During fifth grade, I was the co-founder and main orchestrator and writer of a newspaper called The Helios Herald. There are definitely things I would do differently now–I assume when I look back here on my blog in a few years I'll scorn it too. But it's not uniformly cringeworthy. Here is a curation of my top 5 favorite pieces I contributed to The Helios Herald. I've redacted all student and teacher names, to be extra safe.
So let's do this.
Dishonorable Mention. Church Carnival Takes Up Blacktop Space; Goldfish Treatment Debatable (October 21, 2016)
As of Wednesday, St. Martins, the church that we rent our space from, has began a carnival as an important fundraiser. This carnival takes up space in the blacktop, which makes it so first of all, the blacktop is not allowed to be used to play on during recess and second, it can’t be crossed except for at the start and end of recess.
Last year the same thing went on, and afterward cigarette butts were distributed over the ground, which doesn’t help the pre-existing litter.
There was a game last year that involved goldfish as prizes, who were kept in small coolers and then in plastic cups when they were won. They were underfed and left alone, and reportedly some died.
However, some of the carnival games were known to be fun, and this weekend, the games will be open to the general public. Games include a bumper cat setup, called “Scooter,” a ride called Starship 2,000, and an enormous ferris wheel. Also, since the Ravens and Jays’ expeditions are about carnivals, they are setting up their own game, called “Balloon Pop” at 7:00-7:30 on Friday so make sure to play it if you go. These are among other games that are there.
To summarize, there is a carnival run by the church that fills our space, treated goldfish debatably, but has potentially really fun rides.
Make up your own mind!
I'm starting off with probably my most controversial article, as what we'll call a "learning experience." I didn't contact the carnival orchestrators for a comment, which obviously I should have for an unbiased story. I based the third paragraph on what were essentially rumors. I injected my personal biases into the article, and then suggested the reader make up their own mind.
On to more fun pieces.
Honorable Mention. Guilty Beyond All Reasonable Doubt? (February 10, 2017)
Recently, some middle-schoolers were put in jail, or just moved around unwillingly, in the Wilderness Village by younger kids.
One such victim was [redacted], who commented on the situation for The Helios Herald. [They said they were accused] of being a “monster, sipping chocolate milk, smiling...”
The way this looked was that a bunch of kindergarteners up to second graders would grip a middle schooler and take them around somewhere, sometimes to jail.
Another victim was Head of School hopeful [redacted], who didn’t really make much of it and commented casually on it in [their] middle school session.
This is great. For those of you that don't know, the Wilderness Village is this area with trees where forts and things are built.
5. Space-filler (October 27, 2016)
I've had worse space-fillers.
4. Math Kangaroo (March 17, 2017)
In the Condors Humanities Room, yesterday, the Math Kangaroo competition took place.
[Redacted], Middle School teacher, was the proctor.
There was a misprint on the test that asked for which statement was true among the variables a, b, c, and d in a diagram featuring a 2x2 box with arrows pointing away from the box
a. to the right of each row, and
b. below each column.
No variables. One of the test-takers, [redacted], brought this to [the proctor's] attention. The problem was quickly corrected. The grid contained variables
where the arrows signified that a+b=2, a+c=1, b+d=4, and that c+d=3.
The problem was then solvable.
The writing here needs a bit of clarity work–what happened was that the Math Kangaroo test was missing some numbers in a diagram, making the question unsolvable. But I am proud that I covered something that people might not have known about, increasing their knowledge about something interesting. This should be the goal of journalism.
3. Some Glum about Election; Teachers Reassure (November 11, 2016)
The election results came in Tuesday night, and Mr. Donald Trump was the surprise winner. In many (maybe all) classes, students did not like the eating contest results, and may have been scared, sad, angry, and/or annoyed. On Wednesday, teachers reassured people, one of them reminding the students (from someone on an index card) that “[Trump] wasn’t running for emperor.”
Even though students were kind of glum on Wednesday morning, they generally spoke about it less as the day and week went on and eventually adopted a regular mood, from what I noticed.
The election results were especially surprising because basically every poll thought that Former Secretary Hillary Clinton would win, but Trump won in key swing states of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. He also won Michigan and Wisconsin.
President-elect Trump is not going to be the most popular public figure at Helios. But, it’s probable we’ll survive and thrive.
Obviously there's some liberal biases and word-choice issues creeping in, but overall I really like this article. It takes something that everyone knows about and puts a spin on it, and one I like at that. This is probably my favorite piece that's strictly news.
2. Mandatory Music Class Added for Middle School (March 31, 2017)
Just a few days ago the administrative decision was made to replace one of the middle school’s elective period with a music class.
[Redacted] is the music teacher. Here’s [their] official message, also exclusive to The Helios Herald:
'Dear Middle Schoolers,
For the rest of the school year you will be required to take music classes. You will be asked to learn the KazooBa, a brand new instrument invented by a 12 year old boy who plays Tuba, but found his little sister's Kazoo and got this bright idea.
We will let you practice it standing or sitting in a normal position, but to pass your music class, start practicing standing upside down because that's the way to get the best sound. It's really fun that way, I promise! Look forward to seeing you in our first KazooBa class right after Spring Break!
—Helios Music Teacher'
The faculty is also considering having a yoga elective to help with the other part of this performance.
Overall this seemed to be a very popular decision.
Former Condor Class Rep. [redacted] commented on the subject:
'I can’t wait for music to be back!'
'[B]ack', because the lower school has music.
Oh, and the loss of electives. No one really seemed to mind, especially because Junior EMTs and some others were not very popular at all.
To summarize: one elective class has been replaced with a course in the KazooBa.
You may have noticed that this one was published on March 31. This was written as the main event for the illustrious April Fools' Edition of The Helios Herald. You have to understand that contemporary Helios middle-schoolers had a bizarre aversion to music classes. I could see the students groan after reading the headline. The whole KazooBa thing was just gravy, though I did get someone to photoshop a picture of a KazooBa, which was in the original article.
Though this was the pièce de résistance for the April Fools' Edition, there's one article I like better. Drumroll please...
1. Weird But True! (March 31, 2017)
- Zebras have an average of 11 black stripes but only 10 white.
- The Hamilton musical tickets cost $1,000,000 in some states.
- In Scotland, April Fools’ Day is generally celebrated today instead of tomorrow. Speaking of April Fools’ Day, get ready!
- The first email was sent as early as 1906.
- James Greene, who was a presidential candidate in 1892, had the slogan “I’m Clueless.” He lost by only a few electoral votes. Exactly why people voted for him remains a mystery.
This is my favorite. You have your subliminal April Fools' reference, your bizarre historical candidate. That said, my favorite is the first. It's intriguing but still quite plausible.
I hope you enjoyed.