Friday, January 23, 2015


Aine Geraghty

01/22/15

           

 Sarah Ruane was the absolute coolest lady I have ever had the pleasure to speak to. An interview was arranged for us this past Tuesday, and we met in the school library for a chat on her career as a journalist. Previous to our conversation, I had a preset characterization of those in the field in journalism field; they were very serious and centered every conversation around what was the biggest story in the news at the current time. But Sarah delivered me a happy surprise. While being very straightforward and factual in her answers to my inquiries, she gave off the witty vibe that is so very often seen in her brother, Colonies own Kevin Ruane. Her aura matched that of one of your moms cool friends, the one that would babysit you, buy you a milkshake and introduce you to My So Called Life. Completely in awe of her already, I knew our interview would be beyond enjoyable.

           Sarah grew up in Voorheesville, New York and attended high school there as well. After graduating, she went on to get a four year degree in broadcast journalism at Ithaca College. She explained that declaring her major specifically broadcast journalism only meant that in her senior year she mainly did TV and production, but still took print journalism classes as well. Surprisingly though, she shared that she never really participated in any writing or reporting activities outside of her normal classes. She did, however, get an internship in her junior year at News Channel 13. It was a lot of watching, she explained, Watching them put the pieces together, and then I sat on the set while they were anchoring. It was mostly observation based.

Quite like myself, Sarah found her love for writing originally in the fact that she had no interest in math or science. I didnt have an interest in them like I did in English, in reading and writing. And then I don't really know where the news came from. I always just liked it. I dont know, that probably made me a nerd when I was little. She just seemed to find interest in the fact that the writing was creative without being fictional. It doesnt really come as a surprise that Sarah found herself writing though, seeing as her brother is now an English teacher and her parents were always big readers who encouraged their kids to do the same. We both sort of just found our way there, was her explanation for how she and her brothers occupations came to be. But with a background of supportive English professors in her own school years, Sarah always had writing and reading laced into her life one way or another.

          After gathering as to how she came to be where she is today, I had to know where exactly this place was. Sarahs normal work day as the Assignment Desk Supervisor and Internship Coordinator involves an arrival at seven, and a morning meeting at 9:15. The two hours in between gives her the chance to organize and plan for the rest of the days possible events and stories. After the morning meeting, which ends roughly around 10:30, Sarah gets on a conference call with all the other assignment editors from across the state. We kind of just let each other know if there is a cool statewide story, she explained. The idea of different stations actually helping each other out, for the common goal of getting the news out, was refreshing. Its nice to know its not all about the ratings. The rest of her day is mainly about keeping watch on the police scanners for stories, and making sure the stories that are already out there are being taken care of. Lastly, there is a viewing of the other stations broadcasts. Its good for the producers to see exactly how the other stations are, we call it stacking their shows, which basically just means what order they're putting things in. And before her departure home, Sarah tries to take a look ahead at the next days possible stories, so she isn't walking in cold every day. She doesnt usually end up leaving work until five though, so she can stay for the reporter deadline in case they need help on a piece. The job does get hectic a lot she confessed, but then went on to say that thats just the nature of the entire business. The police scanners she sits in front of never stop going off with a variety of reports and the phones are constantly ringing, which does bring

 some stress to the job. But despite the craziness of the job, Sarah never wishes she had a different career. She explained that the days that are the craziest are the days that we all hope for. And while she doesn't mean her and her colleagues wish for horrible events to occur in a Lemony Snicket type manner, the slow days are the ones that the reporters so desperately want a story for.
Caroline Halburian
January 14, 2015



