Review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief, written by Markus Zusack is a thrilling fictional account of a girl named Liesel growing up in the heart of Nazi Germany. Faced with an early tragedy of losing both her mother and her brother, one to death the other to a combination of poverty and the Nazi wrath, Liesel embarks on a life journey of learning to read and discovering the power of words. She arrives in her new hometown and meets the people who will change her life forever. Her foster father eventually becomes a great inspiration to her later in life. Hans and Rosa Hubermann, in addition to taking in Liesel, a communist girl do the unthinkable. They take on the challenge of hiding a Jew in the heart of Nazi Germany. Max, the Jew eventually inspires Liesel to write a book of her own. Throughout Liesel’s journey she makes new friends while losing some in the process. Her hunger for words overcomes her, and is forced to steal from Hitler himself. Narrated by Death itself, this novel is a page turner. According to the Wall Street Journal, this novel is “One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years.” It has also been labeled “lyrical and moving” by the San Francisco Chronicle. This story is great for readers of any age interested in a great novel.

Winter Formal Preview

Student Council is hosting a dance Winter Formal at capital high school on the twenty fifth of February. They are trying to stop the big lines at their dance by having the tickets bought before the dance. They did this because students were complaining of having to wait a half hour to an hour to get in the dance and saying it is not worth the money if it takes an hour to get in. As of last Wednesday they had sold just over 100 tickets, but they are expecting 500 to 600 people to show up so they have a long way to go. The money they make from the tickets is used to help out other events happening this school year as well as giving families baskets for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The baskets contain everything the families need to have a nice dinner, such as turkeys, ham, potatoes, pies, and much more. The money also goes toward helping out great causes like The Wounded Warrior Race in the spring. They also buy the teachers and staff a thank you gift for all their hard work throughout the year. This year student council wanted to do some visible school improvement projects so they donated money to the art club so they can start painting murals above the lockers to give CHS a face lift. But the largest amount of money is going to be used to help them host the state student council convention next fall. This event is expecting upwards of 1,000 students with activities and food. This is a huge honor for Helena and they want to put on a great conference for the student councils of Montana.
Although they would like to consider it a formal dance, as long as you look nice, they will have no problem with letting you in. As far as music goes, they have Jesse Frohreich. It is his first time at this school but he is highly recommended by the students. The music will be mostly pop and techno because that is what most students like to dance to. The theme for the dance is under water enchantment. Everyone is invited it is not just a dance for couples. This is the freshmen and sophomores’ prom because the actual prom is mainly for juniors and seniors. There will be beverages at the dance, such as soda, water, Shirley Temples, and Roy Rogers. Student Council has been working on the dance for months; they have been meeting weakly to get the decorations ready for a smooth set up come the day of the dance. They need 10 chaperones to put on a dance, but at the moment they only have 6. Chaperones are usually teachers, but they also have parents come help too. They currently have several parents wanting to help out with the dance. Everyone come dressed appropriately and have a great time at the dance.

Medicine Wheel Project Field Trip

On Tuesday, February 7, all the Capital High seniors went on a field trip to the Capitol and the Montana Historical Society to  learn about Native Americans and their history,and also how they live today.  The seniors were split into two groups to attend the sessions at different times.  Each of these groups was split in half for a group session; the students, myself included, had to listened to  either a speaker talking about tribal governments or a speaker talking about stereotypes of Native Americans.  After these large sessions and  lunch, we attended smaller sessions.

At the main session that I went to,  we listened to someone talk about the stereotypes used in sports, such as the case with mascots, like the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Redskins, and the Kansas City Chiefs.  He discussed the fact that most people would find it offensive if a team used a stereotypical African American, Asian, or Latino, so what is the difference between these groups and Native Americans? The consensus of the group was that we do not need to get rid of the teams but change the names or even simply change the images so that they are less stereotypical and offensive.  Native Americans do believe there is a spirit in everything, so those  spirits should be respected, just as

you would respect people. So why, then, do we disrespect Native Americans by using their negative stereotypes as mascots for our sports teams?

For lunch each student was asked in advance to prepare a sack lunch to take with us. There were tables set up for all of us to eat at, and it was funny watching everyone sit with their cliques and remain within their comfort zones.  Not only did they eat lunch with their friends, but some also did not attend the sessions they signed up to see and went with their friends, especially if they had chosen an uncomfortable topic.

