Number of “snow days” will change

by Linden Peterson

Many students are currently confused regarding the number of calamity days, more commonly referred to as snow days, that we are permitted this year.  In the past, we have only been allowed five snow days with two-hour delays not affecting the total.  For this school year, however, the five snow days remain in effect.

Next year is when the change will take place.  The state wants schools to switch to an hour-based schedule versus a day-based one.  The state will mandate the total number of hours a school must be open.  According to the Ohio Board of Education website (links at bottom), schools must have a minimum of a specified number of hours in school.  If the school must close and does not have enough hours, the hours must be made up.

The hours required vary by grade.  Half-day kindergarten must have at least 455 hours, full-day kindergarten through sixth grade must have 910 hours, and seventh through eighth grade must have 1001 hours.

http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Finance-and-Funding/Finance-Related-Data/Guidance-on-Schedule-Change-from-Days-to-Hours/Guidance-on-Schedule-Change-from-Days-to-Hours-12-4-2013.pdf.aspx

http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Finance-and-Funding/Finance-Related-Data/Guidance-on-Schedule-Change-from-Days-to-Hours/Calamity-Days

Did You Know? Interesting Official Sports

by Bridget Richard

Writing on the sports beat for your local newspaper does not mean only discussing touchdowns and lay-ups. There are a plethora of other off-beat sports, as well. And especially with the debate of whether or not playing video games competitively is a sport or not, it’s important to remember what already is considered a sport.

Never, fear– according to listofsports.com, cheerleading is counted as a sport. Alongside the more common sports such as basketball, football, baseball, hockey, gymnastics, and golf, there are some that might surprise you.

Yachting is considered an official sport, as is paintball, caving, the boomerang, and hot air ballooning.

So if the typical ball-in-goal sport doesn’t suit you, never fear. There is a wide variety of ways to show athleticism!

Source: http://listofsports.com/

Review: The Originals

by Dru Hunsaker

While The Vampire Diaries still holds the title as the reigning show of The CW TV Network, its spin-off The Originals is holding its own in a brand new drama that exists in the same world as the original. The Originals follow Klaus Mikaelson, his sister Rebekah and his brother Elijah as they venture back into the heart of Klaus’ home town, New Orleans. The French Quarter is at war with itself as the vampires try to suppress the witches’ power. Klaus’ former protegé Marcel now rules New Orleans with an iron fist; however, Klaus decides that he wants to take the city back for himself. Aiding him in the process are the city’s witches who want to be released from their servitude and practice magic once more. As an unexpected twist takes place, Klaus is thrown into limbo and must decide whether or not he will change his life for what is coming.

The Originals appears on the CW on Tuesdays at 8/7c.

Thrilling News in Curling

by Bridget Richard

Curling is the tragically forgotten Olympic sport. Amongst the heated hockey tournaments and ski jumps, the enticing and epic game of curling is usually shoved aside.

This year, two teams of four are training and preparing for their biggest battle yet at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Armed with the classic stone and broom, the two American teams are perfecting their strategy and aiming for the bull’s eye target.

The women’s team, Team Brown of Madison, Wisconsin, has already been qualified and confirmed to compete in the Olympics after they won the 2013 U.S Olympic Curling Trials for women in Fargo, North Dakota, back in December. Every woman on the American team, Erika Brown, Debbie McCormick, Jessica Shultz, and Ann Swisshelm, has competed in the Olympic games before, but all at different times and with different teams.

As for the men, their journey to Sochi was just guaranteed this past Sunday, December 15, beating intimidating teams from the Czech Republic and South Korea. All they need now is the formality of the United States Olympic Committee.

John Schuster, the men’s team skip, said, “The butterflies of winning for an opportunity like this, they never get old. That’s why we play this game.”

Opinion: It’s beginning to look a lot like…?

by Abbey Knupp

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when snow coats the world, lights twinkle around the rims of houses, people shop like the world’s gone mad, the air constantly smells like cookies, and the entire world is filled with a sense of…wonder. When I was a child, the holidays were all that I looked forward to. Nothing was more exciting than receiving presents or decorating the household; after Halloween, I felt nothing but anticipation. This year is quite different.

