Page 1

THE BANNER. November 2013 issue

THE CORNER OF INSTRUCTION Welcome to the brand new Banner! This year, The Banner is aiming to redefine itself as an online publication. You’re in for a treat: this is the first issue that is appearing in an e-book format, taking the technology utilized by the The Banner staff to a whole new level. As the year progresses, expect to see The Banner evolve with new technologies and formats. This page will serve to explain and introduce to you the workings of this new format, including all functions available in any platform as well as multimedia options available to you. We hope you enjoy. -Alex Negrón, editor-in-chief

The Banner is best viewed on a mobile device.

On the Computer

Mobile Device

Just swipe to navigate the stories.

1. Click button.

This is what your reader control panel should look like.


Use the arrows or the scroll bar to navigate the stories.




The blue background signals a link to that story in the issue. Simply click or tap the blue box to go to that story.

THANKSGIVING? YOU MEAN CHUSEOK? Yun Chan Ho THE AFRICAN STUDENT Morgan Birmingam Spending time in Africa

PHASE III: ARMAGEDDON Alex Negrón More housing development

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT Richard Luczak The President speaks


Freshmen get familiar with St. Francis

FATICA: MIXED FEELINGS Christopher McAllister Opinion on Justin Fatica

AMERICAN SCHOOLS VS. CHINESE SCHOOLS Chengyang Qian So what’s the difference?


poem Bobby Stiller “Thee Ocean”

linemen: in the trenches Matt Minnick The role of the lineman

SENIOR THOUGHTS Edek Falkowski It’s almost over




Nicholas Ward

Evan Michalski



oes turkey come into your mind when you think about Thanksgiving Day? For Koreans, it’s “songpyeon” (a handmade rice cake) that comes into our minds. Normally Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving, is scheduled in mid-September. This year it was September 19. There are plenty of fun activities like “ganggangsullae,” a Korean circle dance, and “ssireum,” Korean wrestling. There are numerous places to visit for the foreigners who want to experience Korean culture during Chuseok. Exam-

ples include, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Huwon, secret garden which is in the Changdeokgung Palace. Chuseok was once a day on which farmers and others thanked their ancestors for the year’s harvest. The entire family, mostly extended family back then, made “songpyeon,” “makgeolli” (Korean traditional liquor made from rice), and other foods. They celebrated Chuseok by eating these foods and doing some activities like “ganggangsullae,” “ssireum,” and others.

In the morning, the family gathered for “charye,” the ancestor memorial ritual. They prepared food made of freshly harvested crops and thanked their ancestors for the good harvest throughout the year. After, the families visited their ancestors’ graves to do “beolcho,” a ritual of cutting the weeds that may have grown up over the burial mounds. It was considered respectful. However, nowadays, “beolcho” isn’t performed by every family because of either busy schedules or that their ancestors’ burial mounds are too far away. The rest of the day after “beolcho,” in the past, was spent playing with cousins or friends; nowadays after “beolcho” each family goes back to their house and to do their own thing and thus ending this Thanksgiving ritual. Chuseok is one of the most important days for Koreans throughout the year and throughout history. There is interesting culture for foreigners to learn and there are lots of places for foreigners to learn this culture and personally taste the food. Personally, I want more foreigners to pay attention to Korea and learn Korean culture, positively influencing the world. -Yun Chan Ho




ow long does a pencil last? A day, a week, or how about a month? Does a month seem long to you? American students take for granted that a new pencil will show up each week—maybe tomorrow—to replace the one we used and carelessly cast aside. Last summer, I had the most amazing opportunity to witness firsthand the differences that exist between African attitudes towards school compared to American students’ attitudes. Visiting Crossroad Springs Orphanage School, I saw the poverty, I saw the loss. But then I also saw the determination for success, I saw a longing for education.

Pencils, papers and books were precious gems to them, and they held them very dearly. The kids wasted nothing, because the school supplies they had made up the majority of their possessions, and they knew what it was like to have nothing. Many of the kids were parentless, homeless, and penniless. That being said, I discovered something profound. Those kids were as poor as they were rich in desire to succeed. They faced horrid job opportunities, drought, hunger, and disease. But if you sat in those classrooms with me, you would have never thought that was the case. To those kids, education was as valuable as life itself. Students sat on rickety old desks like dry sponges trying to soak up every drop of knowledge. When teachers asked questions every hand shot up with passion. Many pleading, “Teacher, Teacher pick on me!� I feel that American students could learn a lot from the passion they put into their studies. If we could put forth half the effort and dedication they have, it would go a long way. Looking back almost a year later, I think I got a glimpse of what St. Francis saw in the hearts of the poor and sick. There is an amazing amount of love and passion to be found in the seemingly most unexpected places. So next time you grab a new pencil, take a minute to think about what you treasure and have passion for in life. -Morgan Birmingham

