The impact of Internet and technology

By Amanda Reilly

Internet and technology are said to have ruined our country and younger generations in multiple ways. It is also said that if it wasn’t for internet and technology, our country and youth wouldn’t be close to having the amazing things we do now.

Some people believe younger generations are pathetic because all they do is use social media to talk to each other and never verbally communicate.

Others believe that youth helped upgrade communication – and because of technology, talking face-to-face will soon be a thing of the past. I will admit I am all for technology, but sometimes it can be annoying when the only way you can contact someone is through a phone or social media. My generation has experienced more improvements in technology than ever before.

Some things that make us look kind of pathetic are the fact that there are people that wait in line weeks in tents at stores for the latest product. Don’t those people have jobs? Or families? Any life at all? I guess not.

Maybe they do and just put it on pause so they can be the first to get the latest Apple, Android or Amazon product, unlike the rest of us who wait until a product is in stores or just order it online. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s the best. An example being the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

They allegedly bend in your pocket and have a ton of bugs. This is why you wait to see if it’s really worth all that time waiting in line.

Our generation and others have become wrapped up in social media and technology. But if it wasn’t for technology, we wouldn’t be as far in the world as we are today.

United Way cardboard boat race

By Nicole Bakaitis

What is it?

The United Way holds a cardboard boat race on the Deegan and Hinkle lakes in Harrison County, Bridgeport, W.Va. This year’s race was held Oct. 12. The purpose of the race is to raise money for the United Way and have a good time. It is $20 for individuals and $30 for teams who wish to participate. The hosts also provided food and beverages for $1 each. Contestants race across one of the two lakes in a personally designed cardboard boat and, in the end, receive trophies as a reward.

About the boat

The boat can be made of only cardboard, duct tape and one layer of polyurethane. Each contestant has to have an original name for their boat and most boats had something unique about them. Designs could be anything from a pirate ship to a shark to just a plain old boat. Creativity was encouraged when it came to designing, as long as it didn’t help with the flotation of the boat.


There were trophies given out to first, second and third places, all going by time. Trophies were also rewarded for “The Wonder that went Down Under” (most original sinking), People’s Choice and best design. In total, there were 6 trophies rewarded in both the adult and juniors categories.

My Adventure


This year was my first time participating in the cardboard boat race for the United Way. My friend Noelle McKinney and I both decided it would be a fun thing to do. Plus, it was for a good cause. Noelle decided on Karasuno for our boat name, and our boat design was fairly simple compared to some of our opponents. My dad built it for us because we couldn’t possible build a decent boat that would float ourselves. We painted it blue and green after taking a long time collecting paint samples. Sadly, we didn’t win, but our boat did stay afloat the entire time – we just had an unorganized paddling strategy. Though we didn’t win, we both had a great time, and $1,500 was raised for the United Way.

You are beautiful.

By Lydia Grant

Hi everyone!

Today, I’ll be discussing a touchy subject for most girls: weight. I felt like this is something that needs to be addressed for once and for all.

Your size doesn’t matter! There are too many beautiful girls worried about if they’re a size two or 12. I mean, homecoming will be the death of me. I am, and have always been, a skinny girl. I’m almost 14 years old and can still shop in the children’s section.

I know, “Quit complaining about your high metabolism,” or “Ew, you are gross skinny.” The truth is, I have a serious stomach disorder I was born with. I can’t eat pizza, most sweets, or anything with high citrus. I would love to not sit at a birthday party starving while everyone eats. Then I see girls with lovely curves and great personalities worried about their size! I’ve jokingly said to many girls, “Hey, you want to switch bodies?!” Usually I get an enthusiastic, “YES!” in response. I’m here to say be happy that you can be big and beautiful! Be happy that you are you!

Society is in our heads.

Now, I’ve covered that heavier girls get insecure but so do many skinny girls. Take recent hits “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor and “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj. Both encourage women to be heavier because it makes you more attractive. Now, both songs also shame women who are skinnier, saying we aren’t welcome (more Nicki Minaj than Meghan Trainor).

I think it’s hard for any girl seemingly “too skinny” nowadays. I’m healthy. So, why should I be shamed when I, as a young girl, am still becoming comfortable with who I am? I don’t need others criticism when I already have my own.

