The ORVAgonian

The ORVAgonian
December 2013
The Voice of ORVA’s Students
‘Tis the Season to be Giving
By Noah Snodgrass
Living in America, many of us have more than
we need, but for others, the holidays are a sad
and lonely time. There are many ways to help
people during the holidays. For example, you
could participate in Operation Christmas Child, an
organization in
which you fill
a shoebox with
that children in
other countries
afford. You
could sponsor a
foster child,
or try out Angel
Tree, in which
you help a child whose parents are in prison. Or
you could donate food to a Thanksgiving food
drive. Also, you can sponsor an animal that has
been abused or neglected. Contact your local humane society for more info. Last, but not least,
you could donate new toys to a toy drive. Please
do choose one of these ideas and help someone
for the holidays!
Have you checked out any
ORventures this year?
Be sure to look for information in your Kmail and
Monday Meetings for the
locations of this month’s
ORventures! We will be
having virtual ORventures
in December!
Inside This Issue
Book Review ........ ……..2
Advice Column .... ……..3
Winter Break Fun . ……..4
Editorial ................ ……..5
Meet the Team……….…16
Stargirl by Jerri Spinelli
Reviewed by Lydia Kramer
Have you ever closed your eyes and wondered what it'd be like to not worry
about what others thought? To be whoever or whatever you wanted to be?
Susan Julia Caraway: Stargirl. She doesn't walk, she dances. She doesn't smile,
she glows. Everything she does is 'different', and she doesn't care.
Jerri Spinelli creates a beautiful tale of a girl discovering what the world truly is.
Before moving to Mica, Arizona, Stargirl was herself, and only herself. She cared for
others without wanting recognition, and she felt no shame in being who she was. But
now everything has changed. After meeting Leo, her world is turned upside down,
though for better or worse?
Spinelli casts this story from an unusual point of view, as Leo is the narrator. Always the one to fit right in, Leo struggles with his feelings for Stargirl, mesmerized
ever since the start.
Stargirl is a must-read.
“She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of
a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her.
In our minds we tried to pin her to a cork board like a butterfly, but the pin merely went
through and away she flew.”
- Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl
Hey Audrey,
I’m in the 6th grade and I have a problem. This is my second year going to ORVA but last year
my best friend went back to public school and I’m having trouble making new friends. Where
do I start?
Hia Grace,
I totally understand! Remember when you were younger and it was so easy to make friends? You
could just walk up to someone then say ‘hi’ and you two would be finger painting together for the
rest of the day. You’re probably thinking, “What changed?!” Well that’s a good question. What did
change? Why not just say ‘hi’ to someone? It may sound scary but that really is the best way to
start a friendship. Scroll through the participant list and see if you notice someone who goes to a
lot of the same classes as you. Making a new friend really is as simple as saying “hi Anne!”
there’s this girl that keeps private chatting me during class connects. It’s hard for me to concentrate when she’s talking to me. How do I tell her to stop without maker her mad at me?
Its awesome you’re putting learning first in your classes. The more you put out into CCs the more
you get out of them. Private chatting is a lot like passing notes during class and it is definitely distracting for some students. As for your friend, if you say something like “Quit bugging me!” then
you’re right she will absolutely be offended. But if you politely say, “I have to pay attention if I’m
going to pass the assessment but we could talk after class,” you’ll get a much better response.
Most teachers give students a time either before or after class to talk so remind your friend that
this time is best for chatting rather than when you should be listening to the teacher. She’ll probably give you a break
Though still weeks away, which may seem like an eternity, it is always wonderful to start preparing
your winter break plans!
Winter break offers many opportunities for rest, fun with family or finding a new hobby! Below are
some suggestions for how to spend your break!
Read a great book!
Hit the outdoors!
*I recently read The Hunger Games series and
devoured the three books in a week. The material is very sophisticated and a very emotional
read, so do check with your parent or guardian
before beginning the series.
*Delve into one of the winter classics below!
-A Night Before Christmas by Clement C.
-The Best Worst Christmas Pageant Ever by
Barbara Robinson
-Dream Snow by Eric Carle
-Lil Rabbits Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington
Be creative and build a nontraditional snowman!
