Northridge High School • 2901 Northridge Road • Tuscaloosa, Al• 35406
December 14, 2012 • Volume 10 • Issue 4
Buses key to some students’ success Alex Hauser Editor-in-Chief
fter seven and a half hours of school, several more hours of homework and having to wake up at the break of dawn to get to school by 8:00 a. m, students suffer from a lack of sleep. But students who ride buses, lose another hour, the bus often picks them up as early as 7:00 a.m. KeAmbria Washington, senior, said she is picked up around 6:52 a.m. and gets to school around 7:07 a.m. “We have to stay on the bus until 7:15,” she said. “We are always the first bus, and it’s very empty in the lunchroom when we’re [allowed in],” she said. Jimmy Boone, the Director of Transportation, said there is not a law on the time buses can drop off students. “We do have local policies,” he said. “As a rule we try not to drop off high school students before 7:15 a.m. Since all students begin breakfast at 7:30 a.m., students only have up to 15 minutes to wait before they can go to breakfast.” Senior DeAnthony Mays, who rides bus 27, said his bus is overcrowded. “You have a hard time trying to find a seat when there are so many people,” he said. “And then you have that person that is saving a seat for someone or just wants to sit by themselves.” Mays said many people that ride his bus could drive and that is part of the overcrowding problem. “If you are a licensed driver and have a car, please drive to school, it will open up seats for the people who don’t have that option,” he said. The bus routes are created using a computer program called Edulog. During the summer a complete listing of the students are placed on a map, and the transportation department assigns each student a bus. “We try to make a distance of no more than four blocks to a stop for high school students. We examine how the students get to the stops for safety issues. For example, no crossing of four lane roads [or] railroad tracks,” Boone said. The process of creating bus routes is “very difficult” because not every student rides a bus, but each one eligible is assigned. “This year we hope to begin a process of including a request to ride a bus as a part of spring registration. If we can only identify students who want transportation, it will help us do a better job of creating routes,” he said.
The transportation system transports over 5,000 students with 93 buses, 73 of them running double routes. Charles Anthony, assistant principal, said, for the size, the bus system is very effective. “The drivers do a tremendous job in transporting students to and from school on a daily basis. They communicate problems cer Dan a l they are experiencing on the bus l ja Kan to me, and we work together to by: t r A try to correct the problem,” he said. “Mr. Boone often sends emails and will sometimes stop by the school to see if there are any problems with the buses and find out from us what they can do to better serve our needs here at Northridge.” Anthony said the only time the buses arrive late is when there are a number of drivers out on a given day, and the transportation department always informs the school when they are going to be late. “Some days, there are just not enough substitute drivers to cover all of the routes where drivers are absent,” he said. Boone said they are currently recruiting substitute drivers. “On occasion we have to bring in other buses to assist with routes because of a shortage of drivers. We regret having to do this but strive to complete the routes,” he said. Synteria Pearson, senior, said her bus driver really cares about the students on his bus. “He talks to you when you get on and off the bus, and he knows all of his students by name. He’ll also wait a couple of minutes for you when you’re late,” she said. Boone said the transportation department is a “vital component to education.” “If students cannot get to school, they cannot get an education. Without the bus, many students would not be able to get to school,” he said. “A year ago I received a phone call from a young lady who had been in a lot trouble in high school, and nearly Is your bus overcrowded? dropped out. After working on the problems with the bus, she started attending school every day. She called Yes:38 No:14 me to tell me she had just graduated from the University of Alabama, and told me she would not have been Does you bus arrive before 7:15? there without the school bus,” he said.
the wheels on the
bus go round and round
No:36 Compiled by: Kelly Burnham
Tablets become option to replace textbooks next year tensive writing assignments, such as essays, would not be suitable for such devices. Elizabeth Tiley, guidance counselor, said she is not aware of the tablet idea but thinks The board is considering implementation it has many positive and negative effects. of tablets in place of textbooks next year. “It might be beneficial for students in Chris Jenks, Coordinator of Instructionthis fast pace modern world and better al Technology, said the board is currently prepare them for evaluating various what’s coming up in options to transition college,” she said. toward more digital Tiley said stulearning opportunidents could downties. I like to have something tangible in load many programs “At the direction my hands, something I can shove and software for of Superintendent Dr. papers into. learning purposes Paul McKendrick, we but many students are investigating on will most likely how to implement a Katherine McCray, sophomore play games such as ‘one-to-one’ initiative solitaire instead of [which would give] working in class. one device [to each] student,” Jenks said. “Every student would most likely reHe said that the devices the board impleceive a tablet, but we could run into the ments do not necessarily need to be tablets. same problem as this year,” Tiley said. “The critical part to remember is that the “Many textbooks won’t be returned at focus should not be on the device but on the end of the year, and we would run short the students’ needs,” Jenks said. of devices,” she said. He said tablets will be most promising Mary Margaret Murdock, sophomore, for consuming reading content, notes and was one of seven students selected from enhancing an educational environment. InRabisa Khan Copy Editor
Kitty Craze Page 3
Traffic lady returns Page 6
the tenth grade to be part of a meeting with the board members. “[The board] talked about replacing textbooks with tablets, but I just don’t think that’s a good idea at all.” Murdock said she thinks it is stupid because the school is not even meeting AYP, and people are more worried about getting tablets. Katherine McCray, sophomore, said she also prefers textbooks. “I like to have something tangible in my hands, something I can shove papers into,” McCray said. McCray said she is also worried about the financial aspect of this venture. “If we can’t even afford textbooks for every student, how are we supposed to fund eBooks for every student?” McCray said. Jenks said the school board has positioned the school system on sound financial footing. “If the board decides this plan is the correct direction, local funds will be available to make it a reality,” he said. Additionally, McCray said she believes there are too many complications and variables that would obstruct the success of
Photo by: Alex Hauser
Plugged in:Tyesha Pinnock, sophomore, uses her iPad during class. “I use it to research topics in class and to help with school work or homework,” she said. tablets in the classroom. “Tablets could be lost or stolen, and they require charging,” McCray said. “People could easily get away with doing nothing.” If done properly with focus on professional teacher development, network and infrastructure preparation and curriculum, Jenks said, “a device deployment like this could be transformative.”
