CB West activities are in full swing

by Caroline Kirchner, sophomore, Central Bucks West High School

The students of Central Bucks West High School are ringing in the new school year with energy and enthusiasm. Some may think the school is only active from the start of the day to 2:30 when the bell rings, but at CB West, that is not the case. As each bus pulls out of the school, there is still a surplus of eager students ready to participate in extracurricular activities.

Not only are students involved in a variety of sports from soccer to tennis to football, but they are also taking part in many diverse activities and clubs offered by the school. There is truly a club for anyone. One can be in the school band, student council, theater, and Key Club for example. These not only serve as an opportunity to be involved but a fantastic way to meet new friends.

The hallways of West are lined with decorative signs outlining the events planned for the upcoming year. High school can be an overwhelming experience, especially for the 10th grade students. But the staff and upperclassman are working hard to make the incoming sophomore class comfortable. In fact, at the season opening West football game, the seniors encouraged the whole student section to cheer and support our CB West Buck football team. During each football game the student body is decked out in the theme of the night – whether that is a white out or a black out, and asked to join the rest of their peers in the BUCK NATION student body cheering section.

Homecoming is just around the corner and the teachers and Student Council are diligently preparing to make this year’s dance and game festivities “the best in West history.” The theme of the dance is “Dancing through the Decades.” Each grade will be assigned a decade and must create a float that is a reflection of their 10 year time period at the pep rally prior to the game.

New clubs have been established this school year and are now a part of CB West’s ever-growing list of extracurricular interests. Some of this year’s new clubs include the Pride Club, Girl Up Club and Anime Club, to name a few. Students are encouraged to start their own clubs. Students with a specific club interest can present a club outline to Principal Boucher for his review. If Principal Boucher determines the club serves a need in the school, then the club can start the process of becoming official. 

When the bell rings at 2:30pm, this may mark the end of the academic school day, but it just the beginning of the extracurricular activities day.  Many sports have been on the move since August and are in full swing in September. The cross-country runners can be seen running laps around Doylestown. The soccer team stretches on the turf before a game. The marching band practices near the baseball field and the yearbook photographers are capturing each moment digitally. Clubs and their members are outlining their efforts for the school year. And sprinkled throughout all of this are students forging new friendships and making memories that they will reflect fondly on in years to come.


Learning to balance workload can make school less stressful

by Ashley Reiss, freshman, Neshminy High School

Even without extra-curricular activities, school is hard work. When homework and extra activities like sports and band are thrown in the mix, it involves a lot of work for the students. All this work isn’t for everyone, but some students learn just the right skills to manage it all.

Freshman Karlyn Larson is running cross country for Neshaminy High School, which involves her staying after school until 5:00pm for practices and not getting home until closer to 6:00pm. In addition, she’s currently taking all honors and managing her grades at an honor roll level. “Paying attention in class is a key skill,” Karlyn said. “If you do this, homework will be a lot less challenging and taking less time after practice.”

Another freshman, Thyra Tuttle, is also managing sports and honors classes as well. “Make sure you plan everything from your homework to simply what you will wear to school, so you will be a lot less stressed,” Thyra said. She also went on to say that planning your week out will help you meet deadlines on homework and projects.

Some students aren’t just managing sports; they have extra clubs as well, like Corinne Bernatowicz who is currently playing freshman field hockey for NHS. She also participates in student council, Future Business Leaders of America, and outside of school she plays soccer and dances at a studio. Being involved with so much definitely wears a student down, but Corinne presented a positive outlook on everything.

“I feel that being involved and well-rounded is really important for having a successful future, and it teaches me key skills I won’t learn any other way,” Corinne said.

A struggle some students have is how to prioritize school and activities, whether it be doing homework or going to a soccer game. “Prioritizing is a big part of how to balance everything, even if that means you have to pull back from one club because you’re not doing as well in a school subject,” said Jennifer Coe.

A key part of being able to balance everything is being able to say no. All this work to try to balance school, homework and after-school activities can pay off. Balancing school with many activities isn’t for everyone, but with a lot of work and knowing some key strategies, it can be a lot easier.


