Senior reflection: Ashley Garcia

Fresno Christian High school was the best experience of my life. I transferred here from Clovis North High School my freshman year. At North, I was surrounded by people who didn’t have the same morals as I did, and I really was just uncomfortable there. When I transferred, I was welcomed with the kindest, most warming welcome. My very first day here, I felt as if I was supposed to be here all along. I felt at home. I truly believe that moving here was the best decision I have ever made.

What I love about Fresno Christian is the family environment, and the small school experience. I love that everyone knows everyone, and we always come together to support one another. I have made friends here that I will forever cherish, and have met people that I belong with. I never knew that human beings had the capability to be so close with one another until I came to Fresno Christian.One main thing I really appreciate about Fresno Christian is the fact that we are based on Christ. Every single day, on matter what the circumstances, we always pray and do things the way the Lord intended for us. That is not something that people receive in public schools, and I will forever be grateful for that experience I got, living my life around people who shared the same love for Christ as I do.

Something I will never forget is chapel. My very first day here was a Tuesday, which was worship chapel day, and I walked in completely baffled because I had never seen anything like it before. There was a live band playing worship music that glorified the Lord and people standing up, singing their hearts out in symphony together as they declared their love for their savior. I was completely stoked to be a part of that beautiful experience.

This year was my first year in journalism and believe it or not, it was a very great decision. Journalism taught me many important skills that I need in the future such as communication, writing, and disciplinary skills. I am so humbled and blessed to have Fresno Christian High School as my alma mater, and I will forever be grateful for this school shaping me into the person I am today.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @ashgarcia.

By |2017-09-11T21:05:08-07:00May 23rd, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Staffer discusses importance of public relations


The world of Leadership has many facets and different roles throughout its structure. Several roles stand out among the rest as these jobs require excess amount of work and time. Created this year to improve the communication between The Feather and the Leadership class was the position of Public Relations.

As the Public Relations (PR) officer, the traits of this position are organization, being able to take on stressful tasks and most importantly, being on time.

When being in office, it is vital to be an effective communicator, not only with members of Leadership, but with the rest of the student body as well. The position does not necessarily take up much of time, but rather requires thoughtful decisions.

Being organized is not required but it is a helpful quality that makes the job a whole lot easier. Each week, a Leadership article will have to go up onto The Feather.

The purpose of this is to let the parents, staff, and student body know what will be going on during the week. Having prior journalism skills helps make the job faster and easier to get through.

Public Relations is where you announce events and send out reminders to the public. It is good to have relationships with people around the school so they feel comfortable around you and share their ideas for the leadership class to take into consideration.

This position does not seem to be very important, however due to teenagers constant use of Twitter and Instagram this seems to be the only way to reach them. With this in mind, the Leadership class sought to make a deeper connection with the student body.

The PR position is in charge of both of the leadership social media accounts, that being said, this position also requires a lot of responsibility and trust. When the class decides on new events this roll is the first to know all the information and is trusted not to give out important details when told.

In the upcoming year, the position will have a lot more rolls to accomplish. The Activities Director, will be in charge of all the big events and the PR position will play a role in getting those activities accomplished.

This position is not one that runs for office, it is appointed to office. Along with the duties the PR is in charge of, the office must go to West Sierra League (WSL) meetings once a month on Mondays.

Being involved in an office position is a great choice to consider because not only are you taking a step in being a voice for the student body but you also get to bond with the rest of the student positions like the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Activities Director.

For more Columns check out Senior reflections: Sara Peterson.


By |2017-09-11T21:06:41-07:00May 23rd, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Senior reflection: Sara Peterson

IMG_9111Christopher Grossman | The Feather Online Archive

Sara Peterson will be attending Fresno State in the fall, majoring in Nursing.

After six long years at Fresno Christian, my time at here has finally come to the end. At the beginning of the seventh grade, graduation seemed like a lifetime away but it has come within a blink of an eye. Despite the many complaints about high school and how we cannot wait to leave, there is some place within all of us seniors that genuinely enjoyed their time spent here, even if we don’t think so now.

During my time spent at FC I know I have had one of the best high school experiences possible. Yeah sure, our school is small and maybe we don’t have as many activities as public schools, but everyone at FC has the opportunity to get involved whatever suits their interests. Our teachers put many extra hours into their students without hesitation and are willing to help us in anyway. Students have the chance to gain many close relationships within and out of our own class.

My most memorable moments at FC are with my friends at school events, most recently powderpuff. I have two younger brother who will be entering high school and I’m extremely excited for the experiences they will be gaining and I hope that they will make the most out of their time here.

Journalism has also been a big factor in my high school experience. My junior year I was very reluctant to join journalism but now I do not regret it. Serving as Editor-in-Chief my senior year was an experience like none other. I learned a lot about myself and what it takes to be a leader. Improving my writing, in journalism, along with expanding my use of multimedia are skills that will surely benefit me throughout college and career.

Through journalism I interviewed many high profile individuals along with getting to be a guest speaker at Columbia University, and traveling to New York City my junior and senior year with my friends. I’d like to thank Greg Stobbe for encouraging me to join journalism and constantly encouraging us to be better writers and interviewers everyday. Also my best friend Gaby Siqueiros, for staying by side throughout high school and being my partner in crime in journalism.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @_sarapeterson.

By |2015-05-15T08:37:44-07:00May 15th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Senior reflection: Aaron Dewolf

AaronDeWolf1Feather file photo

Senior Aaron Dewolf recounts the treasured memories of his 13 years spent at Fresno Christian.

August 2001, I walked into Linda Tapley’s kindergarten classroom that would spark a 13-year long journey through the halls of Fresno Christian Schools. It would be at this school that I would learn, grow in Christ, bond with classmates, and meet lifelong friends.

I do not remember my North East campus days very well, but there are a few fond memories I still hold to. I remember my first “time out” in kindergarten, running laps around the field for PE, playing kickball during recess, and Mrs. (Nancy) Keck’s scrumptious gummy bears as rewards for good behavior. Sunny days and smiles were a very common theme on that small little campus.

We then graduated from the simple establishment of the North East campus to the immensely large Peoples Church property. As a third grader in Mrs. Yantis’ class, I walked into Building 5 in pure awe; a two-story building was too large to comprehend! And a playground complete with basketball courts, foursquare, wall-ball, and full sized football field made me feel like a real big kid! By my sixth grade year I was comfortable on campus and felt like I owned the school as I walked around at recess midst the younger students. However, what lingered ahead of me I never saw coming.

Junior high, those wretched, intimidating years were full of awkward changes and uncomfortable situations. Two years of my life so many people regret and would love to do over, but not for me. Contrary to popular belief, I loved junior high. Why? I am not entirely sure. I do know however, I was surrounded by a great support cast of friends, teachers who cared for me, and a God who loved me. For it was in my junior years that I found out who I was, and how much God cared for me, and how loved I am. Through mentorship, chapels, and the love people showed my, I grew in my faith and made it my own.

It was here I realized this place was more than a school; it was a home. A home for students to always feel welcomed, a place for God to work into peoples’ lives, and a refuge for those to fall back on in times of trouble. For me, Fresno Christian has been all those things and more. It has been my home away from a home. A place I can go to for help, a place for learning, and a place for fun. This school has meant more to me than mere words can say and will always have a special place in my heart.

Specifically, these past four years of high school have molded and shaped me into the person I am today. Junior high was a place where I discovered Aaron Dewolf was, and high school was a place for me to grow and test that character. I have been through highs and lows, ups and downs, and can say, by the grace of God, I made it through. This school has placed people in my life and given me role models that have helped me get to where I am today. I cannot even imagine how different my life would have been had I not attended here.

Yet it was not only emotional and spiritual support that makes me love this school, I have had more fun at this school, especially these past four years than I could have ever had anywhere else.

The small school environment has allowed me to get involved and partake in all sorts of events and activities. I have been able to try my hand in almost everything, from three different varsity sports, to CSF President, to being in the drama production The Music Man.

On top of that, classes are small enough to get involved in ways that at a bigger school I would not have the opportunity to, such as float building for homecoming or filming our NOTS movie each year. Plus cheering at events, from football and volleyball games, to powderpuff and MCing rallies and chapels; this school has given me the opportunity to not only get involved, but to be myself while I’m doing it.

As my days come to a close at this beloved place, I find myself with mixed emotions. So much of my life, so many of my memories come from this one place. Thirteen years of laughing, crying, fun, and love are coming to a close. I will cherish these 13 years and take them with me forever. Yet at the same time, I know I am ready for a new challenge, ready to embark on a new adventure.

This school has equipped me with the skills needed to reach the next level, and now it is my turn to take those skills and put them to use. I know ahead of me lies many more memories, many more friends, and many new adventures, but I will never forget Fresno Christian, the people here, and the things I have learned.

In closing, I have too many people to thank individually, so I will say this. Thank you Fresno Christian. Thank you everyone who I have come in contact with over these past 13 years, each and every of you touched me in a unique way. Thank you to my parents, John and Kimberly DeWolf, who made the sacrifices in their lives to bless me with this opportunity. And lastly, thank you Jesus Christ everything. Absolutely everything. I love you, Fresno Christian. God bless you.

Aaron DeWolf will be attending California Baptist University in Riverside, CA, and majoring in mechanical engineering.

By |2015-05-14T11:23:26-07:00May 14th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Senior reflection: Trevor Beal

IMG_6778cChristopher Grossman | The Feather Online Archive

Trevor Beal will be attending Fresno State for a degree in business.

I have been a part of The Feather staff for two years now, I have experienced countless benefits of Greg Stobbe‘s continued teaching and collaboration with my Feather colleagues. Before I joined The Feather I was below par writer, every writing assignment that I received before then was a battle. I didn’t know how to formulate the points that I wanted to make or how to present them to a reader. But that all changed in 2013, since then I have written articles well over 1000 words and have been a part of two national championship Feather seasons.

This year was my biggest and most recognizable contribution to the paper, I set out at the beginning of this season to write about larger and more high profile stories than in the past. Interviewing has always been a strong suit for me and I put it into effect by talking to Robert Edsel, writer of the movie Monuments Men, Norris Jernigan, pin pointer of the atomic bomb drops, and Robert Whitaker who was the head of security for the World Trade Center during September 2001.

Journalism is not for everyone, hard work and creativity are staples in the career at any level. I would like to thank The Feather staff and Greg Stobbe for continually pushing me and my work to the higher possible level we could reach. — Trevor Beal

These stories and people forced me to better my writing and interviewing skills because I wanted to do their stories justice, I wanted to be known as that high school journalist that exceeded their expectation. Journalism is not for everyone, hard work and creativity are staples in the career at any level. I would like to thank The Feather staff and Greg Stobbe for continually pushing me and my work to the higher possible level we could reach.

The feather is a great tool that should be utilized by all students at FC whether it be writing a guest article, just reading, or working full time, you will not regret it; I promise.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @beal_trevor.

For more opinions, read Senior Reflection: Ashely Garcia.

By |2015-05-07T08:21:57-07:00May 7th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Holding our own at CSPA Convention


The Feather staff earned a Gold Crown at the CSPA convention in March.

As a student journalist, there are few honors that are as grand and prestigious as the Gold Crown presented by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) at their annual convention. This award focuses on the excellence of the publication’s design, photography, concept, coverage and writing. In short, the Gold Crown is an award for the highest excellence in the very fundamentals of journalism.

Attending Columbia University with 2,691 other delegates and 299 different schools put The Feather in perspective, March 20. We competed on a national stage with a swarm of other media devotees to the practice of journalism, and we were one of the only two digital publications from California to win a Gold Crown in the online category.

In comparison to the size of the other publications, The Feather is incredibly small. And yet we were able to hold our own and bring home a Gold Crown, one of the highest national awards for scholastic journalism.

The CSPA hosted the student journalists incredibly well. They brought all of us into Columbia University’s campus; they let us walk the university halls and classrooms and listen to a variety of different speakers talk about a variety of different topics. The CSPA also asked some of The Feather editors and adviser Greg Stobbe to teach classes: Chloe Mueller, Sara Peterson, Ryan King, and Callista Fries all hosted sessions on behalf of The Feather and the CSPA.

Though I did not listen to every speaker, the speakers I did listen too had a lot to say about journalism and high school publications. I learned a about new media formats and how to come up with new ideas for articles, but for the most part, the content felt like it was second nature. I already knew much of the material and practice it on the Feather on a daily basis, so the speakers only really helped affirm what I already knew plus added a few gems to take back home. Should I return to New York with The Feather next year, it would be informative to listen to more speakers on different podcasting ideas and ways to improve media use.

Attending the CSPA convention is also a great way to share ideas with other staffs from around the country, whether we share/swap papers, struggles and how we overcome them. The Feather has benefited greatly over the years through this real time engagement with our peers. Plus it is good to be a part of a larger group who all have the same goals and pride of high school journalism.

Being on a staff as small as The Feather and still being able to win a Gold Crown fills my heart to the brim with pride. I fully intend the join The Feather again next year and show Columbia that we are still worthy of the Gold.

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

For more opinions, read the March 24 article, College Corner: Fresno State standards changing.

By |2015-03-26T00:00:00-07:00March 26th, 2015|Column, FC Arts, News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Fresno State standards


According to academic advisor Michelle Warkentin, left, Fresno State is increasing its SAT, ACT requirements for the 2015/16 school year.

For years students from the central Valley have counted on getting into Fresno State. Whether it is their first choice or a back up plan, Fresno State has been a popular option for students who earned a 3.0 or higher in high school.

However, this will no longer be the case starting in the 2016-’17 academic year. Fresno State standards are changing. This is due to state issued education budget cuts and a steady increase in the amount of applications received by the university.

Jennifer Pagesmith, Outreach Counselor for Fresno State, gave the statistic that 19,000 applications were submitted just for Fall 2014, when Fresno State only has 6,400 open spots available for new students.

“Fresno State is planning to raise its admissions standards to help offset huge spikes in qualified local applicants,” Hannah Furfaro writes in an Fresno Bee article: “And for the first time in the university’s history, officials say they’ll reject at least 400 Valley students who apply to attend in 2016-17 – students who would have qualified under current standards.”

Hundreds of Valley students will need to look elsewhere for their college education and may lead to a huge rise in applications submitted to local community colleges. This follows the trend of several other CSU schools who have also experienced major impaction issues, such as CSU Long Beach.

Students whose GPA is below 3.0 will need to score even better on the ACT or SAT than was required previously. — Hannah Furfaro, Fresno Bee writer advises.

“Students whose GPA is below 3.0 will need to score even better on the ACT or SAT than was required previously,” Furaro writes. “The details haven’t been formalized, but Vinovrski says Fresno State’s admissions index, a scorecard that uses a student’s GPA and test scores to determine their eligibility, will increase by at least 200 points.”

In a recent email sent out by Jennifer Pagesmith, the proposed changes to the eligibility index were displayed (once again these numbers are not yet official).

2016-17 Proposed GPA/SAT Eligibility Index:


Another possible change that would affect transfer students is potentially raising the GPA requirement from 2.0 GPA to 2.2 GPA. This would encourage students to make up D’s or F’s at their local community college before applying to Fresno State.

Fresno State has assured high schools that they are continuing to work within the budget that has been allocated to them by the Governor of California. According to Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro at a recent CSF Regional Conference, the university is dedicated to serving the students of the central Valley and he encourages qualified students to apply to the many great programs Fresno State has to offer.

Despite the budget cuts and lower acceptance rates, the university continues to thrive in areas of technology, thriving academic programs, and a passionate teaching staff. I will continue to keep our students and parents up to date on the upcoming changes at Fresno State and the other CSU campuses.

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

For another College Corner, read the Feb. 21 article, COLLEGE CORNER: College placement tests.

