Monday, December 15, 2014

Off to War, and Thirty Other Shores

Brittany Moeske

          I met up with William “Billy” Michael Fay, a sixty-six year old who, throughout his lifetime, has visited 30 different places, with 20 of them being in different countries. He has even been to six of the seven continents on planet Earth. Fay was a 1966 graduate from Phillip Schuyler High School in Albany, NY. He served in the United States Navy from 1966-1972, and served in Vietnam during 1968-1970. When he returned home, he met and fell in love with Kathy Fay. He has been married to her for 42 years now and has two children: a daughter, Tammy and a son, Billy. And even though he’s married and an “older” person, he has not let anything stop him from doing what he loves: Travel.
            When Fay and I talked in his living room, he was dressed comfortably in shorts and a polo shirt- the same type he wears when he goes out golfing with his wife. On the right, sat his hat that he wears everywhere: his United States Navy Veteran hat, with the colored lines underneath showing that he served in Vietnam. Around the head part are pins: a River Rats pin, a fabric-rose with a slip of paper and the all-important American Flag. I sit down, we exchange pleasantries, and then he says, “Alright, let’s start.” He was ready.

                        BM: How old were you when you first travelled?

                        WF: 18.

                        BM: Where did you go?

                        WF: Vietnam.

                        BM: Did you like it there?

                        WF: Yes. It’s a beautiful country, just too bad what happened to it. (pauses) But I liked everywhere I went.

                        BM: Would you ever return there?

                        WF: Yes. Now.

                        BM: Why do you want to go back?

                        WF: It’s just a beautiful country. And, I would like to see the changes that have happened since 1970.

                        BM: Do you have a favorite place?

                        WF: Oof, that’s a hard question… (thinks for a minute) Aruba.

                        BM: Would you go back?

                        WF: Oh, absolutely. In a heartbeat.

                        BM: Why?

                        WF: There’s some many nice people, and the weather is nice… it’s just a nice place to go. And a beautiful country as well.

                        BM: What is your favorite way to travel?

                        WF: Flying, for the speed and the convenience.

                        BM: What’s your least favorite?

                        WF: Greyhound Bus. (laughs) I don’t like buses. I haven’t been on a Greyhound Bus in probably 48 years.

            But Fay’s travelling career does not just consist of going out of the country. Just this past year, Fay travelled to Myrtle Beach, NC and Kissimmee, Fl. He has also been to many “tourist-sites” within the United States, such as all of Washington DC, NASA Space in Virginia, the Battlefields in Virginia and Saratoga and Arlington National Cemeteries. His favorite? Arlington National Cemetery.

                        BM: Why was this your favorite?

                        WF: It’s ceremonial.

                        BM: Is there any place that’s on your bucket list?

                        WF: The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Pike’s Peak, Deadwood, South Dakota

                        BM: Do you think you will be able to?

                        WF: Yes, because I want to.

                        BM: Do you have a plan to go there?

                        WF: No not at this time.

            But the hardest questions were at the end of the interview. When we talked, not about his travelling experiences highs and lows or his hopes for travelling in the future. But about why it is important.

                        BM: How different is it travelling as an 18 year old than a 65 year old?

                        WF: You’re more energetic as a teen, but you’re more laid back as a senior citizen. (laughs) You’ve got nothing but time.

                        BM: Why do you think travel is important for people?

                        WF: It keeps them up to date on changes in the world.

            William Fay is a well-traveled citizen of America. With his travels spanning over 30 countries, and his history being just a normal guy from Albany, NY, many people can learn a lot from him. Because as he shows, if you set your mind to something, nothing can stop you from achieving it. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, or what it is.

Adjustments and Additions to Colonie's 2015 Raiderfest Event

Jacob Pickett

                During this summer and continuing into the school year, a planning committee, made up of students, principals, and teachers, has met at Colonie High School on the first Wednesday of each month. There, they discussed changes they hope to create for the second annual Raiderfest in the spring of 2015.

                Thomas Kachadurian, an associate principal at Colonie and the administration force behind Raiderfest, said that he hopes to expand all the existing parts of the day while also adding new, interactive exhibits. For example, 15 food trucks will be present in 2015 as compared to only 7 in 2014.  Similarly, the carnival is expected to grow from 20 games to 35 including a miniature golf course and motorized rides. Already the craft fair has grown from 60 venders in 2014 to an expected 100 for 2015, and Kachadurian reports that he hopes to include “a well-represented farmers market in conjunction with the wellness piece.”        

