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Student of the Month: Mariana Fikse

IMG_2320Alexis Kalugin | The Feather Online Archive

While freshman Mariana Fikse enjoys horseback riding, she is also playing varsity tennis and basketball.

Every month The Feather will highlight one student recommended by a teacher and voted upon by Feather staff members. Students are chosen depending upon several factors including and not limited to good grades, class engagement, positive attitude and special extracurricular activities.

Due to the Feather’s upgrade period during the end of March and April both a Male and Female student have been selected for the month of May.

May’s female student of the Month is Mariana Fikse, ’16, chosen by mathematics teacher, Jared Kaiser for her focus and curiosity in the materials.

“Mariana is a student who knows what it means to be an Eagle,” Kaiser said. “She is always willing to help her fellow classmates and is always on task wanting to learn more.”

Fikse first joined the FC community at the start of the 2014-15 school year after attending Cross Road Christian in Madera throughout elementary and junior high. Since her arrival, Fiske has kept exemplary grades as well as joined both the varsity basketball and tennis team.

“Mariana is a student who knows what it means to be an Eagle. She is always willing to help her fellow classmates and is always on task wanting to learn more.” –Jared Kaiser, mathematics teacher

Sports and athleticism comes naturally to Fikse who spends much of her free time outdoors or riding quads at the track behind her family’s dairy (located in Madera). As a first-year tennis player, Fikse says that she originally joined tennis for the team aspect however soon began to enjoy the sport as well.

“It’s a fun sport that you can play with almost anyone,” Fikse said. “There isn’t so much pressure because it is an individual sport so you learn at your own pace.  I first tried tennis because I didn’t know anyone at the school and I thought it would be a good way to get to know some people. But as the season went on I began to really enjoy tennis.”

She first started basketball at Crossroads in the 5th grade and has continued to build and hone in her skills since, as a freshmen on FC’s varsity level.

Team mate Olivia Tandadjaja, ’16, says that Fikse served as a vital member of this year’s girl’s basketball program as well as being a supportive teammate and friend.

“Mariana has such a positive attitude and always gives her all,” Tandadjaja said. “She definitely makes the most baskets in our team from her three-point-shots. She is also really funny and great to be around.”
Fiske hopes to help strengthen the girl’s program throughout the next three years and develop close bonds with her team mates.

“My favorite part is just being on a team and having fun and getting to learn the sport better,” Fikse said. “My hopes for next season are that we win more games and make it to the playoffs. I think next year we will be good enough to compete with a lot of teams.”

When not outdoors or practicing for tennis or basketball Fikse often plays the piano which she learned as a 1st grader. She still continues to take regular lesson and performs at recitals an average of twice a year.
Fikse has attended Cornerstone Community church is Chowchilla throughout her life and plans to become involved with the youth group over the summer.

Fikse wants to discover her future career by taking the classes that interest her. Though she is not yet certain about the exact path, Fikse considers a career in agriculture due to the significant role the family farm played in her childhood. Fikse accredits farming with her strong work ethic and with the appreciation of values and integrity.

“In the summer I work in our office and sometimes I will help my Dad with vet checks on Wednesday,” Fikse said. “It (farming) definitely makes you appreciate hard work and not take things for granted. I definitely would want to stay in agriculture. It’s like my life, I love it and I have never known anything different I guess.”

Friend Jenna Bynum says that Fikse is generally quiet but extremely caring and loyal.

“She’s quiet, funny, nice and caring,” Bynum said. “She’s just an overall awesome friend.”

Mother, Marie Fikse describes her daughter as focused and compassionate. Both parents want Mariana to stay strong in her faith and continue to pursue her interests and dreams.

“Mariana is a sincere and kind person,” Marie said. “She cares about others and has a sweet personality. She is humble and honest and works hard at whatever she does. She is a self-motivated person, she wants to do things right. She works hard and doesn’t give up easily. I see leadership qualities in her and a lot of perseverance. We pray that she will continue to grow in The Lord and seek Him first and His will for her life. Mariana brings joy and fun to our family everyday and we are proud of her and love her.”

Interesting facts about Mariana Fikse

• If Fiske was an animal she would be a bird so that she could fly.
• Her favorite food is Pizza
• If Fikse could have any superpower it would be super speed.
• Her favorite restaurant would either by California Pizza Kitchen or In n Out.
• She listens to Christian and Country music.
• She has four Labrador retrievers.
• When Fikse was in elementary school she read and re-read the Narnia Series multiple times.
• Her favorite subject is history because she likes to learn about how the modern connects with the past.

For last month’s Student of The Month, view Student of the Month: Roman Endicott.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2015-05-08T12:35:36-07:00May 8th, 2015|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Student of the Month: William Liao

IMG_9953 | The Feather Online Archive
Every month The Feather will highlight one student recommended by a teacher and voted upon by Feather staff members. Students are chosen depending upon several factors including and not limited to good grades, class engagement, positive attitude and special extracurricular activities.
Due to the Feather’s upgrade period during the end of March and throughout April both a Male and Female student have been selected for the month of May.

May’s male student of the Month is William Liao, ’16, chosen by school secretary, Michelle Warkentin for his genuine character and attention to detail.

“I think William should be student of the month because lately I’ve seen him being kind to the students,” Warkentin said. “He’s always very helpful and very polite when he comes into the office and he will ask if I need any help or those sorts of things. He always wants to make sure things are very clear and so I think that he needs to be honored for those things.”

Liao first attended FC in seventh grade after spending his elementary years at Maple Creek and as a homeschooled student.

This year Liao decided to join the drama department. The first year actor soon deemed the program his favorite class. He participated in Fc’s 2015 production of Music Man as part of the ensemble. Liao says that the best part about drama is learning to recite lines in various ways.

“I’m in drama for the first time so I’m enjoying that,” Liao said. “I thought it would be a fun class to join and since they were doing the music man, a famous play, I thought it would be fun to be in it. My favorite part about drama is getting to learn how to say lines differently and in different tones and getting to do all of the fun scenes in the play.”

I think William should be student of the month because lately I’ve seen him being kind to the students. He’s always very helpful and very polite when he comes into the office and he will ask if I need any help or those sorts of things. He always wants to make sure things are very clear and so I think that he needs to be honored for those things.” –Michelle Warkentin, academic advisor 

In addition to drama, Liao has played tennis with FC since freshmen year. The junior athletes’ persistence throughout the last two years has led in part to Fc’s impeccable record in the 2015 season.

“I have enjoyed playing tennis ever since my freshmen year,” Liao said. “Tennis has been going well so far. So far so good. This is the best year we have had; Fresno Christian has not lost any games this year.”

Teammate Andrew Moore,’16 says that Liao displays exceptional positivity and focus in each match.
“Will always puts out 100% effort each match,” Moor said. “It inspires the rest of us to play harder as well. He’s an encourager to the rest of us.”

On Liao’s free time he enjoys playing video games, watching movies with friends or simply spending some quiet time relaxing. Liao says that due to sports and academics, he often does not have the opportunity for much down time.

“I do consider myself really busy,” Liao said. “I manage my time well and sometimes I would have free time to relax but there are times when I am super busy and sometimes I don’t have time to relax. When I do, I surf the internet, play video games and sometimes listen to music.”

In the future Liao plans to pursue a profession in computer science. He recognizes the growing need for technological support and finds the study of computers interesting.

“Technology is taking over now days,” Liao said. “I thought it would be a good field to go into since pretty much every career is using technology and it makes good money. Also it is fascinating.”

Friend Nathan Wong attends the same church as Liao and sang alongside him in Music man’s ensemble. Wong describes Liao as a quiet and kind person.

“We were friends since the day I came here,” Wong said. “He goes to my church and that’s where I think I first met him. I would say that as far as personality he is very quiet and shy. However he is also a really nice person.”

Father Daniel Liao says that the family’s ultimate goal for Will is that he would remain strong in faith and develop the leadership qualities of a man after God’s own heart.

“Our number one hope is that he is close to Christ,” Liao said. “This trumps all other desires.
For his career we pray that he finds his passion and gift that God has given him and use it to be a productive citizen. We have always told him that our job as parents is to prepare him to be the best husband, father and/or uncle so long as God wills it. He knows that eventually he will be the man of the house and we hope that he is a Christ-centered leader of his household.”

Interesting Facts about William Liao
• His favorite book is the Harry Potter Series (he has read all seven of them!)
• Liao’s favorite movie is alien vs. predator.
• Liao has a Boston terrier and a tortoise that he got in the 1st grade.
• Liao attends church and Youth group at Fresno Chinese Gospel Church.
• If Liao could have any super power it would be super strength. He would use it to fight off criminals.
• Liao’s favorite restaurant is Red Lobster and his favorite food is orange chicken.
• Liao’s favorite video game is Super Mario Bros Wii.
• He often enjoys listening to Christian and Classical Music.

For a previous student of the month article read Student of the Month: Villanueba pursues passion for animal science, values relationships.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2015-04-03T12:31:08-07:00April 3rd, 2015|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Student of the Month: Roman Endicott

IMG_7984Every month The Feather will highlight one student recommended by a teacher and voted upon by Feather staff members. Students are chosen depending upon several factors including and not limited to good grades, class engagement, positive attitude and special extracurricular activities.

The student of the month for March is Freshmen Roman Endicott, chosen by Spanish teacher Karen Almaraz. Almaraz says that Endicott has shown a great deal of responsibility, focus and positivity within both the classroom setting and the sport’s field.

“Roman is a wonderful student and athlete,” Almaraz said. “I chose him because I truly appreciate his great work ethic and positive attitude on and off the field. In class, he’s always on time and ready to start. I know I can count on Roman to participate whenever I ask for volunteers to answer a question or read. He is constantly going out of his way to help out his classmates and despite having such a busy schedule with baseball his dedication to his studies is outstanding.”

Endicott is a “lifer” at FC. This year he has taken part in two seasonal FC sports, showed dedication in the academic sphere and is a first year member of the California Scholastic Federation (CSF).

Endicott has been a member of FC’s baseball and football program for several years and fills most of his weekday afternoons with team practices. Though Roman enjoys athletics he says that the most beneficial part of participating in a team is forming close bonds with others.

“I like sports because a lot of the friendships I have developed over the years have been a result of them and I wouldn?t have those bonds with people that are really close to me without them,” Endicott said. “I feel like the biggest part of it to me is the people that play the sport not necessarily the sport itself.”