Swimming page 7
The Northridge Reporter December 14, 2012 Art by: Katie Poore
Common Core causes change in curriculum
For me, the most troubling thing is to see my loved ones suffering. I may get the smallest little burn or cut and ponder about it leaving a scar and worry about it for days. But once I think about it, my trivial injury is incomparable to the health issues many people have. A minor burn is something a person with cancer would choose any day. My aunt suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis and has been faced with many health problems. She has to go to dialysis where they replenish her body with new blood for her kidneys Monday,
Wednesday and Friday. She was divorced after her husband’s family found out about her arthritis, and she has been single now for almost 18 years. The pain and loneliness she lives with every day is something I hope no one ever has to go through, but I know many other people deal with a similar situation. To complain about our little worries in life is something we are all guilty of. I will be stressed for days if I happen to sprain my foot. The thought of limping for the next couple of days will be the biggest challenge for me during that week. Although every time I see my aunt, I appreciate everything I have and wish I could do something to return the happiness in her life.
Rabisa Khan Copy Editor
Last year, the bathrooms were in the same situation, with restrooms staying consistently filthy and students becoming increasingly frustrated. One would think with a nearly eight-hour school day, it would be possible to set aside a few minutes to replenish the soap and toilet paper in the stalls. Evidently, this is not the case. The bathrooms tend to remain in a constant state of neglect despite students’ complaints. It’s an inconvenience. and it’s frustrating, and the fact that it never changes is discouraging. It is time something actually be done to maintain the bathrooms. Oh, and to the person who had the presence of mind to write on the wall in order to remind people of the differences between “there, their and they’re…”Thanks.
Aunt’s pain makes student think
People who are able to get released from class to go to the bathroom should get a medal. There is positively nothing more annoying and tiresome than finally— finally—being released from class to go to the bathroom and having to lap the entire school in order to locate an available one. Nothing. Really. I’m serious. The exception being, perhaps, the interrogation that often ensues once one returns to class, having successfully located a restroom, “What took you so long? Where have you been? You have five minutes between classes to go!” Okay, yes, fine, we have five minutes between classes to go. The problem with this simple solution is, unfortunately, five minutes doesn’t cut it. Not when one needs to set a lot of time aside to simply find a bathroom. And, to complicate things further, convincing teachers to let one out of the classroom is a terrific feat in itself.
Not to mention that reading the graffiti that covers any flat surface of the restrooms is just so pleasant. It’s just awesome having to read students’ mundane, inappropriate, and profane thoughts. Year after year, students have had to repeatedly cope with less-thanfunctional bathrooms. Stalls don’t have locks. Soap is always missing, and only a handful of the bathrooms are actually unlocked. Toilet paper is only sporadically available. Paper towels are a rarity. Once, a mysterious black, sticky substance completely coated the tiles, and this was soon tracked through the hallways, transported on the bottom of people’s shoes. ke d
agree (19) disagree (0)
Katie Poore Staff Writer
See story on page 6
Lack of functioning bathrooms disturbs student
he Common Core Curriculum was adopted by Alabama as an attempt to get students on the same level playing field as other states. Part of the change included making adjustments to current standards and the academic level students are expected to be at. One of the adjustments that is expected to be made is the removal of Advanced or Honors English classes as an attempt to raise the bar for students and get everyone to the same benchmark. Now students will only have the opportunity to enroll in Regular or Pre-AP classes, with no option for those who may fall in between the two levels. While in theory it may sound like a good idea to push most students to AP level classes and allow others who are not as up to par to stay in Regular classes, the plan does not tend to every students’ needs. The two levels of English that will be offered fall at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Having no bridge between the two could create an academic gap for students. Students at the Honors level will either be forced to take a class where they are ahead of the curriculum and have a higher level of understanding than their classmates, or be in a class where they struggle to keep up. For these students the Advanced classes are essential to challenge them just enough but not have them drown in a class too advanced for them. Another concern with the change is the idea that Pre-AP classes will be watered down to meet the needs of the students who can’t keep up, thus taking the place of the Honors courses but then not serving their real purpose. While we understand the goal of the changes and wish for the same results of raising the academic standards of our students, The Northridge Reporter believes this is not the way to go about it. An ideal educational system is designed to meet the needs of every student and help them succeed at their level, and eliminating Honors English classes does not serve that purpose.
