Lettuce Club Butts Head With Bureaucracy

Eric (left) and Phaedra (right) doing a test run

Eric (left) and Phaedra (right) doing a test run

Mr. Kai Reinsborough

Eric Couture, a 16 year old sophomore at Champlain Valley Union High School, has a love of lighthearted competition. He’s been involved in theater and music, and plays the tuba, but this is the first project he’s undertaken on his own. “It’s my sense of humor, I have a really terrible sense of humor,” Couture said, in reference to a club he’s proposed that “started off as a joke, and then we started talking to some people about it … so we thought we might as well make it a real club.”

Inspired by an internet post, he’s organizing what he calls “Lettuce Club World Championships 2017.” It’s a competition to see who can eat a head of lettuce the fastest. “It’s a free for all,” Couture explained, “Whoever finishes their lettuce first is president for the next year, and is in charge of organizing the next meeting.”

“Most likely we’ll start before school at 7:45, so less than a half an hour. Half an hour at max. We did a test run yesterday and it took us around 15 minutes, so we’re thinking half an hour should be long enough for most people.” I tuned in to the 9/18 test run on instagram live where Couture and his good friend/co-organizer, Phaedra Miller, each ate a head of lettuce, albeit at a more leisurely pace. “You have to eat the whole lettuce from top to bottom to be able to win. Even that gross part at the bottom.”

Other than organizing the next championship, “There’s no actual useful prize, just bragging rights,” said Couture. “We might get a plastic tiara.”

I asked Couture how he got his club approved by the school. “We haven’t yet …We already have a club advisor, so the last hurdle is getting it approved as a club, and we’re hoping that that happens. We should be hearing about that soon.” TJ Mead, the Chittenden Core health teacher, is lined up to be their advisor.

Dan “Shep” Shepardson, CVU administrator, was hesitant about the idea. “Seems like it’s trying to make a mockery of the co-curricular/club setup,” he said, when reached for comment, “I don’t support any kind of activity that encourages people to do anything to excess.” Though he did say he “[might] be willing to do it as a ‘one time’ thing for a cause/purpose or fun,” he said that he was “doubtful that anyone would actually join a club to do this.”

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Cameras Keep an Eye on Parking Lots

Mr. Soren Kurth

 

Security cameras were placed on the exterior doors of Champlain Valley Union High School two years ago, in an effort to maintain better security outside of the building itself, and mainly in the parking lot. 

Students are mostly saying that they understand why the cameras are there, however, some students believe there are better uses for the money. For example, a senior at CVU, Fiona Love, said, “I feel it was needed, but we could have bought more tables and chairs for the library, or pave the road up to the Junior Lot.”

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Student Council Takes Action

 Mr. Garrett Dunn

Hinesburg, VTRoarke Flad, a graduating senior of the 2018 class at Champlain Valley Union High School (CVU), has spent his last 2 years as a member of CVU’s Student Council. This year, he has been working with his Co-President, Lydia Koutras, in Student Council to make students’ voices heard.

Roarke joined Student Council because he felt like student voices were out of his hands and saw an opportunity to do something about it. “I was complaining and not doing anything about it, so I threw my hat in the ring and was lucky enough to get elected,”

Currently, Roarke’s position only allows him and his co-president to plan school events, run meetings, and give speeches to his class. Roarke’s goal is to be a representative of his school’s voice and turn that voice into action. Unfortunately, some challenges create a slow process. “I definitely think it’s the system…it’s a little bureaucratic considering the teachers are put in those roles [class council advisors],” Roarke said, “we’re students and our voice is respected, but at the same time there’s that undertone of ‘we’re only students.’”

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Media Center Opens Its Doors

Mr. Cole Casale

“The media center room was built as part of a plan to create a way to teach video production and media literacy at CVU.” This was the foundation that the CVU video production room was built on, according to Gary Lambert. “Everything that is included in the room and the resources and help available are all in place so students are able to use them and become more comfortable with video production, which will, in turn, help to increase media literacy.”

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year at CVU, students were surprised to see the new production room that had been built over the summer. With this surprise came many questions about the space. Lambert speaks about the room and all of the benefits that come with its creation.

