Travelling for Dummies

by Lauren

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Ever look at an empty suitcase right before you have to leave on a trip? Do you feel the anxiety or frustration creep into you as you throw clothes all over looking for what you think you need? Packing today is not what it used to be. Not only do you have to deal with just getting a full week of necessities ready, you also have the added restrictions from airports and airlines. Hopefully this article will help you get a jump start on the packing that you have dreaded for weeks now.  

Packing 101

The first step to packing is know your destination and the type of clothing you will need. Then you can decide on what is appropriate for the situation. If you are going to the beach, you will want a bathing suit; if you are going sightseeing you will want a comfortable pair of shoes.  The goal to packing is to pack what you will need, not end up with an overflowing suitcase. Packing with variety is a good way to ensure you always have what you need, but if you are going to a beach, a heavy jacket is not going to help you. Just remember to keep it simple and pack for necessity.

Airport Wiz

 Airports today are often hectic and have many rules. To make sure you are on the right side of those rules, always check with your airline on what they allow and what they don’t.  The basic allowed weight for a checked bag without paying extra is 50lbs. If you are carrying your suitcase on, your bag must be no more than 45 inches; length + width + depth of the bag. Additionally, airlines allow you one extra bag aside from your carryon bag that can be stored beneath your feet.  This bag should be small, such as a briefcase, purse, or camera bag.

Any gear you carry onto the plane must pass airport security or TSA. TSA rules state that sharp, flammable, or dangerous items may not be carried onto the plane. For all you guys out there, bringing your pocket knife is not a good idea. TSA also has a rule that any liquids may not exceed 3.4 ounces and must be held in a clear plastic container.  Always remember to double check what you pack; this will help you avoid a surprise bag inspection at airport security.  If you are unsure about a certain item you are packing or any questions, the TSA has a very helpful website:   http://www.tsa.gov/

Out-of-the-Country Essentials

When traveling out of the country, it is important to do your research on the particular country or area you are going to. During your research, check for any warnings such as dangerous areas, a high crime rate, or any other hazardous conditions in your destination.  Also, check if there are restrictions or requirements on goods, certain foods, and information/ identification papers.  Identification and passports are required so double check that you have them before you leave. If you are going to another country, look to see if your resort or hotel has different plugs and outlets, as you may need to purchase an adaptor.

A country’s currency may be different, so compare the value between the currencies and find out where you can exchange it for your destinations.  Usually there is a kiosk in the airport that will be available for an exchange. Packing for an international trip is much harder than staying within your own country. It is always best to pack slowly and ahead of time so you can remember all that you need. 

The Toiletry Bag

                One of the most important pieces in your luggage is your toiletry bag. This contains your liquids and basic hair, face, and body supplies.  Here is a simple list of what you may need.  This does not include everything. If you have a need for glasses, contacts, retainers, or any other supplies, don’t forget to include those. 

 

Girls

 

Boys

Toothbrush & Toothpaste Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Face wash & Moisturizer & Makeup

Face wash & Moisturizer & Shaving Cream & Razor

Hair care products (brush, pony-tails, ect.) Deodorant
Razor Hair gel/product
Deodorant / Perfume Nail care (Nail clippers)
Advil/Tylenol  (medication needed) Advil / Tylenol (medications needed)

A one-week beach vacation

Here is an example of a one week beach vacation clothes packing list. This does not include everything; it is just a simple guide on what you might bring on vacation with you.

 

Girls

 

Boys

7 days of under garments 7 weeks of under garments
6 pairs of shorts 6 pairs of shorts
1 dress 1 pair of pants
1 sweater 1 light jacket
1 beach sandals, 1 sandals, 1 sneakers (socks) 1 beach sandals, 1 sandals, 1 sneakers (socks)
2-5 bathing suits 2-5 swim trunks
Sunglasses, tanning lotion / sun block Sunglasses, tanning lotion / sun block

Now you are all set-good luck, and enjoy your vacation!

