Weather balloon project takes off


On Memorial Day weekend in 2017, RAHS Satellite Club plans to launch a weather balloon in Ritzville, Washington to test their software for future use.


A special sub team was created to design and launch the weather balloon, comprised of juniors Miles Durnwirth, Brynne Hunt, Andrew Struthers, Josh Sherbrooke, and Cole Evans. Their main goal is to synthesize all the work they have done by launching a smaller project before their eventual satellite.


“A lot of people wanted to focus just on building a satellite,” said Evans, “but we’ve progressed a lot as a team and we want to get experience building something tangible that we’re going to launch.”


Durnwirth, who launched a weather balloon in his middle school days, feels that a weather balloon is logical step before launching an actual satellite.


“We wanted to test the systems,” said Durnwirth, “and if that goes fine, then, as a secondary goal, we’re kind of hoping it will break the speed of sound, which is very possible with the design that we’re using.”


Andrew Struthers and Josh Sherbrooke were tasked with the programming of the weather balloon software.


“Along with Josh, I’m the only other person [in Satellite Club] who knows how to program well enough to do anything on the balloon,” said Struthers, “and we need to have programmers, so I was put on the team.”


Hunt, on the other hand, is in charge of the business side of the weather balloon team, which includes reaching out to the community.


“We’re teaming up with the Highline School District,” said Hunt, “and we’re going to launch at least five middle school payloads, [such as] projects that they want to send on the balloon, under a 10 x 10 x 10 cm size constraint.”


Planetary Resources Director of Marketing and Communications Caitlin O’Keefe Dietrich is proud to say that the company has been mentoring and providing guidance to the club.


“We really hope to see the Raisbeck Aviation High School Satellite Club not only succeed in their goals of building and launching,” said Dietrich, “but also having opportunities to take away key learning points to help [their] future projects.


In fact, Planetary Resources, in their effort to support Satellite Club, donated balloons and parachutes to the weather balloon team.


“The main reason why we wanted to make sure we were involved in [the Satellite Club] is because we’re very dedicated to helping [them] promote [their] study of anything STEM related, certainly aerospace related,” said Dietrich. “We also have an investment in making sure that all the students there [at RAHS] have many learning opportunities to help prepare them for college.”


Planetary Resources is preparing not only for the future of the students, but also the future of the aerospace field.


“We feel that you are the future of our industry, and we want to do what we can to help you grow and succeed in the future, so supporting the Satellite Club is priority for us,” said Dietrich. “Also, offering things like internships is a priority for our team here at Planetary because we want to be involved in your path through high school and beyond.”


With every project comes unique challenges, and Satellite Club recognizes those challenges and is currently formulating plans to overcome them.


“Tracking is the main issue we’re having now, said Evans. “It goes up 120,000 feet and gets blown hundreds of miles by the wind, so we need to be able to actually find it after it lands because we have thousands of dollars worth of equipment.”


For Satellite Club, the whole experience of building and launching their rocket is what matters, far from the end product.


“I hope it works,” said Hunt. “If we can get everything together and get it to launch, even if it comes crashing down, I’ll still be happy. I’m just happy that it’s happening.”

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Satterlee incites mockumentary mayhem

Bow down to the almighty Samuel Satterlee. He's not too afraid of confrontation and will gladly include anyone in his videos that's interested.
Bow down to the almighty Samuel Satterlee. He’s not too afraid of confrontation and will gladly include anyone in his videos that’s interested.

Ambitious actor and RAHS sophomore Samuel Satterlee has been working on a film mostly involving students in the school. He has been collaborating with other students to find what comedy fits him and his future videos.


“I’ve always wanted to make a film,” said Satterlee. “Everybody is very supportive about it and we all agreed that this is going to be a great idea, and it’s going to be a mockumentary like ‘The Office,’ but with students.”


A mockumentary is similar to a documentary but layers in some fictional comedy and overall humors a particular aspect of life such as, in Satterlee’s case, school. A lot of his motivation derives from the natural humor and wit he finds in the students.


“We have so many creative people at our school, and I find a lot of their comedy very funny, so we take a lot of their comedy and put them into our videos.” said Satterlee. “I’m always laughing when I’m at school. We have a lot of crazy people at our school, and not to be mean or anything, I mean crazy in a funny way.”