Art by: CheQuita Burrell
NSPA 5th Place Best of Show 2012 • NSPA 1st Place Best of Show 2011 • NSPA 5th Place Best of Show 2008 NSPA 8th Place Best of Show 2008 • NSPA 9th Place Best of Show 2006 • CSPA Silver Medalist (2003, 2004) CSPA Gold Medalist (2005-2011) • SIPA All-Southern (2003, 2005–2011) • ASPA All-Alabama (2003–2011) • NSPA AllAmerican (2004, 2008, 2011) • Best SIPA Newspaper in Alabama (2003–2007) • NSPA News Story of the Year (2005) • SIPA First Place News Story (2007) • SIPA First Place Review (2009) • Rick Bragg Feature Writing Award (2009)
Northridge High School • 2901 Northridge Road • Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 • (205) 759-3734 ext. 295 Editor-in-Chief *Alex Hauser Managing Editor *Raiha Bajwa Feature Editor *Renu Pandit News Editor *Sarah Katherine Barnes
Entertainment Editor *Raiha Bajwa Sports Editor *Alex Hauser Opinion Editor *Raiha Bajwa Beat Editor Morgan DeWitt
Editorial Policy: The opinions in The Northridge Reporter are those of the students and not of the faculty or administration of Northridge High School or the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education. It is the policy of The Northridge Reporter to publish all non-obscene, non-libelous, signed letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion expressed in them. Letters must be submitted to Susan Newell in room 109 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copy Editor Kelly Burnham, Rabisa Khan, Jared Lotfi Infographics Editor Jakailah Cooper Art Editor KanJalla Dancer Artists CheQuita Burrell, Katie Poore
*Denotes state, regional and national award winners
Business Manager Web Master *Raiha Bajwa Victoria Love Photographers Adviser Morgan DeWitt, Julia Hocutt, *Susan Newell Jared Lotfi Staff Abby Allen, Jordan Hutchinson, Savren Nelson, Kayla Pate
The Northridge Reporter reserves the right to edit letters and verify allegations. The newspaper is distributed monthly. Tuscaloosa City Board Policy: It is the official policy of the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, disability, sex, religion, national origin, age or creed, be excluded for participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subject to discrimination under any program, activity or employment.
Advertising & Subscriptions: Contact The Northridge Reporter Staff at (205) 759-3734 ext. 235 or snewell@tusc. k12.al.us to advertise in or subscribe to The Northridge Reporter. School population Students: 1238 Faculty and staff: 90
Can you keep it?
New year, new resolutions
Abby Allen Staff Writer
A ll e n
After each passing year, the recurring words “new year, new me” pop into my mind, followed by some sort of New Year’s resolution, those cute little promises I make to myself at the beginning of each new year, a n d those crazy goals that I make, like becoming a professional fortune cookie writer. I have far-fetched dreams that I promise to fulfill, like studying every night in order to make a 36 on the ACT this time around. I make these promises, and I swear to stick by them. Then a week goes by, and then two weeks. All those days of eating Chinese food and studying fortunes are ultimately a waste of time because then I decide that giving the message to a hungry teenage girl that “you will die alone and poorly dressed” via fortune cookie is a bit too depressing. And then I realize that studying for the ACT sucks, and colleges will accept us even if our ACT scores aren’t perfect. Then it’s over. Done. Terminado. Finito. I just give it up. The New Year’s resolution is broken. But lo and behold, I kept one. Well, almost. I was getting sick of breaking all of these promises to myself, so I made two New Year’s resolutions in 2012. I made one promise to start eating healthy and working out daily and end up looking like Hope Solo, and another promise to actually keep my first one. One week passed, then two weeks passed and now nearly a year has passed, and I have kept my New Year’s resolution. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I look like Hope Solo (IN MY DREAMS), but I have definitely made changes I’m proud of. All of these years I have never thought it was possible for me to finish something I started, but it is. Here’s to the New Year.
Students prepare for midterms
Jakailah Cooper Staff Writer
Students lose a lot of information learned over the school year and at an alarming rate. To students who do not take in information or put in effort to learn, exemptions are invaluable. Dr. Paul McKendrick, superintendent, said, the exemption policy is unwise because colleges do not exempt their finals. Kayla Moore, junior, said she would prefer midterms over end of the year exams. “Personally, I would forget what I learned in August on a test that’s in May,” Moore said. “I like midterms because they focus on material from one semester.” Elizabeth Tiley, counselor, said several academic courses will have state designed exams at the end of the year. “Midterms are scheduled this year due to the half credits that will be awarded for courses. Some courses are only half credit, and the midterms will count as final exams,” Tiley said. Other exams will be developed by teachers. “The midterm schedule was approved by the board of education,” Tiley said. “The end of year exams will be cumulative and will cover material learned throughout the course.” Kiana Little, sophomore, said she does not understand the point of midterms. “I honestly don’t think we should have midterms if we are going to have end of the year exams,” Little said. “Midterms for students taking Pre-AP or AP classes might have a toll on their hands,” she said.
The Northridge Reporter December 14, 2012
Classic Christmas movies delight
Katie Poore Staff Writer
With the Christmas season upon us and the abundance of presents already crowding underneath the tree, there comes a moment where one simply wants to sit down, relax and find a good holiday movie. However, the task is not easy. One has to sort through the deluge of cheesy movies with poor acting and cliché lines in order to find one really worth watching. And these movies, few and far between, can make the season so much better. How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are the standard classics, but two other movies are slightly more unique. Elf and Home Alone remain two of the best Christmas movies to date. Not only is Elf one of the funniest movies of all time, but it never gets old, and it still manages to convey those classic Christmas morals without being overwhelmingly cheesy like other Christmas specials. It is consistently funny and sweet, and it is almost impossible not to smile while watching it. Buddy the Elf’s blind dedication to Christmas and all the festivities and meanings behind it is refreshing. Add to that the lighthearted jokes, Buddy’s irrepressible spirit, and his constant, inexplicable happiness, and the movie becomes a winner. Home Alone is just as good. Even though it was made before any of students at school were even born, it is just as loved and known as any movie made this year. Kevin, the main character, starts out as the typical misunderstood kid, but once he is left home alone while his family is on a vacation in France, he becomes clever, smart and selfless. The movie flawlessly conveys deeper meaning through Kevin’s words, and, in the end, his actions. Both movies are wonderful and perfect representations of what Christmas should actually entail. They manage to be both entertaining and inspiring without seeming to try too hard. The lines aren’t corny, and the actors are good. The message is better. Without these movies, Christmas would not be the same.
