Category Archives: opinion

Holiday Story: Stevie’s Story

by Tyler Young/Staff Writer

Dear Journal,

My name is Stevie, and I will be writing in this journal to describe my day. Now, I started this journal on December 20. It’s only a few days before Christmas! But for an elf, these last days before Christmas are hard.

First, my morning starts like this. I work the night shift for Santa at the North Pole and end my shift at 11:00 p.m. Then I drive my toy car (not life size) back to my little gingerbread house with my wife sleeping in our bed. I crawl into bed and sleep until about 7:30 a.m. My wife usually wakes me up and from there I get out of bed and go to the bathroom. 

Now, us elves are not humans. We don’t use soap when we shower, instead we use maple syrup. Elf skin is not like human skin. We take the maple syrup and use it like soap, but it keeps us smelling great and looking great. Then, I brush my teeth. Normal right? Wrong! We don’t use toothpaste like humans. Us elves suck on a candy cane. It’s practically the same thing. It keeps our mouths minty fresh. I finish up in the bathroom and head to the kitchen. 

My wife is usually kind enough to make me breakfast, but sometimes I do it myself. Today though she prepared me my favorite. She made me a birthday cake, Christmas cookies, an apple, and chocolate milk Now you might be thinking that this is unhealthy. But for elves this covers the main food group. That particular food group is “Happy Food” and us elves live off of Happy foods so it’s good for us.

Once I finish my breakfast and my bathroom routine, it is roughly 8:00 a.m. So I use the day to my best advantage but also not wear myself out. 

Next things next, I sit in my work chair and start ordering toy supplies that I might need for the week in case something comes in late or something is destroyed. But before I do that, I have to review the wishlists that I have been assigned for the week, what supplies I need, and when I need to get those toys assembled. I make myself a list of supplies and order the supplies to my workspace back at Santa’s factory. This takes me about an hour to do.

Now that it is about 9:00 a.m. I’ll usually watch the elf news so I can watch out for the toy stocks or any last minute Naughty or Nice list changes. I get bored after about 30 mins of the news, so I now end up helping my wife with house chores or go to the grocery store to buy happy food or toy supplies. Once I’m done with that it is about 10:00-10:30 a.m. At this hour I usually go outside and make sure the snow is nice and healthy. Snow is considered our grass because it never stops snowing. If it gets too high I take the snow blower and remove some off. 2-3 inches of snow is a reasonable amount on the ground. I usually clear it anyway so I don’t get trapped. When I finish, the time is pushing 11:30 a.m. It gets boring having to wait until 7:30 to go to work. But you have to make the best of it. 

In the afternoon I’ll take a nap or watch some TV and eat lunch. My wife is gone in the afternoon hours so I have to watch the house and make some time for me. For lunch I usually make a pizza, brownies, and a smoothie. You know, happy foods. It’s usually 12:00 when I first lie down to take a nap because it gets boring. I go to the bedroom and just lie down and snooze. But I have to be up or be done with whatever I’m doing by 3:30 pm. This is one of the more magical times for an elf. This is because all the elves in the village leave their gingerbread houses and go to the center of the village where Santa is waiting for us all. From there, his greatness will touch the side of his nose and the big ol’ Christmas tree in the town square lights up and Christmas music starts to play and we all just dance and have a good time for about an hour and a half. We dance, we have conversations, we talk to Santa, and just have an awesome time. We do this every day at the same time starting December 20-December 24 to celebrate the holiday season. 

Evening hours: During the evening hours, my wife and I will eat dinner or chit chat about our days and listen to nice Christmas music or hang up some more decorations for the house. We are considered to be the most festive couple in the North Pole and have won the “Most Festive Award” five years running by Santa himself! It’s such a pleasure. But after I eat dinner, which is usually a turkey or ham with all of the fixings, and spend time with my wife,. I have to start packing my briefcase and get ready for my shift at the factory. It’s a good job and it pays well. There are 250 factories and I work in factory 19 with my buddy Ed. Not to brag but Rudolph himself is our supervisor so I get to talk to “THE Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer” every day! So when I leave to work in my wind up toy car, I park in my parking space which is 12B and walk into the factory and sit in my positional place.

Now that the sun has set and I’m in my workplace. My job is to receive lists and the toy parts I ordered to the office and start building. Since there are 7 billion people in the world and about 3 billion children. There are only 3 million elves. So my list is pretty big. My list usually is about 30 kids a day for 25 days. Now you’re probably thinking “Oh, that’s not that bad.” Well, you have to remember that kids want more than one gift under the tree. So I work until about 11;00 p.m. and get in my Christmas pajamas and go to sleep. That is a day in the life of an elf and it is just about the perfect life. Thank you for reading my story.

Holiday Story: An Elf’s Adventures in december

by Audrey Roberts/Staff Writer

Day 1

December 1, 2020

Most people think we elves work all year round to get presents for everyone.  But that’s not true.  We don’t start work until July.  The term Christmas in July actually originated when it leaked that we start work again in July.  But whatever.  Anyway, we’ve been at it for months now, figuring out what everyone wants and then starting the toy-making process.  While most elves are in the toy making departments-crafting, wood work, painting, gears, naming, fixing-I’m one of the elite elves that works in the researching department.  We get the special honor of figuring out what a kid wants.  As we go through each kid’s life and their likes and dislikes, we figure out what everyone wants.  While it’s tiring going through a lot of the same lives every year, it’s always fun to see how someone’s done since the last time we checked a year ago.

