Armenian artist reflects on genocide, homeland culture

P1090795_FotorMichael Fu

Original Armenian sculptures and paintings are displayed at the new exhibit at the Fresno Art Museum. Including pieces from Arminee Shishmanian.

Fresno Art Museum displays Armenian Genocide art

Fresno Art Museum currently features an emotionally moving and historically important exhibition to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Named “1915-2015: Tradition, Legacy, Culture“, the exhibit reflects the the very first massacre in the 20th century.

All of the exhibit art pieces, including painting, sculptures and mixed art, are created by Armenian descendant artists.

Arminee Shishmanian, a local Armenian artist who participated in this exhibit, shared her family’s experience during and after the Genocide as well as her journey in the world of art.

On April 24, 1915 the Ottoman Empire gathered hundreds of Armenian community leaders and started the elimination targeted on the Armenian population inhabited in Turkey.

Between 1915 and 1923, three fourths of the Armenian population was wiped out of the world. The luckiest of all escaped from this massacre and emigrated to United States and several European countries. Many of them eventually settled down in Fresno due to the agricultural tradition they are familiar with.

Born in a family consist of Armenian culture, Shishmanian’s father formed a band when he came to the United States, which allowed her to witness the treasure culture even when the entire country is long lost. Shishmanian inherited the spirit and transform applied it into her art.

Sculpture of couple dancer facing each other is one of the bronze sculptures Shishmanian has made. The expression of the male dancer shows his deep devotion into the music and the hanging leg seems like it is still waiting to land on the ground. The female dancer has her dress floating in the air waiting to let it freely pulled by the gravity.

Arminee Shishmanian was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, the fourth city her family settled in. She eventually moved to Los Angeles with her mother and got married in Fresno.

Although Shishmanian did not experience the genocide in person, the tragedy befell on her parents when they were teenagers.

Shishmanian’s mom was 13 years old when Mehmed Talaat Pasha (the interior minister of Ottoman Empire at the time) ordered Turkish troops to remove all Arminians from the villages. Fortunately, she went to Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) for an Adenoidectomy right before the Turks started gathering Arminian in the villages and sending them on the death march to Syria. Most of her extended family members passed away during the death march due to deprivation of food and water as well as frequent rape, robbery and massacre.

I thought about it {relating her work to genocides}, but my personality and disposition does not want to dwell on sadness, because genocide is just a brutal thing. I actually was considering making a painting relating to the genocide, particularly to the removal of the people sent onto the death march. I have planned on this but it just wouldn’t come out. Most of the works I do has sort of an upbeat and positive angle. –Arminee Shishmanian, a local Armenian artist

Her father, ironically, was serving in the Turkish army at the time; while his family, along with some others in the area, gathered in the Armenian church and burned alive. When he found out the truth, he defected from the Turkish army and joined the French Foreign legion to fight the Turks.

After World War II was over, knowing zero English words, her father moved to the United States to attend Ohio State University.

As international students, we know how hard it is to come to America with limited English skills. But the courage he had that led him here is simply unimaginable.

Unlike most of the artist, Shishmanian have not been introduced to art until when she was 60 years old.

Guided by her neighbor and good friend, painter Marcia Freeman, Shishmanian developed the skill of watercolor. Later in 1995, dedicated to improve her skills, Shishmanian decided to join the art program at California State University, Fresno where she found another interest in clay.

Despite her tragic lost of the family, Shishmanian rarely reflect sadness or anger on her art work.
“I thought about it {relating her work to genocides}, but my personality and disposition does not want to dwell on sadness, because genocide is just a brutal thing,” Shishmanian said. “I actually was considering making a painting relating to the genocide, particularly to the removal of the people sent onto the death march. I have planned on this but it just wouldn’t come out. Most of the works I do has sort of an upbeat and positive angle.”

Shishmanian rarely have any preference to her pieces since she regard her pieces as many of her children. Each of them have a special spot in her heart. However, Shishmanian does have a favorite piece.

Using bright red, green and yellow in the art work, an oil painting of her four grandchildren was her favor piece in the house. With the bright colors, the painting delivers viewers warmth and happiness. The fact that children wearing jeans and long clothing suggest the cold temperature, but the bright sunshine came from the top right corner and the distinction of the shadow under the woods gives a warm feeling the viewers. Four children looking at the same direction over the edge brings the curiosity of the viewers along with them. Seems like something interesting is far in the background. A still picture brings the viewers back into their naive childhood.

Armenian Genocide is just a tip of an iceberg that represents the cruelty in human history. The suffer of Shishmanian’s Family and many others can not be changed. For people living in 21st Century, it is hard to imagine that these tragedies happened only a hundred years ago.

However, in the news we still see people committing terrible things to each other due to cultural and religious differences. Although we cannot change the past, our generation can definitely help to ensure that some certain parts of our history will not happen again.

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

For more opinions, read the Feb. 27 column, Thankful for Scholastic Journalism Week 2015.

By |2015-03-04T00:00:00-07:00March 4th, 2015|Community Events, Features, Opinions, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Holiday season highlights: Join the Discussion

IMG_4861 copyJarrod Markarian

As students file back into the halls for another semester of school, they discussed the most memorable moments of their winter vacation.

Winter vacation has come to a close for the FC campus. It is once again time for students to set their alarm clocks and throw their backpacks over their shoulders. While the three-week vacation was generally regarded as well-deserved, a new era of excitement begins as pupils kick off a new year and new semester.

While many students report staying at home for some much-needed free time and family bonding, a few took trips out of town. A common theme amongst students is a new found appreciation for family ties as they mature and realize the true importance of the holiday season.

The Feather encourages readers to submit any opinions or thoughts in the comments section, and to add their favorite holiday memories. Keep checking back for more stories, as the article will be updated. After reading be sure to take a glance at the comments section for even more winter recollection!

Taking a break
Ephasia Armstrong, ’16
Jan. 6, 2015

“Break was my opportunity to get away from the crowded hallways and stress of school. I loved sleeping in and being in peace for a few weeks.”

Preoccupied with sports
Courtney Messer, ’16
Jan. 6, 2015

“Since I’m always playing soccer, any vacation is a good time for me to focus on sports. I like that they give me something to do instead of laying around. I stay busy with tournaments and practice.”

‘Stay-cation’
Poojan Gopal, ’17
Jan. 6, 2016

“My family doesn’t do a lot over break, we usually just relax at home. It’s always nice to have a break from schoolwork and have extra time to hang out with friends, so I’d rather not go out of town on my vacations.”

Family Appreciation
Dawson Triplett, ’17
Jan. 6, 2015

“I got to see my family over this break. As you get older you start to look forward to the people in your home more than the presents under the tree, which makes holidays special.”

Final High School Christmas
Joseph Lange, ’15
Jan. 6, 2015

“I played video games and hung out with friends and family over break. It was my last Christmas vacation as a high-schooler, which was a weird feeling. I had to make the break count.”

Shaver Getaway
Olivia Messer, ’18
Jan. 6, 2015

“It was a typical Christmas. My family and I went up to Shaver Lake, too, which was a cool getaway. I also went to some soccer tournaments, which kept me connected with friends.”

For more features, read the Dec. 23 article, Central High School students connect with French pop star.

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

By |2015-01-06T00:00:00-07:00January 6th, 2015|Features, Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Almunus suffers ulcerative colitis, finds natural remedies

Spencer2Spencer Lee

Alumnas Spencer Lee speaks about his ailment and discovery of natural remedies.

Alumnus Spencer Lee, ’10, graduated from Biola University and now attends Fresno State in the physical therapy school.

College life was all fun and games until the spring of 2013. It was at that time, during the concluding months of my sophomore year at Biola, that I developed severe ulcerative colitis, a devastating autoimmune disease that attacks the large intestine.

My main side effects included a daily dose of intense abdominal cramps, extreme fatigue, 12-15 episodes of diarrhea and chronic lightheadedness. A colonoscopy found hundreds of bleeding ulcers in the large intestine, and I was left devastated.

Throughout the acute phase of my illness, my mom provided a huge support base to me and frantically searched for solutions by investigating online articles, books, magazines and talking to various healthcare professionals and other individuals with ulcerative colitis. We knew the disease affected the digestive system, thus it seemed obvious that I needed to change my diet.

Two different diet plans, both of which recommended high animal protein and low carbohydrate intake, failed to improve my health condition. Frustrated and in extreme pain, I visited my doctor and demanded that he provide stronger medication to suppress my uncontrolled colitis symptoms. He promptly recommended an immunoglobulin intravenous (IGIV) treatment known as Remicade, which is administered via an IV for 3 hours once every 2 months.

Remicade proved to be very effective, and allowed me to return to Biola for the fall 2013 semester. However, the drug came with side effects of its own, among which were a heavily suppressed immune system, lethargy, bloating, and increased appetite. In addition, long term exposure to Remicade drastically increases the risk of colon cancer.

I returned to school that fall, and began eating in the cafeteria again. My appetite was so stimulated by the medication that my regular breakfast would consist of 4-5 eggs with cheese, 2 large pieces of sourdough toast with butter and jam, 2 pieces of bacon, 2 sausage patties, a heap of hash browns, a side of ketchup, and a glass of orange juice.

After nearly a year on the medication, my condition was stable but still I did not feel optimal. In May 2013, I developed an allergic reaction to Remicade and began to break out in hives each time I received the treatment.

In order to combat the reaction, my doctor switched me over to a different medication, Humira. This drug worked similarly to Remicade, the main difference being I was able to administer it myself by injecting it into my thigh once every two weeks. On the downside, Humira was very expensive and quite painful as well.

One night, as I went to inject myself, I was especially nervous of the pain it would cause. I placed the shot on my thigh, but withdrew it out of fear. However, my hand was still on the trigger, and I accidentally shot it on the floor instead of into my leg.

