By: Courtney Henson
Kate McNeill, a name known all around campus. Kate is well-known and well-loved by her peers for her kindness, enthusiasm, and charisma. Over the past 4 years, Kate has worked incredibly hard in all of her classes. This work has paid off, and Kate will graduate as the valedictorian of the class of 2020! Kate plans to attend Texas A&M University at College Station to study animal science. When asked why she chose the animal science field, Kate said, “Because I was raised in a rural community, I have created some deep relationships with agricultural people and wanted to major in the College of Agriculture. I chose animal science specifically because I want to diversify myself as a dental school applicant and the coursework included the science courses I needed as prerequisites.”
Being the valedictorian can require a lot of work, a lot of competition and responsibility, but to some people this competitive nature comes naturally! Lucky for Kate, she was born competitive. “In kindergarten I knew I wanted to have the goal of being valedictorian, which I guess was born out of my competitive nature. Then, when freshman year came around, I knew I had to take it seriously. After that, my perspective shifted towards college and I knew that more doors would be open for me if I kept doing well in school. I was motivated by knowing I would be putting myself ahead for my future and giving myself the best advantage when it came to college,” Kate said when asked what kept her motivated. Along with having to keep up with schoolwork and grades, Kate participated in many extracurricular activities. She was able to handle all of these things very well while also staying on top of her grades. When asked how she balanced both school and many of these activities, Kate said, “I always knew that I didn’t want to have to give up sports and rodeo in order to be successful in school, so this meant I had to really manage my time. Oftentimes I would stay after school until practice started to work on homework or get some tutoring. Just staying ahead on a day to day basis really helped me along with my teachers being very flexible and accommodating.”
Along with working very hard and balancing your time well, another thing that can help you stay ahead and create motivation is the people all around supporting you. The teachers at PHS can play a huge role in influencing the students’ work. When asked what teacher at PHS influenced her the most and why Kate said, “This is a hard one, but I would have to say Mr. Herrmann, my AP Physics teacher, had the biggest impact on me. At the beginning of my junior year I felt very overwhelmed by the rigor of his class and wanted to just change my schedule. After a meeting with him, he reassured me that if I worked hard and accepted the challenge it would all be fine. I decided to stick with it which was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I not only learned the coursework thoroughly, but also learned how to push myself in ways I never had before.” Alongside the teachers, the only other adults that can influence and support you just as much, and more, are your parents. I asked Kate’s parents for some words and they had some very sweet things to say: “Kate has tremendous drive and a work ethic to be admired. She has also been blessed with excellent teachers and a school environment that has helped her thrive. We could not be prouder of her and are so thankful for this wonderful community who has supported her along the way.”
Congratulations on everything you have accomplished at Pleasanton High School. We on campus could not be more proud of the things you have done. We wish you the best of luck and know you will do great things. Pride! Pride!
By: Grace Bogenschneider
Here’s the scoop on Lauren Dowdy, the salutatorian of the 2020 graduating class. She has been ranked second of her class since her freshman year. When asked if she was surprised at being so highly ranked, she responded, “… it wasn’t a surprise to me, just a motivating factor to keep my grades up.” While maintaining such high grades, Lauren also participated in extracurricular activities. She found a way to balance both her education and extracurriculars by, “making lists of everything I have to do. I also try and space out my work to make sure I get it all done by the deadline.”
While I am sure that more than one teacher positively influenced Lauren, when asked who was the most influential she indicated Mrs. Bast, “… she has compassion for her students and always makes sure they are learning the material.” Looking toward the future, Lauren says that, “I will definitely miss playing tennis and going to sports games, especially playoffs[, but] I am really looking forward to being in a new city and meeting new people!”
Lauren’s future plans begin next fall as she attends the McComb School of Business at the University of Texas. While there, she plans on studying international business with marketing as a backup major or as a possible minor. Here at PHS, Lauren was drawn into the world of business after participating in the Global Marketing event with BPA. “… through BPA gave me an interest in business, specifically marketing. I want to travel in the future so international business is perfect for me.”