By |2015-03-24T00:00:00-07:00March 24th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|1 Comment

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

COLUMN: Thankful for Scholastic Journalism Week 2015

ReesFeather file photo

Junior, Rees Roggenstein, expresses his thoughts on journalism and urges other to celebrate Scholastic Journalism Week.

Journalism or publication classes in a nutshell teach students to write articles, publish them and do a small amount of social media promotion. On the surface journalism prepares people for work in the media. But beneath the surface, beneath this shallow idea of journalists, there is a wealth of practical and applicable knowledge beyond what other classes could possibly teach.

To those who are patient and respect the process of reputable journalism, the benefits could almost be endless. Even on the surface the skills this class teaches is incredibly useful, and on a deeper level journalism can expand one’s perspective.

Producing articles results in better writing skills, conducting interviews improves basic conversation skills, and working with media and social media is now necessary in most colleges and businesses. Even on the most basic surface journalism is still useful for equipping people for the real world.

On a deeper level this class still has much to offer. It can expand one’s limited perspectives; publications classes require reporters or guest writers to visit places and talk to people they otherwise would never know.

The opportunity to get outside my comfort zone, to interview people, to observe, and to learn from others is a lifeskill. For me, it expands my horizons and opened doors I did not think could be opened. Journalism enriches my high school career in ways other classes have not done yet.

More specifically, The Feather shows me things I did not think I would see and helps me build relationships with people I will remember for a long time. The people on The Feather staff teach me how to think for myself, to articulate my opinions, and to look at all perspectives of a topic to find the whole truth. These are gifts one cannot put a monetary value on.

So to those who have an opinion they want to share, to those who want to report the truth, to those who want to express themselves to the world, come join with journalists this Scholastic Journalism Week. Come and celebrate our right to freedom of speech, come and celebrate the ability to express ourselves, and come and celebrate the journalists for embodying this liberty.

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

For more opinions, read the Feb. 22 article, COLLEGE CORNER: College Placement Tests.

By |2015-02-27T00:00:00-07:00February 27th, 2015|Column, FC Arts, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLLEGE CORNER: College Placement Tests

IMG_0212FC file photo
If you are a student reading this you are probably thinking, ‘I haven’t even stepped foot on my college campus and they already want me to take a test!? As if the SAT and ACT were not enough!’ However, if you took one of those tests or an AP test and passed, you may be in luck!

Contrary to what you may think, colleges are not purposefully trying to torment you. Instead, the reason for the placement tests is to find out where you are at academically in order to place you in the appropriate course.

In talking with David Navarro, College Relations Specialist at the Clovis Community College Center, he reiterated that their hope is that students will not be placed in classes which are too easy and cause boredom or classes which are too difficult and could possibly lead to failure. Students who are attending an SCCCD campus are only required to take the English placement test. Students will be placed in the appropriate math class based on the highest level of math they have completed.

We just want to know where the student is within their academics. From there we can formulate a “training plan” tailored to meet the needs of the students.–David Navarro, College Relations Specialist

Many students worry about how they will do on the placement test and ask how they can prepare for it.

“I never recommend a student to “prepare” for this test,” Navarro said. “I use the analogy of energy drinks and running a race. Though consuming an energy drink before a race may give the student an immediate, but short-lived boost to increase performance, the student will not have the stamina needed for the long duration of the race because the basic fundamentals of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning are missing.

“We just want to know where the student is within their academics. From there we can formulate a “training plan” tailored to meet the needs of the students.”

The CSU system has a similar placement testing arrangement. However, both math (ELM) and English (EPT) tests are required, unless students meet the exemption requirements.

Those students who take the ELM/EPT and do not meet the proficiency requirements will be required to attend the Early Start Program before the start of their freshman year at the CSU.

When asking Donna Bollinger, Administrative Assistant in the Testing Office at Fresno State her advice in regards to taking the test(s) she said to sign up early because the spots fill up very quickly.

“If you don’t take the test in March or April, you will not receive your results in time to register for your classes during Dog Days (specific to Fresno State),” Bollinger said. “This could potentially cause a delay in getting the classes students need.”

Bollinger also suggests that students may want to brush up on their math and English skills before taking the test. A good way to do this is by visiting the ETS website where students can view practice questions and learn about the test format.

But just like the other placement test, the information presented on the test is material that you have learned in your high school classes.

For more information on the SCCCD placement test, visit the website.

*The SCCCD placement test will be offered to Fresno Christian seniors who have applied on Feb 24 from 10:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m in the computer lab..

*Fresno Christian students who need to take the EPT/ELM for the CSU system must sign up for the test and choose their desired location by visiting the site.

Happy testing!

For the most recent post by Michelle Warkentin, please check out College Corner: Managing the FAFSA. For another opinion, read Chris Grossman’s COLUMN: Why every student should go to NOTS.

By |2015-02-21T00:00:00-07:00February 21st, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Why every student should go to NOTS

IMG_0549FC file photo

“Night of the Stars”: the name of FC’s annual formal alone is enough to strike fond memories in my heart. NOTS is something that I have had the pleasure and privilege of being involved in every year of my high school tenure.

If you are unfamiliar with the nature of our formal, each class gets together over the months preceding the event to film, edit, and produce a shortened parody or recreation of a movie. During the actual events, students dress up and enjoy a nice dinner while they sit back and enjoy the movies. At the end of the night, awards are given out based on the on-screen performances.

My freshman year, our class produced a laughably bad rendition of “The Blind Side“. New to the idea of NOTS , we scraped together a 15 minute film over a couple weekends of hard work. Whatever opinion you have formulated in your mind as to how poor it turned out, I can assure you: it was much worse.

The night was a great time with some of my closest friends, and I can still picture pulling up to the venue in a limo with my best buds. It was a great night; for however awkward we were and how bad our movie was, I can honestly say it was one of the best memories I have of freshman year.

I will not bore you of the details of the following two years, because it would simply be more of what you’ve already read.

Night of the Stars is truly a FC exclusive. My friends at church who do not attend FC continually express their jealousy of the event, and I consistently feel blessed by the opportunity to partake in it.

I can say with absolute confidence that some of the best times I’ve had at FC have been a result of NOTS. Between the filming, inviting dates, awards, and generally just sharing in all of it with my best friends, my high school experience would not have been the same without it.

Every student should make an effort to get involved in and attend Night of the Stars. I know from personal experience that Student Leadership is working their very hardest to put together the nicest night possible.

Knowing that this will be my last year to have a hand in the affairs of NOTS, I am suddenly aware of how lucky I have been to experience it.

I’ve always thought that concept to be so funny. We as humans (kids especially) have a tendency to be so caught up with simply living our lives that we don’t take the time to realize how important or fortunate our present circumstances can be.

There’s a quote that goes along the lines of “You never know what you have until you lose it”, but I prefer a slightly different view on the idea: “You always know what you have, you just never think you’d lose it.” I can’t be sure where I first heard either quote, but I can be sure of how we will lose the things we have as high schoolers.

Do not be a person who looks back with regret in regards to getting involved at FC. This is your high school experience, and I encourage you to make the very most of it.

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

For more opinions, read the Feb. 17 article, EDITORIAL: Lending a helping hand.

By |2015-02-18T00:00:00-07:00February 18th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Service day brings out human kindness

ReesJason Swain | The Feather Online Archive
In a world of duality, people are capable of great good and great evil. With one hand we reach out claiming we want to aid our brother, but with the other hand we are tempted smack him. Good and evil: the dual nature of man and the constant struggle he has between to the two.

Service epitomizes the good in people; it is humanity’s goodwill incarnate. People sacrificing time, effort and resources for another group of people with no promise of a reward, or even recognition. Service is essentially altruism in practice: the principle or practice of unselfish concern for others.

A number of psychologists have speculated that true altruism does not exist; even though a person may not receive any monetary reward or public recognition for their service, they still receive personal and emotional satisfaction. Because of this serving could even become selfish.

But this claim could be interpreted differently. It could mean that serving has some physical, neurological or emotional reward for those who practice it. Is it not utterly encouraging that science has proven that service truly is its own reward? That we are hotwired to feel gratification and satisfaction for something that we will not be repaid for? Is that not beautiful?

Personally, I know the sting of selfishness. When I spend each day only thinking about my own problems and thinking only about my own pleasure, I began to feel like I am sinking. I began to realize my predicament after leaving a party that everyone says was so amazing, but I feel absolutely nothing inside. When people talk about my participation, and how great or how awful an event was, I feel nothing. It became dark, and I felt hallow inside.

To fix that hallow feeling, I need to pour myself into others, helping in anyway I can: a kind word, a listening ear, really anything. So I am beginning to realize that service does not only give some emotional reward, but it can also fill a void in my heart with meaning and purpose.

So please join me and leave comments below telling how you have served recently. Any random acts of kindness, good deeds, kind words, anything. And as FC’s 2nd annual Serve Day comes Feb. 19; make sure to go out and serve with a full heart. It might be just as a fulfilling for you as it is for the people you are helping.

Students will head out at 10 a.m. on buses, and can be expected back on the campus by 3 p.m.

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

For more opinions, read the Feb. 6 article, Superintendent speaks: Why FC?.

By |2015-02-17T00:00:00-07:00February 17th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Racial injustice solution lies within us

IMG_8781Jarrod Markarian

The first session in the two-part series, Hope Fresno, held at The Well Community Church, Feb. 1. The purpose of this event was to make Fresno and Clovis area residents aware of the fact that racial injustice is, still, very much alive and present in the community.

Community meets at The Well for Hope Fresno

Racism: an eternal struggle that has reached out to each and every ethnic group that inhabits our planet. It is a negative psychological outlook on ones physical differences that was conceived in the earliest of times, when the Israelites were held captive by the Egyptians for nearly 400 years.

Throughout history, the world has witnessed as certain ethnic groups have undergone discrimination from other ethnic groups in what seems to be an endless cycle, engulfing all societies.

On Friday, Feb. 6, I had the opportunity to attend the first session in the two-part series, Hope Fresno, held at The Well Community Church. The purpose of this event was to make Fresno and Clovis area residents aware of the fact that racial injustice is, still, very much alive and present right here in our community.

This particular event addressed the long-lasting conflict between Caucasians and African-Americans in America. Five local community leaders, including Pastor Bryson White, Pastor DJ Criner, Pastor Paul Binion, Pastor Brad Bell and Sabrina Kelley of Habitat for Humanity, served as panelists, discussing personal beliefs and experiences regarding bigotry.

The panelists all started off by stating that of all the names given to describe their race, the common preference was “black, of African decent.” They then proceeded to share their own, individual stories with racism, involving them and their loved ones.

A popular theme in their discussions, was how the media distorts details in national events pertaining to racial issues. It was said by Pastor Criner, that the shooting of Michael Brown, which occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, went down in an upper middle-class community, contrary to the media’s portrayal of a sub-par slum.

While this does exaggerate the conditions of the situation, we also have to realize that the media often exaggerates situations, whether linked to bigotry or not. Yellow journalism tactics, first used by the infamous Joseph Pulitzer and William Hearst, exaggerated world events so much; it lit the fuse for the Spanish-American war.

Rarely does the media have interests in either side. Whatever distortions and tweaks are written into a story, are not done out of spite, but usually personal gain. If news stories are told exactly how they happened, there would not be nearly as many people interested in the news.

What about the case of Dillon Taylor, a 20-year-old unarmed Caucasian who was shot and killed by an African-American officer outside of a 7-Eleven? There was almost no news coverage on the incident.

It is very probable that Taylor gave the officer a completely valid reason to open fire, however, this is not the point. The point is that national news networks look for the more attractive story and publicize it all over the country to get a rise.

The media dips into the past mistreatment of the African-Americans and feed into it, turning events that need not be racially linked into nation-wide riots. Had history been reversed and it was the African-Americans that persecuted the whites, I believe the media would follow suit, shedding a negative light on whoever the minority might be.

After a long discussion of misleading news coverage and the police’s use of force in many different scenarios, the panelists concluded their discussion by reassuring the audience that the event was not meant to point fingers or place blame on any individual; only to inform the community of the facts and trying to come up with a solution.

To conclude the night, special speaker, Deth Im, who is Assistant Director of Training and Development for PICO National Network, introduced the audience to his interactive, experimental training activities he would lead the next day.

I brought up many valid points regarding racism in modern society, but his most intriguing statement was that the attitudes and stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner, can be explained by “implicit biases”.

He explained how these biases, whether pertaining to positive or negative outlooks on others, are placed in our brains subconsciously. These thoughts and feelings are provoked, unbeknownst to the individual, by the instincts engraved deep inside by common societal beliefs.

Ever since Adam and Eve first sinned in the garden, humans are imbedded with God-given shame, explaining why it is considered wrong to walk around naked. We do not wear clothes because clothes are better than no clothes; we wear them because society underwent a huge physiological change, in which it became abnormal to be naked in public. This is an example of implicit bias.

Observing the demeanor of each individual panelists, I noticed that the younger speakers were more passionate and outspoken about their opinions. Pastor Binion, arguably one of the most influential religious leaders in Fresno County, was calm and collected throughout the majority of the interview.

Binion, who lived through one of the most oppressive times for African-Americans, the Civil Rights Era, had a slightly different way of thinking compared to the other panelists.

I believe that having grown up in such a hard situation, Binion has witnessed much more of a positive change for his people. The younger panelists, I would assume, have only heard the horror stories passed down from loved ones, sparking anger inside.

Since the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, treatment of the African-American community has steadily improved. Unlike Binion, the younger panelists, although still affected by a white privilege, have not experienced as significant of change in societal behavior.

Binion’s on stage presence and unruffled poise challenged the audience to focus on common interests and apply I Corinthians 13 to living out a tactful and respectful lifestyle.

If I have taken away anything from attending this event, it is this: Racism, no matter the minority affected, has always been and always will be. However, looking at past conditions and comparing them to today, it is safe to assume that they are changing for the better as long as both parties focus on common interests and can listen to one another without getting defensive.

I look at the timeline of the persecution of African-Americans, which began nearly 300 years ago, and compare it to that of other cultures, such as the Jews who have been discriminated against for thousands of years, and it gives me hope that this civil conflict will soon diminish.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather and Instagram @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @namoodnhoj. The Well Community Church can be reached via Twitter: @wellchurch. Faith in Community can be reached via Twitter: @FIC_Fresno.

For more opinions, read the Feb. 6 article, Superintendent speaks: Why FC?. And please check out Hope Fresno unites pastors in racial equality (Video) for more information.

By |2015-02-13T00:00:00-07:00February 13th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|2 Comments

COLUMN: Superintendent speaks: Why FC?

IMG_5665 copyJeremy Brown | The Feather Online Archive
Why FCS?

As I sit having my morning coffee, I find myself thankful for where God has brought me. Not only in my own personal walk with him but my latest assignment: Fresno Christian Schools.

A little over a year ago, I prayed about whether or not I should move from Kings Canyon Unified School District to FC. ‘Why FC?’ was a common refrain. I loved where I worked and I loved my community in Reedley; I still do. So, why FC?

I began to think and pray about God and his people:

Did you know that only 25% of Fresno County are practicing Christians?
Did you know that only 4% of 16-29 yr. olds have a relationship with Christ?

But, why FC? I had a campus of over 650 students that I was able to show the love of Christ and FC only has 460.

Then the answer was revealed. While there are more students in Reedley, there was more potential to make disciples at FC. Disciples that can be openly and intentionally trained to be missional in life. Our public schools need Christ followers on campus as students and staff. Some are called there, but we are called here for just a time as this!

Questions not statements are often the best way to follow God. Statements are narrow and direct and unless coming from God are fallible. Questions to God position us to receive from Him. It is hard to be in His will when we are not asking what it is. My world was changed over a year ago, changed for the better.

We are called here for this time, this season. You were born in this generation! Not the one before or after you but now. Our paths have crossed at this time for His purpose. Our only question? what is your part in God’s plan? God has a plan for you at FC, at your local church and in your family.