Unfortunately, many students don’t feel like they can use it for a number of reasons. Lambert wanted to change this mindset, saying, “because we took over a classroom, it’s our space to schedule. It’s really just [for] anybody that is interested [in] coming into 118 and we can figure out a time that we can do what people are coming up with.” Students and faculty with an interest in learning to use this new resource are more than welcome.

Photo Courtesy of Charlie MacFadyen


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Noah’s or Bust

Mr. Hank Caswell

 

Leo LaForce has been in the food industry for over 40 years and has been the manager of the CVU cafeteria for 14 years. Leo controls the ins and outs of the CVU cafeteria and decides what is available for students to purchase. According to LaForce, he works with his staff to meet regulations while providing quality food the students will buy.

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LaForce emailed CVU students and faculty on April 4th, 2017, explaining that the cafeteria would begin selling Noah’s Spring Water instead of Vermont Pure.

LaForce asserts that magnesium is a necessary mineral that should be incorporated into the body and Noah’s Spring Water carries 110 mg of magnesium per liter.

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Library Stuns World with Summer Renovations

Mr. Lucien “L” Theriault

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Champlain Valley Union High School students returned from summer vacation and were greeted by a transformed library space. “We moved into this space 13 years ago and about every year we have made changes to the layout, so this is just another extension… another way to make the space work better,” said Jennifer Lucey, head librarian at CVU and seasoned educational advocate of CVU students.

The changes were thoughtful and incorporated elements that the staff thought would be valuable to the new layout. “For about three or four years we have been researching what we wanted to do, [attending] day-long workshops, to support educational philosophy. We have gone on lots of site visits, talked to the librarians, the teachers and the students who use the space. Our site visits included a variety of libraries [high school, college, and public]… in Chittenden County, around Vermont, and in at least 6 other states [as well as] Ireland,” said Lucey.
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Custodial Crew Keeps CVU Looking Good

Ms. Sophie Boyer

There is no doubt that CVU is a good looking school. Inside and Out. Thanks to our dedicated maintenance crew, we are always walking down clean halls, playing on perfect fields, and learning in a fresh environment. Most people don’t realize how much work is actually being done around here to maintain this 60 acre, 225,000 square foot property.

Our CVU maintenance crew is here from 6:30am -3:00pm, and our night crew is here from 3:00pm – 11:30 PM. There are both indoor and outdoor crews, both of which have different responsibilities.

During the school year the outside maintenance crew is responsible for keeping the sports fields maintained, which includes mowing, weed-whacking, painting, raking, and trash clean up.

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According to Kurt Proulx, head of CVU maintenance, the  football field in particular takes many hours to maintain, and uses many gallons of field paint. Field hockey fields have other needs which is that the grass on theses fields need to be cut shorter than the others.  The softball and baseball fields are pretty straightforward to maintain. As well as the soccer fields.

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Sophomores, Warp One, Engage! The Next Generation of Tenth Graders Finally Have Their Day

Ms. Kali Adams

 As juniors plodded through NECAPs, seniors volunteered as part of Senior Service Day and freshman rambled around St. Mike’s for Model UN, the CVU sophomores participated in the inaugural “Engage Day” at CVU and in the greater community.

This was the first rendition of this event, reflecting the evolving curriculum at CVU. “Part of our school’s role is helping students reflect about what matters to them inside and outside of school, and how those interests and values can help them make a meaningful life,” said Annie Bellerose, who helped coordinate Engage Day. She explained how Act 77, a bill pertaining to flexible pathways in education passed in 2013, has helped CVU’s curriculum evolve. “The class of 2019 gets to be at the forefront of this process, which is cool in many ways (getting new experiences, more individualized learning),” said Bellerose, “and also challenging–until this work becomes more integrated into our curriculum and schedule, it can just feel like additional stuff to do, especially as the guinea pigs.”

Video by Katie Peck

So far, the Class of 2019 has been the testing ground for projects like Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) and Roundtables. Engage Day was just next step in this development. “We just wanted to have students get some kind of hands-on learning experience beyond their usual school day that connected to something they were curious about,” said Bellerose. “Kind of a low stakes way to try something new or to dive deeper into a previous interest.” Lindsey Drew, one of the sophomores who participated in Engage Day, liked the premise of the day and thought that, it’s great that CVU is allowing students these opportunities.”

