All posts by Herald Editor

Jonathan Mallard – Narrative

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September 6, 2012

The bright sun gleamed down on the golden dome of the capitol building as I stared out the window at the approaching city of Atlanta. On our return from visiting grandparents, my parents had decided to try to catch a midday Atlanta Braves baseball game–something I had been anticipating for many years. Because of this, my excitement for the event soared above all other things at the time as my mind was jammed with endless amounts of thoughts regarding what I was about to experience.

Upon our arrival the monstrous stadium towered above while the cacophony of the crowd could be heard from the parking lot in which we had parked— which was much louder than I had suspected. At the ticket box, a cashier cheerfully greeted us and gave us a brightly colored seating chart asking which seats appeared most appealing. Unfortunately, the general area along each side of the field was already jammed full of fans; the only seats left were either only affordable for a millionaire or a mile high in the upper decks in the un-shaded outfield. The cashier quickly scanned her computer for four remaining seats in the section of our choice and gave us a deal on the last four seats on that side of the stadium–what fantastic luck! Upon entering and gazing in amazement and awe of the incredible size of the stadium, I stared out from the back of the center field stands onto the radiantly colored field mowed into a pattern of light and dark greens. A curt, sudden crack caught my attention as I glanced up to see a baseball lined into leftfield–a base hit. Two figures in pale grey uniforms with bright red inscriptions on them raced around the bases in the light brown infield towards home plate. The throw rocketed in from leftfield, and the homeplate umpire waved his arms in a very animated fashion to signify both runners were safe. I squinted and peered across the field trying to read the jerseys of the players to identify the scoring team as high-fives erupted in the dugout when the players descended into it. Suddenly, it hit me that the megatron-scoreboard was standing adjacent to me; so, I checked the score. Unfortunately, the St. Louis Cardinals, the opposing team, had scored and taken a 2-0 lead. After this we ambled along the walkways marveling at the enormity of the stadium and finally found our seats. The seats seemed to be perfect as they resided directly under the second deck so that it provided shade. The distance behind home plate was not too far and, because our seats were in the back of the stadium located closely to the main walkway around the field, a cool, refreshing breeze funneled around the stadium to provide a pleasant environment, helping to make more of an enjoyable experience

As the game progressed, in the seventh inning, as a remembrance of Memorial Day, a family came onto the foul ground in rightfield and, as it turned out, the father was away in the Middle East in the military. Then, a video was shown on the megatron out in centerfield of the father giving his family a message. After he had told of how he missed them and how he wished he could be at the game with them, he paused, and then with a great, broad smile stated, “I hope that y’all can see me soon–in fact look to your right.” Saying this, he disappeared from the screen. Naturally, the family turned to their right. To their most utter surprise, there, swiftly running down the rightfield line, was none other but their father. With gaping mouths they all ran, streaming tears of joy and yelling in sheer delight, to embrace their father for the first time in a seemingly long time. He heaved up two of the children in each arm kissing them and demonstrating his deep, paternal love for them, while applause erupted from the crowd. After this brief yet emotional moment, the group cheerfully exited the field to take their seats, now, a complete family. Eventually, the Game ended (the Braves lost), but I regardlessly had enjoyed the experience that I had a looked forward to so greatly, which has given me something that I will always be able to recall with a smile.

