The French Press
Frenchtown High School's student newspaper.
Learning to Listen
Keep it light and positive. Everything is going to be okay. These were the thoughts whizzing through my head as the silver Honda CRV skidded across I-90 towards Missoula. It was January of 2021, and twenty minutes before we had hopped into the car, my sister had entered my room crying, saying our ten-year-old sister was being life flighted to the Spokane Sacred Hearts Hospital. Just hours before, she had fallen off a six foot playground structure and hit her head on the concrete. Now, her brain was bleeding, and if the injury got any worse, she could die. With the help of my dad, we frantically packed a bag for my injured sibling and mom and fled the house with urgency. Now, I just had to survive the thirty minute drive to the hospital. Thirty minutes stuck in a mental frenzy of memories and emotions that could come crashing to the floor at any moment. Breathe, Liv. Just breathe.
It’s a month later now, and my sister is back home, her cheerful and cuddly self. But, something is still off.
I watched my sister’s life become a statistic, a blip on a patient monitoring machine, and yet, I walk the halls of the school like nothing happened.
It’s one of those things that you simultaneously want to broadcast to the world while keeping it to yourself as merely a traumatic experience wedged in an inescapable nook of your mind for safekeeping.
These are the types of thoughts, experiences, and memories that people all around you are replaying in their heads daily. We think that greeting people in the halls and asking how they are doing shows that we care. But, that is not enough. For many of us, saying that we are “good” is a preprogrammed response we have developed to conceal our true feelings.
So, it is time we stop expecting “good” to be the end of the conversation and instead allow it to be the beginning of one. Instead of brushing off small talk with a wave of indifference, try to pick up on body language and emotional undertones to get an accurate reading on the individual’s emotions. Take the time to listen not only with your ears but with your mind and your heart. It is only then that we can begin to understand one another.
The Saddest Thing
My Sunday routine has consisted of driving to Jacob’s Island Dog Park with Juniper, my Australian Shepherd. She is a total dog’s dog with social skills far surpassing those of my own. As soon as I pull into the parking lot, I just open the door and let Juniper out of the car. She runs clear to the park’s entrance and waits for my slow-self to catch up. Once inside, she does her thing, and I do mine. She attempts to herd anything with fur, while I sip tea and converse with any friend I’ve convinced to meet me. I stay until Juniper starts hovering, letting me know it’s time to run our weekly errands. This has become our habit for the past few weeks, and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Until this past weekend, when I witnessed the saddest thing. Two dogs ran down to the ice covered river, while their owners pleaded for them to come back. Both dogs fell into the water and couldn’t get out. It was like all movies where the main character falls through the ice and their efforts to get out are halted by their own weight repeatedly breaking the ice before them. Those on shore are left helplessly watching, knowing if they went to help, they’d suffer the same fate. I watched a dog scramble to pull himself out of the fast, flowing channel, while the owner and bystanders could do nothing but shout encouraging words. Fortunately, this dog managed to pull itself out and return to his owner, but that wasn’t the case for the other dog as it was nowhere to be seen.
Hauntingly, the dog’s name was echoed throughout the Clark Fork by its owner. The few people at the park scrambled up and down the bank in a vain attempt to spot the dog. From the pedestrian bridge over the river, what I saw was harrowing. Just down river from where the dogs fell in, the river hosted a 40 foot ice dam that was sucking water and ice chunks underneath it. The dog’s owner came to this same realization, shouting: “she must be under there.” We all watched from separate parts of the river for the dog to emerge from under the ice. Even the fire department was stationed along the river with throw ropes and binoculars, but there was nothing to see, and after a while there was nothing to do. People wandered off in different directions back to their lives, but I can’t stop thinking of that poor woman who left the park without her dog.
Montana certainly is a choose-your-own-adventure and an enter-at-your-own-risk type of a place. There aren’t signs or people stopping you from doing what you want to do. It is one of the things I love about the state. You can float rivers, ski backcountry slopes, climb peaks, and spend weeks in the wilderness--all at your own risk. A lot of states, like New Jersey where I grew up, prevent people from taking such risks by creating rules and regulations. The result is a society that is statistically safer, but one that feels constricting. For example, a few summers ago, I wanted to walk on the beach, but there was lightning in the area, so the beach patrol drove over, said the beaches were closed, and escorted me to the boardwalk. I was incredibly frustrated thinking I grew up on the coast and could make my own decision about being on the beach. As humans, we are constantly using previous knowledge to calculate risk and make decisions, but sometimes we don’t have the information to calculate the risk; therefore, we can’t make the right decisions. That’s what happened at the dog park that day
After the incident at Jacob’s Island, I drove home, stunned. I kept thinking about how easy it would have been for my dog to make the same tragic mistake, and how lucky I was to be driving home with Juniper asleep on my back seat. Entering the dog park, it never crossed my mind that I was entering a place with a risk as high as my dog dying. I wanted to write about the incident so that others have this information to calculate the risk for themselves. After what I witnessed, I’ve since decided that Jacob’s Island Dog Park is a place reserved for summer, and Juniper and I will find new routines for winter’s frozen rivers and spring’s high waters.
The white winter sky was bright on this cold February day. The trees were frosted with fresh snowflakes. As the young girl walked, her legs were covered up to her knees by the white banks. She held out her hand to catch a snowflake that fell from the sky. As she held it close to her face to examine it, it melted before her eyes were able to fixate. Her hand reached out one more time and was met once again with a flake. She waited until two accumulated before holding it up. The same result occurred. The weightless forms of ice transformed into a liquid that slid off her hand as it returned to the sides of her body. This girl liked winter, the bright part of it. Each time she went outside late in the evening, the sky was still bright, providing light to those that were still outside to see it. It thoroughly impressed her each time she looked up into the atmosphere. Although the summer was much warmer, and sometimes seemed more comforting, the sky was not bright in the evening the same way. Winter was not that bad, especially when she wore appropriate clothing to keep her warm. Although the heavy clothes weighed her down, forcing her to trudge slightly with each step, she was grateful they allowed her to have experiences, such as this one. The factory workers probably didn’t think of yielding experiences like these as they tirelessly worked to earn barely livable wages while constructing the same garments that made the seasons of life bearable.
What is your Zodiac Personality?