The first session I attended I was listening to a college student named Shane Doyle speak about tribal governments and how even though there are non-Natives that live on reservations, it does not mean that the police that follow tribal laws can arrest them for breaking a law, like the ones that say there is supposed to be no alcohol on the reservation.  The only time that a non-Native can be arrested due to the tribal laws is  if he or she is a threat to the rest of the population.   The speaker in this session seemed a bit tired and unprepared but managed to incorporate a few tribal governments into the conversations.  I found that what I did learn was actually rather fascinating and that I may spend some time looking at it more.

The second individual session I attended was a presentation  by Nate St. Pierre about Native American boarding schools.   Mr. St. Pierre talked  about how Native Americans were affected by the boarding schools and the fact that they were put into place to make the Native Americans more like the non-Native population these schools were operated from 1860s to the 1980s.  He showed pictures of the schools and the children before they went to the schools compared to after.  The before and after pictures were falsified because  the Native Americans had white chalk put on their faces for the after pictures.  I learned that there were two kinds of Native American boarding schools,  federal and missionary.  During this presentation, the speaker  was open about letting us know that his grandparents were forced to attend these boarding schools.  Because they were not allowed to speak their native languages and their families could not speak English, they were not able to communicate with each other.  Why did the United States government force Native American children to go to boarding schools? Well, the answer is that it is easier to “reform” children than it is to “reform” adults, and the government thought this was what Native Americans needed.  Why did the Caucasian populous want to reform the Native Americans? They were afraid of them because they did not understand the Native American beliefs and culture.

The last individual session I went to was about suicide prevention on the reservations, presented by Toby Werk a worker for Planting Seeds of Hope project.  When Mr. Werk told us that one in every five students no matter the race, has thought about, attempted, or will attempt suicide, I became disturbed and sad.  On Fort Belknap Reservation, they have a youth group that gets together and plays cultural games that teach respect so that they do not always have to use the word suicide. Mr. Werk described winter as the time to be when most people commit suicide because the weather is so inconsistent and there is not a lot of sun.  He also said that Montana is the state with the third highest suicide deaths of the whole population, and the state with the highest Native American suicides and the highest suicides of non-Native Americans of ages 25 to 30, mainly because of the two extremes we hold here in Montana.  What are these two extremes? One is that if you are a Native American, it is disrespectful to talk about the death of someone that has died, let alone the fact that one feels like dying.  The second extreme is that if you are a cowboy, you cover  up your depression and push past it.  Mr. Werk said that there is a Project Success program in most of  the cities in Montana to help those of Native     American blood deal with any suicidal thoughts they may have.  Out of any of the sessions that we were allowed to choose from, this one was probably the most difficult one to listen to because it is not in the past; it was about something that every generation has to deal with.

The two sessions I think I learned the most from out of the four were the stereotypes and the suicide prevention.  I think that the Medicine Wheel Project is doing a fantastic job trying to educate all youths about Native American culture and history.

Happy Mardi Gras

Clayton Scholl wearing his Mardi Gras crown at the celebration on Wednesday.

February 22, 2012, was the start of the famous Catholic observation called Lent. The day before Lent is known to many around the world as Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, the next day being Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time meant to remember the crucifixion of Christ. During this time many people give up foods they would usually eat during the course of their days. The most common food people usually give up during Lent is meat. They usually give up sweets too, and many people simply choose to fast for parts of Lent. In the Portuguese culture of Brazil, this time is celebrated with an event called Carnival. Carnival is held in Rio de Janeiro and is a huge event to the people living in this area of Brazil. During Carnival there is a huge parade, and many people from all around the area and even the world gather here to watch the various different colored dancers and floats. This event brings in millions of people and has been said to be one of the most famous gatherings in the world.
In order to recognize the celebration of Mardi Gras, Capital High Students in various foreign language classes congregated in the cafeteria to celebrate together. The Spanish, French, Latin, and German students attended this event. In order to explore the cultures of all the languages, classes played a trivia game focusing on different aspects of each language. Not only did students have to answer a trivia question, but they also had to carry a small ball, balancing it on a spoon, to the buzzers they needed to press to answer. Along with playing the trivia game classes sang songs such as “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and “Farashaka” in each of their languages. To top it off, each class had cupcakes for students to eat afterward. According to tradition, a bean or almond was placed inside one cupcake from each class. The person who got the bean or almond was crowned King or Queen of Mardi Gras. Every class participated, and the event turned out to be a success for the Capital High foreign language department.