Ecclesiastes – Patrick McGucken

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Patrick McGucken

Mr. Herring

Hermeneutics 10B

February 1, 2013

Ecclesiastes

In the movie The Green Mile, Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks) plays a security guard for death row inmates. Paul has the monotonous job of leading inmates to their death. He then encounters a prisoner like never before, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). John Coffey is an angel, who can sense evil in the world. This movie shares some of the same themes from Ecclesiastes. The Green Mile includes many acts of evil, John Coffey’s death being the most important. Coffey can see the evils of the world, and tries to right them. In the end all is vanity because Coffey could not change anything, and is probably forgotten after a couple of months. The Green Mile shows the world like Ecclesiastes does. In Ecclesiastes, there are many different messages that can be summed up in one phrase. It does not matter what you do, because in the end you will be forgotten, so make the most out of your life. This message can be taken out of context to mean drink as much as possible and have equal amounts of pleasure. However this is not what the verse means; it simply means that people should try to enjoy their lives. The purpose of Ecclesiastes is to encourage people to fear God. It may not seem like it, but the author uses depressing terms to show the one meaningful thing in the world, fearing God. Although it is hard to see at first, Ecclesiastes contains good news. Throughout this paper the term “good news” will refer to any information that gives hope to the readers.

Ecclesiastes was written during the time of Solomon. The book begins with the quester telling the readers that nothing matters. He then shows many examples of ways things do not matter, and tries to interpret the meaning of life. In the end, he discusses how the people need to fear God.  There are many messages that are prominent in Ecclesiastes. One of the key messages is that life is smoke. “Smoke, nothing but smoke. There’s nothing to anything-its all smoke,” (Message pg. 1). The term smoke does not simply mean the thick gas that flows from fire. Smoke in this case refers to something being meaningless. Another theme is that there is nothing new. In Ecclesiastes, it talks about how there is nothing new under the sun. He also includes that nothing changes, and that everything is boring, (Message pg. 1). The final prominent message in Ecclesiastes is that with knowledge comes suffering. “Much learning earns you much trouble. The more you know, the more you hurt,” (Message pg. 2). This verse shows the author’s negative view on knowledge. He continues the thought, and says that people who die young are lucky because they do not know much. This is because not all knowledge is beneficial to everyone.  Overall, there are many prominent themes in Ecclesiastes.

Furthermore, the purpose of Ecclesiastes is to encourage everyone to fear God. The author accomplishes this by showing how terrible the world really is, and how anything a person does is forgotten. That is except fearing God. The author writes in the final chapter that the only purpose to life is to fear God. “The last and final word is this: Fear God,” (Message pg. 16). The quester makes it quite clear that there is only one thing important to do on earth. Although the author encourages the people to live life to the fullest, he acknowledges that it will not matter in the end.  The author writes that the world is terrible and meaningless, to show what is really meaningful.

Finally, there is good news in Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes although depressing, shows some sign of hope for the future. Many believers look forward to being brought home to Heaven. Ecclesiastes shows this in many occasions. “And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil,” (Message pg. 16). Although this does not sound pleasant, it means when people die they will be with God. Even though God will judge them, they will spend the rest of eternity in Heaven with God. Another glimpse of hope is that God made people out of love, (Message pg. 10). This is important because earlier when the author mentioned God it was not so caring. He described God as someone just waiting to punish everyone for his or her sins. This verse however shows that God has a special connection with the people and will remember and care for them. Overall, even though Ecclesiastes is a depressing book, it has a few glimpses of hope for the future.

Bioplastics by Joey Gissendaner

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Joey Gissendaner

Mr. Carrell 10b Chemistry

October 3, 2012

It might be hard to believe that the plastic fork you used at the ball park while watching Auburn beat Louisiana Monroe the other day could have once been corn. In fact one percent of all the synthetic plastics manufactured is bioplastic or corn plastic (HowStuffWorks.com). Bioplastic is defined as “a form of plastic derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch…etc.” (Wikipedia.com) Environmentalists boast that bioplastics are better for the environment because they are biodegradable or compost-able, produce less pollution, and come from a renewable resource. However, all three of these reasons are flawed. The long-term effect of using bioplastic is not a world free from the evil petroleum companies, but the possible end of recycling as we know it and possibly also a lack of farm land used for food.