Lauren, you have been a glowing example for all students here at Pleasanton High School. We hope you continue to be successful at whatever you strive for and keep in mind that the sky’s the limit! Pride! Pride!
By: Kristina Mertz
Robert Rutherford is a popular name around the halls of PHS; he is known for his good character and his dedication. Robert is the highest-ranking male for the class of 2020. He got to be where he is today with a lot of motivation, commitment, and hard work.
Robert is going to college at Texas A&M University, where he will be studying Biochemistry. “I chose this path, because I feel like there is a lot of good to be done there. I want to work in research immunology or autoimmune diseases, and hopefully help develop cures or solutions for pressing health problems. Following this path will let me help others at large.”
Being such a devoted student, Robert has had a lot of motivation along with many influences. “My biggest motivation was probably my parents. They were constantly on me about my grades, so I adopted that mindset as well.” He says he has had many influences. “It’s really difficult to pick one teacher at PHS that has influenced me the most. I’d probably have to say Mrs. Bast, because of her expertise and her personality. Her class was one of my favorites, and she shares a lot of valuable life lessons with her students.”
Balancing AP classes and extracurricular activities may seem difficult, but for Robert it’s essential. “For the most part, I use my extracurricular activities as an extension of my education. I tend to use them to help further my schoolwork and they act as a stress reliever. Having extracurricular activities makes it easy to empty your head, which is very important to staying on the top of your game.”
Robert Rutherford is an extraordinary classmate, student, and friend that will be greatly missed in the halls of PHS. Congratulations on being the highest-ranking male!
By: Gabby Palacios
During this weird time in the world, there has been one constant question in our community. Are the seniors going to have their graduation ceremony? Well, thanks to the hard-working parents, community members, and PHS staff, our Class of 2020 seniors will walk the stage.
Saturday, May 30, the ceremony will be held at the newly renovated football stadium at 8:00 pm. Due to the current circumstances, adjustments will be made to ensure the safety of all guests, PHS staff, and graduates.
This year, all seniors will be allowed up to four guests, and those attending will be required to follow social distancing guidelines. All guests will receive their tickets which have information on how to enter and exit the stadium to keep in compliance with the guidelines. Furthermore, each family will be required to sit on an assigned bleacher and sit apart from others, and the seniors will not be shaking hands with any PHS staff members during the acceptance of their diploma.
During this time, Ms. Olivarri and Ms. Guajardo both find it bittersweet. Though they are disappointed this year ended the way it did, they are excited to see all of the community come together to make this time special, and they know this year’s graduates will go on to do great things in the world.
This time has been tough, but it has also brought our community together and shown that when we come together as one, we can get through anything.
Seniors, you have done great things so far, and no matter what path you choose and where you go, you will continue to do amazing. Remember, once an eagle, always an eagle. PRIDE PRIDE!
By: Nohemi Vallejo
Mrs. Sims is an amazing geography teacher with a strong passion for helping her students succeed. During these difficult times, Mrs. Sims is trying to perfect her art of teaching online like any other of our incredible teachers here at PHS. Mrs. Sims states, “I don’t think I have found the perfect way yet, but it hasn’t stopped me from trying different methods such as calling, texting, encouraging students through Google Classroom messages, and Zooming. Mr. Hurley and I stick with the lessons that have had the most engagement while still trying to break the monotony.”
Mrs. Sims has been in various positions inside and outside of the classroom for over 28 years in education. She loves working in education, but the highlight of her career was working at PHS. On the topic of PHS, her favorite thing is seeing and interacting with the students. Mrs. Sims was very surprised to learn she had been selected as Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Sims humbly states, “PHS has so many great teachers that it was an honor to be voted for this award by my peers.”
From an early age, Mrs. Sims knew she wanted to be a teacher. Someone who influenced her to become a teacher was her mom, Margaret Coleman. She was an educator at PISD. She got to see how rewarding it was for her mom, and she knew she also wanted to be a part of it.