                In addition to the new attractions at the carnival, more prizes will be purchased in advance since in 2014 the prizes ran out within the first few hours of the day. Also, in conjunction with the expected miniature golf course, a souvenir ICARE golf ball will be sold at $3.00 to use in the game.

                Last year, Raiderfest also included several local bands that performed at different times of the all-day event. Thomas Kachadurian hopes, “that wider-known talent can come in to attract new groups to Raiderfest.” New attractions, such as the Weekend Warriors, a helicopter team, may also find their way onto the Raiderfest agenda. The Weekend Warriors are expected to land on the Colonie Varsity Soccer Field and give demonstrations if it is financed.      

                According to Thomas Kachadurian, “money is the big thing that will turn these ideas into a reality”. During the day of Raiderfest, there will continue to be a basket raffle to raise money, but additional fundraisers have already begun in the High School, including a bottle cap and aluminum can tab collection and a Disney Frozen sing-along for children. In addition to the amount of money raised, whether or not South Colonie’s insurance will allow some of the attractions, specifically the motorized rides, determines the idea’s progress.    

                Because of the expansion of all the components, the overall layout and schedule of Raiderfest has changed as well. The food trucks will be moved to a semicircle around the football concession stand allowing the 3-on-3 basketball tournament to take its place in the baseball field parking lot. The parking lot in front of Colonie High School’s MUG (Multi-Use Gymnasium), previously used for the carnival and craft fair, will be devoted, in its entirety, to the expanded carnival. Therefore, causing the craft fair to be transferred to Colonie’s Varsity Soccer Field along with the wellness exhibition and the new farmer’s market.

To start the festivities of the day, Colonie High school associate principal, William Roemer, will organize a kids fun-run starting at 11:00 in an effort to bring families in earlier. To avoid having the 5K race at the same time as the Freihofer's® Run-for-Women race, the Raiderfest committee has moved it to 3:00 in the afternoon. Finally, the main focus for Thomas Kachadurian is to keep many of the families at Raiderfest for the 5:00 Relay-for-Life where the general mood of the day changes from festive to hope.

In 2014, Raiderfest earned $15,000 for the American Cancer Society and Thomas Kachadurian desires to increase that to at least $20,000 by bringing in new activities to attract more people.    

The Importance of a School ID

Olivia Daby

     The Colonie High School library staff is under a great amount of pressure. After the

devastating events that have occurred in recent years, the guidelines for library use have been

made more strict. The library staff is responsible for hundreds of different students each day,

causing pressure on the staff to meticulously keep track of attendance. Mrs. Brown, one of the

school librarians has some insight on the policy changes.

     The current policy on entrance into the library is either the combination of a standard

school ID and a signed pass from a teacher or an honor’s ID. This differs from past years in

the fact that a student only would need a pass or honor’s ID . Mrs. Brown says that these

changes have come about because there has never been a truly successful safety drill, and

there needs to be more accountability.

     As of December, the policies are still in a transition-like period, and the benefits of

the changes remain unclear. Mrs. Brown has also noticed a frustration in students, due to the

lack of understanding of the importance of these rules. It has been a difficult task to enforce

the regulations because budget cuts have led to less staff. Although there are interns that

run the library, there are still other problems, like some students not receiving their ID cards

and resistance from students. She hopes that this policy will make the school a safer place to

be, especially if there were to be an emergency. As for a somewhat popular topic around the

school, the security cameras, they have always been there. It seems as though no one has

noticed them before they recently were replaced. When they did get replaced, however there

were a lot of questions asked.

     The librarians have support from the administration, but they still feel that there is an

underuse of IDs. There was a loss to the convenience of printing IDs right in the library, and

according to Mrs. Brown, that has made it very difficult to help students replace their cards.

Speaking on behalf of the entire library staff, Mrs. Brown says that they have the best of

intentions. They want to prepare and educate for the real world. “Students want to be treated

like adults, but cannot be responsible for simple things. College students know that their ID

cards are their life and they cannot go anywhere without it, and we should be practicing that

here in high school.” Instead of what the ideal scenario to her would be, students think that the

rule does not apply to them, and they disobey.

     Mrs. Brown hopes to find a creative solution to the problems that have arised. The

matter of library policy is weighing heavily on her at this point in time. There is a great deal of

pressure on all staff to keep students safe, but even more emphasis is being placed on library

staff due to the large amount of student visitation every day. ###

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The New Main Entrance

Michelle Luo

Around noon, a parent walked in the main entrance of Colonie Central High School. She needed to drop-off books for her daughter. Instead of going through the second set of doors or going to find someone, she simply put down the books on the side bench and scribbled away on a clipboard placed there. Then, she left. That was the new policies of the school this year. The school introduced a new security system along with the new structure of the new main entrance. Now, after 7:30am, all the school doors lock. People have to enter through the main entrance, which requires them to buzz in.

