Monthly Archives: October 2017

Created to Learn (Sam Howerton)

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In England there is a boarding school where it is completely optional to attend classes. It’s called Summerhill, and according to the Telegraph, it is “the most progressive school on the planet.” I know what you may be thinking: “Wow, I’d love to go to that school!” Or maybe you’re thinking, “I would never go to class!” In fact, you might be surprised at how well Summerhill’s approach actually worked.

After several weeks, the students began to attend class. Why? It is simple: they wanted to learn. We can all relate to this in a way. Usually when summer break is nearing its end, we begin to look forward to school starting again – even if we won’t always admit it.

The desire to learn is brought about by boredom or the lack of brain stimulation. Research suggests that the human response to boredom is to do or learn something new. So naturally, boredom provokes the need to engage the mind in some sort of activity, and school is a great way to accomplish that.

Our desire to learn is natural; God created us as learners. Proverbs 1:5 says, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”  So if you find yourself ever wanting to go to school, you aren’t weird. You’re normal! God created us to be curious beings who want to learn.

Un été passé en France (Camilla Lemons)

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When people hear that I spent part of my summer in France, their initial reaction is to ask why I went and what I did while I was there. However, I have found this question really difficult to answer due to the one-of-a-kind experience I had. Rather than vacationing in France or going on a mission trip, I attended the Fixed Point Institute for Applied Apologetics, which is a ten day conference for high school seniors and college students. At the Institute, Larry Taunton, acclaimed author and founder of Fixed Point Foundation, equips students to articulate their faith in an increasingly secular culture by teaching them what it means to think like a Christian.

While this is a topic that is often discussed on a theoretical level in Christian communities such as Westminster, the Institute focuses on the practical application of what it means to seek first the kingdom of God in one’s vocation. Students hear from faculty members–which included everything from a professional South African rugby player and an Islamic polemicist–on how they are living out their faith in the lifestyle to which God has called them.

The Institute is located in France for good reason: first, because issues such as the rise of Islam feel much more real there than in the mountains of North Carolina; and second, the goal is for students to enjoy a short retreat from their familiar world in order to engage it more thoughtfully and effectively upon returning. However, this conference is set apart from typical Christian camps by its focus on engaging fundamental Christian truths rather than eliciting an emotional response from its participants. Overall, the Fixed Point Institute is a fruitful experience where students grow personally, academically, and spiritually while on an incredible trip to France.

A Good Start (Rachel Faulk)

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The sun had just edged over the horizon on an early September Saturday when I embarked on the one-and-a-half-hour drive from Birmingham to Moulton. All along I-65 the trees were just starting to turn yellow as fall set in. It was officially cross country season.

Crisp air greeted the team as we arrived at our first cross country meet of the year: Chickasaw Trails. As a senior, I have run the course numerous times, but for many of our younger runners, it would be their first time on the course—for some their first race ever.

It was a beautiful day for a race. Despite the absence of several members of the varsity team who were taking the ACT, everyone ran their best. For some, that meant a first or second place finish (Hallie Porterfield and Hunter Wright); for others, the top 30; still others, simply finishing the race or running the whole way. It was not about getting a certain time or place; there was no pressure for anyone. It was just about having fun and getting to compete. And even if running isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, it’s still great to enjoy the joys of being part of a team and working hard to cross the finish line knowing you did your best.

An unexpected bright spot for the day came when the middle school girls’ team placed third out of twenty-eight teams bringing home their first trophy of the year.

Prospects are bright for this year’s cross country team, which will hopefully foster a love for the sport in younger runners to keep the tradition going for years to come.

Floyd Mayweather: Out of Retirement to the Pinnacle of a Career (John Richardson)

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Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. has enjoyed the most successful boxing career ever. He is the wealthiest boxer ever to have lived, reaching an astounding net worth over one billion dollars. Mayweather had a long and prosperous pro boxing career, achieving a total of fifty wins and zero losses. This was done through five different weight classes against multiple world champions.  Mayweather ultimately finished his career in an unusual fashion. He came out of retirement to fight the former UFC champion Connor McGregor. This final fight went for 10 rounds and ended in the TKO of the young UFC champion. The fight generated hundreds of millions of dollars and sent a boxing legend into a final retirement. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has raised the bar of what a professional boxer can achieve, and many fighters will look up to him for generations.