Junior teammate Bailey Brogan says that through the short time that Endicott has spent on the team he has displayed a strong work ethic and good sportsmanship.

“Roman is a valuable member of the team,” Brogan said. “He has a good work ethic and a drive to improve on his skills. As a freshman he is very talented for his age and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him.”

“We would describe Roman’s personality as friendly, easy-going, funny, smart, hard working and kind. Roman has a strong work ethic. He is disciplined and works hard, especially with his school work and athletics. Our hopes for Roman’s future is that he will always have the same sincere heart he has right now and will follow God’s leading.” Jennifer Endicott, Roman’s mom

After a long week of balancing sports and school work Endicott values a bit of downtime with friends and family in order to refresh himself. He says that though being productive is healthy, spending quality time with others is of the utmost importance.

“I hardly find time during the week (to relax) but during the weekend I find time to just relax with friends and family,” Endicott said. “I feel like if I spend a weekend without catching up with my parents or hanging out with my friends then I really didn’t get anything accomplished and it wasn’t fun at all.”

In addition to academics, sports, and making quality time for family, friends and relaxation, Endicott often aids his grandfather in taking care of his property. He also attends youth group at Bethany Church after practice when he is able.

Mother Jennifer Endicott says that her son is driven, intelligent and caring. She and her husband hope that Roman will continue to steadfastly uphold these qualities throughout his life.

“We would describe Roman’s personality as friendly, easy-going, funny, smart, hard working and kind,” Jennifer said. “Roman has a strong work ethic. He is disciplined and works hard, especially with his school work and athletics. Our hopes for Roman’s future is that he will always have the same sincere heart he has right now and will follow God’s leading. Roman is a wonderful son, brother and friend and we feel so blessed to have him in our family.”

In the distant future, Endicott plans on pursing a profession in the medical field due to his interest in science and passion for helping others

“I plan to hopefully go into something in the medical field because it has always interested me,” Endicott said. “Probably working with people in surgery or being a doctor. Science is my favorite subject and I feel like there’s a lot of different things that you can learn about. It’s just really interesting.”

Though still a freshmen Endicott has expressed interest in Fresno Pacific College.

Erin Wilson, ’18, says that Endicott displays both a humorous and a caring personality.

“He?s smart and he’s nice most of the time,” Wilson said laughing. “He’s also funny. He has a good personality. He cares about people and likes helping them too which is really good.”

Interesting Facts about Roman Endicott

-If Endicott could visit anywhere in the world it would be New Zealand because of the beautiful landscape.
– Endicott is the tallest person in his family.
-Endicott’s favorite fast food restaurant is In and Out
– If Roman had to eat one food for the rest of his life it would be Chile Cheese Dogs.
– His favorite animal is a Red Panda.
-His favorite TV show is The Office
– Endicott’s favorite video game is Madden NFL50
– If Endicott could have any super power it would be invisibility because he could do anything and have fun messing with people.

Follow the Feather via Instagram and Twitter: @thefeather and @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

For February’s Student of the month article, read, Student of the Month: Villanueba pursues passion for animal science, values relationships.

By |2015-03-26T00:00:00-07:00March 26th, 2015|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College planning for SAT and ACT

IMG_7894

An informational meeting about SAT and ACT testing will be hosted by College Planning and Tutorial Center, March 25, 2015.

Students needing college planning for SAT and ACT are in luck. FC students grades 7-12 and parents are invited to attend an informational meeting about SAT and ACT testing hosted by and located at the College Planning and Tutorial Center, March 25, 2015. At this gathering, guardians and students will be informed about the standardized testing processes and the necessary steps to insuring optimal success.

Though FC hosts a similar annual meeting in the fall, the College Planning and Tutorial Center will be providing various details not otherwise available to the FC community. Students currently in the college application process are highly encouraged to attend.

Academic Advisor Michelle Warkentin says that students who attend the meeting will have the opportunity to gain valuable insight from experienced educational professionals.

“It is a good idea for students to attend this meeting to find out more about college from professionals who know the ins and outs of applying to college,” Warkentin said. “They will present valuable information regarding high school classes needed to take for college acceptance and helpful tips about the application process. This is a free event and a great way to get a head start on all things related to college.

“It is a good idea for students to attend this meeting to find out more about college from professionals who know the ins and outs of applying to college. They will present valuable information regarding high school classes needed to take for college acceptance and helpful tips about the application process. This is a free event and a great way to get a head start on all things related to college.”- Michelle Warkentin 

Junior Vanessa Shubin recommends that students attend the session in order to avoid any test day mishaps.

“An important reason to go to the meeting would be so that you are prepared for test day,” Shubin said. “One thing to remember before taking the SAT is that they don’t provide calculators. There were a few people who forgot theirs at home when I went and I’m sure they didn’t have a fun time.”

Senior Summer Villanueba has already taken the SAT however, she advises juniors and seniors who have not yet taken the test to go to the meeting in order to become familiarized with the testing process.

“Going to the Pre-SAT planning tests and getting lots of practice is good because it prepares you for future testing,” Villanueba said. “Colleges looks at all these tests and determine where your going to be, so it makes sense to study up hard so that you make a great impression. The extra practice does help to, because then you can improve your scores and go through problems easier.”

As students determine college planning for SAT, ACT, they are encouraged to check out the College Planning and Tutorial Center online or attend the seminar.

College Planning and Tutorial Center is located at 6729 N. Palm, Ste. 103 Fresno, CA 93704. For more information email academic advisor Michelle Warkentin at mwarkentin@fresnochristian.com.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

For more news read the March 23 article, BREAKING: Feather receives CSPA Gold Crown Award.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.

By |2015-03-25T00:00:00-07:00March 25th, 2015|News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Blood drive honors FC alumna in recovery (VIDEO)

gabyAlexis Kalugin | The Feather Online Archive

The FCS community is again gathering support in a blood drive for Emily Krieghoff, March 20. Please donate for an Eagle alumna.

In the late hours of Saturday Feb. 21, FC alumni Molly Griffin and best friend Emily Krieghoff were victims of a fatal DUI accident. Molly Griffin was killed on site while Krieghoff is currently in recovery at Fresno Community Hospital.

Due to the essential role that blood donations have played in Krieghoff’s recovery and because of the tragic nature of the incident, the FC community will be partnering with Central California Blood Center in the first Emily Krieghoff Blood Drive, March 20.

The idea for the event was first purposed by Leadership and Economics teacher, Robert Foshee after Krieghoff’s mother suggested a blood drive. Foshee says that the event will provide an opportunity for both FC alumni and current students and staff members to come together as a community and support the Krieghoff family during a time in which they need it most.

“I think it’s a great way to give back to the community especially for our own alumni who have been touched by that,” Foshee said. “It’s something that you can do that’s easy. We’re also going to have a place where we can write messages and cards and if you want to help out the family during that time too there’s opportunities to do that. As a school it’s an opportunity to come together as a family.”

The Central Blood Center mobile will be stationed in the high school parking lot from 1-5 p.m., equipped with trained and experienced personnel. All potential donors are required to be in relatively stable health upon arrival at the mobile and must weigh at least 110lbs and be 16 years of age or older.

All student participants regardless of age, are required to obtain and present a signed permission slip upon arrival at the mobile. Permission slips are available for free download at Central Blood Center’s website. Students must also schedule an appointment for their donation prior to March 20 via email with either Foshee or school secretary, Vicky Belmont.

Central Blood Center holds all rights to deny donors participation if they fail to meet the before mentioned requirements or present any number of complicating factors such as abnormally high blood pressure or body temperature.

According to Central Blood Center, the process of blood donation works in a simple four step process. Firstly upon arrival participants must register with the use of a photo ID and social security number. These two items are required to register and those who do not posses proper identification will not be admitted into the Mobil.

The experience was fun and I felt important because I was giving to someone who needed it. I wanted to do it because I did it last year and I had a good time and wanted to do it again. I would encourage anyone who is able to participate because it is an easy and fast way to help people who are in need. –Senior Breanna Jennings

Secondly, Central Blood Center personnel will conduct a brief physical check up, measuring blood pressure and heart rate in order to assess the individual’s personal health. All health information that donors share with the personnel will be kept confidential.

The withdrawal of one pint of blood usually takes no more than 15 minutes and is a painless process. After completion participants will receive a T-shirt, a sweet treat and be encouraged to rest for a short amount of time before resuming daily activities.

Leadership member Breanna Jennings, ’15, previously donated at FC’s annual Max Hinton Blood Drive. She says that the opportunity provides a hands on and practical way to give back to the community and reach out to those who need love the most.

“The experience was fun and I felt important because I was giving to someone who needed it,” said Jennings. “I wanted to do it because I did it last year and I had a good time and wanted to do it again. I would encourage anyone who is able to participate because it is an easy and fast way to help people who are in need.”

Macy Mascarenas, ’16, knew both girls on a more personal level through her older sister. Mascarenas believes that the blood drive is a way to honor the memory of Molly Griffin and the generous sacrifice that saved Krieghoff’s life.

“I think the blood drive is a really good idea,” Mascarenas said. “These are young girls who went here and made such an impact on this school. I think the least we can do as a school is to dedicate it to them and to honor them.”

Update: Emily Krieghoff is scheduled to be released from Fresno Community Hospital, March 18.

To obtain permission slips or learn more information about donor qualifications, visit www. Centralvalleybloodcenter.com.

To follow Emily Krieghoff’s progress, visit caringbridge.org. Please read a guest post by Macy Mascarenas as she reflects on the life of Molly Griffin.

For another article news article read Campus families gather to support 32nd FC Auction.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

Column: Finish the year strong (PODCAST)

Alexis Kalugin | The Feather Online Archive

Junior Skyler Lee

From a personal vantage point, the last few weeks on campus have been characterized by an overall air of apathy and mental, if not physical, disengagement from academics as well as school spirit and social relationships.

While this pattern is not unusual, especially at the end of the year it does raise several harmful implications in the quality of academic, social and spiritual progress.

Before finding the cure, it is important to first diagnose the disease. Many call it ‘Senoritis’, although juniors and underclassmen seem just as susceptible to it. It is the strong desire to be anywhere besides the school setting. The symptoms: not completing assignments or taking the easy way out, general weariness and irritability (sound familiar?).

For many, this attitude and lifestyle choice has been in operation since the end of first semester or earlier. However, as the last few months of school whittle away it has become more apparent. One of the main reasons for this is simply that students are worn out both mentally and physically.