At that moment, a life-changing realization occurred. It was as if a light bulb went off in my mind, and I immediately knew I had to get off this drug.

During the fall of 2014, my mom had been constantly emailing me articles and videos showing the healing effects of a whole foods plant-based diet, a way of eating that she had recently adopted. This diet entails a steady menu of whole, unrefined, and minimally processed foods such as fruit, vegetables, rice and other grains, beans, potatoes, nuts and seeds, oatmeal and tofu.

A whole food plant-based diet discourages the consumption of animal products of any kind including chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products. To top it all off, refined foods such as salt, oil, sugar, and bleached flour are not recommended on this diet.

Not being one to do things half-heartedly, I switched my diet completely, without a transition phase, on Nov. 1, 2013. What happened next astonished me.

Over the course of the next several months I began to feel better than ever as my symptoms all but disappeared. My body composition drastically changed for the better, my energy levels increased significantly, and I felt invigorated and renewed.

In April of this year, I began to feel so good that I called my doctor and told him I had decided to discontinue my medication. He was fiercely opposed to the idea and told me that I needed to stay on it for the rest of my life. However, I went off Humira anyway, which greatly improved my immune system, provided me with extra energy, saved me a large sum of money in medical expenses, and most importantly drastically reduced the long-term risk of colon cancer.

Since going off Humira in April, I am still symptom free and thriving. This past summer, I cycled 75 miles per week, rock climbed 3-4 times per week, lifted weights nearly every day, frequently went hiking, and played regular games of pickup basketball.

In addition, since going off the medication, I have climbed Mt. Whitney in the Inyo National Forest (which at 14,505? is the highest point in the continental United States), and also Half Dome (16 miles roundtrip) and El Capitan (17 miles roundtrip) in Yosemite National Park. This type of activity level is essentially unheard of for ulcerative colitis patients, many of whom struggle just to leave their homes.

If any doubters still remain as to the healing effects of a whole foods plant-based diet, consider this: ulcerative colitis is aggravated by stress due to the vast central nervous system innervation of the large intestine. Despite this, I am currently over a month into physical therapy school at Fresno State, and am carrying a 19-unit load, while still feeling great.

My illness and recovery inspired me to earn a certification in Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), and I desire to inspire and educate others who are struggling with ulcerative colitis and other debilitating diseases such as heart disease cancer, diabetes, and many other ailments. Chronic disease is preventable, and a better quality of life is just a diet-change away.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the Nov. 7 column, COLUMN: Past iniquities influence the future

By |2014-11-13T00:00:00-07:00November 13th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Past iniquities influence the future

ReesFeather file photo

Opinions editor, Rees Roggenstein, comments on the horror that Jaylen Fryberg caused.

To America’s great dismay, yet another school shooting has occurred. However, this time there is a disturbing difference in the culprit, compared to the typical school shooter. The gunman was Jaylen Fryberg, a freshman at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville Washingon. Fryberg entered the school cafeteria, pulled a gun out, and began firing, Oct. 24.

The day before he opened fire in the cafeteria, Fryberg texted his friends to meet and sit with him at the lunch tables. When they had all gathered together at a lunch table, Fryberg revealed himself and his .40-caliber Beretta handgun and then fired at least eight shots at his so-called friends.

As he was shooting, witnesses said he had a “cold” look in his eye, and that he “stared” at the individuals as he shot them. When his rampage was complete, Fryberg turned the gun on himself and ended his life.

The strange thing about this particular shooting is that this was not a seemingly disturbed individual. He was not a person suffering from extreme depression, not a victim of bullying and isolation but a student who appeared normal and healthy. And that is what makes this so bizarre, the lack of a significant motive for such horrific carnage.

Fryberg was an up and coming freshman at his high school. He was popular, being elected a prince during homecoming. He was athletic, playing an important role for his football team. Not only that, but he also had a family and a community that loved him dearly. His descent into violence shocked all parties.

A recent breakup with his long time girlfriend was pointed to as a cause for Fryberg’s massacre, but most people do not go shoot up a school to vent their romantic frustrations.

We cannot forget. If we do, everything around will fall apart. Everything we built, our forefathers built, our ancestors built will crumble. We cannot forget the darkness and light of humanity, we must never forget. — Rees Roggenstein

The implications of this shooting are vast. Perhaps the greatest amongst recent shootings. It shows that every person is capable of great evil. But people are also capable of good. Fryberg had forgotten that, but we, the people, cannot forget. We must remember the pain and the suffering so that we can learn from it. We must remember the love and the joy, so that we can give that back to the newer generations. Past iniquities influence the future.

We cannot forget. If we do, everything around will fall apart. Everything we built, our forefathers built, our ancestors built will crumble. We cannot forget the darkness and light of humanity, our capacity for great evil and great good. We must never forget.

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

For more columns, read the Oct. 27 article, COLUMN: Be a spirited participant at homecoming.

By |2014-11-07T00:00:00-07:00November 7th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Freshmen share ideas, first experience with homecoming

IMG_8267Jarrod Markarian

The freshmen class of 2018 is excited for their first experience with homecoming.

This year at FC, the freshman class anticipated their first homecoming as high school students, Oct. 31. The dress up days and the traditional activities are hoped to be one of the most interesting times at school. This is the 30th annual homecoming celebrated at FC and will go down as a day to remember.

Homecoming week consisted of various dress up days that each class was asked to participate in. Monday was “Merica Monday“, in which the students wore something patriotic. The next day was “Tacky Tourist Tuesday“, where all of the students dressed like a tacky tourist and hoped to portray their personality.

The following day was “Wake-Up Wednesday” in which all of the students showed up to school in their pajamas. Thursday was “Think-Alike Thursday“, on this day there were pairs of people wearing the same outfit, which required some planning within the student body. The week concluded with the theme “Fly Together Friday” where everyone represented their school by wearing spirit wear.

Aside from the dress up days, there were plenty of activities in homecoming week for students to enjoy. There was float building, where each class partook in creating a float that resembled the theme which the class chose. These floats were presented at the FC home football game on Friday.

Other factors of homecoming were the pageants that candidates participated in during the week. During the pageants they participated in, liveliness of games, dances and contests pervaded the events.

Lastly, the football game took place on Halloween night, a Friday, against Northwest Christian. Students were encouraged to attend this game to support the FC team and the different classes that have spent so much effort toward the floats.

As a new student, freshmen Mariana Fikse decided get involved in our school and enjoyed the FC activities which were provided.

“I think that we deserved to win an award for our float since we put a lot of hard work and effort into the float,” Fikse said. “Although I was not expecting anything extravagant for homecoming, I enjoyed it for sure.”

Fikse further explains why she enjoyed the homecoming events that went on during the week.

“I think it’s kind of fun to dress up everyday,” Fikse continued. “As a new student it’s probably been my favorite week so far. I’m really looking forward to homecoming because its a good way for the school to come together and participate as a whole in activities. In particular I am looking forward to pajama day because I get to feel relaxed during the day.”

Freshman Tyler Villines decided not to be apart of the homecoming floats due to football and his lack of artistic abilities.

?I couldn’t work on the float this year because football really consumed my time,” Villines said. “Plus I really didn?t want to be apart of the float building process because I?m not that good at anything that has to do with art and stuff like that.”

Villines was skeptical of the chance the freshmen have at winning the float competition.

“I didn’t really think we had a good chance of winning because the upperclassmen usually go all out,” Villines said. “I only participated in a few of the dress up days because I didn’t want to embarrass myself too bad.”

Freshman Celeste Counts tells how she is invested in homecoming this year by working on the float along with dressing up everyday.

“My best experience I had while building the float was when Erin [/fusion_builder_column]

[Wilson] and I made paper mache craters for our float,” Counts said. “One of the hardest things was not having a lot of people there because our grade doesn’t want to help out. We’re definitely better than previous freshman floats but it wasn’t enough for us to win.”

Freshman Melissa Tostado expresses how she feels about the contests this year and shares her thoughts about homecoming.

“I didn’t expect for us to win the float contest this year because freshmen don’t usually win, and there have been freshmen floats better than ours before,” Tostado said. “I loved my first homecoming and seeing all of the princesses in dresses along with the queens and kings representing their grades, while viewing all of the floats in all their creativeness.”

Freshman Erin Wilson shares what homecoming week is like, from the perspective of a princess candidate who attempts to be involved in everything.

“I think if the contest was just based on the float itself then we would probably be able to beat at least one of the other grades, but since it’s also based on people dressing up, and again none of the freshmen are dressing up, we lost our chance,” WIlson said. “Homecoming was pretty fun, except for the rain. I really loved that my mom got to escort me. The main reason that I dressed up for homecoming was because it’s really fun, and I enjoy contributing to my grade.”

Freshman Macy House expresses how she feels about this week.

“I didn?t work on the float,” House said. “I knew we wouldn’t win the float contest because the freshmen only had about nine people, at the most, working on the float, and freshmen never win anything. I went to the homecoming football game last year. I dressed up for homecoming week because its really cool and fun.”

Freshman Mattheau Casey displays why he does not care for homecoming week.

“I did not help build the float since I really do not care about it,” Casey said. “I didn’t think that the freshmen were going to win this year because I felt like the other classes probably put more work into it. I didn’t go to the homecoming game because I just don’t care. I dressed up for homecoming week because I feel like it’s a good way to support the school while still having fun.”

For more opinions, read the Oct. 28 article, Horror fest terrifies, leaves lasting impression.

By |2014-11-06T00:00:00-07:00November 6th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mock election challenges student involvement in politics, familiarize with issues

The mini-ballot was originally created by Sectary of State, Debra Bowen and Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson in order to inform the younger generation of the importance of politics in modern day society.Kylie Bell

The mini-ballot was originally created by Sectary of State, Debra Bowen and Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson in order to inform the younger generation of the importance of politics in modern day society.

