Time to Ring Some Changesby Mr. James Farrelly, Advisor
Welcome to the newest edition of The Silhouette.
If you have made it this far, you already know that our school newspaper has been revived and will take on a different appearance: a fully “digital newspaper.” The Silhouette has "gone green," meaning that there will be no paper or ink needed in its production. Aside from being more eco-friendly, there are a number of other advantages to an online publication as well: first, The Silhouette will be fully archival so that our readers -- students, staff, and the general public -- may re-visit prior issues; second, this approach will allow us not only to publish pictures of events but also videos that help capture what is happening in and beyond our school ; third, we can expand The Silhouette to encompass creative writing and the visual arts in ways we have not been able to do before.
An example of the possibilities of our online connectivity to the world is seen on the left hand side of this page where anyone visiting The Silhouette may view Lieutenant Colonel Todd Hirneisen's personal blog from Afghanistan. Lt. Col Hirneisen, we thank you for your efforts and the sacrifices of you and your men and women in uniform. We wish you a safe and happy return.
As you scroll down, you will see that The Silhouette is organized within the following sections: The Front Page, Features, Arts and Entertainment, Spirit Week & Homecoming, Seasonal Sports, Editorials, Creative Writing. If you wish to jump to a specific section of The Silhouette, simply click on the name of the department and you'll be taken right there. The Colonial Jam Jukebox is designed to "set the mood" for our first edition. It is set to be "off" when you open the page, but if you want to read the paper at home or keep it on as background music while you study -- there you go. It is meant to reflect the multicultural voices and many tastes within our school (as well as lend a bang on the ear for our new teachers' musical preferences -- See "Elite 8 Interview" below). For continuous play, select the POP OUT PLAYER located in the bottom right corner of the player. Otherwise, the music will stop and reload with each change of page. The Colonial Jam will change from issue to issue. And don't forget to check out our Choose a Caption Contest at the end of our Arts and Entertainment section.
Students wishing to contribute to Free Ink, the creative writing page, may submit either poems, short stories, or essays (not to exceed 1000 words in length). You must have your work saved as a Microsoft Word document. Be sure you have fully proofread and edited your work to the best of your abilities prior to submission. Identify yourself by your full name and grade. Entries may not be returned, nor is their submission a guarantee of its publication.
As you go through the publication, you will also notice pictures of our student production of art work. We thought it would be good to create a gallery of their works that are spread about in different sections of the publication. More to come in that area as the year progresses. These works were done by students in Mr. Miller's, Mrs. Slonaker's, and Mrs. McLaughlin's art classes. You can read more about our excellent Art Department in the Arts and Entertainment section.
Please let us know what you think of our efforts. Our primary purpose will always be to reflect the many community voices in our midst and serve the community with information that is useful, truthful, and timely. I would ask that teachers consider making contributions to these pages as well—either by submitting "Op-Ed" pieces, creative writing, pictures of artwork, field trip write-ups, or personal vacations with slideshows--something that will allow our students to see and respond to a side of us they may not always see in the classroom.
Finally, if there is anything you are doing within your classes, clubs, or teams that you wish to feature in The Silhouette, please contact me so that I may send a reporter to you.
A special thanks to Mrs. Tami Harbold, the previous editor and advisor of The Silhouette for many years before she assumed the role of high school librarian. She has provided invaluable assistance and advice to me in this transition. Thanks to Mrs. Kay Jones for her help in moving the publication to the front page of our district main page and for providing great publicity for us.
Should you have any comments or suggestions, you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And on behalf of Team Silhouette, thank you for reading us. ENJOY!
The Journey of Becoming an Educator
by Sarah Rudasill
You may have seen him come into your classroom during lessons, or maybe you passed him in the hallways. Dr. O’Brien is the high school principal who manages to find time to communicate with students while balancing school conferences, the school budget, and any other spur-of-the-moment problems the high school encounters. Dr. O’Brien recently granted The Silhouette an interview, taking time out of his exceptionally busy schedule to not only express his opinion on hot topics but also give students the opportunity to get to know him better.
Silhouette: What made you choose a career in education?
Dr. O’Brien: Probably what made me consider a career as an educator was my involvement in athletics and the fine teachers at New Oxford that I had in the mid-1970s. I also desired to remain athletic and coach.
Silhouette: What high school and college did you attend?
Dr. O’Brien: I graduated from New Oxford as a member of the Class of 1976. I went to Fredrick Junior College in Maryland on a basketball scholarship. Afterward, I joined the Air Force for four years before going into private business. Then, when I was 30, I decided to go to York College to gain a degree in education with an emphasis on science. I then went to McDaniel’s College to gain my Master’s Degree. I went to Immaculata to receive my Doctorate.
Silhouette: So students get to know you a little better, did you play any sports in high school and college? What is your favorite sports team now?