PHASE III: ARMAGEDDON More housing development raises concern from the community ALEX NEGRÓN


’ve always had a forest behind my house growing up. Now I don’t. My mom is literally freaking out; she wants to go out and put a fence up right now because we can see the houses a neighborhood over. I don’t know what the big hubbub is all about. The Camelot Square development, built by Piotrowski Builders and stocked with houses modeled by Ryan Homes, was there long before we ever moved into town when I was going into the sixth grade at Orchard Park Middle School. There was a forest behind our house, and a development right behind that. Did my mom really think that tiny slice of forest would ever last? Come on, ma.

Camelot Phase III, the name given to the new addition behind my house, was approved in 2009. Now, beginning in October 2013, yellow Caterpillar machines are ripping up trees behind my house while I’m trying to study for an AP Chemistry test. I’m figuring out the electron configurations of elements whose names I can’t even pronounce, while full-scale Armageddon is raging just outside my window—to say the least, it was hard to focus. And all my mom has to worry about is how “those people over there will be able to see us now.” She acts as if this is all news to her. If anything, I should have anted up a couple of years ago when I was preaching the doomsday of our little forest paradise. But the complaints from my house are petty in comparison. Some folks have real problems with this new development. A West Seneca Town Board meeting was called October 28 to address the public’s concern about Camelot Phase III. As it turns out, a loss of privacy isn’t the only thing disturbing residents. Christopher Kotowski came to the podium to describe how he paid an additional $4,000 for a “premium lot” on Connor Drive which was promised to be wooded by the developer. The stipulation granting him a wooded lot was quoted directly from his contract with the developer. Little did he know, Camelot Phase III was already approved in 2009, prior to the contract. He was lied to. It’s not the fault of the developers of Camelot Phase III that Kotowski was duped. Point the finger where you may, but this guy wasted $4,000 on a bonus he doesn’t even have.

Videos of the deforestation. Tap each eye to pull up a video.

And then there’s the environmental concern. And “aesthetics” concerns. Home value concerns. Animal safety concerns. There are so many concerns I don’t think there would have been time to voice them all the Town Board meeting. It doesn’t make you feel at ease seeing three baby deer walking around a grey scar of crumbled wood and swampy mud. It’s heartbreaking. But home development is fact of life today. It’s a part of the natural ecosystem—the suburb is its own ecosystem just as much as a tropical rain forest. The animals, trees, and land will adapt to the changes behind my house. It’s time for us to adapt. -Alex Negrón

From the Desk of President Richard Luczak -Richard Luczak Fresh Adjustments -Johnathon Ciolek Fatica: Mixed Feelings -Christopher McAllister American Schools vs. Chinese Schools -Chengyang Qian Senior Thoughts -Edek Falkowski Father Omniscient -?





ow that we are in the month of November, all clubs and activities are in full swing. Various clubs are in the process of planning their events for the year. For example, the Mundi Eventus Club is busy preparing for its Bi-Annual Mini Stick Tournament. The Franciscan Youth Ministry has been coordinating service trips and Donut Sales. Chess Club is preparing for chess competitions. These are just a few of the many clubs we have to offer here at St. Francis that are busy planning various events and activities for the entire student body (and faculty!) to enjoy. On the Student Council end of things, we are excited with the new direction our school is going this year. I am very proud of the exponential increase in school spirit we have seen this year alone. The Homecoming festivities in September were simply outstanding to be a part of, and I wholeheartedly thank all those who helped make it happen—administration, Student Council, faculty members, and the students. To set records for the number of attendees at the homecoming football game (2,238 spectators) and the dance (850+ people) in one year is quite amazing. I would like to personally commend the senior class, as they have showed the most school spirit collectively as a class this year.