Students adopt political points of view

On October 28, students gathered in their Tuesday advisory sessions to vote in the My Vote California Student Mock Elections. The mock election mirrors California’s general election (Nov. 4) and is offered to public and private schools across the state.

The mini-ballot was originally created by Sectary of State, Debra Bowen and Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson in order to inform the younger generation of the importance of politics in modern day society.

Leadership advisor Robert Foshee says that the election was designed to spark a genuine interest in political issues within the student body and introduce them to the voting process.

“One of the purposes was to get the students involved in who was running and the issues,” Foshee said. “The students will soon be in the age of voting and by getting them interested early, they are more likely to vote when they can vote. I hope that the students realized that the process isn?t too cumbersome and that they can see the results first hand. They can see that as a democracy their vote counts and can make an influence in their state, county or city.”

The impact and implications of each proposition were explained in detail by leadership members before students cast their ballots. Individuals were not required to vote but were highly encouraged to do so and rewarded with an ‘I voted’ sticker upon the completion of their ballots.

Leadership student Juliana Rosik, ?16 says that the election served to alert the student population of state-wide issues. Although she doubts the results will be accurate due to an observed lack of seriousness from the student body.

“It {Mock Election} makes people aware of the issues going on around them,” Rosik said. “Even though we?re not old enough to vote we should be starting to look into the political issues, especially in California. I think it was useful but I also think that the results will not be conclusive because a lot of people kind of blew it off and just checked no or yes for all of them. It?s interesting but I?m not sure the results will necessary reflect the general opinion.”

Sophomore Daniel Ayres decided to vote because the issues presented interested him. He is curious at the outcome of the election despite a lack of previous interest in general politics.

“I chose to vote because it looked fun and I wanted to see who won the election,” Aryes said. “I?m not really interested in politics at home. I don?t really spend that much time on them at all. I tried to understand all of the propositions and I think I voted for the ones I believe in.”

Results of the FC MyVote Mock California Elections:

Senior Jonathan Brushwood, noticed that some results did not follow that of the state election. He was surprised at these abnormalities and accredits them to a teen population not aware of national issues.

“I noticed that proposition 46 got our schools support and passed for us while in the community it did not,” Brushwood said. “Also prop 47 was not passed by the student body. However, in the community it was passed. Other than that our school followed the community?s pattern which is surprising. This is probably because most teens don?t pay attention to politicians and elections, which is sad.”

For other county and individual school results visit Myvote Student election.com.

For more features, read Nov. 4 article, Photojournalism advisor adjusts to new position, offers professional experience.

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

By |2014-11-06T00:00:00-07:00November 6th, 2014|Academics, Features, Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hobb's Grove terrifies, leaves lasting impression

10429442_10152331395842648_7539407671527765335_nIllustration by Hobb's Grove

Hobb’s Grove is an annual Halloween event that locals attend for frightening entertainment.

Hobb’s Grove, a notorious haunted house and fright fest near Sanger managed live up to its reputation. Never having gone to Hobb’s Grove before, I walked in skeptical not fully expecting what was to come. Needless to say, the night was very satisfying.

Having arrived at around 6 p.m., the sun began to recede and dusk began to fall on the farm. The trees became twisted and indistinguishable, the grounds black and obscure, and then the fog settled. Dim lights and fire pits were lit to help illuminate the resting areas, providing an eerie and unsettling atmosphere. And that was just the start of the evening.

Attending with a group of friends, we decided to eat first before we lost our appetites during the “festivities”. Food was provided at a number of different stands. People could purchase hot dogs, cotton candy, burgers and soft drinks, along with all of the trademark carnival foods.

As we enjoyed our food a number of the staff approached us. All of them donned some kind of sick or demented costume, but underneath each of them were friendly individuals who just wanted to make small talk with customers. The phrase, “don?t judge a book by its cover,” came to mind when I thought back on some of the staff members working there.

After we finished our meal and it was dark enough, we decided to go on the Hayride. Apparently this attraction was the most popular, since there was about a 40-minute wait in the line. However, the ride itself made up for the wait.

The ride started out smooth enough, relaxing at first actually. But then they started to show themselves. They stayed far away at first, in the fields. They were just silhouettes, shadows in the dark of the night. But they got closer, and closer, and closer until they eventually reached the sides of the tractor. Zombies and ghost nurses, or very realistic costumes of zombies and ghost nurses, began to terrorize the people on board.

Not bad, I thought to myself. If only I knew that was just the start. The ride accelerated, moving faster than it did before. Soon we arrived at a slaughterhouse where fire sprayed from some kind of pipe and shot out into the night sky, revealing the masked figures and dangling bodies from the top of the rails. The sight of this evoked memories of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

After the ride finished we decided to rush over to The Forest. My friends said it was some kind of maze, but that was all they told me before we entered.

They lied of course. The Forest had one path, and there was no turning back. Ghouls, zombies, chainsaw wielding psychopaths, and worst of all, clowns, chased as us as we ran through this demented trail. To top it off, a hand grabbed my ankle from the ground. As I looked down a sickening looking woman convulsed on the ground, I promptly felt the urge to leave and bolted. However, a tree branch caught the back of my hoodie and against my urges to move forward, could not. In fact I had to walk back towards creepy demon possessed convulsing on the floor lady in order to unsnag myself.

After calming down, we went to the very last attraction: The House. Starting off, we are each given a pair of 3D glasses. Upon entering the house, a number of optical illusions and psychedelic feelings took over. Disorientation soon set in, and I was glad to take them off as we left the first section.

However, that was not the end of this horror house. Behind every corner was some creature, behind each shadow something lurking, every room sent bristles down my arms and shivers down my spine. The black room, one devoid of any light, was truly terrifying. No sight was awarded to those who entered, except for the shining reflection of a small knife in a white hand that walked closer and closer. Too someone who enjoys horror movie and a good scare, this one room legitimately frightened me.

Of course there is more to this place than a few jump-scares and creepy settings, but to go into any more detail would spoil the whole thing. All the rides and attractions at Hobb?s Grove are best enjoyed with an element of surprise, and I would not want to ruin all the fun.

Hobb’s Grove ends on Nov. 1, so make sure to visit while you can if you enjoy a good scare.

Make sure to visit their website at http://www.hobbsgrove.com/ for ticket sales and opening hours. Tickets cost about $30 to visit all of the attractions.

Hobb’s Grove’s address is 14265 E Goodfellow Ave, Sanger, CA 93657.

Hobb’s Grove also hosts weddings and other events when halloween is out of season.

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

By |2014-10-28T00:00:00-07:00October 28th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Homecoming attitude begins with you

Homecoming is considered by many to be the single most action-packed week in the FC school year. There are dress up days everyday, three pageants, a blood drive, a rally, football game and four floats. There is no way to avoid the mayhem; so why not be a part of it?

In the past few years FC has seen a drop in school spirit. Teachers and the leadership class have tried their best to get students involved by offering extra credit if students attend sporting events and by planning various events to spark student interest. Despite the efforts of the faculty and leadership class, the decision still lies with the student body.

The sole purpose for homecoming week festivities is to build up for the Friday football game. Now, I know football is not everybody’s thing, but as cliche as this is going to sound, you only experience high school once.

Now, I know some people are dying to finally get out of high school and get to actually living life. However, take a look; this is life, and later on when your kids ask about your time in high school do you want to be able to earn some cool mom/dad points by showing them super embarrassing pictures and having stories to go along with them?

Whether we like it or not, the time is now to start making those timeless memories about how ridiculous you dressed up, how you beat your rival class in a screaming match at the rally or how you completely lost your voice at the football game even though you have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

Don’t waste your time watching other people have fun. Join in, influence other people, create the memories you deserve to leave high school with. Do not put all your effort into abstaining from this week because you are afraid of what people will think. If you have already made it clear you think it’s all a waste of time but you’re having second thoughts, then who cares. It’s okay to change your mind; those who mind do not matter, and those who matter do not mind.

This week’s dress up days go as follows:

Monday, Oct. 27: ‘Merica Monday
Tuesday, Oct. 28: Tacky Tourist Tuesday
Wednesday, Oct. 29: Waking up Wednesday
Thursday, Oct. 30: Think A-like Thursday
Friday, Oct. 31: Fly Together Friday (spirit wear)

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

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

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

COLUMN: Societal pressures continue to influence personal decisions

We live in a world which prioritizes and promotes self-glorification. People are seemingly active in pointing this out, yet society is quite hesitant to act upon it. More and more, it seems that there is a clear choice to be made between winning and doing the right thing.

In playing basketball, I have idolized many professional players throughout my life. From an early age, I have tried to model my own game after my favorite player – Kobe Bryant. Bryant is widely considered to be one of the best players of the 21st century, racking up five NBA Championships, over a dozen All-NBA mentions, and MVP titles for all-star games, NBA Finals, and for complete seasons. He averages over 25 points per game for his career.

Now why am I telling you this? Because through all this success, he averaged below 5 assists per game. Conversely, John Stockton, in his 19 years of play, averaged nearly 11 assists per game. Though selected to the all-star team roughly every other year of his career, he was never rewarded with a league MVP honor, nor won an NBA championship.

Now, my true colors as a basketball fan are becoming all too apparent, so I will get back to my main point. Bryant lives his life being called selfish, ignorant of teammates, and often a player who acts in the gray area of the rules. With that said, he has always been a winner. Winning follows him like a disease.

Stockton is widely considered to be the best to ever play his position (point guard), yet still did not attain the holy grail of basketball players (an NBA championship). So did Kobe’s selfish play and defiance for equal scoring opportunities get outweighed by his victories? Was Stockton’s “team-first” mentality wasted on 19 underwhelming seasons?

