Andy Shaw and 50 Years of NINA
Oh NINA…. we, the Spartan Voice staff members, who attended the recent NINA (Northern Illinois Newspaper Association) Awards dinner at Northern Illinois University last week had a blast! Although this is an annual dinner, this is the first time the Spartan Voice has been in attendance. The dinner was to celebrate 50 years of NINA and to recognize outstanding papers in the Northern Illinois area. Mr. Andy Shaw was the keynote speaker for the evening.
The ability to attend an event such as this one does not come along very often. So, NINA, we tip our hats to you! Thank you for an amazing night that we will never forget!
Going to NINA was a great experience. Andy Shaw is a very motivating speaker. His speech opened my eyes to the corruption of news media, and made me want to make a difference. I was also inspired by the many different newspaper groups in attendance, and the unique stories their writers could cover. As a student, I cannot wait to write more stories like theirs.
- Sarah Brazeau
Our night at NINA was one of the most inspiring events of my life. Sitting next to famous writers and news journalists made me feel like I could be that successful in the near future. Overall, it was a great event and I feel like it opened a lot of doors for me. I was introduced to so many great people. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity!
- Michael Landshaft
I was thrilled when I learned that we had been invited to the NINA anniversary banquet. It was an honor to be in the presence of such great figures, and to be able to listen to them speak of their personal endeavors. It makes me excited about our newspaper and what we could accomplish.
- Tony Cusumano
The dinner was spectuatular. I enjoyed the part where Andy Shaw discussed newspapers and government working together to make a better enviroment for all of us. Also, I was thrilled to meet professional writers. P.S. The cheesecake was amazing!
- Mavrick Schreiber
Being at NINA was definitely a fun experience. It felt so inspiring seeing so many other people that have some of the same interests when it comes to journalism. Getting a chance to meet Mr. Shaw really opened my eyes to just how much passion and endurance goes into this line of work. Not to mention, I also had a really good time being with friends.
- Jasmine Cherry
It’s that glorious time of year again: election season. Before the ballots are cast, however, much ado has been made about fairness at the booth. Voter ID laws in states like Texas and Pennsylvania have incensed politicians on both sides of the aisle. Campaign finance regulations (or lack thereof) have led to claims of election-buying. And, as always, there are “election buffer zones”, points near polling stations where candidates cannot campaign. But, despite all the fuss and efforts, can voting be entirely fair?
According to numerous studies, the answer is a resounding no.
Many social scientists pin the ballot as the main problem. Jonathan Koppell and Jennifer Steen of Arizona State University found that candidates who were listed first on the ballot saw a 3.5 percent boost in votes. The effect is reduced somewhat for presidential elections, but is strikingly strong for local elections such as school board.
Polling places may also skew the opinions of voters. A Stanford study showed that people whose voting centers were schools were more likely to support a tax increase than those who cast their ballots in churches or community centers.
Even more subtle conditions can nudge people toward certain beliefs. Eric Helzer and David Pizarro of Cornell University administered political surveys to several groups of students. For each group, they changed only one thing in the room: the location of a hand sanitizer dispenser. They found that the closer their subjects were to the dispenser, the more conservative their beliefs were. Participants in a French study were more likely to believe in global warming when a dead ficus tree was placed in a room as opposed to a healthy plant.
There are also biases associated with the appearance of politicians. In a famous study, Alex Todorov of Princeton asked subjects to evaluate the competency of candidates based only on brief black-and-white pictures.
Surely enough, the uninformed subjects picked the actual winner of the elections two-thirds of the time. In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell explains the “Warren Harding problem,” which details how unqualified candidates are elected to high offices. Gladwell states that Harding, despite a dearth of experience or intelligence, was voted into the White House simply because “he looked like a good president.”
While candidates campaign vigorously (and viciously), voters have countless issues to consider, from the economy to immigration to health care. The results will likely reflect the prevailing opinions on these topics, and this year’s winners will succeed only if they can reach out to voters and gain their trust as they move forward. But let’s not forget the importance of polling places and Purell.
It’s up to you. Get out and vote! Your vote matters – you can make a difference!
Election Day is November 6th!
On November 6, 2012 the Social Studies Department is sponsoring a mock election.
The polls will be in P-129 (old 204) all day starting at 7:30 am and go to 3:30pm.
On the ballot will be the presidential race, national candidates for the House, and local representatives as well.