Aries (March 21- April 19): Passionate, motivated, and confident leader who builds community with their cheerful disposition and relentless determination. They often get frustrated by exhaustive details and unnecessary nuances
Taurus (April 20- May 20): Enjoy relaxing in serene, bucolic environments, surrounded by soft sounds, soothing aromas, and succulent flavors.
Cancer (June 20- July 22): Highly intuitive and their psychic abilities manifest in tangible spaces: Can effortlessly pick up the energies in a room. Highly sensitive to their environments, as well as extremely self-protective.
Leo (July 23- August 22): Warm, passionate, and dynamic. They delight in opportunities to let their charismatic, inclusive personality shine. Strong, brave, and ready to dominate everything they set out to do.
Virgo (August 23- September 22): Logical, practical, and systematic in their approach to life. This earth sign is a perfectionist at heart and isn't afraid to improve skills through diligent and consistent practice
Scorpio (October 23- November 21): Often misunderstood due to their intensity and their tendency to be harsh. Extremely emotional, and crave intimacy. They have a powerful presence and demanding personalities, and are very mysterious.
Gemini (May 21- June 20): Playful and intellectually curious, Constantly juggling a variety of passions, hobbies, careers, and friend groups. Social butterflies of the zodiac.
Libra (September 23- October 22): charming, beautiful, and well-balanced. Thrive on making things orderly and aesthetically pleasing. Crave balance, can be equally as self-indulgent as they are generous. Like making peace between others.
Sagittarius (November 22- December 21): Optimistic, lovers of freedom, hilarious, fair-minded, honest and intellectual. Spontaneous and fun, usually with a lot of friends, and are perhaps the best conversationalists.
Capricorn (December 22- January 19): Ambitious, organized, practical, goal-oriented, and they don't mind the hustle. Love making their own rules, they strive to reach high career positions.
Pisces (February 19- March 20): Effortlessly adapts to their surroundings. Make incredible artists and creatives. Kind and gentle, they're invigorated by shared experiences of music and romance.
Aquarius (January 20- February 18): Rebel at heart: Despise authority. Free-spirited and eccentric, Often identified by their offbeat fashion sensibilities, unusual hobbies, and nonconformist attitude.
Spice up COVID Dating
If you are lucky enough to have a significant other during this unfortunate time, you might feel like you are in a rut in your dating life. Although there are many places that are closed--including some popular date sites--here are some cheap and safe options for COVID dating!
If you are film lovers, the AMC Dine-In Theater is still open at the Southgate Mall with limited seating. They are playing previously released movies; which means cheaper tickets!
If you are foodies, go on a “Tik Tok Picnic Date”! This includes creating your own charcuterie board with whatever treats or snacks you like, and finding a beautiful spot to set up a blanket to sit on and listen to some jams.
Another idea from Tik Tok (Cupid Column tested!), is a “Four Course Meal Night”. This is where you and your date, or other date night friends, choose a different restaurant or drive-thru for each course. The courses are drinks, appetizers, dinner, and dessert. This option can be as cheap or expensive as you want, and you can make it a game by doing a rock-paper-scissors competition to choose each course.
For an active date option, visit the Glacier Ice Rink for some indoor or outdoor public skating. This is a date under $20 and is the coolest of them all! An ice skating date is especially fun if neither you or your date are avid skaters because you can help teach each other how to be ice skating masters.
Road Trippin’ with Elena Garrard
Goodbye Texas, hello Louisiana! More specifically, we will be spending our time in the infamous New Orleans. We can check Mardi Gras off of our bucket list, because we arrived right in time to experience the exquisite parades, parties, food, and culture. Cajun food is one of my favorite foods! The seafood boils, jamalia, and gumbo will be sure to bless your pallet. Of course, we’ll have to take a swamp tour down the bayou and see some gators. Next, we’ll see the City Park, laced with themed gardens and beautiful trees. We’ll visit the heart and soul of the city, the French quarter, the New Orleans art museum, and listen to some smooth jazz. Lastly, we’ll stop by the St. Louis Cathedral to see some beautiful architecture and murals. After experiencing some amazing Cajun culture, we’ll head to Florida!
Kodi's Best Books:
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
World War II, 1986
A young Henry Lee faces his all-white school all alone, shunned by both his parents and his white classmates. His father forbade him speak Catonese, their native language, in hopes of become “more American.” With no one else to talk to, this young Chinese-American boy stops everyday on his walk to school to give his lunch to Sheldon, a street jazz musician. There’s nothing that Henry loves more in the world than jazz, except perhaps Keiko. Keiko and Henry quickly find safety in each other, connected in some way. There’s only one small problem… she’s Japanese.
The war separates the young lovers, leaving them devastated. Will Henry successfully sneak in and out of a concentration camp to be with Keiko? Will adult Henry ever find his childhood love once again? What secrets and history does the Panama Hotel hold on the corner of bitter and sweet? Delve into Henry Lee’s timeline to find out what lies beneath the Hotel next to Henry and Keiko’s secret limited-edition jazz records.
I’m going to introduce some Japanese culture or lifestyle that is different from American culture.
1. We take off our shoes before entering our homes.
We have an entrance hall in our homes called “genkan(玄関).” At genkan, we
definitely remove our shoes.
2. It is normal in Japan to lift your plate or bowl when you are eating.
People put their hand on their lap in America, but it’s a bad behavior in
Japan. Also, we use chopsticks to eat, so it’s normal to touch the
bowl with a mouth when we eat soup and make sounds to eat soup and
3. We wash our bodies and hair every day.
It made me surprised and confused at first in America that people in
America don’t do that every day. Also, people take a bath every day.
4. A bathtub and a toilet are in different rooms in a Japanese house.
This difference made me confused at first honestly. Also, a house in Japan
has one bathtub and one toilet unlike American houses.
5. There are strict hierarchical relationships.
This starts from junior high school basically. We must use polite words and
behaviors to older people. For example, we must greet older grade
students with bowing when we pass in a school. Also, we must use Mr. or
Ms. when we call their names. So in Japan, another grade students are not
friends, just our seniors or juniors. I felt that this culture was kind of sad.
America is very different and I like the American culture so much.
The French Press
Frenchtown High School's student newspaper.
