Empire State of Mind


A few weeks ago I was privileged with the opportunity to take a day trip to New York City to sightsee and to be immersed in its unique culture and customs. It was an experience worth a thousand words.

As the charter bus sped through the Holland Tunnel, the light at the end grew closer, making me feel as though I was in a portal to another hidden dimension. It being my first time visiting New York, the vast buildings that overlooked the lively city immediately overwhelmed me.

63640-new-york-city-at-nightI remember stepping off the bus in Bryant Park and looking straight up in to the clear blue sky and struggling to see to the top of the Bank of America Tower. From that very moment, I’m not entirely sure why, but I was inspired.

I came to the realization that outside of this little City of Lebanon, the world has so much to offer. Everyone is given the opportunity to be as successful as they aspire to be, and New York City displays just that.

I found something in New York City. It wasn’t the food, the style or the souvenirs.

Rather, I found hope and innovation. I stumbled across diversity, and every corner held its own individual potential.

To me, the city held all the secrets to life. If you really have the opportunity to take it in, beneath all the commotion, there is an evident metaphor to the direct relationship between success and failure written all over New York City.

On the same street, there are homeless people lining buildings as the motivated and driven, in their work apparel, rush to their jobs or interviews. After all, success is not a one-way street.

We are all given the opportunity to outsmart even the toughest of obstacles and to achieve our deepest dreams. However, if we give in to false perceptions and negativity, we will falter, fail and symbolically be the homeless individual on the side of the street.

Being surrounded by such ambitious and successful people made me see the world through a different pair of eyes. My pessimistic mind was suddenly flooded with optimism.

The goals, which were hidden in the back of my mind, that once seemed too difficult to reach, instantly appeared obtainable.

If we live shadowed by the fear of failure, we will never rise to the occasion when it is presented to us. However, if we live with strength, perseverance and passion, anything is possible.

New York City may be considered a corrupted city to some, but to me, it is anything but that. It is the city of hopes, dreams and opportunities; it is a portal to those who desire to achieve the extraordinary.

SATisfying Your College Entrance Requirements


The three most dreaded letters for almost every upperclassman in high school are S, A, and T. No, I don’t mean the literal word sat, I am talking about the Scholastic Aptitude Test!

Due to the fact that most colleges refer to a student’s SAT score before they even consider acceptance, the very mention of the test causes approximately two million students per year, to cringe in fear.

In 1901, Carl Brigham instituted this dreaded college measurement tool, because his various analyzations and observations led to the harsh conclusion that American education was declining. Following the creation of the SATs, they were implemented for student usage in 1926.

Each individual SAT has a total of 170 questions and one written essay. These 170 questions are allocated into three timed sections, which include reading, writing and math.

Following the conclusion of the test, each of the three sections is given a numerical score ranging from 200 to 800. The portions are then added together to conduct a total score, with 2400 being the highest.

However, only a mere 0.02% of all SAT takers achieve a perfect score. The average score amongst students taking all three parts is a 1500.

Although it is true that your SAT score can either make or break you when it comes to college, if you don’t do as well as you hoped you would, it isn’t the end of the world.

Not all schools are overly impressed by an individuals SAT score; they also look at GPA and student involvement. Actually, Harvard rejects between 60-70% of individuals with a perfect SAT score because they were looking for more well-rounded students.

If you just aren’t satisfied with your score, you can retake it as many times as you want, with a $50.00 fee per retake.

Taking the SAT is an important step for an up-and-coming student, but when it comes down to it, causing yourself to stress out over it is unnecessary.

The SATs aren’t really a test that you can study for, as no one actually knows exactly what information will be on the tests each year. However, it would be helpful to use the Internet as a reference tool to find websites, such as, http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-practice-questions, that will refresh your memory on certain subjects with sample questions and will provide you with useful test taking tips.

The SATs have been around for over one hundred years and countless numbers of students have been in the same place as you are right now, as you face the stressful preparation leading up to the test. Each of these students came away from taking the SAT alive, and so will you, so relax, review, and rest, and you will be ready to take down this vile test.

Lebanon High School Librarian to be Honored at Relay For Life’s Honoree Ceremony


On May 16e860825dee7f4ab7add29bf598c65ef2th, Lebanon High School Librarian, Mrs. Elizabeth Rivera, will be honored at the Relay For Life, which will be held at the Cedar Crest High School track. Rivera is a survivor of breast cancer, thyroid cancer and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Dr. Gordy Klatt established the Relay For Life in May of 1985. Klatt walked around a track in Tacoma, Washington and raised $27,000 to help the American Cancer Society fight cancer.