It would seem easy to ‘just get by’ during these last few months. After all, the brunt of the academic year, excluding finals, has mostly passed. Yet according to academic magazine, Eye on Education such behavior may actually shape students future study habits and their overall views of that particular year in a detrimental light.

“The ‘remembering self’ is comprised of the one or two ‘peak’ moments we have had in a situation combined with how it ends (this is known as the ‘Peak/End Rule’),” Eye on Education says. “‘It is the remembering self that tends to stick with us and the one we use to frame future decisions. From this perspective, what occurs in the final weeks of our classes will have a huge influence on how students feel about and make future decisions related to learning, schooling, the subject you are teaching, and how they might feel about future teachers.”‘

In addition to poor academic habits, this form of ‘underachieverism’ often takes a toll on personal relationships as well. Though the abandonment of responsibilities may appear to aid in a greater amount of time and therefore deeper relationships, this is rarely the case.

Rather, unmotivated individuals can often have a very self-serving and distant demeanor pushing away social interactions. Anxiety resulting from a stack of late assignments and homework that the student plans to complete five minutes before class starts may also cause friction in relationships.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. –Colossians 3:23-24, Bible

Perhaps the most convincing reason (at least for Christians) to throw aside any trace of a negative mind set is that, simply put, God tells us to. In Colossians 3:23-24, God reminds Christians who it is that they are really serving.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

If it is the Lord that FC students serve every day why do we complain so often? If it is the Lord that we serve why do we talk bad about others and forget about what really matters? The issue is not so much that we are good or bad students but that the focus of our lives is distorted. We have become what Revelation 3:16 calls “lukewarm.”

If we believe that the purpose of our lives here on earth is truly to glorify God with everything that we have, then ‘underachievement’ is a bit of a violation to our very existence.

God calls His people to be passionate and to act. Yet beyond the spiritual implications there is the cold hard facts that high school in only four years out of our lives. We have four years to participate in all of the activities offered at FC (which our many). We have four years to bound with our existing friends and perhaps make a few more. We have four years to reach out to someone who may never find love anywhere else but in that moment.

(PODCAST) Finishing the year strong–Feb. 28, 2015

Rather than looking back and whishing for greater involvement, why not pursue those things now? High school is not an eternity (though it may feel like one) and the choices that we make now will affect our futures as well as those of the people around us. Rather than go through the motions we need to take motion and lead the student body in a passionate and purposeful finish to the 2014-’15 school year.  finish the year strong.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerlee.

For more opinions, read the Feb. 18 article, COLUMN: Why every student should go to NOTS.

By |2015-03-05T00:00:00-07:00March 5th, 2015|Column, Podcasts 2014-15, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Where are they now? David Lee

Lee-1Alexis Kalugin | The Feather Online Archive

Lee expands upon the details of his current day to day life and the changes that have occurred in the last few months.

Previous mathematics teacher shares present experiences with FC community

The start of this year brought about many changes to the FC campus, administration and student life. One of which was the absence of four year mathematics teacher, David Lee.

Since his departure at the end of the 2013-14 school year, Lee has taken up a part time teaching position at Buchanan High School, where he previously taught for a total of 19 years. Due to an increase in free time Lee has been able to pursue his many interests and spend a greater amount of quality time with family members.

In addition, after a six year absence Lee has once again decided to coach tennis. He was originally one of the essential builders of programs at both Buchanan and Clovis West. Lee currently holds a coaching position for Alta Sierra’s junior high tennis team.

Below Lee expands upon the details of his current day to day life and the changes that have occurred in the last few months.

Skyler: What drew you back to the Buchanan Campus?

Lee: There were a couple of reasons I went back to Buchanan. First of all I’ve taught at Buchanan for so many years that it really is kind of like a home to me because of the staff I work with there and the administration. Just the feeling of the school itself is a good feel for me because I have been a teacher there for about 16 or 17 years. A number of the teachers that I had worked with are still there. So there’s a sense of going back to my home and the fact that I could also work part time there. At Fresno Christian I was working full time and that was just a little more than I wanted to do and so with a part time offering at Buchanan I was able to have more of a sense of being retired. Plus my daughter is a junior at Buchanan. It’s a chance for me to spend time with her.

Skyler: How has your teaching experience been at Buchanan?

Lee: The kid’s at Buchanan are great and I really enjoy the subject that I am teaching(Algebra II). Life has kind of simplified for me. It’s not as hectic and so I’m more at peace with myself because I’m not feeling so rushed. It gives me a chance to witness to the kids at Buchanan because there are Christian kids in my classes but there are also many kids who are not Christian. As a teacher of faith I can be a good example to them. That’s not to say that I don’t miss the kids at Fresno Christian because during the three or four years I taught at Fresno Christian I have never had a class room show more kindness and love for me than I experienced there.

Skyler: How has teaching at a larger school like Buchanan been different from teaching at Fresno Christian?

Lee: I think being at a small school you really get to know your kids well. I felt like I got to know all of my kids at Fresno Christian so much better than at a public school because the class rooms are small. At Buchanan there are kids in my class that I know by name and recognize them and know something about them but you really don’t get to know them in any depth. At Fresno Christian it’s a little different because you’re around the kids daily and because there are fewer numbers you get to know them as a person.

Skyler: Besides teaching what do you do with your free time now?

Lee: I really love camping we have a little pop up trailer and I think camping is really an excellent way of getting the family together because you’re out there and your away from the TV and get a chance to spend time with each other and also to really enjoy the nature that God has given us. We also love sports. As you know I’m a big 49er and Giants fan and I’m a big Bulldog fan. I attend a lot of sporting activities. All of my kids love sports and my wife loves sports. Also my daughter is playing basketball at Fresno Pacific,  so I go watch her play and my youngest daughter is still playing tennis at Buchanan. Now that I’m teaching at Buchanan it’s very easy to support her and her tennis. Besides camping, we just love vacationing when we have the opportunity.

Skyler: How would you say your life is different now than it was a year ago?

Lee: I would say that the stress is a lot less because my work load isn’t quite the same. I would say that because I’m part time I’m able to do more things with my family. It just gives me more time to spend around my family. I would also say that as I mentioned earlier I don’t have the same connection with God daily that I had while I was at Fresno Christian. You guys have a very special opportunity at FC to worship the Lord daily in a school setting and I miss that. I still get into my bible and am with the Lord that way but worshiping daily with His family is something that I don’t get as much.

Skyler: Lastly do you have any parting wisdom for the students at FC?

Lee: I would say that the students should not take lightly what privileges they have at a Christian school because sometimes you don?t realize what you have until it’s gone. I would tell the students there to enjoy and make the most of their opportunities at Fresno Christian because Fresno Christian not only offers an opportunity to be with the lord but because it’s a smaller school you can participate in so many activities… There are so many activities that are available there at Fresno Christian that kids should get involved in. Get involved in those things because you only go through high school one time and you?ll look back and ask why you didn’t do more.

To find out more about David Lee’s work at FC read Lifelong ambition motivates math teacher.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skyerklee.

For more features, read the Feb. 27 article, Sophomore discovers musical talent, excels.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline

By |2015-03-02T00:00:00-07:00March 2nd, 2015|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Student of the Month: Villanueba pursues passion for animal science, values relationships

Over the last few years Villanueba has become immersed in student life, school work and various extracurricular activities including Color Guard, Women's Ensemble and several sports.Austin Insco

Over the last few years Villanueba has become immersed in student life, school work and various extracurricular activities including Color Guard, Women’s Ensemble and several sports.

Senior applies herself to studies and extracurricular activities

Every month The Feather will highlight one student recommended by a teacher and voted upon by Feather staff members. Students are chosen depending upon several factors including and not limited to good grades, class engagement, positive attitude and special extracurricular activities.

The Student of the Month for February is senior Summer Villanueba, chosen by English and Yearbook teacher, Andrea Donaghe. Donaghe says she selected Villanueba for persistence in her school work and the quality of her character.

“Summer has an incredibly strong work ethic, completing all assignments on time and well done,” Donaghe said. “It is rare that I ask Summer to resubmit work. She has valid opinions and conveys them well in her writings and essays. As a student here at FC, Summer holds the ideals and qualities that this school strives for. Whether it is in my English class, twirling her flag for Color Guard or worshiping in Chapel, Summer is a true example of pursuing excellence.”

Villanueba joined the FC community as a 7th grader after attending Mountain View Christian throughout elementary school. Over the last few years Villanueba has become immersed in student life, school work and various extracurricular activities including Color Guard, Women’s Ensemble and several sports.

Summer says that while she is often preoccupied by these activities, there is a certain joy and contentment to be found in a life full of commitment.

“Yeah I’m busy most of the time, but I like to be busy,” Villanueba said. “I like to have things to do because I don’t always have the opportunity to spend time with the people I want to because their busy too. Instead of me sitting at home doing nothing I would rather be here doing something.”

Villanueba’s extracurriculars coincide with her own personal interests making passion for these activities natural.

Music has played a considerable role throughout Villanueba’s childhood up to her present involvement in Women’s Ensemble. As a young child Villanueba took part in baby pageants and attended special classes to enrich her musical talent. Throughout the years, programs at both Mountain View and FC have served to create an infinity toward the musical world. Although, Villanueba admits that her appreciation for the art was a slow developing process.

“At first when I was younger I didn’t much care for it {music} because it was like I had to do it for school,” Villanueba said. “But when I came to Fresno Christian where they had electives, where I got to choose what I wanted to do then it became: this is what I like to do. That’s how I first started to like music.”

“Summer has an incredibly strong work ethic, completing all assignments on time and well done. It is rare that I ask Summer to resubmit work. She has valid opinions and conveys them well in her writings and essays. As a student here at FC, Summer holds the ideals and qualities that this school strives for. Whether it is in my English class, twirling her flag for Color Guard or worshiping in Chapel, Summer is a true example of pursuing excellence.”–Andrea Donaghe 

In addition to Ensemble, Villanueba has taken up Color Guard as a sport of choice. Though she had, had no prior experience until junior year, Villanueba soon became a dedicated member of the team.

“Color guard has been the one sport where I feel like I don’t have to worry about people pushing me too hard or being too aggressive,” Villanueba said. “It’s just a thing that I know I can do. I’ve tried other sports, but Color Guard has just been the one that’s stuck.

Despite a loaded academic and extracurricular schedule, Villanueba, manages to make time for her interests outside of the school setting, one of which is animals.