Christmas means holiday music Sarah Katherine Barnes News Editor
“Christmas time is here, we’ll be drawing near, oh, that we could always see such spirit though the year…” If you can’t put a tune to those lyrics, you haven’t listened to enough Christmas music this year! The familiar songs that stream from Birmingham’s Magic 96.5 radio station in December could arguably be the best part of the Holidays. Whether or not you celebrate the Christmas holiday, those songs just put you in a good mood, and how could they not? Pick any song on the radio, and the lyrics say the most wonderful things! They talk about sitting around a fire, all cozy, or getting together with loved ones, going outside and building snowmen, or hosting elegant parties. It just makes you feel happy, especially when you know the words; what’s even better is singing along. Even Adam Sandler’s “Happy Hanukkah” brings a smile to my face, and I’m not even Jewish. The only problem with Magic 96.5 is that I haven’t heard “Christmas in Dixie” once this year. I love that song. And I also can’t stand Christmas music being played before Thanksgiving. That’s the worst.
Art by: Kanjalla Dancer
Funny cat pictures, videos take over Internet upload a photograph, place a caption and let the Internet discover the image’s humor. “Just film [or photograph] a cat and people start laughing,” Vaughn said. Merely by taking a scan of YouTube’s front page, the YouTube is one of the Internet’s main sources of felines, common Internet lurker will most likely discover that a new simply known as ‘funny cat videos.’ Many people say watchfunny cat video has begun to make its way around the Intering cat antics is very entertaining. There are countless videos net. Many famous felines have strolled into the spotlight o f cats being uploading to YouTube and other streaming simply from being discovered through websites each day. the Internet. Lauren Curtner-Smith, junior, said she loves Maru, a tabby who finds funny cat videos. amusement by sliding into “When I find that I have had a very boxes that are too small for stressful day, sometimes I need something his size, currently holds the really elementary to make me laugh. I record for ‘most-watched cat on just go on YouTube and search YouTube.’ Sparta, the star of “The [for] funny cat videos.” Mean Kitty Song” and his adopted Curtner-Smith owns a cat brother Loki have gained popularity named Raspberry, but has from simply being filmed by their never filmed his behavior, owner Cory Williams. even when he climbs Christ‘Keyboard Cat’ and the pixelated mas trees and walks on the .gif referred to as ‘Nyan Cat’ have piano in her house. taken over YouTube, gaining milThere appears to be a pattern lions of views and swiping the heart of Art by: Kelly Burnham that correlates between owning a cat and the public. e n j o y i n g cat-related media. Bradley Vaughn, junior, has a theory behind the instant Savannah Morgan, a junior who owns multiple cats, said success. she believes students who have cats as pets seem to enjoy “Because cats in general are so easy to film, it’s almost forviewing other cats on the Internet. mulaic; you don’t have to put much thought into [a video] for “I guess they’re taking over the Internet because the manit to be successful.” nerisms they have make people laugh, which makes them Websites such as ‘I Can Haz Cheezburger?’ are dedicated more popular, and it spreads cats over the Internet,” she said. to exposing the hilarity of the world’s cats. Users are able to Kelly Caroline Burnham Copy Editor
The Northridge Reporter December 14, 2012
The countdown nears end
Do you believe Formation of varied survival preparations ensue the world will end on Dec. 21? delegator and an accurate marksman. I feel for one would want to be found at my duty. Renu Pandit like I could lead a group of survivors,” I move that candles be brought in, and we Feature Editor Yes No Black said. “I also don’t let my emotions continue our work,’” Durham said. “They The end is near—or is it? Perceptions of the world’s impending doom are varied, and so are preparation techniques. Morgan Wilson, senior, said Dec. 21, the alleged end of the world, will consist of “Jesus coming down from the heavens to set a plague upon us that will transform us into zombies.” Wilson, who said he has been getting ready for the apocalypse his “entire life,” looks to his Zombie Survival Guide in order to properly prepare for it. He said he plans to “live off the land.” “I have a location, my farm, where my family and friends are going to go,” Wilson said. “We have an arsenal of guns and weapons, and I plan on battling the zombies with katanas, which are samurai swords.” Stephen Black, Spanish teacher, said he has a storm shelter stocked with plenty of clothes, bottled water and canned foods. “Dec. 21 is the winter solstice after all, and the changing of seasons is an astronomical indicator of the end of the world as we know it,” Black said. Black said he likes to imagine the world ending in a zombie apocalypse but sees it as a bit farfetched. “However, if it did end that way, I feel like I would be well prepared. I’m a good
get in the way of my actions, which is handy if your family members are zombies.” He said he hopes the experience makes people more “globally connected and community oriented.” “It will definitely be a signal of the changing of time,” Black said. Charles Durham, pastor at First Presbyterian Church, said he believes that the pronouncements made about the world ending on Dec. 21 are “usually made by Christians who believe they can use ‘signs’ of the current times that correspond with Biblical ‘signs’ of the end.” “Jesus said very clearly, ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come,’” Durham said. “I believe what Jesus said is true. No one knows. Not even those who think it will be Dec 21.” Durham said that during the colonial period, the legislature was meeting in Massachusetts when a total eclipse of the sun brought sudden darkness. “People began screaming that the end of the world had come. A legislator stood up and declared, ‘If it is the end of the world, I
did… and the world did not end.” Maia Wade, senior, said she’s “89% sure the world is not ending on Dec. 21.” “The rational part of me says no, but there’s still a little part of me that says ‘what if?”’ Wade said. Wade said she sees many possibilities for the world ending. “The sun could explode and engulf the whole world, or it could just be brought on by natural disasters—basically just chaos,” Wade said. “The thing that scares me the most is just the thought of people turning on each other to survive.” Wade said she thinks the apocalypse is a “good marketing scheme.” “I’m not judging the people who are thoroughly preparing for it, since part of me still thinks it could happen, but I think they’re just feeding into consumer culture,” Wade said. Sophie Fairbairn, junior, does not think the end of the world will occur any time soon. “The media is really feeding into this apocalypse thing; and it’s causing a lot of people to overreact,” Fairbairn said. Fairbairn said that when the world ends, she will be prepared. “I’m just going to live my life to the fullest, so I don’t have any regrets when the time comes,” Fairbairn said.
