Christmas Trees Aren’t The Only Way To Decorate

by Jeremy Britton

Most everybody who decorates for Christmas starts with the tree—that’s the big centerpiece of most households during the season. But there are many different ways to decorate for Christmas. The tree is the most obvious thing to decorate. What are some of the other things people here at Pittsford High School do to decorate the house, inside and out?

One way to decorate through the blow-up decorations that people put outside (or inside) of their house. “I have some inflatables of Olaf and Elsa. We also have a train and Mickey Mouse, and we also put a star on the barn and a light that has snowmen and snowflakes that go in circles,” says Mrs. Monahan.

Senior Wyatt Fish has a regular light show in his house. “We put up a little lamp on the inside on the top of a stand, or sometimes we hang it from the ceiling and it shoots crazy lights that are all sorts of different colors. The pattern of the lights are never the same, so it’s really confusing. And to be honest it hurts your eyes,” complains Wyatt.

Freshman Robert Pitzen decorates a winter staple—a snowman. “We have to put a very large snowman in our front yard and put a lot of lights on the outside of it so it outlines it a night. Because we live so far off the road we have to do this so the people can see it and show that we just don’t do anything,” explains Robert.

Some people have some very unorthodox ways of decorating, such as not doing any of the decorating inside. “We put everything on the outside of my house because my mom does not like the clutter in the house, and the mess that all the kids and grandkids will make, so we do it on the enclosed front porch,” explains Jon Killman. Trevor Stockford thinks similarly, saying “The only thing that I decorate is my front porch. I put up some lights and a stupid Santa that has lights on it. And my mom does the whole Christmas tree because she is a perfectionist,” said Trevor.

New teacher Mr. Seiser recalls how his mom used to decorate.”When I was younger we lived in a very large, almost Victorian, house that my mom went all-out on in the inside with way more than just a tree and lights. And with my mom being an OCD freak, everything was always very clean and in order,” remembers Mr. Seiser.

There’s really no wrong way to decorate, as long as you’re sharing that holiday joy and festiveness!

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JV Girls Basketball Bounces Back Against Hillsdale Academy

by Jaidyn Hinkley

After a devastating loss to the Hudson Tigers last Tuesday the girls JV basketball team was ready to come out and dominate in their second game. And that’s just what they did, beating the Hillsdale Academy Colts 43-12.

The girls came out to a slow start, falling behind the Colts right away, but they were able to pick it up only minutes later. After the Lady Wildcats started outscoring the Colts about four minutes into the first quarter, they never got behind again.

The first half of the game was a little rough shooting-wise for the Wildcats. They couldn’t seem to make many outside shots, but luckily layups were going in just fine for them. Their defense was also a little on the slow side, there wasn’t much aggression. All things considered, though, the girls weren’t doing too bad as the scoreboard seemed to prove.

Once the girls came back out from halftime they once again played harder and more aggressive. After the first half the girls were causing lots of turnovers on the Colts, as they were finally being aggressive enough to destroy their offense. They were also making quite a few more shots and making some great passes.

Overall the first home game for the Lady Wildcats was pretty good. It was also a great recovery from their game against the Hudson Tigers. “I think we played well as a team and we worked very hard the whole game,” said sophomore Kara Hughes. Freshman Haylee Miller also thought the game went well, but she still thinks they could have done better. “The game went okay. It was better than the last game. We took a lot more shots, had better takes, and executed more plays,” expressed Haylee. Like Haylee said they still didn’t play as well as they could have, but they’re on the right track.

Look for some more improvement Friday as the ladies travel to Camden-Frontier to take on the rival Redskins.

Varsity Girls Basketball Steamrolls JCS

by Jordyn Cole

After a turnover filled game against Hudson, the Wildcats came into this game wanting to clean up their offense. Eighty points later, it looks like they did that, as they smoked Jackson Christian 80-29 last Friday night.