Dr. O’Brien: I played basketball and football. I am really not a huge fan of pro basketball, but I still like pro football. Probably my favorite sports team now would be the Duke Men’s Basketball team.
Silhouette: What is your favorite restaurant?
Dr. O’Brien: My favorite restaurant… hmmm, that’s a little tougher. I am a steak and potatoes lover. I’m going to say probably right now my favorite restaurant is Texas Roadhouse.
Silhouette: What is your favorite all-time movie?
Dr. O’Brien: The Sound of Music. It’s a combination of a story about World War II and Nazis along with a romance.
Silhouette: What does your typical daily schedule look like?
Dr. O’Brien: Probably the best way to describe my day would be spontaneous. I could have five or six things I want to do at the moment, but whatever comes up is what I have to work on. A typical daily schedule with no interruptions would start with the morning announcements. Afterward, I usually have an organizational meeting of some kind, such as with guidance or the superintendent. I make it my goal to get in classes and observe, but I don’t always get the chance to do that. My work includes watching the budget as well as ordering and buying materials for students and teachers. I also assist in shaping our long-range goals. In addition, I help out where needed, such as when Mr. Thomas or Mr. Lawrence may be absent.
Silhouette: What’s the hardest part of being a high school principal?
Dr. O’Brien: The hardest part is finding time to do everything. With the size of our building, we not only have to manage this year, we have to plan for next year as well. While we are in the first semester we manage everything going on right now, but at the same time we plan for semester two. In November we start printing out materials for next year, since students start planning in December or January. On top of that, I want to find time to see all of the sporting, music, and club events going on. Really it’s a matter of prioritizing and balancing your time.
Silhouette: What one accomplishment are you most proud of?
Dr. O’Brien: Professionally, I am very proud of going back to college when I was 30. It goes to show your age doesn’t matter; you can still accomplish your dreams and goals for the future.
Silhouette: What is the plan of action for the high school if there is a sharp increase in swine flu cases this year?
Dr. O’Brien: This is one topic we have limited control over. We take advice from the medical community and follow their directions. Right now, we are being told any student exhibiting swine flu symptoms should be sent home and see their family doctor. We just plan to follow the advice of the medical world.
Silhouette: Several students were wondering about the vandalism that occurred within the courtyard. In what form did this take place and how can it be prevented in the future so all students can continue to enjoy being outside?
Dr. O’Brien: First I’d like to say I am proud of the overall behavior of the students in this school. In the halls we have student artwork hanging, and it has never been vandalized. At New Oxford students have a wide variety of privileges; in the mornings everyone is allowed to immediately come into the building, and at the end of the day at 2:30 students are not run out. These privileges are nice to have, but they can be lost if students mess them up. In the courtyard, students were writing on the stone wall. After the announcement that the courtyard was closed, the students came forth and identified themselves. What that shows me is two things: the students here appreciate their privileges and trust the administrators. The students showed maturity in coming up and cleaning up the vandalism. Everyone makes mistakes, but what you do to correct those mistakes is what defines you.
Silhouette: I know a lot of students are concerned about the increase of standardized tests in recent years. How do you feel they benefit the students?
Dr. O’Brien: The only benefit I see is that standardized tests help to identify strengths and weaknesses. This helps our school know what the students are good at and what we must continue to develop, as well as what we are struggling with and have to work on by making adjustments in the curriculum. I would bet, however, that some politicians could not pass these tests, and they insist on creating the delusion that every child has the same given talents. If you lined up every student in the school and had them run an 100 yard sprint, they wouldn’t all finish at the same time. That is how it is with academics, yet politicians believe schools that don’t perform well should be punished. It’s not only the schools that suffer; the state continually tells students each year that they are not as smart as everybody else, including those who are handicapped. How many times must the state tell students this? Although they are helpful in identifying strengths and weaknesses, they shouldn’t be used as a club to beat down schools and kids.
Silhouette: The Obama administration is considering increasing the length of the school day or the school year. How do you feel about this potential change?
Dr. O’Brien: The point I agree on is that the school calendar was scheduled in a way to allow kids to help their parents on farms. Back when I was in high school, most students still helped on a farm or were the first generation that did not. That is not the case now; we no longer have many students who work on farms. What I would like to see is an earlier start in August with Semester 1 finished in time for the holiday vacation, where students could have a two or three week break before starting Semester 2. During the year we would have occasional breaks for students in order to train staff, and that way we would have a shorter break in the summer. It doesn’t do students much good to be off three months, but I do not think we should go to school 365 days a year, either.
Silhouette: What changes or adjustments do you envision in high school education or within the building in five years?
