Top five local thrift shops

By Anna Starkey

Whether you are searching for an outfit for a football game, a Halloween costume, or an ugly sweater, thrift stores offer convenient and cheap solutions to any wardrobe problem.  Luckily, the Dayton area is home to multiple second-hand shops. Here are the Top Five must visit thrift shops in the area:


Happy thrifting! (And remember to wash clothing prior to use.)

Why You Should Minimize Your Pencil Bag–Or Not

by Rachael Birri and Bridget Richard

Rachael’s View

My pencil bag is my purse (which is not large enough to fit a standard wallet or more than one lipstick, let alone excess clutter). Therefore, I make it my personal mission to make sure that I only carry what is vital. As a result, I rarely spend more than three seconds looking for any item within it. The pencil bag part of my purse consists of one pencil, one blue pen, one red pen, and one yellow highlighter. I have been debating disposing of the red pen and highlighter, but I’ve kept them for their rare uses.

I am not yet a minimalist, but I strive to become one. I don’t enjoy excess. I want to help you trash the useless utensils you lug around on a day-to-day basis for the “what if” cases and save you precious seconds of digging through a seemingly bottomless zipper bag.

  1. Excess pencils: You only need one pencil throughout the day. It doesn’t matter what kind, but only one is sufficient. With one pencil, I guarantee that you’ll be more adamant about keeping track of its location, and halfway through the school year you won’t wonder why all twenty of your multicolored, mechanical pencils went missing.
  2. Separate erasers: You have an eraser on the back of your pencil and you can cross out any large-scale mistakes so keeping a separate eraser that you maybe use once or twice when you remember that you have one is not worth the pencil-bag space.
  3. Scissors, markers, crayons, colored pencils: Sadly enough, we no longer use these items on a daily basis, and when they’re required, they’re provided. Say goodbye to your cluttered childhood and embrace that black, grey, and blue monotony of growing up.
  4. Pencil sharpener: First of all, if you’re 95% of the student population, you use a mechanical pencil anyway. Second, when you stand up to throw away the pencil shavings, you could be standing to go to a pencil sharpener already in the classroom that won’t break the end of the pencil off five times before “sharpening” it to a workable blunt end.
  5. Paper clips/binder clips: If you can name even two occasions since the start of the school year that you’ve used either then feel free to keep them. If not, a teacher is sure to have some in case of any paper clip related emergency.

Bridget’s Rebuttal

I would not label myself as a minimalist, in any sense of the term. There is value to behold in many of these school items that Rachael has deemed unnecessary, and I would like to justify their place in pencil bags: both yours and mine.

  1. Excess Pencils- there is no such thing as excess pencils. I currently have 8 pencils in my pencil bag: 2 are non-mechanical (the most accepted kind for standardized tests), and then I have 2 different types of mechanical pencils, 3 for each type. Why is having more than one pencil necessary? The first and most obvious reason is for when they malfunction or break. I was taking notes in math two days ago and the top mechanism of the pencil popped off and wouldn’t reattach. Good thing I had a new working pencil within seconds, or how else could I have studied that lengthy chain-rule derivative? And another thing, other students often have no pencil at all. And if I had to ask a classmate to borrow a pencil and they’re response was, “Sorry, this is my only one,” I wouldn’t believe them. I would just think that they were too lazy to get their pencil bag out, they just didn’t like me, or some combination of the two. Don’t be that person.
  2. Separate erasers: I have two large chunky erasers along with a cap eraser that I keep on top  of my mechanical pencil, of which I use all three almost daily. I’m not a perfect student that never makes mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes… a lot of big mistakes. Especially when it comes to creating graphs and diagrams, of which I make many, those mistakes can sometimes cost you an entire page of paper if you don’t erase it. And grabbing a new sheet of paper just because your teensy pencil eraser couldn’t handle is dare I say contradictory to the whole minimalist idea of getting by with less. That’s just wasting paper.
  3. Who said adulthood had to be monochrome and dull? Colors can make things interesting, exciting, and easier to comprehend. Have you ever seen a math teacher solve a problem and use color coding? For some students, it is a game changer. If colors work for you–and if that magenta marker is just too good to pass up–then go for it.  
  4. Okay, this one makes sense. Keep your handheld sharpeners wherever your parents keep their office supplies. The only time they are in dire use is during ACT, SAT, or AP tests.
  5. I agree with this one as well, but then again I don’t often see anybody with paperclips or binder clips in their pencil bags to begin with. But to further emphasize my “less is not more” outlook, here are some things that I keep in my pencil bag at all times.

-Note cards: some blank, some with vocabulary words, some with creative ideas I think of in class

-Hair-ties: for anybody with long hair who gets annoyed with it throughout the day. They come in of handy, and they don’t even take up that much space.

-Candy: Again, a small thing that doesn’t take up room in the pencil bag. Don’t try to tell me that you’ve never wanted candy in the middle of class.

-A laminated cut-out from a Dilbert comic strip: For whenever you need a good pick-me-up.

Rachael’s Rebuttal

Note cards are made redundant by the presence of smart phones. One hair tie is fine, multiple is an invitation to lose all of them. Candy inevitably leads to candy wrappers in the bag, so avoid it when possible (also not the best brain food for a mid-class pick-me-up.) “Do not keep an item unless you know it to be useful or believe it to be beautiful”; therefore, keep the comic.

