Community READ author comes to Van Buren

photo: Kaitlyn Fillhart

On Friday, March 11, author Cristina Henriquez came to Van Buren High School to talk about her novel, The Book of Unknown Americans. Seniors in Advanced Placement English and members of Books n’ Brownies attended the presentation along with students from Van Buren, Corey Rawson, and Arcadia.

Henriquez shared that she did not want to stand at the podium and talk about herself the whole time. After a short introduction about herself, she opened the floor for questions.

Senior Lena Kennedy was one of the students that asked Henriquez a question.

“What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?” Kennedy said.

Henriquez replied that you should write for yourself and don’t worry about your audience.

Senior Jordan Jones questioned why Henriquez chose to kill off an important character.

“I wanted you to feel something,” Henriquez said.

Senior Alexandria Tong asked Henriquez if she has gotten any negative backlash from people who have read the book since the plot involves immigration.

“The book is not about immigration. The point of the book is to tell the story of the immigrant,” Henriquez said.

Henriquez went on to say that when she goes to the movies, she wants to get emotionally attached to the character; the same holds true to the characters in her books. She added that when her mother read the book, she was also upset about the death of the important character.

All of the questions were not focused around her book. There was some light conversation about her family, her favorite book (Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five), and who is her favorite judge on The Voice.

After questions were answered, Henriquez signed student’s books and took pictures with anyone who wanted one.

Remembering Nancy Reagan

On March 6, 2016, former first lady Nancy Reagan (1981-1989) passed away at the age of 94. The cause of her death was reported as congestive heart failure. She will be buried next to her husband and former President of the United States Ronald Reagan, who passed away in 2004 due to pneumonia at the age of 94.

Nancy Reagan’s funeral was held at 11:00 am on Friday, March 11. Current first lady Michelle Obama was in attendance, along with former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Rosalynn Carter. Former president George W. Bush brought his wife Laura to the ceremony. Diane Sawyer, John Stamos, and Larry King were only few of the well-known names that attended the funeral.

Nancy Reagan was an aspiring actress in New York. In 1946, she starred on Broadway in Lute Song, though it was a minor role. She eventually moved out to Hollywood, where she landed a contract with MGM Studios. She starred in a few films, such as The Doctor and the Girl and Night Into Morning.

Nancy and Ronald Reagan met in the early 1950s, when they were both in the acting business. They were married on March 4, 1952, shortly after they’d first met. 15 years after their marriage, Ronald Reagan became the governor of California. While Ronald was busy governing the state, Nancy Reagan took an interest in visiting different groups of people. She spent time with veterans and the handicapped, as well as the elderly.

When her husband was elected 40th President of the United States in 1981, Nancy continued these visits with different types of people. She also joined the fight against drug use by the younger generations with her “Just Say No” program. She also took time to visit rehabilitation centers and invited people to the White House for a conference that brought worldwide attention to drug and alcohol abuse among youths. Mrs. Reagan was a member of the Girl Scouts throughout her life and earned the title of honorary President of the Girl Scouts while serving as the first lady. Nancy Reagan once said, “I am a big believer that eventually everything comes back to you. You get back what you give out.”

High School Musical 4 in the works

Disney has officially announced that a script for a fourth High School Musical movie has been put into the works. The film is likely to debut on Disney Channel within the next year and a half. Some teenage fans are excited for the childhood nostalgia the film will bring about, but many are hesitant that the reboot won’t  hit the mark.

The first “High School Musical” movie made it’s premiere back in 2006. Many well regarded actors such as Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Tisdale have the HSM franchise to thank for their career kickstart. The first two films in the series were exclusively made for TV while the third movie was aired on the big screen in theaters across the country.

The fourth film will feature an entirely new cast, fueling the hesitation of HSM fans. Across the internet people are rallying for Zac Efron cameos and remastered versions of classic HSM songs. There is very little information regarding other details of the movie as this announcement is brand new. Fans will just have to wait hopefully to see what Disney has in store.