Firstly, bioplastics are not as biodegradable or as easily composted as is claimed. Companies that manufacture bioplastics say that their products decay similarly to an apple core. However, the truth is that it takes hot, moist temperatures like in commercial composting plants to make the plastic decay properly (HowStuffWorks.com). If bioplastics become prevalent, then gone are the days of the curb-side recycling. If even a few bioplastic items find their way into a normal plastic recycling batch, the entire batch is contaminated and prevented from being reused, due to the difference in melting points of the two substances (FoxNews.com). It would take major changes in the recycling industry to be able to meet the demand. Recycling plants would need to find ways of either separating the two types of plastics or mixing the two. However, even if one decides to throw the fork or bottle into the compost pile in the backyard or it ends up in a landfill, the plastic will not decay at rate that the companies advertise (Guardian.co.uk).

And bioplastics do not actually produce less pollution, but a different kind of pollution. When the plastic decays it releases methane, a greenhouse gas (HowStuffWorks.com). Methane has been linked to global warming or climate change. Additionally the manufacturing of the bioplastics produces carbon dioxide (FoxNews.com). According to eco-scientists carbon is the leading cause of climate change.

Finally, even the growth of the crops that make the bioplastics poses problems. According to article posted on Discovery.com by Jessica Marshall, a study by Landis Research Group found that the bioplastics have “higher impacts for eutrophication, eco-toxicity and production of human carcinogens.” In layman’s terms this means rivers polluted by fertilizer, harmful effects of chemicals on an environment, and radiation causing cancer, respectively. They linked these mostly to the crops that produce the bioplastics, specifically the pesticides used in their production.

In conclusion, bioplastics will, in the end, have negative effects. They will bring the end of recycling as we know it, and they will put composting into the hands of scarce commercial composting companies.

Works Cited

“Bioplastic.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. n.d. Web. October 1, 2012.
Lamb, Robert. “What is corn plastic?” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, Inc. n.d. Web. October 1, 2012.
Jewell, Mark. “Green Plastics Find Cautious Market.” Fox News. Fox News Network, LLC. October 2007. Web. October 1, 2012.
Marshall, Jessica. “Bioplastics not so Green.” Discovery News. Discovery Communications, LLC. December 2010. Web. October 1, 2012.
Vidal, John. “’Sustainable bio-plastic can damage the environment.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. April 2008. Web. October 1, 2012. 

The Westminster Drama Club – Ethan Shaw

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Ethan Shaw
Sophomore, Westminster School at Oak Mountain

Westminster’s clubs and other avenues of extracurricular involvement have been a topic of frequent discussion over the past few years. Each year brings new opportunities for students to become involved with all the school has to offer outside of academics. However, last August brought something special and unique to the students of the Upper School. Mr. Riley Kross, an alumnus of Furman University with a degree in English literature, recently joined the Westminster faculty as a humanities teacher. Mr. Kross, in addition to his expertise in the realms of literature and public speaking, possesses a love for drama tempered by substantial experience as a playwright. As a result he has introduced a revitalization of the thespian arts within the Upper School. Since the performance of the musical Annie several years ago, there has not been a significant theatrical endeavor at Westminster. Even so, a good bit of interest has remained among the student body, which has helped to fuel the current attempt to remedy that situation.

Mr. Kross has taken charge of the initiative to create a Westminster drama club much like what has existed in past years, but he has added a few distinctive features. For one, this year’s drama club is characterized by improvisational exercises in the form of games. These are largely based off the format of the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, although many are variations of games from the show or even completely new inventions. Such games allow a student to gain confidence in acting with and in front of one another, and they sharpen the student’s capability of thinking on the spot while portraying a specific character. Additionally, Mr. Kross has introduced playwriting, an area of strong personal experience, to his drama students during the spring semester. He divided the students into groups of two to three and is allowing each group to compose a unique play of roughly ten minutes with the goal to perform later this year. This process is twofold: it incorporates the major elements of literary composition including plot and character development, while it also offers group acting experience to students.