Try ice-fishing! Brrr!
Grab a snowboard and give it a try!
Bundle up and take a family hike
Fun with winter food!
Try a variation of a classic hot chocolate!
Ask a family member for a family recipe and try
to make it.
Check out the recipe for apple cider in this edition
of the ORVAgonian!
Host a cookie exchange party!
-The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keets
-Happy Hanukah Corduroy by Don Freeman
Other ideas!
Rearrange and organize your bedroom!
Make a new year’s resolution and a plan to stick to it!
Work on your Study Island pathways! (Yes, I’m serious!)
By Audrey Wojnarowisch
Guns are becoming a touchy subject in America. Because of the shootings
that are becoming more and more frequent the government has been taking precautions to ensure the safety of Americans. They have been making it harder and
harder to buy and sell guns. Concealed weapons permits are becoming harder to
get and 6-year-olds are being suspended for making gun gestures in school.
“Officials at a Talbot County Elementary School disciplined the boys after
they were playing a game of cops and robbers” according to Baltimore station WJZ-TV. Just picture it, two little boys that were playing a classic game of
imagination were told they were a bad influence on their fellow classmates and
were suspended. These boys were given no warning; they weren’t ever told that
this game was against rules. This was the second time this has happened, recently. Rodney Lynch, also a first grader, was suspended for making the same gesture
“They’re saying he threatened a student, threatened to shoot a student,”
Rodney’s father said, obviously perplexed, "He was playing!” Most psychologists have agreed that children under the age of 7 really don’t understand why
adults are so sensitive about the gesture.
So those are the facts, but what do you think? Should boys and girls be
punished for making this signal? Should this be against the rules, or do you think
this is going a step too far?
“A man by the name of Notch had an idea. A cave game; a sandbox, seemingly endless; an
adventure that had everyone saying ‘Just one more block’. This man, that game, those blocks have
brought all of you here to celebrate what has become… MINECRAFT.”
-Hat Films, MineCon 2011
Minecraft is a game that’s very special to me. I’m a very devoted player, having played it
for over four years. So obviously, when I heard about the first MineCon back in 2011, I was amazed
that the game had so many players and so much support that Mojang could pull everyone together
in such a spectacular event. Today, Minecraft has almost thirteen million players (12,704,841 at the
time of writing this) on the PC/Mac version of the game, and almost six million players on the
Xbox 360 version. MineCon is the official convention, or “Con” for Minecraft. Almost every Minecraft player has a decent idea of what MineCon is, and what Minecraft player wouldn’t want to go
to MineCon?
Last month, I wasn’t just someone who wanted to go to MineCon. I actually went to MineCon, along with my friend James (who happened to leave ORVA last year). Mojang only sold exactly 7,500 tickets, not including free tickets given to panelists (the fancy name for famous YouTubers
and other famous community members). Tickets were sold in three batches of 2500, and each batch
was sold over a short time of 10 minutes, once a week, for three weeks. Despite having 10 minutes
to buy tickets, they sold out each week in about 3-4 minutes. We had bought 6 tickets, and each
came with the in-game cape for MineCon 2013. For those of you who don’t know, Mojang’s employees have 3D capes on their in-game characters, so capes are a sign that you’re devoted to the
game and they earn you respect. The only ways to get a cape are:
Work for Mojang (legitimate cape)
Attend MineCon (legitimate cape)
Modify your Minecraft client software (not a real cape, because only you can see it)
Capes are actually, believe it or not, one of the main reasons Minecraft players go to
MineCon. For those of you who are curious of what this year’s (and previous years’) cape(s) look
like, I’ll have some links to pictures, videos, etc at the end of the article.
Who’s seen a Minecraft song parody? If you’re a Minecraft player, your answer is probably a “yes”. For those of you who haven’t, a Minecraft song parody is exactly what is sounds like. If
you’ve ever heard of “Weird Al Yankovic”, he takes songs and edits the lyrics to be something else,
thus creating song parodies. Minecraft song parodies are songs that have their lyrics changed to be
something relating to the game. The topic of the song is reflected in the title (New World, TNT,
Take Back The Night, and Minecraft Style, to name a few).
