Valentine’s Day: A Long Way from its Origin

by Emily

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On February 14th 2013, about 150 million cards will be mailed, about $1.5 billion dollars worth of chocolate will be purchased, and 110 million flower deliveries will be made. Citizens in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia will spend the day with family or a loved one to celebrate a holiday dedicated to those they care about.

Unlike other holidays, Valentine’s Day’s tradition is unique because the activities need little explanation. It’s almost a given that on February 14th, the colors pink and red, chocolate, or flowers will somehow make their way into your day. You could hear an exchanging of Valentines wishes or spend money on those you care about. Whether you choose to participate or not, Valentine’s Day seems unavoidable.

But why, on February 14th, have chocolate, flowers, and cards expressing love become so popular? This Valentine’s Day, the 150 million card receivers and 110 million flower deliverers will have a vague idea of why exactly this came to be.

The true history of Valentine’s Day is vague because three accounts of Saint Valentine exist in recorded history. The term “Valentine” actually comes from a priest named Valentinus who lived in ancient roman times. When the Emperor of Rome forbade marriage for young men in hopes that they would become soldiers, Valentinus recognized the unjust nature of this and took action to rebell against the powerful government. Valentinus would conduct illegal weddings of young lovers, therefore becoming a symbol of love. Once the Emperor uncovered these secret affairs, Valentinus was immediately put to death. This explains the name of the holiday, but not the specific date of February 14th.

The entire month of February was once celebrated in Christian and Roman civilizations as a tribute to the fertility Gods. However it wasn’t until the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius finally acknowledged St. Valentine’s Day on February 14th. February 14th was the believed beginning of the birds’ mating season, so therefore a very symbolic day to celebrate love. For centuries, on this day, it was tradition to give small tokens of affection. According History.com, it wasn’t until the 1900’s that printed cards and heart shaped candies began to replace written letters and a loaf of bread. And today, this has spiraled to hundreds of accessible Valentine’s gifts,ranging from a box of candy to diamond earrings.

In my opinion, Valentine’s Day has unfortunately lost its true meaning and become a marketing ploy. Today, a majority of Americans feel obligated to purchase Valentine’s-themed items for others. This is a result of excessive advertising by companies such as Hallmark and Hershey. The price of small chocolate candies is raised simply because they are in red packaging, and flower companies make extravagant rose bouquets simply for the occasion. Although these companies profit tremendously when Valentine’s season comes around, it is a sad reality that Americans spend money on these items without knowing the true history of Valentine’s Day.

I feel like the chaos, hype, and materialistic factors surrounding Valentine’s Day take away from its true meaning of completing a small act of kindness. After all, Saint Valentine was a poor man known for performing secret marriages in church cellars by candlelight, not for giving luxurious gifts to all his friends. But for those secret brides and grooms, their simple exchange of words in a basement was enough to make them whole-heartedly happy. If more people knew Saint Valentine’s story, they would recognize that spending hundreds of dollars on a heart-shaped necklace for a loved one isn’t entirely necessary. Helping a friend or going out of your way to do something small and kind doesn’t require money, but thought. Because thought means so much more than a red box of heart-shaped candies.

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Famous Williams Power Rankings

by Billy

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Candidates:

Bill Gates– Probably the most intelligent of the William’s, but his lack of swagger hurts him. He is one of the richest men alive, and his prestige is off the charts. If he ever dated, or even talked to a super model without profusely sweating and stammering, Mr. Gates would have won quite easily. Alas, this is not the case.

William Wallace– He rode into battle in order to defend his home and fellow Scotts. In the movie Braveheart, he wooed women using his mastery of the French language, which wasn’t even his native tongue. Swagger was his middle name. Unfortunately, he was poorer than I am, and therefore will not take the top spot.

William Shakespeare– His name itself is pratically an innuendo, and the plays he wrote while wearing green tights are still read today by kids wearing jeans and flannels. He obviously did something right. There are rumors circulating that his work was plagiarized, and if it was then he did a spectacular job of keeping it quiet all this time.