Take time to meditate on what the Lord has for you. It would be sad for you to attend FC most of your life and not ask ‘Why FC?’ Ask the question, He will answer. You are a world changing generation! I believe in you, now go ask…’Why FC?’

11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

For more from Jeremy Brown, check out COLUMN: Fall initiates change in campus focus and Jeremy Brown announced as new Superintendent

Jeremy Brown can be contacted via Twitter: @FCS_Supt or via the office phone at 559.299.1695.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne.

For more from the superintendent read, Campus grows through Christ, fellowship.

By |2015-02-06T00:00:00-07:00February 6th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Students cast off selfish actions for #RAKweek2015 (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 8.45.20 AMThe Great Kindness Challenge

Students put away their selfish habits for a week of Random Acts of Kindness.

Imagine a world without kindness. A world where there was not a caring person, or anybody who had the simplicity to make someone feel loved. That is a world I do not want to live in. Random Acts of Kindness Week is Feb. 8-15 and we need to start the awareness now. We need to admit our self-centeredness, put it aside and find simple ways to change that pretense.

The Feather Online and student leadership are piggy-backing on The Great Kindness Challenge. In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) and #RAKweek2015 (Feb. 8-15), students should take into account to be kind to others, and change the world for the better. Often, we go about our everyday lives, forgetting to acknowledge the people around us, because of that fact that we are already wrapped up in our own problems.

The Great Kindness Challenge, if you choose to accept it, will hopefully bring out the greatness in you, because we all know there is greatness in all of us, we just have to dig deep enough to find it. There are many ways to participate, some of which include simple, kind gestures such as giving a compliment to five people per day, make a new friend, bring a flower to the office staff, or offer to help a custodian.

When all is said and done, it should become a habit. A healthy habit where we will all put our greatness together and make this world a kinder place. as Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

With that being said, as Random Acts of Kindness Week approaches, I encourage all of you to take the Great Kindness Challenge, find the greatness within yourselves, and help to make this world a better, kinder place.

Student leadership will be posting a poster on the downstairs hallway this week. Please take the time to add your name and take the Great Kindness Challenge. Be responsible, respectful and accountable to be kind these next two weeks and beyond. As someone to partner with to write out ways you will be selfless this month.

Additionally, students will have an opportunity to serve and show kindness Feb. 19. The high school students will be off campus to engage with the community and help with graffiti removal, Neighborhood Thrift, the Poverello House and others.

Additionally, please post your challenges to others via The Feather comments at the bottom of this article or Twitter: #RAKweek2015.

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

For more opinions, read the Feb. 1 article, Super Bowl XLIX blog: Roggenstein in Phoenix.

By |2015-02-02T00:00:00-07:00February 2nd, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Freshmen prepare for the future through hard work, service

IMG_6615Alexis Kalugin | The Feather Online Archive

Freshmen Devin Pitts and Nathan Mount

Freshmen Devin Pitts and Nathan Mount discuss ways underclassman can prepare for college including grades and involvement.

As junior high students transition into high school, they are forced to come into contact with the omnipresent fear of college. Students everywhere struggle with the process of getting the proper information for planning out how to attend the college of there choice. While this fear is real and present, there is always a way to deal with these challenges namely by following the structure and rules within the school, yet there is always a personal choice involved with choosing your college. Freshmen prepare for the future through their choice to become hard workers rather than acting carelessly with their grades.

High school is the preparation of students for the work load which will surround them in the college world. Freshmen assume that they can fool around and be careless with there grades yet these grades are a real part of whether or not they are allowed into the college of their choice. This irresponsible opinion is prevalent within the schools and freshmen of today. It will lead to frustration and disappointment in there years to come as they struggle to attend the college of their choice.

While grades are an incredibly important factor to a students success the friends with which they spend there free time is ultimately the final decision. As a teen grows up they learn to fit in to there surroundings, this is all well and good, but it can often prove fatal. High school is a melting pot of beliefs, ethnicities and study habits, people want to fit in, but if the cool kids refrain from working or paying attention in class then, will you as a freshmen be similarly influenced? This belief is the bane to all freshmen and if you fall into this trap, a four-year university may be just out of reach.

These two matters remain the core problems for freshmen and if they follow those two thoughts then a final push could be the ace in the hole as colleges view your resume. Schools provide extra curricular activities, by joining a few of these clubs or sports to view you more intently. By following these few, yet important ideas a freshmen can make there way into a college of there choosing.

Another important way to prepare for college is to talk to your school counselor about it. Counselors can help you with plans on how to be successful throughout high school and be as prepared as possible for college. So make sure that you set up a few appointments a semester just to discuss college preparation further.

It may seem like there are a lot of things to do to prepare for college as a freshmen but in reality, with hard work it can be pretty simple. Just remember to make a four year plan with your counselor and be involved with things not only in your school, but in your community.

Contributed by Sports Editor, Joshua Carter.

For more opinions, read the Jan. 27 article, Generation neglects the morals of historical legacy.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @Devinpitts.

By |2015-01-28T00:00:00-07:00January 28th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Generation neglects the morals of historical legacy

Martin Luther King Jr. was a bringer of salvation to the black community, a humble man with selfless ambitions. Mr. King had so many great words that he shared openly with all who would listen, yet so many people in today’s generation can barely grasp the full scope of his words and his sacrifices.

Why did Mr. King sacrifice so much when he did not have to? That is a question that may be answered through a look at his lifestyle and philosophy. King had everything an African-American man in the 60’s could dream of: a house, well-paying job, beautiful wife and loving children. The reason he gave up everything is because his culture, his people, his brothers and sisters needed someone’s love and leadership. This was a burden that only Mr. King could carry; he became the Atlas of his people.

The iconic ‘I have a Dream‘ speech echoes through the fabric of history and stands as the highlight of the American Civil Rights movement, but many things had to happen before this speech was delivered. If we, as a society, truly observed King we would realize that his dream was dreamt in despair and in sadness as he watched the cruelty his people had to endure. King displayed that not all dreams are created in comfort and kind environments, sometimes they are born out of desperation.

Mr. King had a light that shown through the darkest of tunnels, that persevered through the coldest of nights, that endured not because he wanted to, but because it had to. He stood when no one else would, he marched even if no one would. The greatness of this man is immeasurable; it is a shame that this generation neglects the morals of that he stood for.

Perhaps the reason why his purpose and sacrifice and other great works are seemingly ignored is because our society no longer values what Mr. King valued. Mr. King stood for something, but now in todays society standing for anything, or making definitive statements; is frowned upon. Some of us even believe that moral absolutes are an artifact of an inferior time and no longer serve a purpose. That the only absolute we need to care about is our own “happiness”.

If we continue down this path; where pleasure is all that matters; then we will see a truly dark world. Learn from the example Mr. King gave to us, stand for something. Stand for your moral absolutes, do not fall prey to the apathy and selfishness that has swept through our nation like a plague. Stand as Mr. King stood, then maybe, just maybe we could come to understand the gravity of all of his words.

For information on MLK, make sure to read the CNN article “The greatest MLK speeches you never heard“.

Follow the Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronline. These writers can be reached via Twitter: @RRoggenstein and @GarchaKevin8.

For more opinions, read the Jan. 21 article, COLUMN: Pushing through.

By |2015-01-27T00:00:00-07:00January 27th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Pushing through

People often make promises to themselves in the heat of the moment; making vain and empty attempts to change themselves. But when push comes to shove and action is required the interest in the promise wains and the body and mind become lax and unwilling. New Years resolutions provide an excellent example of unkept promises and goals. The interest and determination in resolving ones problems simply fades into the recesses of the mind as time marches on ever forward.

Statistically; about 45% of Americans usually make New Years resolutions. Promising to usually lose weight, improve their livelihood, or change their personal and social lives. Only about 8% of these people are actually successful in their endeavors.

I often find myself laughing and making fun of these people for making promises to themselves that I know they will not keep, but I too am guilty of almost the same crime. While I do not publicly pronounce my desire to make changes in my own life; I do think to myself quietly how I should improve. I know that my life can be improved, and I often know how to go about making it better, but when it comes down to actually performing I just lose interest.

The key to achieving success in these endeavors is in short commitment, perseverance and tenacity. Pushing through, the art of never giving up. The late Stuart Scott is a prime example of this. He was only able to become one of the big shots on the ESPN network due to his own ability and sheer tenacity to draw people in. Mr. Scott is a testament towards hard work and perseverance.

The Feather has also had a history of persistence through hard times, but also failures when our determination was needed the most. For us to truly succeed we must not let our goals slip away from us; we cannot lose focus as we have before.

The Feather has also had a history of persistence through hard times, but also failures when our determination was needed the most. For us to truly succeed we must not let our goals slip away from us; we cannot lose focus as we have before.–Rees Roggenstein

With the new school year beginning and we return to our daily routines; we should remember to give our all from the start. It might be hard; it might exhaust us, but we must persevere. If we do not we can fall through; we can lose track of our goals. Always persevere and never forget your priorities.

As the law of inertia states; a body in motion stays in motion, and a body in rest stays in rest. It is easy to become lax and easy going over the period of a long break; to fall into the trap of inertia. But in order to succeed; to break this habit; we must stay in motion. We must not lose sight of the gold; we must constantly move forward no matter how hard gravity pulls us down. We must always persevere; we must push through.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @RRoggenstein.

For more opinions, read the Jan. 16 article, EDITORIAL: Respecting the boundaries of free speech.

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

By |2015-01-21T00:00:00-07:00January 21st, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Managing the FAFSA

IMG_3773-2Jason Swain | The Feather Online Archive
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be an intimidating process for both parents and students. Although completing the application can be somewhat confusing, potential pay off can be well worth the time and frustration.

From academic years 2006?07 to 2011?12, the percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students at 4-year degree-granting institutions receiving any financial aid increased from 75 to 85 percent.

One of the biggest reasons I have encountered for students not completing the FAFSA is because they believe their parents make too much money to qualify for financial aid. Even if this is the case, not filing for the FAFSA can disqualify students from receiving scholarships through their college that often require completion of the FAFSA to qualify.

With the addition of the Middleclass Scholarship in the 2014-2015 academic year, some students who would not have received assistance in the past are now eligible for grant money if they will be attending a CSU or UC campus.

In speaking with Miriam Villasenor, Public Contact for the Fresno State Financial Aid Office, her biggest piece of advice was not to miss the Mar. 2 priority deadline.

“By missing this deadline students are no longer deemed as priority students,” Villasenor said. “And the likelihood of receiving financial aid may decrease significantly.”

She also encourages families to take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. By using this tool, a family’s tax information can be transferred directly from the IRS website to the FAFSA application, allowing the report to be as accurate as possible.

After completing the FAFSA, colleges will receive a report stating the family’s estimated financial contribution (EFC), in other words, how much the family can afford to pay toward college.

According to the Minnesota Office of Her Education, “The amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive is determined by subtracting the EFC from the total price of a specific school. Don’t rule out any school simply because of price. Your financial aid eligibility increases as the price of a school increases, but the expected family contribution stays the same.”

Students make several mistakes on the FAFSA, which is why it is so important to read every question carefully and have a second set of eyes to look it over.

Villasenor stated that a common mistake is for students to report their parents? income as their own income, which could significantly decrease the amount of money they will be eligible for.

Sean Moore from SMART College Funding states that 80 percent of completed FAFSAs contained one of more mistakes, particularly related to claiming assets.

“Pay close attention, as this can make a huge difference in how much aid you receive,” Moore said. “For example, money in a retirement account won?t count against you, but money in a checking account will. Small family businesses also aren?t a counted asset, so don?t lose out on money by incorrectly including assets that should be uncounted.”

Although mistakes are easy to make, there are professionals dedicated to helping parents and students complete the application. To get answers to your FAFSA questions or to begin the process, please visit their website.

There are also several local workshops that families can attend to learn more about the FAFSA. Workshops labeled Cash for College allow students the opportunity to earn a $1,500 scholarship.

Local Fresno area workshops:

Feb 18, 6-8 p.m. Fresno Pacific University (AIMS Hall)
Register here.

Feb 26, 6:30-8 p.m. Cash for College Workshop at Clovis Community College Campus (for more information, email [email protected])

Other local Cash for College Workshops. Register here.

For last year?s article about the FAFSA, click here.

Follow the Feather via Instagram and Twitter: @thefeather and @thefeatheronline.

For more opinions, read the Jan. 13 article, New staffers reflect on fall semester.

By |2015-01-20T00:00:00-07:00January 20th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Halfway there

IMG_0551 copyFeather file photo

Senior Christopher Grossman

Here we stand, halfway through the school year. For some, the first of four such years. For others (like me), this is the end of a long, difficult journey. That being said, it allows for a moment of reflection and understanding concerning what has been accomplished and what I still need to do.

This turning point reminds me of halftime of a basketball game. As a basketball player, I consistently parallel life experiences with my experiences playing the beautiful game. Halftime is the midway point in a basketball game, where both teams take a short break to rest and talk strategy.

In our lives, we must go over strategy concerning not only school, but life in general. Life has a tendency to get in the way of the things we want, and our character can unknowingly change as a result of that.

I personally have been taking strides in my life and walk with God to rethink my priorities in life, and continue to search out His plan for my future. The recent strides that come to mind were made in the past few weeks, the “halftime” (if you will) of the school year.

In student leadership, we have spent a good amount of time reiterating the importance of self-development and usage of partners or small groups to nurture spiritual and intellectual growth. Through this time, we have revamped the class structure and usage of the leadership period, pointing towards an increasingly efficient group of leaders.

It is my encouragement to you to take a step back from the daily struggles and business of your lives to think about what it is that you stand for. With a better understanding of what it is that one stands for, I believe that that person is better suited to make gains in their life, no matter what area of life it is in. — Christopher Grossman

Through these times, I have seen those around me in the class develop their own mental and spiritual characteristics that will influence how they lead their peers and how they develop into young adults.

Knowing that I will be headed off to college next semester, I’ve been trying to grow my own character in a way that reflects Christ. Though I face challenges daily at Fresno Christian, I simply see them as opportunities to minister to those around me and grow in my spiritual walk.

One of my favorite childhood references is from Calvin and Hobbes; when Calvin would be forced to put up with a less than favorable situation, he would always be told that it “builds character”. There was always a silver lining.

It is my encouragement to you to take a step back from the daily struggles and business of your lives to think about what it is that you stand for. With a better understanding of what it is that one stands for, I believe that that person is better suited to make gains in their life, no matter what area of life it is in.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @Chrisgrossman.

For more opinions, read the Jan. 13 article, New staffers reflect on fall semester.

By |2015-01-14T00:00:00-07:00January 14th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: New staffers reflect on Feather fall semester

jadonateKyle Bell

Nathan Mount and Jaden Ventura reflect on their first semester as freshman reporters on The Feather Online.

Jaden Ventura

Looking back on our first semester of journalism, we now see how far we have come and how many skills that we have learned. We were fortunate enough to be guided and taught by such a highly accomplished staff that we now have the privilege of contributing and working with for months.

We hope to continue on this path and earn the opportunity to work our way up, so maybe one year we will have the great experience of becoming more than writers. We are very happy with the decision that we made in joining The Feather back in August, and hope to excel through the time spent in journalism in our first Feather fall semester.

In the beginning of my time with The Feather, I was very eager to learn. Except for realizing that it is a lot of hard work and effort, nothing at all has changed: I still hold the same amount of eagerness that I had that first month.

One of the many reasons why I wanted to join was because of all of the positive things that people had mentioned to us about the elective. So far, I can honestly say that everything I have heard has fallen short to what I have experienced in the time that we have been here.

One of my favorite things about being on the Feather is being able to interview people. Whether it be fellow classmates at school, or a complete stranger, all opinions matter and they help to give a different sort of perspective on things. It also gives human feeling, emotions, and opinions which are a nice element to have in an article. — freshman Jaden Ventura

When I first started out, I was determined to make a difference on the Feather. I wanted to inspire our readers and help myself to become better at communicating with others. Later on, I realized that instead of making an actual difference on The Feather, I should just start with something smaller and then work my way up gradually.