Can we take a throwback to Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” Christina tells us all we are all beautiful. Come on guys, can’t we have more magazines, TV commercials, etc. that tell us that no matter how different we are, we are beautiful! If girls and women could stop denying their insecurities and come together to change standards, everyone could feel beautiful.

In conclusion, take a moment to tell yourself you are pretty, and anyone who can’t see that is blinded by your beauty or is too dumb to see it yet. Boys, friends, relatives, it doesn’t matter if the important people in your life can’t see it. It just matters that you see it. The important people will accept you for who you are.

So, if that store doesn’t have your dress size, so what! Go somewhere else that does, dust it off because all insecurity is, is dirt.

Theater, behind the scenes

By Jenna Campbell

I was a freshman in high school when I first got involved in theater. I auditioned for a part but, ultimately, wound up as stage manager. This was my first experience with the backstage aspect of theater. I enjoyed it, but always knew that I wanted to act. So, less than a year later, I auditioned for and earned a role onstage. It took one part in one play, I was hooked. For the next two years, theater became a passion and love of mine. I began dedicating large portions of my time and life to the stage, but I never forgot about my backstage roots.

When it was time for my school’s annual play my junior year, I decided I not only wanted to act, but also learn something new. I asked my director if he would mentor me and allow me to be the student assistant director so I could understand the thoughts and creative process that go into making a show come alive, and he agreed. I saw things from an entirely new perspective. I was inspired to learn about every job I could so I would be well-rounded and have an understanding of what it took for a production to be put on.

Though I managed a stage in the past, I still wasn’t that educated with the inner workings of the backstage, so I decided to take a stagecraft class, or “techie training,” over the summer. I learned about lights, sound, rigs, props, the building and painting of sets, how to properly stage manage and be a run crew member and, most importantly, just how much work goes into the show. I was in awe because the little stage managing I did was nothing compared to what I learned in the class. It opened my eyes and gave me a new appreciation for the theater, which is what I desired from the start.

With my new (but by no means professional) knowledge, I became a one-woman light and sound crew for Off the Wall Theater’s “The Harvey Wallbangers.” Being above the audience in the dark lighting booth just to time out and pick the precise cue that coincided with the events happening on stage was an unforgettable experience that I would do again in a heartbeat.

I know some actors who have never been on the backstage side of things and not only question why people do crew, but they also see them as less important and blame them for problems out of everyone’s control. I can fairly say the previous statement because I’ve now been on the director, crew and performance side of the spectrum, and actors don’t always realize just how important every single person involved in the show is. Whether you have a small part, big part, paint set, take care of props, choreograph dance moves, play in the pit, open the curtain, what have you, you are necessary in the creation of the show and are no less important than anyone else, and I can’t express that enough.

In fact, if there was one thing I’m glad I learned, it is to look at things from all perspectives – walk a day in another person’s shoes and do their job for once. People running props get the same thrill as a performer walking out on stage for the first time. Messing up a light cue is just as nerve-racking as forgetting a line. A stage manager has to memorize just as many things as the lead role. A director is responsible for knowing the show in, and out and so is a stage manager and their crew – just like the performers.

Now, I’m going to wrap this up, but before I do, I have a few more words of advice. Whether it’s as a passion or a hobby, I always recommend participating in theater no matter what task you want to do. If the stage isn’t your thing, try something else. The possibilities in theater are endless. Don’t be too quick to get locked into one specific thing, push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new (like I did). If you are brave and audition for a part, don’t be discouraged if you get a “small part,” come up with a back story if you don’t have one, and put everything you have into it, they’re the most difficult to play. Lastly, if you’re on the fence about participating in a play or musical, do it! The experience will change your life. If you’re already an active member of performances, spread out and learn what you can about the different areas of theater. It will make you better at the things you already know. Having a well-rounded experience will open doors and, once again, change your life; I know it changed mine.

Book vs. movie: ‘If I Stay’

By Amanda Reilly

“If I Stay” by Gayle Forman is a love story full of humor, romance and tragedy. An amazing story about how hard it can be to choose between family and someone you’re madly in love with.