Sophomore Joey Gissendaner, a proud member of the Westminster drama club since its inception, is currently working with two other students on a play that assesses relationships within the acting world itself. The three have created a story detailing an interview between a director and an actor as it unfolds. Gissendaner remarks that playwriting is a lot of fun but still somewhat difficult due to a lack of prior training. Thankfully, the nature of the club is such that all students are encouraged to come and take part regardless of varying levels of experience. He goes on to state, “Drama club lets me connect with kids I would not otherwise connect with in a way that’s lighthearted and fun.” To Gissendaner and many others, drama club both sharpens one’s acting skills as well as provides a means for building relationships with students of similar interests.

Daniel Hughes, also a Westminster sophomore, joined the drama club more recently but has quickly rekindled a passion for acting and is now in regular attendance at the weekly meetings. He relates that acting is a family legacy for him and that it seems theater has always been a part of his life. “I just enjoy acting,” he explains frankly. Hughes stresses that drama club offers him a way “to hang out with friends and have fun.” He especially enjoys being a part of the wide variety of improvisational games available to the students. Among his personal favorites is the question game, in which students rotating in two lines do their best to carry on a conversation by only asking questions of each other. He also enjoys table swap, where four students engage in a dialogue while four personality traits rotate between them. Hughes is also currently a part of a group working on a play titled Poor Shundley. The setting of the play is the office of an arrogant but incapable lawyer who makes a hobby out of harassing his hard-working clerk Mr. Shundley. The storyline centers around a conversation between the lawyer and a spoiled college graduate interviewing for a job at the firm, who likewise sets himself at odds with the meek Mr. Shundley. Hughes, who portrays the abused clerk, explains how he enjoys playing this role. He jokes, “Shundley is a funny character, probably more hard-working than I am!” Despite the differences in character, however, Hughes appreciates how portraying someone unlike oneself can be beneficial and allow a person to explore more fully the dynamics of human emotion. Altogether, Hughes views the playwriting/acting experience as one that is ultimately creative in nature, but he also notes that it is a great way to institute team-building among students.

Apart from just these specific testimonies, the lure of the dramatic experience is one that has captivated mankind since ages past. The Greco-Roman world was marked by an obsession with the spectacle of theater. The great tragic and comedic playwrights of the ancient world were those who best captured on stage fragments of the ever-so-intricate human experience. At a school devoted to a classical curriculum, it is more than appropriate that students have the opportunity to experience one of the cultural phenomena of classical times. Furthermore, drama does much to enrich the world of Christian education. It provides a unique and exciting means of offering vivid portrayal to the wide spectrum of human emotions which have been created by God. Westminster now possesses a direct avenue of contact with this art, perfected over the centuries by giants such as Thespis, Aeschylus, and Shakespeare. It would seem, then, that there can be nothing left to do but take the step of faith out onto the world’s stage.

______________________________________________________________________________

The Westminster drama club meets weekly every Tuesday during lunch in Mr. Kross’s classroom. All Upper School students interested are encouraged to attend. Contact Mr. Riley Kross with any questions. 

The Camera – Katie Brooks Boone

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Katie Brooks Boone
Physics
Mr. Carrell
May 16, 2013

The camera was seen in earliest form as the “camera obscura.” The idea for this “dark chamber” was first recorded by an ancient Chinese philosopher named Mo Ti who discovered that focused images can be created when light passes through a small hole and into a dark area. The inverted image created by this light would translate to a picture. Other ancient philosophers also studied this idea by viewing solar eclipses through a pinhole to create a sharper image of the sun. Eventually, the idea of observing projected images was done in a dark room with a pinhole on the opposite wall, hence the name “camera obscura.”