Because interests change, kids don’t get exactly what they want, but if we worked to make sure everyone got what they wanted, we’d be making every single toy at the last minute!  Anyways, my boss, Jingle Wreath (Mr. Wreath), gave me this journal as my ten-year anniversary present.  I’ve worked at this job for ten years and I’ve made sure to work hard.  Considering we only work for half the year, we got to prove we deserve our long breaks!  Anyways, I think I’ll write til Christmas and then take a break until next year.

So long for now, journal.

P.S. My name is Cheery Stocking.

Day 2

December 2, 2020

Today I got to research more last-minute kids.  Last-minute kids are what we call December born kids.  They’re the ones that are tiny little babies that get born in December.  This one girl really stood out to me though.  Her name is Sally Banitch.  Sally is the cutest little baby, but her birth was a hard one.  Her dad died in a car crash and her mom went into early labor because of that same car crash.  Her mom had been so sad because of her husband’s death, but her face got so happy when she saw Sally.  I can tell that they’re going to have a good life together, even if they get a little lonely.  Plus, I can tell Sally will bring back the light into her mother’s eyes!

We all decided that she should get little socks with her name on them for Christmas.  The clothing elves are great at making the softest and warmest clothes, especially for babies.

Also, my friends and I all went to Rudolph’s Hot Chocolate Parlor for dinner!  It was Snowy Bell’s idea and treat.  We all got hot chocolate (of course) and chocolate chip cookies with some candycanes on the side.  It was nice to hang out with them since I’ve been swamped with work.

I’ll write again soon!

Day 5

December 5, 2020

You’ll never believe what happened.  The power went out.  It’s only gone out a few times in Claus history.  Unfortunately, the snow storm was so bad, they still haven’t gotten the lights and trees back on, let alone the equipment everyone needs.  Nothing got done today!

On the bright side, all the departments got to have a free day in the workshop.  The Research department went down and read old records of past children and their histories.  My favorite was about a little boy who made a new Christmas List every month because he couldn’t decide what he wanted.  This all stopped when he turned 10, but his old lists were so cute.

One of them said:

My Christmas lest:

1.I want a buny rabbet

2.I want a fun trip to Disney World

3.I want a twin sister

4.I want Marcie Jones to sit next to me on the bus

5.I want to meet a raindear

I can’t wait to get back to work, even though it’s starting to slow down.  Soon the Research Department will have to join up with the Travel Route Department to help make any adjustments to kids they missed or added that were or weren’t on the list.

Until tomorrow!

Day 6

December 6, 2020

I was cleaning out my closet and found an old picture of some friends I made when I was an intern.  Not all elves get into the Workshop and you have to be an intern first.  In the picture, I realized that five of us didn’t make it.  Unfortunately, one of us got Mint Bite (a very serious winter condition for us elves) and was sent to Florida as an agent.  Merry Icicle got sent to the South Pole to handle the upstart who had been stirring up our naughtiness-meter by spreading lies about Mr. Claus.  He even spread one that made Mrs. Claus seem like a Hippo.

Luckily he’s entered an agreement to always get a present as long as he doesn’t say anything else about the North Pole and its inner-workings, whether true or false.

Then I realized that my best friend in that picture was still my best friend now: Mistle Star.  We both work in the Research Department and can’t wait to go on our annual Skiing trip we take in January to celebrate a job well done.

Write to ya next time!

Day 7

December 7, 2020

I’m so mad I could yell!  Candy Candle came in and demanded, demanded, that we rewrite all of November’s present choices.  She claimed that no one would want anything we had put on that list and we had to start over.  She thinks that because she’s Mr. Wreath’s daughter she owns our department but she certainly does not.  She’s only 12, and already set up for a job in the Painting Department.  Whatever, she won’t have long before she will have to focus on her internship instead of bossing us around.  Either way, her father, our boss, came in and put a stop to her anyway.

In a week, half of us will go to work with the Travel Route Department and the other half will stay in the Research Department to deal with any new comers.  I do hope I get chosen to help with the Travel Route DepaPerrtment.  I’ve never had the chance and would love to try it!

Well, I guess I’ll find out on the 15th.  Write later!

Day 8

December 8, 2020

Today I learned that adding candycanes to your mint tea works better than adding sugar!  It sounds disgusting, but when I told some of the other elves and they tried it, they agreed that it was the most wonderful tasting cocoa they’d ever tasted.

Afterwards, I-

Wait, someone’s knocking on the door…

Alright.  So nobody was at the door but there was a secret letter.  Here’s what it said:

Dear Cheery Stocking, 

This year you have been chosen for Santa’s Holiday Party Committee (SHPC).  As you know, every year, we elves throw a big Christmas celebration in honor of everyone’s hard work, especially Santa who spends almost his entire year working with every department to make each Christmas a success.

Tell no one you are a part of this committee.  Come to the Holiday Meeting Room at 9:30 P.M. tomorrow night.  If you don’t arrive, we will assume you’re uninterested and will invite someone else to the committee.

Don’t be late,

The head of SHPC

I can’t believe it!!  I’ve only heard of the legendary committee!  They’re said to be legendary people, myths, that are so secretive no one knows if they’re real.  For all anyone else knows, the Holiday Party comes from thin air.

I can’t wait for tomorrow night!

Day 9

December 9, 2020

You will never guess who the head of the committee is for the SHPC.  It’s Mrs. Claus!  She was beautiful, too.  Everyone thinks she’s really old with grey hair, but her hair is dyed gray.