The people participating with Satterlee’s comedy create a filming opportunity that he greatly enjoys, and while he is still experimenting with his works, he wants to include more and more students in his films.


“Our main goal is to make something we find funny, but if others find it funny that’s great,” said Satterlee. “I would also love to involve more people in our videos, everyone is welcome, especially with our larger films.”


One such large film that is planned involves poking fun at the Mali Army, whose military cannot afford enough ammunition, so some troops resort to imitating gunfire through verbal shouts and sounds.


“We do want to go off compass to do a spoof of the Mali Army, a wonderful army,” said Satterlee. “They fake having ammunition, and we want to do a mock of that in the woods, because pretending to be an army at school would be a little crazy.”


While this film calls for off-campus filming, Satterlee wants to keep a lot of his videos relevant to the school and the student body, sticking with the idea of a mockumentary.
“That would be away from the school, in a forest or something,” said Satterlee. “We only want to film things on school campus that is relevant to the school, which is a lot, and we want as many students as we can to be in it.”

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ASP awards free college credits

Students, like Alexandria Johnson pictured above, practice flying drones at the Museum of Flight, providing them skills to use later in life and extending their knowledge of drones.
Students, like Alexandria Johnson pictured above, practice flying drones at the Museum of Flight, providing them skills to use later in life and extending their knowledge of drones.

In the summer of 2016, Puget Sound Skills Center (PSSC), Green River Community College, and the Museum of Flight collaborated to launch a 2-year long drone program called the Aeronautical Science Pathway (ASP) for students interested in those fields.


Robin Lee, the ASP Program Lead Instructor, believes ASP is a great opportunity for the students attending it because because they can learn and get college credit for free, which gives them a running start on their STEM careers.


“The ASP program at the Museum is a joint venture with PSSC and Green River,” said Lee. “Each year students get six classes and therefore 30 college credits if they pass all with a B or better.”


Senior Tanjai Ploykao is currently taking the UAV class, and thinks the program is an excellent outlet for students who are intrigued by a drone focused career.


“I think the program is great for students who are definitely passionate about being a pilot, UAS/drone pilot, air traffic controller, or an airline dispatcher,” said Ploykao. “[The] program not only has ground school, but other aviation courses such as Aircraft Systems, Aviation Weather, Unmanned Vehicle Basics, and other[s].


ASP provides many advantages for the participants including free school credits, detailed instruction on how to fly drones, and mentorship from experienced instructors.


“I participate in the program because of many benefits that the program offers. I am able to earn both college and high school credits for free,” said Ploykao. “The program helps me make progress on becoming an airline dispatcher, and air traffic controller. Importantly, I got a chance to meet many professionals.”


The program has a variety of classes available, which are made to inspire students to try new things and find what really intrigues them in the STEM fields.  


“We completed Aviation 109, Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles before winter break and in the spring will be doing another drone class, Aviation 129 Unmanned Aerial Basics,” said Lee.
“Right now they’re doing Aviation 111, private pilot ground school and will also have classes on Aviation Weather and Aircraft Systems.”


Homeschooled Alexandria Johnson, 15, participates in the program through PSSC. Her goal of having a UAV focused career is strengthened and encouraged by ASP and her instructors.


“For part of the program, we had a course on Unmanned Aerial Systems. One of my future goals, along with becoming [an] engineer, is to become a drone pilot,” said Johnson. “This course helped me discover my passion for UAVs and what being a drone pilot entails. I learned a lot about drones that I hadn’t known before I started the program.”


The Museum of Flight has many programs and activities that focus on introducing kids to STEM. Through those programs and ASP, Johnson has developed a zeal for an aviation-related career.


“My passion for aviation started when we became members at the Museum of Flight when I was 2,” said Johnson. “I have participated in many different programs at the Museum of Flight throughout the years.”


The ASP program provides knowledge about how drones will be an advantage in the future, in addition to teaching the students how to fly the drones.