    Red and yellow signs with the trademark golden arches resembling the McDonalds fast food chains show on television during the NFL playoffs and Golden Globes in a commercial. But these signs didn’t display the normal “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan, the signs featured messages of support after devastating events.
    Highlighting the loving in the “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan and associating it with a positive motion, “We Remember 911” and Boston Strong” are a few of the messages that McDonalds has displayed. Other messages thanked veterans, or were more personal and wished individuals in the community a happy birthday.
These messages provoked strong reactions, with some saying they were moved by it and others saying it's tacky for a company to use tragic events to burnish its image. Being the world's biggest hamburger chain and fast food provider people saw this as mediocre.
Devon Edwards an eighteen year-old who has worked at McDonalds before, “knows the intention was to portray McDonalds as a community loving restaurant, but for those who have lost loved ones in tragedies such as 911 and the Boston Massacre, these people will take this motion from the fast food chain supplying unhealthy food negatively.”
Other companies have faced even sharper backlash for trying to incorporate national tragedies into their marketing. In 2013, for instance, AT&T was criticized for an ad that featured New York's recovery after the September 11th attacks while showing off its new smartphones. AT&T was trying to sell their new merchandise by capturing their viewers’ attention with this
                    horrible event.
    McDonald franchises delivered messages about more than Happy Meals and the latest toy you’ll receive inside of each box. The company is working to strengthen their ties in communities and redeem themselves from their reputation as the food chain that distributes unhealthy food.
                       


Alexandra Summa                                                                                                                                          

01/20/2015

 

                She can barely move. For the fourth day in a row, she drags herself out of bed after missing the first two alarms. Her eyes are heavy and her motivation is at an all-time low. She leaves the house half asleep, wearing the same outfit she fell asleep in. Although she doesn’t yet realize it, her underclassmen friends noticed days ago. She has a classic case of Senioritis.

            “I don’t even want to wake up or get dressed anymore,” senior Missy Vadney said. “I remember seeing other seniors deal with this, and I never understood where it came from. Now that I’m in their position, I completely understand.”

            Symptoms include a heavy dose of laziness and trouble focusing. All from four years of repeating the same routine. Senior Matt Wordworths case of senioritis came with an excessive desire to wear sweatpants every day and a low motivation for school work. He believes his senioritis is progressively going to get worse throughout the school year.

            Katie agrees, feeling senioritis only gets worse. While she attempts to push herself to be productive, a strong sense of low-motivation kicks in, leaving her case of senioritis worse than ever. “I also knew it was bad when work for my easy classes, started feeling difficult.”

            While the urges are strong, senior Ali Catalfamo fights to keep her focus. She understands that colleges are still carefully monitoring grades and says it is important to stay motivated.

 “I think it is important to stay focused because students still have to pass their classes,” Catalfamo said. “Colleges can easily take away admission if they see a student failing classes because those are not the grades they saw when the students applied.”

            To Missy, staying focused is a daily battle and she is ready for the only known cure to senioritis: graduation. “Every day for four years, it’s been the same thing and I think everyone’s ready to move on,” she said. The only thing that can fix senioritis is graduation, and as the day becomes closer, it becomes harder to focus.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Michelle Luo
January 9, 2015

         The holidays are coming to an end as December passes, and a new year is beginning. A tradition that has been common for decades for the New Years is the New Year’s resolution. This is when people plan a goal for themselves to accomplish for the upcoming year. Many people tend to have plans for dieting, studying, or earning money. The New Year’s resolution sets a goal for people to be motivated and ambitious for the events that will come the following year. But in Colonie Central High School, some students think differently about the idea of having a new year’s resolution.  
                 
         Some students in Colonie Central High School (CCHS) were asked if they had a New Year’s resolution, and most of them answered, “No.” When they were asked why, multiple reasons were given. “I don’t like the idea of it. I think it’s kind of pointless. I mean it’s not bad, but I just don’t come up with a New Year’s resolution,” said Megan Justice, a CCHS student. “I think it’s so dumb. You don’t need a holiday to make you determined to do something. If you really are motivated, the goal can be set anytime in the year,” stated Anjelique Washington, a CCHS student. Some students, like Acacia Morris a student in CCHS, think that it is more important to see what they encounter the next year before coming up with a resolution for the future. “This is why I don’t like to have a New Year’s resolution,” she stated.
                       
           Although some students don’t like the New Year’s resolution, other students have mutual feelings toward it. Some students might come up with one, but then never fulfill it. Neha Meshal, another CCHS student said, “My resolution was to give up pizza, but then I broke it already. I think if you believe the New Year’s resolution works, then, do it. If you don’t believe in it, then, don’t do it.” It is not something they must do, or something that must be set. Rather, it is something to improve or help the people through the New Year. “It is like a time to reflect on what you did and what you want to do. For me, it is not really forming a resolution, but more like acknowledging a problem. I want to do a lot of stuff, but I never get to it. I just want to be a better person and change my habits for the next year and forever. So, it’s not really setting a goal,” said Oneida Shushe, a CCHS student. Other students in CCHS like Courtney Yule says, “I just roll with it, you know, go with the flow. But I don’t come up with a resolution. I don’t even think people do it anymore.”
                