Apparently, every year, she invites five new people to the committee to keep up the flow of new, creative ideas for the party.  This year, she decided to pick Starry Mistletoe, Candle Bow, Crimson Present, Ginger Frosting, and me.

This meeting was just about the rules, (don’t tell anyone you’re in the committee, share every idea, give good advice, never make fun of someone elses idea or degrade it, and have fun).  She also said that next meeting we would plan the theme.  Every year the theme is different.  Last year the theme was reindeer and everything was reindeer styled.

Day 8

December 8, 2020

Tomorrow night I get to go to the second meeting.  I’ve been thinking about what theme ideas I could come up with.  I made a list of my best ideas in order of my favorite to least favorite:

1.Gingerbread theme

2.Snowman theme

3.Christmas Tree theme

4.Starry Night theme

The ones that have been done that I remember are the Snowball Fight theme, the Present Swap theme, and the Christmas Carol theme.  I liked the Christmas Carol theme the best!  Everyone would be laughing and having a good time when someone would randomly start singing a carol, and the rules of that party were if anyone started a song, everyone had to finish it together!

So long for now!

Day 10

December 10, 2020

She loved my idea!!!  She thought very highly of my Gingerbread theme and it’s in the top 3.  We get to think them over and then we get to vote for them in two days at our next meeting.  The other two options are an Ornament theme and a Christmas Lights theme.  I really hope my idea goes through, but if everyone else likes a different theme better and thinks it will be more fun, then I want that one to be chosen.

I also got another last-minute child.  This one was a little boy with the name of Joseph Smith.  Joseph is a super-grouchy, but adorable, little boy.  His blue eyes sparkle with mischief whenever he opens them.  I can’t wait to read about his life every year!  I decided to put him down for a cute shirt that says, “My present to you is mischief!” in green and red letters.  On the back of the shirt will be a picture of the Grinch.  I think it will be a great present for him.

Day 11

December 11, 2020

Mr. Wreath came by with some forms and asked us to fill one out if we wanted to be considered for the group that goes to help the travel Route Department.  Of course I filled one out.  A few more people filled some out as well.  There weren’t too many so I think I’ve got a good chance of going this year.

In the cookie room where we go on our breaks, I heard someone talking about the Annual gift exchange.  Ever since the Present themed party a few years ago, someone has left a box with names in the cookie room on December 10.  Every elf takes a name and they get a gift for that person.  I had completely forgotten in all my excitement about getting on the committee.  I went to pick out a name and I got Snowy Bell!  (She’s the one who treated us to Rudolph’s Hot Chocolate Parlor a week ago.

Ooh!  Thinking about that got me to figure out what her present will be!  She brought us to the parlor because she loves hot chocolate and wanted to hang out with her friends.  I’ll get her a hot chocolate machine for her present.  I hope she’ll like it!

Bye for now.

Day 12

December 12, 2020

IT WENT THROUGH!!!!  My idea!  Mrs. Claus and everyone, myself included, voted and mine had the most votes.  Don’t worry, though.  I didn’t vote for my own because that’s cheating and rude.  I voted for the Ornament theme.  Maybe that’s the idea we’ll use next year!

After we figured out what theme to use, we started brainstorming ideas for the party’s theme.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:


-gingerbread cookies

  • Snowflakes
  • Christmas trees
  • Ornaments
  • Presents
  • Bells
  • Reindeer
  • Wreaths
  • Gingerbread men

-hot chocolate



-gingerbread houses/other gingerbread structures put all around the main entryway (where the party is held), and in all sizes:huge stands and miniature table toppers

-gingerbread cut-outs that go hang up in the room

-the main Christmas tree can have all its ornaments replaced with gingerbread men


-Christmas music of course

I’m so excited!  I can’t wait to share all my ideas during the next meeting. 

Till tomorrow!

Day 15

December 15, 2020

I better watch out!  I just keep getting good luck.  Today I got my form back that I sent to try to get into the group going to the Travel Route Department.  I’m in!!!

I can’t wait.  I finished up one more last-minute child and then started shutting everything down.  I get to go over tomorrow with some of the others and I’m so excited!!

Plus, earlier, at the SHPC meeting 

Day 20

December 20, 2020

I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while.  We’ve been busy mapping Santa’s route and trying to predict where the storms, blizzards, and any other hazards will show up.  On top of that, planning the SHPC has become another full-time job.  We are busy making all the decorations and finalizing the plans for the treats and activities, plus the music needs to be chosen and put in an order that flows and still keeps the holiday mood in full bloom.  I never knew how much work went into planning the party.

Either way, There are only 5 days left until Christmas and only 24 before Santa’s big sleigh journey.  The work is piling on and I go to sleep exhausted every night.  But it’s the good kind of tired.  It’s the kind you feel when you’ve worked hard and can tell you’re accomplishing something.

Day 22,

December 22, 2020

The route for Santa has been finalized, checked, and quadruple checked.  Now, we all just need to keep an eye on the weather and hope nothing goes wrong.  I remember watching the Santa tracker and, like everyone else, freaking out when the 2004 Great Christmas Eve Snowstorm came roling into Texas.  The people working in the Travel Route Department were so cool, though.  They stayed calm and collected and helped Santa finish his deliveries with no harm to him, the reindeer, or the presents.  Though the sleigh was a bit beaten up.