Mrs. Sims will be retiring by the end of this year. She states, “I’m a proud PHS graduate and besides missing the students and my coworkers, I’ll also miss being in the buildings and classrooms where I attended high school. Most of all though, I’ll miss the opportunity to have a proper goodbye with my current and past students.” Mrs. Sims mentions, “My husband and I will be moving to eastern Tennessee at the end of June to see if we like it there. We also have travel plans which include going to Iceland. As a geographer, I hope to travel more and just enjoy life. I also plan to volunteer at the local library system wherever I end up living. Who knows? It could be right back in Pleasanton where it all started.”
By: Adriana Clark
Miss Netherton is a science teacher at PHS, known for being one of the nicest and sweetest teachers on the campus. She has a loving personality, she’s uplifting, and she’s funny. Miss Netherton has been working at PHS for 3 years, which is her entire teaching career. Miss Netherton had attended Mississippi State University, where she majored in Civil Engineering with an Environmental Engineering concentration. She has also majored in English.
Before Miss Netherton joined us at PHS as a high school teacher, she was a Civil Engineer In Training which was also known as an EIT. “I really enjoyed all my civil engineering classes in college, but working as a Civil Engineer just wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t get to be super creative, I either had a lot of work or almost no work, and I didn’t get to help others…” Miss Netherton had worked on computers and got to go to sites and design drainage layouts, water mains, and work with the EPA to ensure their jobs followed conservation laws. “…it was an interesting job, but not a good fit for me. I enjoy teaching a lot more because I get to help people learn and grow and I can be very creative with my lessons.”
When Miss Netherton heard the news that she won New Teacher of the year, she was excited and stated, “she doesn’t do the job for recognition, but it does feel very validating to get this award.” This also helps ensure that she is doing a great job and encourages her to keep it up! “PHS has been an amazing place to work and I really feel really lucked out starting my teaching career here. The environment is very positive and everyone has the opportunity for major growth here. You can also tell that all the employees really care about the students in everything that they do. I am very grateful to have such a supportive network here who all focus on the good of the students.”
By: Dillon Myers
Mrs. Lozano works in the library as a paraprofessional. One thing she loves about being in the library is that she gets the opportunity to form relationships with everyone in the PHS family. Mrs. Lozano believes “the library is the heart of our campus” and feels that “PHS has such a great environment that makes me want to come to work every day.”
She wasn’t always a paraprofessional though. Years ago, she was employed as a 911 dispatcher, working twelve-hour shifts for Atascosa County. Here at PHS, we admire her bravery and thank Mrs. Lozano for her service. However, she sought a job that would better suit her family, a job with ‘normal’ hours. She soon found herself at the junior high and sees working for the high school as a blessing.
Mrs. Lozano also leads an interesting life outside of her job. What she mostly does is spend time with her daughters, though her photography business comes in a close second! She enjoys taking photos with her camera while not working.
She also has some tips for students at PHS, though they can apply to teachers too! “Take in every moment! This year has taught us how precious time really is. The 4 years at PHS may not seem to go by quickly but they really do! Soak it in and make the very best of it!” ☺️
It was a pleasure to interview Mrs. Lozano, even if through email. The journalism family wishes her, along with everyone else, a great summer!
By: Victoria Chavez
As the school year of 2019-2020 comes to an end, the seniors of 2020 will begin to ready themselves to enter the world right through their bedroom doors. Most have plans for college, some hope to enter the workforce with their dream jobs swirling in their minds, but what about the seniors that wish to enlist and serve the country? Is the military taking numbers on the high school students across the nation and telling them to have a seat? Has the outbreak stopped them from starting their lives?
The recent pandemic has caused a lot of hysteria for not only the people across the world but it has deeply impacted the military as well. For those that did not know all MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Stations) was shut down due to COVID-19. This meant that many people graduating high school and the people enlisted could not be shipped off to BMT (Basic Military Training) at the initial date given. The thought of never being able to start their journey scared many seniors. “ I haven’t even been to MEP in and I’ll have to 2-4 weeks before I can go in…” said Hannah Van Auken. Most recruiters are doing the best they can to help anyone who wishes to join by keeping them updated on the situation. “As far as I know MEPS opened again and I’ll be [shipped] off some time next month” stated an anonymous source. Hope still shines through for the 2020 seniors as they continue to reach their objectives.