New Hope is told to ‘Get out! Get up! Go get it!’

by Nick Damarodis, New Hope-Solebury High School, Class of 2015

Students felt energized when motivational speaker, Laymon Hicks, came to visit New Hope-Solebury High School and Middle School on September 13th. An exciting presentation was made to help students become inspired and follow their dreams and passions. His continual motto of the day was “Get out! Get up! Go get it!” and tell all the people who are close to you in life that you love them.

Laymon was raised by his grandparents with no main father figure in his life. Hicks told students that after his grandparents divorced, his own life situation started to deteriorate more than it already had been. He ended up around a group of friends who were making poor decisions, and started to follow along to fit in with everyone.

It became such a problem that he eventually was kicked out of the National Honor Society after cheating on a test.

For a time, as Laymon explained to the students, he felt like he did not have any opportunities or options left for him to succeed. After spending some time feeling guilty about all that he had done, he decided that his time to change was the present.

He went back to working hard at school and earning good grades. By the time Laymon ended high school, he had a 4.0 GPA and was accepted to Florida State University. Laymon was proud of himself, but he wanted even more. He went on to run for and become the Class President at FSU, and attained a master’s degree. 

Laymon wanted all of the students to know that they should always be working to earn more, and be more than they ever thought they could be. Of course there will be ups and downs along the way, but Laymon thinks everyone should let themselves know that “failure is not fatal” and they can try and try again to eventually succeed.

Along with feeling good about yourself, Laymon also told everyone to let their family members know they are loved. Some of the stories he had were quite depressing, including when siblings were at the same speaking engagements together and would not say, “I love you” to each other. Laymon forced them to say it.

At New Hope-Solebury High School, one of the students went up to the front stage to call his dad and let him know that he is loved. Everyone was also asked to text one person from their cell phones to tell that person that they love them.

It was an interactive event, and everyone was asked to cheer, clap, and text together.

The environment was positive and uplifting, and at the same time exciting. Students are definitely ready to chase their dreams after Laymon Hicks’ presentation.


Claire Chu named National Merit Semi-finalist

by Haniyyah Sardar, junior, Council Rock High School South

Last month, over one million juniors across the country participated in the PSAT/NMSQT to practice for the SAT and have a shot at being recognized as a “National Merit Semi-finalist” by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Every year, about 16,000 of the 1.5 million entrants are named semi-finalists. In other words, the top 0.01% of scores qualifies for semi-finalist recognition. At Council Rock High School South, eight students have been named semi-finalists.

Claire Chu, one of the eight semi-finalists from South, shares her thoughts on achieving this incredible honor. To Claire, this achievement means that “self-motivation is really one of the more important factors for success.” She is happy to have tested this well and receive recognition for her hard work. She also believes that this accomplishment indicates that there are many more goals of hers that can be reached.

Claire reveals that she actually prepared for the SATs and saw the PSATs as an opportunity to practice. She adds that the summer before her junior year, she learned SAT vocabulary words and a few weeks before the actual test she began doing many practice problems. As someone who has already gone through the process of preparing for the PSAT and other standardized tests, Claire offers some simple yet essential advice to students preparing for standardized tests. She says that with practice, “you start to develop a feel for what the test is asking and what answers it’s looking for.”

When asked about her opinion of standardized tests, Claire says that the PSATs “don’t determine intelligence or future success.” So, it is important to not get too stressed out about these things.

Outside the world of standardized tests, Claire is an active student both inside and outside of the classroom. She is in several honor societies and is also on the debate team. Claire plays violin for and is the president of South’s orchestra. In addition, she also plays piano and has participated in Honors Audition Piano Recitals for the New Jersey Music Teachers Association for the past nine years. Claire also teaches at a Chinese Language School. She was a finalist in the Penn State Essay Contest last year, and she has also performed well on national French and mathematics exams.

Claire has interests in many different subjects, so she is still deciding what career she would like to pursue. Her recent National Merit recognition, as well as her other achievements, serve as testimony to how hard work really does pay off.

PHOTO CAP: Claire Chu


Firing up their stoves for the year: The Cooking Club

by Julia Fischer, sophomore, Council Rock High School North

Everyone loves a cook in the kitchen. Who doesn’t love the awesome smells wafting from the stovetop or the oven?