Billy Joel– Joel is the master of the piano. His songs have become classics, and will most likely remain that way for generations to come. He is the piano man.

Bill Nye the Science Guy– This guy had a weird show that I never watched, yet somehow his name stuck out in my head. Somebody somewhere thought it would be a good idea to make a Bill Nye the Science Guy game on the computer, so I have to give him that at least. It might not have sold, but most people aren’t featured in video games.

Bill Clinton– This guy was the president of this great country at one point, which gives him an automatic ten in the prestige category.  While his presidency included some scandal, he balanced the national budget, and was the butt of many jokes on Saturday Night Live.  In other words, he’s the man.

Willy Wonka– Wonka made the coolest inventions known to man in his crazy laboratory built from “pure imagination.”   Bill Gates probably snuck into his factory and stole Microsoft from Willy, but Willy wouldn’t care because he seemed to be more focused on edible inventions. You can’t eat Microsoft.

Bill Cosby– Bill Nye’s computer game has nothing on Cosby’s classic show. Between Kids Say the Darndest Things and his epic sweaters, Cosby bleeds swagger.

Billy The Kid– The Kid was a notorious thug in the wild west. The phrase “Wanted Dead or Alive” probably came to be because The Kid was just that kind of menace. Crime isn’t good, but Billy The Kid knew how to capitalize on the lack of technology, and therefore became infamous. His story is told in one of Joel’s songs as well. He had women, money, and almost as much swagger as Cosby himself.

Willie “White Shoes” Johnson– White Shoes was an extremely fast football player that never let his 5’ 9” stature keep him off of the field. His notoriety derived from his elaborate touchdown celebrations in a time where celebrations were not regularly performed.

Criteria- Each category is scored from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.

-Swagger: The ability to attract.
-Has a unique style or form.
-Power of persuasion and smoothness.
-Prestige: Personal accomplishments.
-How the public views the candidate.
-Wealth: Net worth.
1. Billy The Kid- 9, 9, 7= 25
2. William Shakespeare- 9, 9, 5= 23
3. Billy Joel- 8, 8, 7= 23
4. Willy Wonka- 7, 8, 8= 23
5. Bill Clinton- 9, 9, 4=22
6. Bill Gates- 1, 10, 10= 21
7. William Wallace- 9, 9, 3= 21
8. Bill Cosby- 8, 7, 6= 21
9. Billy “White Shoes” Johnson- 9, 5, 5= 19
10. Bill Nye The Science Guy- 3, 5, 5= 13

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Study Hall-End of the Day Purgatory

by Josh

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It’s been a very long day , you spilled coffee all over your brand new pants, and your siblings ate all of your Captain Crunch.  Then, on top of that, since you were in rush you forgot your wallet and that means no lunch 7th period . Your day has been miserable and all you want is to go home and relax. All eight of your classes are completed and as you begin walking out of school you realize the worst: you have study hall.  Now all you can do is stare at the clock until 2:40 and pray that the minutes tick by quickly.

Don’t get me wrong-a lot of students use study hall to do their work.  However, for the rest of us out there, those 42 minutes of their time  are interminable.  And really, after 8 classes it’s difficult to stay focused and do work until the end of the school day.  The Board of Education made a good choice in letting seniors have early release, so I really can’t complain anymore since I’m a senior, but I think that students in every year of high school should be able to end their day at 2:00 rather than 2:40.

It definitely is easier said than done to get study hall removed completely, but there is much room for compromise. By 9th period most students and faculty are drained and simply want to get out of school as quickly as possible.  As the last class in the day, study hall will never be truly effective. I think that study hall should be added in as 1st period and the rest of the day simply pushed backwards a period. This would give students an exceptional chance to study or finish up some work and actually make use of this time that is normally neglected when it is during 9th period.