In the summer of 2014, the South Colonie School District renovated the main entrance of Colonie Central High School. Construction started after the school year of 2013-2014 ended. The Board of Education members wanted to bring this change to the main entrance since years ago. They wanted to create a safer environment inside the school with a new security system, and they wanted to create a convenient handicap accessible entrance for the disabled. Although the project to build the new main entrance started years ago, the actual construction did not start until years later. The project required many steps before it could have been approved by the state. The project received grants from the state, but members still had to get the blueprints down. Then, they had to wait for the construction bidding and for bonds to get passed. “It was really quite the process,” stated Mr. Robilotti, the building principle.

This process to advance the school building is appreciated by many of the students and faculties. Many students felt the same way that the Board of Education members felt about the old main entrance. They saw the old main entrance as outdated, inconvenient, and not well-regulated. Brittany Moeske, a senior at the high school, thought this should have been done way earlier because the old main entrance was “long-overdue.” Another senior, Courtney Yule says, “The renovations are tremendous and is extremely beneficial to the school community.” Mark Fisher, a school staff says, “This is the future… it represents the society we live in now days. Ever since the 9/11 incident, safety became a major issue. This change for safety is paramount.”

The rebuilding of the main entrance shows the advancement of the school toward a safer and better school community. The people in need of handicap accessible doorways used to have to go all the way to the far end of the school to enter. The process was inconvenient and unfair to those individuals. The new entrance, which has four handicap accessible ramps, helps many people. It also has a new built in security system, which helps regulate the amount of traffic in school. With the new policies, people cannot enter the school without being inspected. This promotes a safer environment for the students and faculties. Colonie Central High School took a huge step in improving the school environment for everyone.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Growing Gay/Straight Alliance

Amber Holt

The club members of the Gay Straight Alliance wore welcoming smiles as they pushed their desks into a circle centered in the classroom. More desks were added to the circle than needed, in case more students wanted to join. Throughout the meeting, a number of curious faces peered through the window on the classroom door. Mrs. Lukasik, an advisor, left the room to invite them in, but most students denied her offer.
            The Gay Straight Alliance has been a part of Colonie for a long time. For the last couple years, however, the club had very few members, and most students forgot about its existence. The low number of students didn’t discourage current members. Believing that Colonie Central High School didn’t have a Gay Straight Alliance, two students Oliver Mohrmann and Cassidy-Carter Gorman raised more than one hundred signatures to start one. They both joined after realizing the Gay Straight Alliance has been in the school for years. Oliver Mohrmann said the signatures still sat in his folder. This school year, the Gay Straight Alliance is back with many more members. Everyone who is a part of the growing club is beginning to once again raise awareness that they exist and should be heard. Students can now hear news about the Gay Straight Alliance on the morning announcements, but they still have a lot of questions about the club.

"I feel like people don't know what it's about," said active club member Gianna Ross. So what is the Gay Straight Alliance all about? In the past, this club has ranged from being very vocal to more of a support group for students at the school. When asked the question, the students attending the meeting on December 2nd responded with many different answers. 
"To spread awareness on what is ok to say to people, and what isn't ok to say to people," said Cassidy-Carter Gorman. The members of Gay Straight Alliance brought up several issues that students face daily during their meeting such as transphobia, prejudice, stereotypes, and ignorance from both students and teachers. 
"When I go into the locker room, I get dirty looks," said Oliver Mohrmann while describing some of the problems he faces in school. Gay Straight Alliance is a very open club, where any issue can be discussed without being thrown down. Just like every member who mentioned a problem of their own, the group discussed what he could do about these issues, and gave him advice.
Gay Straight Alliance offers support for students, and spreads awareness about not only the troubles that they face, but what the community around them can do about it. "This club inspires a more positive outlook on everything," said Val Marcil when asked about the GSA. During the meeting, the group thought of several ideas to present the club and raise awareness.
"We should draw eyes to our club in a positive way. If something is fun and exciting, people will be attracted to it and that's what we want to do," said Cassidy-Carter Gorman during the discussion.
So why aren't more students interested in the Gay Straight Alliance at Colonie Central High School? "I feel like people don't want to join this club because they don't want to be associated with 'gay'," Val Marcil answered. "A lot of people are afraid of being accused of being a part of a sexuality that is not their own." Many students may feel this way, but Mrs. Hecht, a club advisor, has assured this club has always had a straight presence. The students who attended the meeting, attended with open minds and were very diverse. New members have nothing to fear, because the strong sense of community during the meeting will make any student feel welcome.
The Gay Straight Alliance is ready to take on this school year with bright ideas and welcoming smiles. Club meetings are on every other Tuesday in room 117 in the English wing. All students are welcome and are able to gather more information by listening to the morning announcements, or contacting Mrs. Hecht and Mrs. Lukasik. The members of the Gay Straight Alliance have plenty of desks that can be filled.

