Monthly Archives: April 2015

Westminster Athletics: Glory to God

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Something that sets Westminster apart from other schools is the encouragement from our coaches to be competitive for God’s glory. As someone who has participated in several athletic competitions at Westminster, our competitive spirit is something that I have learned to regard with the utmost respect. With the encouragement and help of my fellow teammates, we all have been able to communicate Westminster’s intentions whenever we enter a stadium, court, or field.

Over the past few years, Westminster athletic programs have grown and prospered. Though all our teams have done exceedingly well in competitions, this does not determined our success on level we should expect. It is how we have reacted after winning or doing well in competition that is truly a testament to our coaches and coaching staff, who have instilled in all of us the love for Christ and consequently for others.

In the beginning stages of any athletic program, it was easy to keep in focus Christ and His work and mission. However, as the program has grown and has found success in a single-minded competitive spirit, some teams may be tempted to drift. But this has not been the case at Westminster.

We are all expected to strive to perform to the best of our abilities for God. Our coaches have never said or expected us to win at all costs, but to perform our best and keep our eyes on Christ. As the teenagers that we are, we have all felt disappointment and even anger when we do not perform well in a sport or activity. We find it easy to look at those who have won and consider their celebration as conceit. Luckily, we have our coaches to bring us back down to earth and to tell us that we give glory solely to the One who gave us these talents.

Over time I have witnessed Westminster students taking it upon themselves to congratulate others immediately after a win or loss. This accountability that has been instilled in us by our coaches is a unique and powerful attribute. I attribute a lot of who I am as an athlete and a person to my coaches at Westminster, and I know that my fellow classmates and I look up to the upper classmen who have been shaped by the coaches as well. With the help of our coaches, we hope to join them in carrying on a legacy of students who give glory to God and treat others with the respect and love of Christ.

By Lauren Hoaglund, Class of 2018

How To Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

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Imagine this: every news channel is discussing the scenes of panic you see on the screen. It is like a horror film. Everyone has seen the movies, but few thought it would actually happen. The zombie apocalypse has begun.

First things first: if you are in the city, move. Heavily populated areas are a danger because if there are more people, then there is a better chance of falling victim to the disease.

After escaping the danger zone, you need to find a place to take shelter. There are four basic needs for human survival: food, water, shelter, and security. When finding shelter, you should ask the following questions: “Do I have access to food? What about water? Is this the type of place where I want to stay or is this temporary? Does it give me protection from the elements? Do I have a safe way to protect myself if needed?”

You should not think about the delicacies but what gives you enough to survive. If you are a vegetarian, find a place near edible berries, vegetation, or nuts. Look for anything edible, though you should pay special attention to the animals in the area as well. If there are animals around, then there is a close water source.

If you are trying to fulfill your carnivorous needs, it may involve getting your hands a little dirty with some hunting.

Once you find a place that meets all of the criteria, you need to find accessible water. Streams are the ideal water source when there is no tap water. It does not move as fast as a river, and it is not stagnant, attracting bacteria and insects. However, you cannot drink a lot of water straight from the stream because it could lead to disease. Make sure you have some way to boil the water to cleanse it or you have a pre-made water cleaning kit.

If you have easily attainable food and water, you may consider staying in the area at least for a while. If you do decide to move on after a short while, always stock up on enough food and water because you do not know when you will find more. However, do not take too much because it could weigh you down or spoil before you can consume it all.

Now, you need to find some way to build protection against the elements. If you are not too far into a rural area, you will most likely be able to find an abandoned house. However, take precaution because where there once were people there might be zombies. Not every abandoned home is truly abandoned.

Next, you need to consider how you are going to secure yourself. This part of survival could be the most difficult at times. If you are someone who is totally against violence and you do not want to infringe on the rights of Zombie-Americans, then you might be in some trouble. Yes, you can find ways of protecting yourself without directly harming anything, but it is more difficult.

Pacifist or not, should build some type of barricade that will make it harder for any unwanted visitors to reach you. There are many different ways for a more aggressive means of protection. Weapons can assist in hunting or fighting the undead.

By Mackie Benson, Class of 2017

Art Club Pairs Students with Local Artists

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Over the past few years, Westminster’s art program has been growing; and this semester it is growing even further as the school has started an art club. The club meets on a weekly basis with Mrs. Price presiding. During the meetings members create art, which is based on a charge given by local artists. This charge serves as inspiration for the club members.

The first local artist is Gina Hurry, founder and co-director of InSpero. InSpero is an organization that supports the art community in Birmingham. The intent of having a local artist come to the meetings is so they will be able to show their artwork and share about the ways they are able to glorify God through art. Mrs. Hurry’s charge for the first project is “Dreams of Heaven.”

The club is open to anyone who is interested in art. Supplies will be provided to members for a small fee. This club provides students with the opportunity to grow in their creativity and artistic skill while glorifying God with their gifts. The ultimate goal of the art club is to enable the already talented artists in our school to grow further in their abilities and to allow them to grow in their knowledge of God, the great Creator, and how to glorify Him through their artwork.

By Hannah Price, Class of 2017

House Competitions: Where Are the Girls?