“When I heard about this program, I was immediately  interested in the Unmanned Aerial Systems part of the program,” said Johnson. “I am very intrigued by drones and how they are being used now and how they will be used in the future. Not only am I interested in flying drones, I am am also interested in the aspect of designing and building drones as well.”
Students’ schedules are tightly booked with practices and meetings four days a week, Monday-Thursday, from 3:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., because passion for the outcome requires diligence in the process.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Boeing

Bystanders watch the first take-off of a Boeing 787, which will be getting an update in the 787 series with the new Boeing 787-10 in production.
Bystanders watch the first take-off of a Boeing 787, which will be getting an update in the 787 series with the new Boeing 787-10 in production.

In the past month, Boeing had its ups and downs economically. The company is looking forward to some new orders from prospective business partners, and have also dealt with situations involving backlash from the President concerning Air Force One, and with their current buyouts and layoffs of engineers.


Starting on the positive side, Boeing delivered their 500th 787 Dreamliner on 22 Dec. 2016, a remarkable achievement on the company’s part.


“Achieving 500 deliveries – the fastest to 500 for twin aisles – is a great accomplishment, made possible by the hard work and dedication of our employees and global suppliers,” said 787 Program Vice President Mark Jenks.


On 8 Dec. 2016, Boeing announced that the final assembly for their new aircraft, the 787-10, began. They have already received 154 orders for the 787-10.


“This is the result of years of preparation and solid performance by our Boeing teammates and supplier partners,” said 787 Program Vice President Ken Sanger. “This achievement is another example that demonstrates Boeing’s ability to develop great airplanes in a disciplined fashion in order to meet our customer commitments.”


More recently, GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) ordered 75 737 MAX 8 planes from Boeing, an immense order valued at $8.25 billion. The 737 MAX has more than 3,500 orders from prospective customers, making it a highly demanded plane.


“When it comes to demand, this order shows the MAX 8 remains at the heart of the single-aisle market,” said Brad McMullen, vice president of leasing sales for Boeing. “We appreciate the confidence GECAS has in the 737 MAX, and look forward to seeing the airplanes placed with carriers all over the world.”


On 11 Jan. 2017, Boeing stated they would begin their buyout and layoff notices in the following week. The company sent buyout notices to employees in Washington, California and South Carolina, while involuntary layoff notices were planned to be sent to specifically engineers in Washington.


“[The job cuts were] driven by our business environment and the amount of voluntary attrition,” said Boeing’s Engineering Vice President John Hamilton.


Back in December, Boeing received a little lashing when their plans for Air Force One were bashed by at-the-time President-elect Donald Trump. Their estimated cost for the Air Force One program was around $4 billion.


“I think it’s [Boeing’s Air Force One program] ridiculous, I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number,” said Trump. “We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”


In other news, earlier in January, United Airlines announced the last 747 flight, which will take place in the fourth quarter of 2017.


“Today, there are more fuel-efficient, cost-effective and reliable widebody aircraft that provide an updated inflight experience for our customers traveling on long-haul flights,” said United Airlines president Scott Kirby. “For these reasons, we’re saying farewell to the Queen of the Skies, which has been part of our fleet since we first flew the aircraft between California and Hawaii in 1970.”


In addition to the retirement of the 747, Boeing fell below Airbus’s order sales for the rest of 2017 with the newest Airbus order surge. Airbus currently has 731 sales for 2017, although the sales have declined recently for both Airbus and Boeing.
“We are essentially sold out at this point,” said Airbus Sales Chief John Leahy. “That doesn’t mean we can’t increase our production, and we will next year and the year after. We have to build what we already have orders for, not worry about getting new orders.”

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RAHS Homework Club benefits all

Homework Club administrator and Sophomore representative Nuka Nurzhanov, aids two students with Geometry work during lunch.
Homework Club administrator and Sophomore representative Nuka Nurzhanov, aids two students with Geometry work during lunch.

New to RAHS as of this year, Homework Club at lunch is getting students better connected, better GPAs, and even more community service hours.


Creator of Homework Club Debi Tranholt is excited about how the first semester of the club has unfolded and what it may evolve into in the future.


“Initially I was approached to come up with a program for learning assistance,” said Tranholt. “Within those parameters, I came up with the idea to do Homework Club to give a place to kids who would rather have a quiet place to to work on assignments they need to get in.”


Students involved such as senior Ethan Watts appreciate the club, whether they need tutoring or just a place to work.


“I enjoy the quiet time to study for my classes, especially physics,” said Watts. “It’s much easier to study in the Homework Club.”