When asked what Relay For Life was about Rivera responded, “It celebrates the survivors, the current people who have cancer, the ones lost to cancer, and the caregivers.”

Rivera is the captain of Team Hope at Lebanon High School. Team Hope takes a lap around the track at the Relay For Life called the “Survivor’s Lap.”

After being asked what Team Hope was about, Rivera responded, “I got it from a quote that Christopher Reeve said “Once you choose hope, anything is possible.” That’s where I got my team name from.

“You have to have hope, belief, and have faith. Each step gets you closer to finding a cure.”

Rivera was asked why she joined the survival committee and she replied, “When I first had [cancer] I didn’t know much about it. I was more interested in learning about it and being a former survivor myself, wanted to share my story.

“I was fourteen when I was diagnosed with it. I am a four time cancer survivor.”

Rivera also commented on how she felt about having cancer saying, “It has made me stronger over the years.

“I see things differently now. It has made me stronger with faith, family and I am determined to help former cancer survivors.

“You have to take everyday as precious and you have to take care of yourself. I realized that you only live once.”

Rivera’s story is an inspirational one that can teach us all to look at life with a different perspective. Cherish every moment of your life because you never know when it will end; some are not as fortunate as others.


Boston is Even Stronger than Before


This past Monday, April 21st, 36,000 runners took part in the 2014 Boston Marathon, which included a remarkable 13,000 more participants than the previous year. Among these additional 13,000 were countless victims and bystanders of the 2013 Boston Bombing, who were not only seeking closure from the race, but they also strove to display to all individuals their perseverance and untouchable hope.

The Boston Marathon no longer displays just the external, physical strength that comes from a runner’s strenuous training, but it also displays the internal strength and humanity of all individuals as Boston binds together to rise above the devastation from last year’s attack.2013-boston-marathon-winners

At about 9:32 am, the Elite women began their lengthy and arduous 26.2-mile journey to the finish, followed by the Elite men around 10:00 am. People from all over lined the streets to cheer on and applaud the many runners as their fatigued legs approached the final stretch on Boylston Street, chanting, “Boston Strong” and “Take back that finish line!”

At approximately 12:00 pm, Meb Keflezighi strode to the finish line, and claimed the title as the first male finisher with a time of 2:08:37. Keflezighi, an American citizen, not only broke his career best time, but he also broke the 31-year streak of winners who were not of American residence.

Finishing first for the Elite women, was Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, finishing with an unbelievable time of 2:18:57, a new course record. Jeptoo is now a three-time champion, as she previously took first in both the 2006 and 2013 Boston Marathons.

Both Keflezighi and Jeptoo expressed their triumph as they fell to their knees and let tears of joy cover their already sweat drenched bodies. At the conclusion of the races, Keflezighi and Jeptoo were awarded their well earned trophies and crowns, and gathered together to allow photographers a chance to capture this priceless moment in history.

During countless interviews with the media, Keflezighi revealed to the public his inspiring motive behind his victory. Written on the corners of his running bib were the names of the four runners who were killed in last year’s Boston Marathon; he intended to pay those who are now departed the honor that they deserve by running in memory of them.

When a tragedy, much like the 2013 Boston Bombing takes place, one would assume to see a city overwhelmed with despair and turmoil. However, Boston has not allowed this misfortune to dampen their spirits.

This 2014 Boston Marathon has displayed the city’s strength; they’re Boston Strong, and they’re even stronger than before.

Social Media

BY BRIANN MEASE - Staff Writer

Nowadays, everything revolves around technology. The news, sports team updates and movie times can be found on the Internet, and we are constantly updating our “status” via a social media account.

At first thought, this does not sound too bad, it actually sounds convenient. However, is it really a good thing for our entire world to revolve around social media and technology?

All it takes is one simple click of a mouse and you can access someone’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram account. Almost everyone, including teachers, has a social media accounts.

Social media doesn’t seem like a huge threat until you realize that no matter how many times you think you’ve deleted something, it will always be there.

The status you posted on Facebook from two days, two months, or even two years ago is still there. Even if you decide to un-friend someone or make your account private, your business is still on display.