I hope nothing like that happens this year, but if it does, I hope I can keep as calm and collected as they did.  Along with my mind on that, the decorations are finished and we’re getting ready to hang everything up.   While Santa is delivering presents and everyone else is watching the Santa Progress Tracker, the elves in SHPC all go and hang the decorations up, get the food and drinks set out, and make sure everything is ready.  Of course Mrs. Claus doesn’t get to help us because elves would wonder why she wasn’t watching the Santa Tracker.

Though I doubt she minds since she also seems a bit worried whenever Santa goes on his big trip.

Talk to you soon!

Day 24,

December 24, 2020

Alright.  I know it’s really early but I don’t think I’ll have much time to write once Santa takes off.  Since I’ve last written, the treats were made yesterday, the decorations are hidden and ready to go, and the Travel Route hasn’t changed.  And…one sec, someone is knocking.

It was Starry Mistle.  She says Santa is leaving soon.  When Santa leaves, all the elves and Mrs. Claus gather in the main hall to see him off.  The reindeer take off at his signal, Rudolph’s nose always shining bright, and then the big front doors open up and away he goes.  Once he’s gone, everyone will go to watch the Santa Progress Tracker.  Once he’s halfway done, the elves in SHPC will go set everything up and come back a few at a time, making it look inconspicuous.

Got to go.

Day 25

December 25, 2020

Christmas was incredible.  No weather changes caused any problems and Santa’s ride went without a hitch.  When he got back, he was thrilled to find the theme of the party was a Gingerbread theme!  All the elves partied until early this morning.  We all ate, and laughed, and talked, and sang, and exchanged presents.  Snowy Bell loved the hot chocolate machine I got her.  Turns out, through sheer coincidence, she pulled my name out of the box!

She’s so thoughtful and notices everything.   She knew that Mistle Star and I also go on our annual skiing trip as a job-well-done and decided to get me new skis.  I love them.  They’ve got little stockings with goodies in them to represent my last name.  She had them handmade by a specialist.  She’s so nice that way!

Anyways, after the party slowed down, Santa called our attention to the main Christmas tree, (which was covered in gingerbread ornaments to continue the theme), and we all got our holiday present from him.  This year we all got magical candy canes!  They sound lame, but everytime you lick them, you taste another flavor.  And, some of the flavors will turn your hair a different color, make your eyes have all the colors of the rainbow, and more (but don’t worry, it’s not permanent!).

We’ve all worked so hard, it’s sad to see another year go by.  But I’m glad that I’ve been given so many chances this year.  I’m now a member of SHPC, I got to work with the Travel Route Department, and I’ve read so many wonderful stories about the lives of so many incredible kids.  Plus, now I’m going to leave to go on my skiing trip with Mistle Star!

I’m glad my boss, Mr. Wreath, gave me this journal.  It’s been fun writing about my time.  I can’t wait to look back on these memories and remember how much fun I had!

Well, I’m off!  Until next year!!! And Merry Christmas!

Opinion: We need an art club

by Summer Terry/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Nevaeh Stewart, 9, talks to Summer Terry, 9, about the possibility of an art club.

“I would join (an art club), if we had one,” said Ariana Carmichael, 9. “I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands, and don’t really know how to spend it.” 

A lot of kids draw in their free time here in GCHS, so I thought, why not ask them about an art club? We don’t really have art clubs here, and I think we should. These are some of the students’ opinions on having one. 

One of the first I asked was Carmichael. “I would like to be a part of something,” she said. “I think it would be really fun to join,” 

Of course, I’m no expert at knowing what people would want, so I went ahead and asked what they’d expect it to be like.

“Just a place to share common interests and art, perhaps a bit of constructive criticism if wanted,” said Carmichael.

“I think that an art club would be a good place for students to work on personal projects. It would also be great to have art club students do collaborative projects for the community, such as painting murals and artwork for the school, or even doing face painting at events,” said Ms. Hannah Johnson, 2D Art teacher.

Students say they’d go alone, but would consider asking their friends to join. Most think having an all-in-one art club would be fun.

 “I think it would be a lot of fun and motivating if we got to do projects for the school,” said Carmichael. “I prefer drawing and 2D art, (but) I think an all in one would be fun!”

I also asked if they’d prefer to do group or individual projects. “I’m honestly on the edge for both of them, but mainly leaning for individual projects,” Carmichael. 

“I’d prefer it to be after school, and such,” said Carmichael. Most seem to want the club after school, instead of before. 

Of course, like any other subject, some people don’t enjoy it that much. “No, (I wouldn’t join) because I don’t like art that much,” said Nevaeh Stewart, 9. She said if she did, she would go “with friends to feel more comfortable” and she would expect to “learn more about art.”


Esports leagues provide scholarships, recognition

by Alex Young/Staff Writer

These days video games are a huge aspect of people’s lives and leisure time. Even if you don’t play video games they will most likely still be part of your day. You can see them on the news, in articles, and especially from people talking about them around you. These very video games help people through all kinds of problems in their life or for some it just  helps with their boredom. Since these games are already incorporated with our lives, what if we make something more out of them? What if we could make an esports team that we can use to teach us many things and allow kids to make more friends?