Despite the big win, there were still problems. There was some foul trouble that led to reduced playing time for majority of the starters. “I’m really proud of the non-starting players because if they weren’t ready to play we would have lost, because Syd and I were in foul trouble the whole night,” said senior Marissa Shaw. Sydni Brunette, Marissa, Kennedy Chesney and Ali Toner all finished the night with four fouls. “We definitely need to work on fouling less, that was a big problem in our game Friday,” reported Sydni. One of the causes of our foul trouble was the defense.

The ability of the ladies to get out, use their athleticism and run made a big difference on offense. “The majority of our points came from fast breaks for sure. They pressed us the whole game so when we got it down the court, most of the time it was a layup,” said Ali. Junior Abby Pidd thought sharing the ball increased the scoring opportunities. “Although we didn’t run that much offense, we moved the ball a lot better and meshed as a team better,” feels Abby.

Leading the Wildcats in scoring was Kennedy and senior Hannah Patterson with 16 points each, followed by Brunette with 11.

Come out to Pittsford territory tonight (12/5) to watch the Wildcats first home game against Hillsdale Academy.

Students And Staff Share Favorite Ornaments

by Jordyn Cole

The houses are getting decorated and the Christmas trees put up! An underrated part of the Christmas tree, however, are the ornaments—be they meaningful or just play silly/tacky. Most people have that one ornament that is most special to them.

Some people like homemade gifts from their family, like Mr. Irelan. “My favorite ornaments to hang up on my tree are the ones my kids and grandkids made me,” said Mr. Irelan. Mr. Burger has a similarly favorite oranament. “I like to hang up anything made by my kids,” states Mr. Burger.

Others just like to hang up certain ornaments for their beauty. Ronald Stewart IV said “My favorite Christmas ornament to hang up is a beautiful angel because it’s so sparkly and pretty.” Robert Pitzen shares “I like those glass balls with the paint in them, because all the mixed colors make your tree look really pretty.”

Sometimes, people have a favorite ornament from a favorite memory, like Mr. Cushman. “My favorite ornament is a glass pickle ornament that I got on my honeymoon with my wife,” remembers Mr. Cushman. Sometimes you just like being reminded of good memories. “My favorite ornament is a Lions football ornament my dad got me for Christmas one year, because whenever I look at it, it reminds me of my childhood,” reminisces McKenzi.

As you start hauling the tree and ornaments out, I bet you’ll do like I do and run right to the favorite and most memorable ornament so you can put it on first. Merry Christmas and happy decorating!

Students See Black Friday Chaos

by Ashley Taylor and Nitoshia Langhann

Every year people religiously go Black Friday shopping. Some stores are even open until 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This is the biggest shopping day of the year, with all sorts of discounts, sales, and deals. People flock to big malls for a shot at these deals. Last year Americans spent about $655.8 billion dollars on Black Friday! That averages out to about $935.58 a person! Every year these sales numbers seem to go up.

Black Friday is a shopping day for a combination of reasons. As the first day after the last major holiday before Christmas, it marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season. In order to take advantage of this, virtually all retailers in the country, big and small, offer various sales including limited amounts of door buster items to lure in customers. The term “Black Friday” was first used in the early 1960s by exhausted Philadelphia police officers who had been besieged by tourists and shoppers flooding into the city on the day after Thanksgiving to get a jumpstart on Christmas shopping. In a 1994 article for The Philadelphia Inquirer, reporter Joseph Barrett wrote about his role in spreading the phrase while also giving the credit for coining it to the city’s traffic cops, many of whom were forced to work extra-long shifts to deal with the masses of shoppers. After all, “black” is often used to describe a day filled with catastrophe (for example, like a stock market crash).

But not everyone goes to these sales. “I feel like Black Friday is a waste of time and if someone really wants something they could go online and buy it,” believes senior Sabrina Hedrick. Maybe Sabrina just wants to dodge the madness, and there is *plenty* of madness on Black Friday. “I don’t feel like getting shot over getting a single item for a lower price,” laughingly says junior Katie Rose. But a lot of people do and these stores get full! Just last year there was a women who got injured from a stampede at the Durban Mall! She ended up having a full recovery from her shoulder injury but I bet she will never go to another Black Friday sale again!