Gaming continued
Favorite Winter
Well, at this year’s MineCon, music was probably the most
important subject of the convention. There were two live performances of
Minecraft parodies, and this is the first time ever where a Minecraft parody
has been performed live. Now you’re probably thinking, ‘This first parody to
ever be performed, what was so great about it?’ I, being the amazing psychic
I am, will explain! First of all, it was sung by every 10-year-old’s favorite
YouTuber; Skydoesminecraft. Plus, it was an expertly written and performed
parody of Coldplay’s Paradise. The name of the parody is New World, and it
has already been uploaded to Skydoesminecraft’s YouTube channel, if you
want to check it out.
Another event was probably everyone’s favorite: YouTubers.
Who wouldn’t want to get an autograph from Woodysgamertag or
CavemanFilms, or have their picture taken with CaptainSparklez? There
were several “Meet-and-Greets” in which famous Youtubers, Minecrafters,
and Mojang staff members would be asked questions and sign autographs.
The “Meet-and-Greets” I went to were:
Notch, creator of Minecraft
Woodysgamertag (Youtuber and Minecraft server owner)
_Jeb, Notch’s right-hand man and current manager of Minecraft’s
dev team.
I also tried to make it to the Meet-and-Greet for CaptainSparklez,
but the line to get in and see him was (literally) almost long enough to be a 5minute walk from one end to the other. Walking at a brisk pace, this equates
to about 1250 feet.
How the Grinch
Stole Christmas
Meanwhile, half of the main expo room was devoted wholly to
exhibitors. There were staff members from Planet Minecraft, LEGO
employees, J!NX and ThinkGeek merchandisers, and even Google
employees advertising their new quantum-physics mod, Q-Craft (which I
have a great understanding of, despite it being mind-breakingly complex).
There were giant statues of blocks, mobs, and structures (Some of them lifesize, some of them even larger). In the center of the room was a statue of
Steve holding a stone sword with a wolf at his side. The Steve was almost 4
stories tall, and the wolf (sitting down) was almost 2 stories tall.
The Nightmare
MineCon was a lot of fun, from buying Minecraft T-Shirts and
toys, to 30-year-olds playing video games, and even to something as simple
as a virtual cape. MineCon may seem like a celebration of something trivial
or worthless from the viewpoint of someone who’s never seen or played
Minecraft, but it’s not just the little blocks we’re here for; it’s the community.
It’s a humbling idea to see something that you helped create and how it’s
brought together millions of people from around the world. And what did
these people come for? A simple game of placing and breaking blocks
(Though maybe not how they were originally intended)
Links (Copy and paste them into your browser)
Introductory Quote:
MineCon 2011 cape:
MineCon 2012 cape:
The Polar
Happy Feet
Home Alone
Rudolph the
Miracle on 34th
The Santa
By Lydia Kramer
Doorknobs are something that pretty much everyone uses every
day. Though, Vancouver has just banned them! You may be thinking,
“What? Then how will people get in and out of places?” Simple, they'll
use levers. Levers are deemed better than knobs so elderly people,
and many others, will be able to do things more easily.
Rob Quinn of the “Newser” reports, “The move is based on the
concept of "universal design," which aims to make spaces usable for as
many people as possible, a University of British Columbia professor explains.”
Though building codes will make it so levers are installed instead
of knobs, the owners may choose to replace them with knobs.
Mother Nature
By Alanna Uding
Thunder roars, like an irate lion that is challenging another lion to a duel. Lightning flashes, its streaks filled
with anger and fury. The charcoal grey clouds ahead are bursting full with heavy rain, threatening to never cease.
The wind wails, screeches like a new-born baby, whipping the trees back and forth in a rhythmic motion and tossing
leaves and litter around with ease. The rain pours on, in a never ending manner, crashing to the ground and crushing
small plants with bitterness.
