Reminding Our Souls of True Hope (Olivia Clement)

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

Every day we come into contact with individuals who feel overwhelmed by their circumstances. Regardless of our impressions, many people are living in some sort of situation that troubles their heart and mind. Christians are no different. We too are familiar with feeling weary, unsettled, and eager to be relieved of difficult circumstances. As Christians, however, we know to turn to the Lord to look for hope.

Still, I have noticed a misunderstanding of hope among Christians. This misunderstood hope often points toward a future when God will remove the obstacle in our lives that is causing distress. We often hope that an illness will be healed or a class will become easier. God is certainly capable of transforming circumstances in our favor, but consider what happens if he does not. Will there still be hope? I believe there will be.

In Psalm 43 David is in the midst of a disquieting time as he openly calls out for God to deliver him. He feels the “oppression of his enemy,” yet he finds refuge in the God who brings great joy. In the final verse of Psalm 43, David tells his downcast soul, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Notice how David reminds himself to hope in God, who is his salvation. He finds comfort by reminding his soul of who God is, not what God can do for him.

I believe that Christians must remind their souls to hope in God alone. God may not fix every heartbreaking hardship we encounter, but he is still good. True hope, then, is not dependent on the improvement of difficult circumstances; rather, true hope rests in the truth that God himself is our salvation and our only hope as we endure the struggles of this life.

Uniforms: A Blessing in Disguise (Anna Rebekah Richburg)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Recently, as I was walking into the Altamont School for a sporting event still wearing my school uniform, I heard a female student say, “I’m so glad we don’t have to wear uniforms!” I just chuckled to myself. She had no idea how nice it actually is going to a school with a uniform requirement.

Uniforms are a blessing for many reasons. First, they minimize the opportunity for people to compare themselves to one another. By having uniforms, everyone wears the exact same thing so there is less focus on outward appearance. It relieves the pressure of always “looking good” or having to keep up with the latest trends. Also, wearing uniforms is helpful because it saves time in the mornings. I do not have to spend a long time trying to figure out what outfit to wear. Instead, I can throw on my uniform with little to no thought. Lastly, uniforms save money. The same uniforms rarely change so it can be worn several years in a row until they are outgrown. I don’t have to spend unnecessary money on the newest styles for school. Uniforms are the easiest and most conventional outfits to wear to school, and I for one am glad to have them.

Thesis Life (Camilla Lemons)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Thesis. The much-dreaded assignment is a source of anxiety for Westminster students before they even reach the eleventh and twelfth grades, to say nothing of when it actually arrives. Throughout the writing career of a Westminster student, the thought of a thesis paper looms as a climactic point to display the product of the Westminster education. For juniors, the stakes are not as high when it comes to this project because it is something of a test-run for the following year. After many revisions to the way the thesis project has been structured, it now only occupies the first semester of the junior year. This change encourages students to stay on top of their work and not to procrastinate. As a great way to kick-off the thesis season, the junior class went to the Samford library on August 16. There students had the opportunity to pursue topics that interested them in order to craft a well-written thesis. Students were taught how to access Samford’s resources and were encouraged to return to the library throughout the writing process. The workday exposed students to a college campus, giving them not only a leg up on their thesis, but also an introduction on how college life will look.

New Faculty at Westminster (Ann Marie Godfrey)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

At the beginning of another school year, new members of the teaching staff are introduced at Westminster. One of the new hires this year is Mrs. Perez. She teaches Spanish to the ninth through twelfth graders. Mrs. Perez was born here in Birmingham and is the oldest of the four kids in her family. She attended Auburn University where she majored in communication disorders (speech therapy) and Spanish. After graduating college she became an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Mexico City, Mexico for two years. It was during her time in Mexico that she met her future husband, and they now have an eleventh-month-old daughter named Sofia. This is Mrs. Perez’s first year teaching, though she has substituted on occasion at Homewood High School. Mrs. Perez’s love for Spanish, and more importantly her desire to aid students in their understanding of the language, are evident in her teaching. Mrs. Perez is a wonderful new addition to the Westminster community, and we are thankful for the passion she has for teaching.