This of course is all just a metaphor, but it has been on my mind as of late. As Christians, we are called to act in a way pleasing to God on a daily basis; stewardship is the backbone of our daily routine.

In my life, I often let my pride and desire to win outlast my morals, and I have seen negative outcomes as a direct result.

Through this ever-present battle, I have been constantly directed in my faith to Mark 8:36: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

At the end of the day, it becomes clear to me that the old adage of “when much is given, much is expected” should be taken as seriously as it can be. Power can be misused, and I believe that God has gifted us all with our own respective powers and strengths.

So with seven months of school left, I look to not only make a change in my life, but I also encourage readers to understand that putting others ahead of personal gain results in a payoff much more lasting than anything this world can provide.

Follow the Feather via Twitter: @thefeather. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @Grossman_Chris.

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

By |2014-10-21T00:00:00-07:00October 21st, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|1 Comment

EDITORIAL: Overcoming everyday excuses

As the first quarter of the school year wraps up, campus students begin to stress and doubt about the various responsibilities each individual has stacked up. A major part of student life turns into wondering if there is enough time in the day to finish their pile of tasks.

With scares such as Ebola and the never ending drought taking over the news, things may seem quite depressing in the world. Some students have grown apathetic towards these news events, but the problem is that apathy seeps into other parts of their lives. Namely, procrastination.

Procrastination is a common theme laced into the lives of students, and just about everyone else in the world. This excuse is founded in fear: fear that we are not good enough and fear of failure. However, this is not the answer to our problems.

Cutting out procrastination is easier said than done. For many, It is difficult to face these responsibilities head on and to take leadership.

Embarrassment is a common factor for all teens. Our image is everything and failure is not an option. This ever-revolving cycle is an unhealthy reflection of our shaky self-esteem.

If students are unwilling to make sacrifices for their campus and the lives of others, it does not simply affect them, but will later turn to negatively affect everyone.

Sometimes it is hard to admit that we cannot do everything on our own. That does not mean that we should give up on everything. It can be hard to practice tough love on ourselves, but in some situations it is necessary.

The first step to making positive changes is letting go of our apathy. People all around are monitoring and figuring out how you act and what role you play on your campus. If all we do is complain each and every day, nothing will ever get done.

It is time to go, to help out. If you want to receive, then you must give. You cannot expect something that you do not give in return.

It works like this: If you do not give enthusiasm, then you do not get enthusiasm. We are capable, but we often times let ourselves be defined by our excuses. If no credit is given, then it is as if no work was made.

Homecoming is coming up and many students are less than likely to help with activities. Our percentages of students involved in Homecoming may be higher than nearby schools due to our small population, but that means that individuals are so much more valuable to campus culture.

Instead of hearing people complaining about our school, make a difference so that others won’t. Don’t allow other depressing themes get in the way we view our lives. If they make an impact on you, allow it to be a positive one.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

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

By |2014-10-15T00:00:00-07:00October 15th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Ebola virus continues to infect

ReesJeremy Brown | The Feather Online Archive

Rees Roggenstein, opinions editor, warns of potential Ebola outbreak in the United States.

Ebola, once a far away concern to the US and her citizens has finally managed to breach the walls of the nation and infect the citizens. Thomas Eric Duncan, or “Patient Zero” was the first person to bring the virus to the States. Though the local Dallas hospital attempted to save his life, he eventually succumbed to the disease. Not before he infected a nurse that attended to him, becoming the first case of Ebola being transmitted and contracted in America.

Recent media coverage of the potential outbreak has been criticized for exasperating the situation, however, that simply is not the case. Though there is only one live patient for the disease in the States, the potential devastation that they pose is massive.

Ebola has an incubation period of 2 to 21 days, hosts may be infected and exhibit no symptoms during this time. The virus itself is highly infectious, being able to transmit itself through bodily fluids such as: blood, saliva and mucus. Cross species contamination is possible, meaning animals can transfer the disease to humans, visa versa. Even corpses remain infected for a number of days. The mortality rate for Ebola is above 50% without treatment, about 25% with top of the line treatment.

Though this disease poses an immediate threat to West African countries, it also poses a potential danger to first world nations if not handled correctly. Current US policy has not upheld a satisfactory containment of the disease.

Recent media coverage of the potential outbreak has been criticized for exasperating the situation, however, that simply is not the case. Though there is only one live patient for the disease in the States, the potential devastation that they pose is massive. –Rees Roggenstein

Boarders have not been closed and countries infected with the Ebola virus are still allowed to leave their country boarders and fly on commercial airlines. Proper quarantine procedures have not been upheld. This policy is not sustainable.

There are two ways to eradicate a disease. One, find a cure for the disease and administer the cure to all infected organisms. Two, quarantine all infected organisms until the virus kills all of its hosts.

Because Ebola has an incubation period of 2 to 21 days, an infected person could leave a country without exhibiting any symptoms, then spread the disease even further. The safest way to deal with Ebola is to shutdown transportation to all infected nations, and all infected citizens should be moved to an isolated area within each country and monitored. “Better safe than sorry” is a welcomed policy in regards to a potential outbreak.

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

For more opinions, read the Oct. 6 article, COLUMN: Disinterest in current events is impacting a generation

By |2014-10-14T00:00:00-07:00October 14th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: California drought continues its intensity

IMG_6845cJeremy Brown | The Feather Online Archive

Mueller discusses the dangers of the drought and urges readers to turn from apathy and get involved in conservation.

A topic nearly every Californian has heard about, but many shrug off without much thought, is the infamous drought. Often times, the drought gets brought up in small talk and is viewed as something to be taken lightly. It seems as if those who don’t believe they are ‘directly’ affected by this natural crisis are hardly concerned. However, if you take a look in the direction that California is headed, you will see that nearly no one will be left unaffected.

California has officially entered into one of the worst droughts in American history. For the last four consecutive years, our nation has been desperately parched. While California, as the ‘bread basket of America’, is being hit hardest by this water loss, the drought is spreading it’s dry grasp all around the U.S.

The reason that so many of us have a difficult time coming to terms with the drought, is because we have not directly suffered consequences. In majority of our own homes, we constantly have full access to water.

However, not all are so fortunate. Sure, some are being asked to water their lawns less frequently and take shorter showers, but they are actually receiving the upper end of drought consequences.

Tulare County is an area of California that is being hit the hardest, with many summer days reaching a triple-digit temperature. Many citizens in Tulare County have gone months without running water in their homes, and have no idea when their water will start up again.

These aren’t small-scale occurrences, either. The number of homes without running water is nearly 1,000 in Tulare County alone. Fire departments are beginning to supply water to homes because there is no other access.

Not only are hundreds of civilians lacking water, but also a surplus of farmers. California is a state that is known to be heavily reliant on agriculture for food and economy, so this drought is, to say the least, devastating many Californian farmers and industries.

Finally, California is beginning to take measures to slow down the rapid loss of water. Some cities are fining citizens for wasting water, and some are limiting water use in homes. While there is no state-wide law limiting water usage as of now, Californians cut their water usage by over 11% during August.

We’ve heard it all a thousand times: cut your shower time, don’t leave the sink running when you’re not using it, etc. But often times, we let these messages go over our heads, simply because we have heard them so often and no longer give them a second thought. Now, more than ever, is the time to put water conservation into action.

While the concept of losing access to water is foreign to many of us, and seems highly improbable, we must take the facts into consideration. Because there has been very little rainfall over the past years, majority of our water supply is now coming from groundwater, which is running out at a rapid pace. So, before you water your lawn everyday, consider the consequences.

For more information and an opportunity to get involved, visit Recharge Fresno’s website.

Monday, Oct. 13, Recharge Fresno will be hosting an event at Oraze Elementary School from 6-8 p.m. to propose solutions to the drought. Keep tabs on the proceedings by following #RechargeFresno on Twitter or through the @CityofFresno Twitter account.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @_chloealxa.

For more opinions, read the Oct. 6 column, COLUMN: Disinterest in current events is impacting a generation.

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

COLUMN: Disinterest in current events is impacting a generation

ReesFeather file photo

Opinions editor, Rees Roggenstein, reflects on the current generations growing apathy towards news and current events.

What happens when a person takes something for granted? They lose it. What happens when they take their friends, family, and loved ones for granted? Those relationships begin to fail. Becoming apathetic towards gifts usually results in losing them.

What about a person’s rights and liberties? Can these things be lost as well? Yes, if the people are unwilling to stand up for their beliefs and fight for what they have they eventually lose it. Despite knowing this, America’s youth have grown disinterested towards news and their first amendment rights.

Disinterest is insidious, but its presence in our society becomes more apparent with each passing day. The younger generations no longer seem to know and no longer seem to care about the affairs of this world. Already they are becoming more and more uninformed, and transforming into empty vessels consumed with their own little worlds, blissfully unaware of their surroundings.

Research shows that at least a third of young adults “do not have news in their lives”. The death of printed newspaper, a lack of family conversation during meals, and a general lack of education have all been pointed to as possible causes for these statistics. Regardless of the why, the implications are dire.

In order for a modern democracy to operate it requires informed citizens. Democratic society cannot exist if people vote blindly, that foolishness creates disorder and anarchy. If the youth continue to grow up not caring about the news, or their rights, we end up creating a nation of idiots, a nation that will fall.

Disinterest is insidious, but its presence in our society becomes more apparent with each passing day. The younger generations no longer seem to know and no longer seem to care about the affairs of this world. Already they are becoming more and more uninformed, and transforming into empty vessels consumed with their own little worlds, blissfully unaware of their surroundings. –Rees Roggenstein

The only way to remedy this growing crisis is to inform the people at younger ages and encourage them to form their own thoughts. Parents should begin talking to their children about the news and ask the kids for their opinions, and teachers should enlighten students to current news events.

