,� senior counselor Juawice McCormick said. All proof was required to be turned in by September 8, or students would not be allowed to return to school. On Sept. 2 there were 741 SHS students who hadn’t turned their forms in. By Sept. 7, that number was down to 300 students, and then two days later it was down to 100. As of right now, the number stands at 42. “[So there are] anywhere from a handful to 50 [left],� SHS principal Keith Fennell said. “We’re doing one-on-one discussions with the unconfirmed ones.

Some of them could have already gone to another school and just not withdrawn.� The reason officials are concerned with students’ place of residency is tax dollars. Landowners’ tax dollars go to support the public schools in that area. So when students from other areas go to schools they’re not supposed to, it takes resources away from those who actually live there. “It’s a hassle, but we have to deal with it,� Fennell said. “If you attend another school, you’re taking away from others.� Another reason for residency concerns on the state level is that Mississippi is attempting to update its MSIS database. MSIS keeps track of all stu-

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SHS Jacket Buzz


re? PROVE it!

Students stand in line while their residency forms are processed. (Photo by Leena Mrayyan)

ents in state and what district they are nrolled in. This information is used to lculate mobility trends and drop-out tes. Though they understand the need for curate information, the SHS adminisation was as caught off guard by the quest as some students were. “It’s not something we deemed a high riority at this point in the year,� Fenell said. “We would have probably one it later in the year.� The state will continue to require upated residency information for the ext several years in order to ensure acuracy. “We are planning to do it next year efore the distribution of the schedes,� Fennell said.

Yaneira Lara discusses her proofs of residency with assistant principal Sean McDonnall. (Photo by Leena Mrayyan)




SHS Jacket Buzz

The Jacket Buzz


Volume 17, Issue 1

The editorial below is a written collaboration among all members of the Jacket Buzz staff. Ideas expressed represent the majority opinion of the staff.

Tess Long

No upside to school uniforms


Collin Whitten Assistant Editor

Staff Writers Ruth Brown, T’Keyia Davis, Ryan English, Leena Mrayyan, Ty Ringo, Ebony Robinson, Jimmy Sherrod, Brooke Underwood and Cheyenne Underwood

Contributing Writers Taylor Bowden and Cullom McCormick

R.J. Morgan Advisor

Statement of Policy The Jacket Buzz is published three times each semester by the Journalism Department at Starkville High School. The Jacket Buzz is a student-run publication committed to providing the students of Starkville High School with objective and informative coverage of events involving or affecting the student body. The Jacket Buzz serves SHS as a forum for student expression and thought. Content decisions are made by student editors. Factual errors will be corrected by a retraction in the next issue. Opinions expressed are those of students and do not necessarily reflect the views of the adviser, administration, Starkville High School faculty, or the Starkville School Distict. Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Jacket Buzz staff. Letters to the Editor are accepted and published, excluding those that are deemed libelous, malicious, hurtful or disruptive. Unsigned letters will not be published, and all letters are subject to editing. Please email all letters, or other comments/concerns, to

The Starkville School District administration recently began looking into the adoption of a school uniform policy for Starkville public schools. “As of right now this decision is still at the distrisct level,� principal Keith Fennell said. “The first effort lacked the support they had hoped for. There was a second effort, but I have not been given any feedback on it.� We feel the proposed enforcement of school uniforms in Starkville public schools would be a violation of the individual’s rights and could cause even greater differences among classes. If one person wears a polo by Lacoste, and one wears a polo from Wal-mart, that could make economic differences even more noticeable. Uniforms won’t take away social differences, but exaggerate them. What uniforms do take away is the diversity and self-expression that makes SHS so unique. If the decision were made to enforce uniforms, it wouldn’t be put into effect until at

least the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. There are not currently an overwhelming number of dress code violations, and there are definitely not as many violations as there could be. If uniforms are enforced, we forsee a substantial rise in dress code infractions. Several staff members have attended schools with uniforms in the past and say they create issues, not only with how one expresses themselves, but also confusion about precisely what is and is not considered acceptable. This means more work for administration as well as hassle for teachers and students. The pressure to dress according to a very strict code will also put more financial stress on parents who have to purchase whole new wardrobes for their kids. We hope that central office will take the lack of response to their survey efforts as evidence that school uniforms are not only unnecessary, but could potentially cause more problems than they solve for students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Parking system needs overhaul By Leena Mrayyan and Jimmy Sherrod Staff Writers The school parking lot is a place where there has been much talk of late. Security is becoming an issue, parking spaces are causing problems and many feel that the $20 fee is simply unnecessary. With so many people being able to drive these days, upper-classmen are having to park in the sophomore area by the football field. Honestly, we think that’s just not right! Students such as Cindy Vo have experienced not being able to park with fellow juniors due to the lack of parking spaces issued for her grade level.