Food for Thought: Get Paid to Read
Reading a book is like eating your veggies; they might not be exciting to consume, but they improve your quality life. Think of all those battles fought at the dinner table over a piece of broccoli--do you think your parents enjoyed negotiating with a five-year-old?
Dad: “I don’t care if you don’t like it--you have to eat it.”
Child: Searchers for the smallest piece of lettuce. "Done.”
Mom: “We said three full bites.”
Child: Finishes the task in a manner that suggests it belongs on a list of crimes against humanity.
No, your parents didn’t enjoy those drawn out, illogical duels, but they knew how important it was for you to eat your vegetables, so they selflessly endured until compliance was met because healthy eating is the antidote to the number one killer in America: heart disease. Developing healthy habits, young, ensures a better quality of life. This is true of eating your vegetables, and it is true of reading your books.
In 2007, The National Endowment for the Arts published a detailed study called “To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence,” which illustrated that Americans from nearly all demographics--especially young adults--were reading at significantly lower rates than just 20 years prior. Who cares, you think? Well, the study revealed three startling things:
Employers now rank reading and writing as top deficiencies in new hires.
Good readers have more financially rewarding jobs.
Less advanced readers report fewer opportunities for career growth.
There it is--a direct correlation between reading and prosperity. If you want a higher paying career, you need to read.
So why isn’t everyone reading now to be more prosperous later? Sadly, books can’t compete with smartphones, video games, or Youtube, just like broccoli can’t compete with Crispy Cream, cheese fries, or chips because such technology and foods are engineered to deliver instant gratification in the form of addictive dopamine hits.
However, since reading is an antidote to economic stagnation, I implore you to find some gumption and do the hard thing: develop a reading habit just as you would a healthy eating habit. At first, reading may not be as enjoyable as some of the easier to consume options, like social media, but over time, you’ll physiologically adjust. The more you read the easier it becomes and you’ll come to enjoy it--if you have the right books.
Maybe you’re thinking: easy for her to say, she’s an English teacher, but I wasn’t always a good or avid reader. In fact, when I was in elementary and middle school, I was in remedial reading groups and even had to be pulled out of my regular classes to get extra help with reading skills. Then, the summer going into 9th grade I discovered Nicholas Sparks, the man behind the romance novels of The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle and dozens of other cheesy, unlikely tales. I am embarrassed to admit this, but as a hopeless romantic, I devoured those books. I read eight of them that summer, and by the time I started high school that fall, I was a good reader, much improved writer, and English became my favorite (and easiest) subject.
I want every student to undergo that same transformation, but I fear the classics aren’t catalyzing the cathartic reading experiences necessary to counteract the civic, social, cultural, and economic ramifications of a nation with deteriorating reading comprehension skills.
For this reason, I’ve been actively applying for grants to bring contemporary and engaging books into my classroom with narrators that understand the issues of my students' time. Thus far, I’ve received five grants and over 200 books because I desperately want to help students find pleasure in reading, so they regularly choose a book over their phone and improve their quality of life.
To better your future, it doesn’t matter what you read, so long as you read and read often. This alone will make you a better reader, and down the road, it will make you a more desirable employee with more career options. Who doesn’t want to get paid more? So, find something you like to read and make the effort to develop a habit of reading. As the research shows, reading will change your life.
The COVID Vaccines
In the past few months the question over whether or not we will get a vaccine for the corona virus has finally been answered. Currently there are 2 different versions of the vaccine. There is the Moderna and the Pfizer. The difference between them is that the Moderna vaccine is about 3 times the dose as the Pfizer vaccine. However, there have been a few adverse reactions to the Moderna. People who have previously had or have facial fillers should be aware that there is a possibility of swelling in the area the fillers were placed. The Pfizer vaccine may offer less adverse side effects however, with any vaccine there is a chance of side effects. With the covid vaccines the side effects are minimal. Some of the most common side effects are muscle tenderness near the injection site, headache, or fatigue. All of these symptoms were temporary and the positives the vaccines have heavily outweigh the harms. Currently, the covid Vaccine has a 95% effectiveness. If you receive either of the covid vaccines your immunity to the virus will last about a year. Lets kick covid to the curb and get vaccinated!
Hello Frenchtown High School sports enthusiasts! My name is Kayla Botkin, and I have the privilege to sit down with athletes from our school to discuss their team, season, and overall interests. In this edition, I sat down with seniors Lauren Demmons and Brandon Finley to talk about Frenchtown basketball this year!
Q: With all of the restrictions due to COVID-19, what has been the biggest adjustment the team had to make this season?
A: Lauren: “We’ve had one game canceled so far due to COVID, but thankfully that’s the only damage it’s caused to the season so far. It’s obviously a change to be separated and have to wear masks on the bench, plus there’s the limit on fans, but we’re just happy to be on the court at all.”
A: Brandon: “The biggest adjustment is the fact that we have to play with less fans so we have to bring our own energy and uphold that.”
Q: What has the team atmosphere been like this year, and how does it affect different aspects of the team?
A: Lauren: “The team atmosphere each year has been super positive. A lot of the girls haven’t had a chance to play together before this season so we’re still learning how to really connect in games and practices, but we’ve all become close both on and off the court so that’s made the transition a lot easier.”
A: Brandon: “The atmosphere of the team is always phenomenal, upbeat, and exciting. It helps the game stay rolling and helps us play better.
Q: As a senior, do you have plans for your near future? What colleges are you looking at, and what do you plan on pursuing as a career?
A: Lauren: “I think I’ll either go to Montana Tech or the University of Montana to continue my education. I want to major in either biology or exercise science and then go to graduate school to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy. It would be nice to play basketball at the next level but I’m not exactly set on that.”
A: Brandon: “Currently my only career path I have set out is that I want to attend college, play ball, and further my education.
Q: What is one piece of advice you’d like to leave the rest of the team with for the next couple of years?
A: Lauren: “First of all, I want to thank all my teammates. They’ve really challenged and pushed me these past four years which has helped me grow as a player. I’m excited to see what lies ahead of them. They’re hard workers and l have faith that they’ll go far next season. They need to continue to get on each other in practices and games but always be there to pick each other back up. They should keep a positive mindset always and have a short memory. As coach Yeager always says, “Don’t get too high on the highs and too low on the lows.” Best of luck to them all next year!”