But those smells don’t just stop at your house; they’re at school, too. The cooking club at Council Rock North has started whipping up their creations once a month and adding to the school’s many scents, all of which are much better than the locker room’s smell.

From soups to baked goods, this club is creating many different dishes. The Cooking Club at North has existed for about 10 years now, and for the last two years it has been run by the Family and Consumer Science teacher, Mrs. Debbie Mackey.

The club gets together once a month to make something, which they not only eat but also share with others as well. About half of the food goes to a group called Aid For Friends, which is an organization that makes meals for people who cannot cook for themselves, such as the elderly.

In fact, the Cooking Club often gets positive feedback from the organization. 

How are the recipes chosen? As Mrs. Mackey explains, “We don’t get our recipes from the Internet because they are just too unreliable. Cookbooks and recipes from food preparation classes are used instead because we always know we will have good results.”

Regardless of how reliable the recipes are, the club has had its mishaps before. Once, the club attempted to make pumpkin bread, but when the bread was put into the oven, it rose up so much that it ended up hitting the rack above and left giant stripes across the top of the bread. Apparently though, the bread still tasted good after the striped part was removed from the top.

Recently, the cooking club made potato soup for the Fall Festival, which is a great recipe for autumn fare. The proceeds from the Fall Festival contribute to funding of the Cooking Club for the remainder of its meetings.

Some of the recipes they will be making in the future include pumpkin muffins, chocolate chip cookies, and stir fry, so students may be surprised if they come to school one morning, and smell chocolate chip cookies in the hallway.

If you couldn’t tell, the Council Rock North Cooking Club is a great way for students to practice and hone their cooking skills by providing enjoyable opportunities to cook and eat like a gourmet.

Below is a recipe for pumpkin muffins from Mrs. Mackey that the club will make:

Pumpkin Muffins

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.

2.  Beat with a fork in a large mixing bowl:

    2 eggs

 3. Stir into the eggs with a wire whisk:

   ¼ cup oil

   ½ cup granulated sugar

   ½ cup brown sugar, packed

   1 cup canned pumpkin

   ¼ cup water

4.  Stir together in another bowl:

   1½ cups flour

   2 teaspoons baking powder

   ¾ teaspoon salt

   ½ teaspoon nutmeg

   1 teaspoon cinnamon

   ¼ teaspoon ginger

   ¼ teaspoon cloves

5.  Add the bowlful of dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture.

6. Stir all ingredients with a spoon  just until mixedDo not over-mix. 

7. Divide batter into 12 paper-lined muffin cups.

8. Optional topping: Mix just until crumbly:  Use a fork>>  Do not mash the topping!! 

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 Tablespoon regular white sugar

¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sprinkle topping on the muffins before baking. 

9. Bake for 15 -18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

10. Serve plain, with butter, or with cream cheese.  Enjoy!!


CB East renovations near completion

by Erin Farrell, junior, Central Bucks East High School

As of January 2014, CB East should be finished with its four-year renovation. Both CB East alumni and current upperclassmen haven’t forgotten the old prison-like look of Central Bucks High School East. Senior Richard Hartung said, “Inside, I felt like I was limited in what I could do. I felt like I was in a maze.”

Ryan Freitas commented, “The science hallway was really dark and scary. It was bleak…there may have been ghosts up there.” The transformation, four years underway, has transformed the school from its “dungeon” state to an architectural achievement.

From the front, the school is hardly recognizable. The new awning the incoming sophomores are privileged to see has only come into existence this past year, as is the bright new lobby that has quickly become the social hub for students in the morning. However, there is still more to be done.

“We are finishing Phase Four, which involves all music and art rooms. We are doing the final touches currently…technology is still being moved into the new rooms,” said Junior House Principal Mr. Hayes.

Near the athletic lobby, there are still hallways filled with dangling wires and bleak brown walls that must be traversed. Even so, these closed hallways will be opened in a few short weeks.

“At the end of the semester, things will be done. There will still be small things to be completed after, but those are just the little things,” said Mr. Hayes.

Students and faculty alike remember the darkness of the old open spaces. Many of the classrooms deep within this area of the school had no windows and no connection to the outside world.