Many students here at PHS are determined to pursue a career in the armed forces. “The military can provide a great foundation for my career and education”, said AJ Paez. AJ is among the countless seniors throughout the states that are dependent on the military’s advantages to help them achieve their set goals. “I want to go to college and afterward have a family on my own, the Air Force seemed like the best option for me…” stated by Hannah Van Auken. Hannah’s hope for a normal nuclear family after serving is shared commonly in not only the military lifestyle but for others as well. “ [I want] to set myself up [up] for the future….to get my independent,” a comment made by Caryna Ochoa.
Although the year of 2020 has not been the greatest, everyone is making their efforts to help bring the light back into society. This virus has not stopped the seniors from becoming future defenders for the frontlines of America. I, as well as many others, am proud to see what will become of these strong, courageous, and daring young adults. Congratulations to the class of 2020!
By: Heaven Marquez
After these exhausting and boring months in quarantine, Texas governor, Greg Abbott, announced the opening of businesses and activities in the Lone Star State. The announcement on April 27 informed the public of the first phase of the plan to “Open Texas” by explaining detailed “new protocols, guidance, and recommendations.” According to the Texas Department of State Health Services.com, the proposal also included statewide testing and contact tracing to identify Texans with COVID-19 and prevent the further spread of the virus. On May 13, the Texas Tribune announced that Texas organized 49,259 tests, the “highest one-day total reported since the pandemic began.” The Texas Department of State Health Services received most of the test results from laboratories and thus began identifying the illness. Overall, 1,355 new cases were reported on May 13, the “second-highest increase since the state began reporting coronavirus case counts”, with the last amount only being 1,441 cases in early April. The new total of known cases is now at 42,403 people, with over 85% of the 254 Texas counties reporting at least one case. Texas also reported 25 more deaths, bringing the full amount to 1,158, an increase of about 2% from Tuesday, May 12. As of May 21, the current amount of COVID cases has reached 49,912 victims and 1,369 deaths. However, 29,359 people have recovered from the deadly disease. There is hope, and Texas is reopening its doors slowly but surely!
By: Perri Alexander
A time for looking back on lessons learned,
Adventures shared, bright moments filled with
A time for saying goodbye to old friends,
To good times you’ve known.. A time for
Packing away memories, treasures for tomorrow
A time for looking forward, a time to set new goals,
To dream new dreams, to try your wings and see
What lies beyond.
Dearest seniors of 2020, the time has finally come; we are finally done. This year may have been rough, but our strong seniors have gotten through the worst of the worst. Now it’s time for a new chapter in our life, some of us may move on to college, others might get a job straight away, but I know that we’re going to go far. Most all of us used to look at the future as so far away, that our time would never come. However, our four years of high school flew by. We were once tiny helpless freshmen who had no idea what the world was really like. Now we are fully grown adults who are about to start our lives. I believe in all of us and I hope the future gives us nothing but joy because if we can live through a pandemic and still graduate, then there’s nothing my class of 2020 can’t do! So, for the last time, this is the poem perfectionist with the last poem. Pride! Pride! Eagle Pride!
By: Heaven Marquez and Gabby Palacios
This time of quarantine and COVID-19 has stopped the world in its tracks. It seems like everything has been placed on hold as this virus continues to attack. However, the students of Pleasanton High School have refused to just sit back and use this time to relax or slack off; they have decided to make a difference.
Seniors Trisha West and James Barcomb have opted for helping people get fast food with West working at Whataburger and Barcomb operating at Bill Miller BBQ. Other students have decided to help their community by working at the local H-E-B and assisting those who make their way into the store. Seniors Saul Raquena, Nick Robles, Madeline Keylich, Jordan Haby, Colby Davidson, Chano Roman, and Celia Alvarez have all supported the store along with juniors John Rosas, David Garcia, Erica Santee, and sophomore Cayden Jones.