Video games can provide many benefits to teenagers, children, and adults, but for this article we are going to focus on teenagers/adults. Even though many people believe that video games are bad for kids it is actually the opposite. Video games can benefit teenagers in their everyday lives and school. Video games help with teenagers concentration, coordination, and problem-solving skills. In an article from dated February 9, 2017, writer Sheila Eugenio stated, “Video games, especially action games have been proven to capture the players’ attention for the entire period of the game.” The reason this is helpful to teens is that this is usually brought about by the players need to complete certain objectives within the game. This helps teenagers have the same mindset in school when it comes to doing homework and completing assignments. Video games can also improve coordination by making the player focus on more than just the screen they have to focus on what they are doing and what to do outside of the game to play the game which also helps with multitasking. These are just some of the many benefits of playing video games but how successful has high school esports been.

Many other high schools have in operated esports teams and gaming into their school and extracurriculars. Two of these school esports teams are in Georgia. These two teams of many in their esports league went against each other in front of CNN. These high school esports teams have helped many kids in their college and high school career when it comes to finding colleges and paying for them. There are many other schools all around the U.S. doing the same thing in some kind of way. These esports teams also benefit both the school and the students a lot when it comes to money and colleges. Many colleges now have esports teams and are looking for players by giving out scholarships. 

The students who are participating in the esports gain a lot more than teamwork, experience, and another thing to put on their college resume. From an article written on September 19, 2019 Brian Seto McGrath for wrote an article about  apparently you can get scholarships for colleges. Jeremy Murray, a junior at Francis Howell Central High School in St. Charles, MO, watched six of his teammates as they were offered nearly $400,000 in scholarships to play esports in college. Esports can give students great advantages like this scholarship for their college career. There have been many other cases where colleges gave out money. In the same NBC News article, McGrath noted, “In the 2018-19 school year, some 200 colleges in the U.S. offered $16 million in esports scholarships.”

On  September 25, 2019, Mike Sullivan wrote an article for Fox 59 about how scouts are going around looking for players that do very well at video games such as a student from Tipton, IN who received a full paid scholarship from Davenport University. Yes, Indiana has its own esports league now, with thirteen schools involved. Tipton High School teacher John  Robertson is behind the project.

Some high schools that have esports competitions are giving each player on the winning team money for their college tuition. Esports doesn’t just help kids make money; it can also help schools make money. High schools can hold competitions for people to pay to come see. These days many people want to watch sports, so why not local esports? 

Esports teams can be very beneficial in many ways that are useful. It can make both the students and the schools a lot of money. It can help students with college tuition or scholarships to certain colleges. It can also help the player with certain skills such as concentration, coordination, and problem-solving skills. There are even a couple schools that also believe this was a good idea in Indiana who made their own high school league. I believe that we could and should incorporate an esports club into our school. 


Theatre Review: Murder on the Orient Express

By Andrea Lenser/Staff Writer

 Photo Caption: Playbill from Murder on the Orient Express, seen Wednesday, March 4 at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. 

The stage adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express was written by Ken Ludwig and is based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. The story follows Hercule Poirot, a detective who must find a murderer among a lineup of passengers, a conductor, and an old train owner friend, all while being stranded on a train that has a diminishing supply of provisions. The victim is a man named Samuel Ratchett, who receives eight stab wounds in the wee hours of the morning. Simultaneously, the Orient Express hits a snow bank, forcing Poirot to solve the crime quickly, lest the killer strike again. 

  The seven passengers and the conductor accused of the crime are Colonel Arbuthnot, his wife Mary Debenham, Helen Hubbard, Hector McQueen, Princess Dragomiroff, her assistant Greta Ohlsson, and Countess Andrenyi. All of them are unique characters, but they all share something in common: resentment of Samuel Ratchett and a common motive for killing him. 

Shortly after discovering Ratchett dead, Poirot finds a clue that reads, “Remember Daisy Armstrong.” Daisy was a five-year-old girl who was abducted and then killed in New York. It was revealed soon after the discovery of the clue that Ratchett had been the one to murder the girl. All of the passengers had connections to Daisy, so all of them had a motive for killing him. 

So if all of the passengers had the same motive, how did Poirot find the killer? The reveal near the end of the show answers that question. The conductor and the passengers claim that they had all seen a second conductor on the train, despite the fact that there was supposed to be only one. However, they all banded together to create this story to hide the real murderer: each and every one of them. 

Ratchett had eight stab wounds, “some weak and some strong.” The reason that he had eight separate wounds of varying intensity was because eight different people, the passengers and conductor, had stabbed him. They all sought revenge for Daisy’s death and attempted to elude capture by coordinating alibis and lying about a mysterious figure on the train. Poirot, however, was clever enough to see through their lies. 

While the idea of all of the suspects taking part in the murder is an interesting concept, I think that the story would have benefitted more from a more traditional ending. Poirot states at the closing of the production that there were two possible solutions: that all eight had killed Ratchett, or an unidentified person had broken in to the train and left before he/she was detected. However, the latter solution contradicts a statement that Poirot made earlier: “No one could have entered the train because there are no footsteps in the snow. This was an inside job.” If Poirot had just presented the eight-killers solution in a sure manner instead of offering up the idea he had already proven wrong, then I feel that the audience and I would have been more astounded by the twist ending. 

While the ending of the tale was underwhelming, the overall professionalism and attention to detail portrayed by the cast and crew for this production was phenomenal. The most unique aspect of the show was the set and scene changes. Three different settings were used when on the train: three bedroom units, a dining unit, and a lobby unit. However, instead of having blackouts for scene changes, the three locations were set on a round platform that rotated counter-clockwise. Whenever a scene ended and a new scene was to be ushered in, the characters would freeze on the moving platform and let the platform carry them backstage. Meanwhile, the new setting would spin around, making the transitions simple and quick. 