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It’s Gotta be the Shoes… Or is it Just the Hype?

Mr. Zachasteez Toensing

HINESBURG – Champlain Valley Union High School has seen a trend in recent years of leading the state in sneaker culture. In recent months, many more students have ditched the traditional Skechers and Sperry’s and switched to a more expensive style of Jordans and Yeezy’s. Students are starting to care much more about how they look, and are sacrificing lunch money in order to show off what shoes they recently purchased.

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Some steezy Yeezys

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Prom: A Night Your Wallet Will Never Forget

Mr. Tomas Georgsson

Prom is considered the most elite of the high school events that occur during your four year career. Weeks of planning before hand, the boy asking the girl, the parties that are planned both before and afterward, all leading up to a single night which formally ends in a mere four hours. So when I saw what the price to rent a tux was, the outfit that I would wear for only four hours, I was flabbergasted. Continue Reading

Fidget Toy Fad Finds Footing across the U.S.

Mr. Justin Olson 

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Pen clicking, desk drumming, foot tapping,  all symptoms of a posterchild fidgeter. If you have these habits or know someone who does, you may benefit by looking into the possibility of purchasing some kind of fidget toy. Having recently hit the market and exploding on social media, fidget toys of several types have captured the attention of many who may benefit from their use.“More than one-third of American workers experience chronic work stress” states APA (American Psychological Association.)  Marketed as being able to relieve the effects of ADHD, ADD, lower stress levels and even help kick nasty habits like nail biting or smoking, fidget toys and their claimed effectiveness have soared in popularity in just a matter of months.

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Bad Cows: The Largest Contributers to Climate Change

Mr. Zaq Urbaitel 

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The threat, legitimacy, and causes of climate change have been heavily debated for decades. According to a 2012 study done by the Pew Research Center, only 67% of Americans agree there is solid evidence that the Earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades, and a mere 42% say the warming is mostly caused by human activity. When climate change becomes the topic of conversation, many consider cars and industry as the main factors. To the surprise of many, the largest contributor to climate change may not be what you think.

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Free Fishing Festivities

Mr. Justin Olson

“Vermont has a strong fishing tradition, and world-class fishing in many of its lakes and rivers”, says States Louis Porter,

Photo Courtesy of Cbronline.com

Photo Courtesy of Cbronline.com

Commissioner of Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Free Fishing Day gives anglers of all types the chance to try out fishing in Vermont for the day for free, an experience we think they’ll truly enjoy.”

Vermont’s Free Fishing Day is an annual event in the state that allows residents and nonresidents to fish the lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams (found in abundance across the state), without having to purchase a fishing license. Free Fishing Day for the 2017 year is planned for Saturday, June 10. Participants can fish anywhere in the state, while still abiding by Fish & Wildlife regulations and rules: catch and release, use live bait and lures, as well as fish in legal and protected bodies of water.

Not everyone has the equipment and the experience to participate in this day of outdoor fun, and Vermont Fish & Wildlife has taken these thoughts into account: they have options. Fishing gear is available at 12 different state parks across Vermont, including Button Bay, Burton Island, and Lake Carmi State Park through the Reel Fun program.

For those that need a little instruction, the Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival is open to anglers of all ages with no experience or equipment necessary. The event will feature several learning stations, where participants will be taught a variety of fishing skills such as knot tying, casting, hook setting, identification, and even how to clean any caught fish. Information about the events can be found online on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife website.

 

Bringing Back the Bats

Mr. Justin Olson 

From the time it was first documented, in the winter of 2006 in the state of New York, up to now, White Nose Syndrome

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

(Pseudogymnoascus destructans) has been decimating the North American bat populations. In 2012, it was estimated that approximately 5.5 million bats had been fatally affected by the fungus.

White Nose Syndrome (WNS), is a fungus that survives and thrives in caves and cold, including bat hibernacula, hibernating locations. This fungus can often times be prominently seen on the nose, wingtips and other hairless areas of infected bats.