A: Brandon: “My biggest piece of advice would be to play your game and don’t let any pressure get to you.”
Q: And finally, what is one unknown fact about you or the team that Frenchtown High School should know?
A: Lauren: “Some people at FHS may not know that last year our team had a practice from 11 PM to 1 AM during winter break so we could count it as two practices.”
A: Brandon: “After every game, win or lose... we play Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo, it currently is our team song.”
A big thank you to Brandon and Lauren for letting me interview them! I wish the best of luck to both Lauren and Brandon for the rest of their seasons, as well as for their future! You guys will do great things! And thank YOU for reading! Make sure to pick up a hot-off-the-press newspaper next time to read about your fellow students in the Sports Spotlight!
Road Trippin’ With Elena: Texas
Now that we have seen the infamous Golden state, it’s time to head south. First, we’ll be cruising through Texas, beginning with the San Antonio’s River Walk. It flows through the heart of the city for fifteen miles and is filled with beautiful sights and numerous places to eat. Next, we’ll see the big bend national park. Since everything is bigger in Texas, you can expect this bend in the Rio Grande to be no exception. Of course we will have to hit up the Galveston beaches because I cannot stay away! If you are an art lover like me, then you will love Houston's Museum District. In the district, there are nineteen museums full of beautiful art and most of them are free. Lastly, we will visit the music capital of the world, Austin. On some nights, there are over 100 performances in the same night! After jamming out, we’ll say goodbye to the lone star state. We’ll be going to somewhere I’ve always wanted to see, Louisiana! We’ll experience not just the delicious cajun food and culture, but also Mardi Gras, on February 16.
Question: How can I find a boyfriend that won’t be toxic in our relationship?
Answer: In my experience, to find a person who will want to be in a healthy and successful relationship, they need to have a good relationship with their parents--especially their mom. To be clear, NOT A MAMA’S BOY. Boys who have a quality relationship with their mothers typically gain advice from them on how to treat girls justly. Another perk, is that these moms will help their sons with fantastic gifts for their girlfriends for birthdays and holidays. However, the most valuable aspect of having a boyfriend with a good relationship with their mom, is that once you and you have a significant connection with his family, you will gain another mother to help guide you and be your friend.
The bright blue irises appeared as the eyelids fluttered open. His dream occupied his mind so drastically that he forgot where he awoke to. The light shined through the ventana, warming the wooden floor. He placed his feet consecutively, one after another onto the hardened surface. He walked up the window, to peer through the transparent glass, and felt the heat of the solar energy rise up from his heals and up into his body, leaving him with a warm fuzzy feeling. Outside he could see two little girls climbing a tree. They carefully chose branches, tested their weight, and then placed their bodies on each branch as they rose higher into the sky. One of the young girls did not choose carefully enough. As she moved onto the weight placement step, the branch gently encompassed by her hand snapped and her young body soared to the ground. Her arm hit first. The man did not even think before his legs were carrying him out the door, bounding step by step, until his head leaned over her injured body. The girl was okay. Her arm was broken and her arms cut, blood leaching onto the leaves embedding the tree’s trunk. She was going to recover. He could take a deep breath. The light girl was easy to guide into his small home. He sat her down in his short, wooden chair and began to clean the cuts. The girl screeched when the alcohol protruded the skin. He knew it was necessary. He made a makeshift sling and instructed the girl to rest. While she slept, he brewed a pot of oolong teas to nourish her when her brown eyes opened. She would see that the fall had not broken her.
Where Does Fashion Week Stand with the Global Pandemic?
There are many uncertainties as to whether or not fashion week in Paris, London, Milan, and New York will continue on as per usual. Many designers are opting for digital shows in London, Paris, and Milan. Some larger designer brands are using a combination of in person and digitally formatted shows. Those brands that have in person shows are following strict social distancing and COVID precautions. The upside to these options is that there are more slots available to smaller designers. The pandemic has caused major obstacles within the fashion industry, but the industry is adapting, just as the world is.
Valentines Day Riddles
What did the pickle say to his valentine?
You mean a great dill to me
What did the squirrel say to his valentine?
I’m nuts about you!!
What did one volcano say to the other?
I lava you
What did the hamburger buy his sweetheart?
An onion ring
Two Truths and a Lie: Baylor Duke
I broke a 27 year old mile record in junior high track
I have a tattoo
I’ve been running cross country for 2 years
Two Truths and a Lie: Answer is C
WINNER: If you are the first to see this message and report it to Ms. McIver, then you'll win a free ticket to the Snowball Dance!
The French Press
Frenchtown High School's student run newspaper.
Under Your Nose? You’re Exposed!
On Thursday, October 29, my 91-year-old great-grandpa passed away. What was his cause of death you may ask? He died of the same thing that is taking the lives of hundreds of loved ones these days: coronavirus.
My great-grandpa wasn’t as COVID-cautious as he should have been, nor did he surround himself with people that were, and frankly, that got him killed. I don’t want the same thing to happen to a student, staff, or community member in Frenchtown. So, if your mask slips below your nose, please pull it back up so you are not exposed.
This isn’t a problem that we can wish away with a wave of a magical wand; we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and it is real. So, we need to act accordingly. If you are sick, stay at home. If you are a close contact of someone who is infected, you need to be quarantined for 14 days. And, most importantly, if you are in public, you NEED to wear a mask.
I understand that they are uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time; but, they ARE protecting you. In fact, a study conducted by the University of California San Francisco provides evidence that a damp washcloth prohibits hundreds of droplets of up to 500 micrometers in length from becoming airborne. If you still aren’t convinced, consider the Health Affairs study, in which the rate of COVID-19 exposure declined by two percentage points in 15 states, just after three weeks of wearing masks.
So, now I implore you to ask yourself this question: which is more important, the well-being of all those you associate with, or your personal comfort? I think we all know what the right answer to that question is, but it is time we start acting it.
Sports Spotlight: Shelby Smith
Hello Frenchtown High School sports enthusiasts! My name is Kayla Botkin, and I have the privilege to sit down with athletes from our school to discuss their team, season, and overall interests. In this edition, I sat down with senior Shelby Smith to talk about Frenchtown volleyball this year!