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Class Enrollment for Dummies

by Lauren

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It is weird to say that this year is almost over. Now is the time to start choosing your courses for next year.  For this year’s freshmen or next year’s sophomores, this process can be very overwhelming.  This year will be your first time picking out classes on your own. Today my job is to make this task a little easier for you by explaining a little more about your options.

To sign up for classes, first you must log into your PowerSchool account.  Once you are in the website, proceed to the “Class Registration” section in the toolbar on the side of your computer screen.  You will then be presented with a list of subjects. In the corner of each subject box there is a pencil. Click the pencil to open up another box with all the classes you are eligible to take. Once you have selected all your classes, you may click the “submit” button on the bottom.

Remember that each year there is a requirement of 35 credits.

To graduate, all students must have:

  • English, 4 Years
  • Social Studies, 1 Year World History
  • Social Studies, 2 Years United States History
  • Mathematics, 3 Years
  • Science, 3 Years (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics)
  • Health-Physical Education, 4 Years
  • 15 Credits in Physical Ed.
  • 5 Credits in Health
  • World Language, 1 Year
  • Visual or Performing Arts, 5 credits (equivalent of 1 Yr.)
  • Career Education – Consumer, Family Life Skills, 5 credits (equivalent of 1 Yr.)
    Vo-Tech Education
  • Financial, Economic, Business and
    Entrepreneurial Literacy 2.5 credits
    (Class of 2014 and beyond)

No need to start panicking—you will have four years to complete this. Financial Literacy, for example, is a required course that you will take one quarter during your sophomore year. This will be in the place of your study hall. This course includes useful information, and is something you can learn more about from talking to your guidance counselor.  If you book an appointment with the freshman guidance counselor, Mr. Lippart, he will help you make a four year plan that will include the courses that fill your requirements, and courses that you like, as well.

All guidance counselors came to English classes and explained how to choose courses on PowerSchool, as well as some of the options that are now available.  I sat down with Mr.Lippart to discuss the best tips and options for freshmen regarding their sophomore year schedule.

A huge difference between choosing classes for freshmen and sophomores is that for sophomores, they have more options to choose from. Also, sophomores have to pay more attention to the state graduate requirements.  Mr. Lippart explained that the best way to pick classes is by choosing what tells “your story” most thoroughly.

“Classes should show demonstrated interest and growth in the challenges you give yourself,” he added.

He urges students to not play “follow the leader” when picking classes. Just because your friends are picking a certain class does not mean you should too.  If you strongly dislike a particular class or topic, it might be a bad idea to take an honors class. 

During freshman year, there were many limitations on which classes you could take. Despite those issues, Ceramics and Woods are typically the most popular. During sophomore year, with more choices, a popular pick is Graphics.  But, it still all matters on your opinion. Mr. Lippart thinks Psychology is a great class, although it is not offered to freshmen or sophomores.  There is, however, an Introduction to Psychology class, a half-year course that is available sophomore year.

A great way to look at the classes and make your four year plan is go on the school website. Under the “Guidance” tab, you can find the course selection section. This area will have all the information you need. Also at the top left hand corner is the course catalog that is extremely helpful.  The catalog has every class described and a great graphic organizer that shows each class a course path you are eligible for each year.   This makes understanding the courses and making that four year plan so much easier.

Now that you have all the information you need to continue choosing classes, the process should be much easier.  Even if you get stuck, you can always ask a teacher or guidance counselor about their opinion.  You are the most important person in this process.  Don’t get stuck in a lame class because you followed your friends.  Go with your gut, and choose what right for you.

