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Volume 89, Issue 4

January, 2014

Gregg Doyel hangs out with TJ journalism students By Kelsi Thurman Editor-In-Chief

The TJ Journalism team spoke with nationally recognized, Gregg Doyel, from CBSsports. com. He divulged information about himself, and important steps in pursuing a successful career in press writing. Doyel was told by an English teacher that he would be a good sports writer at the age of fourteen. Now, in his early 40’s, he works as a National Columnist for

found his current position; asked him to be their National Columnist, or, “the face of our website.” “I write about sports, but in-large, sports journalists are looking for ways to write

about social issues. I find a way to write about sports, without just writing about sports,” said Doyel. “You are never going to be what you want to be as a writer, until you find your own voice.”

“What he said in the first five minutes, is the best message I have heard in any career speaker ever,” said IJAG teacher Seth Grote. “I try my best every single day,” said Doyel. “You never know who’s looking. A person you’ve never heard of before could be reading you right now. That’s why it’s important to constantly compete with your peers, and make each day better than the last.” He was a junior in high school when he started writing for the

school newspaper. He excelled and was editor his senior year, got a job at the local newspaper, which then, helped him to be accepted into the University of Florida. Soon after graduation, he got a job at the Tampa Tribune. Doyel then went on to say that he wasn’t trying to brag about the things he has accomplished, but the steps he took throughout his life to achieve goals. After getting promoted many times, and TJ journalism students huddle around the computer after working for many for the Google Hangout with national sports columnist different newspapers, he Gregg Doyel from on Dec. 12, 2013.

Code is a nationwide movement, supported by President Barack Obama, to help high school students become interested in computer science. Celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ashton Kutcher, and Dwight Howard are also participating in the

movement to help promote its importance. Since technology is the future, the U.S government feels that everyone should know how to code. Computer Science related jobs are expected to rise over 22% in the future, and people who want those jobs will have the upperhand when applying. Project Lead The Way teacher James Crum appreciates this idea, and allowed his class to try out the website and practice basic coding skills. “It’s about getting to learn more about a language that some people take for granted,” said Crum. “I think the more knowledge the better.” Over six million

Hour of code

By Derrick Johnson Reporter

For the first time at TJ, students are learning the basics of coding by participating in the Hour of Code in celebration of Computer Science Education Week. The Hour of

Photo by Derrick Johnson; Mr. Crum leads “coders” in the hour of code.

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Photo by Derrick Johnson; Ernie Rodriguez and Alfredo Gonzalez working on code.

students in 167 countries have taken the tutorial and played with the program on Code. org. TJ sophomores Daniel Benson and Kenny Foote feel that the website is very fun and interesting. “It’s great because it’s really simple,” said Foote. The website uses Angry Birds to

help make programming more interesting and understandable for students. The Hour of Code is not only for computer students, anyone can go to and begin to learn. Like President Obama said, “don’t just buy a new video game, make one.”

Keep calm &

hive on

By Angela Gardner Reporter Students at TJ are buzzing about The Beehive. The Beehive is a store inside the school that sells various beverages, snacks, and TJ gear. But the school already provides vending machines, and “Jacket Snacks”. Which are on during the school day. But without The Beehive, many students would not get the experience that they need for their future careers. “It's actually a lab in the marketing program, so that students can practice their mar-

Photo by Yearbook.


January 25th will be the TJ talent show co-hosted by Kaylee Miller and Eric Garringer. The talent show is open for the whole school to audition for and perform in. Auditions will be held in the the auditorium at 3:00 p.m. on January 16th and 17th. All types of talents are welcome. Singing, dancing, improv, acting, comedy, and any other talents students could perform. All performers in the show will meet for a dress rehearsal on Thursday, January 24 to test for time and tech (spotlights, sound cues, curtains) before the perfor-

keting and employability skills,” said Business and Marketing teacher Deb Goodman. She also stated they have the opportunity to learn health and safety, food and nutrition, inventory control, and accounting. Here, students use real-world skills. About 20 years ago, The Beehive was created by Gary Bannick, former Business and Marketing teacher at TJ. He felt the students could really benefit from this new program. “It teaches you about money, and learning how to price things differently,” said senior

Kennedy Lundberg. “It's just like a normal business. It’s taking on a lot of responsibility. It's kind of like a job; I did it for the work experience and it's really fun working in here.” The Beehive has opened up many opportunities for students. To get involved, students have to be a senior previously enrolled in a business or marketing class. The money they raise goes towards the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and sports programs. “Bee” sure to stop in The Beehive and support your fellow Jackets.