David Garcia, a junior HEB employee, states, “There are definitely people who take advantage of the system… Neighbors, family, friends, acquaintances, find someone who might need help or is struggling to get these things and offer or even just do it out of kindness but do what you can to share or even run those errands for them.”
Erica Santee, also currently employed at HEB, explains, “It’s a little stressful I’m not going to lie. I’m trying to work as much as I can and the store itself was a little hectic at first, but after taking great precautions as well as maintaining the customers’ satisfaction, it got easier. At HEB our managers and other partners helped out a lot by bringing people from other stores to our store for help when it got really crowded or hectic, it made me realize this was a very serious matter, and everyone needed to keep calm.”
Not only are there students helping people get their basic home necessities, but there are also those who provide fast and quick meals to others, including other essential workers.
An anonymous junior employed at SONIC Drive-in states, “It makes me feel good knowing that my job is to provide food to others who are out on the frontline as well. We get a lot of oil field workers, police officers, and nurses who come in on their lunch break or after a shift and sometimes you can tell that they’re really tired and it just makes me appreciate the work that they do for me even more.”
These are students that deserve recognition for the hard work they put in to help serve our community during these trying times. Thank you for staying positive and helpful throughout this quarantine! PRIDE PRIDE!
By: Courtney Henson
Mrs. Moos is a teacher here at the high school. She has been an important teacher on our campus for 4 years along with previously teaching 4th grade and 6th grade years ago. Mrs. Moos plays a huge part in the behind the scenes of Pleasanton High School. Some of her duties include supporting the teachers with technology and resources as well as ordering books and keeping up the library collection, assisting students with technology and their accounts, taking pictures, keeping up the website and PHS social media, making Golden Ps and keeping up the Positivity Challenge. Along with all of this work, Mrs. Moos plays an important role in the student council club by sponsoring the club and organizing events.
Mrs. Moos graduated from Pleasanton High School and received her Bachelor Of Science degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from Texas Tech University. She then went on to receive her Master’s in Library Science from Sam Houston University.
When asked what her favorite part about being a teacher is, Mrs. Moos stated, “My very favorite part of being a teacher is building relationships with the students. I love getting to know each one. It’s also a lot of fun when I can help them.” While there are many great things about being a teacher, they also face many challenges. Mrs. Moos says, “Some of the challenges of being a teacher is getting some students excited about reading and learning. It can be a challenge at times getting students to understand why we have some of the rules we have.” Along with these challenges, Mrs. Moos says that it’s also a challenge when she sees students struggling with things other than school that she can’t help with or fix. Recently our school has had to extend to online learning. When asked how she is helping to encourage online learning to the students, Mrs. Moos says, “I have helped to make sure students who do not have a device to work on receive a Chromebook. I make sure that they are able to access their accounts and often have to reset them so they can gain access. I have had many questions about Google Classroom and have had to help teachers, parents, and students access their Google Classroom.”
Mrs. Moos has thoroughly enjoyed her time here at PHS and can not wait to get back to school! Thank you, Mrs. Moos, for everything you do. Pride! Pride!
By: Courtney Schmidt & Wanish Tortes-Mcginnis
Mrs. Higginbotham is such an important member of our high school team and has been an incredible partner for Mrs. Guajardo. She graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in San Antonio in 1989, where she was in the career prep program. She worked part time at American Federation of Government Employees as a secretary for the labor union of civil service employees at Kelly AFB. After graduation, she was hired full-time and worked there until 1996.
She married her husband in 1991. Together, they have two sons. Her family moved to Jourdanton in 2002, seeking small-town life. She began as a substitute teacher in 2004 and worked part-time for the Education Service Center Region 20. I was hired full time by ESC Region 20 in 2008 as a secretary. In 2010, she was hired by Pleasanton ISD as the Curriculum Secretary.
She became Mrs. Guajardo’s secretary in January 2015 when Mrs. Guajardo became the principal at Pleasanton High School. Mrs. Higginbotham states, “she [Mrs. Guajardo] calls me the “Building Secretary” instead of the Principal’s Secretary.”