Q: With all of the restrictions, due to COVID-19, what has been the biggest adjustment the team had to make this season?
A: “I would say the biggest adjustment the team had to make this season, due to COVID-19, would be playing every game with the uncertainty of if we were going to be able to continue playing games.”
Q: With only four seniors, how did having a younger team affect the team atmosphere?
A: “With only four seniors, the underclassmen really had to step it up; and, they surely did. They also developed roles as leaders, and handled any pressure very well. With such a young team, these underclassmen are going to be so prepared for the next season; and, I believe they will really go far with these skills.”
Q: Congrats on such an amazing season this year! What do you feel was the key to these successes?
A: “I think we can credit the successes to a great coaching staff, a good team bond, and the hours put in during the offseason.”
Q: As a senior, do you have plans for your near future? What colleges are you looking at, and what do you plan on pursuing as a career?
A: Currently I plan on attending Montana State University in Bozeman, where I will pursue a degree in food science and dietetics.”
Q: With the team being decently young this year, what is one piece of advice you’d give to them for the next few years to come?
A: “ A piece I would give to next year’s team would be to continue doing the great things they have all worked so hard to achieve, and always maintain a positive attitude. Because, in the end, it’s just a game.”
Q: And finally, what is one unknown fact about you or the team that Frenchtown High School should know?
A: “Frenchtown High School should know that the Frenchtown volleyball team has built such a great program over the past few years, and the upcoming girls are going to do great in the near future.”
A big thank you to Shelby for letting me interview her! I wish the best of luck to Shelby in everything she does in the future, and congratulate her on the amazing senior volleyball season! And thank YOU for reading! Make sure to pick up a hot-off-the-press newspaper next time to read about your fellow students in the Sports Spotlight!
Creative Writing: Take Me Back to the Picnic Days
“Your grades are slipping,” Sophia’s teacher proclaimed as she approached her desk.
“I know. I am sorry. I will get my missing assignments turned in by Friday,” Sophia replied.
“No later than that, please.”
Sophia tried really hard to stay up to date on her schoolwork; she really did. This was the time of the year that things began to escape her. She could feel the dark nights, the silent house, and the feeling of emptiness approaching. It was October and Sophia knew that when the snow fell, so did the spirits of the people around her. Seasonal depression was no stranger to those in her circle. It was a depression that occurred at the same time every year, in cold climates like hers, where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. Although she, herself, did not feel these emotions to such an extent, she was indirectly affected by the emotions it stirred. She would come home to angry parents and a brother that would not leave his room. Her cat, Bella, was the only comforting accompaniment. Bella’s purrs would be loud enough to soothe her, but soft enough to fall asleep. The next morning, Wednesday, Sophia approached her teacher.
“I have them done,” she said, handing the assignments over.
Sophia went to basketball practice and missed all of her free throws. The team had to run fifteen laps around the gym because of her error. Her teammates resented her, no matter how many times she apologized; their bitter feelings did not waiver. She was kicked out of the group chat on Snapchat and could hear the whispers hushing as she walked into the locker room. When practice started the next day, she made all of her free throws. The team did not have to run a single lap. She was added back into the chat and the girls invited her to do a Tik Tok with them. Sophia obliged, but did not forget the conditional nature of the friendships. The world around her did not stop to let her reflect, it only continued to move. Although Sophia felt so overwhelmed that she didn’t want to get out of bed some days, she made it through the winter. She made it to those summer days, where it doesn’t get dark until 10:00 at night. Sophia was able to look at the stars in the picnic days and almost forget the dread that the snowflakes brought. As she felt the green grass blend with the strands of her hair, she thanked the universe for sometimes bringing so much pain, that it made the good feel that much more charming.
Road Trippin’ With Elena
Welcome to our next stop: California, the golden state! Something you should know about me is that I'm a sucker for beaches. They are my favorite places to be in the whole world. All of my worries seem to be taken away with the waves; and, I have not a care in the world. Therefore, we will be visiting all of California’s famous beaches. We will start with Santa Monica Pier and work our way south to The Venice Beach Boardwalk, Longbeach and Malibu. Hopefully we can catch some waves under the melting sunset. While cruising through the state, we can’t forget to stop by some of the most famous local art attractions. We will see the “Urban Lights” in Los Angeles with glittering eyes, and undoubtedly hike to the Hollywood sign. Finally, we will visit Universal Studios in Hollywood, L.A. Hood Life Tours, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame to get a feel for the lives of those who live there. After saying goodbye to the priceless views and mixture of cultures California has to offer, we will be heading East!
Coffee with Caitlyn: Gratitude for Strangers
I woke up on Thanksgiving to two generous donations from donors who fully funded a project I had on DonorsChoose.org. The project is called “Relevant Books for the Real World” and it will provide a set of books, The Poet X, for my freshman poetry unit. One donor was an individual from Alberton, Montana who wrote: “I gave to this project because I have loved learning my entire life and I wish the same for all of you!” This statement touched me for two reasons: it’s from a stranger who whole-heartedly supports our class, and it represents how meaningful educational experiences can inspire life-long learners beyond the classroom. The other donor, The Perry and Donna Golkin Family Foundation, stated that they are “...inspired by all that teachers do to help students learn, particularly now when so many unforeseen adjustments are required. It is our honor to bring this important book project to life to support the efforts of amazing teachers.” I can’t express the feeling of being supported by people outside my classroom who have blind faith in what I’m doing inside my classroom.
The funding of this project couldn’t have come at a better time, as I’m sure I’m not the first to admit that this has been a challenging year for education--staff, students, and guardians alike. There’s a lot of anxiety-producing unknowns, everything seems to take a bit longer, and the technological-learning curve has been steep. I feel like a first year teacher who has once again been thrown into the scholastic trenches, which hasn’t allowed me to prioritize revamping old curriculums or trying new things--aspects of teaching I’ve desperately missed. However, this donation brings new hope to this academic year as a new set of class texts certainly requires the building of a fresh-curriculum. I’m looking forward to designing reading assignments, discussions, and writing projects that encourage students to draw parallels between the contemporary themes in the book and their own lives. For this extraordinary opportunity I have the utmost gratitude for the generosity of complete strangers, who have shown through a random act of kindness that the value of a meaningful education transcends even the most chaotic of times.