This story follows 17-year-old Mia Hall’s life. Mia has always felt like an outcast in her family. They are all vibrant, lively people who love rock music. Mia on the other hand is shy and quiet, with a love for reading, classical music and her cello. The only person who she talks to is her best friend, Kim Schein, until Adam Wilde takes an interest in her. Kim is a photographer whose family doesn’t understand her artistic talents. Adam is the lead singer of a rock band known as “Shooting Star” who nobody quite understands.

When Adam asks Mia on a date she wonders, “Why would a guy like him want to go out with a girl like me?” They end up being exactly what the other needs. Mia starts to believe she isn’t as much of an outcast as she thought. Now she has an amazing family, best friend and boyfriend. It all seems so perfect – then she’s in a car accident that changes life as she knew it.

Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley star in the movie version of “If I Stay.” I felt like they fit Mia and Adam nicely. The movie is full of dramatic, romantic and humorous moments.

It catches your attention from the very beginning. The movie doesn’t waste much time getting into it, so if you’re bored at the beginning, you won’t be for long. The story builds with every moment, but not so fast that you can’t keep up with it.

One thing I definitely liked about the movie is that it didn’t have any important parts of the book missing. Also, most of the major lines from the book were left in the movie, which doesn’t happen that often. During the book and the movie, flashbacks take place. In the book, they aren’t that hard to follow. In the movie, some scenes are a bit confusing.

One of my favorite parts of seeing “If I Stay” was not just the movie, but the audience. A group of girls in the theater would gasp, giggle and cry at all the same parts. When leaving the theater, one girl was telling her friends that it couldn’t end that way, and she needed to know what happens next. I walked up to their group and told her there was a second book already out that she could read to answer her questions. She was happy to find out there would be a sequel. She was even happier to find out it was a book.

Of course, not everyone had the same reaction. Some people thought it was cliché and like every other love story they have read or seen before. They still said it was enjoyable though.

I hope you go and see “If I Stay” or read the book – no promises you will enjoy it though. If you do follow my advice and end up enjoying it, look into the sequel, “Where She Went.”

Book vs. movie: ‘The Giver’

By Amanda Reilly

“The Giver” by Lowis Lowry is a dystopian novel that takes place in a community far in the future. In this community, differences are frowned upon because they caused problems in the past, or what is now the present, to us. Nobody has any memories of the past; nobody has true feelings or emotions, except the Giver.

The Giver’s job is to hold all memories of the past to keep the events that occurred then from happening again. Everyone in the community is assigned a job at age 12. The main character, Jonas, who narrates the novel, is assigned Receiver of Memory, meaning he will receive memories of the past. Soon after he learns about the past, he feels more people need to know what happened. He feels the way the community lives is wrong, and he wants to change it.

Some people find the book confusing and boring, others inspirational and exciting. I find the book to be an interesting story about how our world today takes all of our amazing things in life for granted, unlike one boy who discovers these things and treasures everything he finds.

Like I said before, some people find the book confusing, causing them to find it boring. For those of you who found the book to be this way, you might enjoy the movie more. The movie explains things a bit better, since there is a narrator and a visual.

One of the differences I liked in the movie was that two of the book’s characters, Fiona and Asher, played a much larger part. In the book, they only have a few conversations with Jonas. In the movie, they both play a much larger role in the plot. Asher also has a different personality. He still has the fun personality described in the book, but at times he becomes serious.

Jonas also has a few changes. In the book, Jonas was always afraid to disobey the rules, but in the movie, his character is more rebellious and free-spirited. Jonas having a rebellious character causes conflict, since the community is strict. This creates excitement and tension throughout the movie, making it interesting. There is plenty of emotion during this movie.

The one thing I didn’t enjoy about the movie is that it seemed too modern compared to the book. I know that might not make much sense, but when I read the book; it had this classic and simple theme to it. The movie seemed like it didn’t incorporate that theme. Though there were a few differences, I still enjoyed the movie and I believe many others will too.

If you decide to go see “The Giver,” don’t expect it to be exactly like the book, as it will ruin it for you. I enjoyed the book and movie in different ways – and hopefully you will too.