Category Archives: COMMENTARY

Does America do student life better?

BY ALEXANDRA HAYNES

School spirit here is uniquely American. America celebrates its teams like no other country, school districts and universities banding together to wear merchandise and compete nationwide.

School merchandise? Cringe! For the English, wearing your mandatory uniform is enough school spirit for a lifetime. No way was it cool to find, after learning that I was enrolled here, t-shirts with Titan logos on them in stores – they were laughable, until I saw that people actually wore them.

Don’t get me wrong, three years here and I’m now a proud owner of Titan merch. I’m not bashing your team spirit; it’s fascinating. Fierce student bodies are like microcosms for your competitive, highly capitalist economy.

Fascinating.

1116155_699817106710977_192255056_oWhile the English potter around in pleated skirts and tucked in shirts, Americans rock up to school in different clothing everyday. Where Physical Education is just a lesson for games in the UK, choosing athletics and sports are viable educational pathways for the Americans. The countries handle their students very differently, and the students think differently of their schools in return. Nationalism is never wracked up in England, for a pledge to the Union Jack isn’t recited. For you lot, you rise at 11:45am to do so to the Stars and Stripes.

We, the Titans, are coming under flack for not having enough school spirit. Compared to the state of affairs of the English, though, you guys are doing fine. In fairness, Brits do have less to support – with English high school students (in my hometown) being from ages 12 to 16, we’re still at the age where it’s cool to hate everything. Sports and school orientated clubs just don’t get funded, either. For my old school, extra-curricular activities were few and far between, although they started trying to kick things off as I left. Icknield High School have a Debate team who now have won several competitions! They’re not celebrated much beyond the English department, though.

No matter what country you’re in, schoolwide celebrations are hard to enthuse. In the US, though, you really try – Pep Rallies don’t exist where I’m from. Half of our student body love getting out of class and feeling some atmosphere, making some noise. The other half (mostly the Seniors) watch with cynical disdain. Coming from the pep-less England, I say loosen up! A little spirit, however silly, ain’t bad.

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* Pictured: Alexandra Haynes herself in Icknield High School’s art department, Luton, England. She came to Nebraska in 2013.

NEWS RAMBLINGS: New Year, new developments

BY ELISABETH JACKSON | ILLUSTRATION BY LEAH ELY

FEBRAMBLEWay to start off the new year with a bang! The exploding hoverboards are not turning out like everyone had planned. Looks like it’s back to the drawing boards for 2015’s attempt to memorialize Back to the Future, much like the reign of Apple over the modern generation. With their recent announcement to make all new iPhones only compatible with Apple headphones, it would not be surprising if everyone (except maybe the Powerball winner) drop the iPhone to better explore the Galaxy.

Speaking of basic people trying new things, the fashion company Dolce & Gabbana launched a line of hijabs and abayas… modeled by caucasian women whose religion is up for debate. A cosmetic company out of Thailand released its new skin whitener, Snowz. Who would want that, you ask? The model involved with the product states, “You just need to be white to win.” So, Super Bowl fans, watch to see how that theory plays out for your favorite team. Whatever the result of that contest may be, it is now clear that history is doomed to repeat itself: Michael Jackson obviously wasn’t warning enough. Next, maybe foot binding will make a comeback.

With 7.5 million students in the U.S. racking up a month of school absences each year on average, it’s astonishing that little old Papio South has 20 students attending a knitting club each week. Then again, with our new Junior High soon to be cranking out more and more overly sensitive, chocolate craving students from PMS (Papillion Middle School) each year, knitting seems like a natural development.

Another natural thing: Valentine’s Day and heartbreak. This seemingly lovey-dovey holiday is cursed and everyone knows it. You’re either forever alone or stranded in the old market staring at the ashes of M’s pub with your date.

Now that it seems like an appropriate time to begin thinking about the upcoming presidential election, it’s as if everything is already decided. When Donald Trump is elected president by his seemingly invisible large group of supporters, everyone will be forced to pack their bags into canoes, and flood Canada. It’s unfortunate Canada’s made citizenship so tricky in light of our upcoming political problems. At least with Offutt and Obama lurking around our neighborhoods we’ll be partially sheltered from the upcoming political events. It just seems a little suspicious that Hillary Clinton can put national security at risk by having highly classified intel on her personal server, yet you can’t watch a pirated movie one time without your laptop catching a virus.