Another aspect of the technical design that added to the uniqueness of the show was the use of various lighting designs. A plethora of lighting gel colors were used, such as shades of red, blue, orange, pink, and purple. The gels were utilized to exhibit the mood being portrayed in a particular scene. For example, when the passengers discovered Mary Debenham unconscious on the ground with a bullet in her arm, the lights were switched to appear a deep red to show the intensity of the scene. 

The use of spotlights also add character to the show. Near the end when the crime is about to be solved, Poirot explains the events and the characters act them out as a flashback. To show that their actions were of the past, the lights are dimmed and spotlights shone on the actors portraying a past event. The spotlights create a contrast between the past and the present so that audience members can tell what is happening at the time and what events had already taken place. 

IRT always goes above and beyond with their shows and Murder on the Orient Express is no different. While the story and the ending of the show were not particularly satisfying, the show is still worth seeing because of the incredible technical design and the professionalism of the cast and crew.   

Little Women: Book Vs. Movie Review

By Andrea Lenser/Staff Writer

Whenever a well-known classic novel is adapted for film, controversy is sure to arise. Movie directors must make tough decisions on what details of the book should be included and should be cut. In many cases, the movie is not received well by fans because of the varying opinions on what should be included in the film. However, Little Women was able to overcome this precedent and was acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. 

Little Women tells the story of the March sisters and their journey to finding their place in society despite their poverty. The sisters live in a comfortable home with their mother, Marmee, and their housekeeper while their father is off fighting in the war. Meg, the oldest sister, had a yearning for luxury, but she never let that hope get in the way of the care and nurturing she provided to her sisters and mother. Jo, the second-oldest sister, was strong-willed and fearless. She liked to write and much preferred to dress and act like a man rather than as a lady. Beth, the second-youngest, was bashful, but always did whatever she could to help her family and anyone around her. She also had a great love for music, especially piano. Amy, the youngest, was materialistic about exquisitely beautiful possessions, but she dealt with this desire by painting and sketching what was important to her. 

Another important character was Laurie, the March sisters’ next door neighbor. He lived with his grandfather in a mansion, but he was not happy due to his extreme sheltering. With the help of the girls, specifically Jo, he is able to break away from the mansion and experience real life for the first time. The sisters and Laurie have many adventures together, some exciting and adventurous, some heartbreaking. One trial that they had to overcome was the untimely death of the third sister, Beth. The group grew closer together during this time and learned all about trust and forgiveness. 

The novel highlights many other important messages that the sisters and Laurie learn throughout their journey to adulthood. One simple lesson taught to them by their mother was to always give what could be given. For example, on Christmas morning the girls gave up their lavish breakfast so that a poor family would have something to eat on Christmas. Their father also supplied them with encouragement and words of wisdom through his letters, inspiring them to always be the best version of themselves. These constant reminders guided them into growing up to be generous and kind adults that their future spouses could appreciate. 

The Little Women novel has 47 chapters, so of course the film could not include every detail, but it is clear that the directors and producers painstakingly scrutinized the book to make sure the portrayal of the book was as accurate as possible. The appearances of the characters could have perhaps been more accurate, but the attitudes of the characters could not have been more on point. The scenery and clothes were also exquisite and explained the time period well. 

One interesting detail of the movie is that it is told in flashbacks. The novel is told chronologically in time, whereas the movie starts where the book ends. It starts with Jo attempting to publish a book called Little Women, a journal of the many adventures she and her sisters had experienced. It then shows her life as an adult and her reminiscing about the past. The flashbacks are unique to the movie and complement the novel well, even if the story is being told in a slightly different way. 

The filmmakers also did a wonderful job of developing the characters and showing their growth. An example of this happening is with Jo. In the early flashbacks, she is moody and rash in her decisions, whereas in the later ones, she is more mature about her actions and it is clear that she has learned from her past mistakes. At first, Jo was quick to refuse and then change her mind on her engagement to Laurie, but she realizes later that her rash decision to be with Laurie would have negatively affected her later on in life when she discovers that he is not her soul mate. 

Overall, both the novel and the film exceed expectations. If you’re a bookworm who is detail-oriented, then reading the book is the way to go. If you’re more of a visual learner and prefer to see the whole picture and not focus on too many details, then the movie is more for you. However, the story is what is most important, and both the novel and movie are masterpieces worth exploring. 

Students offer opinions on Pixar Theory

by Andrea Lenser/Staff Writer

Photo Credit: Supercarlinbrothers on YouTube

Have you ever noticed the Easter eggs and hidden references Pixar hides in their films? Perhaps you’ve spotted the iconic Pizza Planet truck driving down the street in Finding Nemo or the Luxo Ball from the Pixar short “Luxo Jr.” making an appearance in Boo’s room in Monsters Inc. This may seem like a harmless Easter egg hunt the Pixar animators like to play with viewers, but it could mean much more than that. These Easter eggs are the origin for the most well-known conspiracy theory in animation: the Pixar Theory.

The Pixar Theory is a popular fan theory that suggests that all of the Pixar movies exist in the same universe and on the same timeline. It explains how the animals in the Pixar universe gained-human like qualities and explores the conflicts between the three most prominent groups in the movies: humans, animals, and machines. 