For example, if you decide to go to a party that you shouldn’t be at, and make a status or post a photo that proves you were at the party, it could cause you some trouble. Teachers, principals, colleges, and even your bosses are able to access all of your accounts.

If that doesn’t prove it to you, go ahead and search “Lady Disrespecting Arlington” on Google. The woman in the picture, Lindsey Stone, posted this picture on her Facebook account as a joke.

This image shows Stone standing next to a sign at Arlington National Cemetery that reads, “Silence and Respect,” while pretending to scream and holding up her middle finger.

At the time, Stone didn’t mean to hurt anyone by posting this picture. However, she disrespected the fallen heroes of the Arlington National Cemetery, as well as herself.

This minor slip up turned into worldwide news and caused her to lose a lot of respect from many people, and her job as well.

A member of the LIFE Organization where Stone worked posted an apology and let everyone know that the picture in no way reflects their views on our fallen heroes.

Now, no matter what she does, that picture will always be there. There is always a chance that this picture could put her career on the line, all because of one small, stupid decision she made.

There is nothing wrong with being involved with social media, but it is important to know your limitations. One small status or picture could end up being something that affects you for the rest of your life.

I didn’t write this article to scare anyone, but simply with the intention of making everyone more aware of what could happen. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded that even though we love social media, it could come along with severe consequences if we don’t use it the right way.

Alaska is Found: and She’s a Masterpiece


When people hear the name John Green, they automatically think of the heart-wrenching novel The Fault In Our Stars. However, if you look back to his debut novel, Looking for Alaska, you’ll find that it’s equally genius.

Looking for Alaska follows Miles “Pudge” Halter, an ironically skinny teenage boy who just moved into a boarding school. Life is a little crazier than he’s used to at Culver Creek.

The book pursues the increasingly funny adventures of Pudge, and his new friends Takumi, The Colonel, and Alaska. However, Pudge soon starts to realize that there’s more to them than he originally thought.

Like The Fault In Our Stars, Green writes an emotionally deep story that makes us all question reality and ourselves. But, before you get too deep into your feelings, he injects a line of humor at precisely the right time.

Looking for Alaska definitely had me wishing I went to Culver Creek boarding school. Every page made me want the witty, smart, and happily broken characters as my new best friends.

I highly recommend Looking for Alaska to fans of The Fault In Our Stars, as well as all readers. Green has a way of writing that leaves readers laughing and crying at the same time; you won’t be disappointed.

A Faultless Write: The Fault in Our Stars


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is the flawless and heart-wrenching story of two teenage cancer patients, Hazel and Augustus, who are brought together by their unfavorable physical predispositions.

Hazel, the outspoken and perceptive 16-year-old girl suffering with thyroid cancer, reluctantly attends a weekly cancer support group her parents require her to take part in. She despises these gatherings, and rarely participates in their many activities in order to express her disapproval.picture-506

However, at one particular session, Hazel crosses paths with a boy by the name of Augustus Waters, who little does she know at the time, will end up impacting her life forever. Hazel and Augustus are instantly smitten with each other, but are faced by the emotional and physical struggles that accompany battling cancer that for quite some time, restrict their newly found friendship from blossoming into something more.

They begin to find closure and comfort within each other, but they also feel a deep-rooted fear of becoming close. Growing up with cancer has planted the thought in the back of their minds that any day may be their last day. Therefore, they are both incredibly cautious about forming relationships because they deal with the constant fear of being a “grenade” that may blow up at any given moment.

Green continues the story by taking the reader on a roller coaster of emotions, provoking both tears of joy and sadness as Hazel and Augustus look past these faults and allow themselves and their relationship to blossom in each others company. Despite the unfortunate medical restrictions that they have grown accustomed to living under, the two still have a zeal for living life and the belief that they will not be labeled and defined by cancer.

Green constructs a faultless equilibrium of romance, tragedy and in spite of it all, hope. Doing so, the reader is left on edge and speechless as he/she anxiously turns the pages.

The Fault in Our Stars is written in such a way that it is relatable, and both beautifully and brutally honest. It is an uplifting novel that not only depicts the life of a cancer patient, but also figuratively illustrates the ups and downs of life in general.

As Green himself writes, “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book” (33).

I recommend everyone to read this novel, and become entranced with its “evangelical zeal” that manages to shine through “the shattered world” of Hazel and Augustus; it is a must read.

How I Met a Terrible Ending


Warning, spoilers ahead.