Around a century later, the camera obscura became a portable drawing device for copying projected image. And in an effort to more permanently preserve these images, many experiments were done with various light exposures to automatically create detailed copies of the projected image. Over time the portable camera became more efficient and it became possible to photograph images with exposure to a light-sensitive material. In 1826 Joseph Nicephore Niepce made the first permanent photograph with a sliding wooden box camera. As time progressed, the method of exposure in portable cameras became much quicker and more accurate. More light-sensitive photographic materials were used to create clear images, and mechanical shutter devices were incorporated to allow shorter and more accurate timed exposures. In the 1920s, the electronic video tube was invented which allowed further development of a projected image. This device converted optical images into electrical signals. And naturally, more efficient models were created and new digital forms of photography quickly replaced the old film-based cameras.

Today camera’s are used every day by millions of people who do not think twice about the number of megapixels in their iphone camera. But the invention of the camera has made an unfathomable impact on the culture we live in. Newspapers, magazines, and books all are heavily supplied with pictures taken by thousands of high-tech cameras that we easily take for granted. Without it, society would lack the ability to preserve beautiful images that will last for a lifetime.

Carter Lemons – The Bad News of Ecclesiastes

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Carter Lemons
January 30, 2013
10A Hermeneutics
Ecclesiastes

According to a study by Emory University, an average of 864,950 people attempt suicide every year. This means that one person attempts suicide every thirty-eight seconds. This alarming statistic shows how many people see life: pointless. They see good people suffering while the wicked thrive, and a plethora of other travesties that exist in the world. The book of Ecclesiastes seems to provide some insight into this grim matter. It conveys that life on earth is absolutely meaningless, that it is all smoke, so people should enjoy all that God has given. However, the purpose of the book is to warn God’s people that, even though they should enjoy themselves, their actions will be judged. For God’s people, there is really no good news.

Ecclesiastes opens with a description of the world. “Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That’s what the Quester says.] There’s nothing to anything- it’s all smoke.”1 The author believes that everything on the earth is useless, and finds that there is nothing new. He goes on to address the fact that life is futile, and everything people do on earth is vanity. The Quester talks about how he built great houses and vineyards and parks but then realized that it was vanity.2 It was smoke. Another message conveyed in Ecclesiastes is that no one will be remembered. The Quester tells a story about a wise man who saved his small village from an attacking king. Despite the victory, the man was forgotten.3 The Quester’s conclusion in regard to all the vanity in the world is that people should just enjoy themselves. At the end of chapter five, the Quester states that the best way to live is to make the most of what God gives. People should have a good time. To quote the author, “That’s the human lot.”4

Given the grim message of Ecclesiastes, it is no surprise that the suicide attempt rate is as high as it is. A life with no higher purpose is hardly worth living. However, there is a purpose to the book. While Ecclesiastes is not meant to depress people, it serves as a warning to them. The final two verses clearly state, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil”5 The Quester warns the people of Israel that, while everything on earth is ultimately vanity, God will hold them accountable for all their actions. Reflecting on his own experience throughout the book, the author hopes to prevent God’s people from making the same mistakes he did.

While the warning was beneficial to Israel, there is really no good news for them in Ecclesiastes. As a matter of fact, it was bad news that God was going judge everyone’s actions. It is impossible to keep the multitude of Jewish laws, so everyone would suffer from God’s judgement. Ecclesiastes is just another reminder to the 864,950 people who attempt suicide and to everyone else of the grim fact that the world is fallen. As a solution, the Quester encourages his readers to enjoy life, but remember God’s coming judgement. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”6

 

Footnotes
1 Ecclesiastes 1:2
2 Ecclesiastes 2:4-6
3 Ecclesiastes 9:13-15
4 Ecclesiastes 5:18b
5 Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
6 Ecclesiastes 12:13

Book Review – “The Year Of Living Biblically” – Julia Wilson

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Humanities
August 20, 2012

​AJ Jacobs attempts to step into the shoes of an Old Testament Jew. He dresses like one, acts like one, and tries his best to follow every rule that God set before the Jews. This quest proves to be quite a struggle and changes his life for an entire year. “A Year of Living Biblically” is an entertaining read but also very enlightening. Though Jacobs is an agnostic before and after he writes the book, Christians can benefit from reading it. Firstly, Jacobs refers to many obscure laws that one may overlook in one’s personal study of the Bible. By watching Jacobs follow the bizarre rules, they become more interesting and easier to learn for the reader. Secondly, Christians can develop a greater appreciation of what Christ did to establish the New Covenant in which those rules are no longer enforced.