From a young age, Villanueba was exposed to the animal kingdom through her older brother who worked at a local pet shop. Due to these interactions Villanueba developed a love for all creatures both ordinary and exotic. She currently owns a blue nosed pit bull, two tabby cats, a shih tzu and a Mexican King snake.

“I always had animals in my life and I guess I always felt I had a connection with them,” Villanueba said. “I was the type of kid that cried when Lassie died or if there was a movie where an animal got hurt I was always emotionally involved with it. It’s super important to treat animals well because sometimes their species won’t last that long otherwise.”

She hopes to take this compassion for animals to a professional level after high school, perusing an animal science degree at Fresno State University, attending Fresno Pacific University to continue animal science research and eventually becoming a surgical vet.

In order to gain experience for her future and out of a sheer fascination and compassion for the animal kingdom, Villanueba volunteers her time to organizations such as the SPCA and the Waterhouse Animal Hospital.

“For me I think it’s important to volunteer at shelters because it is something that I’m getting involved with in my career in the future,” Villanueba said. “For others it could be a way to help the community. It’s a good way to serve and get experience.”

When Villanueba has time that is not devoted to school, extracurriculars or animal care, she enjoys spending quality time with friends and with her boyfriend. In addition, she dabbles in poetry, creative writing, art and video games.

“I occasionally like to do artsy kinds of stuff,” Villanueba said. “I’ll draw pictures or I’ll write poetry. I’ll make stories up just to pass the time. Other than that I love to play video games.”

Long time friend and alumna Miriam Dewolf, ’14, says that Villanueba displays a unique ability to both maintain a calm demeanor and simultaneously remain focused on the academic sphere.

“Summer is laid-back and lazy, but at the same time dedicated and driven,” DeWolf said. “She is caring and loyal and willing to drop everything to help out with people she cares about. She’s honest. If you ask her ?does this dress make me look fat?? she’ll honestly say ‘yes it does now take it off.'”

Blog Editor Emily Ladd, ’16, considers Villanueba to have the likeness of an older sibling due to her honest and caring nature.

“Summer is kind of like a really cool older sister figure,” Ladd said. “She’s hilarious and fun to hang out with and play with. She’s also honest and always there for you.”

Villanueba values friendship as a high priority and often organizes get-togethers for the simple purpose of bonding.

“To me my friends are my family,” Villanueba said. “I have girl sleepover parties or I’ll take them to Disneyland or to Six Flags or Beach Boardwalk. All of that type of stuff, because these are the people I want to spend my life with. They’re pretty much my family.”

For more Student of the Month, read the Jan. 23, Poojan Gopal strives toward profession in mechanical engineering.

For more features, read the Feb. 18 article, New academic installment creates environment for change.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather and Instagram @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerlee.

 

By |2015-02-19T00:00:00-07:00February 19th, 2015|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

FC community invited to aid Community Food Bank, Feb. 21

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 8.32.36 AMFresno Community Food Bank

Juliana Rosik, ’16, first purposed the project to the FC community. Rosik mentioned the idea not only because she was obligated to do so for a leadership position but because she believes that service coincides with God’s ultimate will for the body of Christ.

Leadership Student suggests idea to help the food bank

Students and their families are encouraged to offer their services at Fresno’s Community Food Bank from 7-11 a.m. as part of the organizations 10,000 Hour Volunteer-A-Thon. This event aims to complete a total of 10,000 hours of service throughout the course of four non-consecutive volunteer days: Feb. 7, Feb. 21, March 7 and March 21.

Community Food Bank has been in commission since 1992 and currently feeds over 220,000 needy San Joaquin residents a month from throughout its multiple locations in Fresno, Madera and Kings County.

Juliana Rosik, ’16, first purposed the project to the FC community. Rosik mentioned the idea not only because she was obligated to do so for a leadership position but because she believes that service coincides with God’s ultimate will for the body of Christ.

“Initially I was making this service project for a director position that I have in my leadership class,” Rosik said. “But in the end I realized that I really wanted more service projects at the school. It’s something that’s really important to me. Service is important as a Christian and also just to be a part of your community so I think giving people opportunities to serve is a really good idea.”

While at the bank, participants will aid in sorting and packaging food for the needy. This is of upmost importance considering one out of three children in the San Joaquin Valley struggle daily to find adequate nutrition.

Leadership advisor, Robert Foshee says that the Community Food Bank provides a unique and simple way to serve the people of Fresno and invite others to do so as well.

“The Community Food Bank does so much in the valley for people who don’t really have a lot of stuff and they need a lot of help to keep things running,” Foshee said. “I know Juliana has a heart for the Food Bank and so she brought it up. You can go with friends, with family. It doesn?t have to be with someone from FC. It can be anyone that you know so I think it’s just a great opportunity to give back on a day where maybe you might sleep in otherwise.”

Jenny King, ’17, plans on attending the event in order to both obtain hours for CSF and future college transcripts as well as aid the less fortunate. She encourages others to bring friends and family members.

“Well first of all I enjoy doing service projects and helping out with the community,” King said. “It’s also good because I can put it on my college transcript. I?m also doing it because it counts for CSF service hours. Also I think it will be fun to go and hang out with my friends who are going. So if you have friends that may be interested in going make sure to invite them because it will be more fun that way.”

“The Community Food Bank does so much in the valley for people who don’t really have a lot of stuff and they need a lot of help to keep things running. I know Juliana has a heart for the Food Bank and so she brought it up. You can go with friends, with family. It doesn’t have to be with someone from FC. It can be anyone that you know so I think it’s just a great opportunity to give back on a day where maybe you might sleep in otherwise.”–Robert Foshee

To become involved in the 10,000 Hour Volunteer-A-Thon, students and adults must sign the school registration sheet as well as acquire and fill out a release form by the day of the event. Individuals who do not adequately complete this procedure will not be allowed to participate in the 10,000 Hour Volunteer?A-Thon.

Fresno’s Community Food Bank is located at 3403 E. Central Ave., in southwest Fresno. For more information, contact Juliana Rosik in person or via twitter @julesrosik.

For more news, read the Feb. 13 article, Student Leadership: Serve Day approaches

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2015-02-18T00:00:00-07:00February 18th, 2015|Community Events, Features, Leadership, News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Surviving the flu season, how to recover from illness

According to National Public Radio (NPR), the risk of a potentially fatal flu encounter has been increased this year due to the emergence of H3N2, an especially harmful virus.NPR

According to National Public Radio (NPR), the risk of a potentially fatal flu encounter has been increased this year due to the emergence of H3N2, an especially harmful virus.

Tips on preventing and recovering from the seasonal flu

The flu season is fully underway, in perhaps one of the most severe occurrences in recent years. Since early December people from across the nation have fallen ill displaying a plethora of varying symptoms and as the flu season is relatively unpredictable these trends are capable of persisting until the early spring.

According to National Public Radio (NPR), the risk of a potentially fatal flu encounter has been increased this year due to the emergence of H3N2, an especially harmful virus. The main victims of this year’s flu are estimated to be adults age 60 and above and young children with prior health concerns.

“The CDC is worried because the most common strain of flu virus circulating in the United States is one called H3N2,” said NPR. “In previous years, H3N2 strains have tended to send more people to the hospital than other strains ? and cause more deaths, especially among the elderly, children and people with other health problems.”

This raises the question of how to protect oneself and others from the seasonal flu and regain health after initially contacting it.

Flu shot

While there are various recommendations (some very useful) about seasonal prevention, the most frequently advised is the flu shot. As of early December, the government issued an official statement urging US residents over the age of 6 to be immediately vaccinated due to a high probability of contracting the illness. Despite these warnings, many question the vaccine’s effectiveness or simply refuse to be injected out of personal preferences.

According to WebMD, the flu shot’s rates of success depends upon several unique variables including age, fitness, and the strain of virus present in that particular year. However, the vaccine is estimated to have a 70% to 90% rate of affectivity regardless of any outside factors.

There’s two big things happening right now,” Walters said. “First we don’t have enough sunlight and number two people are confined closely indoors so it’s easy to spread. Because we don’t have enough sunlight you can help yourself by taking Vitamin D3 which replaces what the sun does and helps boosts our immune system. — Dr. Karen Walters

As for the procedure, Junior Alli Cowen describes it as quick and painless.

“The shot was really very fast,” Cowen said. “It was in my upper arm and I was honestly shocked at how quick it was. It was pretty painless too. I really never minded shots, but this one seemed easier than most.”

Vaccinations can be found at all medical facilities as well as some select drug stores.

Sanitation

The degree of cleanliness within home, work and school settings plays a large role in the spread of the flu. The virus is naturally prone to flourish in areas where sanitation is taken lightly. SFGate recommends the frequent washing of hands as a major flu deterrent.

“At the minimum, wash your hands in hot water every time you sneeze, cough or touch your nose or mouth, as well as after using the bathroom and before preparing food,” SFGate said. “Take it another step and wash your hands every time you touch another person. Take it to the extreme and wash your hands every time you touch any surface.”

Vitamin D3

The winter season often collaborates in combination with the virus to both increase the spread of the flu and deprive the human body of many essential nutrients necessary for recovery.

Science teacher Dr. Karen Walters points to a lack of sunlight as well as the close proximity of living quarters during the cold months as a major contribution to the flu epidemic.

“There’s two big things happening right now,” Walters said. “First we don’t have enough sunlight and number two people are confined closely indoors so it’s easy to spread. Because we don’t have enough sunlight you can help yourself by taking Vitamin D3 which replaces what the sun does and helps boosts our immune system.”

This simple vitamin is available for both children and adult consumption alike and according to Mercola.com highly effective.

“According to the findings from a 2010 study, vitamin D is a highly effective way to avoid influenza. In fact, children taking low doses of Vitamin D3 were shown to be 42% less likely to come down with the flu.”

How to recover

For those who have managed to contract the flu virus, complete recovery is an essential step in returning to normalcy. Perhaps, one of the most important parts of this process is rest. While prescription medicines and substances such as fever reducers may be necessary, many times rest and nourishment serve as the best remedy, according to Healthline.

“In most cases, the flu just needs to run its course,” Healthline said. “The best advice for people sick with the flu is to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. You may not have much of an appetite, but it’s important to eat regular meals to keep up your strength. Stay home from work or school and don’t go back until your symptoms subside.”