Autumn Longing (Harriette Adam)

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She sits outside in the blazing hot sun until a cloud shields her for a moment to let her have shade.  A cold finger touches her spine, a soft cool breeze. The breeze sends a chill through her body. She takes a quick breath in to smell the air. Fall. The summer rain storms roll in, dragging the cool air into the atmosphere. The trees shed their crunchy leaves, which softly dance in the wind, landing on her path of red, orange, yellow, and brown. She brings out her boots, scarves, sweaters, and other fall trends.

She gazes upon the little monsters, mystical creatures, and fictional characters, who race freely around the streets going door-to-door giddily shouting, “Trick-or-treat!” They fill their mouths and plastic pumpkins with the sweet loot they have received and scamper along to the next house.

As time passes and the density of the forest thins, the haunting ghosts, evil decor, and stringy cobwebs are replaced with plump turkeys, rosy-cheeked pilgrims, and Native Americans with crops in hand. She gathers around the table with her large, loud family enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving meal. She laughs and talks for hours of past stories with them.

Yet she is in a daze as her eyes catch a glimpse of the glowing golden leaves falling away from the leafy giant. She knows autumn must come to an end soon. She will have to wait another year.

Dangers of a Second Amendment Culture (Anna Bader)

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The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” There has been a lot of debate concerning the pros and cons of this particular amendment. Some would argue that the right to carry firearms gives a sense of safety and security and decreases crime and the chance of a criminal attack. Some studies support this theory. One study found that criminals retreat 55% percent of the time when people draw their guns in self-defense (connectusfund.org).

Others argue that the Second Amendment leaves people feeling ill at ease instead of safe. They think it increases crime and the potential for gun-related incidents. The same study mentioned above found that a gun-carrying person is 4.5 times more likely to get shot during a criminal attack (connectusfund.org).

Moreover, the fact that many citizens of the U.S. are likely to carry a firearm has increased fears of a senseless shooting during routine traffic stops. This can be especially dangerous to foreigners unfamiliar with America’s gun culture. For instance, on July 15, 2017, 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk from Australia was shot by a police officer one month before her wedding. Ruszczyk had called the police because she felt threatened by a stranger and ran towards the sheriff’s vehicle hoping to receive help. The police officer, fearing an attack, shot the young woman in what he believed to be self-defense. Many felt that her death could have been avoided had the Constitution prohibited the private use of firearms and therefore limited the fear of hidden firearms and senseless shootings.

Solar Eclipse (Evelyn Godfrey)

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The car crept quietly along the faded, yellow lines under towering trees. Houses were nestled low in the valleys covered by the shadows of the vast mountains. My sister, my dad, and I searched the road for the wandering eyes looking towards the sky. I lifted my eyes to a bright sky that grew darker by the minute. An hour passed, but the light from the sun was still illuminating the world. Then a shadow started to sweep through the field, covering everything it touched. The sky swirled with ribbons of colors and shimmered with distant worlds. The aroma of musky air settled into my nose. Confused creatures of the night were unexpectedly awakened by the darkness. I stood in awe for the small time I had, intently looking at a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon that only a few would experience: a midnight moon in the middle of the day. A blinding flash pierced through the sky, and a ray of diamonds broke through the dark. Eventually, the heat of the sun returned in full strength. It was over as quickly as it had begun. We smiled as we walked away from this natural wonder in the sky.

Drama: The Good Kind (Ethan Ellerbusch)

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Have you ever wanted to act on stage? Are you interested in participating in school plays and musicals? If you said yes to any of these questions, then our school’s Drama Club is perfect for you.

Drama Club, a program run by Mrs. Eubanks, is an excellent choice for novices, amateurs, and professionals alike. For novices, Drama Club is a perfect place to learn the ropes of acting, and you will practice several beneficial acting exercises along the way. Amateurs will not only discover new tricks, but will also have the chance to participate in the annual Trumbauer theatre festival. For experts, there are several leadership opportunities available, and it is a great stepping stone for those bound for the arts department in college. There are even opportunities to help out behind the scenes. There are options for literally everyone–regardless of grade, experience, or interest.

As for me, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it at first. My parents had taken me to several Broadway performances, and I enjoyed them. My sister was a member of the Red Mountain Theater Company Conservatory, a well known theatre conservatory in Alabama. When I went to her shows, I saw other guys my age performing on stage. This got me interested. The next spring I tried out for the fall musical Cinderella, and I received a supporting role. I met new friends and had loads of fun. After this I was eager to sign up for Drama Club.

Still on the fence? Come and see our next performance at Student Stages on Wednesday, November 16. I’m sure you will love it, and it may inspire you to join the Westminster Drama Club one day!