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A Night at the Oscars

by Billy

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This year’s group of films nominated for the Oscar Awards was strong across the board. Host Seth Macfarlane, creator of the hit show Family Guy, guided the audience through awards ranging from Best Sound Editing to Best Picture, and everything in between. There were 23 categories, but a majority of the films were nominated for multiple categories. The most prominent amongst the bunch were Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

You probably haven’t watched all of these movies, but I assure you the lineup was quite impressive. An impressive lineup, however, is only made possible by an impressive array of actors and producers. For example, Argo won the Best Picture category, which is not surprising considering Ben Affleck and George Clooney joined forces to produce the film. Bradley Cooper, who is the smoothest man alive, was nominated for Best Actor.  He lost, however, to Daniel-Day Lewis, who portrayed Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. This particular film was produced by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg produced the legendary Star Wars saga, so it is not farfetched that another one of his films was nominated for an award.

Familiar actors like Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix (the guy who appeared in Gladiator as Commodus, the evil prince,) Denzel Washington, and Anne Hathaway, were all nominated for awards, or were part of a film that was nominated for awards.

In addition to the “main” awards, there were categories for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and a couple of other technical aspects of movie making. To be honest, most people do not know the names of the most prominent tech crew members, but the technical aspects of a film are subtle, yet very important. Watching a movie in a theatre sets the perfect viewing setting, and amidst the candy, famous actors, and hot dates sitting next to us, we only register the technical works subconsciously.

But trust me, they are a largely important component to ensuring the enjoyment of all viewers. Sound editors have to use mixing boards to create the “cleanest” sound possible. I assume that their goal is to make the dialogue sound as if the viewers are in the same room as the actors. I cannot say I know how visual effects work, but they basically make the impossible possible.

For example, explosions and mythical creatures are all creations derived from computers. As technology advances, the people in charge of creating visual effects will be able to make impossible events look very real, which is why it is paramount that the audience appreciate the men who work behind the scenes. Their awards are well deserved.

In my opinion, the Oscars serve two purposes. The most obvious is to honor the people who are involved in making the productions that both capture our attention and make us think about real world issues. The second purpose is to advertise the movies that deserve attention. By commending various aspects of various films, it makes people privy to what they are missing by not watching movies. For that to happen, it is necessary for the Oscar presentation itself to be both interesting and honoring, which is why Seth Macfarlane’s ability to create humor was tactfully utilized. Who better to punctuate the more boring parts of a program with comic relief than one of the funniest guys on television?

While Seth Macfarlane was the main host, there was also a plethora of celebrities who announced the winners of each individual award. There was also an appearance from the talented musician Adele. I could rattle off a long list of names, but if there was an award for the most surprising and controversial appearance, first lady Michelle Obama would win unanimously. Thankfully, most of the controversy seemed to gravitate toward the nature of her appearance, as opposed to the more common form of controversy regarding attire.

I have never been someone who invested even minimal amounts of thought or research into understanding politics, yet from reading an article by Jack Kerwick, I have come to realize why her appearance was so controversial. At first, I simply assumed her appearance derived from the genuine desire to attend the ceremony. She is after all, a human being with interests and desires. I later realized that, as usual, politicians will read deeper into the “real” reason of why she was there. Some say it was to gain support from the politically uneducated who, like myself, would see her appearance as nothing more than a harmless visit from a woman who wanted to see the ceremony live, and just happened to be the first lady. To the politically uneducated, this would cast her in a light that made her seem involved and friendly.

The politically educated, however, have said that her appearance made the Obama’s seem weak, as if they were too overbearing in their attempt to be loved by America. Other say that her appearance encourages the appearances of celebrities at other cultural events, which retracts attention from the ceremony at hand and diverts it towards the celebrities in attendance.

In my opinion, people are thinking too far into the matter, and by doing so they are demeaning the actions of a woman who may have wanted to be a part of the ceremony. She wouldn’t have been able to appear unannounced, for obvious safety reasons, so it made sense that they incorporated her into the program.

Finally, I want to say that watching the Oscars was entertaining, but in reality the only aspect I really appreciated was the advertisement. It honestly made me want to go to the Monmouth Mall at once, and have a movie marathon.

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Spiders: The Eight-Legged Hunters

by Myles

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Spiders may be the most terrifying species on earth; no one wants anything to do with them.  However, they’re actually one of the most interesting. As for those who don’t care for spiders, they may not know or even understand their interesting qualities. Like Daddy Long Legs, for example.