Already strides are being made to educate the masses on the importance of news and information. News Engagement day stands as a testament to this endeavor, but more can be done to inform the people.

Make sure to support journalists and their passion to report the news. Do not take them or their work for granted, because without them modern society could fall apart.

For more information on National News Engagement Day, check out Brian William’s Video and KABC Talk Radio.

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

For more opinions, read the Sept. 27 article, Novice staffers share journalistic expectations

By |2014-10-06T00:00:00-07:00October 6th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

COLUMN: Community involvement broadens horizons

ReesFeather file photo

Opinions editor, Rees Roggenstein, urges students and local community to become more involved and grow together.

How does a school grow? How does it improve? Where should it even begin? The answer lies in the students and the student body itself. They serve as the foundation of the school, the bedrock, without them it falls apart.

Some might say a proper administration takes priority, or massive financial backing, or intelligent staff and teachers. Though these things are important and incredible assets to have, they still cannot create the change a unified and determined student body can.

Palo Alto High School and their online daily newspaper, The Paly Voice, demonstrate that the students are the source of change in their school and community. The journalism program at Palo Alto recently received millions of  dollars to build a digital media center on their campus. This was brought about by the undeniable excellence of their students, their adviser and a community measure that supported the vision.

Through the students’ ability and excellence they were able to raise enough community funds (school bond or otherwise) to finance their new building. Though they raised the funds through the community, that would have been an impossible endeavor without the students showing them their passion.

The Paly Voice provides an outlet for the school and community and local areas to become news headlines everywhere. It only takes one part of a community to flourish, and this in turn helps increase the moral and pride for the rest of the city. However, The Paly’s level of fame and excellence can be achieved by other students and other programs, as long as they put forward the necessary excellence.

For instance, The Feather itself has won national awards; multiple CSPA Gold Crowns and Pacemakers line the walls of the tiny lab. The Feather created an amazing legacy, a legacy that becomes increasingly harder to surpass each year. And though the staff did not win the NSPA Pacemaker last year, staffers still have the same potential as those who passionately worked before them.

I urge The Feather, it’s staff and the campus community to remember its legacy and dig into the untapped potential it possesses. Let’s join together, rally our community to back our school as we compete in academics, sports, music and the arts, and engage with the Feather in campus news. The Feather is back, but we need your help to address issues, cover campus and community activities and support each other. Please consider joining us in this worthy endeavor to tell our story of Fresno Christian in the community.

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

By |2014-10-03T00:00:00-07:00October 3rd, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Staffers analyze string of attacks from terrorist group, ISIS

IMG_1888rFeather file photo

Staffers Kevin Garcha (left) and Rees Roggenstein (right) comment on the string of attacks perpetrated by ISIS and the values of freedom of speech.

Yet another radical terrorist group has grown exponentially in the Muslim world. ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant has risen to prominence in Syria and Baghdad with it’s extreme and radical ideology.

ISIS has been responsible for a number of public executions, religious killings and international attacks. One of their most notable killings has been the executions of three journalists, Mr. James Foley, Mr. Steven Sotloff and Mr. David Haines.

ISIS has shown that they do not value human life, and exhibit violent actions against innocent people. The killing of any journalist is an attack on the value of life and freedom of speech.

But are the extreme radical terrorists the only ones attacking the right to free speech? The truth is that the freedom of speech is already under attack in the ‘free’ world.

There were reporters fired for exposing the U.S. milk contamination at Monsanto, which is a multinational agricultural biotechnological company. It is the leading producer of genetically engineered seed for agriculture. Monsanto uses growth hormones that alter their products genetically.

The reason for all the discrimination towards Monsanto is that they produce GMO’S, otherwise known as genetically modified organisms. Meaning it’s genetic insides have been transformed. This mutation can further the process of the organisms molecules, thus creating cancer.

Monsanto harms anything around it in it’s quest of greed. They have done multiple tests on rats and 70% of the rats have died prematurely when fed GMO’S. Many of the rats died of enormous tumors grown on the rats.

Two reporters Steve Wilson and Jane Akre found out that the multibillion dollar company Monsanto used such types of hormones. The two reporters uncovered the truth to the world of the cancer infected hormone and were immediately fired.

Why were they fired? The two reporters were uncovering a cancer causing genetic mutation, which was for the health of all people. Defending them from a deadly virus which is contained in many food substances.

Covering up the truth was the reason for the reporters being fired. Monsanto is worth billions of dollars, so if an obstacle is created in Monsanto’s way, they throw money at it, and the problem is solved. The attack on freedom of speech does not happen just in foreign countries, but also in home soil.

Before we fix what goes on in the Middle-East, Europe and Russia. We need to fix our own problems here in America.

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

For more opinions, read the Sept. 19 article, Starting the school year off right.

By |2014-09-30T00:00:00-07:00September 30th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

EDITORIAL: Honoring the departed, dealing with loss

Loss2Courtesy of Mr. Gilmore's wife.

The Feather Editorial board touch on the subject of coping with the death of loved ones after the passing of community member and coach Ericlee Gilmore.

Throughout life, all people taste that sour flavor of loss in some way or another. This loss often leaves a gaping hole, a void so deep that it seems nothing could possibly fill the what was left there. And sometimes, that void, that hole, can never be filled.

The loss of things and possessions can be coped with easily, but what about relationships? What of our friends, our family, and our loved ones? These people cannot be replaced with someone else; their place cannot be filled with another. They touch and shape our lives in their own unique way, and the hole they leave when they are gone sometimes seems too great to live with.

How then do we deal with loss? Is there a secret remedy to cure it? Is there a way we can make it stop? No, as long as we love we will always feel loss. Should we then get rid of love to make the hurt stop? No, without love there is no life and nothing worth living for.

“Better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all.” That old cliche rings some truth in its words. What quality of life would we, as human beings, live without love? Though the pain of loss seems too great to deal with, that pain eventually subsides. And when it does, the memory of the person becomes a sweet delight. Those bitter tears that roll down our cheeks eventually become tears of joy because the lost become a cherished memory. Honoring the departed starts as a heavy cross to bear, but the pain does mold into such tender sweetness.

The families and students at FC lost a good friend recently. Mr. Gilmore left a hole in the hearts of those he met, and he is sorely missed. Though his passing is a bitter pill to swallow, let us take time to remember all he had done for us. Let us grieve, but let us also cherish the memory of Mr. Ericlee Gilmore.

As we go through time of loss, we need to remember that coping with grief is a process that must be faced. Whether you’re retired or just starting out in high school — human beings from all walks of life can relate to the ways we react during grief.

“Better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all.” That old cliche rings some truth in its words. What quality of life would we, as human beings, live without love? Though the pain of loss seems too great to deal with, that pain eventually subsides. And when it does, the memory of the person becomes a sweet delight. Those bitter tears that roll down our cheeks eventually become tears of joy because the lost become a cherished memory. –Rees Roggenstein

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist during the 1900’s, introduced the 5 stages of grief that all humans go through in order to cope with loss.

We start to isolate ourselves and deny that the situation even happened at all. Then, whether rational or not, our mind begins to feel anger. This anger can be directed towards a number of things, depending on the situation.

The third stage, bargaining, is when the person begins to hope that somehow they can undo the event or the grief. This stage often involves bargaining with one’s self in hopes of earning a longer, happier life.

The next stage, which many are familiar with, is depression. Throughout depression, the griever begins to realize the certainty of loss and question the purpose of life. Often times, living seems like a pointless process to the depressed.

The final, most satisfying stage, is acceptance. This is the point where the individual comes to terms with loss. They realize their mortality, and that loss is a healthy part of life. This stage usually stabilizes the grieving, and brings them to a calm phase.

Though there is no remedy, no miracle cure for loss, there is a way to accept it. Though the hole can never be filled, it can be learned to live with. The answer is time. With time, that once painful scar becomes a beautiful reminder of the love shared with that person.

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

For more opinions, read the Sept. 19 article, Starting the school year off right.

By |2014-09-25T00:00:00-07:00September 25th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Starting the school year off right

ChrissyFeather file photo

Student Body President, Chris Grossman, shares his thoughts on the legacy of his class and his expectations of the senior class.

Student Body President Christopher Grossman, will provide monthly installments of his thoughts on student life.

It’s another fresh year. We all know that with a new year comes an onslaught of cliches and efforts that will ultimately fall short of their goals. A little bleak? I suppose, but there’s both nothing and everything to live up to when elected Student Body President.

Throughout my seven years of elementary school, I looked at high schoolers with a mythical awe. I had seen Star Wars; they were among the likes of those supernatural beings. Their freedoms, their responsibilities, and most of all, their ability to define themselves continually blew me away as I thought about everything I would do once I walked those same halls.

Now, I am a senior. Let me tell you, it doesn’t feel like I thought it would. Everything is covered by a blanket of exhaustion, and I know I speak for my classmates when I say we can already see graduation around the corner.

But I would also be speaking for the Class of 2015 when I say that we are not ready to be done at FC. Our legacy will not end when we walk out the door; our influence will not be restrained to the confines of the past.

We fully plan on blowing away all precedents, smashing all expectations and truly making sure that our senior year is a special year for better reason than our finishing the school year.

During senior retreat, we decided that the Class of 2015 had a chip on its shoulder. Though growing up, our social activity would tend to disrupt classroom activity, we now see that we’ve been growing our greatest weapon: influence.

Jay Cross, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School, who is CEO of eLearning Forum, has published a paper claiming that 80% of learning is “informal” or “social.” Upon hearing this, my thoughts on my class changed; social skills are our speciality.

In life, some of our biggest moments come from encounters from those we least expect to be changed by. The things that change us the most are the things we never see coming, and that is a concept I have taken to heart.