Student Council is hosting a trip to a Buffalo Sabres game. The game is scheduled for Tuesday, November 12, 2013, versus the Los Angeles Kings. Any current St. Francis student or faculty member may attend. We are also continuing to work on several new proposals and activities for the rest of the academic year. Follow us on Twitter at: @ SFHSEvents to be updated on all activities hosted by Student Council. As I mentioned before, the Mundi Eventus club is hosting its Bi-Annual Mini Stick Tournament. The tournament has 50 student participants and 12 faculty participants. Games begin on Wednesday, November 13 and conclude on Monday, November 25. Come and support your friends and teachers in the activity center after school and be a part of something spectacular! Continue to show your Red Raider Pride and exemplify the characteristics of a true St. Francis gentleman! Show your school spirit! Be proud of your school! On behalf of Ms. McDermott, Mr. Jagiello, and all of the Student Council members, I would like to wish that everyone have a very happy Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy the turkey dinner (among other family favorites) and spending time with family and friends. Remember all of the blessings God has given you and thank Him for the opportunities in your life. Sincerely, -President Richard Luczak





s the first marking period is coming to an end and the fall sports season is basically over, the freshmen are starting to become more familiar with St. Francis High School. For some students, it was very easy for them to adapt to the new environment. As the work becomes more difficult, freshmen will be getting a better look at what they will deal with in the upper grades and college. Some freshmen are starting to make their marks by joining clubs or playing sports. Some freshman, like Evan Herman, Jacob Bell, and Mason Trowbridge have signed up and participated in the recent hockey try outs. Another freshman, Liam Pacholec, is getting to know others by playing football and participating in Spanish Club. There are many other clubs and sports that freshman can participate in. It is a good way to meet new friends and be active outside of the regular school day. “Now that I am at St. Francis High School, I feel that I am doing much better than I did in elementary school,” Sean Talty said. “In class, the work is good. The teachers go slowly so that I can understand it. Also, they are more than happy to help me after school if I need it,” he said. He also said, “I am in stage crew and I have met many new friends from that. Sometimes, I like to just stay after school and hang out with my friends.” Despite a radically new environment, many freshmen seem to be adapting to St. Francis well. It is always a good idea to join clubs, sports, or other activities to meet new friends. From Talty’s point of view, he seems to be getting familiar with the school rather quickly. -Johnathon Ciolek



FATICA: MIXED FEELINGS -Chrisopher McAllister


ate October came around at St Francis, and that could mean only one thing. This time of year marks the return of the school’s favorite speaker: Justin Fatica. The Hard as Nails Ministries has been speaking at St. Francis high school for three consecutive years. Justin began his seizure of Athol Springs with this simple phrase: “I’m Amazing!” This captivated the school then and is still heard occasionally in the hallways. Last year, his long awaited return brought us, “Shut your face and change your life!” Last year’s assembly was more emotional than the previous year’s and many students displayed bravery and love towards one another. Now, this October brought us, “I will win!” Unlike the previous years, the message was not received so well. Many of the upperclassmen felt that the effect of the assembly had faded. “His effect is dissipating because he has been doing the show for three years now,” Ryan Kawalerski ’15 said. Many of Kawalerski’s classmates agree. This does not mean that all students feel this way. President of the senior class, Peter Goszewski ’14, believes the complete opposite. “Obviously a lot of people enjoyed it because of the participation shown by the student body,” Goszewski said,” I feel a lot of people were touched by his message.” This was true in other classes, for the freshman class loved this year’s assembly. Evan Ensminger ’17 said Fatica was amazing and easy to relate to. Now the question arises: should Justin come back for a fourth year? This topic is polarized among the students and teachers. The majority of the school would say yes, and Goszewski says that “Everyone needs something like that a few times a year.” However, a growing vocal minority feels the school does not need HANM right now. -Christopher McAllister




o matter where you are in the world, the purpose of education is always to educate. However, the educational systems in different parts of the world differ radically—apples that grow on the same tree do not taste exactly the same. I’ve been studying in America for 3 years now and I’ve noticed that the major differences between the American and Chinese educational systems is the purpose of education and time management. In Chinese high schools, students seem to be using their time effectively since it appears that they’re always studying. To be honest, 50 percent of the education in China is teaching time management. It’s like squeezing a sponge really hard in order to get the several last drops of water out. Generally speaking, students have to get up at 6 a.m. and school usually starts at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. Except for several ten minute breaks and 30 minute nap periods, students usually don’t have any time to relax. The amount of homework is not just “too much,” it is so excessive that you cannot even finish it all unless you stay up to midnight. No one gets more than 6 hours of sleep. During the day, students are only allowed to take courses that are indicated on the schedule and they have no freedom to choose what they want to learn. The only “fair” thing is that everyone is sitting in the same classroom learning the same material. Everyone knows that this is a bad system and most of the things we learn in school have no other use except for the tests covering the material. But what can we do? The American educational system is totally different in time spent working. When I first came to school in America, the first thing I noticed was the abundance of time I had. The most enjoyable and impressive thing is about American education is that we can spend our time on the things that interest us—in China we are only allowed to study the things needed for tests. The purpose of education also differs between American and Chinese systems.