“I am looking forward to having a new, healthier room that is brighter and cleaner than the old one,” commented Mrs. Fly, a math teacher whose old classroom was in the open space.

Mr. Hayes added, “Teachers in the math open space used to call me and ask, ‘What’s the weather like today?’ Now it’s completely different. The most exciting change really is the natural light in the school. Every classroom has natural light, which makes a significant change in the look of our school. It changes your mood.”

In addition to classrooms and planning centers, a fitness room will be going into the open space. The new fitness room will contain more machines like ellipticals and treadmills, while the old fitness room will contain weight lifting equipment.


MHS students participate in Snipes Farm’s ‘Seed to Fork’


by Jessica Worrell, senior, Morrisville High School

It was another exciting summer spent at Snipes Farm. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 13 students, two teachers and one facilitator met to participate in Seed to Fork.

Lead by Ken Kelman, Bonnye Kelman and Tilishia Bradley, Morrisville students from grades nine through 12 became a part of the farm life at Snipes.

Every day was started by a morning question and group exercise, which included yoga. “The exercises were a good, peaceful way to start the day,” said senior Emilie Nazario.

Besides questions, the students played many team-building games. Of course, there was also the work.

The students of Seed to Fork were able to learn about the hard labor that went into maintaining an organic farm. Days were spent out in the hot heat weeding, planting and harvesting. Some of the many plants harvested were onions, garlic, and eggplant. However, this hard work did not go without any rewards.

The Seed to Fork group had the opportunity to have brunch with one of the farm’s owners, John Snipes. At this brunch, John told the history of Snipes Farm. The members of Seed to Fork also got to learn about the vision of agriculture and development for the future of Snipes Farm, all while eating bagels.

Ken Kelman, co-leader of the group and 19-year teaching veteran at Morrisville High School, said, “It was amazing to hear how forward- thinking the Snipes folks are. They really care about education and promoting organic, sustainable farming.”

One of the best parts of the program was the cooking, led by Bonnye Kelman. At the end of each day, everyone got together to learn how to make different types of food. These foods included bruschetta, kale chips, and blueberry pancakes and shakes.

A highlight was also learning how to pickle cucumbers in just 20 minutes.

At the end of the program, a big bash was thrown where the foods that the members learned to prepared were made, and parents got to see their children’s work. In the end, it was a good summer for all.

PHOTO CAP: Joe Gilleo and Sara Zawodniak work the fields at Snipes Farm


CR North students return with summer memories

by Rachel Freeman, junior, Council Rock High School North

Council Rock North Senior Matt Holland was not expecting to learn how to fly during his family vacation to Florida this summer. Matt had been dreaming of going skydiving since he was eight-years-old, but the opportunity didn’t present itself until his family surprised him with a trip to iFLY Orlando – an indoor skydiving facility.

“My reaction was about the same as a six-year-old going to Disney World for the first time,” Matt said. “I was extremely excited.”

iFLY uses a vertical wind tunnel to simulate the skydiving experience.

The tunnel “creates true free fall conditions, without having to jump out of an airplane,” according to the facility’s website.

“It was one of the greatest moments in my life,” said Matt.

Matt isn’t the only North student who created timeless memories this summer. Taylor Roberts-Sampson, a junior at CRN, spent five weeks in Israel over the break.

Taylor is part of a “youth movement that empowers kids to change and better the world,” she explained.

She lived on a kibbutz, an Israeli communal settlement, while she participated in many community service projects, including building a new kindergarten. She made sure her voice was heard during group discussions about Israeli society and what needs to change in Israel. She got to spend time with the kids that live on the Kibbutz, too.

She spoke with them about what they do for fun and how they feel about where they live.

Taylor believes that her summer experience made her a better person. “I brought back with me a new view of the world and all the different societies that exist within it,” she said.

Many students who stayed home for the summer made great memories, too. Junior Steven Miller spent his 12th summer at Willow Grove Day Camp here in PA.

“Working at camp taught me how important it is to treat people with respect and make sure all of my responsibilities are fulfilled,” Miller said. “I’ll definitely apply those values to this school year.”