Daddy Long Legs are most commonly considered spiders that don’t instinctively harm humans. As usual, people that do not understand spiders are corrected. Two experts by the names of Danielle and Noel from lhric.org, they found out that Daddy Long Legs are not spiders because they have six eyes instead of eight. Not only that, Daddy Long Legs are 1-20 mm in body length and 0.04 to 0.9 inches in length. Though being very small, Daddy Long Legs are venomous creatures.

In 2004, the TV show Myth Busters examined the myth regarding the effects of being bitten by a Daddy Long Leg. Many people believe that these spiders’ venom is the most poisonous, but that their teeth are not strong enough to puncture human skin.  One of the cast members were bitten by a single Daddy Long Leg. Though the “victim” reported mild burns in the punctured area, the pain quickly disappeared, just as it does with smaller insects that are bitten. This disproved this myth. The venom does affect an animal/human, but doesn’t cause death. Another interesting quality is the spider’s web.

Spider webs are the most common identifier of a spider’s presence. As many know, spiders construct their web or otherwise known as silk; they are common in areas of being strung are trees, bushes, blades of grass, and homes. They’re able to do this is by producing chains of amino acids, primarily glycine and alanine. Spider webs are five times stronger than steel and can stretch 30% longer than its original length. The reason how it can be so strong and flexiable, because from how quickly and tightly the silk is strung. This technique is what causes the webbing to be so strong and is why their prey have a hard time trying to escape.

There are many types of spider webs; funnel webs made by arachnids for tunnel-like habitats, orb webs that insects fly into, sheet webs made by Linyphiidae for capturing animals, and cobwebs made by cobweb spiders for capturing their prey inside homes. So anywhere spiders go, they create their nest completely made out of silk that are not only used for trapping their prey, but also living in the very spot their prey is tangled in.

On August 6, 2007, at Lake Tawakoni Park, rangers, who had been absent for two weeks, returned to find that the entire park was covered with several web sheets. The trees, bushes, and ground were covered. The webs that were tangling trees, the ground, and especially the bushes were intended to trap the animals in the forest. Web sheets have two layers; the first layer isn’t as sticky as the second layer, but its purpose is to scare animals into thinking they’re caught so they’ll break the layer into the sticky second layer. From here they are easier prey.

With webs strong enough to capture animals practically our size, spiders dramatically affect most people, resulting in Arachnophobia. Arachnophobia is an overwhelming fear of spiders in which even the sight of an empty web could cause panic.  However, there are also many cultures that love spiders and consider them a natural resource. Many Europeans ate them as much the French eat snails. So with spiders being so popular in so many ways, where does their reign of terror and deliciousness begin and end?

In Greek Mythology, there was a beautiful woman named Arachne who loved to weave tapestries. Her work was adored by others so much that she became arrogant and boastful. So she announced that she was the greatest weaver in the world, even better than the goddess Athena. Such a comment not only insulted Athena, but also the other Gods. So when Athena heard, she came down from Mount Olympus and threatened to kill Arachne. Though as she began to strike, Arachne offered Athena one of her best carpets and suprisingly changed the Goddess’s mind. Instead of killing Arachne, Athena challenged her to a weaving contest to see if Arachne’s comment was true.

The victor was no other than Arachne who not only won, but even impressed Athena. However, because she challenged the gods, Arachne was punished by Athena with the company of Zeus and turned her into what was once known as an insect, but is now known as a spider today. Today spiders are not known as insects or bugs, where we named the species “Arachnid” from the woman who challenged the gods.

There are many reasons to respect spiders.  First of all, they’re actually important to us humans. Without spiders, places that have crops with a large amount of vegetation would be consumed by insects, because they wouldn’t have a predator to prevent them from eating food primarily for humans. Most importantly, spiders are a form of protectors. As there are insects that like to bite humans for our blood, spiders can isolate insects away from us.