Dean of Students, Amy Deffenbacher says that attending school when ill not only violates FC’s policies, but is likely to lead to more significant health problems for both the individual and those around them.

“If you’re already sick the best thing to do is to stay home until you are well enough to come back,” Deffenbacher said. “Returning too soon will either expose you to new germs, give your cooties to someone else or weaken you so that you’re going to be sick longer. The rules are that you have to be fever free for 24 hours without medicine, have nothing green coming out of your nose and keep away if you have a cough that is likely to disturb others.”

For more features, read the Jan. 4 article, Get to Know: Andrew Guthrie.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2015-02-05T00:00:00-07:00February 5th, 2015|Announcements, Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

One of FCS’ founding kindergarten teachers passes away

Mrs. Cookingham was one of the founding teachers at FC upon it's opening in 1977 and became the first K-2 teacher at Hume Lake Charter School at the age of 72.Cookingham Family

Mrs. Cookingham was one of the founding teachers at FC upon it’s opening in 1977 and became the first K-2 teacher at Hume Lake Charter School at the age of 72.

FC honors the life and memory of Melva Cookingham

On Jan. 13, 2015 at the age of 88, Mrs. Melva Cookingham, mother of four, wife, friend and FC kindergarten teacher for over 20 years, departed from this earth and was united with her Heavenly Father.

Mrs. Cookingham was born June 8, 1926, in Columbia Falls, Montana to Mr. and Mrs. Helen and Siebert Williamson. When she was six months old her family moved to Monmouth, Oregon.

Mrs. Cookingham graduated from Monmouth High School in 1943 and pursued higher education at Willamette University.

After graduating from Willamette in 1947, Mrs. Cookingham attended Columbia University, earning a master’s degree in music at age 24. She married Paul Cookingham after meeting him at Columbia on June 27, 1948 and together they moved to the Fresno area in 1953.

Mrs. Cookingham was one of the founding kindergarten teachers at FC upon it’s opening in 1977 and became the first K-2 teacher at Hume Lake Charter School at the age of 72. In 1985 she was declared Fresno County’s Mother of the Year by the Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Cookingham also played an integral role in her local church,The Bridge, and became involved with several short term missionary endeavors throughout the years.

Previous first grade teacher, Gladys Kerfoot taught alongside Mrs. Cookingham and remained a close friend for 37 years. In addition to Mrs. Cookingham’s gentle sprit, and bold faith Kerfoot recalls a class tradition deemed ‘the beauty spot’.

“When you would watch her with her children she could always correct somebody over there but never do it in a harsh way,” Kerfoot said. “I remember she always had a place in her class called the beauty spot. It was a table that had a Bible on it and maybe some pretty flowers or a picture. Her relationship to God and her faith really stood out in her life. She lived what she believed.”

Mrs. Cookingham is survived by her three sons, Kent and wife Menta, Kevin and wife Kelli and Curtis and wife Pamela as well as eleven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. In December of 1970 Mr. Cookingham passed away followed by her son Mr. Craig Cookingham in August of 2010.

According to Kerfoot, any misfortunes in the life of Mrs. Cookingham paled in comparison to her positive attitude and compassion for others.

When you would watch her with her children she could always correct somebody over there but never do it in a harsh way. I remember she always had a place in her class called the beauty spot. It was a table that had a Bible on it and maybe some pretty flowers or a picture. Her relationship to God and her faith really stood out in her life. She lived what she believed. — Gladys Kerfoot about her friend Melva Cookingham

“Mrs. Cookingham was one of the most godly people I know,” Kefoot said. “I could talk to her about anything. She would pray about it. We would pray together. She had a lot of tragedy in her life yet she always had faith that God was going to take her through it all.”

Jim Wiens grew up a close friend with Mrs. Cookingham’s sons. Although he did not attend FC, he kept in close contact with the family for over 50 years and eventually sent his own children to be taught by Mrs. Cookingham.

Wiens describes Mrs. Cookingham as a kindhearted and reliable friend.

“She was kind and gracious,” Wiens said. “She impacted me as an example of a true believer. She ran the race well and finished strong. She was a solid testimony. … She was kind to people and very concerned with and kind to children. Mrs. Cookingham was faithful in friendship. She would be considered consistent and valued as a consoler. She was always kind.”

Jim Wiens children John Wiens, Mary Schramm and Sara Contreras have all graduated from FC and created families of their own. They still recall however, spending long hours at Mrs. Cookingham’s home at a young age and calling her by the affectionate title ‘Grandma Cookingham.’

“She had a really fun two-story house that she would let us play at when we were growing up and she always let us be creative and do adventurous things,” Mary said. “I remember she had a really amazing garden. She just let us play and be kids.”

Wiens says that Mrs. Cookingham always had a habit of keeping her guest’s plates full especially after a long day of play.

“I remember going to her house quite a bit when we were young,” Wiens said. “We loved playing up in her attic, sliding down the stairs and going swimming. She always put extra food on your plate and made you eat it even if you weren’t hungry. It was one of the funny things she did. She always wanted to make sure you had enough food.”

In addition to her teaching profession and church involvement, Mrs. Cookingham had a passion for gardening and for music. She taught piano for several years and often brought her musical expertise to the classroom.

“She was always playing the piano and always singing whether it was at her house or at school,” Wiens said. “I remember in kindergarten she would always give little performances and she would play the piano and sing for that. I definitely remember her love for music.”

For the Wiens family Mrs. Cookingham’s influence reached far beyond childhood. Schramm says that the kindergarten teacher and surrogate grandmother continued to take interest in her family and personal life up until her passing.

“She was passionate about relationships;” Schramm said “She was always very interested in what was going on with us and what was happening in our lives. Once I got married and had a family she was interested in knowing what was happening with each of my kids and with my husband.”

Although Superintendent Jeremy Brown did not know Mrs. Cookingham personally he expresses gratitude at her twenty years of service and of her unwavering pursuit of God’s will.

“Melva loved children and she loved teaching,” Brown said. “She always had time to counsel and encourage parents and staff. Her words of wisdom are remembered to this day. She was a woman of God trusting Jesus to lead and care for her needs and her life. She played a critical role in setting the standards and laying the ground work for future kindergarten teachers.”

A service celebrating the life of Mrs. Melva Cookingham is to be held at the The Bridge Fresno, 3438 East Ashlan Ave., Fresno, CA 93726, on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at 1 p.m. The family prefers that all remembrances be sent to Hume Lake Christian Camps, 5545 East Hedges, Fresno, CA 93727 instead of floral arrangements.

For more features, read the Jan. 28 article, Air quality affects campus, valley.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2015-01-30T00:00:00-07:00January 30th, 2015|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Student of the Month: Poojan Gopal strives toward profession in mechanical engineering

IMG_6610rKylie Bell

The student of the month for January is sophomore Poojan Gopal, chosen by history and photojournalism teacher, Kori Friesen.

Sophomore acknowledges the value of hard work

Every month The Feather will highlight one student recommended by a teacher and voted upon by Feather staff members. Students are chosen depending upon several factors including and not limited to good grades, class engagement, positive attitude and special extracurricular activities.

The student of the month for January is sophomore Poojan Gopal, chosen by history and photojournalism teacher, Kori Friesen. Friesen says that Gopal actively displays a determination to work hard and improve in his studies.

“I picked him because I have seen an exceptional amount of dedication and commitment in APUSH (AP U.S History),” Friesen said.”Poojan doesn’t complain, he has a great attitude and he is committed to doing the ‘hard’ stuff to get it right. I appreciate what he brings to the table each time. I’m very proud of him.”

Gopal joined the FC student body three years ago after attending Clovis Christian Schools. He transferred with the intention to grow in both academic excellence and personal faith.

This year, Gopal has taken on a full academic load as well as his first AP class. In addition, Gopal plans to apply to the California Scholarship Association (CSF) this semester. Although, he does not focus solely upon school work, Gopal understands the potential impact of academics on the future.

“If you want to be successful in life you have to know stuff education wise,” Gopal said. “Getting an education helps you out a lot in life. It gets you a job so you have enough to support yourself and your family.”

Mother, Manisha Gopal, says that her son has shown a great deal of dedication to his classes this semester.

“He works hard a lot,” Manisha said. “Usually he does good at whatever he does. He always does his homework at home and has improved a lot since the beginning of the year with a 4.0 (GPA). My hope for him is that he will continue doing what he is doing with advancement.”

I picked him because I have seen an exceptional amount of dedication and commitment in APUSH. Poojan doesn’t complain, he has a great attitude and he is committed to doing the ‘hard’ stuff to get it right. I appreciate what he brings to the table each time. I’m very proud of him.–Kori Friesen.


During his free time, Poojan enjoys socializing with friends, playing video games and following professional basketball, football and baseball. His favorite teams are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Browns. Gopal says that time to relax and rejuvenate plays an important role in being a well-rounded student.

“You can?t always be focused on school,” Gopal said. “You have to take a break every once and awhile to relieve stress and unwind. Watching sports and taking that time definitely does that for me.”

Nevan Gonzalez, ’17, has been friends with Gopal since his arrival in junior high three years ago. Gonzales says that Gopal is a loyal companion and overall fun person to be around.
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“He?s the type of friend that you can just hang around with,” Gonzales said. “In a group he would probably be most likely to talk but not extremely often. In general, he?s just the type of person you can be around all the time.”

After high school Gopal plans to attend classes at Fresno State before transferring to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and eventually to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in order to pursue a profession in mechanical engineering. Gopal says that engineering is a stable profession that aligns with his own personal work ethic.

“I decided last year to become a mechanical engineer,” Gopal said. “I decided to do this just because it?s something that I think is a good job. I?d be a good mechanical engineer because I would always get the work done. I would try my best and give 100% effort.”

A video on Poojan Gopal is to be added at a later date.

For more features, read the Jan. 22 article, National holiday reminds citizens of civil responsibility.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2015-01-23T00:00:00-07:00January 23rd, 2015|Academics, Features, Leadership, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Annual camp focuses on trusting God, builds relationships

unnamedNicole Hudecek | The Feather Online Archive

The churches of the San Joaquin Valley join together for a weekend of worship and community at Hume Lake Winter Camp.

Hundreds of youth crowd into the small doorway of the chapel building, dressed in puffy winter apparel. While they wait for the sermon to begin, friends both new and old, chat amongst themselves about tube runs, box sleds and broom hockey.