Dr. O’Brien: Since becoming principal, we have made a lot of changes; for instance, the block schedule. We’ve also added many new electives and totally reconfigured the building, with 9th and 10th graders mainly in the east and 11th and 12th graders in the western area. We also analyzed our math curriculum and switched to CPM, which has steadily increased our math scores. In the next five years, we will continue to monitor the math scores and make changes where necessary. We’ll also constantly look at weaknesses; this doesn’t mean our school isn’t hard-working; we just need to continually get better. In addition to monitoring the courses, curriculum, and generally running the school, we want to work with the development of staff through learning focus schools. An athlete won’t stop and say, “I’m good enough”; they’ll keep working hard to become even better.
Silhouette: What is the best advice you could give a student in high school right now?
Dr. O’Brien: Every student has a talent, even if they have not discovered it yet. The only way to find out your talent is to get involved. I want to tell students to not be afraid to get involved or step outside of your comfort zone. We don’t want students to graduate and say five years later, “I wish I would have done this or that." At New Oxford we offer so many things, so just get involved in what you are interested in.
The Silhouette would like to give Dr. O’Brien a sincere thank you for taking time out of his packed schedule to sit down and answer students’ pressing questions.
Corey Kidwell, Drawing, Portfolio
Swine Flu and You
by Sarah Rudasill
Young kids take precautions against swine flu, courtesy of topnews.in
Nearly two billion people, or an astonishing one-third of the world’s population, is the latest estimation of the amount of people that will become infected with swine flu this year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). These numbers may seem unbelievable, but countries around the world, including the United States, are preparing for the worst.
Just what is the swine flu and how did it become such a threat to the world? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) tracked the origins of the flu to the small town of La Gloria, Mexico, where young Edgar Hernandez first contracted it from a nearby pig farm earlier this year. The virus wound its way through Mexico until it was first detected in the United States in April 2009. Since then, H1N1, the scientific name given to the virus, has spread to every continent except Antarctica and has claimed the lives of over 2,800 people worldwide.
Keep in mind the common seasonal influenza kills between 250,000 to 500,000 people worldwide every year, and with the swine flu rather harmless at the moment, many people wonder why it is so worrisome. According to officials, however, the new strain can spread quickly since it is rather new and younger people do not have a natural immunity against it.
New flu strains are a source of panic for WHO, which recalls other pandemics in history that have drastically affected human life. In 1918, the Spanish flu killed close to 100 million people worldwide, and just as recently as 1968, a Hong Kong flu pandemic killed one million people. With numbers like these, any flu strain never encountered before should be taken with precaution, but WHO must be careful not to blow it out of proportion. Back in 1976, a type of swine flu virus had an outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey, and in preparation, the US government created a massive program to vaccinate 43 million people. The return of the swine flu that winter never occurred, however, and 500 of those vaccinated came down with a rare neurological condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome as a result of the vaccine.
The government insists this case of swine flu is different, since the 1976 virus never spread beyond 240 soldiers at the base. Already 200,000 people in the world have been sickened with H1N1, and with the capability of a broad range of travel, it can spread from country to country, city to city incredibly quickly. WHO currently considers the swine flu to be a moderate pandemic, meaning it will occur over a wide geographic area and affect a high proportion of the world’s population. Being moderate, however, means it is expected that most people will be able to recover from the disease without having to be hospitalized.
People become infected with H1N1 in the same way they get the flu, mostly through the air with people coughing and sneezing or by touching a germ covered surface an ill person has touched. Scientists recently discovered the virus has the ability to survive on surfaces for two to eight hours. The swine flu resembles the typical seasonal flu as well with the typical symptoms--fever, cough, sore throat, congestion, headaches, vomiting, chills, and fatigue. However, the swine flu tends to affect children and young adults more than it affects the elderly and older adults. Doctors say the older the person is, the more likely they have antibodies against the virus, creating immunity within the person. In addition, humans with underlying conditions such as diabetes, asthma, obesity, heart disease, or other diseases that weaken the immune system are more at risk for becoming ill.
When WHO declared the pandemic on June 11 and warned of a harsher, more deadly wave of swine flu during the fall and winter, several people began hosting what are now referred to as swine flu parties. At the gatherings, people would come into close contact with a person currently infected with H1N1 in hopes of becoming sick themselves. The purpose of these "parties" was to create exposure to the mild strain of the disease in order to be less susceptible to the stronger strain of virus expected to circulate in the later part of this year. The CDC warned not to use swine flu parties to protect yourself from the flu, stating there is no way of knowing how your body will react to becoming ill or who you could potentially spread the virus to.
Instead, the CDC gives easy, common sense steps to keep from getting sick, which include covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands, and avoiding contact with sick people. If you become ill, it is recommended you stay home until at least 24 hours after your fever breaks to avoid spreading the virus to others.