She manages the front office staff, Mrs. Guajardo’s calendar, phone calls, hundreds of emails, and the entire high school budget with such ease. “I handle a great deal of ‘behind the scenes’ details”. She provides support to the assistant principals, office staff, teachers and paraprofessionals (including but not limited to absence requests and scheduling substitutes), custodians, and even steps in for the nurse on occasion. She submits work orders for repairs and maintenance and is sometimes able to fix things herself, saying, “I have a toolbox under my desk.” It comes as no surprise as anyone can see that she wears many hats.
Mrs. Higginbotham coordinates facility requests outside of school hours and manages the high school activities calendar to coordinate with extracurricular activities. She assists with prom, academic awards night and graduation by purchasing items and scheduling security, the sound system, and stage. She designs the layout and prints the programs handed out for NHS inductions, academic awards night, and graduation. Our bell system that runs like clockwork? We can thank Mrs. Higginbotham for that as well. She even manages our very own Mrs. Guajardo.
Mrs. Guajardo says she is able to effectively do her job because she is reliable, trustworthy, smart, and very professional. Mrs. Guajardo states, “I don’t know what I’d do without her, and I’m honored she’s my partner.” Thank you, Mrs. Higginbotham, for all the hard work you have done for the school and Mrs. Guajardo. It is clear that you keep PHS running with ease!
By: Courtney Schmidt
Pleasanton High School is proud to have achieved the Level 1 certification of the Dr. Robert J. Marzano High Reliability Schools™, which means that PHS has created a “Safe, Supportive, and Collaborative
Culture”. The HRS program was developed for educators to monitor the effectiveness of their schools in order to ensure student success. Within Level 1, the daily operations of the campus are addressed.
The High Reliability Schools™ program consists of five levels that a school has to master in order to become a High Reliability School, ensuring all students learn the content and skills they need for success in their futures. “As you move through the levels, it represents a complete transformation in how schools are run,” says CEO Robert J. Marzano.
A school working to become HRS certified collects data and validates school performance and works with analysts from Marzano Resources in order to determine certification. Indicators within the framework for each level help schools make positive and significant impacts on student achievement.
Congratulations to Pleasanton High School for this achievement that improves the effectiveness of our campus and ensures the success of our students.
By: Grace Bogenschneider
Being stuck at home hasn’t stopped the flow of creativity within the numerous students in the art classes here at PHS, given it has been a bit of struggle at times. The art teachers at the high school have been working hard to make fun and creative art projects to assign to their students. They have been keeping in mind that every student has different supplies on hand and have been making the projects both simple enough to create with limited supplies and also a joy to make. Students have begun to embrace the circumstances and have been hard at work creating these works of art. When asked how he felt about the switch to online classes Richie Chavez, a senior in AP Art, said, “ Art class online has been pretty easy … only have one art piece a week [so I] can work more hours on it than when [we were] in school.”. Jasmine Lopez, a senior in Sculpture, voiced, “… online classes are a very odd experience. For sculpture, it’s a lot of improvising…” Even with the challenges of being at home, these upcoming artists have found a way to make creative masterpieces.
By: Dillon Myers
Shopping. Whether you go to Walmart® or order your toilet paper from Amazon, you or a family member has to shop somehow. To most, buying goods is a part of life, and some even set aside a day of the week specifically for purchasing needs and wants. Of the PHS family, 165 voted on if they’d rather shop in-store or at home and here are the results:
*Decision not based on recent circumstances – i.e. the plague
By: Nohemi Vallejo
May is the month that gives mental health an opportunity to raise awareness. While most people live life day by day not thinking of how they sit with themselves emotionally or mentally. Mental health awareness isn’t just about illnesses, it’s also about how people take care of themselves. Positive mental health allows people to realize their full potential, cope with the stress of life, and work productively. Of course, some days get a little rough, but there are many different ways to try to maintain a positive mind. Connecting with others, getting physically active, helping others, getting enough sleep, developing coping skills, and getting professional help if you need it. According to Mental health first aid, in the United States, almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Five percent of adults (18 or older) experience a mental illness in any one year, equivalent to 43.8 million people. The most common mental illness is depression. Globally, depression impacts an estimated 300 million people. Some early warning signs of any illness can include:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Pulling away from people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Having unexplained aches and pains
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Yelling or fighting with family and friends
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
- Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
- Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school
It’s perfectly normal to feel sadness or anger, but when it becomes too much to handle, it’s okay to seek help. There are many different programs to help you online or at local mental health organizations. Students, you can reach out to a teacher, counselor, or administrator, or even a friend or parent if you need to seek help for your mental health.
