|The Blue Jay Today||
Stop Complaining About the Highway Park!By Alison Keeler
FOREWORD: Everything in this article is true. I know someone who is on the city council, and helped plan the Porch Swings and Fireflies project. I had them fact-check this article before it was posted.
Here are some common complaints about the park, and the truths behind them:
“Taxpayer money shouldn’t have been used to build it,”
Actually, taxpayer money wasn’t used to build it. A community group, interested in beautifying the city and creating a more eye-catching entrance to town, applied for and received grant money that covered the complete cost of the project. The city was involved only to approve the site plan and to maintain the park, as they had been doing for Gateway Park long before the Porch Swings and Fireflies installation.
“It’s too close to the road; kids could run out onto the street,”
Honestly, people! It isn’t the park’s fault if parents can’t teach their children to not run out onto a highway! It was a park before, with a picnic spot. No one seemed too concerned about kids running onto the highway then.
“The money could have been used for better things, like the school system,”
It actually couldn’t. The community group (who built the park) is not the same as the school board (who runs the school system). They work together frequently, but they are not within the same borders of power, nor are they able to apply for the same types of grants.
“No one ever uses it,”
What is the city supposed to do about it? We can’t exactly force people to use the new park. And people do use it. Just because you don’t happen to see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The park usage has actually gone UP since the new installation was put in place.
“There’s no place to park,”
While that is mostly true, there was also no place to put a parking lot, yet. But the design for the completed project does include parking to the north of the park. For now, there are two spots at the edge of the Casey’s property, or you could always just walk and enjoy nature. That’s one of the things Porch Swings and Fireflies was attempting to promote.
“The other park was just fine,”
The park that was there before the Porch Swings and Fireflies installation was a run down shelter and nothing else. Most people didn’t even realize it was a park.
“It’s ugly/It’s stupid/It makes our town look stupid,”
That is your own opinion, and I will not say that it is wrong. But if you don’t like the way that it looks, then just don’t use it. No one park is going to make everyone happy. That’s the thing about art and about people. If everyone liked the same things, life would be pretty boring.
It’s an Honor Being in Honor Band By Allie Rinehart
Sami Keeran (Ka-ran) was one of five students chosen to go to Ankeny Centennial High School for Sciba Honor band. She was joined by 7th graders Caleb Meyer, Tyler Vanderlinden, and Owen Wengert, and 8th grader Aleya Paxton.
Sami grabbed her music and silver flute when it all went down. All the band students were getting ready to leave when Mrs. Breitbach announced the chosen 7th graders. When Sami’s name was called, I remember her face was kind of in shock. When asked about it later, she said, “I was nervous, but excited. I truly did not feel as though I would get in, but I guess I did.”
Keeran persevered through four challenging songs. Star Spangled Banner, Black Forest Overture, As Twilight Falls, and Apollo Fanfare were the songs she played. It took her, on average, about one hour to master just one song. In all, it took about four to six hours to master all of the them! When I asked her, Do you feel you have gotten better at regular band after playing more challenging songs, she replied “Yes, because when I played "Black Forest Overture it was extremely challenging because there were many different parts of it, but once I got the hang of it I got it down. I feel as though now I can play more challenging songs.”
Even though it was challenging, she still had a lot of fun. Before they headed to the high school, Mrs. Breitbach took them out for lunch at Olive garden. Sami ordered fettucini alfredo pasta. She thought it was delicious and said that she cleaned the bowl! Later, Sami commented about the Sciba honor band saying, ”I would love to do it again. It was fun but a whole lot of work. I met so many new people.”
So, if anyone in band is hoping to get chosen for honor band, you now have a glimpse into a former honor bandee’s experience!
Life With Crohn’s Disease
Caleb Meyer May 1, 2017
Crohn’s Disease is a rare disease that can sometimes cause life-threatening complications. It can affect anyone, boy or girl, young or old. I am one of the 1.6 million people diagnosed with it in the United States. Crohn’s can cause inflammation in the digestive tract. It can also make you lose your appetite. Crohn’s Disease can affect people anywhere in the world. According to the Mayo Clinic, a renowned medical research facility, the cause of Crohn’s is unknown, but it could be caused by abnormal responses of the immune system.