To facilitate with homework help and tutoring, RAHS staff stepped forward to represent each grade level. Vice Principal Tremain Holloway, Counselor Catie Carper and Nuka Nurzhanov are heavily involved in the club.


“Ms. Carper helps seniors with things they need to graduate,” said Tranholt. “Mr. Holloway is working with freshmen, Mrs. Nurzhanov is working with sophomores, and I am working with juniors.”


The administrators of Homework Club believe that the club is for anyone and for any



“I know there’s a lot of academic competition and to overcome the feeling of not wanting to be seen needing help is huge here, [but] it’s very rare to eventually not need help in a class,” said Carper. “If you think that you’re the only one who needs help with something, we could easily find someone. I would be very surprised if there’s a class where people aren’t getting help in there.”


Homework Club can also be beneficial to students who need community service hours, not just for those struggling with homework or looking to study.


“You can get community service hours for being a tutor, through NHS,” said Carper. “We have students who just want to succeed here and honestly we’ve had National Merit Scholars here who need help in class.”


Administration hopes that the club can also be a safe place to receive support.


“Its another layer of support,” said Carper. “We have very intensive supports here if you have struggles that are a little more serious, but every student can use a lunch time place to go and have a quiet place to study.”


Holloway does not think of Homework Club as a form of punishment, but rather as a way to get connected to people who want to work through the same problems.


“I think its truly been [beneficial], demystifying what we consider to be academic punishment or academic probation,” said Holloway. “Students are wanting to be [here] because they look at [this] as time for enrichment rather than punishment or ‘I don’t have the best grades, I need to be here because I need to get my grades up.’ It’s creating a culture in my opinion that is allowing peers to want to help each other and actually acquiring positive peer pressure.”


Despite some misconceptions, Homework Club is not usually mandatory, and administrators recommend some students attend and hope that some will take the initiative to go on their own.


“When I refer students it’s not like, ‘You’re going right now,’ it’s like ‘Have you thought about going? We recommend that you go,’” said Carper. “With younger kids it’s a little more structured but with older kids I hope that by the time [they’re] a junior or senior at this school [they] can make that decision for yourself.”


The administrators recommend that everyone try attending Homework Club, whether they’re struggling in a class or just hoping to study.


“Come just come, it’s open to everyone,” said Tranholt. “There seems to be this notion that it’s for a specific group of students, but it’s not, it’s open to anybody that needs a quiet place to go or just really wants to help.”

Black History Month at RAHS celebrated


The Highline School District encourages high schools around the district to celebrate, commemorate, and work Black History Month (BHM) into their curriculum for the month of February. Every year, RAHS puts on an assembly to encourage students and staff to be well educated and considerate during BHM.


Coming to a new school can be challenging and difficult, particularly for students from minority backgrounds. Bernie Jones, a freshman at RAHS, finds friends and comfort being with people in the Black Student Union who support him and his heritage. Jones appreciates and looks forward to RAHS’s celebration of the meaning of Black History Month.


“I believe Black History Month is important because it celebrates and teaches not just people of the race but everyone as a whole as well as brings light to issues,” said Jones.


Being of African American heritage, he takes the month and makes it his own. Jones hopes that RAHS can make Black History Month as meaningful to the community as the month is to him.


“I would like to see some form of recognition from RAHS, but I have no opinion on how exactly just so much as we acknowledge the month and all that it means,” said Jones.


Champagne Ryder Jr., RAHS senior and social rights advocate, played a major part in RAHS’ Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day assembly with a spoken word piece that delivered a powerful message and resonated with many students.


“Sometimes it seems that certain teachers and students sweep race under the rug,” said Ryder, “or when they do MLK assemblies they spread messages of love, but don’t talk about the minority struggle and why we talk of MLK.”


Therese Tipton, RAHS Principal, also believes that the assembly was an opportunity to recognize the struggle of minorities as well as to celebrate what has been done to eliminate racism in the US.


“I guess you can tell that when you have two standing ovations in one student led assembly that it tells you right there of the quality of [the assembly],” said Tipton.


Tremain Holloway, Vice Principal of RAHS, was a keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. assembly. His speech included personal messages that he drew from Dr. King as well as audience participation to encourage students to bond with one another and accept their differences. He also looks forward to the unique ways the RAHS community will celebrate Black History Month.