209 students polled. Information compiled by Jakailah Cooper. Image drawn by KanJalla Dancer. Designed by Renu Pandit.
Natural disasters may foretell impending doom Morgan DeWitt Beat Editor Julia Hocutt Staff Writer
not normal. People like to talk and make big predictions, York City was flooded by Hurricane Sandy,” Elsoukkary but people present false data,” Spencer said. said. Different religions have their own theories about the end of the world. Dr. Stevens Jacobs, Rabbi at Temple Emmanuel, said Judaism does not address the end of the world in very specific terms. “[Regarding] natural disasters, I don’t think any reliMarch 1997: gious community has really addressed this question Members of a cult to any significant degree,” Jacobs said. called Heaven’s Gates beThe natural disaster prophecy has shown lieved that the comet Hale-Bopp up in the movies. signaled the end of the Earth. Junior Omar Elsoukkary said Most of the members comthe movie 2012 has a scene that mitted suicide so their souls builds to the end of the world could board the ship they which has also happened believed was trailing the in reality. comet. 38 bodies were “In the movie, found. New York City floods in OcSep. 27, 1994: Harold tober, and Camping, head of this past Oakland’s Family October, Radio, said this was New the “Last Day” for Earth.
Some believe the world will end on Dec. 21 and some do not. Those who do not believe in the impending apocalypse claim that the only reason it is not coming is because “there isn’t any proof.” But is there proof? There is lots of speculation that the end of the world will follow a chain of natural disasters and catastrophes that will leave parts of the world in peril, desperately trying to recover. Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, the earthquake in Japan, the April tornados, the Colorado wildfires and, the most recent Hurricane Sandy are all natural disasters that have happened in the last eight years. Could this support some people’s theories of a natural disaster chain? The Mayan civilizations had many theories about what would happen in the months leading up to the end of the world. Stephen Black, Spanish teacher, said people are afraid of the world ending on Dec. 21 because this date is the day the Mayan calendar ends, but rather than the world ending after a chain of natural disasters, the Mayans suggest the world will end with a chain of natural disasters. “In our western cultures we see time as being linear with 1993: 100 followa beginning and an end. In the Mayan culture, they see ers of the Branch time as cyclical. It moves in cycles, and there’s no set end Davidians barrior beginning, just a continuing of life cycle after life cycle. caded themselves There are five life cycles; we are the fifth. The first four in a ranch to await were destroyed with fire, floods, etc. We will have to wait the end of the and see how the Mayan gods plan to destroy us. There world. They were has been a history of natural disasters being the end of surrounded by FBI the other life cycles,” Black said. in a 51 day siege People in the field of science have their own opinions that was ended by concerning the natural disasters that are occurring. a fire which killed Paige Spencer, chemistry teacher, said she does 76 people. not believe that the world will end on Dec. 21. “More natural disasters are happening because 1969: Charles Maof the effects that evolving humans are having on son believed that our world,” Spencer said. simmering racial She said climate change is happening all over tensions in the U.S. the world, which is changing the world’s weather would erupt into an patterns. Apocalyptic race “The earthquakes in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina, war called “Helter Hurricane Sandy, even our local weather is … Skelter”
The Northridge Reporter December 14, 2012
What happens when all of the lights switch off
Nation ill-equipped for apocalypse
Kaitlyn Duren, junior, said that concern is not a constant presence in her life but a feeling that creeps in from time to time. “It worries me in the way that it doesn’t [worry me],” conomic collapse, nuclear war, cosmic disasshe said. “The fear doesn’t consume my life; it just catches ter, the end of civilization and the world as it me off guard sometimes.” is known continually edges its way into human The root of the problem, math teacher Scott Johnson thinking despite efforts to concentrate on the more tansaid, is the desire for an easy way out of everything among gible elements of life like burgers, popcorn, pizza, enchiyoung people. ladas, sports, The Office and Nicki Minaj. “Everyone is looking for things to Stagnant employment be given to them or to just fall in their numbers and prolonged relap. We’re heading toward the current cession are not exactly the Economically, we’re either state of Western Europe which came stuff of children’s nightheaded toward utopia or the ulabout simply because the government mares, but they could give had to roll back entitlements. Take timate goal of Fight Club, which way to very real visions of away something people have become destruction and violence as means a return to the hunterso reliant upon, and they’ll take to the could the ever present threat gatherer existence led by our anstreets.” of nuclear attack from terWhat will happen when people do rorist organizations. cestors over a millennium ago. take to the streets, senior Morgan WilKyle Anderson, senior, Kyle Anderson, senior son said, is an eventual end to modern said he doesn’t see peace life as we know it. being maintained into the “Our generation in general would near future. not survive.” he said, “We’re so used “A major world war will probably flare up within the to iPhones, Twitter, Facebook, Xbox, Netflix, TV