From Jan. 9-11 the churches of the San Joaquin Valley joined together for a weekend of worship and community at Hume Lake Winter Camp. This particular trip was estimated to be amongst the greatest attended with 15 charter buses and approximately 1000 high school, junior high and elementary students. During this annual trip, campers are provided the opportunity to attend daily worship services and sermons, participate in a plethora of activities and simply escape the stresses of daily life.

The theme of Hume’s 2015 winter camp was “Ordinary Things”. Its main focus was complete trust in God centered upon the key passage, Proverbs 3:5. Timothy Nyberg,’,16 says that the camp?s straightforward yet integral message taught him to rely upon God in all circumstances.

“I think the theme of this year was a simple but powerful message,” Nyberg said. “Although, it was on a verse that most of us know and a story that is common to us all, it was a refreshing reminder. It reminded us all that we are never alone and that no matter what God will always keep us on the right path.”

The speaker for the weekend was Jeff Gokee founder of non-profit organization Wallets for Water and Executive Director of outreach program, PhoenixONE. First time attendee, Michael Gibson, ’17, enjoyed the way Gokee balanced humorous storytelling and deep theological reasoning within his sermons.

“It was a good experience and they definitely did a good job of presenting God?s word,” Gibson said “I thought the speaker (Gokee) was very good. He was very animated and had good way of tying his stories to the message.”

The band responsible for leading worship during the 2015 camp chapels was The Advance, a young contemporary trio. Alexis Kalugin, ’16, says that The Advance made worship a very personal and unique experience.

“I really enjoyed the worship band, Kalugin said. “They were really refreshing and not what I expected but they made worship with God very intimate. My favorite song would probably be ‘Give us Faith’ or ‘Cornerstone'”.

“I thought it was a really amazing experience and I think that everybody should be able to go on it if they can with their church,” Vanderlin said. “It’s just a really good opportunity to connect with friends and get closer to God while you’re up there. You go up to the camp with different friends each time but you always get this same experience.”

Besides being a time for renewal, Winter Camp provided an opportunity for snow sports and rare contests. Broom hockey and box sledding are amongst the camps most revered traditions. In one, campers compete in a shoeless ice hockey tournament using brooms for sticks. In the other, each church is required to make a functional sled out of duct tape and card board boxes.

Triton Siebert, ’17, says that he enjoyed the free time and wacky church contests most. Although, he believes that the camp impacted him spiritually as well.

“My favorite part was playing broom hockey and snowboarding,” Siebert said. “Also chucking ice snowballs at my friends. But I also took away a better understanding of how God works in our lives.”

The campers loaded back into their charter buses at approximately 1 p.m., on January 11 and arrived between 3 to 4 p.m. at the People’s Church parking lot.

Multi-time camper Tyler Vanderlin, ’17, says that Hume Lake always provides an opportunity to both bond with friends and draw near to God.

“I thought it was a really amazing experience and I think that everybody should be able to go on it if they can with their church,” Vanderlin said. “It’s just a really good opportunity to connect with friends and get closer to God while you’re up there. You go up to the camp with different friends each time but you always get this same experience.”

For more information on Hume Lake Winter Camp visit www.humelake.org.

For more features, read the Jan. 15 article, Math teacher travels through Europe over break.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2015-01-16T00:00:00-07:00January 16th, 2015|Community Events, Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Final novel concludes The Giver Quartet

Student reflects upon Lowery’s work, solves unanswered mysteries

I was first introduced to The Giver Series from an elementary school reading list. I remember author, Lois Lowery’s, intricate plot, detailed characters and particularly the cliff hanger conclusion of the first novel.

Only years later when The Giver became a major motion picture did I decide to check out the other three novels. This collection of stunning dystopian drama was the first of its kind and I believe a prelude to modern teen thrillers such as The The Hunger Games and Divergent.

 This collection of stunning dystopian drama was the first of its kind and I believe a prelude to modern teen thrillers such as The The Hunger Games and Divergent.Amazon Books

This collection of stunning dystopian drama was the first of its kind and I a prelude to modern teen thrillers such as The Hunger Games and Divergent.

Son is the fourth and final novel in The Giver Quartet. It follows the journey of Claire, a simple girl chosen as birthmother within the same intensely structured community as Jonas (the main protagonist from The Giver).

When Claire encounters complications in the birth of her son, she is relocated to labor in the fish hatchery. However, due to strong maternal instincts and the fact that she does not take the pills that suppress the rest of the community’s emotions, Claire develops a strong yearning for her son.

The determined young mother decides to volunteer at the nurturing center in order to find the child. After some time she notices that the baby is abnormally restless and needy. The child is held back due to these tendencies and receives special care from a particular nurturer (Jonas’s Father) who brings the baby home to his family every night.

At this point the multiple lives of Lowery’s characters began to coincide and fit together like jigsaw pieces.

Claire’s son (Gabe in the first book) is declared unfit and scheduled to be released (killed by lethal injection). Before Claire is aware of the situation Jonas hatches a plan of escape taking the toddler with him.

The sudden and traumatic events within the community cause Claire to have a physiological breakdown and take drastic action.

The distraught girl then climbs aboard a sea bound supply vessel. Yet when the ship wrecks Claire is left unconscious and wounded off of an unfamiliar coastline. The kindhearted villagers of the surrounding community rescue and accept her as their own. Yet due to physiological and perhaps a great deal of physical trauma, Claire is rendered unable to remember specific details of her past.

A large portion of the remainder of the book is dedicated to the resurgence of Claire’s memories and her relentless pursuit of her son.

This last installment is unique in one aspect. Unlike the main characters of the previous three novels, Claire has no special powers or talents than enable her to complete the task at hand. She is beautifully simple. The girl has only compassion, loyalty, and determination; yet it is enough. — Skyler Lee

In the process the young woman sacrifices love, comfort, youth and life itself to find a boy who doesn’t even know her name. These strong themes of sacrifice and faithfulness are woven throughout the plot of Son and the Giver series as a whole.

This last installment is unique in one aspect. Unlike the main characters of the previous three novels, Claire has no special powers or talents than enable her to complete the task at hand. She is beautifully simple. The girl has only compassion, loyalty, and determination; yet it is enough.

Claire finds her long lost son but at enormous cost. In the end it is Gabe who must rescue his mother and his community from a long standing and powerful evil.

Son ties the other three novels together in near perfect harmony, clarifying the mysteries of Lowery’s world. The only criticism I have is that there is not a more full picture of the events leading to the creation of these rigid communities, nor any given time frame in history. Although the text reads at a very simple level, the concepts and plot are anything but simplistic. Son concludes the Giver series with remarkable grace and with an air of overall satisfaction.

For more reviews, read the Dec. 2 article, Third film in franchise raises expectations for final installment.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

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By |2015-01-05T00:00:00-07:00January 5th, 2015|Books, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Student of the Month: Tyler Sellers focuses on military based future, shows class participation

IMG_4205Alexis Kalugin | The Feather Online Archive

Dodson says that over the course of the semester Sellers has become increasingly dedicated and focused on his academic responsibilities.Junior pursues studies founds club

Junior purses studies, founds club

Every month The Feather will highlight one student recommended by a teacher and voted upon by Feather staff members. Students are chosen depending upon several factors including and not limited to good grades, class engagement, positive attitude and special extracurricular activities.

The student of the month for December is junior Tyler Sellers, chosen by English and Bible teacher, Kyle Dodson. Dodson says that over the course of the semester Sellers has become increasingly dedicated and focused on his academic responsibilities.

“I chose Tyler as student of the month because I would give him the most improved award from the beginning of the school year until now,” Dodson said. “In the four months of school, he has transformed into a hard worker and an eager learner. In my class, he is quick and responsive in adding to discussions, makes outside connections to the readings in class, and overall promotes a healthy community within his classes. He is encouraging to others to try their best.”

In addition to his rising participation and involvement in academics, Sellers takes part in baseball and enjoys fitness. He is confident about the skill level of FC’s Varsity Baseball team this season and hopes to aid them in a championship title.

“Last year we did pretty good for the first year being together,” Sellers said. “This year I think we?re going to be much better since we?ve already played together for a year. We know how each other plays and we are much more bonded. I think we have the talent to win valley championship this year.”

Sellers spends most of his free time at the gym or doing chores at home. He says that utilizing one?s time efficiently is important.

Tyler is a very outgoing person. He’s very funny and the type of person that will just stick with you no matter what. I have known him for literally forever and he’s a great guy.–Daniel Ayres 

“I’m usually at the gym or doing something a bit more constructive,” Sellers said. “When I get home I kind of just do work or whatever my Grandpa says. I?m not usually having that much free time but when I do it?s always something more constructive.”

Two years ago Sellers entered a Cadet Program and is currently planning to join the marines after college. He was prompted to research national service after several acquaintances joined the program.

“A lot of my friends last year went into the marines and into the military so I became interested in going into it,” Sellers said. “The biggest thing was that they paid the best and had the better branch. I looked into it and researched it and so that is what happened.”

Besides being opportune, service is among one of Seller?s greatest passions. He says that his family has always held patriotism and respect as highly valued ideals.

“Patriotism pretty much comes from my roots it comes from my home,” Sellers said. “It?s just how I was raised. A lot of my family was in the military so they taught me to respect people and just live for God, family and country.”

Sellers is the founder of Valor Club, a gathering focused on honoring veterans and service men. He formed the idea after being impacted from several veteran service and awareness based programs.

“Over the summer I went to a lot of programs like the Wounded Warrior Project and I just thought I could do more and wanted to start,” Sellers said. “It?s about honoring veterans and letting them know that we?re here as a school and in the community. We can show that we care about them and that we still know that they?re there. About 42% of homeless people are veterans so we want them to know that we still do care.”

Long time friend Daniel Ayers,’17 says that Sellers is a faithful friend and humorous companion.

“Tyler is a very outgoing person,” Ayers said. “He’s very funny and the type of person that will just stick with you no matter what. I have known him for literally forever and he’s a great guy.”

Read Student of the Month: Katy Blankenship reveals hobbies, interests for November’s Student of the Month.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee and via Email: Skyler Lee.

By |2014-12-23T00:00:00-07:00December 23rd, 2014|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Children's Electric Christmas Parade celebrates 27th anniversary, attracts sizable crowd (VIDEO)

Parade lights up Old Town Clovis

Approximately 80 entries including floats, marching bands, color guard squads, equestrian riders, motorcyclists, and a variety of other vehicles were presented in electric Christmas lights.Emily Ladd

Approximately 80 entries including floats, marching bands, color guard squads, equestrian riders, motorcyclists, and a variety of other vehicles were presented in electric Christmas lights.

