One Quarter Down with New Teachers at BHS

by Sara Wolf

Bellbrook High School students were introduced to quite a few new staff member faces this school year. Among many of these were a few–Mrs. Knisley, Mr. Phelps, Mr. Kapka and Mrs. Buedel-Herrman–who all took time to answer questions from students about themselves and how they’ve liked their first quarter here as Golden Eagles.

Mrs. Knisley has been teaching for three years and is teaching in the Learning Lab, Testing Room and Reading Lab. When asked what one of her favorite memories she’s had so far, she responded, “I have already had so many great memories here at Bellbrook High School. The one memory that stands out the most are the Homecoming events. The spirit and excitement of the week will be a lasting memory.” She was inspired to become a teacher by her love for learning and working with kids, and “the moment when a student connects with a concept and is excited to learn.” Mrs. Knisley says the best part of her job is working with BHS’s students and staff.

Mr. Phelps currently teaches English 9 & 10 CP classes, though he’s spent his previous 9 years in education as a Spanish teacher or assistant principal. Sophomore Mara Neal points out that, “Mr. Phelps is an extremely good English teacher despite the fact that he’s never taught English before. He’s always fully prepared and makes sure we fully understand things before moving onto new concepts. He’s also very approachable and encourages people to ask for help with whatever they need.” Mr. Phelps said that one of the most memorable moments he’s had at BHS was during the staff’s A.L.I.C.E. training to learn how to respond in emergencies. “This involved tackling Mr. Hann, which is a very strange way to get started working with your new boss!” he commented. When asked what inspired him to begin teaching, Mr. Phelps said, “I had two amazing high school teachers, one taught English and the other taught Spanish. Both were such dynamic people that one instantly loved their classes and understood what real learning is.  They encouraged me to pursue a college education and really helped me along the way.  You see I was first in my family to go to college, so I didn’t have a lot of help or support at home with academic pursuits.” Mr. Phelps also said that his students are undoubtedly the best part of his job. “It is so fun to engage kids in the content and see them ‘getting it.’  My goal as a new English teacher is to have students leave my class as better readers and writers than when they walked in. I am working harder than I ever have as a teacher because English is a big job, but I am truly enjoying what I am doing, so it doesn’t really feel like work.” Many of Mr. Phelps’ students would be quick to say that his class doesn’t feel like the normal load of boring work either. “He’s actually the funniest teacher I’ve ever had,” says Sophomore Hayden Bullock.

Mr. Kapka has taught in Xenia for 6 years and at Sinclair for half a year. He’s currently teaching Geometry CP, Transitional Algebra, and the Essentials of Algebra II. He says his favorite experiences so far have simply been his interactions with the students at BHS. When asked what inspired him to teach, he responded, “I love math. Someone told me when I tutored them that I was great at explaining the mathematics so I became a math teacher.” He also explained that his favorite part of his job is helping kids develop both math and real-life skills. Freshman Caden Barr really loves the time he’s spent in Mr. Kapka’s class so far this year. “He brings so much energy into class. He’s very passionate about his teaching and you can see how hard he works to make it fun for the students,” Barr says. “He’s that teacher that you look forward to having next period because of his upbeat teaching and his ability to act like he’s your friend.” Sophomore Ally Keefer remembers a day when Mr. Kapka laid out the ground to work with Barr. “Mr. Kapka is a great and funny teacher,” she says. “If we need help in class, he will go to the point of laying on the floor to help us if that’s where we are doing our work.”

This is Mrs. Buedel-Herrman’s 10th year teaching. She currently teaches English 10 Honors, English 11 College Prep, and film classes here at the high school. Mrs. B-H thought that tackling Mr. Hann alongside other new staff members during A.L.I.C.E. training was definitely her most memorable experience so far. When asked what inspired her to teach, she responded, “I had some amazing teachers in high school. My two favorites were Ms. Makstutis, my creative writing teacher, and Mrs. Murdock, my 9th, 11th, and 12th grade English teacher. They challenged me academically and helped me develop as a reader and a writer. Their passion for their students definitely inspired me to become an educator, and I feel fortunate to have been under their tutelage.” She says the best part of her job are the students at BHS. “It’s always a treat to get to know my kids and see how they grow over the course of our time together.” Sophomore Bergen Eppers says, “I absolutely love her as a teacher. She’s very kind and eager to improve your English skills…I love her way of teaching. It gets the students involved in discussion and more hands-on type of learning.”

Cavs aim to defend their crown as new season approaches

By: Carter Caldwell

Basketball fans are gearing up for their favorite season as winter approaches, and it’s safe to say the Cleveland Cavaliers are not going to go down without a fight.  Last year “Believeland” was able to defeat the Golden State Warriors to garner the city’s first championship since 1964 and the team’s first since its inception.  After losing to the Warriors in 2015’s championship, 2016 found the Cavs at a 3-1 deficit in the seven game series.   Never one to give up, rookie coach Tyronn Lue and the team made an unprecedented comeback to win it all.