and next 20 years; economically, we’re either headed toward news that we’d freak out and collapse under our own helputopia or the ultimate goal of Fight Club, which means a lessness.” return to the hunter-gatherer existence led by our ancesHunter Smith, senior, said he does not have much faith tors over a millennium ago,” he said. in the survival know-how of the current generation. Foreign relations in decades to come should be a large “Nearly everyone is way too dependent on electricity,” element of concern for the future, sophomore Carlton he said. “Few know the imporDoss said. tance of outdoor skills, which “Our government could offend anare vital if someone hopes to other country, particularly one in the make it in an apocalyptic setMuslim world and ignite a world conThe fear doesn’t consume my ting.” flict that would be sure to suck us in. Smith said that teenagers I’d give it twenty to thirty years,” he life, it just catches me off guard ought to take as many chances said. sometimes. as possible to camp, hunt, fish and plant crops. Kaitlyn Duren, junior Eleven of 45 students said they had been camping in the past year. Jan. Spencer Patton, sophomore, who said he had gone 1, 2000: camping twice, spent a few years with the Boy Scouts and The Year 2000 has worked on his family farm fairly often. Problem, or Y2K, is “I really wish I was able spend more time out at when there was paranoia the farm. It’s great to get out of the city every over whether or not computers now and then,” he said. would continue to function as time Boy Scouts helped impart critical changed from 1999 to 2000. survival skills on freshman Brad Bean. He said his knowledge of 2003: Theories ran rampant the great outdoors is almost about how Planet X, supwholly due to his participosedly the eleventh pation in his troop. planet in our solar “I will survive system, would reen[the apocalypse],” ter the inner regions he said. of the solar system and wreak havoc on Earth in the form of hurricanes, tornados and other natural disasters. Jared Lotfi Copy Editor
“I definitely don’t think the world will end on Dec. 21. I’ve got too many things to do before the world ends, like graduate! I was in Tikal, Guatemala this summer where there is a national park for preserved Mayan temples. The Mayans there all talked about how everyone has blown the Gross Mayan calendar “end of the world” thing way out of proportion, and that Dec. 21 is only an end of a cycle, whatever that means. Based on my faith, I don’t believe anyone knows or will ever know when the world is supposed to end. I can’t imagine what it will be like when it comes, but I hope it will be peaceful.” -Charlie Gross, senior “I don’t think we can predict the end of the world. The scientific evidence so far hasn’t been proven true. I think it’ll be more spontaneous. I picture complete anarchy, nuclear bombs and people accidentally killing themselves. We’re too powerful for our own good.” -Anna Schwartz, science teacher
“The world isn’t going to end on Dec. 21; there’s no evidence. It’s just a hoax. If the world did end, there isn’t much we could do about it. If it were ending, I think an asteroid would smash into us and kill us all.” -Paraas Agrawal, senior
Dec. 21, 2012: End of the Mayan “I don’t think the world is going to calendar, and the end on Dec. 21. If the world were to alleged end of end, maybe the sun wouldn’t come the world. It falls up, and we’d all freeze in a long sufon the Winter fering process.” Solstice, which is -Mary Ruffin Moore, English believed to be sigteacher nificant to numerous cultures. The Mayan calendar ”People are just going to go buck wild.” predicted several -Rebecca Perkins, junior other disasters, which is why some believe it has credibility. Information compiled by KanJalla Dancer from www.abhota.info. Drawn and designed by Renu Pandit.
Perkins Photos by Morgan DeWitt. Information compiled by Morgan DeWitt.
The Northridge Reporter December 14, 2012
Leveling the playing field
Traffic guard recovers from stroke Sarah Katherine Barnes News Editor
Core Curriculum may change standards of classes Raiha Bajwa Managing Editor
Currently, there are three levels of English available to students: Pre-AP English, Advanced Honors English and regular English. Starting next year the school system is considering dropping Honors English to only offer Pre-AP and regular level classes. Elizabeth Tiley, Guidance Counselor, said the change has to do with the Core Curriculum. “We haven’t heard officially, but we’ll find out for sure in a month or two,” she said. “But that’s what the Central Office is telling us.” The goal is to increase students’ academic performances. “You can’t fix education by lowering the bar, so they’re trying to raise the bar and get everyone to the same benchmark,” Tiley said. “We’re trying to up the rigor of our academic classes, and so they’re saying to do
that there’s no need for three levels of English classes,” she said. “It should increase the rigor of the classes we currently have right now; it should not change the quality of the Pre-AP classes.” Tiley said placement decisions for students will be made more carefully. “We are going to make decisions based more on students’ Plan ACT scores instead of teacher recommendations or what their parents want them to take,” she said. “Some parents don’t want their kids in regular classes even if that’s where they should be.” Traci Watson, English teacher, said the change is not a good idea. “There is a difference in the level of rigor; it could create a gap in the level of understanding,” she said. Watson said she thinks all levels are needed. “All students are not going to fit into two categories of classes,” she said. “Some students still need the advanced level classes.”