Chinese education is dedicated to test-taking skills. This is because tests will determine what college you go to, and test scores determine a college’s prestige and rank. This system makes the student feel that their 12 years of study was only in preparation for several major tests. After the tests are over, they feel like they don’t need to put any effort into their lives because they have already finished their tests. So we can predict how students in China will do in college after high school. In contrast, American education is about stirring students’ interests. By allowing students to choose what they want to learn, students can find what they really like. By teaching a little bit of everything, it develops a student’s curiosity and promotes exploration and discovery. So, unlike Chinese college students, American college students have a much clearer idea about what they want to do in the future. Although I like the American education system more, I still have to say thanks to my Chinese education because it gave me have a strong basis to do well in American high school. But, whether a system is better compare with the other system is not really the thing we can judge because everything exist for reasons and people have live with it for a long time. However, the only thing we can tell is that we can definitely get a better system if we combine everything good in the two systems. -Chengyang Qian


An endless sea of H2O, NaCl, and MgCl2, Mysterious and miles deep it is, Nearly as infinite as the depths of space, More vibrant and lively than Picasso’s pictures, Yet dark and dreary like Howe’s Caverns. With a pressure of 110,000,000 pascals, And only 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water, The vast, deep, frigid, ocean is home to more than 230,000 species— The Sea Angel, The Squidworm, The Vampire Squid, The Bioluminescent Octopus, The Crossota Norvegica Jellyfish— And will never be fully understood. Poseidon created thee Ocean so that people could experience everything— from happiness to sadness, from life to death. One day you could be happily sailing with a gentle breeze, But after you see a Moray Eel you may think, “Oh jeez!”





he role of a lineman has been overlooked for as long as the game of football has been played. Linemen only exemplify the team effort that is involved to be a successful football team. When you turn on ESPN and hear about the NFL, you almost always hear about a quarterback or running back having a stellar performance in their last game. But what about the linemen? Where would these skill players be without a solid offensive line? Certainly they would not be found in the end zone. Ryan Zulawski, a senior lineman at St Francis describes the linemen as the “meat and potatoes” and the skill players provide “the seasoning.” This analogy proves that it is a complete team effort, and any weak point along the way will affect the play of a teammate. Zulawski also pointed out that the play of the linemen compliment the play of the skill players, and vice versa. The linemen do an awful lot of work for the little recognition they receive. They may not be the ones with the football every play, but their efforts should not be overlooked. They are the ones who are repetitively hit play after play, while quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers make the play. As we praise the play of the skill players, we shouldn’t forget who take the hits every play to make their exceptional work possible. -Matt Minnick





rom the beginning of freshman year, students at St. Francis hear that “these four years fly by.” It is only in senior year, though, that this statement begins to carry true weight. As a current senior, I can attest to the feeling that high school is impossibly coming to an end. It feels great to be almost done with high school, right? While approaching the end is quite nice, the challenges facing a senior are no laughing matters. There are endless tasks to complete: the SAT, the ACT, college applications, teacher recommendations, transcript transfers, college essay—all of which are set in the context of rigid deadlines. In addition to these demanding and necessary tasks, there is the strenuous workload of senior classes, sports teams, and extracurricular clubs and activities in which the seniors participate. So, it’s no wonder that seniors are likely to be extremely tired and stressed. The best thing seniors can do is to take a breath and face the next challenge. Deadlines will pass, the year will move along, and before anyone knows it, the OLV Basilica will be full of applause as seniors become graduates and begin the next chapter of our lives. -Edek Falkowski

DEAR FATHER OMNISCIENT, I’m having a lot of trouble trying to get to my classes, the schedule is very confusing! Can you help me out? Sincerely, A Confused Freshman Well Confused Freshman, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to figure out the schedule at school. Did you know that there’s actually a pattern to how the schedule works? For instance, if you had science first period on A day, then you’ll have it 7/8 on B day. Or, if you have English second period on C day, then you’ll have English last period last period on D day. Take the time to look at your schedule and I’m sure you’ll see the pattern too. I keep hearing about pool passes and elevator passes, can you help me find where I can get these them? Sincerely, A Gullible Sap My poor, poor friend.... Do not believe the lies that you hear! There is no pool pass nor is there an elevator pass. If you are offered any of these passes, do not take them. You could be offered these passes for money, but do not waste it on such foolish lies. The pool and elevator passes are jokes made by the upper classmen to tease gullible freshman. However, remember that this is also just a joke, so don’t take it too hard if you’re offered a pass!