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Student Poems: A Day in the Life

by Billy

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Morning Problems (Student)
I don’t like work, books, workbooks, or class
Halfway to school and running out of gas with no late pass
Gotta make it on time
Stop my car on the dime with no time to recline
And to the third floor I climb
I don’t like steps, but never the less
I’m climbing the hardest I confess
But before I get to class the bell rings and I’m stressed
Run in the room with heaving chest
Try to protest but the teacher knows best and puts my lies to rest
“You’re late, son. Faster is how you should move your buns.”
“Go down to the office and tell them all what you’ve done.”
I don’t like that one bit
Leave the room in a fit
Only ten seconds late and I still get hit
Just then, is when I decide to give this the slip
Walk out the back door and tell the guard my name is Skip

Morning Problems (Teacher)
I wake up with a jump
Hop out of my bed and tell my dog what’s up
She’s just a pup
Her tail starts to wag as my eyes start to sag, but I can’t fall back asleep so I grab my book bag
Got ahead of myself there, because I forgot to shower
It’d be pretty awkward if my students think I smell sour
Got less than an hour and breakfast is out of the question
Hop in my car and start speeding past pedestrians
Five miles from the school, my engine makes me a fool
I guess it didn’t think the lack of oil was cool
Had to hitchhike with a random 3rd grader on his bike
All the while I’m on the phone with my mechanic named Mike
Finally get to school ten minutes early
And my supervisor approaches with hair nice and curly
I must have been looking kind of squirrely
Asks if I’m okay and I say surely, so puts a stack of papers in my hands that was too burly
Told me that I had to grade all the papers
It took all my will power not to smack her with some staplers
Now I’m finally to my class
Students come in looking as if they’d been harassed
It’s morning so I figure that their simply gassed
Bell rings, signaling that its 7 :45
I made it here alive
Just when I’m about to pick up the attendance sheet, this kid comes running in as if he can’t control his feet
Sorry kid you’re beat
The bell didn’t save you so now you’re late
Go down to the office, I’ll let them decide your fate

Detention
If I were given a choice between a Saturday or a regular detention
I’d laugh super hard and ask for an in school suspension
Saturdays are the worst and detention barely better
Sit for 40 minutes with a magazine, and twice read every letter
Apparently it’s my fault, and I forced their hand
They don’t want to give me detention cause I come off as a nice man
Just like how I planned
Only they didn’t take mercy, despite my subtle charm
Instead of a slap on the wrist I got two bullets to the arm
At least metaphorically cause detention stinks historically
They’re sorry, see?
Too bad that there’s no sorry fee
So now it’s after hours and the school’s real empty
Is that the basketball team? Oh yea I see them real sweaty
I’m alone in detention, just me and the teacher
This is more boring than a monotone preacher
With these last words I decide to write
I’d rather be naked in the tundra trying to fly a broken kite

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Perspectives Part III – Last Day of School

by Megan

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Young Son:

The last day of school is my favorite one of the year. Field day is tomorrow, and my friends and I have been training since Christmas. I’m thinking that as long as it isn’t too muddy we might just be able to pull off a win in the wheelbarrow race with my best friend Mark. It was kinda slippery last year, and being the head of the wheelbarrow, I was the one that ate the mud. But we were first graders then. Now I’m practically a third grader, and I’m still going against the little kids so it should be a piece of cake. I’m excited to be  a third grader, but I don’t want school to end! I love my teachers and friends so much and I’m going to miss them this summer. Its going to be my first year away at camp and I’m nervous. I better enjoy this last day while it lasts.

Teenage daughter:

The last day of school is always bittersweet. The thought of summer has been ringing in my head since the first warm day we had this year…in March. I’ve been keeping a countdown since then; every day at breakfast I would say “76 more days, Mom!”, “54 more days, Mom!”, “28 more days, Mom!”, then finally, this morning, “1 MORE DAY!”  But now that I’m thinking about things more and more, I’m worried that this summer wont be as great as I had hoped. I’m working at the rec. program in my town for nearly no money, and my mom’s making me take it really seriously. That means no hanging out with friends on nights before work, and being really rested and whatever. But I feel like that’s all I have to look forward to after the week of testing I have had to suffer through. Ugh. I just need a break.