Students should also expect a few referendum policies for Sycamore High School to also be on the ballot.
High school is a time in which adolescents are slowly introduced to elements of “the real world”; things like driving, due dates, problem solving, and maybe, a little bit of romance… However, there is one crucial element that school fails to expose to its students: how to get/maintain a steady job. Sure, every teacher, throughout their entire career, has given “the line”; the line that all of their students have heard over a million times: “Pay close attention! You’re all going to need this when you get a job someday.” That may very well be true, but, how are students supposed to know that for certain if they don’t even know how to go about getting a job? Luckily for SHS students, there is a solution.
The Interrelated Cooperative Education Work Program (I.C.E. or Work Program for short) is designed to help students (mainly seniors) gain hands-on experience in a vocational setting. The guidelines of the program are as followed:
Students will receive 2 credits: 1 grade/credit for class work & 1 grade/credit for working
Students must work a total of at least 15 hours a week on the job
Students will be held responsible for keeping track of their hours
If a student is fired from/quits a job, he/she has two weeks to find a new one and will be placed into study halls during regular work hours and receive an “F” for the week.
When it comes to finding a place for students to work, the possibilities are endless. For example, Taylor Madeley (Sr.) works at the Voluntary Actions Center.
“I help out with caterings, TransVac, MedVac; it’s really fun. I’m a Programs Assistant so I get to help out a lot… I feel like I’ve learned how to communicate with people better and my work ethic has been a lot better, too.”
Most other students, like Wiley Duarte (Sr.), have more than one job or even work for District #427. Wiley, for example, has worked at Papa Murphy’s for a year now and just recently became a Teacher’s Aid in a kindergarten class at North Elementary School.
“Every day, I teach them their numbers and letters. Sometimes it doesn’t really feel like a job; it just feels like I’m just there with kids,” says Duarte. Little do people actually know, once a student has taken on a job at one of the schools within the district, he/she is an official district employee. Like any other district member, students must fill out mountains of paper work, set up an account with the employee portal, take several different tests, read manuals…etc. Though it may not be the most exciting way to spend an afternoon, it’s only the bridge to all of the convenient benefits of being in I.C.E.
When asked why she decided to join the Work Program, Madeley responds with, “When I heard about it, I thought it was pretty cool when I found out that I could go to school for half of a day and still make some money.” And it’s true, too. Students that take part in I.C.E. only take four classes a semester (including the class that corresponds with the program) and right after B Lunch, they go to work. Not to mention, Seniors, said class with Mrs. Poynter counts as your Consumer Economics credit.
In class, students learn extremely vital components of the work world; things like how to write a resumé and a cover letter, the do’s and don’ts of job interviews, how to manage finances, and much more. Plus, when it comes to days that school is not in session (i.e. institute days, holidays, P/T conferences…), students that work for the district have the day off and students that work outside of the district still have the option to work. Considering how demanding senior year can be, between college applications, social events, and calculus homework, a schedule like that is way too good to pass up.
“I’d definitely recommend it because it can ease off some stress because only at school for half of the day,” stated Duarte.”It’s not something that you can just get by with, but it can also teach you more things than you would think.” Yet, such an opportunity has been passed up by so many people.
This year, I.C.E. doesn’t have as many students enrolled as usual. Luckily, however, Mrs. Poynter was kind enough to take on an extra class during the day just to keep the program alive. Being that high school is meant to prepare us for “the real world”, it is essential that all students get some sort of vocational experience before they venture from the hallways to the work place. Hopefully, by the next school year, more SHS students will take note of such a unique program. Why not? Let’s be honest here: most seniors plan on taking two or three study halls anyways. Why not get paid during that time? Put in some extra work…
Ella Rose Atkins
One of the popular technological advancements of recent years is the e-reader. Small, light, and convenient, one of these devices can store thousands of books at a time. E-readers are, in essence, a portable library. Can this new technology ever replace printed books?
First, let’s focus on the advantages of e-readers. They are much lighter and more portable than your average book. (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, anyone?) Their small size makes it easy to slip in a bag or even a large pocket. Another plus is that you can download books almost instantly at any place with WiFi. Owning an e-reader also gives you access to hundreds of e-book exclusives. Other advantages are that many e-readers’ screens are not backlit (which means that you can read longer without tiring your eyes, unlike on a computer), so the screen is almost identical to the pages of a book.