Vo has to park in the sophomore parking lot for the second year in a row. The walk is simply too long. And $20 just to be able to park at school? This is just not right. What are students actually paying for anyways? It is required for all SHS students to park on campus, though, if they drive. Many pay and still do not park in their rightful areas, as mentioned. So basically, why do we have to pay to park at our school? Where is some real order in it all? It’s just one of those issues which needs some attention brought to in hopes of major adjustments.

SHS Jacket Buzz



Flooding still problem in senior lot By Tess Long Editor-in-Chief Almost all of us have experienced that dread on rainy days, knowing that by the time we walk through the doors at SHS our shoes and the cuffs of our jeans will be thoroughly soaked. But even as bad as that may sound, it’s not always the worst kind of catastrophe when it’s raining cats and dogs in Starkville. Ever been called out of class to move your vehicle due to flooding in the senior lot? “I had to twice, and I had like three inches of water in my car,� recent graduate Hannah Wagnon said. “I had to get it vacuumed and cleaned out.� And with most of our busy sched-

ules, who has the time, or the money, to do that every time it rains hard in Starkville? And why should having to move our cars out of a flooding parking lot during class cut into our academic time? Not only can the flooding in the parking lots cause water damage to our cars, but according to graduate Lindsey Linhares, ant infestations occur when the parking lots flood. “I would get whole ant colonies crawling all over my car,� Linhares said. “They would get inside my car.� Ants, AND water damage? Clearly something needs to be done about the condition our SHS parking lots. So far nothing in the near future is planned, however new principal Keith Fennell hopes that the new

The SHS senior parking lot floods during a recent storm. (Photo by Ruth Brown)

renovations on the ditch will help people will keep me updated on it.� Or maybe we should all just keep with some of the flooding. “I wasn’t aware that there was an a pair of rubber boots and a mop issue,� Fennell said. “But I hope in our cars.

Strange sentencing in criminal trials By Ty Ringo Staff Writer Felony: one of several grave crimes, such as murder, rape, or burglary, punishable by a more stringent sentence than that given for a misdemeanor. Is one crime worse than another? Should more punishment be given for one crime that isn’t given for another? These are questions that can be asked to singer Chris Brown and Super Bowl champion Plaxico Burress. What really happened between Brown and singer Rihanna on February 8th may never really be known, but through the news, magazines, and television programs, people from all around may have a clue. Because of the accusations brought before him, Brown went to trial for felony charges of assault and making criminal threats.

Brown struck a deal with prosecutors pleading guilty to felony assault in exchange for probation. Brown’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, announced that a deal had been struck just minutes before a preliminary hearing was set to start in a Los Angeles courtroom. Brown, who would have faced four years in prison for felony charges of assault and making criminal threats, won’t be serving any jail time. Instead, he has been sentenced to five years probation and 1,400 hours of community service, which he may be allowed to serve in his home state. If Brown violates his probation, he will be ordered to serve the maximum four years. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg also issued a protective stay-away order from Rihanna. But Burress, a New York Giants wide receiver, was held to a different standard.

Burress and former teammate Antonio Pierce were at the Latin Quarter nightclub in New York last November when a gun tucked into Burress’ waistband slipped down his leg and fired, shooting him in the right thigh. The bullet narrowly missed a nightclub security guard who was standing inches away. It slid to the floor and was recovered by a bartender. Facing the prospect of spending at least 3 and a half years behind bars, the one-time Super Bowl star accepted a plea bargain with a twoyear prison sentence for accidentally shooting himself in the thigh. Burress pled guilty to one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a lesser charge than he had faced. Hours after his court appearance, the NFL announced commissioner Roger Goodell had suspended Burress and said he is ineligible to sign

with any team until he complete his jail term. Goodell said Burress will be reinstated upon completion of his sentence. Burress will probably only serve 20 months on good behavior. He will be monitored during an additional two years of supervised release. The gun that shot Burress was not licensed in New York or in New Jersey, where Burress lived. His license to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Florida had expired in May 2008. So my question remains. Is shooting yourself in the leg worse than assaulting another person? Though both superstars deserve punishment for their felonies, which is worse? Why should one person goes to jail for two years and another person does community service for two months?