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Atlantis: A Spring Break Favorite

by Josh

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Spring break is a time that every student and teacher anticipates, and since the Rumson Fair-Haven student body was deprived of a winter break during the month of February, this year’s break will be a very appreciated time away from school.  It seems as though this year’s spring break hotspot was the Bahamas, more specifically the the Atlantis Resort . This place is extremely beautiful and has remained the most popular vacation spot during my tenure at Rumson Fair-Haven.

The Atlantis Resort is located in the Bahamas and first opened in 1998. With an average temperature between 70 and 80 degrees, you can spend nearly your entire stay outdoors, and with the countless attractions that Atlantis has, you are guaranteed a good time. The most popular attraction is the Adventure Water Park that covers a total of 141 acres and uses 200 million gallons. It has a combination of slides, a lazy river, and rapids that open into one large waterscape. The four main water slides in the water park are The AbyssThe DropThe Falls and The Surge.

Then there’s The Current which is a mile long water slide complete with waves and artificial tidal surges. Also there’s the Dig which is the resort’s aquarium located beneath one of the hotels. Hundreds of different species of fish can be found here along with varieties of sharks, manta rays and jelly fish.

Another very popular attraction is Atlantis Live, which is simply a chain of concerts hosting a slew of today’s pop icons. Taylor Swift, Justin Beiger, Katy parry, Sheryl Crow and Michael Jackson are only a handful of the big names that have made appearances here.

Personally during spring break I will be staying right here in Fair Haven, I may take a day trip or so to New York but the majority of my time will be spend at home and I’m actually happy about that. It’s nice sometimes to just stay home with your friends and enjoy some of the local attractions and that’s exactly what I plan to do. But regardless of where you travel this spring break is sure to make the most of it!

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The Evolution of the “Boy Band”

 by Emily

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Ever since the 60’s, boy bands have continued to be universal heartthrobs for tweens and teens worldwide. From the Beach Boys and the New Kids on the Block to NSYNC and the Jonas Brothers, something about these collective groups of all-American, innocent personas has led to sold out shows and massive fan bases. Boy bands were not only dominant in the 60-80’s but continue to be the center of attention. What is it that makes these modern boy bands pop culture icons? Obviously as the years passed, the “look” of boy bands has changed dramatically, but by comparing them, it is easy to see what has kept them around for so long.

 When the Backstreet Boys released their third album, Millennium, on May 18th 1999, it held the record for the most shipments in one year, over $11 million. It later became one of the best-selling albums of all-time, with sales reaching $40 million. The band consists of five members, who each have distinctive and well-known personalities. America seemed to fall in love with their “all-American” image and choreographed performances. The Backstreet Boys set the stage in the late 90’s and led the way for future boy bands. NSYNC, a similar group, came in as a close second and worldwide fame. With catchy songs, and a likeable persona, the Backstreet Boys instantly became the face of advertising, merchandise, world tours, and superstardom.

Today, the Backstreet Boys remain the best-selling boy band of all time with 130 million records sold. But that may soon change. One Direction is a British boy band who appeared on the show the X- Factor in 2010, but soon took their career into their own hands. Similar to the Backstreet Boys, the group consists of five members, each with a quirky and friendly personality that makes him so likeable. “Directioners”, or fans of One Direction, have brought back the boy band craze that had been missing since the 2000’s. In March 2010, nearly 10,000 directioners swarmed the stage of  The Today Show to watch their first television performance. Unlike the Backstreet Boys, some argue that One Direction has more of a sexy appeal to teens, with daring lyrics and an edgier look. They have broken away from the traditional “boy band choreography” and changed the overall “look” of a traditional 90’s boy band.

The rise of social networking hasn’t hurt One Direction’s career either. The boy band fan bases target the demographic of young people throughout their teen years, and more exposure to social networking at younger ages make the bands more globally popular. As of 2010, Twitter’s fastest growing audience lies within the ages 12 to 17. Worldwide hash-tag trends make iconic pop stars such as One Direction household names. As more and more teens have social networking sites readily available to them, it’s easier for One Direction’s fan base to expand, and rapidly. Obviously, this is shown by their business empire of $50 billion.