Being a Light (Rachel Faulk)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

New Orleans. A city famous for its food, music, and culture. Yet also a place where darkness is evident. Walking through the French Quarter in the heat of late June, my friends and I were appalled when we spotted children’s books featuring a voodoo doll as the protagonist. The street performers and artists were captivating, but one could not ignore the number of homeless people along the streets.

This summer my high school church choir volunteered to work in neighborhoods around New Orleans, picking up trash, prayer-walking, and ministering to local kids. Even over ten years later, the scars of Hurricane Katrina are still visible. Some houses still stand empty and abandoned; others bear the spray-painted mark indicating they were searched by patrols after the disaster. New Orleans is still a place of brokenness.

Standing on the steps of Washington Artillery Park, the sun blazing down on our faces, our student choir sang the gospel to New Orleans. Some people walked right by. Others stopped to listen. People passing in cars rolled down their windows. Some spectators on the street videoed a song or two on their phones—and took the message home with them. As uncomfortable as we were in the sweltering humidity, joy bloomed in sharing the good news of Jesus with people who may never have heard it before.

As Christians we are called to be lights breaking through the darkness of our world; we can spread that light right where we are. The joy of bringing healing light to a place of brokenness is a fulfillment found no other way.

End-of-Summer Pass Out (Will Green)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Since school let out in May, I kept telling myself I wanted to end summer on an exciting note. I wanted to do something I had never done before. However, the days flew by, and after a long and very normal summer, I found myself at a friend’s house downtown on my last summer night — a fun party, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Suddenly, I noticed that I was truly not feeling well. It was one of those moments when you can just tell you are about to throw up. I distanced myself from my friends in order not to gross them out when I hurled. Just a few minutes later, I am passed out on the grass facing up at the night stars. Even though my friends saw me lying down, they simply thought I was stargazing. I was not.

You know that feeling you get when your foot falls asleep? Well, to get an idea of my condition, multiply by ten and apply to the whole body. I began to hyperventilate and was going downhill fast when my friends finally came to check on me. Realizing that I was not actually stargazing and in fact needed help, they called 911.

After being hoisted into the ambulance, I started to think about my summer goal to do something I had never done before. This was not what I had in mind. Plus, my ride in the ambulance was not nearly as fun as I had always imagined it would be. I learned that I had had a panic attack, no doubt because junior year was just one day away.

Isn’t that just like school? Sends a man to the Emergency Room before the very first day of classes.

Movie Review: Steve Jobs (John Lusk)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

The movie Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle) provides an interesting view into one of the tech industry’s most influential innovators. Instead of focusing purely on Jobs’s success in the tech industry as CEO of Apple, Boyle tries to paint him as a real person instead of just a legendary inventor. To do this, it takes an interesting approach by only showing Jobs at the product launches of the original Mac, the NeXT computer, and the iMac.

Modern movies are dominated by CGI and green screens, but Steve Jobs takes a break from all that. Instead, this movie is all about conversations. The movie is full of intense dialogue between Jobs and his employees, friends, and family. It brings out the humanity in a man that many associate only with computers, iPods, and iPhones. Watching the movie gives you a glimpse inside Jobs’s true gift: his ability to force the best performance out of his people.

Most people will probably come away from the movie disenchanted with Jobs as a person. This movie shows just how stressful of an environment Jobs created by his demands. It also shows the dark side of business: how the pursuit of success can isolate one from friends and even make those same friends enemies. Jobs’s family life was a wreck and he was often brushing off his closest friends and ignoring the pleas of his employees.

In the end, the movie captures why he was so successful. In his own words, Jobs “plays the orchestra.” Anyone who wishes to find out more about the man who put the iPhone in their pocket would be entertained by this movie.

Note: This movie’s R-rating for language. 

H2O Intolerant? (Camilla Lemons)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

As expected, the first few months of the new year have been filled with talk of recipes and fitness tips for a healthy lifestyle. This year many health nuts like myself have downloaded the “Plant Nanny” on their phones and tablets. This app encourages people to stay hydrated by growing various kinds of virtual foilage. I find it fun and actually very helpful for maintaining proper hydration through the grueling spring track season.