I am completely bereft of holiday spirit. While I assumed it was just something that was occurring within myself, I quickly realized that I am not the only person who is experiencing this strange phenomenon. Holiday cheer has completely dissipated from much of the population at Bellbrook High School. This year, people are not excited about holiday movie marathons, people are not chatting about their holiday plans, and not a single holiday song has been hummed. The complete loss of holiday spirit is intriguing, if a little disconcerting.

What is different about this year? Why have people lost their holiday excitement? In some ways, especially in ways pertaining to our school, I think it is due to a preoccupation with other problems. Students are worried about exams and college acceptance. Adults are worried about work and the state of the world. Everyone is preoccupied with something else, leaving no room for holiday spirit. It is because of this overwhelming stress level that the holiday season is especially important; the holidays should be used as a time for people to set down their outstanding duties and take a moment to live for themselves and their families.

Though the lack of spirit seems a little disconcerting, it could also be a positive thing. Almost everyone that I’ve asked this year desires nothing for Christmas; everyone’s wishes have already been filled or they are the type of wishes that cannot be filled with money. Over the years, people have become cynical about the holidays, attributing much of the spirit to consumerism, though this year’s trend may prove that idea incorrect. While Black Friday still consisted of heinous crowds and the stores are seemingly sold-out of many hot-ticket items, I think the lack of desire for physical things is spreading and I think it is a good sign.

Perhaps, the spirit of the season isn’t gone, merely shifted into a different form. The things that I am excited about this year are not the type of things that I have been excited about in years past. While the lights, cookies, and holiday festivities are still wonderful, I am mostly excited about the downtime that I can spend among family and friends. I am looking forward to reconnecting with people who have been overshadowed by my duties. It seems like the holiday spirit has dissipated, since people are so used to the holidays coming in many other ways, but I think the true meaning of the holidays are finally being expressed. People are less concerned with materialistic things and are more concerned with finding peace and reconnecting with loved ones.

So maybe it’s not beginning to look like the holidays in the way that I would anticipate. After all, it’s beginning to look less like presents and more like peace.

Long May She Reign

By Dru Hunsaker

Dubbed by many as Game of Thrones meets Gossip Girl, the CW’s new historically based drama Reign follows the teenage years of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), during her engagement to Francis II, Dauphin of France (Toby Regbo). Fleeing the convent where she was raised after an attempt by the English on her life, Mary Stewart is whisked away to the French court in anticipation of her impending marriage, one which will seal the tenuous, but much-needed, alliance between a reluctant France and an imperiled Scotland. As Mary attempts to navigate the dangerous French court, she discovers that threats lurk behind smiles and she has more enemies than friends. Even worse than the English who encroach on the Scottish borderlands and threaten Mary’s life, the French Queen Catherine (Megan Follows) becomes an unexpected enemy to Mary after the seer Nostradamus has a vision that predicts Mary’s unintentional involvement in the demise of her son.

Despite the dangers that haunt her, Mary finds refuge in the company of her ladies in waiting: Greer, Kenna, Aylee, and Lola, who she brings with her to the court. Although Mary is engaged to the French prince, Francis, who is set to inherit the throne, she finds an unlikely friend in Sebastian (Torrance Coombs), the King’s illegitimate but favored son from his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. The roguishly handsome Bash seems instantly smitten with the courageous, beautiful  Scottish queen, but the match appears doomed, since Mary desperately needs to secure the French alliance to protect her country from the English. Additionally, Mary discovers an unknown ally in the form of a shrouded specter who stalks the hidden corridors of the court, trying to protect Mary as a kindred spirit whom many seek to harm.

Aside from the dangers of French court, Mary’s task is made even more difficult by Francis’s reluctance to marry her–not because he has any aversion to her personally but because he believes the Scottish alliance will prove harmful to his country. Though they were childhood friends and the gorgeous, charming prince also finds himself taken with the young queen, he spurns her friendly advances and tries to distance himself from her allure. However, despite all of his misgivings, Francis begins to fall headlong into a confusing and tumultuous relationship with Mary, though he still insists that they cannot be together until the alliance is right for France.

In addition to a series of constantly changing relationships, Mary also finds herself caught up in the political intrigue at court as the English queen waits at death’s door and the Catholics and Protestants fight to establish the line of succession from the numerous relationships of King Henry VIII, including one that would potentially make Mary the rightful heir to the throne of England.

Long may she Reign.

Tune into the CW’s Reign on Thursdays at 9/8c.