President Obama Acknowledges “Kanye 2020”

by Bridget Richard

President Obama has finally addressed the famous “Kanye 2020” campaign declaration. It has been about two months since West stated at the 2015 VMAs on August 15 that he would run for president. The POTUS himself told some jokes on the subject during a recent fundraising event in San Francisco, making several conspicuous references, about both his “Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and his wife Kim. President Obama formatted his jokes as advice for West on his future campaign, saying: “First of all, you’ve got to spend a lot of time dealing with some strange characters who behave like they’re on a reality TV show. So you’ve just got to be cool with that.”

Several Bellbrook High School students also have some thoughts on the matter. Freshman Jasmine Melton says, “I think that it was a rude and inappropriate comment. Because you should give everyone a fair chance at the presidency,” regarding Obama’s almost mocking tone on the subject. A BHS senior had a different opinion, saying, “It’s awesome that the President even said anything about Kanye West. It was really funny.”

Atlas Shrugged: Halfway Through the Journey

by Bridget Richard

Atlas Shrugged is one of the most famous novels by 20th century writer and philosopher Ayn Rand. Written in 1957, it depicts a dystopian American economy and follows the stories of several industrialist leaders and how they all try to go about solving it. That in and of itself is a bland summary, because the novel is so much more than that. Since I am halfway through reading this monster of a novel, I’d like to recap why I hate it, why I love it, and why I think it is worth reading so far.

When I said that it was a monster of a novel, I wasn’t exaggerating. It’s comprised of  561,996 words in total. For reference, that’s over 1,000 pages in the 50th anniversary commemorative edition. That’s why there are usually multiple bent and wrinkled copies in secondhand bookstores. You see three or four piled together on the shelf, and know that those are from people who more than likely gave up on such a behemoth–which is completely understandable. It’s a difficult book to read. There have been multiple occasions where I went to turn the page, saw that a character was going to speak, and then saw that that particular character speaks non-stop for nearly two pages. And sometimes those monologues aren’t broken into paragraphs. There are just two massive columns of text laughing at you spouting a whole philosophical spiel that will almost always fly over your head the first time you read it.

I’m officially halfway through the novel, and we’re still introducing key characters into the story. I’ve met more people through this storyline in the past several months than I have since my senior year started.

As exasperating as reading it can be, it is also just as fulfilling. Watching these characters become so fleshed-out and developed is a real pleasure. While they are not always realistic or relatable at first glance, they have such admirable qualities–whether it be their determination, their charisma, or their loyalty.

Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism is surely flawed–in the way that it glorifies isolation and a lack of emphasis on the beauty of human interaction–but if anything it is a fascinating and new perspective to take, which has value in itself.

And if nothing else, read Atlas Shrugged halfway through to at least meet and experience the character of Eddie Willers. He the inexplicable “everyman” in a world filled with hyper-intelligent elite executives. Eddie Willers has proven to be nothing but a sweet and loyal character who I am excited to continue rooting for, even if it is for another 500 pages.

Four Fun Festivals to Visit this October

By Anna Starkey

Get out and enjoy the season with these local fall celebrations!

Ohio Renaissance Festival – now to 10/26

Located in Waynesville near Caesar’s Creek lies the largest Renaissance Festival in Ohio.  With over 30 acres of land, the festival truly takes you into the past.  The actors, artisans, and townspeople put on an impressive performance to make your experience as realistic as possible.

Eichelberger Film Dayton Festival – 10/23-10/25

Held at the Neon near the Oregon District, the Eichelberger festival showcases independent films from the Dayton area as well as independent films from around the world.  If you are a film buff, do not miss Film Dayton.

Hauntfest on the Fifth – 10/31

On Halloween, the Oregon District will hold the 30th annual Dayton Hauntfest from 7 pm until 1 am.  Although this event is not for young children, you do not have to be 21 to enjoy the fun!  There will be costume contests, live music, food, and drinks.  Come to Hauntfest to celebrate Halloween with the Dayton community.

For more information on local festivals happening soon in the Dayton area, visit

Keeping spirits high while the temperature falls

by Anna Starkey

While summer fades and fall begins, it is difficult to come to terms with less daylight, fewer leaves, and less warmth.  Instead of allowing your mood to shift with the seasons, stay positive about the weather by incorporating these simple fixes into your life:

Stay Outside!

Instead of moping around your home searching for indoor activities, go back outside.  The weather may be nippy but it surely will not bite as long as you dress appropriately with layers and bundling.  Staying outside allows your body to intake natural sunlight and energize.  It also motivates you to rake the leaves.  Ohio offers many beautiful – and free – reserves open to the public year round.

Be Active!

Unlike bears, humans were not designed to hibernate during the winter.  Do not become dormant once the temperatures fall.  Instead of lounging around, try to obtain at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.  This can be accomplished by simply taking your dog for a walk or doing core exercises in the morning.

Embrace the Season! 

Rather than keeping your beach-scented candles and summer decor on show, switch your style to match the season.  This helps with transition from summer to fall and eventually to winter by preventing you from reminiscing about the warm weather.  Along with changing your style, do seasonal activities.  Watch scary movies.  Drink apple cider.  Bake Pillsbury pumpkin cookies.  Attend haunted houses.  Embracing the season allows you to enjoy traditions despite the weather.

Create a Countdown!

If you absolutely cannot manage to do anything other than stare out the window and dream about the spring, create a countdown to the last day of winter.  Although this will not speed up the cold season, it will give you something positive to look forward to when the leaves fall and two-foot snow piles line the sidewalks.