One Direction’s career is significant while looking at the changing dynamic of boy bands because of how much they stray from the traditional 90’s boy band persona. Many One Direction’s songs, including “Live While We’re Young”, are about partying, whereas many of Backstreet Boys’ singles were about romance, with songs like “Shape of My Heart.” They also differ in their performances, with more casual dances that are not dramatically in sync like the Backstreet Boys. Despite the changes, One Direction’s debut has undoubtedly brought back the boy band craze that has been missing for nearly a decade.

Whether it’s the old school, choreographic appeal of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC or the modern day, social-network dominating and edgy One Direction, boy bands have continued to remain pop culture icons. Although the standard formula for boy band success has changed over time, the same fascination over these groups have created historic fan bases and captured the hearts of teenagers everywhere, and continue to thrive as global phenomenona.

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Not Exactly in the Numbers

by Emily

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Each September, high school juniors worldwide frantically begin the process of college preparation. Naturally, we have been taught that the first instinct in this process is taking the SAT. Being in the same boat as most juniors, I remember talking to a family member about the test, and they reassured me that it was “the test that determines the rest of your life.”

Each year, about two and a half million students will spend collectively two and a half billion dollars on SAT preparation. What these two and a half million students do not know when they sit down that one Saturday morning to begin the three hour long exam is that they have spent their money on an outdated test that favors the wealthy, and plays a microscopic role in their future.

When Wake Forest University announced that it had become “SAT/ACT Optional,” it sparked tremendous controversy. Previously, the SAT had been one of the major factors in college admissions. Large universities have had difficulty admitting thousands of applicants and relied on SAT scores to quickly respond to applications.

But how “fair,” really, is the SAT? It has been proven that the amount of money spent preparing for the SAT directly correlates to your score. Essentially, the SAT is testing you on how well you know the tricks and schemes of the SAT questions. These are tricks and schemes that are taught through pricey courses and textbooks that can range to over $2,000 a course.

Since the SAT does not test your knowledge of content, but rather how well you know how to take standardized tests, families that cannot afford to study the dynamic of these tests will be at an extreme disadvantage. So as a whole, this filters out applicants that simply cannot afford SAT preparation, discriminating against many minority groups and lower class citizens. It is no coincidence that a study in the early 1990’s proved that 14% of lower class citizens had strong GPA’s but low standardized test scores due to their low income. Because of this, the SAT is simply discriminatory.

Rather than letting one single test determining what college wants you or not, many colleges are looking at the all around stats of a student. Factors like grade point average, course selection, and after school activities are what really illustrate a profile of a student. Rather than what happens one Saturday morning on a 2400 point scale of carefully crafted questions, colleges can look at who this person is, and accept them on the things that count.

Of course, students may still send their standardized test scores if they’d like, but is it really worth it? As of autumn 2012, more than 815 colleges and universities have taken to the test-optional policy. Countless others are in the process of doing away with standardized test scores, as well.

As the college process becomes more selective each year, colleges want to see holistically who they are going to admit into the class community. Many colleges actually prefer that students focus on creating rigorous and challenging schedules and maintaining strong GPA’s than taking the SAT countless times. College interviews have become a good alternative because it allows admission officers to get to know the applicant, rather than reading a number.

It is these tiny altercations that will one day eliminate discrimination from the college application process. Eventually, high school juniors will not have to succumb to slaving over SAT prep and spending tremendous amounts of money. Eventually, all colleges will see the futility of the SAT and do away with standardized tests.

Hardworking high school students, no matter what their family’s income is, should be judged on their all around performance and attitude in high school. What happens one Saturday morning should not determine the future of a young student. One’s life accomplishments, academic growth, and future goals cannot be measured in a single number.

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