On a lighter note, it is the time of year you should be sleeping with your PJs inside out and praying for a snow day each night. You know you all want one. Take that $9 minimum wage, indulge your significant other this Valentine’s Day. Forget the new dietary guidelines! You weren’t going to keep your New Year’s resolution anyway.

‘The Force Awakens’: Star Wars revival or retread?

BY TRISTON FAIRCHILD

From raging space wars, to a soft love story and all that lies in between, Star Wars has captivated fans from all corners of the globe since 1977 when George Lucas and company released “Star Wars: A New Hope” which we now know as Episode IV.

As the original Star Wars movies gain critics love and admiration, the prequels (Episodes I-III) have been known to draw scrutiny due to a variety of reasons that include a sci-fi cheesiness and predictability, amongst others.

The newest movie in the Star Wars saga was released on Dec. 18, 2015. The movie was named “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” or Episode VII. Critically acclaimed as one of the best of all the Star Wars movies, “The Force Awakens” drew high interest and box office sales skyrocketed, even surpassing James Cameron’s “Avatar” for record sales in the U.S.

In the movie we meet FN-2187 (later named Finn), a First Order (bad guy) storm trooper who was taken from his family as an infant and raised to be a stone cold killer. The only problem is that he’s entirely different than the rest and his compassion and intuition often get the best of him. In his first battle, he is ordered to kill innocent villagers on the planet Jakku. After realizing he can’t kill innocent people, he recruits the help of top-notch rebel pilot and first order prisoner, Poe Dameron, to leave the First Order.

After narrowly escaping the First Order ship, they head to Jakku to recover a droid that has a piece of a map to one of the last known Jedi, Luke Skywalker. There, after losing Poe, Finn meets Rey and, long story short, they have to take the map-filled droid called BB-8 to the Resistance’s (Rebels in the old movie) headquarters in order to find the powerful and mystical Jedi Luke Skywalker. In the mean-time, the resistance has to make sure that their base doesn’t get blown up by a new age Death Star that can take out entire systems of planets at once.

Sophomore Ethan Huntley said, “Episode VII has almost the same plot-line as Episode IV and, while I like the new villain, Kylo Ren, and his obsession with his (spoiler alert) grandpa, Darth Vader, I didn’t like how similar the movies were.”

In Episode IV, “A New Hope”, newly-crowned Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker joins the rebellion and takes out the infamous Death Star, a weapon capable of destroying an entire planet (or star cruiser) in one shot. Ironically, a droid called R2-D2 carries an important message to long-time Jedi Ben Kenobi, very similar to the BB-8 droid that carried a piece of the map to Skywalker in Episode VII.

Huntley went on to say, “I really liked the new villain Kylo Ren and the new hero Rey. It truly was a good movie, I just hope the next episode is more original.”

While the special effects were far more advanced than that of its earlier counterparts, the tradition and “Star wars feel” was still entirely present, even in the new plants such as Jakku (Rey’s home planet).

While some Star Wars junkies were not-so excited about the latest episode, Star Wars “newby”, PLS Science teacher, Briar Scheutz felt the movie was “Very good because it had all of the elements of a good movie. It had action, external and internal conflict, and an added element of kids vs. parents in a twisted and large family.”

“Rey is a Skywalker no doubt in some way,” Jared Norblade, Senior, Star Wars enthusiast, and known force-connoisseur, said. Norblade has seen all the movies and is highly knowledgeable in the force. “I really enjoyed the movie and the new humor that accompanied it unlike the others which were far more serious. Especially the prequels.”

When asked about how he felt about some of the new changes that have been made to Star Wars in Episode VII, Norblade said he “loved the changes. This movie was definitely one of the best one and I liked the new mystery of Rey. I’m excited because it’s a new beginning.”

The only complaint from Norblade? “I was mad when it ended because I was so into the movie and it cut my brain off when it was happy.”