By: Kristina Mertz
Are you bored and stuck at home? Of course you are! I have put a list of books together that could lessen the enormous amount of boredom you are facing at this very moment. Don’t worry, they’re not all the same genre, so go pick up a book and have some fun!
- *The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky: This is an impactful novel that really grips its readers with its realistic and coming of age story. It centers around a teenager named Charlie during the early 1990s, he’s fifteen and in his freshman year of high school. Charlie is very introverted and prefers to watch from the sidelines, that is until he meets two of the craziest friends named Sam and Patrick. They teach him many lessons and help him gain a new sense of confidence that he will never forget.
- *The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle: This romance novel is about a girl named Wren, who has always set out to please her parents, but she doesn’t want the same thing. Charlie is a boy who has loved Wren since the first day he saw her, but he knows Wren doesn’t feel the same way and never would. When their lives suddenly collide and their feelings get in the way, complications start to arise.
- *The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: This is a great fantasy story that follows Jude, her twin sister Taryn, along with her older sister Vivienne. When Jude was just seven their parents were murdered right before her eyes, and the murderer stole the girls away to live in the magical land of Faerie. As a mortal in Faerie, Jude faces many struggles against her peers, but as betrayal and deception take place, Jude learns more about herself and her intentions than ever before.
- Taken by Erin Bowman: The Heist is what the townspeople call it in Grays town, every male on his eighteenth birthday mysteriously disappears, and never returns. Nobody knows where they go, and if they’re dead or not. Gray’s time is almost up, and he’s ready for his eighteenth birthday until he receives a strange note that makes him question everything about The Heist.
- Educated by Tara Westover: This is a memoir, Tara Westover was 17 years old when she first stepped into a classroom. She was born in the mountains of Idaho, where her parents did not like modern medicine. If she were to get a gash, concussion, or burn, they were treated with herbs. One of her older brothers became abusive, and no one was there to stop it. Another brother left and went to college where he described a whole other world, which inspired Tara to teach herself for a better life. She went to several universities including Harvard and Cambridge, this incredible memoir demonstrates what an education really is.
- 1922 by Stephen King: This novella is from Stephen King’s collection Full Dark, No Stars. This novella is a confession from Wilfred James for murdering his wife Arlette in Nebraska, in 1922. This was also adapted into a Netflix Original film.
- The Cellar by Natasha Preston: Summer is walking to a party by herself when suddenly she is thrown into a van and kidnapped. There she meets three other girls who were also kidnapped. The thrilling story is told through Summer’s perspective and also shows her family’s and boyfriend’s perspective at times, to show how they are trying to solve the mystery.
- All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: This is a Historical Fiction book that includes Marie-Laure Leblanc, a blind French girl, along with Werner Pfennig, who is a German orphan. They come across each other in France as they try to survive the devastation of World War II.
- Dear Evan Hansen The Novel by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul: Based on the Broadway play, this novel is centered around the idea of belonging and how to be found. Evan Hansen is a boy who struggles with depression and just wants to belong. Connor Murphy is a boy who has family issues, bipolar struggles and is severely depressed. When Connor commits suicide and Evan writes a letter about a boy he never knew, acting as his best friend, Connor’s family takes Evan in as their own. Evan finally isn’t invisible anymore and becomes a new kind of Evan with confidence, but when everything starts to unravel and secrets are shown, Evan has to face his enemy, himself.
- The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Mallory Dodge has had a troublesome past from being with an abusive foster family, but now she is happily adopted with a wonderful family. Being homeschooled for most of her life, Mallory finally decides to try public school and runs into her foster brother in the abusive house. As they reconnect and realize the scars they share together, Mallory has to decide if she needs to speak out.