Black Friday is a day filled with complete chaos, with people trying to get to the stores first and making sure they get what they want. People go to extremes when it comes to this holiday. There are even people getting seriously injured or even killed. Four people got seriously injured this year by either being stabbed or shot. Black Friday is a crazy filled day to begin with, but the great deals make it all worth it.

Some people though aren’t even worried about the fights all they want are the deals. This year electronics is where it was at. You could get almost anything you wanted for almost half the price. Junior Caitlyn Rearick said these deals we amazing, “If you were looking for anything to do with technology you could find it at a really great price. I found a lot of stuff at like half off,” said Caitlyn. Senior Marissa Shaw also got some great deals but wouldn’t reveal what they were.

Others though are less worried about the deals and more worried about the fights that break out. Marissa was a witness to one of the fights. “There was a ton of people around; they were pushing each other out of the way to get to things. I even seen some people fighting over towels,” recalls Marissa. Sophomore Danille Jagielski got caught right in the middle of the drama. “I was just looking at this phone. I wasn’t even going to buy it. And this old lady pushed me out of the way,” said Danielle. Junior Avery Johnson was fortunate enough not to see any fighting, but she could see how they could happen. “I didn’t see any fighting but there we definitely some people trying to start one,” said Avery.

Sophomore Jordyn Cole remembers one particularly rough experience. “My uncle and another guy were looking at a pair of Timberlands and they grabbed the same pair because their size were the only ones left; then they started punching each other and it became a fight so my uncle went to jail,” recalls Jordyn.

JV Girls Basketball Drops Opener To Hudson

by Jaidyn Hinkley

Everybody wants to grab a victory to start a new season on the right foot, but unfortunately the JV girls basketball team started the season on the wrong side of a 32-30 decision to Hudson.

The first quarter and a half were rough as the girls just couldn’t seem to handle the Tiger pressure. About halfway through the second quarter the girls were able to get themselves together a little more and start to slowly catch up.

After a great pep talk from Coach Davis at halftime the girls were finally able to come out and play how they know how to play. “We didn’t play that good in the first half, but once we got the nerves out of us during half time we played really good the second half and closed the gap on the score board,” said sophomore Makayla McDaniel.

In the second half the ladies started executing plays, shooting the ball, and being aggressive on defense. This newfound aggression for the Wildcats continued to help them catch up, but as they were trying to catch up the Tigers were still scoring points; just not as quickly as before. The Wildcats went from only scoring 4 points in the first quarter to scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter, an obvious improvement. But it was too late for the girls because they were already so far behind. “I thought we played hard at the end. I liked our intensity and our effort at the end of the game. I talked to the team after the game and explained that we needed to carry that effort throughout the entire game. We have to play with the same intensity all four quarters of the game as we did with the last two quarters,” explained Coach Davis. Freshman Gabby Richards understands the need for consistent effort. “We didn’t do so well in the first half, but then we came back in the second. Overall we did okay, but we need to work harder next time and be ready,” shared Gabby.

Overall there’s a lot of stuff the JV girls need to work on. “We did a lot of good things, but there was more bad than good. I think we have a lot to work on still. There’s a lot of fundamental things that we need to work on. But we’re a young team, so we have lots of room for improvement,” said Coach Davis. Sophomore Samantha Leggett realizes the little things that need to improve, though she even saw the quick improvement from one half to another. “We lacked communication and basic fundamentals, but in the second half we came back and picked up the intensity and started to penetrate and move the ball,” said Samantha.

The girls won’t let this loss stop them; they’ll just be more eager to win their next game!

Some Michigan Schools Blurring The Line Between “Separation Of Church And State”

separation of church and state

by Ashley Taylor

In Hudsonville, MI there was a teacher who would let elementary students come into her room at lunch and discuss the bible. These sessions were soon ended when parents complained to the school. Mitch Kahle, spokesman for the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activist, says, “Every public-school teacher, principal, and superintendent should know that they are prohibited from engaging in any activity with students that involves religious beliefs, rituals, or doctrines.” The schools assistant Superintendent Scott Smith said the district was not aware fifth-grade teacher Christopher Karel was meeting with students prior to being contacted by the civil rights group on Monday, Nov. 6. The teacher claimed she thought it was okay because it was occurring during a non-instructional time. The teacher was not disciplined, but simply told the law.