​O​One way a Christian can benefit from reading this book is by becoming more familiar with Old Testament rules. For example, if a Jew saw an adulterer, he was commanded to stone him, even in a public place. In one instance, Jacobs tells a man in the park about his quest and some of the rules he is required to follow. Jacobs mentions that he must stone adulterers, and the stranger, an adulterer himself, challenges him. Out of obligation, Jacobs tosses some pebbles at the man, which greatly infuriates him. To a Christian reader, that rule now has a story to accompany it and is much easier to remember. It is important that Christians know the law of the Old Testament, and this book is a great way to be familiarized with it.

​Secondly, a Christian can profit by reading this book by gaining a greater appreciation for the Jews following the Old Covenant but also by being thankful that it no longer applies. It was a huge sacrifice for Jacobs to take the Bible literally, even for just a year. Old Testament Jews lived that way for their whole lives. By seeing what a modern day Old Testament Jew looks like, Christians today should develop a sense of appreciation for the Jews who followed the Old Covenant- it was not an easy lifestyle. Even more, Christians should be grateful for the ultimate sacrifice Christ paid on the cross, establishing the New Covenant which no longer requires sacrifices for sins.

​On the other hand, there are parts of the Old Testament that should be taken more seriously. Honoring the Sabbath is a law that can be easily overlooked. Obviously, Christians no longer treat the Sabbath as Old Testament Jews did, preparing their food the night before and restraining to even pluck a grey hair from their heads. But there are more practical ways Christians can make the Sabbath day restful, such as turning off electronics on Sunday and completing work or homework on Saturday.

​A question that arose in my mind as I read this book was, “Why would God require his people to follow these very particular laws?” Some of the laws seemed to have no spiritual value. However, these laws set apart his people. When outsiders looked at Israel, they noticed they were different. Their strict law-following expresses their love for God. Just the fact that the Jews made sacrifices regularly showed how serious they were about their sin. It also showed the beautiful way God bridged the gap between his sinful people and his holy self. Then he permanently bridged the gap when he sent his Son to be the ultimate and perfect sacrifice. “A Year of Living Biblically” is a great read to learn more about the Old Testament rules and religion. More importantly, it should give Christians a greater appreciation for the sacrifice that Jews made to follow God and the incredible sacrifice Christ made to give us easier access to God.

Joey Gissendaner on the Grand Fete

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An Atypical Prom

The Westminster School at Oak Mountain is, by its very essence, different from all the schools that surround it. Although the first thought that comes to mind may be the unique curriculum offered at the school, it is the culture and personalities of the students that most sets the school apart. As students we seek to exemplify the teachings of Christ in everything we do. We pursue excellence through sports, academics, and art to glorify Him who gave us our talents. We seek to treat other students, especially those younger than us, as we would want to be treated in their situations. And we live by the motto “In the world but not of the world.” It is the last of these that helps explain the utter uniqueness of what we call “the Grand Fete”.

At its core the Grand Fete is the Westminster parallel to Prom for all high school grades. Everyone in attendance dresses their best. There is food, toast to seniors, and of course dancing. But Westminster offers a different approach. Instead of tuxes and long ballroom gowns, party-goers dress in blazers and slacks and shorter, less expensive dresses. For the gentlemen, the costs run anywhere from nothing, wearing a school blazer and khakis, to hundreds of dollars for a new suit. However, anything he buys can easily be repurposed to wear to school or any other function, as is often the case. For the ladies the costs are dramatically lower, especially for the dress. An average prom dress will run anywhere from 100 to 700 dollars. However, the average dress for Fete costs no more than 200 dollars. And as with the suits of the gentlemen, the ladies dresses can be worn again, being that they are simple, practical, and cute.