Dress code regulations By Derrick Johnson Reporter

A new dress code is going to be enforced that will keep TJ students from wearing certain clothes this trimester. Specific areas such as the midriff, cleavage and shoulders can not be shown during the school day because of the exposure of skin. Also, any clothing that promotes violence, gang activity or is hazardous to anyone is against the code. Junior Dylan Montgomery took a stand against the rules and wore a shirt that could be perceived as violence-provoking. Because of the design, it was considered inappropriate. “I think its stupid because you can’t wear what you want,” said Montgomery. “A shirt can’t hurt people.” Being an adult in the building gives

you the responsibility of enforcing the dress code when students are breaking the rules. Math teacher, Jen Kuck, feels that the dress code is necessary and should be enforced. “I haven’t seen it [the enforcement] as much this year as the past years, but we should still have it,” said Kuck. She also believes that there are some students who actually care about the dress code because, “they will wear something that doesn’t match their outfit just to cover up.” Even though problems have been limited during these winter months, it is still really important for the school administration to enforce this district wide regulation. Whether it seems unfair to individuals or not.

Alternative Learning

By Eric Garringer Reporter Some students work faster than others. Because of this, some kids will sit through class doing nothing simply because they are done. There is a solution to this, “Open-Schooling”. “Open-Schooling” would be where students are told what all needs to be done by the end of the day for each class, and are free to leave when they are done. This has obvious issues tied to it. Some students may choose not to come, not do work, or come to school to “hang out.” Some teachers may even disagree with this system and say students should stay regardless of completed work. There will always

be students who would take advantage of this system. The consequences for them would be the same as if they did not do any work in a regular classroom, a failing grade. An example of schools like this are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs allow students more than just corps classes and give them the chance to create a community with other students and professors online. Schools are changing. “Stockholm’s school without classrooms” is an example of an open school environment. The school has no classrooms and students are free to go where they wish to do their work with “Open offices” around in

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Students use rolling desks as opposed to traditional desks during class. Photo by Eric Garringer. case they need help. Mr. Ryan Loots, a teacher at TJ said that, “it’s ok, as long as students do what they’re suppose to.” When asked how he thought this structure would affect TJ as a school. Loots went on to say that there would be a “loss of motivation,” and that “we would see graduation

rates go down. “It’s like college,” Loots went on, “no one makes you go to class.” Loots said that this system would be better, “if they could bridge high school and college,” So students can experience the responsibility and freedom allowed with an “alternative school.”

Off campus lunch no longer allowed at TJ

By Ikran Ahmed Reporter

only and that rule applies to students who usually bring their food to school. This does not mean that individual teachers cannot allow their students to bring snacks to class celebrations like “read and feeds” and other activities. “If they bring it in late or into the classrooms it would be an issue,” said Jennifer Kvammen, a math teacher at TJ. “If they brought it on

time they should be allowed to eat it. But if they skipped, they shouldn’t be allowed to eat it.” Most teachers don’t allow students bringing hot coffee and hot chocolate from breakfast to their classes. “I think it’s stupid,” said junior Tabitha Harbour. “We should be able to eat what we brought because we paid for it.”

On November 20th, TJ’s principal, Dr. Plourde, announced that students can not bring off campus food for lunch and that includes McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Hy-Vee or deliver, etc. He has received feedback that this action is not allowed at breakfast and/or lunch time. Bringing food to the commons during breakfast and lunch is a violation of Food and Drug Administration Guidelines and law. Starting this Trimester, if a student brings food into the commons during lunch or breakfast they will be asked to get rid of it. This includes foods in the hallways and other areas in TJ. Sack lunches are allowed in the lunchroom Subway on Broadway. Photo by Kelsi Thurman.

Holiday canned food drive By Derrick Johnson Reporter

DECA collecting can foods for Mohm’s Place. In the spirit of the holidays, NHS and DECA held the annual canned food drive to help out Mohm’s Place. With a goal of 750 cans, 23 different TJ teachers gathered a total of 1307. History teacher Amy Shannon won the competition between classes again this year with a total of 223 cans, beating the nearest class by 19. “It’s for a good cause and I can get

competitive with it. I think contests like that help build the classroom community,” said Shannon. “I think that now there will definitely be more competition next year.” As a reward, Mrs. Shannon won free doughnuts and a designated “Can Queen” hat, for her TJ Reads class. Because of generous acts like this, everyone can have happy holidays.