Book Review: The Skeleton Tree
By Award Winning Author Ian Lawrence
Chris and Frank find themselves shipwrecked after a fishing trip gone wrong with their Uncle Jack. The worst part is Frank somehow blames Chris for their misfortune, even after the 12-year old saved his life. In order to survive, the two boys have to scavenge for food and shelter. On one of his adventures, Chris finds a cabin… and lots of claw marks. Could there be someone else living on this island? The boys seek out this unknown survivor and find little clues to what happens on this island. The one thing that scares them the most, as they prepare for the upcoming winter, is the gnarled tree that holds four wooden boxes dangling throughout its branches. It looms over them and the skeleton eyes yearn to tell them what happened to the lone survivor. With the help of Raven, Chris’ only friend, the two boys might just have a chance to get saved, thanks to the Skeleton Tree. Can you find Chris and Frank and find out if they get saved, or will they die in the winter season with no food? Find out in the Adventure section in the library.
Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
This novel, the first of a trilogy, had me on the floor laughing, dying on the inside (cough cough Chapter 75), and crying real tears by the end. Luckily the second book is out and there is no unnecessary waiting. The first half was a little slow, but after about 200 pages the plot and drama started to thicken, and I was absolutely sucked in. This is an incredible story that was originally created to draw parallels to the atrocities of police brutality against people of color, and did so in such a beautiful and telling way. The one lasting line from this book would be, “Abogbo wa ni omo ree ninu eje ati egungun— We are all children of blood and bone.” I do believe the title is an allusion to the book Invisible Man by the author T.S. Elliot, a novel about a black man living in Harlem in the 1950s. I highly, 10/10 recommend for literally anyone, but especially lovers of inclusive YA (young adult) Fantasy. Let me know if you would like to borrow my copy, I am not sure if we have it in the library. Fair warning I do underline and write nonsense in all of the books I own. Happy readings!
Riddles and Jokes
Why did they let Turkey join the Thanksgiving band?
Because he had the drumstick
Why didn’t the turkey finish it’s dessert?
Because it was stuffed
I have ears but cannot hear and I have flakes but I have no hair. What am I?
Why was the thanksgiving soup so expensive?
It had 24 carrots
Two Truths and a Lie: Beau Boudreaux
A. I’ve floated 21 days in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
B. My grandpa was a fighter pilot in WWII.
C. I know how to hunt alligators in the swamp.
Mystery: 6-Headed Chief
A body buried in the late 13th to 15th century was discovered with five heads buried with it. The grave was unearthed in Scotland in 1977, in a church altar near Portmahomack, a small fishing village in Scotland. It was later discovered, however, that there were in fact two men buried in the grave, with an additional four disembodied heads surrounding them.
The latest DNA research shows that the two men were possible cousins, or an uncle and nephew. As well as that, three out of the four additional disembodied heads all belonged to the same family as the two men. The “six-headed man” may have been an important local leader, who died a sudden, and immensely violent, death. The two full male skeletons would have had to be very important people, because very few were buried in churches near the altar.
The fourth head belonged to a monk, originally buried in a monastic cemetery; it was speculated that the monk's head was kept as a prized family relic. The violent death of the “six-headed man,” suggests that the addition of the four heads was a way to honor the local leader's death and legitimize the family succession.
Opinion: Duck Tape
Let me get one thing straight before we begin. Duck tape is spelled duck tape, not duct tape. But why are there two ways to say it? Because people started using duck tape to fix ducting, and edited the name to duct tape. It wasn’t until later that they realized the heat from the vents was melting the tape and rendering it useless, the only example where duck tape can’t fix everything. So why is duck tape the right way to say it? Allow me to start from the beginning.
Duck tape was invented in WWII by a woman named Vesta Stoudt. She worked at a weapons factory in New Orleans where they created rifle cartridges. She had two sons in the war and was concerned for their safety. Why? Well other than being fired at on a daily basis, the way that ammunition was waterproofed and stored was inefficient and very difficult to take off of the cartridges. So she created a tape that was waterproof and durable. Stoudt consulted multiple people about her new invention, but they all turned her down, so she did the only thing a worried mother could do. She wrote to the president.
She sent a letter with diagrams to President Franklin Roosevelt writing, “I didn’t know who to write to Mr. President, so have written to you hoping your boys, my boys, and every man that uses the rifle grenade that this package of rifle cartridges may be taped with the correct tape.” After reading her letter, Mr. Roosevelt gave her diagrams to the War production board, who in turn partnered her up with Johnson & Johnson (they already had a similar medical tape out on the field and decided to fine tune theirs with her design) And to answer the already mentioned question of why duck tape is the correct pronunciation, her tape was an army green and because of its waterproofing ability, many compared it to the phrase, “water off a duck’s back.”
Now with duck tape introduced to WWII, people started using it like crazy. Duck tape was good for fixing machinery, sealing wounds or boots, waterproofing various equipment, and it was not deemed “unsafe” to find airplanes patched up with this glorious adhesive. Put duck tape asserts its prowess in other places too. In 1970, Apollo 13 was launched and they used duck tape to fix the carbon filter, which was pumping poisonous gases into the air and would have eventually killed them. In 1973, they used duck tape on Apollo 17 to fix a damaged moon rover, which cost 38 million dollars. Wouldn’t have been pretty to see all that money go down the drain.
Duck tape, as you can see, has solved all kinds of problems, but it has also created some. A good example would be when Homeland Security wanted to see if duck tape could be used for chemical warfare, so they placed three men inside a sealed room and bombarded it with chemicals. The catch was that they had sealed it using plastic and duck tape. In the end, when they opened the door, the three men were dead, but not from the chemicals. From suffocation. So it worked...to an extent.
As you have learned, duct tape had played an important role in our history and I personally believe it would have been that much harder to win WWII without duct tape. If you think about it, duck tape has really stuck with us throughout the years.
The French Press
Frenchtown High School's student run newspaper.
Photo Credit: Unspalsh
According to an article written by United States corporation stopbullying.gov, 15% of public school students surveyed (ranging from ages 12 to 18) admitted to being cyberbullied in the previous school year. Now that may not seem like much, but this year, there are approximately 15.4 million students enrolled at a public high school as reported by statista.com. This means that this year, 2.31 million students will be subject to a form of online harassment. And, unfortunately, along with COVID-19, this media virus has begun to infect the students of Frenchtown High School.