But to me there’s something soothing about the rain. Even a storm filled with this much vigor. And I think it
is one of my favorite noises, the pounding of rain hitting against roof, the mesmerizing scene, of it falling to the
ground, it never ceases to be amazing, in my mind. My legs are comfortably tucked under me, my arms resting on
the top of my couch and I stare out and beyond at the cold and chilly view outside my window. I take a sip of the
steaming drink I have in my hands, filled to the brim with hot chocolate, and then without any notice a sudden rush
of rain throws itself against my window, like a gale of tears.
Flowers starting to bloom, there colors are crushed to ground by the power of the rain. The apple tree’s branches are
torn from the tree with vigor and fury and thrown to the ground, apples raining from the limbs onto the grass. The
rains continual pounding, crushes the grass until it look trampled, like a thousand angry elephants had tread over it.
The little pond in one corner is filled with violent waters, thrashing every-which way and with water pouring
out the sides.
Then the storm, that seemingly would never end, slows like an unfinished thought, and ceases almost as
quickly as it started. For, it is worn out from its anger, and has had enough of bitter feelings. The black clouds move
away, opening to a bluer sky. The once troubled winds calm, and the trees are now appeased and tranquil. Now, the
rain falls gently from the sky, falling like dew and caressing the olive green leaves softly and leaving droplets of
jewels on the tips of the grass.
The closed buds sparkling from the rain wetting them, now slowly open there vivid colors painted with absolute care. They blossom, large bright colorful blossoms, every color of the rainbow, which transform’s the yard from
its dull dreary feel to a bright lively peaceful scene. The Apple tree limbs not destroyed by the storm, have ripe,
plump, scarlet red apples ready to be picked hanging from the branches. Underneath the tree, ivory flowers, have
sprouted, white delicate and graceful, they move slowly back and forth in the calm wind, like a spinning ballerina.
The lavender bush blooms its purple blush blossoms, and I inhale, almost expecting to smell the perfume fragrance. The grass is verdant green, fresh, lush and smells new, still flat but as green as ever. Trees’ blossom, soft
pink blossom’s that light up the scene like lights, and fills the air with the scent of sweetness. The buds of the red
Rose have blossomed, there flame red color fiery as ever. Flowers in full bloom. Tree’s new and fragrant. Birds
chirping. It looks like a scene from a painting, as if a picture from a fairy-tale popped out of a book into my frontyard. Or an artist who took a dull piece of paper and painted a painting alive. That’s what happens when Mother Nature takes things in to her hands.
The pond, once filled with violent waters, is now a looking glass, smooth, clear and peaceful. Birds use it as
a bird-bath, making cheerful chirps and jumping around the edge of the stone rim. Everything’s silent and returned
back to its quiet state. No longer was the pouring rain like a tidal wave from the ocean, or the wind like a tornado, or
the black sky like smoke from a horrific fire. But instead it was serene, just like my front-yard should be.
Now, the sun’s out drying up the damp earth, and smiling down at the plants, giving them strength to continue
growing. The storm is now, finally after an eternity of time is completely over. Everything seems to be smiling, welcoming the long-waited sun, inviting it to warm there cold selves. I smile at the picture myself, as it is now happy
and rejoicing. Of course, another storm will come again very soon even, but that’s for another day, right now is
now. And right now is happy.
So here I am. A somebody who has just witnessed, experienced, outside her own window, something beautiful. Something lovely. Something Grand. Something called Mother Nature.
An excerpt from Again
By Summerlyn Beaudry
A month passed. Sarah was walking on Fair Street, for the first time in three weeks. She missed Samuel so
much, so she decided that she would ask people if they had heard anything about him. She went up to a nice young lady,
and said,
“Have you heard anything of Samuel Larson?”
“I’m sorry miss, but Samuel has died, at least that’s what I last heard,” answered the woman. “About a month ago, he
was captured by some rough men.”
“Thank you,” replied Sarah. She decided she could ask a couple more people, but all the answers were,
“No, sorry.”
Sarah walked on, and finally gave up, and sat down. A tear trickled down her cheek.
As Sarah was sitting there, a young teenager walked up to her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked her.
Sarah quickly stood up, and an unreadable expression came across his face walked over to her and said one word,
Sarah couldn’t believe her eyes as she fell into her brother’s arms. It was Samuel! He enveloped her in a big hug. Sarah
What happened to you, Samuel?” Sarah said from behind her hair.