The idea that any single moment could make or break somebody’s day has completely changed the way I walk the halls of FC. Senior year isn’t a countdown until graduation, it’s a chance to wake up every day knowing you could potentially change somebody’s life forever.

With that being said, I encourage everybody to take a moment and reflect on a defining moment in your own life. Though we may not have a specific breaking point at which we look back and realize “That was when everything changed,” we will be able to piece together the important parts.

I speak for the senior class, as I do not yet know the heart of the entire student body as well as I would like. Do not wait for senior year to take advantage of the little things. Students should take these four years to see how lives change.

Take initiative, be proactive. Underclassmen, take advantage of every moment. Those bright eyed Witters’ Critters have their sights set on you as well as I; maintain an honorable precedent.

Through these next months, perhaps we can see a change at FC that is able to spread through the hearts and lives of all parties connected to the school which I have lived my life at for the last 12 years. I realize that I only have one year on campus left, but that doesn’t mean FC won’t always be my home.

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

For more opinions, read Sept. 17 article, International student visits native country, encounters cultural struggles.

By |2014-09-19T00:00:00-07:00September 19th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

International student visits native country, feels cultural issues

tobybeijingpicToby Pan

Senior Toby Pan explains the cultural divisions he experienced during his trip to Beijing.

My name is Toby [/fusion_builder_column]

[Mojun] Pan, and I was born in Beijing, China where I spent the first 17 years of my life. I began attending Fresno Christian last year. After spending my first year of living in the U.S, I went back to Beijing this past summer and had a great time with my family and my friends.

I enjoyed all kinds of Chinese food and had fun with some “Chinese” forms of entertainment such as singing in KTV (karaoke), chatting with my grandparents in a teahouse inside a park and playing the game of Mahjong with my family.

However, I also had a very bizarre experience that I would like to call “reverse-culture shock”. My experience in Fresno allowed me to look at my native culture from a completely different perspective. I experienced some cultural issues with my own native land.

The first problem I encountered was, How should I identify myself in a conversation about China? For example, when my friends and I are talking about a Chinese tradition that I disagree with, I usually have trouble choosing the pronouns referring to the Chinese.

“We” or “They”?

Apparently, as a Chinese, I should use the word “we” to refer to Chinese people; but since I disagree with most of the Chinese people on certain issues, the pronoun “they” can help me clarify my stand point. However, on the other hand, the pronoun “we” is not semantically correct to use while the word “they” delivers a message that I am detaching my home country.

I believe that the problem of properly identifying themselves was, is and will continue to be the biggest issue amongst new immigrants (and long-period visitors).

However, I have noticed that Chinese and American public treat religion in a somewhat similar way.

Although Buddhism does not have a lot of true followers in China, it is still one of the most influential religions in the mainland China. Today’s Buddhism, to China, is like Christianity in America. It became more of a culture to the public instead of a serious belief. People go to religious venues regularly according to the tradition.

For example, the first day of the Chinese New Year people in Beijing (I do not know much about the tradition in other cities) usually get up really early and go to the Buddhist temple to light a few sticks of incenses and pray for a lucky year, including those who may be downright atheists.

The biggest and most interesting struggle I encountered back home was actually a language barrier. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is true.

In spite of my habit of using English words in certain circumstances, some exclusive American concepts still caused some confusion when talking to my family and friends. In fact, my experience was a perfect demonstration of the point Sartre depicted in his works. Languages are tools to refer meanings, yet not every culture behind the language understands the meaning that other cultures are trying to explain.

For example there are a lot of words that only make sense in American English, such as “Homecoming”, “rotini”, “serendipity” and so on.

Junior Olivia Tandadjaja, who is a second year international student from Indonesia, also expresses the same feeling.

“Sometimes I involuntarily use English in my Indonesian sentences,” Tandadjaja said. “My friends think I am trying to act all-American, which I’m not. I mean I can speak both of the languages pretty well, but I just mix up all the words sometimes.”

Although that summer was somewhat challenging to me, the understanding of cultural was precious to me.

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

For more opinions, read the Sept. 16 article, Fu reflects on education controversies in Taiwan

By |2014-09-17T00:00:00-07:00September 17th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fu reflects on education controversies in Taiwan (PODCAST)

IMG_6852cJeremy Brown | The Feather Online Archive

Fu reflects on the education in Taiwan

Located next to China, Japan, Korea and Philippine, Taiwan is a tiny melting pot in Asia. The education system is much more complicated in Taiwan than here is in the United States. As children born in Asian culture, they are required by their parents to have many talents. Playing piano, playing violin, drawing, learning English, and doing abacus (math) are nothing special: just what students ought to be able to do.

As students grow older, more and more homework is put onto their shoulders, Many students began to cram schoolwork in the 7th grade. Being able to get a high score becomes the only purpose of a majority of students’ lives. Going home late is a normal part of many junior high school students’ lives. Going to bed by 11 o’clock or later is normal, between ten and 11 is great, and before nine o’clock is almost impossible.

There are only two periods of P.E. classes in one week, but pupils hardly participate in them. Students wonder why they need P.E. class when only two students in the class are swimming and the rest are sitting on the benches.

9th grade is the most important year for junior high students. Students study so hard that school seems like a graveyard after the sunset. As the exam comes closer, massive amount of tests and handouts are given out by teachers and schoolwork cram can stack up higher than five feet.

In 2010, my sister Jane Fu took the last year test of the “The Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students” in Taiwan. The following year the education system officials realized that there were too many mistakes in the scoring. The government decided to cancel the new test before the summer vacation was over. Recently, there was a student who scored nothing, but was accepted into the top three high schools in Taiwan.

(PODCAST) Student life in Taiwan Sept. 17–

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After students finish high school, another challenge is waiting for them. High admission rate almost makes college worthless. In 2008, Taiwan made the admission rate 97.1%, which allowed students to go to the college so easily that scoring 7.69 points was sufficient to go to college in Taiwan.

As the result, young people with master degrees or even doctorate degrees could not find a job. News shows up day after day saying that doctors aren’t making money at the hospital of their professions, but instead from making food at the night market.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @fmichael_0501.

For more features, read the Sept. 11 article, New coach brings excitement, energy to PE.

By |2014-09-16T00:00:00-07:00September 16th, 2014|Academics, Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Campus grows through Christ, fellowship

brownandeffanbaucherFeather file photo

Superintendent Jeremy Brown explains his purpose for coming to Fresno Christian.

For the last five weeks, I have been trying to figure out who “we” are. I have witnessed great acts of love, kindness, devotion and dedication from the staff and students of Fresno Christian (FC).

Everyday I see a collection of students that represent the church of today; students that are committed to achieving great things. I am continually amazed at the environment that we have at FC.

However, that does not answer my question of who “we” are. Putting the ingredients for a cake in a bowl doesn’t make it a cake. It takes the interaction of the ingredients, time, interaction of the ingredients and the right environment (425 degrees) for it to become a cake.

My job at FC is to support the staff in providing an excellent Christ-centered education for the over 460 students at FC. Amy Deffenbacher, Dean of Students, and I both have a calling. This calling is not to make FC what we want, but to create the environment for our student body and community to fulfill God’s plan for us.

I could fill The Feather with 1,000s of words that would describe what I would like to do and then create a 15-point plan to do so. That is not God’s plan; he created all of us uniquely with quirks, personalities, strengths, weaknesses, passions and desires.

God has brought each of us through good times, bad times, times of mourning, times of loss, times of change and times of hope. We are all here at this time and it isn’t by chance.

Every student, staff and faculty at FC is uniquely created by God. What brings us together is our purpose. I invite our FC community to join Deffenbacher and I in seeking out what is God’s purpose for FC in this season. Your season. I see you walking onto campus and you are a catalyst of change in our school, our churches, our community, our city and our world. I am humbled to be a part of it.

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For more opinions, read the Sept. 10 article, Junior exploits journalism connections, earns Ivy league education.

By |2014-09-12T00:00:00-07:00September 12th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Paris architecture captivates junior's wanderlust

IMG_7235Courtesy Olivia Quebe

Six campus students and Feather adviser Greg Stobbe traveled to Paris during the summer of 2014 on a ‘just for fun trip.’

This past summer, I traveled with Greg Stobbe and five other students from FC to the iconic destination of Paris, France. We stayed there for a total of nine days and resided at the Hotel des Arenes.

As we stepped off our 11-hour flight, it did not hit us that we landed in a foreign country. Besides hearing the new language, everything seemed very Americanized.

We exited the airport and hopped in the van for an hour drive to our hotel. As the highways and modern buildings began to disappear, we started to see my favorite aspect of Paris. Something nonexistent in the United States is the architecture in France that often dates back thousands of years.

Even the hotel we lived in for the duration of our stay stood in front of the Gallo-Roman amphitheater from 285 A.D. The style and design of these buildings rivaled anything from the states and left a distinct impression on me.

One of the first iconic churches we visited was the Sacre-Coeur. The front steps gave an overview of the city below as copper statues of King Saint Louis IX and Saint Joan of Arc guard the entrance.

As we entered the church, the inside became even more breath taking than the outside. The largest mosaic in France of Jesus with angels at his side covers the ceiling while an organ built by Aristide Cavaille-Coll sits in the back. The Sacre-Coeur remains a symbol of Roman Catholicism ever since 1885 and through time transformed into an iconic tourist destination.

The first day set the bar high for Paris’ unique architecture; however, the Palace of Versailles lived up to its spectacular reputation. With a golden gate entrance, over 700 rooms, and an extravagant garden, the palace possesses something new around every corner. We saw the kings? and queens? rooms along with the dining room and my personal favorite, the Hall of Mirrors.

The space filled with natural light that reflected off the mirrors as some of the original chandeliers sparkled from the suns rays. The amount of detail and thought that went into building this palace blew my mind and the garden looked like something from a movie. Flowers covered the ground in beautiful arrangements with fountains left and right. These days, the Palace serves as a museum and tourist attraction along with holding occasional political functions.