* Indicates that the book is in the PHS Library
By: Adriana Clark
List of things to do to avoid boredom:
- Exercise: This improves one’s health but can also help manage any anxiety.
- Painting: A creative outlet during this time, people can try a new technique they have never tried before.
- Reading: Reading helps with one’s imagination; some people read to help get away from their lives-many people would use that as an outlet to take their minds off of COVID-19.
- Do a puzzle: This can be satisfying once the puzzle is complete; puzzles challenge our brains.
- Clean: Cleaning helps us take advantage of the time we have right now.
- Learn something new: Learning something new can help sharpen our skills, expand our horizons, or it can just help you realize you might have had an interest in something that you just never had time to try before.
- Talk to friends: Connecting with others is important.
By: Kori Miller
Considering everyone is currently stuck at home, the easiest accessible option to pass time is by watching movies. Fortunately, I’m a bit of an expert on the matter. Below is a list of films to keep you entertained as we all adapt to our newfound isolation, even if it is for the best.
Birds Of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (Available on Google Play, rated R): Birds Of Prey is the story of a recently dumped Harley Quinn and her journey towards self-discovery, and the realization that the Joker was probably just holding her back. A female empowerment film with lots of entertaining action and comedy, it is guaranteed to lift your spirits. It’s better than Suicide Squad, at least.
The Call of the Wild (Available on Google Play, rated PG): The Call of the Wild is the story of a big-hearted dog named Buck, and John Thorton, the man he must learn to trust. Based on the Jack London novel of the same name, it’s a heartwarming family film that teaches the importance of learning your place in the world and the friends you make along the way. It’s genuine, emotional, and satisfying. That is when you get past the awkward CGI dog.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Available on Netflix, rated PG-13): Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a stylized comedy film about Scott, a somewhat lost 22-year-old who has fallen head over heels for a distant and bright-haired girl named Ramona Flowers. However, if Scott plans on making what he has with this girl more than just a one time fling, he has to defeat her seven evil exes in video game themed combat. It’s a comedy film that has never failed to entertain, even after multiple watches.
Train to Busan (Available on Netflix, rated R): Train to Busan is a Korean thriller about a zombie virus outbreak that takes place on a speeding train with fleeting hope. I don’t want to say much about this film, it’s one that you simply have to watch to appreciate. It has well-choreographed action, memorable characters, and scenes that will make your stomach churn. It’s also easily the best zombie movie I’ve seen, at least to my memory.
Central Intelligence (Available on Google Play, rated PG-13): Central Intelligence is a comedic action film that teams up Dwayne Johnson with Kevin Hart. It’s quick, sharp, upbeat, and downright entertaining in every shot complete with shootouts and espionage. Just about every type of person can find something to appreciate.
Her (Available on Netflix, rated R): No movie recommendation list would be complete without a romantic tragedy. Theodore Twombly is a sensitive and soulful man who loses his grip on life in the midst of a bitter divorce. Left heartbroken, he slowly becomes infatuated by an artificially intelligent operating system he calls Samantha. But can love exist between a man and a computer program, even an intelligent one? Beautifully composed and painfully dramatic, Her is one of the best-handled romances in recent history.
By: Perri Alexander
“God Made a Wonderful Woman” by Unknown
God made a wonderful woman,
A mother who never grows old;
He made her smile of the sunshine.
And he molded her a heart of pure gold;
In her eyes he placed bright shining stars,
In her cheeks fair roses you see;
God made a wonderful mother,
And he gave that dear mother to me.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the hardworking moms out there. This poem really speaks to me because it reminds me of my own wonderful mom. The absence of words allows for one to use their imagination to explore the different definitions that come with the word, Mother. The way it paints a picture without going into too much detail is one of the reasons I picked it. You never know how much our mothers go through, so this poem can act as a reminder to remember to be careful in taking our loved ones for granted.
Till next time,
Sincerely, The Poem Perfectionist…