One of my favorite things about being on the Feather is being able to interview people. Whether it be fellow classmates at school, or a complete stranger, all opinions matter and they help to give a different sort of perspective on things. It also gives human feeling, emotions, and opinions which are a nice element to have in an article.

I am incredibly content with my decision to join journalism. Even though it can get challenging at times, no matter how tough the situation, you need to remember why you joined and commit to the idea that you will succeed.

Nathan Mount

During our first semester in journalism I learned a lot of new things. Although it was hard transitioning from my old elective to this one, it was definitely in my best interest. I learned a lot of interesting things that will not only help me in writing in other classes but will also give me skills for my everyday life.

Coming in to this class this semester, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. Little did I know, it was going to be a great experience for me. [/fusion_builder_column]

[Greg] Stobbe, on the other hand, is an awesome teacher and he has motivated me to keep pushing on to get done what needs to get done.

In conclusion, we both got a lot out of this class and are dedicated to the decision to continue in the class in the future. We feel that it is in our best interest, and that we will get a lot out of it.

We definitely will continue taking this class throughout high school and possibly carry it out through a career. Overall, it is a great opportunity to learn a lot of different skills to use throughout your life and to have more choices in what you want to become as you get older.

These writers can be reached via Twitter: @_JadenVentura03 and @nate10messi1.

For more opinions, read the Jan. 9 article, COLUMN: Be an Olympian in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

By |2015-01-13T00:00:00-07:00January 13th, 2015|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Conditional acceptance

Warkentin2Jarrod Markarian

Academic advisor Michelle Warkentin speaks to the juniors and seniors about college acceptance letters and Conditional acceptance.

As I purchased the last gift off my family’s wish list (thank you Amazon online shopping) I gave a sigh of relief knowing that I no longer have to deal with the stress of fighting over parking lot stalls and waiting in endless checkout lines.

I still have the wrapping and the baking to do, but the worst part is over. I cannot help but think of my high school seniors in a similar state with college applications. Not quite time to enjoy, but for a moment they can rest, knowing that the hardest part is over.

In an attempt to advise my students about what to do at this point in the year I interviewed some local college admissions representatives about what to do now and how students should interpret a letter notifying them that they have been “conditionally accepted.”

Erika Contreras, Outreach Ambassador at Fresno State advises students to tie up loose ends and not slack off during their second semester of high school.

“I would advise students to make sure there are no lose ends,” Contreras said. “They’ve just finished applying to college but submitting the application is not the final step.”

She reminds students to make sure they’ve paid the application fee, submitted any other documents required, applied to programs such as EOP and Smittcamp, and applied for available scholarships and financial aid.

For information about these and other Fresno State scholarships click here.

For students who are planning on attending a college such as Fresno State, the application is just the start of the college checklist. In March students need to accept or decline admission to Fresno State and register for Dog Days, the mandatory student orientation held over summer.

Submitting documents such as SAT/ACT scores, residency forms and official transcripts is also important. The conditional acceptance is not taken off of a student’s account until all required documents have been submitted.

Try to think of your senior year as not just finishing high school but training for college. Offers of admission to the University of California are provisional until the campus receives your final official transcript and verifies successful completion of all coursework required for UC eligibility. You can jeopardize your admission if you fail to maintain your academic performance next semester. — Dustin Noji, Associate Director of Admissions at UC Merced

“Being ‘conditionally accepted’ means that students have been accepted on the CONDITION that they continue to meet admittance requirements,” Contreras said. “The grades they receive for their final semester really matter.”

Dustin Noji, Associate Director of Admissions at UC Merced, also talks about the importance of senior year grades.

“Keep up with your academics,” Noji said. “Most campuses admit students with the expectation that their academic records the last year of high school will stay similar to what they were when they applied, or will be even stronger.”

Noji also states that how students finish high school is often a great predictor of how their first semester in college will be.

“Try to think of your senior year as not just finishing high school but training for college,” Noji said. “Offers of admission to the University of California are provisional until the campus receives your final official transcript and verifies successful completion of all coursework required for UC eligibility. You can jeopardize your admission if you fail to maintain your academic performance next semester.”

Noji went on to explain that although unfortunate, it is not uncommon that they have to rescind a student’s admission at orientation because the student did not meet their conditions of admission.

How easy it would be to fall into the trap of becoming complacent and slack off on grades during the final semester, but do not let this be you! A conditional letter of acceptance is a huge accomplishment and something to be very proud of.

However, the ball is not out of your court yet. It is still up to you to turn in all documents needed for final acceptance and maintain good standing in your courses through graduation.

My final words of advice are to use this time during Christmas break to relax and refocus in order to prepare for the final semester of high school. Do not give any college a reason to double-check your admissions status. Instead make this next semester your best semester!

For more opinions, read the Dec. 9 article, The truth behind modern headlines. For more on College Corner read, College Corner: Financial Aid.

By |2014-12-15T00:00:00-07:00December 15th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Ice rink festivities offer Christmas atmosphere

Fulton1Jayden Ventura

Feather staffers comment on their Holiday experience at the Fulton Ice Rink.

Seasonal rink scheduled to open Nov. 13

During the Holiday season many people in Fresno are looking for a way to cool down and have a fun winter experience. This year, along with many of the Christmas events happening around town, the Fulton Mall will be hosting the Downtown Fresno Ice Rink this winter.

The ice rink is located at the Fulton Mall in Mariposa Plaza and is open from Nov. 13 through Jan. 19. The Ice Rink is a family oriented event and hopes to see those values on the ice.

For some that means, having some eggnog and sitting by the fire. For others it could be going to the downtown ice rink for an icy experience.

By the time we arrived at the rink, there was already a lot of people on the ice. As we got on the rink, it was a little difficult to glide amongst the professional figure skaters.

They made it look so easy, but to our surprise we soon discovered that it was quite the contrary. Right when we got the ice skates on, it was like a completely different atmosphere.

Most people’s first reaction would be to stop and get balanced, but as we found out, the only way to keep balanced was to just keep moving. While we skated, we were accompanied by a diverse selection of today’s popular music.

The scene of the rink quickly helps you forget about being in Fresno and instead in the snowy wonderland. Aside from it being somewhat tiring, the entire experience was exhilarating in every sense of the word.

We definitely recommend going down to the ice rink whether it be solo, or with a group of friends. Either way we are sure it will be a fun activity for all.

The ice rink opens daily at 11 a.m and closes at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. From Sunday through Thursday the rink opens at 11 a.m., and closes at 9 p.m.

On the weekdays, the price for admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children who are 12 and under. On the weekends, The prices for admission is $12 for adults and the cost for children is $10. The cost for admission includes skate rentals and the ability to skate as long as desired for the day.

Season passes are also available to purchase for individuals or for a family. The cost for an individual season pass can be purchased for $49 for and adult and $39 for a child.

Family passes are also available, which includes as many as four children and two adults for a price as low as $99. For $20 more, additional children can be added to the family pass. You can purchase your tickets and season passes here, or on their website.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @nate10messi, @_jadenventura03 and @Devinpitts.

For more opinions, read the Nov. 24 column, COLUMN: Winter school spirit.

By |2014-12-02T00:00:00-07:00December 2nd, 2014|Column, Community Events, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: The American illusion; justice for all

photoCreative Commons 2.0 Flickr Fibonacci Blue.

Editor Trevor Beal comments on the riots during Black Friday.

Once again America was gripped and enthralled in a tragedy, one that sadly is a regular part of inner city life, police vs. the public was the narrative. The emotions of loss, anger, pain, distrust and confusion still linger because of Aug. 9, 2014.

Last week a grand jury made up of Ferguson, Missouri, citizens was presented with the challenge of approving the state of Missouri’s case against officer Darren Wilson or denying the state the opportunity of trial, due to lack of evidence.

The jury denied the case, and outrage ensued.

Not only in Ferguson but across the nation, people of all backgrounds took to the streets and expressed their opposition.

I do not believe that the protesters views and outlandish opinions on the grand jury trial are valid, at least if we look at the facts.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in only 11 of them.

These statistics shows me that for the defendant to not be indicted, there has to be extraordinary proof of his innocence. But the seemingly overwhelming proof to suggest the innocence of Darren Wilson is not enough to silence some extremists.

I had the opportunity to be in San Francisco during Black Friday, the day after the grand jury decision. I travel to the city every year to witness the annual lighting of the Macy’s Union Square Christmas tree and partake in the devilish shopping deals.

In the square at the lighting this year over 110,000 people were present, and surprisingly to me protesting insurgents took this opportunity to advance their hatred of government and established order.

Our justice system is the most fair and well put together in the world, that does not make us immune to mistakes. To err is human, we can not expect to be 100% correct all the time, there is no possible way to avoid the human error.

Trashing our entire way of justice and the way in which we decide the guilt of someone, whether they are White, African American, Hispanic, Asian or Middle Eastern should not be determined by isolated instances or by the loudest and most violent critics.

I witnessed a group of 10 or so African American men destroy the front window of the Crate and Barrel outlet store on Stockton Street in San Francisco to steal the merchandise inside.

Trashing your own city will not bring any restitution or even sympathy to any groups cause. Respectful and peaceful protest with actual plans and goals such as the March on Washington in 1963 produced quantified and meaningful results.

I watched profanity laced insults spatter the protective visors of riot police that stood statue like in the face of pure hatred. Men that risk their lives on a daily basis to protect the very same people that have no respect for them.

Do the common thugs care one bit about what happened to their “brother” in Ferguson, or are they out to use him for their own gain?

They defile his name and bring hypocrisy down upon themselves and their culture. Hate of order and love chaos is their motivation.

Their goal is not to change our justice system to be more fair, rather it is to benefit themselves! And to use any excuse possible to create chaos! This is their American illusion. Chaos is an easier more care free way of life, with no consequences and no responsibility.

6,493,000, that is the number of African American families in America today according to Kids Count Data Center, 67% of those families have only one parent present.

This in itself is a tragedy, can we truthfully look at that statistic and assume the black culture is concerned with responsibility and consequences of their actions.

Who am I to put an entire race into a box of irresponsibility, I can only point out trends and logical facts in their way of life.

The real issue that inevitably includes race is, does our justice system need reform and should we change law enforcement policy? Many critics of our system have cited the lack of black police officers, especially in Ferguson, where only three out of 53 officers are African American, as a contributing factor to police vs. public violence.

The critics suggestion is to require police departments to be as diverse as the community they represent. For example, Fresno would be expected to have 46% White officers, 8% African American officers, 44% Hispanic officers, and 2% other.

If we adopt this policy what will stop us from making the argument that nearly 70% of America is White, therefore we should have a White president, to be fair of course.

In 1776 our forefathers declared to the most powerful nation in the world at the time, England, that we would no longer be subject to their oppression. Since that day we have not looked back and have continually strived to become better.

With every domestic issue we conquer we become stronger and stronger, no matter what the extremists on both sides say we are all Americans no matter what color we are. We all stand united under the Stars and Stripes.

The writer can be reached via Twitter @2015Beal.

For more opinions, read the Dec. 2 article, Ice rink festivities offer Christmas atmosphere.

Front page photo provided by Creative Commons 2.0 Flickr Fibonacci Blue.

By |2014-12-02T00:00:00-07:00December 2nd, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Winter school spirit opportunities

IMG_0551Feather file photo

Senior Christopher Grossman share Winter school spirit ideas to get involved during the winter season.

So, we have made it through the first few months of school; there’s only a couple weeks left. Now what?

Well, we’ve already passed Homecoming, fall sports are over, and holidays advocating “family time” are upon us. So how are we to stay involved in school? Well, Student Leadership has your back. There are a few different ways to get involved before we all buy new calendars. New winter school spirit opportunities to get involved are lining up.

The first is the annual Fall Festivus, to be held Nov. 25. Tickets are only $15, and can be bought in the High School office. Just as last year, dinner will be served, and we’ll be watching a movie outside. That being said, make sure to bring your own blanket! There will be fire pits, complete with “s’more stations” to accommodate all of your marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker needs.

This is sure to be a chill, relaxing night with your friends and a great way to meet and socialize with other students. It will be from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., and if you have any other questions, be sure to ask myself, or any other member of the Student Leadership team.

An ongoing event that will be ending December 9 is the Canned Food Drive that we participate in every year. Students are encouraged to bring canned food for families in need in the Pinedale area. Each class will have their donations recorded, and whichever class brings the most will be rewarded before the semester comes to a close.

A new event that is starting up this year is the Christmas Tree Lane Walk, where all students are invited to meet at Fig Garden to walk Christmas Tree Lane, Dec. 10. Student Leadership would love to see you participate in a Ugly Christmas Sweater competition, and the student with the ugliest sweater will win a free Starbucks drink.

After meeting to hold the contest and take a few pictures as a group, students are free to break off and walk the lane with friends.

While this is all going on, be sure to be preparing for your NOTS movie, as filming and editing always take longer than expected. Classes should be deciding on what movies they will be recording during advisory periods, and script writing should be wrapped up by Christmas break.

All this aside, involvement starts with you. Student leadership would love to see every student be a part of some sort of school event, and if you have any questions or comments, my door is always open.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @Chris_Grossman.

For more opinions, read the Nov. 20 article, College Corner: Financial Aid. For more ASB columns, read the Oct. 27 article, COLUMN: Be a spirited participant at homecoming.

By |2014-11-24T00:00:00-07:00November 24th, 2014|Column, Community Events, FC Events, Uncategorized|1 Comment

College Corner: Financial Aid

collegecorner2Feather file photo

Michelle Warkentin speaks to students about the different forms of financial aid they can receive when they go to college.

As students begin to apply for college the inevitable sticker shock begins to set in. Up until this time they have searched for colleges by major, sports teams, and distance from the beach.

However, when it comes down to it, finances are often the biggest factor in determining which college a student will attend. For the 2011-12 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board were estimated to be $14,300 at public institutions.

This cost increases to $37,800 at private nonprofit institutions, and $23,300 at private for-profit institutions, as published by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2013). Unfortunately college prices continue to increase over time.

Although the statistics may seem depressing, there is a glimmer of hope. Along with an increase in price also comes a rise in financial assistance. From academic years 2006-07 to 2011?12, the percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students at 4-year degree-granting institutions receiving any financial aid increased from 75 to 85 percent, also according to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2014).

In order to get an accurate perspective on financial aid, I sought the advice of Gary Nichols, Director of Financial Aid from Fresno Pacific University. My first question for Nichols was what students should do if they are really interested in attending a specific college, but don’t think they will be able to afford to attend.

He encouraged students to continue to pursue the college because with different institutional scholarships you never know what type of financial aid package you will receive.

“If you never apply you will never know the outcome,” Nichols said.

As students are aware many colleges offer great financial aid packages for athletes, scholars, musicians, etc. But what about other forms of assistance are there?

Outside scholarships. There is billions of dollars out there for students to apply for outside scholarships.

“If a student spent 10 hours working on a scholarship and won a $500 scholarship, they just earned $50/hour,” Nichols said. “That is a great return on investment.”

Nichols recommends that students visit the following scholarship websites: Fast Web, Cappex, SallieMae and College Board. Students also have the opportunity to participate in community service programs through AmeriCorps. This program allows students to earn up to two education awards, up to $4,725 each.

Students often sell themselves short and do not think they have a shot at earning outside scholarships, or do not think it will be worth the effort it takes to apply. I agree with Nichols’ statement that you never know what you are going to get until you apply.

Students should apply to several colleges, even if the price tag seems too high. Since you don’t have to make a final decision until May, you have plenty of time to weigh out your options and apply for as many scholarships as possible in the meantime. Honestly, what do you have to lose.