From Han Solo to Princess Leia and all characters in between, Star Wars has captivated audiences since 1977 and continues to knock it out of the park with Episode VII topping charts and breaking records in the U.S.

The choice is yours, whether you like the new Star Wars characters and changes that come with it, but one thing is for certain, as Norblade said,“there’s so much history, yet a long story ahead.”

U.K. attempts to ban xenophobia in form of Trump-stump tirades

COMMENTARY BY ALEXANDRA HAYNES | ILLUSTRATION BY ACE BRADLEY

NEW tru dump (1)Presidential elections may be foreign to any teenager; we’re new up-and-coming voters. However, we’re hearing across the nation that the lead up to this presidential election has been alien to most citizens given that one of the leading 2016 candidates is a billionaire with a cameo in “Home Alone 2” who is bent on shunning a whole religion from the country.

Being English, I can confirm that many British citizens want to believe that Donald Trump’s candidacy is a joke. For so long, my American friends thought so, too, waiting for the cry of “April Fools!” even though it was June. Should Trump come to Presidency, the people of England involved in outcry against him would rather not continue to have the U.K. and U.S. so closely allied. Would Donald’s trumping of the competition set America back by making enemies of the U.S.’ s diversified friends?

The implications made by the billionaire that Britain itself is an example of minority infiltration because of its high Muslim population caused rebuke in the form of petition to ban him from the United Kingdom. This garnered 560,000+ valid signatures, so many that it had to be seriously addressed by Parliament – think, English Congress – although it has been confirmed by the Government that they cannot justify banning a political figure who has committed no international crime. The discussion of the petition became an anti-Trump circle, with lawmaker Victoria Atkins standing to say possibly the most glorious and surmising thing: “His policy to ban Muslims is bonkers.”

Using fearmongering buzzwords and pimping off of increasingly xenophobic attitudes has worked for Trump if only to make his candidacy a hyped conversation.

There remains the belief for some of the English, and some Americans, that a high population of immigrants brings failure to a country. These are the people who support Trump’s deliberately radical statements. For a country that struggles with the economy for its own, providing for new numbers seems near impossible and would be guaranteed to divide the funding up into smaller pieces. The question we must ask ourselves, moralistically, is whether we have responsibility for these people, who, at the end of the day, are human beings who seek, as your ancestors did, a better life on this mass of land.

Below the Statue of Liberty, a poem is inscribed of words such as this: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses … Send these, the homeless, to me … I lift my lamp.” The reason this worldly icon is a figure holding a flame is because America has been a light to this world, a beacon, an open door of opportunity. Trump wants to close that door.

Can we afford to keep it open? Humanistically, we should want to. To do so, or to close it, will be the upcoming President’s choice.

All I can say for certain is that the last time politics built a physical wall, the world regretted it. Not only does Trump want to build a wall to cut off Mexico, but he wants the Mexicans to fund it, too. “I would do something very severe unless they contributed,” Trump said. “I’d build the wall. I’m very good at building things.”

Well, he’s certainly been very good at building controversy. With the Berlin Wall in mind, Trump’s particular promises and his methods to “Make America Great Again” do not seem so great.

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Individual student opinions expressed in these pages in no way represent a school endorsement.

Get yo snow pants on!

BY ANGEL KOPP | ILLUSTRATION BY KAYLIN PRATT

It was my fault. On Jan. 18 I turned clockwise instead of counter clockwise and we had horrible driving conditions, but no snow day. So to make it up to you, I am going to tell you all the right ways to cause a Snow Day. If we all work together, maybe we can get one. Beware: If you perform these rituals wrong, then you might end up with rough driving conditions instead of a day off of school.

Snow day copy WEB.copyLet’s start with dropping ice in the toilet. This helps freeze the water like snow. You must drop a minimum of six ice cubes and make sure that are none stuck together or else they count as one ice cube. Slowly, let the ice run down your hand into the toilet so no toilet water splashes up on you. Once all the ice is in the toilet flush it away to the Snow Day Gods. Side note: Don’t be afraid of all the ice clogging the toilet. It may look like a lot, but it is ice. It will melt, not clog.