Although the palaces and churches left us speechless by their beauty, nothing compares to the Eiffel Tower. Completed in March of 1889 and standing at 1,063 feet tall, the Eiffel Tower stands as the number one tourist destination in Paris. I stood in awe at the bottom of the tower, amazed by its intricate detail and significant height.

We had the benefit of traveling all the way to the top of the tower where a once in a lifetime view awaited us. All four sides gave a new, magnificent view. As night fell in Paris, the tower lit up with thousands of small lights like a blanket of stars. Although we all shivered from the strong, freezing wind, it became a moment we will not soon forget.

My trip to Paris held so much to offer from the food, to the art museums, and to the shopping. Still, the distinctive architecture kept me captivated for weeks and holds some of my favorite photographs. This trip left me with a desire to visit other parts of the world to see what unique aspect each holds for me to discover.

For more opinions, read Aug. 25 article COLUMN: Time for action.

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

By |2014-08-26T00:00:00-07:00August 26th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized, Videos 2014-15|0 Comments

COLUMN: Time for action

journoFeather file photo

Junior, Rees Roggenstein, urges students to enjoy their school year and speaks to his fulfillment at The Feather Online.

I have been attending FC my whole life, ever since kindergarten. That makes me a “lifer”, but I had been ashamed of that since sixth grade up to my sophomore year in high school.

This school always had amazing teachers; students, and faculty, but I felt like it was missing something. This great, amazing experience that I should enjoy was missing something vital. Then I found this mysterious missing piece when I joined The Feather my sophomore year.

It sounds silly, but that class opened doors to worlds I could have never opened all by myself, I saw the school with a new and refreshed perspective. The places I visited, the people I met, the things I learned enriched my experience to an unreal level. The Feather taught me more than journalism; it taught initiative, perspective and what success should look like.

When my sophomore year ended I was finally satisfied with this school; I could graduate fulfilled and unashamed. Now the school is changing, evolving into something greater than what it was. With the school transforming it brings new experiences, new relationships, new perspectives. I cannot wait to see what the school will bring now, and I plan to savor every new experience.

The question is, will we change with the school? Now everything in this world has its faults, including our campus. With that in mind, we have two options: sit down and complain about every fault, like a child, or work to make the best of what we have and improve it.

I am no better than anybody else; I have complained and whined (like we all have), and not just about the school! But I have learned that if we are not going to do anything about it then we should just keep our mouths shut. What good is it to just complain? Sure things are not great, sure things did not go the way they were planned, but just sitting there and complaining accomplishes nothing. The problem is not seeing the faults in something, the problem is sitting down and doing nothing to change it.

So as school begins new experiences are just on the horizon, waiting to be felt. I encourage us all to take part in it, to be a part of something new. Let us enjoy the good, learn from the bad, and then put it towards something of value. No more sitting around, it is time for action.

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

For other opinions, read Aug. 20 article EDITORIAL: Leave a mark.

By |2014-08-25T00:00:00-07:00August 25th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Senior congratulates classmates, recollects

Final25BWJeremy Brown | The Feather Online Archive

Lastly, I want to give a quick shout out and virtual high fives to my classmates. We did it! We are officially 2014 graduates! I pray that even after graduating and leaving this place we call home, each and one of you guys will continue to love Jesus unconditionally and never lose your faith in Him!

“Young man, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.” Ecclesiastes 11:9

I wanted to start off with this verse because it has been a great encouragement to me as I am nearing the end of my high school career.

Stress and worrying can really blind you from the true joy in life, and just like the verse says, these are the times that we should enjoy ourselves the most and look forward to the new journey that God has in stored for us. Change is bound to happen all the time in our lives. Although this is something I fear, I cannot help but be excited to see how God reveals new blessings for me in the future.

If someone were to ask me, “What were some of your greatest memories in high school?” I would give them an answer that might sound very vague; everything. The reason I say this is because FC gave me the opportunities to experience many different parts that high school has to offer. Whether those memories were in academics, participating in school events or getting the chance to be on a varsity basketball team with no experience in the sport what so ever, they all will be cherished forever.

It is such a great feeling to realize that you have people who genuinely care about you and want the best for you. Looking back at my past years at FC, I am starting to realize how blessed I was to have been able to build relationships with influential teachers and friends. They poured out so much into my life and brought out the best in me, allowing me to growing physically and spiritually.

It is truly and honor being able to call myself an Eagle and FC will always have a special place in my heart. I believe that the Lord will continue to work in this school and bring many great things until the day of Christ.

Lastly, I want to give a quick shout out and virtual high fives to my classmates.
We did it! We are officially 2014 graduates! I pray that even after graduating and leaving this place we call home, each and one of you guys will continue to love Jesus unconditionally and never lose your faith in Him!

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @sarahlim77. Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.

For more senior reflections, read the May 23 article, Senior appreciates support, adviser.

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

Senior reflection: Fries appreciates support, adviser

SeniorTyninCourtesy Tynin Fries

Senior Tynin Fries shares her appreciation for adviser Greg Stobbe in her final Feather article. She will attend Arizona State University in the fall, joining the Barrett Honors College.

After writing 100 plus articles for The Feather, there’s really only a few things left to say. Here’s everything I wished I had said during the last four years to my adviser, Greg Stobbe:

I wish I had known on the first day of school just how much you would teach me about journalism, myself and my future.

Stobbe you were the sole reason for my motivation throughout school. As I lost my favorite teachers and watched them move away, you stayed a constant encouragement. The Feather and your crazy mind kept me from breezing through high school like everyone else.

You pushed me to my limits and made me feel insane. For months I stayed up late, meeting and surpassing your expectations.

Stobbe you’re the most inspirational teacher I’ve ever had, and probably ever will have. You put four years of work into me, and I won’t let you down.

Just like my parents will see their finished product when I move away, so will you. Now that you’ve done your job, it’s time for mine.

These last four years have been grand. We visited New York, Seattle, Disneyland and San Diego. We taught classes, won awards and even met famous people. You gave me more opportunities than an average kid could dream of having.

But rather than the big things, I’ll remember the small lessons you taught me. That when I’m too stressed it’s okay to get wheeled around the room, even if I think there’s no time. New things are scary, but also very cool. And Twitter isn’t just for morons.

This next year will bring be changes for me and you. And I hope that you never lose your inspiration to inspire. There will always be a freshman, eager to learn from you. Don’t give up now because you’ll always be a teacher.

You mean more to me than any other teacher, Stobs. I can’t wait to return in a few years to make you proud of the student and person you helped create.

I love you, Stobbe. Write on!

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @TyninFries. Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather. She will attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Barrett, the Honors College, at Arizona State University.

For more senior reflections, read the May 20 article, Senior overcomes struggles, builds confidence.

By |2014-05-23T00:00:00-07:00May 23rd, 2014|FC Arts, Opinions, The Feather, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Senior cherishes past 13 years, relives memories

FC has been my home since I was in kindergarten. From the arts and crafts in elementary to the power points in high school this school has allowed me to excel not only in my academics but my faith as well.

I have never experienced so much change in my life. On the day I graduate I will be forced to say good-bye to the teachers and fellow peers who have made these past 13 years the best they could have been, and hello to a new life at Vanguard University of Southern California.

I have met some of the best people at FC and I have also made life long friends that have and always will be by my side. I can only hope that more people will attend Fresno Christian so they to may get the opportunity I received at this special school.

FC has provided for me in more ways then I could have imagined. From the times we were given to worship God to the the teachers who took time to listen to the problems I was facing and offer advice, and to the athletic programs that gave everyone a chance to be apart of, I am truly grateful to graduate with so many opportunities and lessons under my belt.

The best experiences of my high school career came from the cheer program at FC. I have been blessed to be apart of the varsity cheer squad all four years of high school. While the training for cheer camps were rigorous, and the practices for competition were exhausting I have realized that those were the times that my squad and I grew that much closer.

I love cheerleading and being in front of a crowd in my uniform because it allowed me to feel like I had a higher purpose at the school. I am sad to say good-bye to that part of my life but I am thrilled to see where the young women who I became so close to, will take the cheer program next year.

While being apart of the cheer program was one of the best memories I have made at FC there have been a few more that I would like to share. This year’s homecoming was definitely the highlight of my senior year. Being crowned homecoming queen was such an honor and I felt extremely humbled by the nomination.

My favorite memories come from the events held at FC. From Night of the Stars (NOTS), Sadie’s, Powderpuff, rallies, cheer competitions, dress-up days, senior retreat, New York with my journalism staff and visting the kids at Children’s Hospital Central California; all of these have made high school so wonderful and unforgettable.

I think the most important part of high school that I have learned is to give all the experiences, all the good and bad moments to God. He shown me countless times how good he truly is. He can make any good experience better and any bad moment into good one. He has taken such good care of me through these past four years and I know he will continue to take care of me.

I pray that the hearts of the students and staff at FC will continue to seek after Jesus in a passionate way. That they will seek Him daily and never stop trusting Him. I will be the first to say that I have lacked faith in Him countless times through the years but time after time he still reminds me how faithful he is. I will never forget what Fresno Christian has given me and I surely will not forget how Jesus has allowed me to grow in this amazing school.

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

For more opinions, read the May 21 article Senior transitions to high school, blossoms.

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

COLUMN: Love for FC

I love FC. I love the condensed environment, the caring teachers and especially the close relationships I am able to create with so many people.

Yes, FC is small, but imagine how well you get to know everyone. Eventually you get comfortable with a variety of people and can easily open up about anything. I am aware that not every single person at FC is is kind and caring; some people will hurt and abandon you, but that’s just the reality of school.