Mom:

I just need a break. All my family does is do, do, do; go, go, go. Our vacation over spring was very relaxing and well-deserved, but this summer is going to be so stressful. My son is going away for camp in July for the first time and my daughter has a job working with the kids in the neighborhood at the recreational camp. And that doesn’t even mean life stops for me; I still have work! This is chaos.

Dog:

This is chaos. I HATE summer. I don’t think anyone can relate when I describe the frustration in every aspect of summer I feel. The heat is unbearable, and no one can possibly imagine the pain I go through. And now, the kid’s home 24/7. Ugh, the suffering I go through! He always wants me to run around and bring him Frisbees that he idiotically throws all the way across the yard and then screams at me to bring them back. How is it my problem? You’re the one that threw it. I’d like to see a switch in roles around here, that boy wouldn’t know what was coming.

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An Open Letter to Pollen

by Doug

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Dear Pollen,

Thank you so much for the warm welcoming to a horrific spring.

Not.

You gave me a real wakeup call on the first day of spring when I woke up to see a lot of pollen all over my car. You could have at least given me some kind of warning when you are resting on what looks like a bright green Easter egg. I am highly allergic to you and I would really prefer it if I didn’t bump into you every morning so I don’t come to school sneezing like a banshee down the halls.

More importantly, however, is this: why are you here? You honestly have no reason whatsoever to even be here. I mean from a community standpoint you are not really welcome. A warning would have been a lot nicer instead of ramming your ugly head up my nose which causes me to sneeze to a point where I am completely unable to control it.

Congrats to you, I suppose.  On what, you ask?  Your ability to make me and a bunch other people around our community wake up feeling like complete garbage every single morning. Next year if you decide to come and visit at least try to give everyone around here some kind of brief little memo or something to keep us from getting sick from you once again because it is really starting to become a real pain buying Nazonex every single week.

Fondly,

Sneezy

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Picture: http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2011/10/pollen-helps-allergies-phot.jpg

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The Fairies: An Original Fairy Tale

by Kaitlin

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nce upon a time there was a water fairy named Silvermist. She was part of the water fairy tribe that had the ability to control water and talk to marine life. The fairies were broken up into tribes, such as the fire fairy tribe, the earth fairy tribe, and lastly the air fairies tribe. Right now the water and fire fairy tribes were feuding.

Silvermist hated this feud not only because she hated when their tribes fought but because she had fallen in love with a fire fairy her age and they couldn’t be together because of the feuding. She really liked him, and it drove her crazy that every time they tried to contact each other they would get caught, or the tribes would start more feuding again. She thought he was so cute with his blonde hair, blue eyes, and sweet personality. He was not like the other fire fairies.

It was a cold rainy morning; Silvermist had waited all week for this moment.  She was going to ask Terence out on a date. They both knew how they felt for each other, but they had not just acted on it till now because of the feuding between the tribes. But the feuding had calmed down and they knew this was their chance to be together.

When Silvermist was sneaking out to see him she was caught by Periwinkle, a member of the friendly part of the air tribe. They had been best friends since they were fairies in diapers. Her friend always liked to tease her, never giving her a rest about Terence.  But she knew that she could not for that matter nobody could keep them apart.

So Silvermist went on her hunt for Terence they both were searching so hard that they had run into each other. They have been waiting for this moment forever. Right as they were about to kiss, their families tore them apart.

They were forbidden to ever see each other ever again. They fought and fought, trying to get together. The water fairy tribe knew she would try again and he would too. No matter what the families did they knew that nothing would keep them apart. But the families would not give up.

Because of this, they knew one of them had to die. So they took Terence and slipped him poison and put him in a sacred tomb.

But when Silvermist found out she didn’t believe it in till she found him dead in a stone rock tomb she cried and cried she knew she could go on without him he was her life. So she took the dagger that was buried with him and drove it through her heart so that they could be together forever. 

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Picture: http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Duenker-Goethe/001-detail-initial-letter-o-cherubs-q85-436×501.jpg
 http://images.wikia.com/dfairies/images/c/c3/Picture1.jpg

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