Although the attire is different, the single most unique aspect of Fete is the dancing. The dancing at Prom can be described as sporadic and carnal, having no form or idea in mind, but simply what feels right to the “dancer”. The mass of party-goers looks more like a chaotic mob of random motion, rather than a group of people dancing. None of this is the case at Fete. For the week before Fete those who will attend the party attend a swing dance class held by one of the teachers. They learn the basic structure of swing and are encouraged to learn more on their own. There are always a few students every year that learn the more complex moves, becoming center pieces of the dance. On the night of Fete after dinner, the dancing begins. The dancing has form and rhythm, purpose and style. The dancers are not mobs of wild beast but structured human beings. The dance is not only pleasing to the eyes but also to the body. Although one is not moving exactly as he wants there is still enough variation in the dancing to make it fun.

Fete is a unique experience not able to be found in other schools. It is just one of the many things that makes Westminster great.

On the Inaugural Season of the Westminster Girls Varsity Basketball Team

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The day before the first Varsity Girls basketball practice, Rebecca Thompson was involved in a serious skateboarding accident that left her with multiple wounds, taking her out of the season before it even began. During Christmas break Anna Caroline Griffith underwent ankle surgery that kept her off the court for the rest of the year. Mackie Benson suffered a concussion that did not allow her to play the last five games of the season. These ladies were injured so seriously that they were not able to play the sport they loved, but there were many other members of our team forced to play despite injuries-Olivia Godfrey, Marianna Hinton, Collins Mills, Makayla McDaniel, and myself. Having the majority of the basketball team injured was tough, but we learned to work together and encourage each other to push through the pain. This season really helped me learn the true meaning of perseverance. In the final quarters of the game when I was exhausted and didn’t think my body could take another step, I was continually impressed by all of my teammates’ hard work. I am extremely proud because they always gave 100% no matter the situation. During this long and physically trying basketball season, I learned the true meaning of hard work, diligence, perseverance, and how to rely on God at all times. I believe that the Varsity Girls team really embodied James 1:12 which states, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” Our team was definitely tested with trials because it was our first year as a Varsity team and all the other teams we played had far more experience. We endured a tough season his year, but we pushed through and hopefully we will be more successful next year!

 Alice Boone

Grand Tour – Katy Blackburn and Sylvia Welch

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Grand Tour

This past March, our senior class travelled to Greece and Italy on the “Grand Tour”. We were given the opportunity to see many picturesque views as well as incredible man-made structures. There were so many sights that took my breath away that I can’t even count them, but there was one place in particular that deeply impacted me. On our last stop, we visited Rome, and we toured the Vatican Museum and then headed to St. Peter’s Basilica. I did not really know what to expect upon entering the basilica.  I had only heard the name and knew many famous Renaissance artists had worked on it. However, when I walked in the doors, any expectations I had were blown away. The celling was higher than any other celling I’d ever seen, with majestic pillars soaring to the top and vibrant colors popping out at me everywhere I looked. I stared at the celling alone for several minutes, admiring all the patterns and detail of the molding that I could hardly believe a human actually created. Then, after looking at the celling, I turned my attention to basically everything else, all the walls and depictions of different scenes on the walls. At first I was in awe of the scenes when I thought they were paintings, but when I found out that the 12-foot pictures were made out of mosaics, I could hardly believe it. Someone individually placed small squares onto the wall to create a beautiful masterpiece? It was simply incredible, and I only wish I could have been there to watch the process of creation. I think what really impacted me about St. Peter’s Basilica was the fact that it was so magnificent and on such a large scale, but at the same time it was full of detail and on a small scale as well. It was such an amazing experience, and it is definitely one that I will never forget.

-Katy Blackburn and Sylvia Welch