Meanwhile, our government spent the past few months ordering $1.15 billion worth of vaccines, enough to vaccinate the entire U.S. population. The campaign, which is targeting specific groups of people such as pregnant women, caretakers of young children, healthcare workers, and people with underlying health conditions, seeks to vaccinate half the population within a couple months of the vaccine’s release date. With the 1976 vaccine accident in mind, the government began trials on healthy adults on August 7, and when everything appeared alright, a trial began on younger children on August 18. Still, side effects that are relatively rare will only be discovered after millions of people of all different cultural backgrounds have been vaccinated.
Another concern with the vaccines is the possibility they will have no affect on the virus. Currently, the H1N1 virus is spreading through South America, and if the strain would happen to have a genetic mutation, the effort to vaccinate would be futile. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he anticipates that up to 50 million doses will be available by October 15, but with school already in full swing, that might be a little too late for many children expected to come down with the illness.
Closer to home, our school district is in step with the federal and state approaches in dealing with the swine flu. At the start of the year, our school superintendent, Dr. Daniel Trimmer, wrote the following in an online post in regards to the swine flu:
“We have been getting quite a few questions about the swine flu and what are plans are if there is an outbreak this fall. We receive regular updates from the state and federal officials and much of that information can be found on the links provided on our website. We do have emergency plans in place, but first and foremost, we will follow the guidance given to us by the government agencies… there are no hard and fast rules for closing of schools in the case of a widespread outbreak. Of course, we will follow the recommendations of the health professionals and if state officials tell us to close we will, but we may also need to make a decision locally. Obviously, if there are a large number of teachers or students absent, it may be more reasonable to close school for a few days than try to hold classes. However, at this time there is no way to predict if or when such a decision will be needed. Certainly, you will be kept informed of any such decisions. In the meantime, encourage good hygiene by your student and keep him or her home if he or she does become ill.”
Will this new strain of swine flu come back rampant in the fall and winter months, or will it eventually taper off and disappear? Like the old saying, only time will tell whether we are blowing the swine flu out of proportion, but our government is geared up for the possibility of a worst-case scenario. As to whether one should get vaccinated, it is up to their personal preferences. The CDC can only recommend children, young adults, and those with underlying health conditions receive a vaccination, so it is up to you and your family doctor to decide what is best for your situation. With prompt information from the CDC and the cooperation of schools and citizens, the swine flu can be properly contained and dealt with reasonably. One can only hope that the virus, which is unable to be treated by antibiotics, will remain mild throughout the long winter season.
Our Elite Eight
by Hannah Fernandez and Bianca Garcia
We invited our newest teachers to a virtual roundtable at The New Oxford Coffee Shop . We had the chance to ask them some questions about their lives and their budding careers in the field of education. We also learned a few things their students may be surprised to know. Or perhaps it was the coffee talking…?
Silhouette: Are you from this area originally? How many people are in your family, and what can you tell us about them?
Mrs. Bealmar: Yes. I was born in Hanover, moved to Spring Grove until 10th grade, then spent my junior and senior year at Littlestown High School and graduated from LHS. I have two daughters, Arden (8 years old) and Leah (5 years old) who are the most fabulous young ladies I know! Also, I am married to Brian, who I met in 11th grade and was my high school sweetheart. Together, we are blessed to have such a wonderful family!
Mr. Frantz: I am originally for Red Lion and there are 3 people in my family. My Wife Erica and My son Ian. My wife is a teacher and currently works in early child development. My son is two and he is a big fan of Thomas the Train.
Ms. Goff: Yes, I actually grew up outside of New Oxford in New Chester. I taught last year around the State College area, so I have recently moved to Hanover. My father lives in Spring Grove now and my brother is a senior at York College, majoring in Accounting. I also have a large extended family who all lives in the area - it's good to be back close to family and friends!
Mrs. Murren: I am originally from Dover, PA. I graduated from Dover High School. I am married to my husband, Ed, who is originally from Hanover and attended Delone Catholic High School (Boo!). He works as an accountant in Harrisburg. We have a Pomeranian named Scout. We are very close to our immediate families and spend a lot of time with them.
Mrs. Snyder: I grew up in McSherrystown, right down the street from Delone, and I lived there until I graduated from NOHS in 1991. I’ve lived in either Adams or York County ever since, except for two years in Boston. My husband, Ryan, is a mechanical engineer. He graduated from Penn State. We have 4 healthy, intelligent, kind, funny, beautiful children. Kaylin is 15 and a sophomore at Spring Grove. She studies hard and does well in school, but she also spends lots of time running, texting, listening to music and hanging out with her friends and boyfriend. Josh is 9 and is in 4th grade. He loves to play basketball and soccer, and Ryan coaches both teams. Josh also likes to play video games and harass his sisters. Ivy is 7 and she is a second grader. She is always thinking about fashion and is constantly on the look-out for new accessories that might add some flair to her outfits. She enjoys telling the rest of the members of the family what she thinks about our fashion sense. Ivy also plays basketball and soccer. Lily is 4, and is in preschool for the first time this year. For the past two years, my mother kept her while I worked, which was a great situation for all of us. However, Lily is proud to now be attending school like the rest of the kids, and will correct you if you dare to call it a daycare instead of preschool. Lily likes to play restaurant and ‘read’ to her dolls in her spare time.