Now with plenty of summer stories to tell, students return to school with positive attitudes and rested brains (at least until their first tests).


New UNICEF club plans to give back

by Haniyyah Sardar, junior, Council Rock High School South

As the school year kicks into full gear, new and exciting student endeavors are taking place. Tanya Kumar, a junior at Council Rock High School South, is taking “charity” to a whole new level. She started the UNICEF Club at South. 

Although the club is a fundraising one with all of its earnings going towards the UNICEF organization, the club plans to raise money in a not-so-traditional way. It is all about fundraising in a fun and interactive way that will also raise awareness for this incredible organization. Since the club is just starting, specific fundraising events cannot be disclosed, but Tanya promises that they will be anything but ordinary.

As both the sole founder and president of the club, Tanya is looking forward to the experience of helping others. She says that she started the UNICEF club in an effort to give back to the community. She has witnessed poverty in India, which has also influenced her decision to found this club.

Tanya adds, “I still sometimes can’t get over how insanely lucky I am, and it makes me think that there are people in this world that don’t even get a sufficient amount of food per day.”

She hopes that the club will better inform South’s students of the horrors of poverty and help them see how lucky they are. She stresses that the club is not all about raising money and adds, “it`s about bettering people`s lives.”

The club’s first official meeting will be held very soon. Tanya has started a club like no other at South and students are eager to become a part of it. Many students have been signing up since the start of the school year, which is good sign. With enough committed members, the club will become officially affiliated with UNICEF. Tanya is excited to see where the club goes and hopes that it will really take off and fundraising can begin.

All in all, the UNICEF club is something unique to South, which gives students the opportunity to give back and become a part of something big. The hope is that, above all, the efforts of the club will change the way students look at the world.

PHOTO CAP: Tanya Kumar


Welcome home – A day at Villa Victoria Academy

by Rebecca Malloy, senior, Villa Victoria Academy

Stepping off the bus, I’m hit with a frigid blast of crisp autumn morning air. As I walk towards the entrance, I’m greeted at the door by the history teacher. “Morning, Mr. Castle!” I quip, with a giant grin on my face. “I like your tie today.”  He thanks me with a wry grin.

Laughing, I head up the stairs and down the hall, hurrying to the senior lounge. I drop my things off at my locker and head over to find everyone either sprawled out on the sofas laughing or studying for an upcoming test.  I love my class. We’re a family, a tight-knit group of girls who care about one another. We don’t fight, there’s no drama, and we have a potluck lunch once a month! 

As I walk in, I see a box of donuts, which I’m informed is a “lounge-warming” gift from the physics teacher. At 7:55am sharp, we all head downstairs into the cafeteria where the entire upper school gathers for homeroom.

At 8:00 the bell rings and everyone streams into the music room where we’re greeted with the chords of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”  We Villa Victoria girls are known for our Christmas concerts, and this is a new piece for the concert on December 8th. 

Afterwards, it’s honors biochemistry with Sr. Lillian Harrington, who is also the President of Villa Victoria. Only one other senior and I are taking this class, so we have plenty of opportunities to participate. 

The bell rings for third period and we dutifully gather our books and walk toward the religion classroom, where we talk about vocations and discerning which way God may be leading our lives. Then as fourth period begins in the AP Government room, we discuss the Constitution as well as the current economic and political follies facing our country.

Following honors humanities Art History, where Greek architecture is today’s topic, it’s finally time for lunch. The whole Upper School gathers together in the cafeteria to swap stories and compare lunches. We’re encouraged to sit with other grades and get to know each other on a deeper level.

Sixth period is a discussion in English on whether or not King Lear went crazy before or after he signed away his kingdom. Soon, the bell rings for seventh period, and I’m on my way to Business Math where we will discuss the stock market. Then last period arrives and an eclectic group of us gathers to converse in Español.

When the school day concludes, I walk outside the classroom and am greeted by a bustle of girls hurrying to catch a bus, play some sports, or audition for the spring musical (it will be “Annie” this year). I recognize every face I walk by; that tends to happen in a small school, and I absolutely love it. It’s my home away from home. As the last lines of our alma mater say, it is “my one, my own, dear VVA.”