Scientists hypothesized that it was killing bats by causing them to use up their energy reserves before the end of their winter hibernation. USGS (United States Geological Survey) tested this and found that bats with WNS used twice the amount of energy compared to non-affected members of the same species. During winter months, bats will hibernate in caves, attics and other dry, dark places. Throughout this time, these bats have slowed their metabolism, this allows the bats to survive for several months without having to eat. WNS causes these bats to wake, and increases their activity.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife asks people to watch for any bat activity during winter months, as this is a sign of WNS. They also ask people to be observant of any bats they come across. WNS is not always visible, but if observed, report it to VT Fish and Game.

 

 

CVU Senior Prank: An Antiquated CVU Ritual Or A Necessary CVU Tradition?

Mr. Christopher T. O’Brien and Mr. Jacob C. Griggs 

A senior prank is when the graduating class gets together to leave one last mark on their school. The prank is an experience full of excitement and laughter late in the year for all of the school to enjoy. Although, before that can happen, the graduating class will get together and discuss what type of prank they want pursue and then have to get it approved by the principal.   

In 2010, the senior class filled up four corners (the busiest intersection of the school) with beach balls. The class of 2016 held apasted image 0 (1) tailgate in the senior parking lot one morning and all parked poorly leaving no spaces for some students, while the class of 2014 saran-wrapped the pillars in four corners, making it hard for students to walk through the already congested area.  

 

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Model UN: One of Two Things You Can Stress About Freshmen Year

Ms. Jam Giubardo

Image Courtesy of Carlisleschools.org

Image Courtesy of Carlisleschools.org

On May 19th and May 20th, 2017, the Champlain Valley Union High School class of 2020 participated in a two day simulation of the United Nations (Model UN) at St. Michael’s College and CVU. The students debated about real world issues and proposed how they would try to fix them.  

Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and academic activity in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. The first day took place on May 19th at St. Michael’s College and May 20th, at CVU. This was different from previous years where both days were at St. Michael’s College.

The students were given current real world issues and were faced with the challenge of coming up with a plan to solve them. They were given time in and outside of class to create speeches about what their problem was and how they would solve it. On the day of the stimulation they presented their speeches to other students with the same topic. On the second day, they engaged in a Socratic Seminar, in which the students were able to discuss what solution would work the best and how to revise it, until it was satisfactory to all the students in the group.

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AP Frenzy

Mr. Jack Reeves 

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Many people question the amount of stress placed on high school students, especially juniors and seniors. After the SAT, ACT, midterms, finals, college applications, grad challenge, for students at Champlain Valley Union High School, and more, is another elaborate (not to mention expensive) standardized test. Are multiple standardized tests really worth a student’s effort? The tests in question here are of course AP tests, provided by College Board. While there certainly is opposition, students and teachers at CVU seem to see the value in the test and its intensity.

College Board is a for-profit company, the same company that makes the SAT. Advanced Placement courses, regulated by the company, are completely free and open to take for high school students. But, in order to take the course’s summative test, it’ll cost upwards of 100 dollars. Most competitive students will be taking 2 or more tests, adding up to hundreds of dollars. The benefit of taking this test, beyond beefing up a transcript, advertised by College Board is the ability to earn class-worth credits that transfer to (some) colleges.

In 2015, roughly 2.5 million students took roughly 4.5 million AP tests. In an environment where getting into a “good” college is something held to a high degree, many consider the AP tests to be essential. Students at CVU have mixed opinions, “It’s pretty bad, just unnecessary stress. I’d describe it as long and unimportant”, says Ethan Leonard. He cites his reason for taking an AP test to be getting college credit. Another student, Elliot Cockayne, who took two AP tests says, “I was glad I took them, it was worth the work”, he agrees that they are quite stressful but continues, “If you just study, you’re set up nicely”. AP teachers seem to have a similar opinion.

“I think that it’s a good test taking experience”, shares Chris Hood, who teaches AP Statistics, “It’s not necessary for every student, but it’s a good preparation for college”. AP Biology teacher, Nicole Gorman, is very certain that students should take the test, “Taking the class and not the test is like joining a soccer team, going to practices, and then not going to the playoffs”, she claims. Test-taking students are on her side, “It’s the entire reason you take an AP course”, says Cockayne. Hood doesn’t feel exactly the same way. He thinks that, “Without the test, there’s still value in taking the course”.