For more information on personal statements/college essays, read the Oct. 16, 2013, column, College Corner: Personal Statements.

Happy application time!

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

For more College Corner, read the Oct. 17 column, College Corner: More bang for your buck.

By |2014-11-20T00:00:00-07:00November 20th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Fall initiates theme of change in campus focus

IMG_5663Jarrod Markarian

Superintendent Jeremy Brown encourages the student body to look around to those around us, to look for people that we can be a neighbor towards (The Good Samaritan). Our season has changed, and our mission continues to love others as Christ loves us.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

As we move away from 2014 homecoming, I am reflecting on the week leading into the game. We had activities, contests, dress up days and our campus exuded school spirit. Then the rain came which just made the narrative of homecoming even more memorable.

The writer of Ecclesiastes and Peter Seeger, author of the song made famous by The Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” understood that God created seasons in our world and our lives.

The rain at homecoming marked a change in season for me personally. As I stood on the side line watching our homecoming court participants hide under umbrellas from the rain, I saw joy… soaking wet joy.

The writer of Ecclesiastes and Peter Seeger, author of the song made famous by The Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” understood that God created seasons in our world and our lives. I feel that our community is being called into a different season, a season of giving, loving and sharing- theme of change. — Superintendent Jeremy Brown

The question is why? How did we all find joy on that night? The joy was on the inside of us, Christ is our joy, Christ is in us. Despite circumstances of less than ideal weather there was still joy. I feel that our community is being called into a different season, a season of giving, loving and sharing- theme of change.

There are people in our FC community and the communities of Fresno and Clovis dealing with a personal “rain:” Rain in the form of loss, death, illness, broken hearts, financial stress and broken families. Our response as Christ-Followers is to understand that there is a time for everything.

Our second response is to look around to those around us, to look for people that we can be a neighbor towards (The Good Samaritan). Our season has changed, and our mission continues to love others as Christ loves us.

Thank you FC for being the “body”, I look forward to hearing reports from how we serve our community as a school, families and individuals. There is a lot of need and hurt in the world and we will know us by “our love”.

For more opinions, read the Nov. 17 article, EDITORIAL: Making what matters count.

By |2014-11-19T00:00:00-07:00November 19th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Samaritan's Purse gives back this holiday season

Kevin-GarchaKylie Bell

Junior Kevin Garcha

Samaritan’s Purse started up in the 1970s to support and serve people in distress around the world. Since Samaritan’s Purse’s purpose is about helping those in need, they created a branch that aims to bring joy to less fortunate children around the world during the holidays, Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child provides a way to give to the children who are in need and cannot afford receiving gifts on this holiday. The program makes sure that if Santa cannot come visit the children, the Samaritan’s Purse gives back to the community and those who do not have a way to receive a gift during the holidays.

Every Christmas volunteers from around the world pack shoeboxes, filling them with toys and educational gear for the children to use and play with on Christmas. Operation Christmas Child makes the promise of caring for those who are uncared for.

An ordinary shoebox contains toys such as a teddy bear and hot wheels, or some pencils and drawing books. Food is not allowed to be shipped to the children due to health risks. Also, every shoebox comes with something that connects the child to God’s Holy Word.

Operation Christmas Child is a great opportunity for students to make an impact in their community and also make a difference in a land foreign to them. Both Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse gives back this holiday season.

After personally participating in the Operation Christmas Child gifting, I can say the feeling I got once completed the box was very positive. The feeling knowing you are helping someone in another place is very uplifting and brings great vibes.

Every child deserves to be special on Christmas. Operation Christmas Child are doing their part, are you?

A final collection of boxes will be Monday morning, Nov. 17. It’s not too late. Think #FCGiveThanks. And if creating a Christmas box is not for you, please consider another act of kindness and generosity this holiday season.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @garchakevin8.

For more opinions, read the Nov. 13 article, Almunus undergoes severe ulcerative colitis, discovers natural remedies.

By |2014-11-14T00:00:00-07:00November 14th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Be a spirited participant at homecoming

GrossmanFeather file photo

Senior Christopher Grossman

Well, once again students are faced with the biggest week of first semester: homecoming. Dress-up days, pageants, floats and of course, the football game.

As you may know, this is my senior year, which means I have been around for many homecomings, even stretching back to the days when it was held at Clark Intermediate, not Eagle Field.

Through it all, I’ve figured out that there is nothing quite like homecoming. It captivates the high school spirit, embodying the unique intensities and competitions we experience during our four years.

This being said, homecoming is an event to be savored. I will be going to formal events throughout my life, people grow out of sports, but homecoming is special. I will never again be helping my classmates prepare our float. I will never again be rushing around all day to make sure a pageant is ready to go; and I will not be feeling the camaraderie of dress-up days with 180 of my closest friends in the foreseeable future.

Student Leadership has spent over a month in preparing for the event, as it recognizes the enormity of the week. Through scheduling events, staying updated with representatives from classes, and decisive discussions, the class has figured out every last detail to the best of their abilities.

Homecoming needs to be honored, it needs to be executed, and it needs to be remembered. I imagine that in 20 years, when I look back at my days on FC’s campus, I will remember graduation, I will remember the random moments with my friends, and I will remember homecoming.

Though there is not really a single negative element of the week, there is a clear favorite in my mind; the pageants. From the hilarious videos to the King Dance, a pageant is always a promise of a good time.

This year, I was fortunate enough to be nominated for Homecoming King. To say the preparation for the King pageant is extensive would be an understatement. I can tell you this much: it will be a memorable one.

Homecoming needs to be honored, it needs to be executed, and it needs to be remembered. I imagine that in 20 years, when I look back at my days on FC’s campus, I will remember graduation, I will remember the random moments with my friends, and I will remember homecoming. — Christopher Grossman

To those {and yes, there always are a few} who speak negatively of homecoming week and the events during it, one should first understand just how much work is put into every single element.

The student leadership class is going all out this year to provide the best homecoming experience, and it will certainly be one for the books. This is my plea: Be a spirited participant at homecoming.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @ChrisGrossman.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 24 column, COLUMN: Invitation to homecoming.

By |2014-10-27T00:00:00-07:00October 27th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Invitation to homecoming

Deffan1Bree Castro

Principal Amy Deffenbacher welcomes the campus community to the 30th homecoming.

A little over a year ago, I had a strange experience; a homecoming of sorts. Nineteen years later, after graduating from FC, I returned as a teacher.

I wish I could say that it was an immediate and overwhelming feeling of comfort that came over me, but it was not. I spent a good amount of time wrestling with my own memories of this place {both positive and negative} and then reconciling them with the place that FC had become {for better and for worse}.

It was not the same school I had left behind. This many months later, I am still here. The perspective that I have gained adds to my excitement that this month marks an important event in the life of our school community, homecoming.

I find a fascinating connection between the tradition of homecoming and the arrival of the fall season. For me, fall represents warmth and coziness. Most of my favorite memories are affiliated with the fall holidays. The smells, the sounds and the flavors of the season are things that I look forward to for the remaining nine months of the year.

This year I am choosing to add another “holiday” to my fall calendar: Fresno Christian Homecoming, Oct. 31, 2014. Think about it: good people, good food and a good game all in one place! This is my invitation to homecoming.

As the Dean of Students, I am honored to be extending an invitation to all of our Fresno Christian Family, past and present, to join us. Come and see what we?ve been up to since you left. You may, like me, have a new holiday to add to your fall calendar from this year forward.

Follow the Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 21 article, COLUMN: Societal pressures continue to influence personal decisions.

By |2014-10-24T00:00:00-07:00October 24th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: More bang for your buck

College1Clovis Community College

Academic Advisor Michelle Warkentin shares tips on how students can get started with their community college applications.

Warkentin shares the benefits to applying to local community colleges

College Corner is a column about all things college, covering everything from college preparation to tips on application.

“What are your plans for college?” the inevitable question that everyone asks you when you are a teenager. This can be a frustrating and even humiliating question for students if they are unsure of what their future holds.

As I meet with seniors who are currently buried in college applications and studying for the college entrance exams, even they are unsure of how to answer this question. With college applications at a record high, nerves about getting into top universities are also at an all time high.

Today I want to talk about the “back up plan” for many students. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for students attending a private Christian college or even an Ivy League school, but I know that is not a reality for many students. And it is not simply the academics that can be a struggle but also the hit it may take on a family’s wallet.

Community college used to be viewed at as a last resort or a fall back plan, but this negative perception is beginning to change. In many cases, two-year colleges are being viewed as a cost effective platform to get you where you want to go.

The Center for College Affordability & Productivity cites that “Students at community colleges save, on average, $4,183 in tuition over public four-year institutions, and $22,741 when compared to private four-year schools.”

This is not a figure to disregard, that amount of money could be a new car or down payment on a house! With more college students graduating college with massive amounts of debt, this may be a good option to consider.

The community college is an excellent option for students seeking a vocational degree, associate degree and/or planning to transfer. We have rigorous programs of study for students decided on a major. As well as many introductory courses and services designed to help students explore majors. — Brandon Huebert, Trio Counselor/Coordinator at Clovis Community College (CCC)

Since students are mainly taking general education classes the first two years they are not really missing out on anything by taking this alternate path. Some students worry that the units they are taking will not transfer easily to a four-year university.

However, if you enter the community college with a plan in mind and work closely with your counselor this should not be an issue.

“Lots of community colleges work closely with area state colleges or universities to ensure credits transfer directly,” says Farestad-Rittel, a financial whiz at the popular discount company Gift Card Granny.

Now I am aware that there are some downsides to attending a community college, such as the lack of the “college experience” or exciting dorm life. I am also not encouraging this option for someone who has their heart set on a specific career path and is accepted into their dream school.

However, I do want to open the eyes of students who are still weighing out their options and aren’t ready to determine their career path at 18. I believe that the community colleges are doing a great job of preparing students for four-year colleges and making sure they are taking the appropriate classes to get them where they want to go.

Brandon Huebert, Trio Counselor/Coordinator at Clovis Community College (CCC), encourages students to apply because of the various programs available.

“The community college is an excellent option for students seeking a vocational degree, associate degree and/or planning to transfer,” Huebert said. “We have rigorous programs of study for students decided on a major. As well as many introductory courses and services designed to help students explore majors.”

Both Fresno City College (FCC) and CCC have Honors Programs for students who have maintained an excellent GPA and have the desire to transfer to a California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) after two years.

There is also a program called IGETC, for qualified students that may improve their chances of being accepted into a competitive UC campus and/or program by first taking the required coursework at a community college.

Huebert also advises students to apply to community college because of it’s cost efficient tuition for opportunities and programs in education.

“At a fraction of the cost,” Huebert said. “The community college provides a quality education with personnel who believe in creating opportunities one student at a time.”

Whether it is your first choice or your back up plan, the community college has a variety of programs and opportunities for students.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more on College Corner, read Sept. 5 column, College Corner: Responsibility begins early.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 14 column, Ebola virus continues to infect.

By |2014-10-17T00:00:00-07:00October 17th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Novice staffers share journalism expectations

jadonateFeather file photo

New staffers Jaden Ventura and Nathan Mounts share their perspective as newly fledged journalists.

After about a month of other electives, we decided that our time would be more useful pursuing an elective that would be in our better interest.

We heard about publications adviser Greg Stobbe and learned that he was a really interesting teacher. Just like Stobbe said, “You guys knew it wouldn’t be an underwater basket weaving class.” We found out we would actually have to work. It wouldn’t just be an easy “A.”

Which is also why we joined the class because it builds motivation to get the job done. This type of work is what structures a strong foundation in constructive writing.

Journalism is a new concept to us because it is our first year and we have yet to learn what it holds for us in the future. We were encouraged to join this class not only family but also our fellow classmates at FC.

We were very motivated to do this class because of all the good things people had told us about it. The reasons why we joined to have a better appreciation for journalism and what its all about.

This year we plan on making a difference on The Feather so we can affect all of the readers and be able to inspire them to help us be the best high school newspaper in the nation. We are also hopeful that journalism can increase our communication skills.

We switched classes so we could be able to further apply ourselves in not only our school but in our everyday lives. Another reason why we joined is because it is important to be able to affect and inspire our audience so that we can, in the future, be better equipped with the essential skills that are used throughout everyday life.

It is important to us that we make use all of the time that we are given at FC, and not wasting it on non-essential electives. One of the most important reasons why we joined journalism is so that we may be better prepared for college.

Overall we believe this was a good transition from other electives because challenging ourselves not only pushes us but to motivate ourselves to become better journalists.

These writers can be reached via Twitter: @_jadenventura and @nate10messi1. Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

By |2014-09-27T00:00:00-07:00September 27th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Junior uses journalism, earned Ivy league education

photoCourtesy Rees Roggenstein

Junior Rees Roggenstein recounts his experience at Harvard University and credits his success to The Feather Online’s journalism program.

This summer I applied to a summer school program at Harvard University for college credit. The program was extremely hard to get into; only 3,000 students were accepted, and I was fortunate enough to be one of them. I lived in Cambridge for two and a half months, attended class every Monday and Wednesday in William James Hall, and had my first taste of college.

I studied Behavioral Psychology under professor Richard McNally with 14 other students. Only a few of the students were in high school, a couple had already graduated from college and took the course to diversify themselves at their work place.

Hard work, sacrifice and endurance marked my studying at Harvard. I had never been challenged academically like this in my entire life. The homework consisted of reading multiple 40-page articles, constantly asking about the material during class hours and presenting PowerPoints, based on the articles we read, in a minimum of 15 minutes.

I gained insights into the psychology of people and, as a result, I understand why people do what they do. Information in this area is beyond valuable, but the class offered even more than just that. It also taught students techniques to combat self-control failures, like procrastination and writers-block, applicable tools to the everyday student.

The knowledge this class imparted is priceless by itself, but it taught me more than just that. It showed me that college would be challenging beyond what I understood, but more fulfilling than I expected. –Rees Roggenstein

I was amazed that I was accepted to this program, even more amazed that I passed the course. But the more I thought, the more it made sense that I was able to compete with the other students. Journalism gave me an edge that they did not posses.

The Feather teaches its students the delicate art of presentation, and how to find valuable information and make it applicable. Since my class needed me to create PowerPoints, these skills became invaluable.

Without journalism, without The Feather, I could not compete with my classmates at Harvard. Without The Feather I doubt Harvard would have accepted me in the first place.

In short, I used my connections with journalism and earned Ivy League education. It took me all the way to summer courses at Harvard; it can do that and more for anyone else who takes it just as seriously.

This writer can be reached via Twitter @RRoggenstein.
Follow The Feather on Twitter @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the Sept. 5 article College Corner: Responisbility begins early.

By |2014-09-10T00:00:00-07:00September 10th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Responsibility begins early

IMG_5678Feather file photo

Michelle Warkentin explains to students that responsibility for college begins early and with proper initiative.

Two weeks ago I spoke to the senior class of 2015 during their advisory period. As I passed around a paper titled Senior Checklist, the looks I observed on their faces were comical.

The overachievers appeared pleasantly surprised that I had essentially mapped out the next nine months for them and they scanned quickly through the list, checking off items in their head.

Then, there were the students who avoided all eye contact with the paper for fear that starting to read would be the beginning of a painstaking process of uncharted territory: college applications.

The third group of students was easy to identify because they were the ones who slouched a little lower in the chairs at the simple mention of the word “college”, they glanced at the clock to see how many minutes of college talk they would have to endure, because in their minds, “they are not college material”.

This is not a scenario unique to FC, it is happening in schools all across the nation. Seniors are starting to chart out their path for life after high school and inevitably they fall into one of these three categories.

There is a common misunderstanding about school counselors, it is the assumption that we believe anything less than Harvard, Oxford, or Yale is less than the best. However, this could not be further from the truth.

Every student is uniquely different and has amazing gifts and talents that should be devoted toward their passions and interests, in whatever avenue that may be. I will fight just as hard to help a student get into culinary school as I will for one pursuing a P.h.D in Neuroscience from Stanford.