It all starts with Brave, during the Dark ages in Scotland. In the film, the witch uses magic sourced from the mysterious “will-o-the-wisps” to turn Merida’s mother into a bear. However, the magic does not turn her completely into a bear; she still retains some human qualities, such as the ability to cut food and open doors. At the end of the film, Merida’s mother in turned back into a woman, but it’s possible that the magic affected other animals and caused them to evolve and gain human-like qualities.

Fast forward to more modern times and certain animals now have the ability to speak and perform tasks formerly done solely by humans. Remy from Ratatouille, the fish in Finding Nemo, and the dogs from Up are among some of the animals that have developed speech. Remy has even developed cooking skills, something only humans could do for a long time. At this point, only a small portion of humans have been introduced to the animals’ intelligence, but once the news gets out, conflicts will arise. 

Around this same time, machines are starting to gain intelligence along with the animals. In The Incredibles, the A.I. Bot “started to wonder why it had to take orders.” This piece of artificial intelligence is destroyed, but others like it begin to acquire more and more knowledge. Now that both animals and machines are gaining intelligence, humans are facing immense danger.

Eventually, a fight between the humans, the animals, and the machines breaks out to decide the dominant species. The animals, the weakest of the three, almost completely die out. The fight comes down to the humans and the machines and artificial intelligence takes the victory. However, instead of killing off the humans, the machines set up a utopian world for the humans on a spaceship called the Axiom. Similar to the toys, machines need human interaction or else they will cease to function properly. 

With the animals annihilated and the humans on a utopian ship, the machines take over the world. Cars, like the ones portrayed in the movie Cars, rise to power. Since humans are no longer living on Earth, it seems that the machines would not be able to thrive, but because the memory of humans still live on, the machines are able to function without the physical presence of humans. Human cities and objects still litter the Earth, so for the time being, the cars and other machines can live on.

As the years pass, the globe slowly succumbs to an inevitable fate. Because the world is run by machines, the amount of carbon emissions and ruined landscape leads to pollution beyond repair. With the pollution also comes an abundance of trash and a lack of human memorabilia that the machines can live off of. The machines eventually die out and the world is left in the state of ruin we see in WALL-E. 

The events of WALL-E play out and the humans return to Earth. Artificial intelligence finally meets its demise as the humans learn how to be independent once again. In another turn of events, a small colony of bugs emerges. It’s believed that these intelligent insects were insignificant enough that they managed to survive on the Earth. Once the Earth is restored to its former beauty, the bugs multiply and become the ants, grasshoppers, and other insects seen in A Bug’s Life. 

Soon after, however, the humans and the animals disappear. It’s unclear why and how the humans and remaining animals disappeared, but monsters take over the world and create human-like societies with housing, education, and jobs. One of the most important jobs, as portrayed in the film Monsters Inc, is being a scarer. Scarers go through doors and scare children to collect screams, which can be turned into energy. The movie implies that humans are simply in a separate part of the world and are not aware of the monsters’ secret society, but this is not the case. Instead of traveling to a different part of the world, the monsters are actually traveling back in time to a time when humans still existed. 

So how does this come full circle? The answer lies within Boo, the little girl that Sully falls in love with in Monsters Inc. When Sully is forced to say goodbye to Boo, she becomes sad that she can never see her big blue friend anymore. From that point forward, it becomes her life’s ambition to find Sully again.

 Boo eventually finds a way to recreate a time traveling door like the one Sully used to find her. She travels to every time period imaginable and will sometimes leave artifacts from the future in the past, such as leaving a Luxo Ball in the Stone Ages. Eventually Boo settles in Scotland during the 10th century and becomes a witch. Boo grows up to be the witch from Brave that started the whole ordeal.

While this theory was only published to change one’s perspective of the Pixar movies, many people are divided on whether Pixar producers planned the movies to fit cohesively together or if it was a mere coincidence. Jonathon Hudson, a Radio/TV Teacher, said, “Personally, I think it’s a coincidence and they ran with it. The way that Pixar always operates, on the surface all their films appear to be very simple, but when you dive into each individual film, you find a lot of themes that are very complex. There’s always this social aspect, there’s something driving these characters, there’s some kind of motivation for why the characters do what they do.”

Other fans believe that the hidden references mean nothing more than what they are at the surface. Brooklin Bittinger, 10, said, “I think that Pixar purposely puts cameos and Easter eggs in their films, but I also think that a lot of theories, like this one, are made up by their fans to give the audience an alternate perspective.” 

Another question to ponder is now that Pixar has been made aware of this theory, do they attempt to continue the theory or destroy it with their new releases? Hudson said, “I think they realized a long time ago that this thing could happen and planned their releases accordingly, but I don’t think from the start they had this planned. There’s always a deeper meaning, though, so we really don’t know.”

Ally Hughey, 10, said, “I think that Pixar didn’t originally have any way to tie together all of their movies in something this complex, but maybe they will intentionally make movies in the future that fit in with the theory. At the beginning they may have decided to add in things to each movie like the Pixar ball because they were cool, but know the references have a different meaning because of the theory.”

Whether the theory is true or just a bunch of random connections strung together will probably never be answered, but as long as Pixar and their fans keep thinking creatively, they’ll be plenty more movies and theories to come. 


Photo Opinion: What Are You Looking Forward To In 2020?