Another great aspect of attending a small school is that people are given the opportunity to participate in a multitude of activities: sports, clubs and independent classes. And so you know the best part? The teachers and coaches are willing to be flexible in order to help you manage your extra curricular activities.

And can I just say how great our teachers and faculty are? I mean they give up so much of their time and effort to put up with high school students all day, and I assure you that they do not put themselves through that for the money?. The teachers here are willing to do what it takes to make our high school experience rememberable and worth the time we put in to it.

I have made so many good relationships since coming to FC in the seventh grade, some instantly, others over the course of the years. Either way I am so grateful that I can surround myself with a variety of great people. I know that I can count on them to pray for me and be there while I go through the teen struggles.

I often hear so many people talk down on the school saying it’s “too small”, “boring, or “not fun”, but guys, IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. You want more excitement at games? How about you show up and be that person who stands up in the nut house and starts the chants. Think it’s too small? Talk it up and then maybe more people will look into coming. Not fun? Make it fun, be crazy, have fun, love God.

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

For more opinion articles, read Senior cherishes past 13 years, relives memories

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

Senior transitions to high school, blossoms

For my entire life, all the way through freshman year, I never thought I would do anything other than home school. The thought of going to school in an actual school building with other students my age had crossed my mind a time or two, but was immediately disregarded as I was completely happy with home school.

Contrary to popular opinion, homeschoolers do not wake up at 11 o’clock every day and then go on “field trips” to places like the amusement park to learn about physics. I loved planning out my school year (Mom bought the textbooks, I scheduled it), waking up early to get a head start on my assignments for the day (so I could read during Mom’s nap time), holing up in my room (because you know, my siblings were working out at the kitchen table), doing schoolwork at my own pace (double math, double history for the day, why not?) and finishing my first semester work in late October (so I could knit Christmas gifts for the rest of the year). Homeschooling is a great life.

So, when my pitching coach suggested that we look into going to an actual school for the purpose of playing for the softball team to gain some much-needed experience on the mound, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Since my dad worked at Fresno Christian (FC), and the Eagles had a softball team that needed a pitcher, we decided that FC was the place to be.

I started school at FC during the second half of my sophomore year and for the entire semester I wished I were still homeschooled. I was scared of just about everyone except for a few teachers, spent almost every single lunch period in our church?s student ministries office, tried to avoid half the conversations I anticipated, and worked mainly to please my teachers. Simply put, I let sophomore second semester be fairly miserable.

Junior year I got more involved, if we?re going to talk academics. I added journalism and CSF to my schedule, and actually had lunch with people from our school, if we?re going to call spending every lunch period in the computer lab working on articles for Stobbe. I got lots of work done, lots of work. Straight A?s, Junior Citizenship Award, A.P. English Language Student of the Year, Highest Honor Roll, you get the picture.

Two great years of schoolwork- not a bad thing, right? I mean, isn?t that what school is for? But then I started thinking, how much of an impact had I really made on our school? Maybe some influence on the people that I actually talked to in the halls and in my classes, but what about the rest of the student body? That thought messed with my mind like nobody?s business.
Why was I really at FC? It had to be bigger than softball. Leading the softball team felt futile most of the time, as a pitcher and catcher duo cannot make up an entire team. It had to be bigger than pleasing teachers. Great, they liked me, but half the time that just caused my class to be annoyed with me. It had to be bigger than schoolwork. Great, I got five of eight awards during my first semester, but all that did was make the other students call me an overachiever. And where are they now? Sitting in my mom?s closet upstairs collecting dust. Success yes. Significant no.

I struggled with that concept of success versus significance for a bit, and then realized that I needed to approach senior year a little differently. I constantly asked myself, “Say you knew you weren’t going to get any awards at the end of the year. Would you still be willing to live and interact in this way, even if it was not acknowledged?” I wanted to work and interact not for the academic or citizenship awards at the end of the year but for the people I would serve and encourage.

Since focusing on the relationships with people rather than schoolwork was probably my best bet if I wanted to make any kind of impact, I started with not spending everyday at lunch in the computer lab and actually being willing to talk to the people I saw in between classes. Instead, I spent my lunch periods tutoring, or hanging out with my junior high buddy, or being secretary for the Spanish Club, etc.

No, I didn’t get as much done on journalism as I did during junior year, and yes, Stobbe was not all too happy about that. Yes, being more involved with people made getting all of my schoolwork done much more difficult. Yes, I was a lot more tired than I was during sophomore and junior years.

But I got to hang out with an eighth grader who found herself set apart from her classmates by her work ethic, personality and high maturity level. I got to tutor one of our foreign exchange students struggling in calculus. I got to read Geronimo Stilton with one of my dad’s fourth-grade students whose physical condition caused her to operate more on a second-grade level and gave other students basis to tease her.

Sure, there were times when I was tired and I didn’t feel like investing any more of my time and energy into these people. Sure, there were times when I was busy and overwhelmed and I didn’t see how taking that time would work. But every time I chose to use that time for them, even when it was a sacrifice, I found that I was being refreshed and felt better than when I had started, and I eventually discovered that investing in people proved to be more rewarding to me than draining.

Why? Because God has called us to reach out, to pour out to the people around us. He didn’t just give us a light, a love to hold to ourselves and hide from everyone around us; He gave it so we could be His light, His love to our world. And He will provide the strength for us to do what He has called us to do.

Yes, homework is important, yes, sports are important, yes, grades are important, but God hasn’t placed us where we are just for those things. It’s got to be bigger than that. Everything we do has ultimately got to be about the people we are interacting with and investing in. Schoolwork just prepares you for the career you’re eventually going to use to help people. Journalism ends up being more for the people you’re writing the article about than the grade you receive for doing it.

Take the time to reach out to the people around you. Even something as simple as taking the time in the hallways between classes or shifts provides ample opportunity to get to know people and invest in them. You may not realize it, but there are so many people who just need someone to say hi and ask how they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to step outside of what is comfortable for you. Don’t be afraid to look outside of yourself to the needs of those around you. Take your candle and go light your world.

This writer can be reached on Twitter at @JennaWeimer42. Follow The Feather via Twitter at @thefeather.

For more senior reflections, see the May 19 article, Senior gets involved, gains campus family.

By |2014-05-21T00:00:00-07:00May 21st, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Senior builds relationships, prepares for future

The past thirteen years that I have spent at Fresno Christian have been an absolute blessing. This school has provided me with a second home and a second family. Not only have I made life long Christ-centered friendships with students, but I have also developed deep relationships with teachers that I know will last for years to come.

I would have never thought that I, the shy girl who would not let go of her mom?s leg as she entered Mrs. Witters? kindergarten classroom, would be able to be thriving and participating in so many areas by the time she reached high school.

You hear seniors tell underclassmen all the time to ?get involved?, which is what I wanted to do. That was my best decision. Being in leadership for all four years, varsity cheer for four years, basketball for two years, numerous clubs and, of course, journalism made for a very busy – yet extremely fulfilling – four years of high school.

Being involved in a wide range of activities taught me a lot about myself. I learned how to be a better leader, how to step outside of my comfort zone, and how to work on a team. I have gained many lifelong friendships with people whom I least expected to befriend. I would not have had the same high school experience had I not tried new things. I also got to see many different sides to the school and get to know people involved in all areas.

This school not only taught me academics, but has taught me the importance of community and surrounding others in love. I have learned how to manage change and overcome adversity in my life through the love and prayers of the people placed around me.

I have been provided with many role models and great examples of faith and service. Knowing that my teachers genuinely care about my well-being and walk with the Lord is something that makes me feel comforted while I am at school. Seeing their examples has taught me what really should take the biggest priority in my life: to always do my best and to be intentional with people.

I feel so blessed to call myself a lifer at Fresno Christian. I love this school and I cannot imagine my school experience anywhere else. To all current students: take advantage of the things this school has to offer and never take it for granted. We have an amazing community here at FC. Never forget that or let anyone change that.

Fresno Christian has primed me for the future in more ways than simply preparing me for college. It has shown me how to love learning and to be a thinker rather than only just a product of learning. It has also prepared me by building my foundation in my faith and taught me to love the Lord and to love others.

I am graduating ready to serve the Lord wherever he calls me, despite my own plans, by the examples people have shown me. I am grateful to the Lord for giving me the opportunity to live in and love this community called Fresno Christian School.

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

For more senior reflections, read the May 19 article, Senior gets involved, gains campus family

By |2014-05-20T00:00:00-07:00May 20th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Senior overcomes struggles, builds confidence

I am living life on the edge. Theoretically speaking. As I peer over a cliff toward the next chapter. Senior year is the edge of high school and the edge of childhood.

This year, it has been a struggle to avoid focusing too much on the future. I have had to learn to swivel my neck around to consider the past four years in retrospect. Although some things are better left unremembered, there are also memories that are waiting to be found again.

For me, some of the best moments of high school were midnight Denny’s runs with friends, the journalism trip to New York, singing in ensemble, cheering at football and basketball games, playing soccer and track and winning powderpuff this year.

There are so many things I could’ve listed that made high school the best years of my life. At any other school, I couldn’t have participated and enjoyed as much as I have at FC.

I have realized that my journey at this school has truly come to define me. This place, these people and the memories I have made here have formed me into who I am today.

The most important lesson I have learned is that humility is truly a gift to be prized. And more often than not I find myself praying to receive it.

This quote from Oswald Chambers has been my theme for the year, “A saint is never consciously a saint; a saint is consciously aware of their dependence on God.”

As I delve into my life at this school, I can see how dependent on God I really am. FC has built me up to be confident in what I believe and that my identity is steady only when I am dependent on God.

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

For more senior reflections, read the May 15 article: Senior offers advice, knowledge to underclassmen.

By |2014-05-20T00:00:00-07:00May 20th, 2014|Opinions, Uncategorized|0 Comments