“I respect teachers enough to give them the gracious professionalism for them to incorporate what they feel is necessary in terms of honoring some of my forefathers and ancestors in the classroom,” said Holloway.


Holloway looks forward to what teachers may incorporate into their curriculums for Black History Month at Raisbeck Aviation High School.


“I believe definitely every teacher has some type of curriculum that they are going to implement, I can’t speak for everyone, or what it is going to be specifically, but my hope is that there is something planned for every week of Black History Month,” said Holloway.


Holloway also had some past experiences at his previous schools that he appreciated, and he would like to see RAHS celebrate as well.


“At my old school, students would create their own redirect or poem of how they view Black History Month individually,” said Holloway.
From bringing light to issues, to connecting people of diverse backgrounds, to letting everyone know that everyone is accepted at RAHS and will continue to be, there is a strong message behind Black History Month in the Raisbeck Aviation High School’s community.

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How teachers assemble a curriculum

Mrs.Olsen preparesd her class to present their career and college projects.
Mrs.Olsen preparesd her class to present their career and college projects.

The processes of a curriculum being made and redone can be a challenging and very tiresome one. Behind the scenes, teachers engage in a lengthy process to best suit their curricula to students taking their courses.


Some teachers, such as Algebra 3-4 and Pre-Calculus teacher Karen Wilson, have extra freedom in their classes.


“Since I am the only Algebra 2 teacher [at RAHS] I feel that I can make my own decisions about what topic are covered on what day,” said Wilson, “and how I can handle the richness of the textbook we use.”  


On the contrary, classes like Career Choices require instructors to follow specific guidelines for Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, but still the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) allows teachers to take responsibility in designing their curriculum.


“As a CTE teacher I follow a framework that is approved by [the] OSPI for the course I teach. I use material and curriculum from the OSPI and I am free to design curriculum and assignments to meet the requirements,” said Olsen. “It is so much fun to look for exciting and challenging material to add to my program.”


In many cases, teachers are supposed to help students reach the Common Core Standards that the district sets, but not all instructors feel that the standards are in the best interest of the student body.


“The district has some guidelines they want us to follow, but I’ve found that they tend to want to jump around through the chapters,” said Wilson. “Their focus is on meeting common core goals rather than what is better for the students.”


Teachers usually go through their curriculum making sure their students are able to comprehend and correctly exercise the lesson. Wilson makes sure that her students are able to understand the lesson by connecting smaller concepts together.


“What I chose not to change is the actual textbook we use, which is the textbook the district uses,” said Wilson. “What I can change is the difficulty of the textbook more accessible for the students by taking something that is too full of concepts and breaking them down to smaller concepts that we can do on a day to day basis.”


Teachers typically look to the students for feedback, from their enjoyment of the design of the course to the level of learning.


“Trying to keep the curriculum current and relevant I will change it from year to year, I listen to students feedback and also evaluate the students work to see where I can strengthen or add to curriculum,” said Olsen. “I listen to the aviation industry to make sure we cover the skills you will need to move forward.”


Teachers revise their curricula because each year is different and each group of students has different needs.


“The reason teachers revise curriculum is to keep it current and exciting. When students are engaged it is proven that they will learn. Not only is it interesting for the students but it is also more challenging for me as a teacher,” said Olsen.


In addition, CTE courses especially are influenced by the industry that surrounds RAHS, from the job market to the technological growth.


“I continue to grow and learn as you do,” said Olsen. “I think in the type of skills I am teaching it is always important to stay current and follow the trends of the aviation and aerospace industry. I never want my class to be boring or predictable–I think that makes it fun!”


Looking forward, course instructors intend to give students the skills they will need in the future, from high school to higher education and beyond.


“My plan is to continue to strengthen my curriculum to better serve the students. I want to help prepare the students with the skills and resources they need to move forward at RAHS,” said Olsen. “Students prepare a Career Portfolio that they can use to apply for internships and professional opportunities.”


Wilson believes the most important part about designing a curriculum is if the students are able to comprehend what was taught to them not what the teacher knows.  
“I think we should always be considering the students and what they need,” said Wilson. “It’s not my goal to demonstrate how I know everything.”