This season, the Cavs will be without backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who was the team’s fourth-best free-throw shooter.  On the flip side, the Warriors gained Kevin Durant, a seven-time NBA All-Star, who came from the Oklahoma City Thunder.  While this may seem to be an impressive addition, some fans wonder if Durant’s presence may interfere with the team’s cohesiveness.

Despite being a favorite to win the upcoming championship, the Warriors are not off a good start this season, after their 29-point loss on October 25 to the San Antonio Spurs.  The Cavaliers, on the other hand, beat the New York Knicks by 29 in their first game of the season, with LeBron James.  James, 31, is very confident in his team, saying “There are more mountains to climb,” when asked about the continuation of last year’s success.

Thanksgiving Blues


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photo courtesy of ClipArt

by Rachel Giffin

Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, jack-o-lanterns and Christmas trees, and lost amidst the mad dashes to deliver candy to children on either October 31 or December 25, there is one day which seems to be mentioned less and less every year. What day is that? Black Friday?

Not really.

Thanksgiving is a time where kids can get a break for school to recharge just enough to finish exams, long-lost relatives who are maybe too busy to visit for Christmas can stop by, and college kids can visit home for a while before heading out again. Not only that, but it’s an excuse to spend hours and hours preparing glorious amounts of food. But what we seem to celebrate more than this is the day after: where stores open at ungodly hours, people rush in to buy items at bargain prices, and historic grocery-store wars ensue until far into the evening. It celebrates what Americans seem to value most: getting more.

Instead of being thankful, many of us are losing sleep over that deal we might get on Friday morning. It goes to show what a sad state society must be in for it to focus entirely on what it can get, rather than what can be given.

The good news is that many people have realized this unsettling trend and now refuse to go shopping on Black Friday. Studies done by a financing comparison site, Nerdwallet, found that most  deals advertised on Black Friday aren’t as good as they seem and people are catching on. Certain stores, like Nordstrom, are refusing to open their doors on Black Friday at all. As a spokesman for the company told the Huffington Post, “We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.”

So do many.

It’s sad, really, how many of us feel almost forced to hurry up Thanksgiving and get onto Christmas. No little kid, when asked what their favorite holiday is, will tell you “Thanksgiving” when Christmas is around and potential presents are on the line. But what can we do about this? Is there any way to change the connotation of Thanksgiving, or otherwise emphasize its meaning, without demeaning the other powerful holidays of the year?

I think so. Of course, it must be encouraged that getting presents isn’t what makes something a holiday. The most appealing factors of both Halloween and Christmas is that we get something for it, whether it’s candy or gifts (or sometimes both), whereas in Thanksgiving, there’s only food. We must find the joy in that, and the joy in giving what we have to who we can. Thanksgiving must be made special again because of its meaning. It is a time where we look not at what we want, but at what we have: our friends, our family, our livelihoods, our talents, our pets and everything else that has come to us not by our doing but by divine providence. In doing so, we’re less inclined to rush out the door Friday morning, and more apt to staying at home and enjoying what we’ve been given.

Because, after all, the best things in life are free.

Current Political Landscape Grim for Trump ahead of Election Day

by Joey Derrico

With days left till the general election on November 8, both candidates are fervently campaigning through crucial swing states. The current political landscape appears ominous for the controversial GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is trailing Democratic nominee Clinton 272 to 179 in the most recent version of the CNN “Road to 270” map with 87 electoral college points up for grabs in the swing states.

The reason the political landscape looks grim for Trump lies in the numbers themselves. If the electoral college points presented by CNN are accurate then Trump must win all battleground states as well as steal a “lean Democrat” state from Hillary Clinton. Adding to Trump’s woes are the strange revelations currently unraveling in Utah. Third party candidate Evan McMullin, a Utah native and ex-CIA officer, is presently within the margin of error of Donald Trump. Utah has gone Republican the last fifty years but nothing can be taken for granted during this unpredictable election cycle.

Hillary Clinton’s path, on the other hand, looks substantially more plausible than Mr. Trump’s. Mrs. Clinton can afford to lose multiple swing states and multiple political pundits believe if she wins just one battleground state, the race would be essentially over for Trump. Plus, experts predict one of, if not the highest, voter turnouts in modern political history, a positive prospect for Democrats. Mr. Trump has recently been commenting about a “rigged” election system and has even threatened to bring the results of the election to court if he is not the victor.

The Supreme Court’s Balance of Justices

By Henry Wong

Republican Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John McCain (R-AZ) have said that any Supreme Court nominee made by Hillary Clinton, if elected, would be blocked from confirmation. This ninth spot has been open since the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February. The Constitution permits justices to serve for life but the possibility of two more vacancies exists for appointments by whoever the next President is, since Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy are in their 80’s.