By Ella Maciel/Staff Writer
We asked some students about what they are looking forward in 2020, here are their answers:

1. August Breedlove, 12:  “I am looking forward to graduating high school and starting a new chapter of my life.”

2. Dylan Thomas, 12: “ I am excited to go to the army and boxing there.”

3. Meghan Brown, 12:  “ I am looking forward to college and deciding what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

4. Julianne Hatcher, 11:  “I am looking forward to meet my last set of high school teachers.”

5. Makaela Bailey, 11: “ I am looking forward to senior year and the fun things it brings.”

6. Erin Kelly, 9: “I am looking forward to spending more time with friends and family.”

7. Elayna Morris, 10:  “I am looking forward to my license because then I can drive.”

8. Claire Bodell, 12:  “ Looking forward to going to college and being on my own.”

Broadway’s history celebrated

by Andrea Lenser/Staff Writer

Photo: Broadway Theatre District District:

Theatre has shaped cultures and impacted the lives of millions around the globe. Many memories are made at the theatre, whether one is performing in a production or simply attending as an audience member. And for those who wish to perform with or experience the best of the best, there’s most likely no better stage than Broadway. 

The first Broadway theatre was built in 1750 by Thomas Kean and Walter Murray. The theatre seated almost 300 people and performed a variety of opera and Shakespearean shows. Productions were halted during the Revolutionary War, but shows continued soon after with the building of an expansive theatre called Park Theatre. 

More theatres sprang up in the area in the 1800s, including the Bowery Theatre, Niblo’s Garden, and the Astor Place Theatre. Productions expanded to include operas, musicals, plays, variety shows, and vaudeville shows. However, the modern musical that is often seen on Broadway today wasn’t introduced until 1866. 

The first musical to include original choreography and songs was a show called The Black Crook. The show was nearly six hours long and ran for an astounding 474 performances. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, a staple of modern Broadway theatres was introduced: an electric marquee with bright white bulbs to advertise a show. The first show to be displayed on one of these electric signs was a show called The Red Mill, which was a musical based on the current time period. 

Broadway theatre’s popularity died down with the introduction of motion pictures with sound, but it rebounded in popularity after the Great Depression. This period brought to life classics that have been revived and are still being performed today, such as Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady

Modern Broadway shows consist mostly of musicals, though traditional plays can also be seen. The longest running Broadway show was previously Les Miserables, with a total of 6,691 performances. The musical Cats took the lead when its run ended with 7,485 performances. But the show that really takes the cake is Phantom of the Opera. The show has been performed over 12,000 times and is still on Broadway to this day. 

While Phantom of the Opera holds the record for the longest Broadway run, The Lion King takes the spot for highest grossing. Wicked is runner up to The Lion King, followed by Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, and the revival of Chicago

Broadway has made itself a legacy that will last decades into the future. The coming generations will have the opportunity to experience jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring moments that are unique to the Broadway stage and will most likely never be forgotten by theatre fans everywhere. 






Black Friday deals and perfect gifts

by Emily Rigney/Staff Writer

November is filled with many events happening throughout the month. Fall is coming to an end, Thanksgiving starts, and the weather gets colder and colder. Along with all this comes Black Friday, the one day of the year where stores all around America have giant sales, and everyone starts their Christmas shopping. This is held on the day after Thanksgiving, and usually draws a large crowd of people to start shopping. Cities will tend to get busier depending on how many and what stores are on sale where you are, and how big of a city you live in

Some stores that will be participating in the Black Friday sales are: Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kohls, Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears. These stores are usually the busiest on Black Friday because they are stores where most people will tend to be attracted to when it comes to shopping for Christmas gifts. These stores sell almost anything you could want, being from kitchen supplies to toys. They are great places to get anything you want for anyone you are shopping for and has a wide variety of options from you to shop from. 

For the different things you want, there are different stores you should visit to get what you are looking for. If you are shopping for your parents, then you should be able to go to pretty much any store. Basic things that you would tend to buy for parents could be found pretty much anywhere. For moms, the most bought items are jewelry, coffee mugs and slippers. can range from a couple of dollars, to hundreds or thousands, depending on how nice you want it. Mugs range from around $10, as well as slippers. For dad, the most bought items are watches, AirPods, and a computer. AirPods are around $159, watches and computers can be around a few hundred dollars as well. 

 For your siblings or friends, I would go to stores like Best Buy or Target for electronics and accessories. For your brother; bomber jackets, wireless speaker socks are the top most bought items for that age range.

These are all around $20. For your sister; Polaroid cameras, projectors and a new tablet are the most bought items for teen girls. These also go from $30 to around a hundred dollars as well. 

For grandparents, go to stores like Kohls and Target for things that they would be drawn to and enjoy more overall. The top most bought items for grandmothers are candles, planters, and framed pictures. These are only around $5 to $10. Grandfathers top most bought gifts are hats, shirts, and mugs. Which are also around the same price as the grandmothers presents. 

For the Black Friday 2019 opening times; Best Buy opens at 8:00 AM, and Khols from Thanksgiving night until 1:00 PM. These would be the most popular stores to go to so I would schedule out to get there early if you want something certain, so they won’t sell out of what you are looking for. 

If you really want to get certain things for certain people than I would plan what stores you want to go to before you go out. This will help you not get caught in a crowd wandering and would be easier for you to find things. I would also go to stores that you know have exactly what you are looking for so you don’t have to worry about running around town and not being able to get something before it’s out of stock. This way your Black Friday shopping is more stress free and less complicated. If this is your first time shopping on Black Friday I would recommend knowing what you want before you start shopping.