Now we head back to the freezer to place an orange in it. Make sure it is a full orange not a cutie or a clementine. With the freezer door still open, open your arms wide and spin counter clockwise. DO NOT SPIN CLOCKWISE OR YOU WILL END UP LIKE ME WITH BAD ROAD CONDITIONS AND STILL AT SCHOOL. So spin counter clockwise, and only spin around five times. Keep track: Not one spin over.

While you’re in the kitchen grab a nice clean silver spoon. Don’t try and grab a plastic pink spoon. Must be silver. Go ahead and put it under your pillow. Make sure it’s your main pillow not a throw pillow you never use. When sleeping, you won’t even notice the spoon there.

Don’t forget to grab that lucky penny! Tape your lucky penny heads up on your front door, so the Snow Gods can pick up that lucky penny and you may be lucky to get a Snow Day.

Finally the most important thing to do is to wear your pajamas inside out and backward. It might sound goofy, but you’re going to sleep. No one will know but the Snow Gods.

Just some basic guidelines for all of these tricks: to make it snow are to make sure all your brothers, sister and friends join in on the madness. Before you know, it we all will be outside building snowmen and not at school taking a pop quiz.

Performers recite, poets flourish at library mic

BY ALEXANDRA HAYNES

Papio South’s official Open Mic Night was a success. After the first attempt at running it failed due to initial lack of interest, last Friday’s well advertised event had a humble but active crowd of participants with many performers bringing friends, filling the audience. The cosy library setting gave the event a comfortable café feel with lights dimmed, a podium and posable mic provided for versatility. There were guitarists, smooth singers, and slam poets – the evening was a small show of Titan talent.

Alumni, family, and local friends were able to be brought along. Christmas sugar cookies were available, topping the night off sweetly.

Relaxed and friendly, the Open Mic crowd agreed that they wanted it to be run again, ideally as a bi-weekly occurrence. News on this will be advertised when decisions have been made by staff.

NEWS RAMBLINGS: Wins and losses

BY ELISABETH JACKSON | ILLUSTRATION BY KAYLIN PRATT

newsramble.WEBDespite the fact that you may or may not live in Papillion, NE, it is safe to say that the Alamo Theater opening will affect you. There’s finally something to do around here. Your cravings for theatrical entertainment can now be satisfied with the snap of your fingers and $20.

Papio South has been trying to appease you and your musical desires with its recent production of “Mary Poppins. “ Trying to find something to wear to its showing must have been hard as well. Something that matched the ever-changing weather and abided to the school’s dress code. Yet since the temperature’s dropping, you’ll have to dress like a nun on account of both.

Dunkin’ Donuts is closing 100 stores nationwide, which is great now that you could actually use a hot cup of coffee in the mornings. It looks like you’ll have to start going elsewhere for your everyday things. Just remember you can’t use Schramm Road, and Wal-Mart is going downhill, too, if you believe the headlines.

ConAgra Foods is going to save $300 million in three years with simple budget cuts here and there. It must make you question the reliability of your parents, “We just don’t have the money right now,” when you ask for a brand new car.

But who knows, maybe they’re just trying to surprise you for Christmas! Your parents must know the effect that the La Vista Christmas Tree being cut down had on you and your holiday spirit.

The energy required to participate in the weeklong event that is Black Friday just seems like too much this year.

It’s only been a semester of school, but it’s safe to say that more of Papio South’s students are ready to run the United States better than Kanye West and Donald Trump combined. American politics has turned into a Reality TV show, while Russia and Syria are having real first-world problems.

Back to the Future” had the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series this year, and it almost happened – just like the Huskers almost won some football games.

Omaha Public Schools got parents excited with talk of a new Sex Ed curriculum, leading to shouting and shoving. Everyone’s fingers are crossed for the safety of those attending the Learning Community’s meetings over taxes.

In the wins category, the Lady Titans Cross Country team recently came back with the title of State Champs, and the school’s Foreign Language Department scored a grant to create a new Language Learning Lab for Less. Details to come on that.

Meantime, our Announcements Guy might want to brush up on his accents. To quote him: “Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!”