Capital Wrestling Ends On a Good Note

Capital High wrestling team during the parade of athletes at this years All Conference State Tournament

The Capital High School wrestling season has come to a close. Their last tournament was in Billings, Montana. Billings hosted the annual All-Conference State High School Wrestling Tournament. In the AA division there were 14 teams from around the state who attended. These schools included Capital High, Helena High, C.M.R High, Great Falls High, Glacier High, Flathead High, Missoula Sentinel, Missoula Big Sky, Missoula Hellgate, Billings Senior, Billings West and Billings Skyveiw. The only students from Capital who placed were Jackson Haider and Alex Markle, both taking 4th place. Markle lost to Weatherston from Skyveiw by a fairly wide margin of 8-0 in the semi-final match. Haider beat a #2-ranked wrestler from C.M.R in the consolation semi-finals. State champions from Helena High this year were Tucker Erickson at 285 pounds, Grant Boggs at 112 pounds and Gabe Schroeck at 119 pounds. Gabe and Tucker became 2 time state champions. Although the Capital High team did not have any state champions, the team has high hopes for future wrestling seasons. Overall, the team finished out the year with no cross-town wins. With only two seniors, the team will be hoping to have many returning upper classmen for next year’s season. The team will hold meetings later in the year in regard to next year’s season. If you have any questions about wrestling contact Coach Sheridan at C.R. Anderson Middle School.

Movie Review: Chronicle

The movie Chronicle is an exhilarating action film released February 3rd of this year. Directed by Josh Trank, the motion picture was given four stars out of five by movie critics. Three high school students who meet at a party in the hills discover something very weird, a large crater leading into the earth. Their curiosity gets the better of them, and they embark on a long journey into the earth. After this experience the group discovers that they have supernatural powers. Although they have fun at first with their new-found abilities, eventually their friendships are tested and great tragedy ensues. Chronicle is rated PG-13.
I enjoyed this film thoroughly and hope people interested in a good show will give it a try. Many parts of the movie were laughable, and I enjoyed the humorous scenes. I felt the actors did a good job portraying a real life situation of teens with supernatural powers. Meaning the teens live a normal life keeping their powers between the three of them.
There are many other titles in theaters that may interest you also. Showing currently at the Cinemark 8 in Helena are The Woman in Black (PG-13), This Means War (PG-13), Journey 2: Mysterious Island (PG), Safe House (R), Star Wars Episode 1- The Phantom Menace (PG), The Vow (PG-13), Big Miracle (PG) and The Descendants (R). Movie prices are around $8 with a fee for 3D motion pictures. Cheaper ticket prices are available for matinees. Just a reminder, if you’re looking for something to do, Capital High students are putting on the play No Body To Murder on February 23rd. For additional information about the performance see the drama teacher, Mrs. Calvert, or the fliers around the building.

French Club

French Club was working on the Festival of Trees

There are many different clubs at Capital High School. Of course, I would like to write about all the existing clubs because I’m sure they do a lot of interesting and useful things. But I will write about the club of which I am a member and in which I am directly involved. This is French Club. Now I will tell you more about the history of the development and activities of the club.  First of all, everybody is interested in the question of when the club was formed and who was its founder. First of all, I should say that the advisor of the French club is Ms. Van Dam, teacher of French at Capital High. French Club existed long before Ms. Van Dam started teaching at Capital High in 2003, and French Club has existed since French appeared in the schedule of the school. But, nevertheless, nobody negates the huge influence of Ms. Van Dam on the functioning of French Club because it is she who serves as mentor for her student, and it is she who guides students in the exciting world of French language and culture.

So what are some interesting things French Club is doing? Events include movie nights, co-club get togethers with Spanish club, volunteering at Festival of Trees, and visiting France. So, as you probably understood from the Festival of Trees, French Club does community service. Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, so we will sell some Valentine’s candy. Watch for this on February 13th and 14th. It is always good to buy for somebody special something nice on such a day. Also, the biggest event which is coming up is a trip to Paris, France. French Club will travel next year, but only students who are in French 3 and French 4 will be allowed to go on this trip. Students plan to see Paris, to visit Loire Valley and to experience life with host-families. The trip to France and French Club itself is financed by fundraising. When I asked Ms. Van Dam about what inspiration she had to become an advisor of French Club, she said, “They are my students!” And I am totally in agreement with her when she says that French Club is a perfect place to meet new friends and to get together with other students with the same interests outside of school hours. There are about 15 members in the club this year. President of the club is Heather Wise, and the vice president is Brian Sinrud. And lastly, important information to know is that club meetings are on Fridays at noon in the room # 111. So do not hesitate; come join us!