No matter what path you decide to take, make sure you are prepared. I do not simply mean prepared in the physical sense of the word, but in all aspects. Seniors, this year is a crucial time in shaping your world view and personal identity. Make the most of every opportunity you have in your final year of high school. From leading your team on the sports field to putting in volunteer hours for your on-campus club, make an impact wherever you are at.

Keep in mind that colleges, honors programs, tech schools (and the list goes on) are looking for someone who can change the culture of their surroundings and has a passion for what they do.

The best advice I can give for starting out this year is start strong, complete the tasks on this checklist by all means. But more importantly, be intentional about the interactions you have and the things you do because you never know where they will take you. Best wishes to the Class of 2015, I am excited to help you on this riveting journey!

Seniors have already received a senior checklist for the year along with upcoming SAT and ACT test dates.

In other news, I recommend juniors and seniors attend the annual Fresno Area College Night , Sept. 10 from 6-9 p.m. at the New Convention Center Exhibit Hall in downtown Fresno. There will be representatives from over 100 vocational colleges, CSU campuses, community colleges, UCs, and private universities. All high school students can attend this event. The event is annually sponsored by the Fresno County Office of Education and PG&E.

I also would also recommend, students take advantage of the Annual FCS College Fair on Sept. 23 on the campus quad, 12:35-1:15 p.m. This is mandatory for all students grades 9-12. Students will have the opportunity to talk to college representatives from various private and public colleges and tech schools.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more on College Corner, check out College Corner: More bang for your buck
or read the March 26 article, College Corner: Careers of the future.

By |2014-09-05T00:00:00-07:00September 5th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: First year senior cherishes experiences

imageCourtesy Jared Franz

Senior Jared Franz plans on attending a local community college after graduation and hopes to spend more time with the video camera and editing in college.

At the beginning of this year when {Greg} Stobbe told me I would have to write a senior reflection at the end, I thought, “How much could happen it a year?” There was no way I, a first year senior, would be able to create seven paragraphs reflecting one short year of high school.

But how wrong I was. This year has been more eventful and eye opening then the past three combined. I got to do everything from messing around at lunch, to wrestling at the senior retreat, to running through Disneyland trying to get on the rides.

I am also grateful for my teachers and all that I have learned from them. Between Stobbe’s random outbursts and {Rob} Foshee’s Economics tests, I’m surprised I survived. But I am thankful for all they have taught me in the classroom and for my daily life.

While attending FC, I was able to discover who I really am. I have been shaped by my superiors as well as my peers. I cannot express in words how truly blessed I have been by my classmates this year.

I would not have traded this year for the world. There were ups and downs as there always are on the rollercoaster of life. But as long as were all in the same cart, I believe we will make it through the rest of the track.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @JaredFranz1. Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more senior reflections, read the May 20 article, Senior builds relationships, prepares for future.

By |2014-05-27T00:00:00-07:00May 27th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Viviana Hinojosa pursues journalism, looks forward to future

DSC_0446Courtesy Viviana Hinojosa

After co-leading The Feather during her senior year, Viviana Hinojosa will spend a year in Florence, Italy, as an exchange student and will attend NYU her sophomore year.

Hinojosa to attend NYU after a year in Florence, Italy

This is where I attempt to cram all of my experiences and feelings about my time in high school within a couple of paragraphs. It all comes down to this, my final words. Where to begin?

I guess I’ll start off by thanking everyone who was a part of my life these past four years. Gratitude cannot be shown enough to my friends and teachers who helped me get through so much.

Now comes the hard part, actually explaining what my time at FC has meant to me. My elementary years and junior high years were great but that’s not what is important to me. My high school years are what truly matters because those were the years where my life actually meant somethings, and the decisions I made actually affected me and my future.

The best decision I made in high school was joining journalism. I was known as one of the journalism nerds and I was okay with that because I loved what I was doing. I wouldn?t switch my experience in that class for anything. Journalism is where I found my identity. I found a place where I fit in, and I actually enjoyed doing the work. I made lifelong friends in that class and relationships I will never forget.

Being a part of the editing team brought me great joy because we made each day exciting and fun. The time spent with my team was among my most enjoyable memories. Not only did I deepen my relationships with friends but I was also able to form new ones. One relationship that always gave me continual support and acceptance was the one with my journalism adviser.

Greg Stobbe. What can be said about this man except that he is one of the greatest people I?ve ever known. His eccentric personality and slave-driver mentality pushed me towards my best possible future. He is the only teacher that I felt always gave me undying support and love, and never gave up on me. There were times where I felt like I had greatly disappointed him but he always assured me that the only way I could let him down is if I gave up.

The teachers at FC cannot be matched anywhere else and are never shown enough recognition. I formed relationships with teachers that continually gave me guidance. They have my utmost respect for the repeated love and encouragement they gave to every student. They also have my respect for always putting up with my sarcastic personality. — Viviana Hinojosa

Stobbe is the reason I got accepted to New York University (NYU); he’s the reason I have an actual future ahead of me. I always give credit to journalism but Stobbe was journalism. He is the one who taught me everything I know and propelled me to always learn more. I have the greatest appreciation for him and I can’t imagine what it is going to be like without him around. My past year with him was the most influential by far.

My senior year has been the most significant because it showed me what is truly important. This last year I developed new relationships, reconnected with old ones and fortified some I already had. My friends at FC mean more to me that I can say. They are the people who got me through high school and showed me what it means to have a solid faith in God.

FC is where I built my faith each day. Sure, I stumbled and fell many times but I always had people to bring me back to God. Robert Foshee was a great example for me of what a truly devoted Christian looks like. He made it so much easier to stay on God’s path by watching him continually pursue God. It was teachers like Foshee that made FC an enjoyable experience. He was not just a teacher to me but a mentor and a friend. Even though we conversed in witty banter everyday, I still felt the love he had not only for me but for the entire student body.

The teachers at FC cannot be matched anywhere else and are never shown enough recognition. I formed relationships with teachers that continually gave me guidance. They have my utmost respect for the repeated love and encouragement they gave to every student. They also have my respect for always putting up with my sarcastic personality.

For those of you who know me, I tend to not hold anything back. I say what?s on my mind and I?m not afraid of being honest. Sometimes, my honesty doesn’t come off the right way, but I made a decision a long time ago that I was not going to be fake with anyone; I was not going to be anything other than who I am. With only a couple regrets I believe I carried out my decision successfully.

It’s hard to say how I’ve grown throughout high school because I’m sure other people see it more than I do myself but I know that my confidence has grown more than anything. I went into high school a timid little freshmen but with the help of friends, teachers and journalism I feel certain in the decisions I’ve made for my future.

FC became a sanctuary for me to go and feel loved when I needed it. I felt so much care from my teachers and friends that FC was a second home to me; it’s where I went to feel safe. I will deeply miss the community Fresno Christian has provided for me but I am excited to see what lies beyond these walls.

Upon graduation, Viviana Hinojosa pursues journalism, first as an exchange student in Florence, Italy, in the fall and the following year as a journalism major at NYU.

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

For more senior reflections, read the May 21 article, Senior transitions to high school, blossoms

By |2014-05-23T00:00:00-07:00May 23rd, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Editor-in-Chief offered unique journalism opportunities

Journalism1Rayna Endicott

Feather editors Tynin Fries, right, and Viviana Hinojosa teach a session at the NSPA convention in San Diego, April 9-13.

During my final journalism conference in my high school career, I had the opportunity to interact with more people through opportunities that were offered to me for my work on The Feather.

Alongside my adviser Greg Stobbe, eight other students and I traveled down to San Diego, CA, to attend the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) and Journalism Education Association (JEA) national high school journalism conference, April 9-13.

Though this trip included a lot of fun tourist activities, I was also challenged journalistically to network and interact with big-names in the NSPA/JEA world.

Previous to attending the trip, Stobbe and I were approached to teach a class at the conference. As an online publication, we challenged new publications to create efficient staffs through “Thriving in Cyberspace.”

On top of that, Senior Editor Viviana Hinojosa and I were invited to take part in a Conversation with Journalists who Code with Geoff McGhee during a live streaming event, April 11. This opportunity was awarded to us through our previous work and awards, giving us the opportunity to discuss data visualization with a professional and other media students.

The same day, we were also invited to attend a lunch with the JEA President Mark Newton and 10 other students in a first-time event, April 11. Though we applied for this experience, Viviana and I were chosen among many students to participate.

Through these three opportunities, the conference proved to challenge Viviana and me to continue networking and using my resources to improve The Feather for future years to come.

Geoff McGhee was especially helpful in aiding us with ideas and links to encourage student journalists to incorporate date visualization. During his career, McGhee worked at various publications including The New York Times, Le Monde in France and

McGhee inspired us to begin a “senior project” to publish on The Feather, including an interactive map showcasing where each student in the class of 2014 is attending college. McGhee was also our resource for the links to begin our chapter.

These opportunities were not only an awesome resource for our staff, but they were an encouragement and affirmation to Viviana and I as we reflect on the hours of work we placed into The Feather. All the hard work we’ve done has been rewarded and recognized by professionals all around the nation.

As both Viviana and I are moving into the journalism field, this final conference was a major encouragement and relief for our futures. This comfort will stay with us as Viviana moves into New York University and I into Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

This author can be reached via Twitter: @TyninFries. Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the April 25 article, EDITORIAL: Intentional actions through final days.

By |2014-05-01T00:00:00-07:00May 1st, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Careers of the future

CollegeCornerKylie Bell

This month academic advisor Michelle Warkentin discusses the top career choices in College Corner.

This month I’ve decided to take a break from the “to-do list” of college applications, scholarships, SAT/ACT, etc. and focus on something a little more interesting and applicable for everyone. Each week I get students in my office asking me what I think they should do when they grow up.

The interesting thing is many adults are asking this same question. As important as it is to do something you are passionate about, it is equally as crucial to do something that is sustainable in the future. One of the biggest struggles for college graduates these days is finding a job after graduation. This is a much greater problem among certain fields of study than others.

Rick Newman of U.S. News and World Reports states, “In the latest annual survey for the National Association of Colleges and Employers, companies planning to hire were most interested in grads who had majored in engineering, business, accounting, computer science or economics.”

This can be somewhat disappointing for the high number of students studying social sciences, history, education, and psychology, which are in much less demand. Newman identified the top 10 careers of 2020, however I found an article published by Business Insider to be more helpful and up to date.

Drum roll please . . . here are the top careers of the future (calculations from US Bureau of Labor statistics combined with median annual salary):

1. Registered Nurse
— 526,800 predicted job openings by 2022
— $65,470 median annual wage in 2012)

2. General and Operations Manager
— 244,100 predicted job openings by 2022
–$95,440 median annual wage in 2012)

3. Software Applications Developers
— 139,900 predicted job openings by 2022
— $90,060 median annual wage in 2012

4. Specialist Physicians and Surgeons
— 65,300 predicted job openings by 2022
— At least $187,200 median annual wage in 2012

5. Accountants and Auditors
— 166,700 predicted job openings by 2022
— $63,550 median annual wage in 2012

6. Management Analyst
— 133,800 predicted job openings by 2022
— $78,600 median annual wage in 2012

7. Computer Systems Analyst
— 127,700 predicted job openings by 2022
— $79,680 median annual wage in 2012

8. Elementary School Teachers
— 167,900 predicted job openings by 2022
— $53,400 median annual wage in 2012

9. Carpenters
— 218,200 predicted job openings by 2022
— $39,940 median annual wage in 2012

10. Lawyers
— 74,800 predicted job openings by 2022
— $113,500 median annual wage in 2012

This article is in no way aimed at discouraging students from pursuing their passion in a career. However, the purpose is to bring up the important reality that some careers are going to be more desirable and more profitable than others.

Deciding on a college should go hand in hand with choosing a perspective career. My goal as an Academic Advisor is to make sure I am offering sound advice for students in this process and helping them get from point A to point B as efficiently and successfully as possible.

This article is in no way aimed at discouraging students from pursuing their passion in a career. However, the purpose is to bring up the important reality that some careers are going to be more desirable and more profitable than others. — Michelle Warkentin, academic advisor

A college degree is no less important than it has been in past years, especially one that will land students a job as quickly as possible and with minimal accumulated debt. In fact, US News reports: ?Consulting firm McKinsey & Company predicts that by 2020, there will be a shortage of 1.5 million college grads, which means employers will continue to place a high premium on better-educated workers.?

I hope that you enjoy this time of discovering the gifts the Lord has blessed you with and figuring out how you can use these in your future career. Hopefully you can reflect on lists like this one to pursue a career that is enjoyable and also offers financial peace of mind and job security.

Set aside some time this summer to talk to people in the professions you are interested in to gain a better perspective of the daily tasks and skills needed for the job.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the March 25 article, Campus student seeks strategies to tackle depression.

By |2014-03-26T00:00:00-07:00March 26th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: What to expect on test day

College1Kylie Bell
Beep, beep, beep…you rub your eyes, reach over to hit your alarm. Just five more minutes you think to yourself as your body prepares to drift back into the pleasant REM cycle. Until it hits you, today is not just any day; it is Standardized Assessment Test (SAT) day!

You jump out of bed, grab a stale Pop Tart from the pantry and wish you wouldn’t have stayed up until 2 a.m. last night, cramming from the SAT book you bought months ago but just cracked open for the first time.

Hopefully this paints a drastically different illustration of test day than the one you will experience.

So you know the basics of preparing for a test but you have never studied for a test as important as this one. So where do you begin? Hopefully this article will answer these questions and put your mind a little more at ease when it comes to the SAT (I will be talking about the SAT instead of the American College Test (ACT) simply because it is still the more popular choice, however much of the information also applies to the ACT).

As with any major test, preparation should begin months before test day. There are many ways to study for the SAT, ranging from less costly options such as self studying from an SAT review book ($16.41 on Amazon) to hiring an independent consultant to help you prepare (multiple thousands of dollars).

There are obviously many options in between these two extremes to be explored such as SAT prep courses in a group setting, and independent online courses. However, not every student learns the same and the best option for one person may not be as beneficial for another. I would be happy to explore these options with students who are interested in learning more about test preparation.

The best advice I can give in regards to the SAT (or ACT) is to relax. Get a good night sleep and eat a high protein, healthy breakfast the morning of.–Michelle Warkentin, Academic Advisor

In order to register for the SAT test you must visit the following website: and click ‘Register Now’, you will need to create a College Board ID and password. When you register online you will be able to pick the date and testing site of your choosing. To create the most accurate profile you will need to know the following information:

1. Your email address

2. A parent’s email address

3. A parent’s birth date

4. Your household’s income

5. Your parent’s highest educational degrees

6. Your most recent class rank

7. Your average grades in all subject areas

8. What classes you’ve taken and which year you’ve taken them

9. Credit card information to pay for the test

I often have terrified students come into my office questioning me about what the test day will be like. First off, it is important to get directions to the high school you signed up to take the test if you are not familiar with the site. Be sure to arrive early in order to go to the restroom, find your classroom, and get situated before the test begins.

Students will need to bring their admission ticket and photo ID with them in order to be admitted. Make sure you bring a No. 2 pencil and do not bring your cell phone with you into the testing room. It may be a good idea to bring an extra calculator and batteries in case yours malfunctions. Below are some specific details about the test:

The SAT is made up of 10 sections:

–A 25-minute essay

–Six 25-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)

–Two 20-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)

–A 10-minute multiple-choice writing section

Total test time: 3 hours and 45 minutes

The best advice I can give in regards to the SAT (or ACT) is to relax. Get a good night sleep and eat a high protein, healthy breakfast the morning of. Give yourself an adequate amount of time for driving, etc. and let your mind relax. The night before is not meant for cramming, some students like to review a little bit while others find that time spent not thinking about the test is much more beneficial.