Samuel only said,
“Oh, Sarah! I missed you so much!”
Sarah thought she could never let go of her brother’s hand as they sat down on the side walk. Samuel started to tell his
“When the men grabbed me, they didn’t say anything. They dragged me down the alley, and blindfolded me. The next
thing I remember was that I was in a dark tunnel, with a board under me, and shackles around my ankles.
“One of the men had a rope, which he secured to the ring around my feet. Then they pulled me through the tunnel and
out into the night. I realized I was in Latina, Italy.”
How far is that from here?” Sarah questioned, her arm still around Samuel.
“About 120 miles. I knew I had to escape somehow. Then all of a sudden, the men, took off back to the tunnel.
They dropped the key, so I unlocked my ankles and quickly ran away from those three men so I could get back here. I
walked most of the way, but when I got thirty miles from here, a woman let me ride with her till we got here. I got here
today, and began looking for you. I knew it was you when you stood up and I saw your dark brown hair and blue eyes.
Oh, Sarah, you don’t know how much I missed you!” Samuel sighed as he gave her another big hug.
And Sarah did not cry herself to sleep that night, because Samuel was home.
And as for the three men, well, they were thrown into the dungeon, and Sarah never heard of them again!
Hello, it’s me, Noah Snodgrass, with my dog, Peppy! So, you
want to learn to draw, huh? Well, that’s why we’re here, to give you
some pointers! First of all, I’m sure you have a favorite fictional
character you like to draw, but artists need to be well-rounded,
show draw as much as you can think of. I used to just draw Donkey
Kong, but now I also draw Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends and
Cartoon Network characters. Then, figure out what you want to
draw. I’m going to draw a picture of Link from The Legend of Zelda,
along with a drawing of Amy Rose. Next, find an image of whoever
you’re going to draw and try to copy it as best as you can. There are
some great websites out there that give tutorials on how to draw
certain characters, such as and Well, that’s it for now! Next time we’ll talk
about how to ink and color your drawings.
The Ingredients for making homemade apple cider:
8-10 apples
1/2-1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons of cinnamon
4 tablespoons allspice
Directions to make homemade apple cider:
Quarter your apples. You don't have to peel the apple.
In a large stock pot, put your apples in the pot and fill with just enough water to cover the apples.
Add your sugar.
Wrap your cinnamon and allspice in a doubled up cheese cloth and tie. Add this to the apples
and water.
Boil on high for one hour uncovered. You'll want to check it every once in a while.
Turn down the temperature and let simmer with the lid on for two hours.
After your two hours are up, take off the heat and let it cool.
Remove the spices and mash up your apples to a pulp consistency. You could use a potato
masher in this process too.
Once its cooled, pour into a strainer over a large bowl. When most of the juice has drained,
put the remainder of the pulp in a doubled up cheese cloth and squeeze over your bowl until
no more juice is dripping.
If there are little clumps of pulp in your cider, you can remove them.
Store in a air tight container. Refrigerate or freeze for use of it later.
When you decide to drink, it tastes good to heat it. Add your chosen toppings.
Movie Review: A Christmas Story
By Brandon McCulloch
Just days before Christmas, children can be seen outside the toy store windows, gazing in at all the wonderful toys that they all could possibly want. One child
will make sure that he got his one desired gift, no matter what it takes.
In the classic movie, “A Christmas Story,” We follow nine-year-old Ralph in his
quest to get a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. Though he tries his hardest to get the air
rifle, he causes himself many conflicts throughout the movie. Anyone who asks him
what he wants for Christmas responds with the same response, “You'll shoot your eye
This movie is rated PG, having contained only mild language. Being only 93
minutes, this movie is a great way to end the night on Christmas Eve.
The ORVAgonian thanks the following students for their contributions to this months’ ORVAgonian: Summerlyn Beaudry, Skylar Isaacs, Lydia Kramer, Brandon McCulloch, Noah Snodgrass, Kymberly Stephens , Alanna Uding and Audrey Wojnarowisch.