SHS Jacket Buzz

Jackets still alive for playoffs By T’Keyia Davis Staff Writer

Yellow Jacket infielder Ashley Robinson gets ready to knock the ball out of the park in a recent softball game. (Photo by T’Keyia Davis)

The Lady Jacket softball team is only a couple of wins away from playoff contention. The Jackets are 1-1 in district play, with one win against Columbus and one loss to Grenada. “We’re progressing slowly,� pitcher Shanice Campbell said. The Jackets are still fighting for their playoff chances against upcoming foes Tupelo and Columbus. If they can achieve these two district wins, they will have the chance to head to

the playoffs for the first time in six years. Mental errors tend to account for most of the Jackets’ losses. “It’s like we start off great and then somewhere in-between innings, we start making mistakes that could be avoided,� outfielder Ty Ringo said. Common errors and poor batting ultimately led to the Jackets’ most recent loss, an 0-8 home blanking against Meridian last Thursday. “Hitting is a major error that is not being corrected, said Spencer. “Slow-pitch is a hitter’s game.�


SHS Jacket Buzz

Tillery gives offense options By Ty Ringo Staff Writer After being out four games due to injury, Starkville High School senior wide receiver Chuck Tillery will return to the field tonight against Desoto Central. Tillery has been absent from the Yellow Jacket lineup since early August in the Jacket Jamboree. During the game, Tillery broke his tibia. “I caught a punt, and someone hit me. I rolled it, and it popped,� Tillery said. Since his injury, SHS has started off the season 0-4, with key losses against West Point and Meridian. SHS head coach Bill Lee says Tillery will have to get back into the groove of things and get back into shape, but thinks the team will be better overall by the time Tillery makes a full recovery. “It’s exciting because he gives us another dimension,� Lee said. “And I think the guys will welcome him

back with open arms.� Tillery was a playmaker for the Jackets last season. He rushed for over 400 yards and scored eight touchdowns on 33 catches. Tillery thinks all the Jackets need is some leadership on the field, and says he could be that leader. Tillery also says the Jackets need to learn how to play together as a team. In Tillery’s absence, junior Dennis Thompson, normally a tight end, has started the first four games at wide receiver. Though Thompson is handling the position well, Tillery is ready to come back. “I think it’s going to be a lot better because my teammates are going to go off what I do,� Tillery said. Junior Prinston Henderson, an outside linebacker for the Jackets is hurt by Tillery’s injury, but doesn’t believe an injury hurts an entire team. “He is a ball player, but we are one army,�Henderson said. “One general falls and

Junior Historical Society! The Junior Historical Society meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. Come and have great fun while being a part of history! See Mrs. Young or Mrs. Manning for more information!


Volleyball makes run in district New coach Love sees improvement each game By Ty Ringo Staff Writer

Chuck Tillery watches practice after missing four games with a broken tibia. (Photo by Brooke Underwood)

someone else is promoted, so that’s no excuse for our play.� Quarterback Jaquez Johnson also agrees with Tillery. Though he says Tillery’s absence isn’t necessarily hurting the team, he can tell the difference when Tillery isn’t on the field. “I think it’ll be okay because there will be a senior leader within the receivers to make people step up,� Johnson said. “When he comes back, it’ll be better overall.�

Lauren Love, the new head coach of the Starkville High School volleyball team, has led her team to a respectable record of 6-3, which includes a 3-1 district record. Love was a defensive standout at the University of Tennessee from 19961999. She gained valuable coaching experience as an assistant volleyball coach at Radford and at the Webb School in Knoxville, Tennessee. Shortly after working at the 2009 Mississippi State instructional volleyball camp, Love became the head coach of Starkville High’s volleyball team. As the team plays and practices, Love sees improvement from all her players every time they step on the court. “They have gotten better at working as a team,� Love said. “They also have gotten

better at staying in system with their footwork and their on-court movement.� “The season is going so well because everyone is working as a team and everyone is having fun,� senior Deanna Rieves said. “We all have heart and dedication, and we stay consistent on the court no matter what.� Love still believes there is room for improvement. “We work everyday on our fundamentals and we hope to see them be more aggressive,� Love said. Janae Poe, another senior on the squad, believes the team is okay. “I’ve played on the team for the past three years and this season we’ve gone through a lot of things, but through it all, we’ve learned how to work as a team,� said Poe. In the games to come, Love says the girls must focus on playing each point and doing everything they can in that point to keep the ball from hitting the floor. The Lady Jackets already won a district match against South Panola this week and played Tupelo last night. (Results unavailable) Tupelo is a big rivalry against the Starkville Yellow Jackets in almost every sport and volleyball is no exception. The Lady Jackets will be hosting the Columbus Falcons on Senior Night next Thursday.

S ports buzz The

starkville high schoolt 603 Yellowjacket Dr. Starkville, MS, 39759 t70-6.&97** /Pt

Tillery Returns After an 0-4 start, Starkville High School wide reciever Chuck Tillery (below) will return tonight for the Yellow Jackets’ first district game against DeSoto Central.

(Photo by Brooke Underwood)

See full article on page 11.

Jacket Buzz (09/25/09)  

The Jacket Buzz is the student newspaper of Starkville High School.

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