Remember, much of the preparation for this test has been done in your past 3 years of high school through the classes you have taken. Also, the first testing session is a good time to get the kinks out and figure out what the test is all about. My personal recommendation is to take the test 2-3 times.

Students should take it once your junior year, again during the summer and once more at the beginning of senior year. Below are the next available test dates:

– Test date: March 8, late registration deadline: Feb. 24

– Test date: May 3, registration deadline: April 4

Please feel free to contact me via email: @[email protected], or come to my office.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the Feb. 13 article, La Copa Mundial 2014 en Brasil.

By |2014-02-20T00:00:00-07:00February 20th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Submitting the FAFSA

CollegeCorner1Feather file photo

As the spring semester is now well underway, the next priority on the seniors’ to-do list is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be accessed online starting Jan. 1.

As the spring semester is now well underway, the next priority on the seniors’ to-do list is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be accessed online starting Jan. 1.

Every senior is encouraged to submit this form, even if it is believed that they will not qualify for state or federal aid. The reason behind this is that some institutions and even private scholarship organizations use the FAFSA to determine student eligibility.

Another important piece of advice is that families who have not yet filed their 2013 taxes are encouraged to go ahead and file the FAFSA and estimate their tax information from the previous year. They will have the chance to amend this information at a later date with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Another major incentive to complete the FAFSA is because of the newly adopted Middle Class Scholarship. The website states that: “Starting in the 2014-15 academic year, the Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) program would apply to undergraduate students with family incomes up to $150,000 and who attend a University of California or California State University campus.”

Many of our Fresno Christian families fall into this income bracket, which is why I feel it is important to devote an entire article to this scholarship. The purpose of this College Corner and the MCS is to provide financial help for families who struggle to pay for college, yet are above the salary ceiling to qualify them for most need based scholarships and grants.

“Middle Class Scholarships are based on a sliding scale according to your family income,” the MCS states. “Scholarship amounts may vary by student and institution. The scholarship amount is limited to no more than 40 percent of the amount of your institution’s system-wide tuition. Your award amount is determined after any other publicly funded, need-based student financial aid you may receive.”

Families who make up $100,000 per year qualify for up to a 40 percent tuition/fee discount and those that make up to $150,000 per year will receive at least a 10 percent tuition/fee discount.

The MCS will be a huge help for families who qualify, and in many cases will alleviate the need to take out student loans. This comes at a perfect time, when student loan interest rates recently doubled.

“Students at UCs and CSUs currently pay an annual tuition of $12,192 and $5,472 respectively,” the MCS site states. “This legislation will dramatically lower the college fees to $7,315 at UC’s and $3,283 at CSU?s beginning in the 2014-15 school year for families making under $100,000 a year.”

It is important to note that the MCS award amount is compared in relation to other aid the student is qualified for.

“Amounts are determined after a student is awarded any federal Pell Grant, Cal Grant and UC need-based grants for which the student is eligible,” the UC site notes. “A student will be awarded a scholarship only if these awards, taken together, do not already exceed the amount that the student is entitled to under the MCS program.”

In many cases, students qualify for grants that exceed the award amount they would be offered through the MCS.

Below are the eligibility requirements for the MCS (also found on the UC website listed above):

  • California resident or have AB 540 status
  • Not in default on a student loan Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Meet income and other financial aid standards
  • File a FAFSA/California Dream Act Application and GPA verification form (This is something that I submit for FCS seniors) by March 2nd.

Please refer to last year’s article regarding the FAFSA for more specific information about the application. FC will not be hosting a FAFSA workshop this year, however students and parents are encouraged to go to the following website to find a Cash for College workshop in the area for more information about filing the FAFSA:

Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions about financial aid, it can be a frustrating and confusing process, which is why I am here to help in anyway I can.

For more opinions, read the Jan. 15 article, Junior enjoys Utah ski resort, luxury.

By |2014-01-16T00:00:00-07:00January 16th, 2014|Column, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Lo que aprendi de la clase de Espanol

JieunSmFC file photo
As part of an ongoing assignment in the Spanish III class, students will write bilingual articles, utilizing the language skills they build over the course of a year.

The articles will be published every month, highlighting each students’ interests. The fifth installment is written by senior Jieun Seo.

When I first took Spanish as a sophomore, I did not think that it was necessary to learn another language since I was already fluent in Korean and English. However, my opinion changed dramatically when we started learning about different Hispanic cultures and other aspects.

Senora Beatriz Foth tried her best to make the class interesting, and we learned several different songs and studied geography as well. As a result, learning the language became a lot easier. Now that I am in Spanish III, I am so glad that I decided to take the class, and I am thankful for the opportunity to learn a new language.

La primera vez que tome la clase de Espanol, yo no queria aprender otro idioma. Yo estaba feliz con saber coreano e Ingles y no pense que necesitaba Espanol.

Pense en la clase de Espanol como una clase que tenia que tomar para poder graduarme de la escuela secundaria. Pero ahora que estoy en Espanol III, mi opinion cambio. He aprendido mucho en los ultimos tres anos sobre la cultura hispana y ahora, puedo hablar tres idiomas diferentes.

En Espanol I, me esforce mucho en el principio y pense que aprender Espanol era muy dificil. Pero despues me pase un monton de tiempo en la tarea y trate de estudiar mas. Se hizo mucho mas facil.

Llego a ser divertido aprender Espanol cuando empezamos a aprender sobre diferentes culturas y geografia.Tambien aprendimos un monton de canciones diferentes en la clase, que me gusto mucho.

Despues del primer ano, hable poco de Espanol. Pero en Espanol II, aprendi mucho. Aprendimos sobre gramatica, mas vocabulario y pude decir oraciones correctas. Espanol II era mucho mas dificil porque aprendimos diferentes conjugaciones y reglas gramaticales.

En ese momento, no me gustaba toda la memorizacion y estudio. Ahora, estoy contenta de haber aprendido mucho, porque me ayudo con mis conocimientos de Espanol. Espanol II fue un ano dificil, pero tambien nos divertimos. A menudo teniamos juegos y filmar el proyecto final con mis amigos tambien fue divertido.

A finales de Espanol II, estaba muy interesado en Espanol y yo queria tomar Espanol III a pesar de que no era necesario. Este ano, estoy acostumbrada al lenguaje y la estructura, asi que no lucho tanto.

En general, yo aprendi mucho en los ultimos tres anos y estoy muy contenta de que me dieron la oportunidad de aprender Espanol. Creo que lo voy a utilizar algun dia, cuando yo me gradue de la universidad.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the Dec. 10 article, College Corner: Enjoying Christmas break or read last month’s Spanish opinion article: Futbol en la culture latina.

By |2013-12-13T00:00:00-07:00December 13th, 2013|Column, Uncategorized|2 Comments

College Corner: Enjoy Christmas break

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Academic counselor Michelle Warkentin gives parents and students tips on upcoming placement tests and things to get done before graduation.

College admissions personnel share tips on what students should do over the holiday

It is the end of the first semester of your senior year and all you can think about is finishing that last final so you can enjoy the long awaited Christmas break. Your college applications are in (at least for your top choice schools) and now all you can do is wait . . . right? Well, yes and no.

As your academic advisor you are probably expecting me to give you a long to-do list, and if that is the case you will stop reading this article right now. Fortunately for you, I hope you will enjoy Christmas break as much as I will be enjoying mine.

However, there are a few things you can do to both mentally and physically to prepare for that important decision you must make by May. By now, I’m sure you are tired of my lecturing, so I asked a few professionals for advice on how to do this.

What is the best advice you could give students to do while waiting to hear back from the college(s)?

Dalia Wardany, Admissions Advisor at UC Davis

After you submit your application, try to put it out of your mind and focus on the rest of your senior year. Stay on top of your coursework and try to finish strong (keep your grades up). Once you’re admitted, we’ll request to see your transcripts and will check that you completed your year with the same rigor and level of performance, for which we admitted you.

Luis Avila, Fresno State Graduate Student and School Counseling Intern

Do community service in the field they are interested so they get a feel of what they are getting into and see if they still want to proceed in the field of interest. I would also encourage them to constantly look at their email to make sure they are updated with the information that colleges might be sending to them. Making sure they meet the deadlines for tests is also important.

Jodi Smith, Associate Dean of Admission at Westmont College

Pray. This is a time to be quiet and allow for reflection of the choice you will make very soon. Spending time answering these questions may help you with the upcoming decision: What would you most like to change about yourself? Why? Can the college you select help you with that? What kind of person do you want the college you select to help you become? What kind of relationships do students have with the faculty?

Encourage your parents to complete the FAFSA as it may open doors of other monies you may qualify for other than academic scholarship. At Westmont we offer money outside of the scholarships based on GPA and test scores. Without submitting the FAFSA, you may lose the opportunity of additional grants, even interest-free loans. — Michelle Warkentin, academic counselor

If your faith is important to you and you are interested in learning how to be a more serious follower of Jesus Christ while growing intellectually, then you would want to consider a Christian college. In a Christian college you will learn to witness God?s hand in all subjects.

Encourage your parents to complete the FAFSA as it may open doors of other monies you may qualify for other than academic scholarship. At Westmont we offer money outside of the scholarships based on GPA and test scores. Without submitting the FAFSA, you may lose the opportunity of additional grants, even interest-free loans.

Do you encourage students to correspond with the admissions counselor from the college or is this discouraged?

Dalia Wardany, Admissions Advisor at UC Davis

You’ll receive admission decisions from the UCs in March. There is no need to or advantage in contacting admissions officers at this point unless you have specific questions or concerns.

Jodi Smith, Associate Dean of Admission at Westmont College (Christian perspective)

Westmont strongly encourages correspondence of our applicants with their admission counselor. Our focus as a ‘counselor’ is that we want to know our applicants beyond the paper supplied for their application; they need to know we view them more than the GPA or test scores submitted for application review.

We attempt to call and every applicant and admitted student to invite them into conversation with us. We want to hear the stories of who you are: what your dreams, fears and hopes are for the future.

This allows us to know how Westmont can be changed by having you as part of our campus. It is an exciting time for our team as we are buried in piles of applications reading the stories applicants share of their life-so-far.

It is important to note that the type and size of the college determine what sort of interaction you will have with the school from now until May.

What should a student be focused on as they enter their final semester of high school?

Dalia Wardany, Admissions Advisor at UC Davis

Remember that wherever you ultimately attend college, you will have to work hard and show initiative to get the most out of college.

Jodi Smith, Associate Dean of Admission at Westmont College

Do not let your grades slip that final semester; we want to see you remain successful before this transition into the amazing college experience. But I would couple the continued attention to academics with celebrating this season of your life with great fun as well. This final semester is a time for building great memories.

Luis Avila, Fresno State Graduate Student and School Counseling Intern

I would have them focused on finishing strong and positive so it motivates going into college with a positive outlook. Also, enjoy your last year as a senior and take in the moment because there is no going back. Most importantly, look into the schools you are interested in and the deadlines for test, financial aid, registering dates, etc. Enjoy the moment.

Although these professionals had some differing advice depending on the college at which they work, there were a few constant reminders:

1) Enjoy this time, you have worked hard to get where you are now.
2) This next semester is going to be full of fun experiences, but it is crucial that you maintain good grades.
3) Also, use this time to reflect on the abilities the Lord has blessed you with. Be prayerful about where the Lord is calling you to go in this next journey of life.

But for now, I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Christmas break spent with family and friends!

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For previous College Corner’s, check out the Nov. 15 article, College Corner: Stay organized

For more opinions, check out the Dec. 6 article, Campus apathy in need of change, encouragement.

By |2013-12-10T00:00:00-07:00December 10th, 2013|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Stay organized

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If you are anything like me, you probably feel like you spend half of your time looking for things that you misplaced. With the chaos of our busy lives it can seem impossible to stay organized.

At my stage in life it’s pacifiers, sippy cups and car keys to keep track of; however English essays, calculators and soccer cleats may hit closer to home for you. When it comes to college applications, scholarship deadlines and the FAFSA, in addition to your already hectic life, many seniors become a little psychotic around this time of year.

In order to stay organized during this season of life you must first get organized. Maybe you are not a “Type A” person, but it doesn’t matter; when it comes to college applications you have to keep track of everything in order to survive.

Folders will collect all that you receive from a college in one place so you won’t have to sort through, let’s say, Northwestern University’s materials when looking for information on University of Michigan.–Jane Shropshire, founder of Shropshire Educational Consulting LLC.

My first recommendation is to purchase a binder to contain “all things college.” It is important to separate your college stuff from your school stuff, both in your mind and physically.

Once you have a binder, divide it by sections, according to colleges you are applying for.

“Folders will collect all that you receive from a college in one place so you won’t have to sort through, let’s say, Northwestern University’s materials when looking for information on University of Michigan. Use your calendar/planner to track applications and target dates for completion,” advises Jane Shropshire, founder, Shropshire Educational Consulting LLC.

As previously mentioned, it is important to use a calendar.

“Put it where you will see it every day, whether that means taping it up in your locker, attaching it to your bathroom mirror, or putting it on your handheld computer or smartphone. Use different colors for different colleges,” CollegeDate advises.

If you use your phone you can even set alerts at certain times to remind you to write your personal statement, fill out a scholarship application, ask for a letter of recommendation, etc. You may think you can keep it all straight in your head but you can’t, no one can realistically do so without forgetting something. Why take the chance when it is something as important as college?

In helping students during this stressful time I have noticed how many people forget their usernames and passwords for the application websites and college email systems. At the time, you create a password that you believe you will remember but with so many to keep track of it is easy to forget which one is which.

Rebecca Joseph, executive director and founder of Get Me To College recommends that you keep all of this important information in one place, by using Mac Stickies or a Microsoft Word document.

This will save you the hassle of having to change your password, getting locked out of the site, or even waiting on hold for hours (we have all been there).

When it comes down to it, proper organization can be the key factor in creating a successful college application experience. Organization leads to meeting deadlines, meeting deadlines leads to getting into college and possibly scoring money for college and these things lead to happy students and parents (and school counselors).

So the moral of the story is to stay on top of things because your hard work and organization will most definitely pay off (in more ways than one)!

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the Nov. 12 article, Freshman princess relives first homecoming .

By |2013-11-15T00:00:00-07:00November 15th, 2013|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Journalism offers media advancements, skills

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Campus students are learning and applying multimedia tools for projects that journalists across the country use on a regular basis.

A common misconception about journalism, is its writing focus. While important, journalism is far more than writing including an extensive pool of skills and expertise in media.

The tools that journalism offers can be used in everyday life, not just in publications. Technical aspects such as videos and podcasts are becoming increasingly parts of core and elective classes.

Just recently students enrolled in civics classes were required to make a video for a voting project. Some students were able to film the video but when it came to actually editing the different scenes, they were at a loss. However, numerous students were able to complete the project more easily because of the editing skills they had learned in their journalism periods.

The Feather has also had alumni come back and be appreciative of the capabilities they were taught because they had a need for them in college. An alumnus recently visited campus sharing how he was required to create a podcast for his first Spanish homework assignment.

Besides technical tools, publications can also offer communication skills, which help in day-to-day situations as well as future career options. Students learn interviewing abilities which can assist them on how to appropriately communicate with others, especially in job interviews.

One obvious area where journalism strengthens students abilities is writing. The more and more students write articles, the better they become at writing. Not only is this a positive attribute in publications but it also carries over to different classes, specifically in English, history and other social science classes.

Technology continues to develop rapidly, making it a difficult to keep up with the advancements. The Feather has tried to keep up with the innumerable progressions the media world continues to further. — Viviana Hinojosa

All the previous expertise mentioned can all come together as one package to help as well. Whenever students have to give presentations in class, all the capabilities join as one because students are typically asked to give some sort of visual representation with descriptions along with their verbal presentation. This is where all the technical tools, writing skills and communication techniques come into play.