The 1975 Album Review

Album: I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

Artist: The 1975

Genre: Alternative

Why listen: After almost two years, The 1975 have put out an album that is significantly shorter than the deluxe version of their last self-titled album. Though the title is longer, the album is full of quality music that is potentially pleasing to everyone’s ears. The album has its share of ballads, like The Ballad of Me and My Brain, and upbeat songs, like Love Me and This Must Be My Dream. Some songs, like The Sound, are faster and louder than their older songs, such as Woman or Menswear. Others still consist of the meaningful and heartfelt lyrics, like Nana. There’s even an acoustic song that made it on the album called She Lays Down. The 1975’s sound is influenced by drums and guitar, except for a few of the slower songs. Although some of the slow songs may have a guitar solo or a consistent beat in the background.

Songs to listen to: If I Believe You, Loving Someone, and Somebody Else.

Rating: 5/5

Photo of the week

kez“The Blanchard River Watershed Partnership is holding a rain barrel contest and Findlay High School’s Art Club is participating!” Junior, Austin Sexton explained.

“We are making rain barrels They are going to be auctioned at the competition at the mall.”

But why did the club choose rain barrels?

“Rain barrels collect rainwater and people use them to water their Gardens,” said senior Mackenzie Collins.

There are three categories; agricultural, watershed, and general, and the department decorated barrels for the general and watershed categories. The entries were picked up on Thursday and will be judged over the weekend.

Travel to Paradise

As spring break is approaching and people are planning vacations for spring and summer, it might be hard to decide where to travel. Some places are more fun and interesting, like theme parks, while other places are more relaxing, like a small beach. When deciding where to go, here are a few places that might catch your eyes..

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake – between Polson and Kalispell, Montana
Flathead Lake in Montana is 200 square miles of crystal clear water along with 185 miles of beach along it. The lake is used for swimming, boating, waterskiing, fishing, and relaxing on top of the clear water. While at Flathead Lake, you will always be able to see the wildlife around you.

Oahu, Hawaii
Although the flight(s) may be long, once you get there you will realize it was worth the wait. The weather in the summer is very warm, but you have the option of playing in the ocean all day, which will definitely keep you cool. A popular attraction in Hawaii is the Pearl Harbor Memorial, where you can take a boat out to the actual memorial in the water. Other options for activities include taking surfing lessons, shopping, playing/watching beach volleyball, or snorkeling at the beautiful Hanuman Bay.
In Oahu, the weather was very hot, but it rained for a short amount of time each day, which cooled the air a little bit. Walking to dinner at night was very nice, the weather wasn’t as hot as it had been earlier. A restaurant I went to a few times was Jimmy Buffet’s, which was a few blocks from my hotel. The decorations there are really nice and the food was very good. My favorite thing to do was either sit by the beach or go sightseeing, especially seeing Hanuman Bay.


Siesta Key, Florida
A place just as relaxing to go with a shorter flight than Hawaii is Siesta Key in Florida, one of the top ranked beaches in the United States. There are many other things to do besides sit by the beach all day. You can go to a spa for the day, go out to eat for any meal, go hiking or biking, or go shopping. If you aren’t afraid of heights and want to try something new, you can even go parasailing. On Sunday evenings at Siesta Key Public Beach, as the sun is setting, you can join others on the beach and listen to the Siesta Key Drum Circle. It starts a little bit before the sun starts to set and goes on for hours after the sun is no longer in sight.
While in Siesta Key, I really enjoyed laying on the beach every day and sometimes getting in the ocean. The water was cool but it felt good after sitting out in the heat. I also played a few games of beach volleyball and that was very fun.