Warm up to local baristas

BY RILEY TOLAN KEIG

Outside the leaves are changing colors, and the air is getting chilly. Do you know what that means? It means grab your hot beverage and get some studying on because fall is here! Before you rush to the nearest starbucks though, check out these local coffee shops. Not only will they warm you up, but you’ll get to skip the long lines that you’ll find at Starbucks or Scooters.

  1. Caffeine dreams. If you’re in the midtown area, then this is the place to go. From the outside this place might look a little sketchy, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. It’s decked out with comfy couches which makes it the perfect place to study. They offer a variety of drinks and even have a selection of food to eat. Plus they have pumpkin spice latte’s, and Pumpkin Spice Chai Lattes. Caffeine dreams is located at 4524 Farnam Street. The business hours are; Monday-Thursday; 6:30a.m-11p.m, Friday;6:30a.m-12a.m, Saturday; 7:00a.m.-12:00a.m, Sunday; 8a.m-11p.m.
  1. Archetype Coffee. This coffee shop has a modern look with a bit of hipster blended in. It’s simple and not crowded in decorations. Speaking of simple, so is their menu, but it won’t disappoint! Archetype Coffee is located 3926 Farnam Street.
  1. Pettit’s Pastry. This one is a little closer to home. It’s been family owned since 1954, and it’s still going today. They have pumpkin spiced lattes, and even caramel apple ones. Also just like it says in the name, they have pastries that are made every morning. Plus, it’s a drive thru so you don’t even have to get out of your car to get your coffee or pastry! Pettit’s Pastry is located in downtown Papillion at 344 S. Washington Street, across from the Junior High School.

Keeping Christmas alive

BY RILEY TOLAN KEIG

Believe it or not, teens have lost some holiday spirit since they were children. For some, Christmas is still, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but for most it’s a little less exciting. Papillion La-Vista South high school students talk about what it’s like to be a teen during Christmas. Senior Sarah Kosmicki shares how she keeps her Christmas exciting.

SarahWEBKosmicki likes to keep Christmas spirit alive in school. “I make it more exaggerated. I’m not afraid to show what I believe in.” Kosmicki said. She keeps her Christmas fun by wearing earrings to school during December. She wears Santa, snowmen and even Christmas wreath earrings. People around school notice them too. “I either get a smile, or a laugh, or someone complimenting them.” Kosmicki said, “I feel like they’re more happier when they see me.” Junior Eric Allen explains what Christmas means to him as well.

Allen explains what it’s like to be a teen during Christmas with a humorous view. “Actually, no one told me Santa wasn’t real. So I still believe in Santa.” Allen said. “I got a letter from him one time, it was awesome.” (Don’t take this literally. He really doesn’t believe in Santa). Even though Christmas may not be as magical, Allen still finds the season enjoyable. “I like the whole season. The weather, and the fun things people do. I wouldn’t say there are any pros of Christmas personally, because I’m not as close to my family.” Allen said. Despite the fact that Christmas isn’t his favorite holiday, Allen likes the season. “I just get really excited about the season, and the cold weather. I get more happy about it now.” Allen said. Sophomore Madison Miller explains how different Christmas is for her.

Madison Miller says that Christmas is less special, but she keeps it fun. “It hasn’t changed much for me, but it feels less special than when I was a kid.” Miller said. Miller’s family helps her with keeping Christmas exciting. “My family is still really childish, and we have a lot of fun.” Miller said. “We put bows on our heads, and we play games. It’s usually general chaos.” Freshman Darby Ronning recalls what Christmas used to be like as well.

Christmas for Ronning is less exciting than it used to be. “It’s less of a big affair, and it’s more quiet.” Ronning said. She said that she had some fun times as a child during Christmas. “Once, in the 3rd grade, I hid in the Christmas tree box. My dad made my mom look in it and I scared her. He made me do it.” Ronning said. She then recalls how she found out Santa wasn’t real. “In the second grade my babysitter told me that Santa wasn’t real. I had to pretend around my parents that I still didn’t know, so she didn’t get fired.” Ronning said, “I was like oh, well I kinda figured that he wasn’t real.”