Mr. Topper: I am originally from the Hanover area. My family has lived in and around the area for at least 160 years and possibly longer. I have a large family consisting of mostly northern European heritage.
Mr. Warner: I graduated New Oxford in 2004 and lived a mile from school my whole life. I lived with my Mom, Dad and two older sisters.
Mrs. Wingert: I grew up in New Jersey and then moved to New York after college. I have 3 sisters and 1 brother, and I'm the youngest. We are an extremely close family and see each other often. Two sisters live in NY, one lives in NJ and my brother lives in Baltimore. My parents are in NJ. They did a great job raising us to be such a close family. I'm married to a wonderful husband and have a step-son who is 8. He goes to CTE.
Silhouette: What are your hobbies/interests outside of school?
Mrs. Bealmar: My hobbies are making stained glass windows, gardening and growing lavender in particular, fixing and building things around my house, and most of all just spending time with my family.
Mr. Frantz: I enjoy reading, running, wrestling, and spending time with my family.
Ms. Goff: I played field hockey while at Millersville University and I still enjoy playing and coaching the sport. I also am involved in running and am planning to complete my second half marathon on Oct. 10th in Baltimore.
Mrs. Murren: My husband and I bought at house last summer, so I have been spending most of my time decorating. I enjoy planting things in our yard and shopping for interior decorations. I also enjoy bargain shopping at some of my favorite stores including Macy’s, New York and Company, and Target.
Mrs. Snyder: I like golfing with my husband, reading, cooking, traveling, visiting friends, and attempting to keep my house organized.
Mr. Topper: I am an avid golfer with less than an avid golfer’s ability. I enjoy weight-lifting, hiking, and taking road trips. Of utmost importance to me is anything Notre Dame related.
Mr. Warner: Spending time with my family, fishing, and WWII enactments.
Mrs. Wingert: I love to travel and visit new places. While at home, I like to stay active by going to the YMCA, running, biking, and hiking. I also enjoy spending time with my husband and my step-son.
Silhouette: Where did you go to college to get your degree? Were there any professors who inspired you in your field of study?
Mrs. Bealmar: I went to York College of PA and received my BS degree in Marketing with minors in Management and Retailing. After several years of working, I attended Mount St. Mary's University and received my Master's of Arts in Teaching. During my time at The Mount, I had a professor named Dr. Gulas, who was previously the principal of Gettysburg High School. He was my most interesting and inspiring professor who made my course work "real". He taught from his heart and his experience.
Mr. Frantz: I went to York College. My supervising teacher John Mann inspired me to be a great teacher.
Ms. Goff: I attended Millersville University and majored in Secondary Social Studies. The education department at Millersville was fantastic! All of the professors were helpful and each had many years of "real world" experience. I enjoyed my years there and feel that I very prepared when I finally went out into the classroom.
Mrs. Murren: I attended Shippensburg University and graduated in 2009. Two of my favorite professors in college were Erica Galioto and Katherine McFarland. Both of these professors were inspiration in my decision to become a teacher.
Mrs. Snyder: I attended Penn State for 3.5 years where I studied biology, then transferred to York College of PA once I decided to become a teacher. I had a very inspiring education professor at York College named Dr. Brian Glandon. I loved his classes; he always made teaching seem like such a noble endeavor.
Mr. Topper: I earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Notre Dame and I had many professors who inspired a wide range of interests for me.
Mr. Warner: I went to Millersville University. The person who inspired me to teach was Mr. Sheffer here at New Oxford. The way he relayed his content show that he cared about his career and his students.
Mrs. Wingert: I went to Gettysburg College and majored in French and Management. My French professors inspired me and encouraged me to study abroad in France. It was an amazing experience.
Silhouette: What is your content area and what led you to choose that content area?
Mrs. Bealmar: My content area is Business Education. I have a wealth of experience from my previous career in business. It is great to be able to teach from my experience and share "real-life" situations with my students. In addition, I strongly believe having an understanding of business is extremely important to all career paths chosen by students. Because of this, I find personal value and meaning in teaching my content.
Mr. Frantz: I currently teach World History and I was led to this because of the four years I spent in the Marines travelling all over the world.
Ms. Goff: I am certified to teach Social Studies to 7th through 12th graders. I have always enjoyed my Social Studies classes throughout my years of schooling, whether it be Geography, History, or Economics.