Anonymous students are creating accounts on Instagram advertising the hot goss of Frenchtown High School. This includes campus dating life, tall tales of abnormal student behaviors, and even whisperings of attractive teachers. Looking for attention from behind a screen, these students cower behind their callous comments, too scared to be seen for who they truly are. Though it has not yet been confirmed by the students being exposed, most of the information being spread is false, concocted by the individual to heighten his or her social status. But, the fact of the matter is that this kind of social composure is wrong. Back-handed compliments and faulty rumors can take a real toll on students’ physical, emotional, and mental health, even though the phony fabrications aren’t worth their trouble.
As high school students, we have some made-up conception that we have to be the most attractive and popular to be successful and liked in high school. When, in actuality, none of that is true. There are other ways to make friends than to spread other’s secrets, including joining a sports team or a school club. You can be involved in the inner workings of Frenchtown High School without becoming involved in fellow students’ personal affairs.
Being kind is not something that should be earned but something that should freely be given to all those around you.
So, let’s make sure we are having compassion on others and keeping Frenchtown respectful, responsible, and safe!
Photo Credit: David Adamson on Unspalsh
Hello Frenchtown High School sports enthusiasts! My name is Kayla Botkin, and I have the privilege to sit down with athletes from our school to discuss their team, season, and overall interests. In this edition, I sat down with senior Duncan Richardson to talk about Frenchtown Football this year!
Q: With all of the restrictions with COVID19, what has been the biggest adjustment the team has had to make?
A: “Wearing masks and not having fans has been hard for our team to adjust to, but with the help of our community behind us, it has become an easier adjustment.” Q: What is the atmosphere of the team this season and how does it affect certain aspects of the team?
A: “Our team this year is very close and it creates an aspect of family that we feed off of to continually better ourselves.”
Q: The main theme of the season seems to be injuries. How is the team adjusting to different losses to the team? Q: What are some things that keep you in condition for your football season that you do in the offseason?
A: “In order to stay in shape in the offseason, I lift at Pfahler Sport Specific, and do other sports such as track.”
Q: As a senior, do you have plans for your near future? What colleges are you looking at and what do you plan on pursuing as a career?
A: “I plan on playing football in college. I’m still deciding on what career I’m going to pursue, but I’m leaning towards orthodontics.”
Q: What advice would you give to a student who is thinking about joining the team?
A: “For anyone thinking about joining the team, I would tell them to simply do it. It teaches you how to work hard and be able to balance your schedule between schoolwork and practices, which is a very helpful talent to have for later in life. The relationships and memories you build, while being part of the team, is something you will keep and cherish for the rest of your life.”
Q: What interesting, unknown fact should Frenchtown High School know about you or the team?
A: “An interesting fact about our team is that we only have three returning starters, and the rest of our team is very young in an experience aspect. Everyone has stepped up and showed tremendous growth throughout our first few games and I believe the sky’s the limit for our team.”
Thank you to Duncan for letting me interview him! Best of luck to the Frenchtown Football boys for the remainder of their season! And thank YOU for reading! Make sure to pick up a hot-off-the-press newspaper next time to read about your fellow students in the Sports Spotlight!
Our Monday Talks
Photo Credit: Alexander Andrews on Upsplash
When you’re young, you think your grandparents are going to be around forever. And, then when you’re in your thirties, and much older and wiser, you are absolutely convinced that they will. I had 33 years to get to know my Nana, and although I didn’t always take advantage of those teenage years and early-twenties, I really made an effort in the last four. Despite being 2,000 miles apart, we talked on the phone every Monday from seven to seven-thirty. It had to be that specific of a time because we are both serious, type-A planners. I don’t think such traits are hereditary, but having our calendars planned years in advance and making check-lists full of mundane tasks leads me to believe the contrary.
While I folded laundry, we’d talk about books we’d read, good shows we’d watched, about family members and distant relatives, and about the week ahead. She’d warned me about things she saw on T.V., such as packing a bag in case we needed to evacuate due to the wildfires she’d been hearing about. And in our most recent conversation, I’d told her about teaching during COVID, and on a lighter note, I told her about the bridesmaid dress I’d have to wear that was designed for someone who has less curves. We both had a good laugh at that imagery. She’d end all conversations by saying that she could tell I was happy and saying we’d talk again next week, “God willing.”
Sadly, my Nana passed on September 25, so we didn’t get to have another conversation. And that will be the hardest part--not being able to call. Because thinking back on her role in my life, she’s been there to call during some pivotal moments. Like when I went off to college, she was the one who gave me the important advice (although I didn’t understand it at the time), she said “never put your cup down and always stay with your girlfriends.” When I was applying to graduate school, she said to email her my resume and cover letter for her to edit. Since she was a meticulous editor, it’s no surprise that when I applied for teaching jobs, I called her and asked if she’d review my application materials. When I was planning my wedding, she’d review my tedious check-lists and find things I’d forgotten. She’d even made a Pinterest board to help me with the details.
I will always remember my Nana as someone who wasn’t afraid of new technology, since she always had the latest gadgets. In fact, my first smartphone (in 2016) was one she’d abandoned after an upgrade. A friend pointed out that that wasn’t the way that technology was supposed to move. In addition, I’ll always admire her ability to keep busy and pack a planner. As we age, staying busy and getting involved becomes more difficult, but more important.
My Nana became a Board Member for the Jewish Community Center and organized monthly trips to Atlantic City. Actually, the first time I gambled was on one of those trips. We fed our twenty dollars into a Keno machine, sat side by side, and talked about life while she taught me how to make $20 last for hours. When our money was done, we were done: “that’s how you gamble smart and have a nice afternoon.”
Mourning the loss of a loved one is hard, especially during a pandemic when you can’t jump on a plane and see your family without weighing ethics over emotions. But, my family said it was a beautiful funeral where the Rabbi seamlessly wove Hebrew prayers with English translations. My mom sent me a picture of the burial. It’s not common to photograph funerals, but I wanted to see what the day looked like. My Nana was buried underneath a big blue sky where over fifty people, wearing masks, gathered to say goodbye. One day, when it’s safe to fly across the country, I look forward to visiting her on a Monday and continuing our talks.