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From the CVC Business Desk: CVU Students Gamble in Cryptocurrencies

 Mr. Zach Toensing

 Hinesburg, Vermont- The tech boom has hit the halls of Champlain Valley Union High School as many students are in a buzz surrounding cryptocurrencies, and the opportunity to make money surrounding them. Many students have begun investing in these online currencies with hopes of getting rich quick with these extremely volatile gambles.

Cryptocurrencies are online digital currencies that use cryptography as a security measure. Most of them are anonymous and not issued by any central authority, meaning there is no government or nation that backs the value. This is a fact that scares off many people, but hasn’t affected the value of these currencies. The current value of the top 10 cryptocurrencies is valued at nearly 100 billion USD as people all across the world have begun investing.

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There are many different cryptocurrencies available on the market for people to buy, with the leaders being Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. CVU student Will Hubbard is one of the students who have been following the rush. “I’ve seen a huge growth in the amount of money that I have invested. I originally put $200 in and now it is worth over $500 in Ripple. It makes more sense to invest the money I have then just let it sit in the bank,” Hubbard said. These coins have the potential to make people very very rich. A simple of $100 investment into Bitcoin in 2010 would be valued today at over $76 million. Numbers like these appeal to the gambling side of many students.

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Photo Story: Vermont City Marathon 2017


CVU Continues to Set Records In Track and Field

Mr. Wyatt Troutmaster Hoechner

CVU Track and Field team is in full swing like most spring sports, on 05/13/17 CVU hosted their latest track meet. With key athletes out with injuries like Sophia Gorman CVU didn’t dominate every event at the track meet. Yet this didn’t stop the rest of the team. Every athlete has been taught to push their limits and strive towards faster times. This dedication can easily be seen on the track but also in the recorded time sheets.

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Track meets are massive and consist of multiple different events. With that said CVU, has a wide spread of talented runners in its arsenal. In just this one track meet on 05/13/17 CVU not only won multiple events but set many PR’s (personal records) as well. In the Discus event Alison Kloechner set her new record, along with Tyler Marshall one of our star athletes who seems to just get faster and faster. Marshall took over the 800 meter dash sweeping away his old PR and getting a time of just 1:58.

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Four Corners In Four Years

Mr. Jacob H. Bouffard and Mr. Christopher T. O’Brien

Walking through four corners at CVU on an early Friday morning before school, very few students were socializing in this commons area. Unlike in years past, four corners has begun to fade from being one of the central parts of the school, to an empty area.

Four corners is where all the hallways meet and has been known as the place to be before school. Over the years, the intersection has had many different looks as several students left their trace with paintings on the walls. However, in recent years, students have decided to socialize in other places.

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Image by Josh Bliss

CVU Seniors Charlie Bernicke, Max and Dillon Hamrell and Nick Mogilnicki, were too intimidated freshmen year to be in four corners prior to school, and would instead go into “The Fishbowl” to spend time before school began. “The Fishbowl” is a place in the Freshman core that many freshmen spend time in.

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AP Human Geography: Lacey Emphasizes Empathy

 

Mr. Thomas Daley

According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water water source contaminated with faeces. The United Nations Water for Life campaign reports that, on average, women in Africa and Asia walk 3.7 miles to collect water, sometimes in amounts less than three gallons. The United States Geological Survey states that the average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day. In the U.S. humans have a very lavish relationship with water, something that is easy to unintentionally take for granted. One CVU teacher’s AP Human Geography class, however, has decided to put an end to the ignorance.

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During the week of March 13, 2017, Lacey Richards tasked her students with a challenge. The first option was to carry five gallons of water everywhere for a week—something both physically and emotionally stressful. The second was to, over the course of the week, boil all water for 10 minutes before using it; this was designed for students who were physically unable to carry out the first option, or for those who simply could not fit transporting five gallons of water into their schedule. “It definitely made me appreciate the fact that we can turn on the faucet and have running water around here,” explained Ben Stevens, a CVU junior, “Carrying 40 plus pounds of water everywhere I went was not that fun. I think that experience is what made me realize how tough walking to get water is and how fortunate we are to have access to running water.”

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