Kosmicki and Miller both had the same thing to say. “Make it exciting. Don’t be afraid to act like a kid.” So put on those Santa earrings, and show everyone what Christmas should be like again.

Who says a woman can’t be president?

BY LAUREN FEDEN | SKETCH BY ACE BRADLEY | COLOR EFFECTS BY BAILEY PAUL

WomanPrez.sept.30“Can a woman be president?” That question has been discussed in every single history class I have ever been in. And every class has come to the consensus that yes, a women could be president but they agree that our society ‘isn’t ready’. I’m not convinced this is the correct answer anymore.

Before applying this to mean the President of the United States, let’s take a look at the leaders that are in our community. Think of some leader you know. What gender are they? What leadership qualities do they possess? And think, do these leadership qualities stem from their gender? The answer to the last question is probably no.

Most of my experience with strong leaders has been with strong female leaders. Out of my four years of high school nearly all of the presidents of clubs I have been a part of have been female. I have had female editors of the magazine and female key club and student council presidents. At statewide student council conferences, I have noticed the presence of female leaders holding offices. There are currently female presidents of student councils at Lincoln Southwest, Millard North, Millard South, Skutt Catholic, Westside and even here at Papillion-La Vista South.

I know that being president of a high school club is nothing like being president of the United States, but  the leadership roles equate to each other on their respective levels. In the adult world of the United States, the president is top dog just like in the student council world the state president is top dog.

What does it take to be president? We all know that the President is the head of state, the head of government, has a cabinet full of secretaries and makes lots of important decisions as head of the executive branch. But a strong leader of either sex could definitely handle these responsibilities.

According to Hannah Keator, President of the Student Council at Westside High School, in order to be a strong president, one must be “personable, open-minded and have the ability to direct others.”

Some candidates in the presidential race may not possess all of these qualities. In general, I do not see a quality listed exclusive to one gender. The qualities needed to be president depend upon the individual.

So why on earth has there not been a female head of our fine country? There has to be a reason women have been excluded from the Cool Kids Club for 200 years.

“A woman has yet to become president of the United States because we haven’t completely escaped the patriarchal ideology that founded our nation,” Rachael Packard, president of National Honor Society at Papillion-La Vista South High school, said. “There are plenty of women today running other nations.”

While yes, the legislative make-up still looks a lot like the founding fathers, the founding fathers are not currently alive and perpetuating stereotypes. These issues of race and gender are only still around because there are still people who perpetuate them. 200 years ago the rich, white, educated men had the power to choose whom they wanted in their little lawmaking club. In the 21st century, we should be aware that, though we may have different bodily organs and skin colors, we all matter and are capable of representing groups of people and voting on issues in stuffy little chambers. Several other countries around the world seem to get this better than we Americans do.

Germany, Croatia and Switzerland are among the list of countries led by women today. With a strong female candidate running in each political party, the United States could soon join the list. Both Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton are big names in their respective parties.

Even though we have strong female candidates, this does not mean that our society is treating men and women equally. Donald Trump was able to make horribly sexist comments about Carly Fiorina with little repercussions. Trump actually said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” Let me make this clear – those words really came out of his mouth. Trump got away with his comments by later claiming he was describing Fiorina’s “persona”.

Fiorina took the comments in stride and turned them into a series of power statements for her campaign. She responded with, “Ladies, look at this face, and look at all of your faces – the face of leadership.” And also with,“This is the face of a 61 year old woman, I am proud of every year and every wrinkle.”

Comments like these are proof of how it may take more work for women candidates to get the public to take them seriously. They must overcome individual prejudices and two centuries of tradition for the victory. These issues are displayed in the biased media that has had little practice reporting upon female candidates.

Some media outlets have described female candidates’ outfit choices while failing to mention the color of the male candidate’s suits. These small and seemingly insignificant differences in the way men and women are treated can impact how the United States views that candidate. Voters may have a hard time thinking seriously about candidates with fashion run-downs included in the articles about their speeches.

“In order for a woman to get voted into office, I think it starts with each and every one of us. We have to treat men and women with equality all around,” said Alexa Narke, President of Student Council at Skutt Catholic High School.

Is our society ready for a woman president? That  is up to you.