Student Spotlight with Abby Faulhaber
Photo Credit: Richard Ciraulo on Upsplash
Maddi Yocum interviewing Abby Faulhaber
What sports do you play?
“I play volleyball and softball.”
What’s your favorite class and why?
“I really like Mrs. Sullivan’s class because her and I are homies; but, my favorite class is actually Modern America, because I find all the new history very interesting; and, we get to watch a lot of movies.” What’s your favorite Halloween movie?
“Halloween or Scooby Doo 1 are my favorite movies.”
What’s your favorite candy?
Are you trick or treating this year?
“Maybe, and I will go as Napoleon Dynamite.”
The alien invasion that humans fantasized about is finally here. In this thrilling series, follow Cassie, Zombie, Ringer, Evan and Nugget through perilous battles. This story of endurance is portrayed by Yancey. Is surviving worth losing what makes us human? In the Last Star Ringer points out: “In these last days, earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves… or saving what makes us human.” The “Others” fight for the earth, releasing 5 waves of terror. Who are the “others”? No one really knows for sure, (except Cassie, who may be in love with one) but they’re sure not from this solar system. It’s rumored they don’t even have a physical form anymore, they’re now just computer codes of memories downloaded to the ominous “mothership” that looms over head. 99% of the population is dead within months of their arrival. Would you be able to risk anything for survival? Find out what former Squad 53 does in order to survive, because they’re willing to risk everything. “It’s always been about the risk…” You can find this thrilling book in the Science Fiction section.
Two Truths and a Lie
Can you find Ms. Pepper's lie? The answer is at the end of this edition.
I’ve lived in 3 different countries
I’m an Irish twin (siblings born less than a year apart)
I’ve been teaching for 5 years
Spooky Riddles and Jokes
The answers are at the end of this edition.
1)The person who built it sold it. The person who bought it never used it. The person who used it never saw it. What is it?
2)How do you spell candy in 2 letters?
3)I have hundreds of ears, but I can’t hear a thing. What am I?
4) Which part of a road do ghosts love to travel the most??
This is a good sonnet I’m gonna write.
Hopefully it isn’t depressing,
And I will try to keep it light.
To be honest it’s a little stressful.
Even though it’s such an easy thing, maybe
I could learn something from this sonnet,
Or write how I want to make today be.
Whatever it will be I am on it,
And however it goes I will love it.
And if it is strange to others’ eyes,
I will fix it when I can recommit,
Or step aside to color butterflies.
Hopefully I will have luck next time
And think of a lot more internal rhyme.
Misty Mountain Cold
Misty Mountains Cold,
Blazing Flames and Crimson Scales,
Mountain Dragon Cold.
How Are You?
What if I were to ask you how you felt right now?
Thus begins the panicked presentation stage in your mind,
as your brain tumbles with all the life struggles you have had to endure
And how those hardships, have no cure
Though there is no need to fear what you say
For no one expects the truth to come out of you
You see, the normal of society is to say you are fine day after day
Whilst your insides want to scream that you are not okay.
The purgatory of voices that lie deep within your mind- are never to be spoken,
for these social norms of "proper etiquette" and "complexity" are never to be broken.
So, rather than break the rules, we break the record,
and repeat that same simple phrase:
"I'm good. I'm okay"
and your words remain seen as only one presentation of many,
among peers who too fake life as canny.
You see, people never care when their numbers walk to the stage.
No one cares about this simple bad page
In your book of life.
Because, you see, every good book has it's bad parts
And only a few ever even leave marks
So why bother with yours?
When everyone else has their own daily chores.
So we continue to stay in silence.
We continue to hide this internal self-violence.
But if this barrier is broken through, then-
people just stare and consider you out of the norm-
For you have broken their set perfect form
of a happy, hardworking being
not even meant to question life's meaning.
A machine intended to work without complaint-
without dare mentioning the sheer pain of life's restraint.
Road Trippin’ With Elena
One of the things that has always been on my bucket list is taking a road trip around the country. Being able to see the different cultures we have in our nation, remembering the people that formed The United States, seeing new sights and meeting new people has always caught my interest. So, join me on my road trippin' adventure through the land we call home! To begin, we will be packing up here in Frenchtown, Montana, and heading north 149 miles to Glacier National Park. Undoubtedly, we will be stopping in Kalispell to get chick-fil-a for lunch. The park, established on May 11, 1910, has over 130 lakes. It has a number of hiking trails, scenic floats, and an unlimited number of sights. After soaking in the beautiful sights of Glacier, and hopefully catching a sunset, we will be heading over to the west coast!
Faulty Air Quality
Although the wave of smoke has surpassed Frenchtown this year, it seems to create concerns each fall. Montana is lucky enough to have an accurate and convenient site to access for any concerns about the air we breathe, www.svc.mt.gov. This website addresses almost every town in Montana, including Frenchtown. It explains the five levels of air quality: good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous. Good is a green color and means that it is completely safe to go outside without any concerns. Moderate is a yellow color, meaning that the air is not completely clear, but it is not so poor that it will negatively impact one’s health. Unhealthy for sensitive groups is an orange color. It states that the air is not completely clear, but will only negatively impact the health of those with respiratory issues such as asthma, pneumonia, and lung cancer. Unhealthy means that the air quality is so poor that it will negatively impact anyone that goes outside. It is distinguished with a red color. When our air quality was in the red zone, sports teams at our school were still practicing outside. This was dangerous and could have led to breathing problems over the course of the preceding few weeks. Very unhealthy means that the detrimental impacts of being outside could have long term impacts such as aggravated chronic heart and lung diseases. This is considered a purple color. Hazardous, a maroon color, level means that everyone should limit their outdoor activity as much as possible. Serious aggravation of heart or lung disease, premature mortality in people with cardiopulmonary disease, older adults, and serious risk of long term respiratory effects are all of the symptoms associated with being outside in these conditions. Exposure to particle pollution is even linked to premature death. Even an activity such as walking your dog outside could be harmful to your lungs and should be limited as much as possible during these dangerous times. Save the lungs of you and your pet!
Two Truths one Lie: Answer is C
Riddle Answers: coffin and dead end