Review of The Vow

For most girls, the main conflict of The Vow seems to have a very simple and obvious solution. If you woke up from a coma and Channing Tatum claimed to be your husband, would you really question the direction your life had taken? For Rachel McAdams’ character, Paige, this solution is not quite so obvious. After a memory-loss inducing car accident, Paige is forced to choose between continuing life as she remembers it ,five years in the past, or attempting to accept the changes that have taken place in her life. As Paige struggles to recover her identity and memory, her husband Leo, played by Channing Tatum, must come to terms with that fact that the love of his life no longer has any idea who he is. Leo devotes all his energy to giving care and attention to his wife, resulting in a failing business and a broken heart. Previous to her accident, Paige isolated herself from her family because of a family betrayal. When her memory is lost, her friends and family fail to remind Paige of the event that caused this separation. As Paige is taken in by her mother and father, Leo must desperately try to win back the love of his own wife.

In my opinion, The Vow was a respectable presentation of a complex love story. The plot and main characters were extremely well-developed. The love between Paige and Leo was performed as genuine and honest love. The film had an effective balance of light humor, romance, and loss. The Vow was inspired by a true story, and I thought the reality of facing an ordeal as challenging as this was presented thoughtfully. Although at times I found Channing Tatum’s performance slightly unconvincing, my overall impression of The Vow is a realistic and believable story of the challenges that true love can overcome.

Student Parking Lot

Many things go on in the student parking lot, such as vandalism, reckless driving, car accidents, skipping, smoking, and drug use. But if these things are not seen or reported by other students, then there is not much that the staff or the police can do because “there are no cameras in the student parking lot yet,” according to Ms. Huddnutt, so all they can do is try to track the student down, which is not always effective. In Ms. Mallach’s words, “We really only have word of mouth,” which means tell someone; use your voice.

Vandalism occurs much more often than you would think. It goes from people messing with others’ vehicles to throwing stuff, such as food rocks etc at someone else’s vehicle. If you ever go out there, then you will definitely see people driving recklessly weather it is speeding, doing illegal moves, or anything else, you need to let the staff know that they need to abide by the rules like everybody else.

There have been a sufficient amount of car accidents out there as well. Some students also go out to the student parking lot to skip class, and some of those students are out there smoking cigarettes and marijuana, along with other illegal substances. While they are doing these activities, others are ruining the hard work of the art students on the cement barriers. The cement barriers are there mainly to direct traffic and for parking, but some students take it upon themselves to destroy these works of art; they knock them over, spray paint on them, and break them. Some people break the cement barriers by accidently hitting them with their vehicles while trying to show off, and that may seem like fun and games to the driver, but it could seriously injure them or some innocent by-stander. Students here at Capital High School need to learn to be more careful and responsible while they are driving on school grounds or anywhere else, for that matter, so please be safe and courteous to other drivers out there, and make sure to buckle up.

Key Club

Mrs. Sieminski

There are many clubs students in high school choose to be a part of.  Here at Capital students have started many extracurricular clubs and have set up meeting dates for each unique club throughout the year.  Key Club has been chosen to be a featured club in the school newspaper.  Key Club was formed nationally in the year 1925, while locally the club was formed at an unknown date.  The supervisor of Key Club is Mrs. Sieminski, a science teacher here atCapitalHigh School.  The club meets every Thursday at noon in room 222.  Key Club is an organization that focuses on community service for high school students.  This club strives to help high school students give back to the community in many diverse ways.

A now retired English teacher Joni Chenoweth formed the club at CHS.  When taking on the role of being advisor of Key Club, Sieminski was inspired by “the concept of a club in which students take the initiative to help others in our community, state, nation and around the world.”  So what is Key Club all about?  Key Club is an organization run by Kiwanis International.  This club strives to get students to help the world’s children, as well as do community service.  The purpose of the club is “to promote leadership and sense of community/volunteerism among students through service projects,” Sieminski added.

The Capital High Key Club has done many things over the years to help out with the community and help the world’s children.  One Place the club volunteers at is Helena Food Share, an organization that receives donations of food from businesses and community members aroundHelena.  They then take this food and donate it to the people ofHelenawho qualify for it.  The club also volunteers atFourGeorgiansElementary School.  Members go to the school to watch children during parent-teacher conferences.  They also volunteer at the Helena Education Foundation.  As for raising money, members have been very busy doing this.  Alone the Capital High Key Club raised close to $500 for an organization called UNICEF.  UNICEF, originally short for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund then shortened to The United Nations Children’s Fund, is an organization that helps children and mothers in developing countries.  UNICEF provides food and living materials to families in these types of countries.  Another thing members do is collect toys for the national Toys for Tots drive.  The club recently raised close to $500 worth of toys for the cause as well

The club is composed of 14 different members from Capital.  The club is paid for by a $13 entry fee, help from Kiwanis, and various fundraising events.  The club is open to new members wishing to give back to the community.  So come down to room 222 on Thursdays and give Key Club a shot.