CBS’s long running television sitcom, How I Met Your Mother came to a close on Tuesday night. Most viewers were not too happy about the ending.

The series revolved around Ted Mosby in the year 2030, telling his kids the story of how he met their mother. All of the episodes are mere flashbacks of Ted’s.

His stories center around his group of friends, married couple, Marshall and Lily Eriksen, womanizer, Barney Stinson, and Canadian news reporter, Robin Scherbatsky.

For the past nine years, viewers have expected a happy ending in the show and for all of the loose ends to be tied up. However, this was not the case.

The finale left plot holes open, and destroyed things that everyone had been anticipating, like a happy ending for all of the characters. The episode included more flashbacks until the day that Ted begins to tell the story in 2030.

We find out that the children’s mother dies within years of Ted meeting her, and Ted is telling the story to explain that he is still in love with Robin.

The fact that Ted still loves Robin was important back in the first season, when Ted and Robin began a short relationship, but it had only lasted a few episodes. So, it had little bearing on the overall show and seemed pointless to include in the final episode.

In the last few minutes of the episode, Ted and Robin confess their mutual feelings for each other, the words “How I Met Your Mother” appear on the screen, and it cuts to black.

I felt like I got robbed of an ending to an amazing show. There was so much buildup and the ending was just disappointing.

The ending was given bad reviews by numerous viewers. Most of us imagined an ending without the heartbreak, but unfortunately, it didn’t even remotely meet our expectations.

Be Aware For the Month of April


The month of April is known as National Autism Awareness Month. The Autism Society has celebrated National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970’s.

According to the National Autism Society, “Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a spectrum disorder that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.”

The number of children who have been diagnosed with autism has grown in the United States in the past ten years. The Center for Disease Control announced on March 27th that “1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 eight-year-olds) in multiple communities in the United States has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates reported in 2012 of 1 in 88 children (11.3 per 1,000 eight-year-olds) being identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

There are milder forms of autism. Many health professionals use the term “high functioning autism” when describing patients with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Asperger’s Syndrome mildly affects language and cognitive skills. One major difference between autism and Asperger’s, is that there is no speech delay in Asperger’s.

It takes children who have autism longer to develop language skills than it would for children with Asperger’s.

Children who have Aspeger’s will want to try and fit in with others; however, the Autism Society states “Children with autism are seen as aloof and uninterested in others.”

Here are a few signs to notice if your child or loved one may have autism. People with autism tend to lack communication skills, may show aggression towards others or oneself, could act up with intense tantrums, or be withdrawn from others.

If you notice these symptoms, take your child to be evaluated by a pediatrician. Drugs.com states “Children with known or suspected autism will often have genetic testing (looking for chromosome abnormalities) and may have metabolic testing.”

Knowing autism and its symptoms is an important factor to determine whether your child may have autism or not.

Despite the affects autism has on individuals, the people who have it are usually very smart and creative. They tend to see the world differently than we do.

I have an uncle who has autism. Despite his condition, he is smart.

He knows certain types of cars, he has a good memory and in his spare time, he likes to build robot model kits, and he puts them together without any help.

So this month especially, do not be so quick to judge a book by its cover. Autistic individuals are ordinary people just like we are.

For more information about autism go to http://www.autism-society.org/get-involved/national-autism-awareness-month/.

School on Saturdays?


You wait all week for the weekend to arrive, counting down the days until you are finally given the opportunity to sleep in and unwind.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you are halfway there. Thursday, Friday, and finally the weekend is here!

But wait! Did you know that on March 19th, Pennsylvania passed a bill that now provides schools with more flexibility on rescheduling snow days, allowing them to make the school days up on your precious Saturdays?

This bill was passed with the intention of not keeping students in school well into their summer vacations when classes are canceled due to inclement weather.

However, are you willing to give up your Saturdays? I know I’m not.

Now just wait, relax, and take a deep breath. Your Saturdays may not be taken away from you after all!

This newly proposed option is only the last resort for schools that did not think far enough in advance to schedule a sufficient number of makeup days throughout the regular school year.

Thankfully, the winter season has recently said its farewell, and spring has made its way to center stage. Nevertheless, the pesky winter weather did not ease up as quickly as we all hoped it would.

Temperatures are still lingering below freezing and are accompanied by occasional snow showers.

Let’s all hope for quickly approaching warm days and sunshine to banish this plague of winter weather; I want to keep my Saturdays!