There is a lot of controversy about whether public schools should be allowed to have groups allowed before school, during lunch, and other times to use school facilities, or if school personnel should be allowed to be part of it. Talking about religion in schools is not illegal but they may not teach a religion class, although teaching about religion in a secular context is permitted. The Bible may be taught in a school, but only for its historical, cultural or literary value and never in a devotional, celebratory or doctrinal manner, or in such a way that encourages acceptance of the Bible as a religious document.

One of the specific issues is; what distinguishes “teaching religion” from “teaching about religion”? “Teaching religion” amounts to religious indoctrination or practice and is clearly prohibited in public schools. A teacher must not promote or denigrate any particular religion, religion in general, or lack of religious belief. Programs that “teach about religion” are geared toward teaching students about the role of religion in the historical, cultural, literary and social development of the United States and other nations.

Some people say it violates the separation of church and state. Others say that children need to know about different religions because it is in everything from politics to how the earth was created. Last June 8, President Trump commented, “Schools should not be a place that drive out faith and religion, but that should welcome faith and religion with wide, open, beautiful arms.” This year our school added a new program called Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). This program takes place before school on Thursday mornings at 7:00 a.m. The FCA is an international non-profit Christian sports ministry based in Kansas City, Missouri. FCA was founded in 1954. It has staff offices located throughout the United States and abroad. FCA’s mission is “to present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.” Its vision is to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.

But as you can see from the above, the idea of having religious conversations in school is a real sore spot for some. Here, though the situation is different, the idea seems pretty accepted. “I think religion should be in schools because everybody has their own beliefs and if you don’t like it then you don’t have to participate in it,” said junior Katie Rose. Junior Abby Pidd shares the same view. “I think it is okay because kids should feel free to learn about their religion if they want to,” believes Abby. Dean of Students Mrs. Mallar feels similarly as long as notice is given and rules are followed. “I feel that it is okay as long as there were notes sent home prior and kids who wanted to do it had permission from their parents. If it is something she didn’t clear ahead of time I can see where that would make some people mad,” says Mrs. Mallar. Civics teacher Mr. Irelan looks at it constitutionally. “When they talk about the wall of separation of church and state, we truly don’t have it because we use the word ‘God’ in our pledge (which is mandated by law in Michigan to be said in schools). I think as long as it’s done after school or at lunch or in the morning, it’s purely voluntary. I don’t have a problem with it as long as it’s not forced. We allow kids to leave school here to go to Bible school, that’s legal. It’s fine with me,” states Mr. Irelan.

Varsity Girls Basketball Opens Season With Victory Over Hudson

pidd hudson

Junior Abby Pidd carves out some space in the low post

by Jordyn Cole

After two straight state titles, all eyes are still on the Pittsford varsity girls basketball team as they begin their quest for a three-peat. In the first test of a new season, the ‘Cats passed with flying colors, going on the road to defeat the Hudson Tigers 50-37.

As first games go, the first half was pretty sloppy and turnover-filled. The Cats’ had 16 turnovers on Hudson, but had 12 on themselves. “One of the main problems in that game was turnovers. We got sloppy at certain times and just turned the ball over too much,” said senior Marissa Shaw. Being the first game, it’s natural for there to be some jitters. “We were all pretty nervous, with it being our first game of the season, so after we got the jitters out we performed better,” said sophomore Sara Cole. Despite the turnovers, Pittsford led 32-20 at halftime.

Another problem the Cats’ are focusing on is the rebounding. “They got a lot of their points off of rebounds. We just need to box out and be more aggressive under the basket,” said junior Kennedy Chesney. Pittsford was able to extend their 12-point lead by one point over the course of the second half to keep the Tigers caged up.

It would be nice to feel like the second half was an improvement, but Shaw feels like it’ll have to come next game. “The second half was not better than the first half, we are still out of shape so we were all a little worn out in the last few minutes of the game,” said Marissa. The defensive effort seemed to lag as well, according to Kennedy. “Our defense got a little lazy in the second half,” she recalled. These are all things that can be easily improved, though. “It was kind of a rough first half but it was our first game of the season. We know what we need to improve on and we will prepare for future games,” believes senior Sydni Brunette.