Mrs. Murren: My content area is English. Throughout high school I enjoyed reading, writing, and (gasp!) sentence diagramming. By choosing the English content area, I feel I can be creative in the activities that I create for the students. My goal is to make English class a fun experience for all of the students.
Ms. Snyder: I currently teach chemistry, but I’ve also taught biology and physics. I’ve always loved science—I like having an understanding of how things work.
Mr. Topper: I suppose you could say that my content area is Biology, although I teach math. I have always been interested in Biology so I was just naturally drawn to it.
Mr. Warner: My content area is Tech Ed. and in the woods shop. I chose this area because I'm a hands on type of guy. When I learn how to do something, I like to show others what I have learned.
Mrs. Wingert: My content area is French. I studied French all throughout high school and college and then studied in Avignon, France during my junior year of college. My love of the language and my love of France led me to choose French as my content area.
Silhouette: What is your favorite part about teaching thus far?
Mrs. Bealmar: Seeing students learn and grow and know I had a part in helping.
Mr. Frantz: I love seeing students improve and mature in to responsible adults.
Ms. Goff: My favorite part of teaching so far has been getting to know so many new students! I have great students in my classroom this semester and I am excited to meet many more throughout the school year.
Mrs. Murren: I enjoyed meeting all of my students on the first day. Although I was very overwhelmed with all of the names and new faces, I was excited to see who I would be spending the semester with. I also enjoy seeing the progress that they have made thus far in the school year.
Mrs. Snyder: I think my favorite part of teaching is that it is so challenging. You can always improve… there is so much to learn about doing it well. Also, it’s never boring, because the students make every block different from the others, even when you are teaching basically the same lesson three times a day.
Mr. Topper: I enjoy the camaraderie with my co-workers most.
Mr. Warner: Getting to know the students and being part of their day to day.
Mrs. Wingert: I've been teaching French for 11 years. I think my favorite part about teaching is watching my students become more and more comfortable with the language and then using it. Watching them put it all together and actually communicating is amazing.
Silhouette: What led you to decide to teach here at The Ox?
Mrs. Bealmar: New Oxford has a reputation of being a great place to work with supportive co-workers and great students. Since starting, I realize this reputation is reality! I am delighted and honored to be here!
Mr. Frantz: This is a great district with a lot of tradition, a tremendous staff and administration. The students here should also be commended for their dedication and determination.
Ms. Goff: I was excited when I saw the job opening here because I have heard many good things about the school district -- that the students are excited to learn, staff is friendly, and the New Oxford community is very supportive. So far, everyone has been very welcoming and I am having a great year!
Mrs. Murren: I student taught at New Oxford last Spring. I really enjoyed my time that I spent here with the students and the staff. The English department has phenomenal team members and I knew that I could benefit from their influence and support.
Mrs. Snyder: I’m happy to be teaching in the district I attended—it feels like home. It’s nice to work with some of the same teachers I had in school. Also, I am seeing many students who are related somehow to people I know, which is fun. Two other big reasons for the change were that the people here are so friendly and helpful, and the facilities are very nice.
Mr. Topper: I heard that teachers are well-taken care of here, and it is just a good place to work.
Mr. Warner: I graduated from here and I know that it is a great school district to be in. Everyone knows you.
Mrs. Wingert: I had heard great things about New Oxford High School throughout the community, and I was excited to have the opportunity to teach here. So far everything I've heard has been correct. I love it here.
Silhouette: Who was your favorite teacher in high school?
Mrs. Bealmar: Mr. Rule, my 12th grade English teacher, was my favorite teacher. He was always fair and supportive and helped me to "believe" I had the ability to reach my goals. I remember stories he shared regarding having a work ethic and his experiences in life. With hard work and a good work ethic, all things are truly possible.
Mr. Frantz: My favorite teacher was Tom Garin. He taught me that there was more to life than what I might find in Red Lion, PA.
Ms. Goff: My favorite teacher in high school was my math teacher as well as my field hockey coach. She ran a very disciplined, efficient classroom. She taught me that preparation was key! (especially after receiving a lunch detention for forgetting my homework!)
Mrs. Murren: My senior AP English teacher, Mrs. Ney, was my favorite teacher. It wasn’t until my senior year that I realized I thrived in the English classroom. She influenced me to apply for scholarships and enter writing contests. If it wasn’t for her, I do not know if I would have realized my potential as an English teacher.
Mrs. Snyder: My favorite teacher was Mr. Meszaros. He was my 7th and 9th grade life science/ biology teacher. He always made class fun, while still teaching us a lot and keeping things running smoothly. I decided to study biology after taking his classes. I also remember that my seventh grade teachers, Mr. Meszaros, Mr. Weidler, Ms. Swope and Mr. Monn, always seemed to be having a good time working together, which made teaching seem like a pretty enjoyable career.