Of course, no technology is perfect. Perhaps the most obvious disadvantage of e-readers is the price. Kindles can range anywhere from $69 to $499. Though the e-books are often a few dollars less than printed books, the device itself can be a major investment. Other disadvantages include the battery life (most last about a month, but you don’t have to charge a print book at all) and difficulty of use. My Kindle is pretty simple as long as you touch the screen in the right way, but again, real books are much less frustrating!
I bought it mainly for my family’s frequent road trips to Missouri and Tennessee, and especially for our upcoming trip to Japan. E-readers are excellent for those purposes, but in my day-to-day life, I still prefer going to the library or a bookstore. So, back to the big question: Will e-books ever replace printed books? My answer is no. You gadget lovers may not understand it, but books are a part of our lives that cannot be replaced entirely by digital things. After all, we haven’t stopped eating and switched to virtual food. No, this is one tradition that will endure for ages to come. Long live books!
Have you ever gotten a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye? A simple movement caught in your peripheral vision. Most will simply dismiss this as a shadow brought about by a flickering candle, or perhaps a pet jumping down from a piece of furniture. Ninety-nine out of a hundred times, these people are right.
But then there’s that one elusive sight. It can easily be explained by the above conditions, but something feels wrong about it. A chill down your spine, a slight pain in your side. Maybe even a complete blanking of your mind, only to recede moments later.
Should any of these symptoms be felt, there may be cause for worry. Our peripheral vision is designed to catch motion, even in the dark. This was used to defend against predators in our early days, and as with many aspects of our human nature, it has remained, but weakened.
This view out of the corner of our eyes still alerts us to danger, and although predators have dropped on the list of dangers we may face today, they still exist. Should you ever feel that queer chill in your back, try not to focus on that shadow you saw in the corner of your eye. It might be better not to see.
If you ever are in an area of absolute quiet, still your breathing and move not a muscle. After a few seconds, you will notice that the silence has a sort of “sound” of its own, a kind of empty ringing tone. This is nothing unique; everyone will hear this, given the proper setting. An informed person will tell you that your brain is trying to interpret the lack of stimuli to your hearing and so creates a bit of a filler sound. This ringing sound actually serves a more arcane purpose, covering up a noise we are not meant to hear. This noise is not impossible to hear, and if you are persistent you can effectively “break” the cover-up sound.
The next time you are silent and hear the ringing, shout at the top of your lungs for about half a minute, then be abruptly silent. It will be different for everyone. Some will hear nothing different for dozens of tries. Others might pick up soft murmuring. A special few auditory heroes might clearly make it out on the first attempt. What you will hear is a voice that relays an account of events about to happen in the immediate future. It’s like a sportscaster relaying the events occurring ten seconds into the future.
As time goes on, you will be able to make out this voice under increasingly noisy circumstances, to the point that it can be heard at any time by just concentrating. Such ability would doubtlessly be invaluable, no? You will be able react to any immediate danger, relate to people around you with greater ease. No one would ever surprise you. Now, of course you are wondering what sort of horrible catch this ability entails. Perhaps the tone of the voice is so horrible that it will drive you mad, or maybe the voice will only predict your death over and over again.
Of course this isn’t the case, though, it’s a normal voice, your ears receive it no matter what, and it’s simply a matter of noticing. But there is a danger. For you see, where there is a voice, there is a body. And just like you will notice new sounds, so shall you notice new sights. More importantly, you will be noticed.
Why do you do it? You don’t know why, but you do. You make sure the windows are locked, you check the other side of the door, and your closet…You even check under your bed. Why do you do this? Does ripping open the shower curtain and seeing nothing there make you feel safe? Does scoping the area with your eyes after reading a scary story reassure you?
Well, it shouldn’t.
Because by the time you’ve looked, I’ve already hidden.
“Daddy, I had a bad dream.”
You blink your eyes and pull up on your elbows. Your clock glows red in the darkness — it’s 3:23. “Do you want to climb into bed and tell me about it?”
The oddness of the situation wakes you up more fully. You can barely make out your daughter’s pale form in the darkness of your room. “Why not, sweetie?”
“Because in my dream, when I told you about the dream, the thing wearing Mommy’s skin sat up.”
For a moment, you feel paralyzed; you can’t take your eyes off of your daughter. The covers behind you begin to shift.