Shaw led in points with 18, while Brunette added 14, and Chesney added eight. Brunette and Shaw were very aggressive, with seven and six steals, respectively. Chesney was big on the boards with eight rebounds.

The ladies will look to find that improvement when they travel to Jackson Christian on Friday. There is no JV game so the varsity contest will start at 6:30 p.m.

Michigan Senate Passes Bill That Would Allow Guns In Schools

no guns

A bill in the Michigan legislature could change schools into gun-permissible zones

by Ashley Taylor

Recently, more tragedy has struck our country, as there have been some domestic terror attacks taking place. One of them took place on October 31, 2017, when Saipov drove a rented truck onto a well-trafficked bike path just blocks from the World Trade Center. Eight people were killed and more than a dozen people were injured as the truck left its path of destruction through several blocks of Lower Manhattan. Officials have said that he relied on the playbook written out by ISIS a few years back.  He had multiple run-ins with law enforcement in several states, online records show. He had traffic citations issued in Maryland, Missouri and Pennsylvania and was arrested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol in October 2016 after failing to show up in court for a misdemeanor offense. Hours after the attack President Trump responded and accused Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of not being tough enough on immigration. Speaking to the media, President Trump called the suspect an “animal” and said that he planned to start the process of terminating the diversity lottery program.

Another attack took place on Sunday November 5, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. At least 26 people were killed and about 20 others were wounded. 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley was seen in a Valero gas station across the street from the church. He then left the gas station, crossed the street, exited his vehicle and began firing before he entered the church. As Kelley left the church, a local resident used their own rifle to engage him as Kelley fled. After a brief chase, law enforcement later found Kelley dead of a gunshot wound inside his vehicle. A law enforcement official said that multiple weapons were found in Kelley’s car. Authorities have said that they don’t know whether the wound was self-inflicted or the result of the resident who fired on the suspect.

Whenever something like this happens people blame gun control laws. People say that if we had more limits on the gun control laws there would be less gun violence. There is a quote by Ben Franklin that says, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” What he is saying is that if we give up a freedom like the right to bear arms because you fear someone else shooting you, when the time comes to defend yourself you won’t be able to because you gave up the freedom to bear arms.

With all of this controversy about gun control laws the state of Michigan had decided to add fuel to the fire by saying they would join six states in allowing guns in schools if the bill is signed into law. The Gifford’s Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence shows six states (Alabama, Alaska, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah) allow residents with concealed pistol licenses (CPL’s) to carry firearms in K-12 schools. In the last few weeks the Michigan Senate approved legislation that would allow residents with a CPL (who complete an additional eight hours of training beyond what’s already required) to carry guns in areas previously off-limits, such as schools, day care centers, stadiums, hospitals, churches and college dorms. The bill will give schools the right to prohibit staff and students from carrying concealed guns in schools.

Pittsford High School principal Mr. Cook agrees with the newly-proposed bill. “I think for staff safety, student safety, and school safety overall it’s not a bad idea,” thinks Mr. Cook. Junior Katie Rose agrees that student safety is an important ideal. “I think it is a good idea because with everything that is going on in the world today, everybody needs to protect themselves. Especially the girls, you can’t even go to Wal-Mart without watching your surroundings,” laments Katie. Civics teacher Mr. Irelan brings a more political view on the issue. “I have no problem with it. All of the studies that I have done through teaching here and working with the people from Ohio, almost 95% of school shootings are stopped when someone meets them with equal force,” reports Mr. Irelan.

Not everybody likes the idea of guns being in our schools, however. Dean of Students Mrs. Mallar has a different view on guns. “I don’t think my opinion is a popular one but I just don’t like the idea of weapons at school, even if it’s just someone who has been trained to have them. I would just be afraid of them falling into the wrong hands,” worries Mrs. Mallar. Mr. Hoeft agrees, flatly saying “I think it is absurd. Sorry, I don’t think this is where we need to be carrying guns. Ever.” Junior Ryan Kafer worries for the safety of the littlest kids. “No, it’s not okay, because people shouldn’t be allowed to be carrying guns in school with a whole bunch of little kids,” believes Ryan. Junior Zach Bowers is stuck in the middle here. “I don’t really think it matters because they already meet the requirements, they’re most likely some good citizens,” feels Bowers.