Mr. Topper: My favorite teacher in high school was Bill Smith. He showed me that science can be difficult, interesting, and/or fun depending upon your outlook alone.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Sheffer, hands down. He told us many times that he would come in and teach us for free if he had to. With that one statement, he showed us that he treated each and every student like they were his own children. I can't wait until I arrive at that point in my career.
Mrs. Wingert: I think my favorite teacher was Mr. Wasserman ("Was"). He was also my field hockey and basketball coach freshman and sophomore year. He was one of my math teachers. He made us all feel comfortable in class, and he encouraged us to do our very best. He was always available if we had questions because he wanted us to succeed and to understand the subject matter.
Silhouette: What might we be surprised to learn about you?
Mrs. Bealmar: Even though I haven't done it lately, I love to kick box.
Mr. Frantz: Uh, my age....
Mrs. Murren: You might be surprised to know that I love to sing. In fact, I was in select ensembles all throughout high school and college. As a part of an international tour, I sang in Spain with Shippensburg University Madrigal Singers. It was amazing and you’ll often here me humming a tune throughout the halls.
Mrs. Snyder: Someday I’d like to become a reading specialist—I’m taking classes for this now so that down the road, I’ll have the option. When I was in middle school, Dr. Eck helped me to get training to teach illiterate adults to read, and ever since, I’ve wanted to work with struggling readers in some capacity.
Mr. Topper: I am a pretty good poker player.
Mr. Warner: I married my 7th grade sweetheart and we have a 5 month old son. I also learned to solve a Rubik's cube because students that I had during student teaching challenged me to. I worked the stage crew for Recycled Percussion (from America's got Talent) when they came to Millersville. They should have won, not that chicken farmer!!!!
Mrs. Wingert: Ummm. I don't know. The tip of my finger was chopped off when I was 9. I now have an ugly nail and a mis-shaped finger to show for it. Is that surprising??? Tough question.
Silhouette: Who is your favorite musician or band? Did you attend any concerts this summer?
Mrs. Bealmar: I always liked U2 and have seen them many times. Unfortunately, I did not get to any concerts this summer. : - (
(* Editor's note: Perhaps the CJ MP 3 will turn that frown upside down?)
Mr. Frantz: Modest Mouse and I did not attend any concerts this summer. I was very busy.
Ms. Goff: I enjoy a variety of music, from country to classic rock. I'd have to say country music is my favorite. I usually attend a few concerts a summer, but in between moving to my apartment and getting my new classroom ready - I didn't have a chance this summer! I guess there's always next year!
Mrs. Murren: I enjoy all types of music, so to limit myself to one artist would be difficult. Instead, I will tell you what I am currently listening to in my c.d. player. I am listening to Michael Jackson’s, Number One Hits.
Mrs. Snyder: My all-time favorite band is U2. I was able to see them while I was in college, and they were incredible. Actually, my husband was going to get tickets for us to see them tonight in DC, but it would have been too hard to get there and then be back for school tomorrow. This summer I went to a Nickelback/Papa Roach/Hinder concert because a friend had an extra ticket—I thought it a good show, but obviously not in the same league as U2.
Mr. Topper: I am a huge fan of country music in general, but this was the first summer in awhile that I didn’t attend any concerts.
Mr. Warner: I don't have a favorite band or genre. I listen to almost everything. I listen to more alternative music.
Mrs. Wingert: I love all kinds of music, especially top 40, but I have to say that my favorite band is Coldplay. No concerts this summer. The last concert I saw was John Legend with Corrine Bailey Rae. I love them, too.
Silhouette: What is your favorite “wake-me-up”-- Coffee or Tea?
Mrs. Bealmar: Coffee!
Mr. Frantz: Coffee, please?
Ms. Goff: I always drink a cup of hot tea in the morning. It's the perfect "wake-me-up".
Mrs. Murren: Definitely coffee!
Mrs. Snyder: I’m definitely a tea drinker, and my favorite is chai tea latte from Starbucks.
Mr. Topper: Neither. I enjoy a glass of orange juice and granola every morning. A cold shower is sometimes utilized if it’s a really rough morning. (* Editor's Note -- Spoken like a true Irishman!)
Mr. Warner: COFFEE ! Did I just shout that?
Mrs. Wingert: TEA!!! I hate coffee, even coffee ice cream. (* Editor's note: Fear not, gentle readers, a struggle did not ensue between our disputants).
Thanks to all of our new teachers for helping us get to know you better. Best wishes for a long and rewarding career in teaching. We hope you enjoyed the coffee, tea, and the sweet music inside Colonial Jam.