            The students of CCHS are in a new generation, which have a different perspective on the idea of New Year’s resolution. They think that goal setting and changing themselves for the better throughout the year, is better than a onetime thing to set at the end of the year. Even though most students think this way, there are still some people who like to stick to the holiday spirits of creating a New Year’s resolution. Allegra Padula, a CCHS high school senior, stated, “What, yes it is important to have one! It is always good and relevant to have goals and improve yourself.” Many students have different opinions on it now. It can be important to some people or not to others.
                   


Stephanie Cook
 
            Every year, the graduating class comes to a point where they are sick of being in high school. This idea is associated with the word: senioritis. Once college acceptance letters and financial aid packages are received, many students don’t see the reason to keep trying academically. In Colonie High School, the class of 2015 differs on when they believe senioritis hits and its effects.
Katelyn O’Keefe, a member of the senior class, believes that senioritis is triggered when students begin receiving acceptance letters from colleges. Once kids start planning out there future, “What’s the point?” O’Keefe states. She is a firm believer in senioritis and claims that she has had the disease for months now. O’Keefe defines senioritis as, “The feeling of not wanting to be in school or do work because you’re going to college.” Senioritis makes students lazy and less likely to maintain their high marks from previous years. I asked O’Keefe if she had any words of advice for students struggling to make it through senior year, and she said, “Just keep working hard because you need to pass high school first.”
Another senior, Aine Geraghty, has been struggling to get through her case of senioritis as well. “Ugh I’ve had senioritis since mid-junior year,” Geraghty states with a scowl. Senioritis has become a loss of motivation and a desire to sleep 24/7. Geraghty feels that, “Getting a zero for not doing homework becomes less painful than actually doing the assignment.” She believes that sending out applications begins the tragic epidemic, and once a student starts receiving acceptance letters it all goes downhill.  It feels like “hitting a wall,” according to Geraghty, and then students just get overwhelmed by the full force of senioritis. Geraghty’s words or advice to struggling seniors are “to create a schedule laced with things that you enjoy”. For example, she comes home and has a snack because she enjoys food, then does an assignment. Then she chooses to watch a movie and get more work done. The key is a healthy balance.
              As seniors continue to struggle with their lack of excitement for high school, it is important to keep in mind the end goal. The class of 2015 is almost at their 100 day countdown to the last day of school, and then the real world begins. Students must focus on the present in order to achieve future goals, and most of all; enjoy senior year. It only happens once.
   