In March, US Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by President Obama but the Senate has refused to even have confirmation hearings over the past seven months. At the same time, many Republicans fear that if Hillary Clinton is elected, an even more liberal candidate would be nominated thus calling for Garland’s confirmation instead.

According to Ted Cruz, “There will be plenty of time for debate on the issue. There is historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. Just recently Justice (Stephen) Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”

This seems to contradict what Justice Sonia Sotomayor said when she commented in Minnesota recently that, “It’s much more difficult for us to do our job if we are not what we’re intended to be – a court of nine . . .” since evenly split rulings can leave the law undecided and justice “administered in an unequal way.”

Historically, there have been times when fewer than nine justices served on the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Act of 1789 originally set the number at six. The current situation is not a first since there have been two times when there was a vacancy for more than two years and six times when there was a vacancy for more than a year. In addition, Justice Harry Blackmun was confirmed after the Senate rejected two nominations made by President Nixon.  The fate of the Supreme Court is in the hands of the Presidential election and its balance will be the new topic of discussion after Election Day.

Fall-bulous Fashion

by Bergen Eppers

Fall is finally here, the season where we can finally wear jeans and sweaters, but what is in style this year? According to what is making the runways, celebrity sightings, and even everyday items from your local fashionista, here are some outfit choices that will spice up your wardrobe this season for those fall activities:

  1. Plaid Shirts. You can never go wrong with one of these. According to InStyle, you can rock it in many different styles. For those cute and casual days, match it up  like Jessica Alba with some comfy leggings and use it as a cover-up or switch it up with it buttoned up, some skinny jeans, and some flats for a preppy-chic look. Want more upscale? Combine it with a black or jean skirt, any boots or heels, and a statement necklace like Kendall Jenner. When your outfit ideas are running low always keep one (or more) in your closet.
  1. Hay Riding? Wear jeans. Yes, we all will eventually do it this season, no denying it, so why not do it in style? To avoid being poked by the hay bails (we’ve all been there), definitely wear some jeans. Go casual with the help of a graphic sweater and a jean jacket. Finally, throw in those comfy boots for a bold statement.
  1. Apple Picking? Leggings and a field jacket. For those adventurous families and friends, here’s an outfit idea for your fun day. To keep warm, wear some leggings and plain long sleeve shirt. Then, as the main piece, snatch a colorful field jacket. Pair it up with some moccasins and refined accessories for the perfect balance.
  1. Trench Coats. For a night on the town or any outdoor activity, these are the perfect fashion statement for style and warmth. Match it up with some jeans/leggings and some knee-high boots and you will never go wrong. Pair it with a light infinity scarf and a string purse and you could walk those streets like a runway, according to
  2. Dresses with Sweaters. You really want to wear that dress but the weather just isn’t agreeing? Throw a sweater underneath and some leggings to still stay nice and dressy, but warm and cozy on the inside. Some boots, a nice up do, and some studs will tie this outfit sweetly, or to go for a rougher edge, add a big necklace and rock that hair down.

6. Knee High Boots. You can probably guess that these are definitely a must-have. They can go with every outfit in the fall and winter and just look cute anywhere. For those fall-back or emergency shoes, these are it. Where some knee-high socks that poke at the top and your outfit will be a gem.

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  1. Pumpkin Perusing? Sweaters! For those who do the classic to choose their pumpkins this year, keep cozy and stylish with an over-sized sweater, leggings or joggers, and some comfy slip-ons because who knows how long you will be out there inspecting pumpkins. Throw that hair up in a bun and some light makeup, and now you are all cozy. All you need now is the hot chocolate…

BHS Winter Sports Preview

By: Carter Caldwell

Although it may seem like the year has just begun, the end of the first quarter is drawing to a close and with it goes the fall sports season.  The cross country league meet will take place on 15 October, and the tennis and golf teams are well into the state tournaments, and volleyball has garnered the top seed in their league tournament.  Girls soccer will play 25 October in the third round of their tournament, and the boy’s season ended October 20 at the hands of Tipp.  The football team also defeated Northridge at home on 14 October in a 42-0 blowout.  That said, it is almost time for winter sports to begin.

Last year’s girls’ basketball program had a very successful 26-1 season, especially with the help of senior Gabby Ozoude.  While the team lost a great player, the returning athletes seem more than capable of living up to last year’s feats.  

Another sport to watch will be the upcoming swim and dive team.  The Eagles made a splash last year when sophomores Cody Bybee, John Sampson, Cole Huggard, and Savannah Briley, junior Henry Wong, and seniors Meghan Bobick, Holly Hulett, and Anna Hesseman went to the state meet.  With the girl’s team losing three heavy hitters, time will tell how the team will shape up to be this season.  

The wrestling team also lost a major player last year with the graduation of Tyler Wiederholt, who was a state champion.  It should also be noted that boys’ basketball program will be seeing some new prospects with new head coach Donny Tate, a former assistant coach at Beavercreek and Carroll.  The boy’s first game will be December 2.