How to Find a Bae

Courtney Yule
    In 2014 the word bae has appeared on twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and text messages. The pop culture reference popularity has increased within the last few months. The word’s definition is “Before Anyone else”, “A shortened term for Babe”, and “A boy/ girlfriend”. Although students at Colonie High already refer to each other as bae, this articles purpose is to help find you someone special.
    While hunting for bae, keep in mind the quoteAppearance rules the world” by Johann Schiller. According to Lexi Secor, a senior at Colonie Central High school, “you got to dress to impress” she said. Teens crave a mysterious partner. For example, the Twilight Saga’s characters embody this secretive and illusive behavior. The clothing choices of Jacob Black, if he is not shirtless, and Edward Collins led to thousands of girls drooling over them. If Twilight seems outdated, this year’s film If I Stay by R.J Culter presents another character, named Adam, who is perfect. According to William Golding, a senior at Colonie Central High school, dress as if “you care about what you look like, but don’t have the energy to look good” he said.     
    Next, Golding advises me girls love socially awkward men.
“Why is he sitting alone not talking to people?” he said should be a positive thing a girl thinks about. This strategy has worked well for William Golding. He has found two baes since applying these tactics.
    Now that you understand how to look, let’s discuss where bae could potentially be. According to Mrs. Nielsen, an art teacher, adults tend to use internet websites, bars, and work to find significant others. The internet helps adults know traits of compatible partners easily, but students do not have access to these resources. Therefore, school and friends become reliable sources. What if you are not attracted to anyone in your school? Go out and explore, enjoy singlehood, or find more about yourself.
    Now let’s talk about the approach. We know approaching a crush is nerve wracking, so take a deep breath and relax. Mrs. Nielsen shared to me some advice. First, be yourself. As simple as this sounds honesty builds long lasting relationships. When we go on a date, extending the truth seems exciting, yet we need understand lying causes more issues. “If I am interested in a relationship. Then I am not going to be really be working to impress somebody. That isn’t me. (SIC)” she said. Mrs. Nielsen shared a story with me about what a man asked her on a date. “If you’re like this on a first date, what are you going to be like, after we’ve know each other a month? (SIC)”, and her simple reply was “I’ll be exactly the same”. Once you introduce yourself, you talk, and “then you worry about the rest or you don’t worry” says Mrs. Nielsen.
Now that you know how what bae is and how to obtain one, go out and try these tips. Remember relationships require work, but they should not affect your grades or happiness. Therefore, spend your time wisely in high school. Direct your attention on activities you enjoy. Who knows, bae could a participant within the club?