Billy Lu, sophomore, takes Advanced Honors English. “I thought Pre-AP would be too hard for me, and [Advanced English] is a good level for me, and I’d like to stay in it,” Luu said. “I’m afraid that next year I’m either going to be in a room full of people I’m way ahead of or struggle in the class.” Sophie Fairbairn, junior, said she is afraid the rigor of Pre-AP classes will decrease. “Since they won’t have an Honors English class as a bridge, I feel like the Pre-AP classes will drop to the Honors level, and some of the students won’t get the instruction they need,” she said. Tiley said if the change is enacted it will take time to get used to. “It’s going to take a lot of adjustment on the teachers’ and students’ part. Some of that is based on the deficiency some of our students have entering high school,” she said. See editorial on page 2
Johnson’s fourth period wins pizza party; gets day off Kayla Pate Staff Writer For Scott Johnson, collecting cans comes as easy as offering his kids a day without math. Johnson’s fourth period collected 216 cans of the 571 cans collected for the West Alabama Food Bank. The canned food drive was
Nov. 5-16. His class won a pizza party on Nov. 30 for collecting the most cans. Kathleen Oatts, Student Government Association (SGA) advisor oversaw the drive. “I think the food drive is important because there are many people and families in our community that are in need of the basics such as food. It is important
Kyle Anderson Walter Hall Photos by: Morgan DeWitt and Sarah Katherine Barnes
to help these people, especially when many of us are fortunate to have these items in excess,” Oatts said. SGA member Patra Stallworth, sophomore, said she thinks the canned food drive helps needy families. The competition used “is a good way to get students motivated to
Senior class beats school ACT record Kayla Pate Staff Writer
The class of 2013 has 28 members on the AllAcademic Team. Nearly 10 percent of the senior class has made at least a 30 on the ACT. Isaac Espy, All-Academic Team advisor, said he thinks the Class of 2013
“rules” because of this. “[This is] a school record by far. And they are not finished,” Espy said. Paaras Agrawal, senior, is on the All-Academic Team. “I am proud to be a part of such a great group of students. This shows we are the best [students] ever,” Agrawal said. He said it is possible, but
highly unlikely, that another class will beat their record. Caris Deschner, senior, is on the All-Academic Team, and does not think their record will be broken. “I feel good. One, three we are the best,” Deschner said. She credits Dr. Espy for their motivation to make 30’s on the ACT.
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collect cans,” Stallworth said. Mya Montrella, sophomore, is in Johnson’s winning class. She helped by bringing cans. “I was motivated because I wanted a pizza party and a no geometry day. I’m glad we had a chance to collect cans and give them to people that really need them,” Montrella said.
At Verner Elementary, next door, the city appointed traffic director, Pam Middlebrooks, was absent from Oct. 22 to Nov.12. “We’ve all been worried about her,” Verner’s secretary bookkeeper Sharon Pilsch said. “It’s not the same with a cop directing traffic.” Although the carpool lane at the front of the school is thoroughly manned by staff and safety patrol officers, the roads beyond the carpool lane have lost the face of traffic they have come to know and love since Middlebrooks started directing traffic in front of the school six years ago. “I believe Mrs. Pam has had a stroke. We had a policeman filling in for her a few times, and Mrs. [Beth] Curtis [Principal at Verner] has been out there lately directing traffic herself,” Pilsch said. “I don’t mind filling in for Mrs. Pam,” Curtis said. “I know if she could be out there in the mornings she would be. She takes her job very seriously.” Middlebrooks said she has made a full recovery from the stroke, which her doctor described as a “freak thing.” “I don’t have a history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or anything. I was healthy, and then I just had a stroke,” she said. “But I’m better now. I’m back on Northridge road.”
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The Northridge Reporter December 14, 2012
Wrestling team has tough season ahead; work hard in preseason Jared Lotfi Copy Editor
The wrestling team began its season in a showdown with County High and Vestavia on Nov. 27. Hillcrest was defeated 36-24 while Vestavia came out on top with a score of 68-20. County High slid by with a score of 48-20. Coach Don McNabb said the team is experienced as it has ever been.
“Most of the athletes have been a part of the team for four years,” he said, “We have seven seniors that include three sectional qualifiers from last year. I’m not worried about team losses early on, so long as the individual athletes are getting more and more prepared to be successful at sectionals.” Seniors Vyt Puzinauskas, Hayden Buettner and Clint Hydrick are the three remaining qualifiers from the 2011 season and serve as this year’s team captains. Each
lost the opportunity to compete in the 2011 state finals by one match. “We’ve been working hard since summer and were lucky enough to be allowed to use the facilities at Headhunter’s for no charge,” Puzinauskas said. Headhunter’s is a local MMA (mixed martial arts) gym owned and run by Mike Taylor. “There’s really been no chance for us to use the school gym,” Buettner said, “we cater to everyone else.”
Coach McNabb said that despite location limitations, preseason training had gone exceptionally well but a tough schedule lies ahead. He commended the work and leadership of new assistant coach Cody Cammack and the team’s captains. A home match will be held on Dec. 11 against American Christian Academy and Hillcrest. “It’s senior year, and we plan on making it to state for our last season,” Puzinauskas said, “It’s gonna be big.”