However, the mastery of these talents do not come over night. It takes time and dedication to perfect the artistry of the media experience. The Feather has undergone struggle after struggle to perform each of these tasks successfully and accurately.

Technology continues to develop rapidly, making it a difficult to keep up with the advancements. The Feather has tried to keep up with the innumerable progressions the media world continues to further.

The key is to try. Try to keep up with the growth in media, which can ultimately help in your future. Journalism is a way of staying on point in all aspects of education.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 9 article, Junior counsels girls at annual trip, shares experience .

By |2013-10-11T00:00:00-07:00October 11th, 2013|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Top five tips on fall favorites

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This year fall seems to have come faster than ever before. With school, sports, and after school activities, it seems like there is no time to enjoy autumn and the fun festivities it brings. So here are five easy ways you can enjoy fall.

ONE: Bundle up and go for a walk. One of my favorite things about fall is going for walks and enjoying the wonderful weather. With this stressful school year, it is good to take a break during your day and enjoy some fresh air. Besides, the trees are lovely this time of year.

TWO: Great places to go for a walk in the Fresno/Clovis area are the Old Town Clovis and Dry Creek bike trails. The trails in and around Woodward Park and the San Joaquin River Parkway are nice to walk on a fall day.

THREE: Drink warm drinks during this cold and inclement weather. It is comforting to warm up with a hot drink. Some drinks I enjoy during this season are Pumpkin Roobois tea from Trader Joe?s, Chai Tea or Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea and hot coffee.

FOUR: Baking is one of my favorite things to do because you get to put your chemistry creation or recipe together, and after its done, you get to eat it! There are so many options when it comes to baking. What I enjoy making during this season are apple muffins, pumpkin bread, carmel apples and of course, pecan pie.

FIVE: Go to the Avila Valley Barn on the central coast on the way to Pismo Beach. The barn is located just before you arrive to Avila Beach . Here you can get fresh fruits and vegetables, pumpkins and baked goodies. You can also go on a hayride out to the pumpkin patch. Plus Avila Beach is the best beach within a three hour drive.

So the next time you are not sure how to enjoy fall, just do one of these steps and your fall will be full of flavor, travel and fun. These are my top five tips on how to enjoy fall so I encourage readers to share their ideas on how to have a fun fall experience.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 9 article, Junior councils girls at annual trip, shares experience .

By |2013-10-10T00:00:00-07:00October 10th, 2013|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Campus insider: Lead by example (PODCAST)

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As a leader on school campuses, Dr. King’s speech can be a great example of how to lead by example.

“I have a dream” conjures up the famous speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In some estimates, including my own, this speech was one of the top five speeches ever given in the US.

With the anniversary of this speech just passing, it reminds me of what a great leader Dr. King was. As a leader on school campuses, Dr. King’s speech can be a great example of how to lead by example. There are three main ideas one can glean from Dr. King’s example.

First of all Dr. King was inclusive in his speech. His dream was about bringing people together and seeing the value of each person. He didn’t want to elevate some above others, but to have people on the same level. He relates back to the original documents of the country and how equality was meant for all.

Leaders should lead with the same intent. Each person we come in contact with has value and deserves the same opportunities as others. When leaders are inclusive they reach their true potential.

Secondly, Dr. King saw the value of differences. During his speech, he wasn’t interested in being the same. He mentioned and in some sense celebrated differences culturally, geographically and racially. By doing this, Dr. King saw individuality important to the strength of the whole.

As a leader, one needs to do the same. By recognizing the gifts and talents of each person, one can see value in what each person brings. Leaders don’t lead clones but instead individuals. When someone sees a leader recognize their individuality, they are more willing to follow.

Lastly, Dr. King encouraged people to not get stuck in the status quo, but look to what the future could hold. Dr. King saw a time where things would be better. He didn’t stew over how bad things were, complain about the circumstances or speak angrily about injustices.

Instead, Dr. King inspired to look forward to a change. Leaders today need to do the same thing. Complaining about problems only brings down the people following them. Anyone can complain, but good leaders inspire. By choosing inspiration, positive change happens.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 7 article, Common Core: Journalism prepares students for life (PODCAST).

By |2013-10-08T00:00:00-07:00October 8th, 2013|Column, Podcasts, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Application process

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Seniors, it is that time of year, the college application process can no longer be put aside. Believe me, in just three months you will be able to rest much easier knowing the decision is in the hands of the college admission advisors. But for now the ball is in your court.

Seniors, it is that time of year, the college application process can no longer be put aside. Believe me, in just three months you will be able to rest much easier knowing the decision is in the hands of the college admission advisors. But for now the ball is in your court. How are you going to strategize your game plan?

I can’t help but be reminded of myself playing high school sports. I prided myself in being a three-sport athlete. In both volleyball and track I was an all-star for my school and my teammates could count on me to come through when the pressure was on. However, I decided to take up soccer my last two years and did not demonstrate the same skill level to say the least.

In my other sports I was confidant and demonstrated the skills to be successful. But in this new sport I was self-conscious, avoiding the ball during high-pressure moments. So how will you choose to approach your college applications, with excitement to demonstrate your abilities or fear of being viewed as unprepared and inadequate?

By now you should have limited your college application list to your top choices. According to College Board, “Five to eight colleges is the recommended number. They should all be colleges you’d be happy to attend. It’s good to apply to some colleges that are a bit of a stretch for you and some that you feel likely will admit you. But most should feel like good, realistic matches.”

It is important to be realistic in your estimation of yourself when applying, but also know that those reach schools may see something in you that catches their attention.

Now that our school has adopted Naviance into the academic advising curriculum, I urge you to take advantage of this helpful resource. Do your research of the colleges and pay attention to the College Confidential page linked to each college. This is helpful because it gives you an inside look into the institution from the perspective of college students and even college professionals (in the section Ask the Dean).

Even if you are not an organized person, you must be organized when it comes to college applications. Experts recommend that students “Establish your own deadlines for sending in the materials that are at least one week ahead of the actual deadlines. Then work backwards to establish dates by which you need completed essays and letters of recommendation to be generated.”

Start planning out your college essays/prompts now by getting some ideas out on paper. Most applications have somewhat similar prompts and you will be able to use the same theme with a bit of tweaking. Colleges want to know what makes you unique, what experience has shaped you, and how you will contribute to their institution. Please take advantage of my office hours, the sooner the better while there is still time to spare.

For a more in depth look at how to write a head-turning, college essay, watch for my next College Corner post at the beginning of October.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the Sept. 9 article, Campus insider: Defining leadership.

By |2013-09-11T00:00:00-07:00September 11th, 2013|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Mastering the SAT/ACT

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If you already took the Standardized Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT) at the end of your junior year, now it is time to take it again in order to improve your score.

To the class of 2014, you have arrived! You have successfully made it to your senior year. Now that you are here, there are a few things you need to start thinking about. First off, most of you already took the Standardized Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT) at the end of your junior year, now it is time to take it again in order to improve your score. This article will give you some tips on how to be successful this time around.

I remember it as if it was yesterday, taking the dreaded SAT test. Waking up too early on a Saturday morning, managing to swallow a piece of toast and an egg, navigating my way around a foreign high school campus to find the correct room and sitting for hours trying to fill in as many correct bubbles as possible before the time limit was up. For some of you this may seem like an exaggeration, but to those who despise standardized tests like myself, this is the reality.

Looking back on that day makes me smile, realizing that I made it through and it was a necessary evil to get to where I am at today. For many of you, there is that ideal score you have in mind that if you can just obtain, you will have a shot at your dream college. As your Academic Advisor my hope is to calm your anxieties and give you the tools to be as prepared as possible when taking the SAT and/or ACT.

My first words of wisdom are to know which test will better assess your strengths and choose that one. Most colleges will accept either test so choose according to your skill set. If you are unsure it may be helpful to take both to find out which one will be a better option for you. To learn the differences between the SAT and ACT please refer to this article.

Once you have determined which test you will be taking and have signed up through the testing website: SAT or ACT you will need to familiarize yourself with the material that will be on the test and also how the test is formatted.

There are so many test preparation options that it can become quite overwhelming. One of the options for our students is the Apollo Prep SAT course offered on our campus. The next class starts on Sept. 7 in preparation for the Fall SAT tests (please see Michelle Warkentin for more details).

California State University, Fresno, also offers test prep in a classroom setting. If you are looking for a one-on-one tutoring style, there are several private companies in the area that offer these services (Huntington, Kaplan, etc.). For you self-motivated students we even have an online SAT prep program called Prep Me offered to Fresno Christian students at no cost through the program called Naviance that we will be launching at the end of August. With all these options, I am confident you can find something that will fit with your personal learning style.

My next piece of advice is to be realistic when setting your goal score. If you already took the SAT once and got a total score of 1600, chances are pretty good that a 2100 is not a realistic goal. Celebrate the little improvements and know that although these scores are important, colleges look at many factors in addition to test scores.

“On average, juniors repeating the SAT as seniors improved their combined critical reading, mathematics and writing scores by approximately 40 points,” College Board stated. As for the ACT, 57 percent of students who took the test increased their Composite score.

Lastly, it is important to relax on test day and be confident in what you know. These tests are designed to assess what you have learned in high school and your problem solving skills. As with any test make sure you get enough sleep, eat a hearty breakfast and arrive to the testing site early. For more testing tips go to

I am so excited for the Class of 2014 and the start to a great school year. This is the first of many articles meant to inspire you and encourage you toward college success, let the testing begin!

For more opinions, read the May 23 article, College Corner: Wake up call.

By |2013-08-19T00:00:00-07:00August 19th, 2013|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

College Corner: Wake up call

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Photographer Tom Milne spoke to juniors and seniors about what it takes to become a professional photographer.

If you are a junior reading this article you are probably in a bit of denial. You may be accustomed to scanning over the title of my column thinking, “that doesn’t pertain to me” or “I still have another year before the . . . FAFSA, scholarships, college apps, etc.” Well here I am, your wake up call, you are officially a senior! My intention is not to scare you or cheat you from a well-deserved summer vacation. My hope is to get those wheels turning because you are well on your way to life as an adult.

In recent weeks timid juniors have trickled into my office with the same question, “What should I be doing NOW to start preparing for college?” Frankly there is a lot you can do now to put you one step ahead of the game. My biggest piece of advice is: Do your research. Start by selecting your top choice colleges and frequently check their websites for any information that is pertinent to you. Be on the lookout for things like admission requirements, application deadlines (early and regular decision), cost of tuition, acceptance rate and majors offered. The more you know about your prospective colleges the better prepared you will be.

This summer is the ideal time to take the SAT or ACT if you have not done so already. “Senior fall testing should only be a fall back, one more chance to push up a score, not the first time you’re seeing a score. The reason: it’s near impossible to target schools to visit unless you have a good grasp of where your SAT/ACT, subject tests and AP scores fall,” Dr. Michele Hernandez said.

This summer is also a great time to narrow down your list of colleges by taking a campus tour. It is ideal to visit the colleges as soon as possible while they are still in session. Another great way to experience a specific college or major is to attend a summer program offered at many colleges. A list of 25 popular programs can be found at Summer Programs for High School Students. More specific programs can be found by searching on your prospective college website. In most cases you can earn college and/or high school credit by attending these programs.

Since summer programs are costly and not feasible for everyone, many students choose to spend their summer free time volunteering for an organization. This is a great way to boost up your college application while exploring areas of interest. Consider continuing the volunteer work through your senior year.

By |2013-05-23T00:00:00-07:00May 23rd, 2013|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Mohun shares personal inspiration for Eagle Scout dream

EagleScout1Courtesy McKay Mohun

Senior McKay Mohun continues to work towards earning the title of Eagle Scout. He has been in the program since first grade.

When I first heard of Boy Scouts I was in the first grade; I joined as a Tiger Cub with the dream of becoming an Eagle Scout. Our leaders told us that if we stuck with scouts that we could reach the very rare rank one day.

To those who aren’t familiar with Boy Scouts of America, depending on the boy’s age he begins his career as a cub scout then after fifth grade they become a Boy Scout. The organization that currently holds over 2.7 million youth members, was established in 1910.

Once a Boy Scout in Troop 223, each member looks to rise to the rank of Eagle Scout, which is no small accomplishment. There are a total of seven ranks that they must earn: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star Scout, Life Scout and finally Eagle Scout.

I began as Tiger Cub, joining to go on adventures, learn survival skills and go on these journey with my friends. I was about eight years old when I began, and my first Scout Master was my friend’s dad, Thomas Olson.

He told us that if we were hard working and dedicated that one day we could all become Eagle Scouts. My friends and I decided that if we kept each other accountable we could all earn the rank together.

Olson was a very large impact on my scouting career and in my life as a whole. When I was in the fourth grade, he died unexpectedly and forever changed my life as well as the life of my friend.

After he died, I made a promise to myself that I would see my journey through and finish what I started. This would turn out to be much harder than I had originally expected. As the years went on my goal seemed more and more lofty.

Upon entering high school, my time became preoccupied with new sports and clubs that I had not experienced before. I had to re-prioritize my time according to school and football, leaving very little time for camp outings and scout meetings. This new amount of time constraint left me very little time for scouts and made it much harder to advance in rank. In addition to that, I was now the older scout which made the age gap between myself and many of the younger scouts very apparent to me.

Despite these set backs I did my best to stay on top of my responsibilities and continued to advance in rank. When I reached the rank of Life Scout I knew it was time for me to start planning my Eagle project. An Eagle project is the largest feat to tackle in all of scouts. It takes time, money planning and dedication. A scout must also reach the rank of Eagle before they are 18. I had just turned 17 when I began planning mine.

One of the former Scout Leaders approached me about a renovation project that would take place at the Catholic Diocese of Fresno Headquarters. There I would have to renovate the pathway along the Pastoral Center fountain.

The whole project took months of planning from March to September, filled with both success and setbacks. I had to take measurements, get approvals, fundraise, learn skills in pouring concrete and most importantly learn how to stay persistent on the goal at hand.

When I finally had all the preparations, the project itself took a total of two eight-hour days full of hard labor. My project had us, the boy scouts of 223, doing demolition of the decayed concrete that was there. Once the old concrete was out, we encircled the fountain in new concrete. Then after letting the the concrete dry, grass was planted on the remaining area of where the old concrete used to be.

The condition of the cement around the fountain was unleveled with many holes, cracks and rocks sticking out. Starting at 6 a.m., we would arrive at the fountain on the Pastoral Center on San Joaquin Memorial Campus. We dug a four inch hole around the outside of the two inch decayed concrete. The scouts broke up into two even groups of boys working on one half or the other. Equipment such as sledgehammers, picks and shovels were all provided to demolish the concrete.

We made footings, planted rebar and steaked the forms, all with the help and guidance of our concrete expert and Facility Manager Hector Garza. The old broken concrete was carried off in wheel barrows and put in the trailer to be taken to the nearby dump.

The cement was poured at 6 a.m. the next morning and was set to dry ending at 8 p.m. It’s surface will then be smoothed and the cement will dry. There was two paths of stepping stones put out leading to the sidewalk. Following three days later at 4 p.m. the wooden steaks were taken out and grass was planted on the remaining dirt.

Following my project, I had to take my final step: presenting myself to the Board of Review as an Eagle Candidate. Then after an hour and a half, my 13-year journey came to an end as I had passed the interview and was named an Eagle Scout.

As of May 5, I officially took on the rank of Eagle Scout following my Court of Honor Ceremony. This was a very unique event not only because attaining this rank is very rare, but because three of my friends were also awarded the rank of Eagle Scout alongside me.

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

For more opinions, read the April 25 article, Melendez attends select USD preview, confirms college choice.

For more articles about Boy Scouts, read the December 3, 2009 article Daniel brothers soar to top Boy Scout rank or May 9, 2002 article Benefits of Eagle Scout rank evident to students.

By |2013-05-14T00:00:00-07:00May 14th, 2013|Column, Uncategorized|0 Comments