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Students create living history at the Museum of Flight

Junior’s taking US History this year will be the first to host what should become an annual event at the first MoF Open House of the year.

On 2 Feb. 2017, juniors taking Marice Wombold’s United States History class will be hosting an event at the Museum of Flight during its first open house night of the year.


The objective is to turn the long history of aviation in the US into a series of student-presented living histories–complete with costumes and displays–for attendants of the open house. This year’s junior class will be the first assigned this unique project.


Hoping to create a dynamic and memorable assignment for her students, Wombold aspires to create a better understanding of the content by getting students to research and take on characters from assigned time periods and having them teach what they have learned to museum guests.


“My vision is using the Museum of Flight as our kind of ‘game space,’ in that someone would enter the Museum and be able to go from presentation to presentation and walk through the economic development of the United States, from station to station,” said Wombold. “They would get the whole story, booth by booth, decade by decade, from the students who had studied and specialized in each individual time period-so that when they finished following the ‘trail,’ they would have the whole picture.”


Small groups of students are assigned a certain decade or era of US history to portray through custom-made booths, costumes, and artifacts to interactively present the economic conditions and development of the time period, particularly through the lens of aviation.


“There are certain decades described as being very industrial, and others perhaps very much about the press,” said Wombold, “so the entire scene that the students are presenting should be something of that nature, the point is to paint a picture of the decade to guests.”


In addition, students will put their acting skills to use in creating an interactive scene for attendants to experience.


“The more students can play with taking on a character,” said Wombold, “not just directly teaching you history, but to be someone from the 1930’s, dress like the 1930’s, make their presentation space the 1930’s, and use that narrative to engage the audience, the more engaging and instructive the whole project will be.”


Students working on the project, such as junior Miles Durnworth, are both excited and nervous to give their presentations.


“I’m pretty excited to build the booth we’ll be presenting alongside, and modeling that off the time period we’re presenting,” said Durnworth. “Presenting in front of a bunch of people is going to scare me a bit; we’re giving the presentation in front of a ton of people as the museum will be open and pretty busy.”


Junior Ben McQuage is also looking forward to the event and learning more about the parts of history other classes do not cover.


“I’m excited about exploring new decades in history,” said McQuage. “I’m personally doing a presentation with my group on the 1900’s, which is really different from what we’ve studied before, I like the challenge of it. I’m also excited to see other presentations, it’s fun doing your own thing, but when you get to see what other people create it’s even better.”


Despite being enthusiastic about the research aspect of the project, McQuage has his concerns about the presentation.


“I’m nervous about coordinating the timing, when to actually present,” said McQuage. “You’ve got people coming up to you, and people leaving, so you have to keep representing your topic and start at just the right time to capture the most people.”


The project aims to tie together for students the commercial and military aviation progress with the economic development of the United States to create a comprehensive history.
“What I hope that my students walk away from this with this is with a broad overview and understanding of the economic trends and developments of United States history,” said Wombold, “But also, to be able to tell one story of a decade, and an aircraft, and people and times and places where everything came together so to get a broad view, and a specific story they can tell.”

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Combined-level classes create ambivalent opinions

Kalika Singh completes her second semester of art class with a final project different that those of her first semester classmates, her focus being on creativity and color rather than basic technical skills.
Kalika Singh completes her second semester of art class with a final project different that those of her first semester classmates, her focus being on creativity and color rather than basic technical skills.

Students in art and Japanese class share a period with students of higher and lower levels of learning, and students say while having more or less experienced classmates can present unique opportunities for furthering learning, the format can also present distinct disadvantages.


Junior Isabella Torres is currently in AP Japanese and finds that having multiple class periods in one can be a double-edged sword for students.


“This kind of class is beneficial for lower-level students, but potentially disadvantageous for higher-level students,” said Torres. “As a first-year, I was able to study ahead if I was done with my work by simply shifting my attention to another part of the classroom. “


Junior Hannah Park, also an AP Japanese student, found that the format of Japanese made retaining her knowledge much easier.


“If you already experienced what fluent Japanese is as a first year you’ll slowly feel yourself making progress,” said Park, “it’s really encouraging.”


Similarly, Torres found herself encouraged by the variety in the room, which helped push her forward as a student.