New York, New York
New York is a big city, which means big crowds of people. Times Square and the Empire State Building are mostly always crowded. There are other things to do around NYC besides hang around the crowded areas, like take a walk in Central Park, go see a play, or take carriage rides around the city. Pizza is New York’s specialty, it’s so good that you’ll want to eat it for every meal. If you don’t like pizza, though, there are many restaurants to sit down at, big and small. After you eat, you should visit Carlo’s Bakery. It isn’t the actual bakery from The Cake Boss show, but they still serve delicious cupcakes and cookies. The best time to be out is at night, at the Empire State Building, and especially in Times Square. The lights make it seem like it’s still daytime outside, plus there are many different stores to visit, like the M&M or Hershey’s store.
While there, it was very crowded and a lot of people were rushing around, bumping into other people. I was everywhere because traffic was so crazy it was probably faster to walk. Some areas smelled bad, but others were nice and calm, like Central Park. I also saw a lot of dogs while there, so that is definitely a plus. All the food I had was delicious and I think I worked it all off while I was walking. The only bad things were the smells and the crowds, especially at the top of the Empire State Building because everyone was so close together.

Remembering Antonin Scalia

On February 13, 2016 Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in Shafter, Texas of natural causes after a hunting trip. Scalia was appointed to the D.C. court of appeals by President Ronald Reagan in 1982 and in 1986 was appointed to the
Supreme Court where he served for 30 years. Justice Scalia was considered to be the most conservative justice on the court often opposing topics such as same-sex marriage, abortion and other controversial issues. Justice Scalia was known as an originalist which means that he strictly interpreted the Constitution and looked at it through the eyes of the men who wrote it over 200 years ago.

Antonin Scalia was the only child born to Salvadore and Catherine Scalia on March 11, 1936 in Trenton, New Jersey. Being an only child was rare among Italian Catholic families at the time. Scalia grew up in a multi-ethnic neighborhood in Queens, a borough of New York. He attended St. Xavier high school and in 1953 he enrolled at Georgetown University. In 1957 he graduated from Georgetown as Valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in History. He went on to Harvard Law School and in his final year met his wife of almost 50 years, Maureen McCarthey. The couple went on to have 9 kids and over 30 grandchildren. He started his Law career at a Law office in Cleveland, Ohio in 1961. In 1967 he took a teaching job at the Virginia University Law School. In 1982 he was appointed by Reagan to the D.C. district court of appeals and in 1986 he accepted his placement on the Supreme Court as an associate justice. While on the court he came to be very highly regarded and had a very conservative record. In 2011 Judge Richard A. Posner wrote about Scalia, “He is the most influential justice of the last quarter century. On February 13, 2016 at the age of 79 Justice Scalia died at a resort in Texas after a hunting trip of natural causes, he also had heart issues and high blood pressure.

In order to become a Supreme Court Justice a person must be nominated by the President and approved by the Senate. The steps of how this occurs are in our Constitution, “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The current Republican majority Senate has voiced its plans to block any appointment President Obama has for Scalia’s vacancy and let the next President pick who they would like to fill Scalia’s spot.

Needed Changes in the High School

Things are constantly changing; technology, fashion, food, and places. Something that isn’t changing as much as it could in Findlay High School. Things that should be changed at the school range from bathroom issues to problems with sports and the time school starts. Students at the High School spoke up about what they would change.

Most students would agree that school starts too early. Sleep is not only a luxury, but a necessity and with after-school activities and homework, getting to bed early can be difficult.

“I would change what time school starts-it’s too early. There are studies showing that teenagers perform better in school when they get more sleep,” Senior Danielle Snyman said.

Public bathrooms aren’t usually the most pleasant places. School bathrooms might be worse. Sophomore Jon Deckard agrees that the bathrooms in the high school needs major improvements.

“Oh gosh, I would want better bathrooms. That’s really it,” Deckard said.

The staff and students at Findlay High School are big on sports. Whether they are being played or watched, high school sports are a big deal. While there is football, swimming, wrestling, and many other sports, there could still be others added.

“If I could change something, I would definitely want to have a lacrosse team,” Sophomore Owen Morse said.

These are just a few things that are, for the most part, fairly simple to change. If the school were to add a new sports team, adjust the bathrooms or start school at a reasonable time, students might have a few less things they would want to change about Findlay High School.