I know it’s a little early, but I really need help getting a date for prom! I have issues going up to girls and talking to them…do you think you could give me some tips on how to get a date? Sincerely, Matt Unger Matthew, Matthew, Matthew. Ladies can often prove to be a challenge to young, awkward men such as yourself. Now, I am a man of the faith, so I’m not sure how much I can help you, but I’ll do the best I can. First things first: find a girl you want to ask, even if she might seem out of your league. Next, make a plan to ask her in as original a way as possible. It might seem ridiculous to us men, but the ladies LOVE it when you make them feel special. If possible, add flowers, chocolates, and hearts. Sometimes, the sappier the better. But it all depends on the girl. When you ask her to prom, do it in a way that applies to her, show her you care. And finally, get the courage to ask! The hardest part is asking. But count to 3 and do it. It’s just like a Band-Aid. I hope I’ve helped!



“gravity” review


pace. The “Final Frontier”. The ultimate of the great unknown. Throughout the scientific realm and popular culture we have romanticized the vast realm known as deep space. Mesmerized, we often forget the harsh environment that lies above. Disaster is waiting to strike thousands upon millions of miles above the Earth’s surface. How would you respond, when confronted with an unfamiliar and potentially fatal dilemma that is literally out of this world? That is the reality explored by “Gravity,” directed by Alfonso Cuaron and starring Sandra Bullock next to George Clooney. Yet as outlandish as this adventure may seem, it is much more human than you would think. There’s been an absence of blockbusters and critically acclaimed flicks showing up at local theaters; I’ve heard uproar about a couple films, but hopefully that will conclude soon (i.e. “We’re The Millers”). From the outside, “Gravity” really seems to have a simple storyline. Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) heads into space for her first time with Matt Kowalski played by George Clooney. They experience catastrophe as space quickly becomes a very dangerous place. All their crewmembers are killed by a relentless storms of space debris; then they must fight against lack of oxygen and debris to reach the safety of their home planet. “Oh, another “Apollo” 13 rip-off. Oh joy,” some may groan. That is not the case. Many aspects of “Gravity” separate it from the 1995 space thriller. Let’s start with what harpooned many moviegoers into taking a trip to see it: the visual effects. The cinematography is superb in this film—see it in 3D and IMAX for sure. The speed of the space projectiles, the elegant malevolence of deep space, and the desperation of the main characters is conveyed masterfully with alternating camera angles. It’s as if you’re floating through the stars with Sandra Bullock, but in the comfort of your local cinema. Visual effects aside, the story is fantastic. You may think you’ve seen it thousands of times: a survival story, being against the odds. But have you seen it done like this? The backstory of Bullock’s character in addition to her emotion and strife make the plot truly captivating. A story so intergalactic, is now made human, as the loss of her child on Earth and depression has eaten away at her. Ever wanted to see the dark side of space and possibly the sleeper pick for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars? Go out and see “Gravity”. You won’t regret experiencing this harrowing tale of survival, bravery, and true human struggle. A breath of fresh air may be hard to find for Dr. Ryan Stone whirling around in the stars, but it isn’t so hard for those lucky audiences who watched this superb film, truly bringing life back to the movies. -Nicholas Ward


The Humble Bundle


o you ever find yourself bored and out of games to play? Well, if you have an Android mobile device or a decent computer then you are in luck. The Humble Bundle is the perfect choice to quench your thirst for gaming. Every week there is a new weekly sale of a less expensive “bundle” of games. Every two weeks is the more expensive “bundle” of games. Sales can cost upwards of a hundred dollars per “bundle.” However what makes this great is that you set the price. You have the power to set the price of how much you want to spend. The minimum price required is one dollar. The aspect that makes this an even better deal is that most of the proceeds go directly to charity. What are you waiting for? Check it out, get some games, and donate to charity! -Evan Michalski

Link to the Humble Bundle site

Link to “Gravity” official trailer

The Banner - November 2013  

This is an updated version of the November 2013 issue. It has been reformatted to fit multiple platforms more appropriately.