“If in my first year I had not been in the same room as the second and third years, perhaps I would have been unable to move as quickly as I did,” said Torres. “Having more experienced students in the class allowed me to learn at my own pace.”


Senior Tanjai Ploykao is in her first semester of art, and also finds that having students in different semesters is advantageous to her learning.


“Having different levels is also an advantage for us, because we can learn how they do things in a skillful way,” said Ploykao. “For me, a beginner, I’d be totally lost until I look at them, like, ‘Oh, we’re supposed to do that!’”


However, having multiple classes in one hour proved less helpful to Torres at a higher level in the Japanese class.  


“However, as a third-year, shifting attention to the first or second year is not as useful,” said Torres, “so the fact that we only get a third of the class time limits the amount we can learn. As a third-year I would prefer having a separate class period because there would be more time devoted to preparing for the AP test.”


Senior Kalika Singh is the only second-semester art student in the art block period.  


“Sometimes the assignments can be a little confusing because there’s one group doing a different assignment, and another group doing a different assignment,” said Singh, “so instructions can be a little jumbled, but other than that I don’t find too many problems.”


Singh finds that the nature of the way art class is taught is what makes having several classes at once less of an issue than it may be in Japanese.


“Personally, because art is so self-taught, it doesn’t really matter if we’re all on the same page,” said Singh.


Even so, higher level students aren’t the only ones that can have knowledge to share.


“Often we all collaborate to understand Japanese,” said Torres. “Since students do work outside of class or have family members who speak Japanese, occasionally a lower-level student will know a word that a higher-level student doesn’t.”


Park found that teaching and working with less experienced students helped her retain and remember things that she had learned in the past.


“It’s really helpful that I get to review what I learned and explaining something,” said Park, “thinking about what you know really helps the information sink into you.”


Singh’s experience in art class was similar, finding instructing other students to be beneficial to her artistic skills.
“It makes me think about how I‘m doing my art,” said Singh, “if I’m telling somebody else how to do certain parts of their art piece, then I’m thinking of what I do, and I reflect on myself. It’s a self reflective process.”

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Flu epidemic worst in years

Only brave students like Catie Stukel brave the epidemic and come to school.
Only brave students like Catie Stukel brave the epidemic and come to school.

Flu season is a dreaded time every year around the winter holidays, and it has come on particularly strong this year. Specifically, this season the flu has peaked earlier and led to far more deaths than normal, a result of the H1N1 Swine Flu and others.


Helen Gearheard, an Emergency Department clerk at Auburn Medical Center for over 30 years, has experienced the phenomenon many times.


“The holiday season contributes to a bad outbreak like this,” said Gearheard. “We are closer to each other for Christmas gatherings [and] parties.”


Additionally, lack of preventative measures can contribute to its severity, both among individuals and especially among the population, according to Rose Bales, a long time Emergency Department Registered Nurse.


“People not getting flu shots contributes to flu outbreaks like this,” said Bales. “In addition, when people live in close quarters, disease spreads easily.”


Once infected, people’s reactions vary greatly from case to case. Those at particular risk should take even greater caution to avoid the infection, and to prevent the spread of disease it is extremely important that those who are sick avoid infecting others.


“The flu particularly affects the elderly and young,” said Gearheard, “as well as other immuno-depressed individuals.”


In certain cases, the flu’s already nasty symptoms can turn deadly.


“In most people, flu causes fever, respiratory symptoms, and body aches,” said Bales. “It may also cause nausea and vomiting.”


There are many things individuals can do to help mitigate the risk of flu, just like the common cold and other diseases, to avoid feeling sick, missing school or work, and falling far behind.


“Stay home! Wash your hands! Cough into your elbow or wear a mask,” said Gearheard, “and don’t go to work [or school] if you are sick.”


Preventative measures, such as a flu immunization injection, can also be effective against certain strains of the flu. It may not completely prevent illness, but it can certainly help symptoms after around one to two weeks.


“Get flu shots and ensure that people have established good hand-washing procedures,” said Bales. “Good hygiene and preventative care can help to mitigate the issue.”


This year the flu has expressed itself in different ways; its duration may vary, as well as its symptoms, both from person to person and year to year.