Feminism for Everyone

Aine Geraghty

“Go make me a sandwich.” Well of course dear, but only if you promise to choke on it. Newsflash Mr. Suave, my gender does not make me your slave. Yes, I am a woman. I can be delicate and sweet, and even put together one hell of a sandwich. But I also can also be intelligent, strong, and venomous when I’m treated like less of a person because I wear a bra.
            I am a feminist. Not because I’m trying to be a part of the latest social movement or because I hate men and would like to see them trampled into the ground. I am a feminist because I can no longer stand by and do nothing with the knowledge that my gender puts ridiculous restrictions and false judgment on me. I am desperately searching to achieve the same opportunities as men and to know that the body I live in is completely my own to make decisions for. Not to mention the fact that females and their bodies are enormously over sexualized, making one of feminists’ goals to be ensuring that women feel powerful and that they are more than a pair of boobs. The fact alone that feminists are stereotyped as being “butch” or “crazy” or “lesbians” only further proves the point that feminism is needed. Women are diverse, but I assure you that the majority of us, no matter what we look like or who we love, want to be treated like equals to men. But I mean, who is surprised that a movement run, for the most part, by women is mocked? NO ONE. And, notice that I didn’t say the movement’s participant were all women. There are male feminists too, both gay and straight, that fight for the genders to be equal.
            Now, let me take a moment to address some of the main issues women face in their daily lives. First off, women are treated as jokes. The fact that there are still people who believe the “Get back in the kitchen” line is humorous makes me sick to my stomach. Men treat women as objects, as machines that are only good for two things: chores and sex. How can people believe the human race is so advanced when half of our species is treated with less respect than a household pet? For God’s sake, black widows have more female empowerment than humans do.
            Then, we have the infamous catcalling. Neanderthal minded men whistle and call to women passing by on the street, women who are just trying to get to work or enjoy their day without being made to feel uncomfortable. The most ridiculous thing about this action is that some men can’t comprehend why women would be bothered by this. Why are they being so stuck up? What, they don’t like compliments? Um, no. If I were standing at a bus stop in a nice new dress and a man waiting for the bus as well saw my outfit and told me he thought it looked stunning, I would be flattered. But if he were to make a comment about how “sexy” I was in the dress or say something about how short it was, I would feel wildly uncomfortable. There is a difference between paying a woman a nice compliment that will make her day as she passes by you and acting like a caveman as you shout sexual or suggestive comments at her when she is trying to go about her day. I work in retail and customers, some being male, often tell me I’m a beautiful young girl and compliment my buzzed haircut. That makes me feel so nice. But when creepy male customers come in and ask for my number, I usually try to get away from them as soon as possible.
            There are so many more female issues, but the last two I will make a point to address are abortion and rape. Human bodies are sacred. They are our own private temples that we live in. It is up to us to decide who gets to see inside, but when someone forces entry into it, you can imagine that it feels like your beautiful temple has turned into a pile of rubble. That is exactly what rape does to a person. Their bodies have be trespassed upon and vandalized. That’s bad enough, but then imagine being blamed for what happened to you. Insane, right? Well that’s usually the reality of the situation. Blaming the victim has become somewhat routine in rape cases and that is highly unacceptable. Women get blamed for their sexual assaults because of what they were wearing or how they were acting. The bottom line is that if the woman does not consent, its rape and the blame falls completely on the rapist. The idea we should be planting in people’s head is that you shouldn’t rape, not that you should always be cautious so you don’t get raped. Imagine someone robbing your house only to be told it was your fault because you left the lights on. That would never happen. The same should be true for our bodies. Then to add on to the absurdity, it actually has to be voted on if women can get an abortion. It’s okay to stick to your religious beliefs and have a personal opinion on the matter but that has to stay separate from our government and our bodies. It’s honestly laughable to me that men think they have the right to a say in the matter when they’re not the ones carrying another human in them. And it’s not like babies just quickly make their way into the world with no stress. These women have to carry them around for nine months with all the fun side effects of pregnancy, and we all know child birth is a breeze. The worst is when rape and abortion come together. Sometimes rape victims get pregnant from their attacker, and then they are made to feel evil when they don’t want to keep the baby. I don’t want to hear that “God works in mysterious ways” garbage, how about you address the fact that these women then have to walk around with the horrible reminder of what happened to the for nine months. Yes, perhaps that child could have cured cancer, but so could the mother who would have less of a chance if she kept the baby, especially if it’s a teen pregnancy.
            Out of all of this, my biggest problem lately lies with the women who stand against feminism. I can’t wrap my mind around it. These women like being made to feel inferior to men? They like being sexualized and treated like an object? Their reasoning is “It’s just a fact that men are smarter and stronger than women. Get over it.” I hope you’re joking, because the only thing I’m going to “get over” is my test scores over those of my male peers. I’m not saying I’m smarter than every man, nor am I saying women are the stronger sex. I realize that due to the way our bodies are built, men tend to be physically stronger. Does that make them better than woman? Not in a million years. Women need to realize that we aren’t trying to ruin their dream of having a muscular Prince Charming sweep them off their feet and treat them like a flower petal for the rest of their life, if that’s what they are in to. Feminists just want equality. And some ladies that claim to be feminists need to realize that cannot be true if they are tearing down other women. This movement is about empowering females, so when such things like “slut-shaming” occur, it only belittles the progress we have made as a sex.
            Feminism is for everyone because it’s about equality, which effects everyone in some way. Females are worth admiring, just as men are, and it’s about time that everyone realized that. Girls will eventually reach the level of respect and rights that men have, and I assure you that everyone who made their fight to be equal more of a struggle, they will be tasting the bitter sandwiches they had to make with their own hands.