Rows upon rows of curious by standards line the streets as the first float glides down the boulevard. Cheers erupt from the crowd as the bright lights fastened upon the spectacle flash red and green.

One by one the floats make their way down the street followed by a variety of persons and groups all decked in brilliant Christmas lights.

The Children’s Electric Christmas Parade is an annual event encompassing about six blocks of the Old Town Clovis area, starting and concluding at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds. The event is sponsored by the Old Town Clovis Kiwanis Club. This year marks the parade’s 27th anniversary.

Approximately 80 entries including floats, marching bands, color guard squads, equestrian riders, motorcyclists, and a variety of other vehicles were presented in electric Christmas lights.

Dwain Miracle, a fifth year spectator says that the festivities and lights add a sense of joy and community to the Old Town atmosphere.

“I came to this event because I have always liked to see the lights at night,” Miracle said “It brightens the year up if you know what I’m saying. I could never tell you what my favorite thing is because it’s all really great. It’s a very good community event, very good.”

In addition to the brilliant Christmas displays, street vendors offered glow sticks and other electric light products so that the audience could participate in the illumination of Old Town as well. Store’s bolstering strings of Christmas lights stayed open throughout the parade and offered food and refreshment to the public.

Kingsburg residence, Deborah (last name withheld) attended the parade for the first time with her Grandson and a group of friends. She says that the horses draped in Christmas lights were the highlight of the night.

“I?m from Kingsburg and we decided to come to the Clovis Parade just to check it out,” Deborah said.”I heard it was really good and I wanted to bring my Grandson. I think it?s great so far I really like it. I like Clovis so this is great. I think he (her Grandson) is really enjoying it too. He loves seeing the horses with the lights on them. That would probably be our favorite part.”
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In addition to various school marching bands and church groups, floats often represented a particular company or movie.

University High student, Emily Rodwin, enjoyed the float containing Disney Princesses and Frozen characters in full costume.

“I heard about this event and it sounded really cool,” Rodwin said. “I really liked the Disney princesses and the Frozen characters. I?m excited to see what the rest of this parade has in store.”

The parade started at 6:30 p.m. and ended far past its approximated finish time at around 8:15 p.m.

For those who came early to the parade, they could hitch a ride on one of the free horse drawn carriages which run from 1-4 p.m. every weekend. Santa was also on the porch of the Old Town Bistro for photos.

For another features article read Santa’s elves return to the North Pole with Operation Santa.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee and via Email: 1skylerlee@gmail.com.

By |2014-12-10T00:00:00-07:00December 10th, 2014|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

DeWolf brings drive and intensity to team, balances extracurricular load

Through the years the sports enthusiast has taken part in a traveling baseball team, triathlons, tennis, golf, varsity cross country, varsity baseball and varsity basketball.Kylie Bell

Through the years the sports enthusiast has taken part in a traveling baseball team, triathlons, tennis, golf, varsity cross country, varsity baseball and varsity basketball.

Senior focuses on finishing the year strong

From a young age senior Aaron DeWolf was drawn to the world of athletics, participating in both t-ball and soccer at the pre-school level. Through the years the sports enthusiast has taken part in a traveling baseball team, triathlons, tennis, golf, varsity cross country, varsity baseball and varsity basketball.

According to DeWolf, this passion for all things active results from an appreciation of competition. DeWolf deems basketball his favorite sport to play although, baseball and football rival as close seconds.

“I’ve always liked competition,” DeWolf said. “I’ve always been drawn to it. My favorite sport to play is basketball. I love the pace of the game and the constant excitement. I love to watch football because it’s entertaining and I love to follow the teams and players. But I also love baseball. No other sport has an atmosphere that can compete with baseball.”

DeWolf first started to play basketball during his 4th grade year in 2006. For the last eight, he has been a dedicated and essential member of the team. This season marks DeWolf’s third and final year on FC’s varsity basketball team. He is currently a guard in the starting lineup.

DeWolf says that his affection for the sport made commitment throughout the years easy and worthwhile.

“I’ve stuck with it because I’ve never had a reason to stop,” DeWolf said. “I’ve always enjoyed playing and even despite the injuries, I’ve always had a reason to come back.”

First year coach Jonathan Penberthy regards DeWolf as a committed player and important asset to the team. He commends his ability to influence and empower fellow team mates as well as heed instruction.

“Aaron is probably our hardest worker; he leads by example, and has a drive to succeed,” Penberthy said. “He is a leader; his interactions with his teammates are to make the team better. My goals for Aaron is for him to continually get better, he is a very coachable player, so we should see improvements every game from him.”

DeWolf’s father Jonathan DeWolf is proud of his son’s achievements and determination to persevere and improve despite multiple injuries obtained over the course of his time on the team.

“It is pure joy watching my son on the court,” Jonathan said. “He exudes leadership, passion, and has amazing jumping, ball handling and driving ability. Defensively, well, it’s hard to explain, just pure entertainment. After numerous injuries, fractures and a concussion, Aaron has become rather adept at learning how not to fall, nor to sacrifice his body on that incredibly unforgiving floor.”

Teammate Roy Brown, ’17, says that DeWolf’s hard work and fine tuned skills makes a positive impact on the team as a whole.

“He’s aggressive and fast,” Brown said. “He scores a lot and always makes a good hustle. As a teammate on and off the court he is very fun to hang around with.”

Aaron is probably our hardest worker; he leads by example, and has a drive to succeed. He is a leader; his interactions with his teammates are to make the team better. My goals for Aaron is for him to continually get better, he is a very coachable player, so we should see improvements every game from him.–Johnathan Penberthy 

Throughout his high school years, DeWolf, has participated and excelled in many different activities both within and outside the athletic sphere. He is currently a member of a junior high mentoring program, Student Leadership, drama, as well as being president of California Scholastic Federation (CSF). He is also involved regularly in both the community and at his church, First Presbyterian.

In addition to a sizable extracurricular load, DeWolf is taking this year Advanced Placement classes like Language and Composition and Calculus. He says that the benefits of these often demanding activities ultimately outweigh any disadvantages.
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“It’s very tough, this year in particular with it being my senior year and all and being so involved in school, I am often over scheduled this time of year,” DeWolf said. “But you have to take time out of your personal life and your time to relax and use that to accomplish those things. So it can be very tiring and stressful, but it is worth it in the end.”

Jonathon says that scholarships, high grades, and an active social life are among some of DeWolf’s goals for senior year.

“In addition to playing varsity sports, Aaron is actively involved with a multitude of extracurricular activities and organizations,” Jonathan said. “His goal is to conclude his four years of high school with perfect straight “A”‘s, be awarded a few scholarships, participate in as many high school social events that are offered, and make as many memories as possible.”

Despite a heavy extracurricular and academic schedule, DeWolf still makes time for his interest. Among them are baseball, building things, cars, oldies music and simply spending time with friends and loved ones.

DeWolf plans to major in mechanical engineering after he graduates in the spring. He intends to pursue a dream profession in sports car engineering.

“Ever since freshman year I have wanted to design cars,” DeWolf said. “I went to a racetrack and saw all the cars and all the engineers and realized how cool it would be to work on and design these types of cars for the rest of my life. I fell in love with the idea and never looked back.”

For more sports, read the Dec. 3 article, World of Sports: MLB Off-season proves comparable to league.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2014-12-05T00:00:00-07:00December 5th, 2014|Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

BRIEF: Christmas Tree Lane scheduled to open, Dec. 2

Christmas Tree Lane, located at Van Ness Blvd between Shields Ave and Shaw Ave, was founded in 1920 by a residing family after the death of their child.Meredith Monke | The Feather Online Archive

Christmas Tree Lane, located at Van Ness Blvd between Shields Ave and Shaw Ave, was founded in 1920 by a residing family after the death of their child.

Christmas Tree Lane celebrates 92 year anniversary

The Christmas season is quickly approaching with stores and TV stations bolstering low prices for early shoppers and decorated trees popping up in windows across the country. Fresno like any other town or city during this season, contains several unique events and spectacles. One of which is the color display at Christmas Tree Lane.

Christmas Tree Lane, located at Van Ness Blvd between Shields Ave and Shaw Ave, was founded in 1920 by a residing family after the death of their child. The bereaved loved one’s lit their house in brilliant Christmas lights and decorations, in order to honor their child’s memory.

The family’s example was contagious. Soon the street was engulfed in the twinkling lights of remembrance and Christmas Tree Lane was born.

Since its humble beginnings 92 years ago, Christmas Tree Lane has accumulated 140 participant homes and accommodates an average of 100,000 visitors per-year. Recently, Washington Post deemed the lane a holiday tradition.

Sophomore Amber Wilson attends Christmas Tree Lane annually with family. She says that the bright lights and lavish decorations add to the Christmas atmosphere within the city.

“I just love how every single house is decorated,” Wilson said. “It’s a very spectacular thing to see because when your in the Christmas mood it just works perfectly. It make you feel really happy and excited about Christmas.”

Christmas Tree Lane’s opening day is Dec. 2 and will continue every night until Dec. 25.

Admission is free although donations are appreciated due to the fact that the lane is a non-profit organization and supported solely through sponsors. A sum of all donations will be dedicated to the Tree Fresno, a local forest support group and partner of Christmas Tree Lane.

From Sunday through Thursday the gates will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Tuesday Dec. 2 and Wednesday Dec. 10 are walking nights. During these dates Christmas Tree Lane will be closed to all vehicle traffic in order to insure safety for visitors on foot. Bus rides from Figarden Village will be provided by Tree Fresno for these two nights.

For more news, read the Nov. 25 article, BREAKING: Night of the Stars venue changed.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2014-12-01T00:00:00-07:00December 1st, 2014|Community Events, News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Student of the Month: Katy Blankenship reveals hobbies, interests (VIDEO)

IMG_3283Kylie Bell

November’s student of the month is sophomore Katy Blankenship, chosen by science teacher Karen Walters for her devotion to academics and compassionate personality.

Junior shares love of the outdoors and science

Every month The Feather will highlight one student recommended by a teacher and voted upon by Feather staff members. Students are chosen depending upon several factors including and not limited to good grades, class engagement, positive attitude and special extracurricular activities.

November’s student of the month is sophomore Katy Blankenship, chosen by science teacher Karen Walters for her devotion to academics and compassionate personality.