New opportunities for teachers and students By Alejandro Vieyra Reporter

First trimester is over and it is time for a fresh start with a new year. Students have second chances and an opportunity to achieve their goals and prosper. After the trimester ends, students get a report card and their grades are reset. So as far as grades go, students have chances to do better on their school work. But, there are many different way students can be better this trimester. “I feel like all freshman should know the expectation of being in high school and should improve greatly with

grades, attendance, and respect,” said freshman Ruby Morales. Teachers can also change the way they impact their students by changing the way they teach their class, and have some tips for students to do better. “Three main things: 1st, Students should study a few minutes each day for each subject, 2nd, complete their homework on time, and 3rd, focus on passing performances on the first attempt rather than relying on retakes. Once students fall behind, it's tough to be successful so

it's important that they do those three things,” said science teacher Mr. Adam Moon. With these tips, Page 3

now students can be even better than they were last trimester. New trimesters give students a chance to seek more opportuni-

ties. It also allows kids to gain independence and responsibility for themselves.

By Alejandro Vieyra Reporter If students tuned in to American Movie Classics (AMC) at eight o'clock, on Sunday December 1st, they would know how the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead all went down, but if not, these spoilers will get them up to date. This episode of The Walking Dead was not only exciting and exhilarating, but the cast lost some characters that people may or may not miss. One of the main actors, in the series, that was lost was Hershel Greene. But not only will the group miss Hershel’s medical skills, but his words of wisdom and kindness, especially his

two daughters Maggie and Beth Greene, as they witnessed the Governor as he decapitated Hershel, with Michonne’s samurai. With Hershel’s death, and everyone depressed, there is no telling how the group will act from now on. The fan base is anticipating the next half of the season, do to the fantastic farmers death. “I think Rick is going to go crazy again, and I think most of them will lose the will to go on.” Said sophomore Jennifer Kousgaaard, about how she feels will happen because of his passing. Another character that was called off the

show was a character that was introduced in season 3. The Governor, no matter if he was an enemy or an ally, he is gone and there will be no reincarnation considering he took a sword through the chest and a bullet to the head. Many fans of the Walking Dead think that it was more of a positive


a secure area anymore, and are going to have to relocate and find a safer place for everybody,” said sophomore Nicholas Mitchell. Although these two very important characters were lost, they were not the only ones that went missing at the invasion of the prison, like Baby Judith, (Rick’s “daughter”), that was suspected dead after the car seat was found covered in a blanket of blood. So tune in Sunday, February 9th, to see what happens next, on the remaining episodes of The Walking Dead season 4.

Jacket Journalism @TJHSJournalism


What if you’re able to breathe on other planets, but they tell us they can’t because they don’t want us to leave?

By Isabella Moore

Jacket Journalism @TJHSJournalism

thing that the Governor is gone, and not causing anymore trouble with the group at the Prison. Though, his remaining followers now have to act for themselves again. “I feel that the residents that were at the prison are safer because the Governor is dead, but they’re not as safe because they are not in


Jacket Journalism @TJHSJournalism

What if instead of the water level increasing in the ocean, people in the world are just getting more obese and they are sinking the continents?

What if there are other people that walk among us everyday and we don’t see them?

Jacket Journalism @TJHSJournalism

Jacket Journalism @TJHSJournalism


What if animals could talk, but they choose not to in front of humans?



What if we live in an elaborate testing facility where they experiment on us, testing human responses to various external forces?

The Signal is a school-sponsored publication of Thomas Jefferson High School 2501 W. Broadway Council Bluffs, Iowa 51501. The Signal’s office is located in room C128. The Signal is printed by OH-K FASTPRINT in Omaha, NE. The Signal is a school-sponsored-publication and therefore recognizes its responsibility to stay within the boundaries that the school administrator sets. The Signal will therefore inform its readers using a high standard of morals and ethics. The Signal encourages readers to respond in the form of letters to the editor, which can be sent to room C128. The Signal’s editorial staff reserves the right to edit the letters for grammatical errors and to remove any profanity. The editors also reserve the right to exclude letters that are false in their statements or accusations. The Signal will not accept advertisements that promote activities illegal to minors. Advertising rates are available upon request.

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The Signal Jan 2014