“It usually lasts around two weeks,” said Gearheard, “but we are finding that it has been lasting longer this year.”


A somewhat controversial topic are flu shots, and whether or not an individual should get them. Most medical professionals recommend them for anyone eligible.


“Shots don’t always keep it away,” said Gearheard, “but they help avoid worse [symptoms] due to different flu virus strains.”


Many medical centers ended up with more patients than they could care for due to the severity of the flu epidemic.


“Almost all hospitals in the area between Christmas and New Years were beyond capacity,” said Bales. “If people stayed at home, it wouldn’t spread as much.”


Institutionally, there are several things which could be improved for future years, including exercising caution in crowded facilities.


“Educate people on what care they can do at home,” said Bales. “Many people do not need to come in to the Emergency Department, and doing so may simply spread virus.”


One of the most powerful tools to reduce the spread of infection could be better education.


“Perhaps multilingual material or health education classes might help the public be more aware of flu precautions,” said Bales.


For this year, however, there is certainly hope, and the community can expect improvement in the near future.
“This year, the season started in December,” said Bales. “When the weather changes, flu infection rates tend to improve.”

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2017 Auction Preparations Underway

Ashley Balbuena, Vee Glessner, Stephanie Glascock, and Kaeden Wile speak at the 2016 auction on November 5th in support of student programs.
Ashley Balbuena, Vee Glessner, Stephanie Glascock, and Kaeden Wile speak at the 2016 auction on November 5th in support of student programs.

Following the success of the 2016 auction, the 2017 RAHS auction team is currently garnering support for introductory meetings. These meetings started on 19 Jan., when the 2017 Auction Logo was revealed, and will continue until this year’s event on 4 Nov. 2017.


There are 5 meetings scheduled for the following months. The classes include marketing, sponsorship, procurement, data management, and silent auction training. Heidi Gottshall, the 2017 Auction Committee Leader, is setting up a series of meetings to allow students and parents who are interested to get a taste of what it’s like to volunteer for the auction.


The first meeting, held on 9 Feb., will introduce the sponsor aspects of the auction.


“First we will help parents get our message and materials going,” said Gottshall. “Then, they will be tasked with reaching out to previous sponsors to see if they would like to donate again.”


Next, On 16 Feb., the procurement team meeting will overview the aspects of handling auction items and bidding.


“Parents can be involved early on, entering the items that are donated [into a database],” said Gottshall. “We also need a crew to handle registration when guests come in, and to process all the bids during the auction.”


Starting at the meetings in February, students and parents can acquire community service hours and learn about the planning that goes into the auction every year.  


“We really want to emphasize educating parents and students on all the processes of running the auction,” said Gottshall. “It would be great for new parents and students to understand what goes into [the auction], so it’s easier for people to step in and take over next year.”


For students that want to get involved, Gottshall recommends contacting potential sponsors and donors, such as businesses, clubs, and teams they’re involved with, as early as possible.


“We will have a student kickoff in April,” said Gottshall. “Students right now can get involved by reaching out to local businesses and school teams, and see if there is a way they could participate.”


In addition, the tech-savvy could help the team by representing RAHS’s gratitude for the community’s support.


“We really need a updated 2017 kickoff video. If someone was interested in interviewing fellow students and express thanks for the supporters of the auction, that would help us a lot. We raised $150,000  last year. If students could share projects that benefited from the money, that would be great.”


In addition, students and parents interested in a position on the auction team can set up a job shadow, which can help introduce them to the duties of a certain position without a long-term commitment.


“We really encourage [job shadows], especially for people interested in the leadership team,” said Gottshall. “They can behind the scenes be copied on emails to see what these jobs are all about.”


Since the auction team is looking for new Auction Chairs, adults interested in becoming involved with the team are encouraged to do so early.


“We strongly encourage one or two parents to job shadow us as Auction Chairs, starting ASAP, through all auction processes,” said Gottshall. “We will be handing over the reigns in 11 months, and job shadowing will make the transition easier!”


Since the auction is an elaborate event, the team is looking to prepare leadership for the 2018 auction as soon as possible.


“It can all seem really overwhelming at first,” said Gottshall. “That’s how I learned last year: through job shadows and really absorbing information.”
Those that are interested in volunteering or obtaining a position as Auction Chair can contact the team at

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