Students lift weights to get edge in athletics Savren Nelson Staff Writer For the average high school athlete, running on the field and lifting weights is an everyday thing; but with added pressure from the media to have a six pack and bulging muscles, boys are starting to take risks in the weight room to meet expectations. Coach Kristy Cooper, girls track and volleyball coach, said boys push themselves the most in the workout room. “[Athletes] lift heavier than they should, and they are showing off, or they are doing the wrong technique,” she said. Cooper said when you start feeling fatigued, “you should take a break or go a little lighter.” “When you start feeling drained during a workout, you need to stop and take a break and then try again the next day,” she said. When approaching an athlete about their technique or their workout regimen, Coo-
per said one needs to “approach the athlete with concern.” “Just go up to them and say, ‘hey, I’ve been watching you; I’m afraid you might hurt yourself,’” Cooper said. “You have to go up to them with concern for them and their health.” When it comes to health Cooper said, “you can use supplements, as long as it’s in moderation, approved and all natural.” Thompson Schille, sophomore, swims competitively. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Schille swims before school from 6-7 a.m. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Schille swims from 5-7 p.m. He also has practice on the weekends, where he swims from 7-9:30 a.m. Having to work hard for long periods of time, Schille said athletes need to get nutrients from “natural sources.” “I believe that athletes should be able to get necessary nutrients from natural sourc-
es such as fruit.” When it comes to coaches pushing athletes too far, Schille said “coaches are just doing what is necessary.” Even with his work out schedule, he said he does not feel the pressure of looking fit. Sophomore Heather Benjamin, a level eight gymnast, goes to the gym Monday through Thursday from 4-8 p.m. On Fridays she practices from 4-7 a.m. “I sometimes push myself a little too hard,” she said. Gymnastics season lasts from January to March, and Benjamin goes to a meet every weekend. “During conditioning, you have to work even harder. The coaches are watching, and you want to stand out,” she said. When it comes to steroids, Benjamin said she views them as “cheating.” “I don’t like them. If you stop using them, you become weak. You really didn’t do the work- you cheated,” she said.
Photos by: Abby Allen
Pumping Iron: Demetrius Jones, senior, and Donovan Gee, senior, lift weights in strength training. “I like lifting weights because it motivates me. I like to be in shape,” Jones said.
Two swimmers place at state Jordan Hutchinson Staff Writer After the meet on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, the swim team became the 23rd best swim program out of 76 teams in Alabama. “I am very proud of the team’s performance at the state meet. They are very talented,” Allaway said. “I think next year is going to be even better.” Two swimmers placed in state instead of one like last year, swim team coach Beth Allaway said. Allaway said the two best swimmers are in the eighth and tenth grade and are amazing at their age. They placed in the top 16 in the state. Jewels Harris, eighth grader at Tuscaloosa Magnet School, placed 2nd in the 200m butterfly and 6th in the 500m freestyle. Thompson Schille, sophomore, placed 12th in the 500m free style and 15th in the 200 IM. “I feel like I could have done much better, but I’m still pleased,” Schille said. “My brother inspired me to swim when he took swimming lessons,” Schille said. “I wanted to be just like my brother, so I took lessons the next year.”
Basketball teams inexperienced; growing as season continues Jordan Hutchinson Staff Writer
Boys varsity basketball coach Bob Brantley said he is not happy after a 30-50 Bryant loss. “We are inexperienced, and we are not playing as a team,” Brantley said. The varsity boys won their season opener at Brookwood on Nov.15.
“We won handily, and it was a good start to the season,” Brantley said. The win over Brookwood was in part because of junior power forward C’yontai Lewis. Lewis helped lead the team to a 4529 victory by scoring 18 points. “They did what they were supposed to do, and we got the result we deserved,” Brantley said. On Oct.15, the freshmen boys basketball
team was moved out of the gym, so that the varsity players could practice there from 5:45 to 8:45 on Monday mornings. “We’re inexperienced, but we will grow and get better throughout the season,” Brantley said. The team encountered a setback when senior and starting point guard Montell Dent dislocated his shoulder. His injury resulted in him missing the Brookwood
game. Brantley said that even with this setback, the team will practice as usual. Dent is now playing in a brace until his shoulder completely heals. “Anyone else but Montell would not play because they would not be tough enough,” Brantley said. The team will be competing in several tournaments after Christmas which Brantley said he feels good about.
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The Northridge Reporter December 14, 2012
Put Me In, Coach Brett. In 1991, he caught the winning touchdown pass from Brett Favre to beat the Auburn Tigers to go to a bowl game. “It feels great to make a play like that,” Harris said. As a graduation coach at school, his job is to make sure no student falls through the cracks. He also has to make sure that students are in the right classes, so they can graduate with the diploma they want. Harris said that he loves Northridge because of its diversity. “We have kids from all sides of the spectrum,” he said. Harris said the student body has a lot of school spirit. “It was incredible when the students stayed after school to work on the floats,” Harris said.
Senior James Cox said, “He is always up tempo and upbeat.” “He is a good guy and a great motivational speaker,” Cox said.
You’ve Got a Friend in Me: Anthony Harris, graduation coach, speaks with senior James Cox in the cafeteria. “I’ve really enjoyed working with him. He’s very organized and has a great relationship with the students.” Elizabeth Tiley, freshman counselor, said.
Former football star becomes new graduation coach Jordan Hutchinson Staff Writer He may be in his first year as graduation coach at the school, but he is not new to the school system. Going into his 19th year in the school system, Anthony Harris, graduation coach, knows his way around Tuscaloosa City Schools. He was an ISS monitor, athletic director and football coach at Central; the school that he played football at as a student. He graduated from Central in 1987 and went on to play at Southern Mississippi. While at Southern Mississippi he played football with Brett Favre. “He is a great leader and athlete,” Harris said. He talked to Brett Favre at the 100 year anniversary of Southern Mississippi football and got an autographed football from
Photos by Emma Jackson, shot in August 2012 of damage that still remains
Emma Jackson, junior
“I love [taking] pictures and especially [of] damage and reconstruction. I choose angles that tell stories of their own, and I pick buildings people will know the location of and the story.”
Jackson creates artistic portrayal of the April 2011 tornado
“My life history is centered around the event as a before and after the tornado because of my house being destroyed and rebuilt. We should never forget [the tornado] because ... many people died and lost their home in the city.”
Jameson Hubbard, senior
December 14, 2012 Volume 10 Issue 4
The December issue of The Northridge Reporter