“Katy is an outstanding student both academically and in terms of citizenship,” Walters said. “She is always willing to help fellow students and makes any group work. Her attention to detail makes her a great asset in the laboratory environment. Simply stated, Katy is a pleasure to have as a student and a good friend to her classmates.”

In addition to her diligence in the academic sphere Blankenship is a member of California Scholarship Federation (CSF), Sister to Sister and Spanish Club. She also intends to join Creative Writing Club this semester.

Blankenship says she participates in these clubs and activities in order to take full advantage of the opportunities placed before her.

“I think application is essential in whatever I do,” Blankenship said. “I am blessed to have so many opportunities in my classes and school activities so I want to try as hard as I can to utilize what I have been given.”

For Blankenship music has always been a significant part of life, with her mother bringing her to classes at an early age. Throughout, the years she has developed a passion for the art and continues to improve her skills.

Due to a hectic schedule Blankenship no longer takes piano lessons. However, the music enthusiast attends vocal lessons weekly and is currently a first year member of FC’s Adoration Ensemble.

Blankenship says that ensemble provides a place to both interact with friends and pursue her passion for music.

“I enjoy ensemble so much,” Blankenship said. “I have lots of friends in the class and Mrs. (Susan) Ainley is doing a great job as the director. The music she picks out for us is outstanding.”

Blankenship prefers to sing and play classical music, although, she appreciates a more modern indie style in her personal library. She considers her favorite artists to be Christiana Perri and Yael Naim.

For Blankenship, music is an outlet for self expression, a way to praise God, gain confidence and find peace simultaneously.

“I love music because it is a great way to express myself rather singing a praise song or writing one of my own to fit my situation,” Blankenship said. “It is always there to comfort me. I can?t remember not liking music it has always been such a large part of my life.”

Another of the underclassman?s main interests is the outdoors. Blankenship currently lives at the base of the foothills and enjoys hiking, horseback riding and fishing during her free time. Blankenship and her Dad often spend a day hiking and fishing at Hume Lake .
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Blankenship believes her affection for the outdoors resulted from her parents’ own enthusiasm for all things involving nature.

“I love the outdoors because my parents especially my Dad, love the outdoors,” Blankenship said. “They do a lot of outdoor things with my siblings and me. We love going to Hume usually it’s just my Dad and me but sometimes the rest of the family will come too.”

Close Friend, Caitlin Gaines says that Blankenship manages to balance school work and social life while remembering to be imaginative and funny.

“She {Blankenship} is kind, sweet, creative and witty,” Gaines said. “She adds a lot of humor to our group. Katy is both the type of person to be devoted to her school work at school while still making time for her friends.”

Blankenship considers herself to be an animal lover with four dogs, a rabbit, a guinea pig and a hamster.

In the future she hopes to specialize in animal science or biology. Blankenship is interested in (Texas Christian University) TCU and Fresno State although, she is unsure about the high temperatures of the two locations.

Ultimately she hopes to unearth something new and beneficial. A family is also among Blankenship’s plans.

“I’m not sure specifically what I want to go into, but I would love to discover or invent something that would make an impact in the world,” Blankenship said. “I think discovering a new species of animal, or finding some new insight toward animal communication would be absolutely fantastic. I would also hope to have a family one day.”

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

For more features, read the Nov. 21 article, Students reflect on the privilege of driving, pros and cons.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2014-11-25T00:00:00-07:00November 25th, 2014|Academics, Announcements, Features, Uncategorized, Videos|0 Comments

Fulton ice rink adds community aspect to downtown area (VIDEO)

Since it's beginnings the Fulton Ice Rink has  accommodated thousands of visitors and continues to thrive during Fresno's chilly months.Emily Ladd

Since it’s beginnings the Fulton Ice Rink has accommodated thousands of visitors and continues to thrive during Fresno’s chilly months.

Seasonal ice rink opens to Fresno public

The air is frigid and people dressed in heavy jackets and miscellanies winter wear stop to watch their breaths swirl into a thick mist above them. Couples skate hand in hand, friends laugh and families prop wayward toddlers upon makeshift ice walkers. Music plays over the sounds of blades against ice as each figure travels around the circular rink.

The holiday season in Fresno and in nearly every city or town is characterized by traditions, events and special activities. Among them is the Fulton Ice Rink, located in the Fulton Mall on Mariposa Plaza.

The rink was implemented into Fresno holiday traditions several years ago. It is currently financially supported by a board of generous sponsors.

Since it’s beginnings it has accommodated thousands of visitors and continues to thrive during Fresno’s chilly months.

Richard Roman, assistant manager of the rink’s evening shift believes that the annual event prompts Fresno’s residents to gain a deeper appreciation of their city and community as a whole.

“I think the rink adds a positive vibe {to the community} and I think that’s something that the Fulton mall and this downtown area really needs right now,” Roman said. “It’s a positive vibe with people loving their city. If people don’t love their city it isn’t going to change positively it?s going to change negatively. That’s one thing that Fresno people need to realize: if you don’t love your city your city’s not going to love you back.”

This seasonal attraction is open Nov. 13 through Jan. 19, to the general public and to single parties upon prior contact and negotiation.

The rink is open for daily sessions Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

On week days, admission is $8 for children and $10 for adults. Saturday through Sunday admission runs at $10 per child and $12 per adult.

Parking validation at Garage 8 located at 1077 Van Ness Ave, is included in admission cost. However, it should be noted that parking in any city lot with a parking meter, after 6 p.m., on week nights and on weekends is free of charge.

Kimmy [/fusion_builder_column]

[last name withheld], has a history in gymnastics and fencing. Her children as well as herself are frequent visitors of the Fulton Ice Rink. The mother of four says she appreciates the serene atmosphere and the rink’s cost efficient family plan.

“I love that it’s outside, it’s so beautiful under the stars to bring the community together,” Kimmy said. “It’s different people every night. There’s fresh air and it’s not freezing cold like it is indoors. It’s fun and people usually come out once or twice a year here and their all beginners. It’s also affordable here. The family pack is a great deal and makes a big difference.”

First time attendee Shani [last name withheld], enjoyed a night of laughter on the ice with a group of friends. She purchased a season pass in order to skate more often and plans to return many times within the next few weeks.
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“Skating is fun but hard,” Shani said with a laugh. “We will definitely come back because we got a whole season pass. My favorite part would probably be me falling.”

Skates in all sizes are available for rent. The charge is included in admission. However, those with their own skates are welcomed to bring them as well.

Seasonal passes are available for families and individuals who plan to attend the rink frequently. An adult seasonal pass is $49 and a child’s pass is $39. A family of two adults and four children can by a pass bundle for $99, but $20 is required per every additional child past the quantity of four.

Junior Marissa Jonigan is familiar with the Fulton mall, but was unaware of the annual ice skating event. She thinks the idea of an outdoor ice rink in the midst of the mall is a both interesting and fun concept.

“I’ve been to the Fulton mall, but have never heard or been to the ice rink before,” Jonnigan said. “It sounds really fun to go to. I would definitely go if I had the time and a good group of friends to go with.”

Bailey Brogan, ’16 visited the rink last year with a group of friends. He enjoyed the family oriented setting and the overall experience, despite the fact that he slipped a few times.

“There were lots of families there taking their children skating,” Brogan said. “It was nice to see all the dad?s spending time with their kids and laughing. For me it was fun even though I fell a few times because let’s face it, I’m pretty clumsy.”

For more information about the Fulton Ice Rink local events, check out the Downtown Fresno Partnership.

For more features, read the Nov. 21 article, Jack Leonard: A veterans perspective (PODCAST).

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee.

By |2014-11-25T00:00:00-07:00November 25th, 2014|Community Events, Features, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Girl's basketball team returns after two-year absence

In 2010 the FC girl's basketball team won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Division V Valley Championship. Jeremy Brown | The Feather Online Archive

In 2010 the FC girl’s basketball team won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Division V Valley Championship.

Young team builds basic skills

In 2010 the FC girl’s basketball team won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Division V Valley Championship. The team won with a nine-point lead on Central Valley Christian winning 49-40. The game took place at Fresno’s Sellend Arena and left the Eagles with a large plaque for their achievements and the euphoria of the title: Valley Champions.

Unfortunately, 2012 was the last time FC successfully fielded a girl?s basketball team. In the following years, interest in the sport among the female population dwindled, in favor of other fall and winter teams.

There have been several attempts over the last two years to rekindle girl’s basketball at FC. However, due to a lack of devoted athletes, the teams all fizzled out before their first game.

Co-athletic director, Jonathan Penberthy says that gathering awareness, a devoted coaching staff and sufficient amounts of players were among some of the major difficulties encountered in establishing a team.

“Some of the difficulties of starting a basketball team were getting the news out that we were going to have a team,” Penberthy said. “We had multiple girls? wanting to play multiple sports in the same season. Other difficulties were getting a coach that wanted to develop the program. It most likely fell through in previous years because of a lack of girls.”

Fortunately, after a two-year absence, the team has recently been able to generate enough players for the 2014-15 season.

Currently, there are eight dedicated individuals who will make up the team along with several possible additions.

Tamika Thomas, mother of alumni N’Gai Jones has assumed the position of coach for the team this year. One of her main goals for the season is to teach each team member the fundamentals of basketball and encourage them to achieve personal goals.

“I think right now a major goal is just to get everybody fundamentally sound, and get everybody going in the right direction,” Thomas said. “It?s important to get their spirits up and get them to set personal goals. We?re a new team and we?re going to be starting up slow but we?ll get there.”

There are no try-outs for the girl?s basketball team this year and members are not required to have previous experience. On the contrary a significant number of players on the team joined the sport for the first time or have had very little prior experience.
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One of these new players is Korean foreign exchange student, Min Lee,’16. Lee was inspired to join the team after watching boys? basketball last year. She plans to continue working hard and is excited for the upcoming season.

“First I really wanted to learn basketball,” Lee said. “I also really liked to watch our school?s boy?s basketball team last year and they were really good, so it just made me want to try basketball. It is really fun so far. Usually I don?t like to exercise but this was fun and I am enjoying it a lot right now.”

Team mate Mariana Fikse is new to the FC student body this year. She had some experience with basketball at her previous school and anticipates aiding the Eagles in developing a strong team this season.

“I?m just looking to get closer together as a team and want to see our team build up,” Fikse said. “My goal this year is to just