There are fewer than 200,000 cases in the United States per year, which is why it is a rare disease.There is no cure for Crohn’s yet, which is why it is sometimes dangerous. The life expectancy of a male with Crohn’s Disease is 77, and female is 79, which is the same life expectancy of someone without Crohn’s. Crohn’s Disease can last for years, or a lifetime. The color of ribbon for Crohn’s Disease is purple.
Interview With Mrs. Goes
By: Josi Engle
Josi- Why did you choose to present this challenge to Bondurant Farrar Middle School?
Mrs. Goes- After many years of watching B-F Middle School students read while headlines say teenagers don’t read any more, I wanted to give students here a chance to prove the negative voices wrong.
Josi- Are you proud of the students who have put in, not just minutes, but hours?
Mrs. Goes- I am incredibly proud of all of the students who pick up a book and read. I know some students read all of the time and some students just read to help with the contest, but any reading comes with its own rewards.
Josi- How many total hours were put into this reading goal total?
Mrs. Goes- 48, 209 minutes or about 804 hours
Josi- Is there anything you’d like me to put into the article, and what would you like to share?
Mrs. Goes- A 2014 study by Common Sense Media shows the following: 53% of 9-year-olds are daily readers, but only 17% of 17-year-olds are daily readers. It also shows that the proportion who "never" or "hardly ever" read tripled since 1984. A third of 13-year-olds and 45% of 17-year-olds say they've read for pleasure one to two times a year, if that. Reading scores of 9- and 13-year-olds have improved, but those of 17-year-olds haven't changed in 30 years.
Reading improves vocabulary and comprehension skills which come with lifetime benefits. Check it out yourself at this website:
Josi- How did you come by this challenge?
Mrs. Goes- The National Education Association website had an article on the Read Across America challenge for March 2, 2016. This fit right in with my wanting to challenge students to read more and show adults that B-F Middle School students already read more than the national average.
About NEA’s Read Across America:The National Education Association is building a nation of readers through its signature program, NEA’s Read Across America. Now in its 19th year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.
"You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child."
What’s Cooking? By: Charla Preston
We already tell you ahead of time what is for lunch. But, who choses the lunch items each day? Why that item? Do you ever wonder what it is like to be a lunch lady???? Well, let’s find out!!
I believe the lunch ladies do a magnificent job!! Can you imagine what it would be like if you were a lunch lady?? I think our lunch ladies are worthy of their job. I don’t think the lunch ladies get enough credit. They are a BIG part of our school. I think they have the best smiles of all. First of all, they have knowledge about our lunch room, including why we have to pay for our lunches. “We charge just the amount to get back we have to pay for.” says lunch lady Cheryl. I am collecting some facts about the job too. Do you wonder when they have to be here in the morning? “I have to come at 5:30 a.m. every morning,” says lunch lady Dorothy.
Dorothy is the head cook, she comes in at 5:30 a.m.
Cheryl is the breakfast lady, and she comes in at 6:00 a.m.
Dave Walker is the nutritions facility's director (VERY IMPORTANT!!) He makes the menus and makes sure all the nutrients are correct according to the state. He comes in at about 7:30 after he drives the bus.
Andrea is the lunch cashier, she comes in at 10:00 a.m.
Cindy is the deli sandwich and salad maker, she comes in at 9:00 a.m. after her bus route.
Lena, the tray washer, she comes in at 10:30 a.m.
“It's not a glamorous position, but it is very important,” says lunch lady Dorothy. The lunch ladies really enjoy their job.
“We also get help from the custodians with garbage and washing tables. Lunch room assistants help over seeing students,” says lunch lady Dorothy.
You want to know how fun their job is? They have awesome tunes playing and they sing along a lot and they laugh all day long.
Dorothy told me how they make our food.
“You cook the food, then put it in the warmers,” she says. “We cook our food every day in our own kitchens.”
I asked who picks the lunch menus. “Dave Walker picks the menu for the whole month,” Dorothy says.
After we finished this article, she gave me a tour of the kitchen.
She showed me the back room of the kitchen. They have huge cans of fresh goods!!
Then we went inside the walk-in freezer. Yes, I said walk-in freezer. She told me about it, then we headed to the walk-in fridge. Yes, I said walk-in fridge. Then, she told me about the walk-in fridge. When we finished the tour, I thanked her for this unforgeteble experience.
WOW!! After all this, I want to be a lunch lady when I grow up.