This issue always stirs up passions, and if this bill passes the Michigan House of Representatives and goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law, it will definitely stir up passions again.

PHS Students, Employees Having Success During Hunting Seasons

by Levin Watkins

There are two dates that make many kids at Pittsford get really excited—October 1 and November 15, the opening days of bow and gun hunting seasons!

A person can kill 2 bucks and 5 does in archery season in Michigan. On October 15, freshman Trevor Stockford shot an 8-point that weighed about 190 pounds field dressed. “My adrenaline was pumping as he walked in. My heart was pumping so fast. I watched my arrow go right through him,” recalls Trevor. “When I shot, I knew it was a good shot because the blood was spraying everywhere and I knew he was dead.”

Freshman Ronald Stewart missed an opportunity. “I had a 6-point buck and a doe walk about 20 yards in front of me but then I realized that my crossbow was not loaded so my dad was going to shoot it, but his sight was broke so we had to let them walk past us,” laments Ronald.

mallar deer

Mr. Mallar’s 10-point buck

Mr. Mallar, from the business office at PAS, shot a nice buck with his bow. “I had seen the buck outside my house a couple of times. I was in the stand one morning and he came in, but I had to wait a while and it was about to rain. Finally he came in at 9:30 and I shot him at 20 yards; he weighed about 200 pounds and he was a 10 point,” tells Mr. Mallar.

Sometimes you want something a little more high-powered, which is why people get excited for gun season, starting every November 15. Many kids and teachers at Pittsford take the day off in search of the biggest buck they can find. You get up in the morning, excited and ready to get in the blind/tree stand and get hunting.  The morning sun brings the sound of gun shots everywhere; it sounds like a war zone.

zack shaw deer

Freshman Zack Shaw’s doe

Freshman Zack Shaw was one of the early strikers, getting a large doe. “I was in the tree stand and it was almost dark, so I got down to go up to the house and the deer walked up on a hill so I let her get closer. I could barely see her when I shot; she was at 75 yards when I shot her. She ran about 50 yards and fell over. I shot her with a 20-gauge and she weighed 145 pounds,” said Zack.

hannah patterson deer

Senior Hannah Patterson’s buck

Senior Hannah Patterson finally found the success she was looking for, nabbing a 6-point buck. “I sat in the woods until 9 a.m. and didn’t see much, so I told myself five more minutes. He came out at about 30 yards and I took the shot and he went 50 yards and went down,” said a proud Hannah.

hoeft deer

Mr. Hoeft’s 8-point buck

Some teachers had success this season as well. Mr. Hoeft got his kill up north. “When he came in I could see that one of his front legs was gone and he was hurt, so I shot him. I shot him with my 270 rifle. He was an 8-point and he weighed about 150 pounds,” described Mr. Hoeft.

Former Pittsford High School teacher Mr. Cushman missed on a really nice buck. “I shot and I got down and I couldn’t find any blood or hair, so I looked at my tree stand and I could see that there was a couple branches that were cut off and I knew I had missed. Those branches had thrown my built off its path and I missed the deer,” said Mr. Cushman.

levi watkins deer

Levi Watkins’ spike

I had a little success myself this season, shooting a spike on November 18. He walked down a path in front of me. I let him get to the opining that was about 20 yards away from my tree stand and I shot. He ran off, and I saw hair floating where he was standing, so I knew I had hit him. When my friend (Matt Osborn) got to the spot where I had shot him, we looked for blood and found some, so we followed it and found him about 55 yards from where I had shot him. I shot him with a 12-gauge and he weighed about 115 pounds. Senior Hannah Paterson shot a six point.

Congratulations to all of the hunters who bagged that buck this season, and good luck to those still waiting for their big score.