When the app is downloaded, users enter their weight and activity level. The app then calculates the necessary amount of water they should drink in a day. Every time they drink water, they get to water a plant the same amount. Too little or too much, and the plant starts to wither and die.

This app is better for certain personalities than others. Some people download and delete it after a few days. Others, however, find that the app motivates them to drink more water. Nevertheless, everyone who downloads and uses it for a day realizes how much water is necessary to stay completely hydrated. Everyone should consider trying out this app, not just athletes. Studies show that staying fully hydrated is critical for everyone, regardless of how often they participate in exercise.

So let’s get growing.

Thus Always to Traitors (Lauren Hoaglund)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

This is the story of a betrayal so infamous, so diabolical, so preposterous, it is sure to live on through all generations. At least in my family. If you shudder at the thought of such monstrous treachery, turn back now and scroll down to read an article about a movie review or the recent senior thesis presentations. But if your heart longs to know the struggles of a poor, crippled, middle child trying to escape the grasps of her jealous and spiteful cousins and sisters, read on. You’ve been warned.

Every year my family and I go to Crested Butte, Colorado for a ski trip with our three cousins, aunt, and grandparents. And every year we have two slopes that all six grandchildren treat as race courses. At the end of the week long trip, we tally up our points from our daily competitions and declare the winner for that year.

As some of you may know, I injured my knee last year and had surgery to fix it this past May, which I had assumed would essentially destroy my hopes of winning so much as a single race. So as I went down the first course, knee brace and all, I had very low expectations. Against all odds, I dominated. And not just once. Every day on every slope, I was placing first and sending my cousins and sisters into a jealous rage.

Later in the week we were competing in a relay race in which my team was, of course, winning routinely.  As we neared the last race of the day, I suspected mischief from my competitors and thus sought the help of fellow teammates to keep me safe from malevolent family members. Unbeknownst to me, one of my teammates, my cousin John Pender (yes, that’s two first names, never a good sign), had allied himself with my sister Maddie and other cousin Jacob, who had long been envious of my winning streak. As we stood on the line, I gave John Pender who was on my left a confident head nod, thinking he had my back. Then as Maddie finally reached the end of her count down, I plunged my ski poles into the snow to propel myself forward.

As I did so, Jacob and John Pender unbuckled my skis, causing me to launch myself face first into the snow. I scrambled on the ground, wildly grabbing for my enemies’ ski, but to no avail. They were down the hill, and I was cleaning up the yardsale. My flawless winning record was ruined. I marched back to the start, reattached my skis, and began plotting my revenge.

As we got to the top of the next hill, my cousins and sisters still chuckled at their dastardly behavior. I smiled innocently, appearing to go along with the joke. Then quietly and quickly, I unclipped the left ski from John Pender’s boot, scooped it up, tucked it under my arm, and proceeded to ski down the mountain, throwing it into a nearby snowbank at the bottom.

It would be nearly impossible to describe the sublime pleasure of watching my wicked cousin wabble, swoop, and fall in a repeating pattern of clumsiness all the way down the slope.

Ah well. . . thus always to traitors.

Thinking Ahead: Facing the Pressure of College Choices (Pierce Moffett)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

As soon as a student takes the PSAT in tenth grade, he or she quickly becomes bombarded with different colleges attempting to get in touch with them. Everyday brings another barrage of emails, some worth reading through, many to be deleted and quickly forgotten. This adds another layer of stress to the already heavy workload that a high school student carries. The stress only increases when family members ask about one’s future.

Family holidays and vacations, at least for me, are filled with people constantly asking where I want to go to college and what I want to do with my life. This only increases my anxiety because the answer is always “I don’t know.”

Despite the amount of stress that thinking of the future brings, it can be very fruitful to start early. If you begin to get a grasp of what you might want to pursue in college earlier in your high school career, then it will bring less stress further down the road.

In fact, I just recently had the opportunity to talk with a personality counselor about some future careers I might want to pursue. That proved to be immensely helpful. Not only do I now have some ideas of what I want to do in the future, but thinking of a career can help narrow down my college options.

And now that I have slightly more confidence in the direction I might take, that barrage of emails suddenly does not seem quite so intimidating.