Don't Call It a Hobby by Livy Long (and Prosper), Art 2
The Never-Ending Debate on Health Care
by Sarah Rudasill
“The time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action…now is the time to deliver on health care,” stated President Barack Obama in his speech addressing the issue of health care in front of Congress. The health care controversy has been broiling all summer long, and it is bound to get worse as Congress reconvenes and an attempt at a compromise is made.
Health insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company that guarantees a portion of your medical expenses will be paid by the insurance company if you get sick or hurt. In return, you pay a premium each month in order to be covered under a plan. According to President Obama, our health care system currently leaves nearly 46.7 million Americans uninsured, or 17% of the population. Leading Republican analysts, however, dispute this number. They claim the 46.7 million number includes 9.7 million illegal immigrants, 9.1 million individuals who earn over $75,000 dollars but choose not to have coverage, and 6.4 million undercounts currently on Medicare, for people ages 65 and older, or Medicaid, for low-income families. These statistics bring the actual total down to 21.5 million Americans, or 7% of the population.
The problem with health care is that costs are skyrocketing; our government currently spends four times more on health care than it does on national defense. People with pre-existing medical conditions are often turned down health insurance because the insurers know they tend to need more medical treatments. In addition, premiums increase for older citizens who are more susceptible to diseases and other medical situations such as debilitating falls. Not only that, but many treatments or extra screenings are not covered by insurance plans. Both Republicans and Democrats agree reform is necessary, but they question the best way to go about changing our health care system.
This summer the Democrats proposed the possibility of a public option, which is a government run program for anyone unhappy with options from private insurers. Republicans against the suggestion said it could create a monopoly in the health care field so the government would eventually run everyone’s health care. The 1,000 page bill detailing the plan was vague, and as the summer went on, shocking new reports were released on just what the bill may give the government the power to do. Some claimed it could potentially give free health care to illegal immigrants. Another organization reported the bill would give the government the ability to look into bank accounts and charge people more for care if they are wealthier. Advertisements have run on television, warning Americans that we could get rationed care like the systems in Canada and England. Even more astonishing was the rumor of a “death pamphlet” which would give end-of-life counseling to veterans and their families. The Obama administration maintains the gossip is spurious and assured the American people the reports were misleading.
Needless to say, Democratic members of Congress went on summer break determined to convince the American people of their health care bill. They held town hall meetings in various cities across the country in order to explain the goals of the bill and hold question and answer sessions for concerned citizens. Much to their surprise, these town halls went awry very quickly. When it became evident to the crowds in attendance that their Senators could not directly answer their questions about the bill, protests began and the once calm citizens became dubbed mobs. In fact, some people have gone as far as carrying signs comparing President Obama to Hitler, and many have been interrupting speeches to convey their disregard for the bill.
“One day God’s going to stand before you, and he’s going to judge you… and then you’ll get your desserts,” one man shouted at Pennsylvanian Senator Arlen Specter before leaving. Specter hasn’t been the only Senator facing tough crowds, however; "tea parties" have been held as thousands of people came out to protest large government ownership.
In response to the eventful and at times rambunctious debate, President Obama delivered an essential keynote speech giving an in-depth look at the health care bill to a joint session of Congress, addressing common questions and explaining complications. Among other statements, President Obama promised the health care bill would not add to the already deep budget deficit, a major concern for Republicans and conservative Democrats alike. The price tag is $900 billion dollars over ten years, but President Obama stressed that this cost would be met upfront through an increase in taxes on those making over $250,000 a year as well as by eliminating waste. The basic concept of the plan is to establish a nonprofit government insurance program to compete with private insurance companies with the goal of keeping costs low. The plan would also provide need-based credit to individuals who couldn’t afford the premium.
President Obama insisted that illegal immigrants would not be covered, to which Representative John Wilson of South Carolina interrupted, shouting “You lie!”. Although Wilson apologized the next day, the act of speaking out highlighted the tension between parties as the health care debate rages on. Other key points made during the speech included requiring preventive care coverage, limiting out-of-pocket expenses, making it illegal to deny people with pre-existing conditions coverage, and getting rid of annual or lifetime caps on payments. Republicans raised questions over malpractice, stating there should be a limit on the amount someone can sue for, but President Obama made no acknowledgement of this. He claims the bill will cut the cost for the average family by $2,500, but he was vague on just how this would be done.
Reactions to the President’s speech were mixed. Some felt he was incredibly emotional and heartfelt, especially when he spoke of the late Senator Ted Kennedy; others say he did not satisfactorily answer questions. His approval rating stands at 55% after dropping steadily from his induction into office.
Whether health care of any form will be passed is dependent upon the ability of Congress to pass a bipartisan bill acceptable to both sides. The new suggestion of a “trigger” option could be promising, where if private health care insurers did not meet specific goals, a government option could come into play. Whatever the outcome, Republicans and Democrats alike need to pass a bill that will ultimately help the citizens of America.
Adam Groft, Art 2