Learning From Tragedy
Amber Holt


Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year old transgender girl committed suicide by throwing herself in front of incoming traffic shortly after posting a suicide note online. A tractor-trailer hit Leelah on Interstate 71 about 2:15 a.m. on December 28, about four miles from her house in Kings Mills, Ohio. Her suicide note states that she killed herself because of the treatment she received after coming out as transgender.
    She begins her suicide note with, "Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4." Leelah came out to her mother as transgender at the age of 14. Her mother reacted negatively towards her feelings, claiming it was a phase and that she'll never be a girl.
Leelah explained her conservative Christian home that didn't accept her as anything but a straight Christian boy. At the age of 16, her parents Doug and Carla Alcorn denied their consent for her to begin the transitioning progress. She then came out as gay to her high school in a way to ease herself into coming out as transgender. Most of her classmates knew of her as a boy before her suicide, only finding out after her death.
    While Leelah received positivity from her friends in school, her parents were only angered by her actions. Her parents isolated their daughter, she was cut off from social media and any contact with her friends. Leelah posted on Reddit months before her suicide, that her parents forced her into conversion therapy, bullied her, told her she was going to hell, and isolated her from her friends. A portion of Leelah's last words stated, "This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness."
    At the end of the school year, her punishment was lifted, but Leelah claimed that her friends were initially excited to see her, but they didn't really care about her. "After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like s*** because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough."
Leelah Alcorn finishes her suicide note by stating she wants her possessions to be sold, the money earned and the money in her bank account would be donated to Trans civil rights movements and support groups.
    The last words Leelah ever wrote are, "The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s f***** up” and fix it. Fix society. Please." She signed her name as (Leelah) Josh Alcorn, with the name Josh crossed out.
    After Leelah's suicide, her parents still refuse to acknowledge her real gender. Her parents continue to use her former name and male pronouns. "He was an amazing musician and artist," her mother said. "He was an amazing boy." Carla and Doug also had her blog removed from Tumblr, the website where she posted her suicide note and a few sorry notes to those she knew. Internet users uploaded a saved archive of her blog without their permission which is here- https://web.archive.org/web/20150102043958/http://lazerprincess.tumblr.com/. There is controversy over whether or not her parents deserve the hate they received over social media.
Leelah Alcorn's funeral was postponed for its original date due to the threats her parents received, and a private funeral was held. Meanwhile a candle vigil was held in front of Kings High School, where she attended. Hundreds gathered at the vigil, with their candles lit. There was music, poetry, mourning, and discussions on what they could do for the transgender community. More than a dozen other vigils were held in and out of the U.S.
    Leelah's suicide brought more awareness to the poisonous relationship between transgenders and coversion therapy. A petition was posted to whitehouse.gov to ban conversion therapy in the United States. This petition is titled "Leelah's Law" and stated that "Therapists that engage in the attempt to brainwash or reverse any child's gender identity or sexual orientation are seriously unethical and legislation is needed to end such practices that are resulting in LGBTQ+ deaths. We respectfully seek your help to ban the practice known as 'conversion therapy' and name the bill in honor of Leelah Alcorn." So far the petition received more than 35,000 signatures, and an endless amount of support.
    Leelah's death was tragic, and some debated over whether a suicide such as her's should be given so much attention. Others point out that Leelah's last words were a plea for change, and that the issues that the transgender community faces has to be brought to attention. However, either side makes it clear that Leelah Alcorn will not be forgotten any time soon.

   

Friday, January 16, 2015

Avalanche


Caroline Best



Two U.S. Ski Team prospects were killed on Monday, January 5, when an avalanche was triggered. According to Fox News, they were training in the Austrian Alps for an international competition. Eric Willemsen of the Associated Press reports that an avalanche alert had been declared prior to the incident, because of recent heavy snowfall and mild temperatures.
 Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, were skiing near the Rettenbach glacier in the mountains over Soelden. According to Christopher Kamrani of The Salt Lake Tribune, Berlack and Astle were part of a group of six skiers descending from the 10,026-foot Gaislachkogel. The four other skiers were able to escape unharmed.
According to Tom Kelly, spokesperson for the United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA), Monday wasn’t a training day. He said that the six skiers were free skiing the mountain when the avalanche occurred. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Kelly said “rescuers were able to extricate them in a moderate amount of time, but they were pronounced dead on the scene."
Berlack, who grew up in New Hampshire, was a member of the Franconia Ski Club. Fox News reports that Berlack was a student-athlete at Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy. After two top-20 finishes at the 2013 U.S. national championships and a spring tryout camp, he was named to the development team for potential World Cup racers.
Rich Smith, program director at the Franconia Ski Club told the Associated Press “there’s not enough words to say what a great guy Ronnie Berlack was and always will be.” Both of Berlack’s parents are ski coaches and his father is a ski coach for Burke Mountain Academy.
Astle was one of the top-ranked slalom skiers in the U.S.  Fox News explained that after two top-10 results at NorAm Cup and other impressive early season results, he was invited to train with the development team. In a post on a U.S. Ski and Snowboard site, Astle explained how he was ready for the next level. He said he was ready to achieve his goals and greatness.
Astle grew up in Utah and graduated from Brighton High School. The Salt Lake Tribune mourned his death in an article that expresses the shock of Astle’s friends and mentors. Andy Siddoway, one of Astle’s best friends, described him as “one of the happiest kids I ever met” and “in love with skiing.”
This incident came as a shock to these two U.S. Team prospect’s friends, family, mentors, and hometowns. Laura Astle, Astle’s mother told the Associated Press that her son “was hoping to be in the next Olympics, that was his goal, and he was pretty much on his way."
Katie Ryan, a member of the Alpine B Team, reflects on this incident by posting on her blog, according to CNN. She posted about the risks skiers face by saying "It could have been any one or all of those six boys caught in that avalanche. It could have been any two of my teammates. It could have been me."