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The number of girls involved in sports at Westminster is actually quite high. And their teams have also been remarkably successful over the past few years. But when the athletic house competitions come around, hardly anyone volunteers to get involved. The few girls who play, are begged to get involved in order to comply with the one-girl rule. And I believe that is exactly what makes girls hesitant to play.

In all of the Westminster athletic house competitions, only one girl is required to be on the field at a time for each team. While I understand why this rule was put into action, it puts a single girl on the field surrounded by a bunch of boys. She is completely alone and, more often than not, ignored by boys and never receives the ball. Who would play under these embarrassing circumstances?

In order for there to be more community within the school and in athletic competitions, I believe that this rule should change. More girls should be required to participate in every house competition. Fortunately for the houses, there is no shortage of athletic girls at Westminster. Please join me in working to change the one-girl rule and improve the overall house competition experience for the whole student body. Together we can create a better environment for the competitions and create more camaraderie within the student body.

By Abigail Mathis, Class of 2019

Real Change at the Lovelady Center

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The Department of Justice Bureau reports that 30% of all criminals are readmitted within the first six months of their release, and 68% of all criminals are re-admitted within the three years of their release. Released prisoners are only given ten dollars, a white t-shirt, and a bus ticket that carries them back to where they committed their crime. Pretty soon, these former criminals are hanging out in the same environment with the same troublesome friends breaking the same laws.

However, the responsibility of helping these ex-convicts does not belong to prisons because it is not beneficial for people to be rehabilitated emotionally, mentally, and physically in a place that reminds them of how worthless they feel. Change should be driven by Christian teachings so that ex-convicts will not only learn skills, but gain a new view on life. There are halfway houses, but these only provide food and shelter, not hope. And many of them are dangerous. Where can ex-convicts get the kind of spiritual help they need to truly change their lives and avoid falling back into old habits?

One place that offers some hope is Lovelady Center. This name to some people might mean a thrift store, but it is really a rehabilitation center for women who have been incarcerated. Since it is a Christian based organization, it focuses on education and more importantly helping women heal from hurt and build a true relationship with God.

Brenda Spahn, the founder of the Lovelady Center, began with seven ex-convicts living in her home, and she started with the view that they were all cruel and heartless. However, she soon found that they were the product of deeper problems. She found that many of them were born into broken homes with drug-addicts as parents and had experienced every kind of abuse during their childhood. Brenda is now determined to show each of these ladies the love that they were never shown as a child or in their adult years which is the love of Christ.

That is the difference between halfway houses or other non-Christian rehabilitation centers and the Lovelady Center. One fails to remove the women from the violent, degrading environment while the latter takes the women out of their comfort zones and into a renewed state of mind. For this reason, Christians who are called by God to serve formerly incarcerated people should help uplift them like the administrators at the Lovelady Center have done in order to end the destructive cycle of crime and poverty.

By DeAnna Lockett, Class of 2017

Bentley: Alabama Improving, but Higher Taxes Needed

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On March 3, 2015 Governor Robert Bentley presented his annual State of the State speech to the Alabama legislature. The Governor opened his speech with an encouragement about the improvements Alabama has made concerning the unemployment rate. While emphasizing that the unemployment rate is the lowest since 2008, Governor Bentley also challenged Alabamians to continue to compete for jobs and strengthen the state economy. He clearly stated his intentions to pass legislation which promotes increasing the industry within the state.

In addition to the issue of unemployment, the governor also touched on education. According to the address, the pre-K program of Alabama is one of five similar programs in the country to meet the acceptable standards. However, only twelve percent of four year olds have access to the program itself. Governor Bentley stressed the fact that he will attempt to include every child in the program to promote the education for the future generations of Alabama.

The speech continued to the topic of healthcare. Instead of following the federal acts concerning healthcare, Governor Bentley desires to make affordable health care available to all of Alabama, which is specific to the necessities of the state.

After tending to a few more issues of the state, Governor Bentley proposed that Alabama raise taxes. In an apologetic tone, he explained that the state is in a lot of debt. Liberating the state from this debt would boost the economy and truly pave the way for posterity.

By Maddie Hoaglund, Class of 2017

Senior Thesis: A Student’s Perspective

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Westminster seniors typically have a lot on their plates. On top of normal course work, most balance athletics and other extracurriculars with filling out multiple college applications–to say nothing of hanging out with friends and family.

But come third quarter, all of it begins to fade. And until midnight February 24, the one thing that dominates our minds and monopolizes our time is the Senior Thesis.

The Senior Thesis is the capstone of a Westminster education. On the first day of the year, each senior is tasked with producing a twelve to fifteen page paper in which he or she must defend a position. On top of that, each senior must deliver an eight to ten minute oral version of that paper to part or all of student body. Afterwards, they must field questions from teachers and students, some of which can be quite challenging.

The twenty-six members of the class of 2015 have covered all kinds of topics this year, each becoming something of an expert in his or her field. Topics range anywhere from heart disease to the fall of the Roman Empire, but the purpose of the assignment is not merely to learn about something new. It is to “equip [us] with wisdom and eloquence.” And no task pushes us to grow in these virtues more than the senior thesis. It’s a heck of a lot of work, but we are all better thinkers for having done it.

By Carter Lemons, Class of 2015