Holiday volunteering opportunities for teenagers in York, Pa.

The holiday season comes with an abundance of food, presents, family, and time.

Without school to keep students busy, finding something to fill the empty space may be difficult.

The one of the best ways to get more out of the holiday season is to help others. Volunteering, especially during this time of the year, is extremely beneficial to the community.

For example, Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and families are rushing to get ready. Except, some families are struggling to make do this year. According to Feeding America, 1 in 7 people in Pennsylvania lose the fight against hunger. They go without food on an everyday basis, so extravagant celebrations like Thanksgiving are definitely out of the question.

Many organizations in York are trying to stop hunger from gaining more ground, including the York County Food Bank, the Catholic Harvest Food Pantry, and Wholy Chicken.

Teenagers are in a unique position to help these organizations. As young volunteers, they can bring enthusiasm and strength to the community.

Continue reading “Holiday volunteering opportunities for teenagers in York, Pa.” »

Posted in Do this! | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Five Common App Questions and Their Answers

First: The Common Application sign-up process is a torturous and Gilliam-esque bureaucratic maze that cannot be duplicated in any circle of hell. They won’t be sated until your password has at least eight characters, a capital letter, a lowercase letter, a number and a sigil of the Shift key, and even then you’ve got to throw up every meaningful detail about yourself before you can be granted access to the hallowed halls of academia.

And you’re sunk if you fill in anything the wrong way. Because I’m just a stud, I wrote the current date as my birth date down in the section where that goes, and it booted me off the site because I was under 13. Forever. Like, they wouldn’t let me do anything but go back to the main page. If I didn’t have a Gmail account to sign up with as well I’d be living in a trash bag for the rest of my life! So many close calls.

Second: Why, yes, indeed it is Nov. 20. And yes, I realize that most people have already applied and many already know where they’re going and have entire arrangements made out already. Well, the earliest deadline among any of my colleges is halfway through December, and starting work on these applications a month early is, in my opinion, early enough.

Now, there are five writing prompts on the Common Application, and today, as your loyal essayist, I have answered them all. Masterpieces of the modern nonfiction form, they are. Enjoy.

Continue reading “The Five Common App Questions and Their Answers” »

Posted in Hectic Mind, Take 5 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

YDR journalists say empathy is key

“I’m a person before I’m a journalist.” Brandie Kessler, a general assignment reporter with the York Daily Record, states this as she explains collecting information for stories. Hannah Sawyer, a city reporter for the YDR, stresses that empathy is key.

Sawyer and Kessler joined the Teen Takeover meeting on Nov. 6. The two answered questions about interviewing and their experiences as reporters.

People retelling their stories, especially if it was a traumatic event, can find relaying the story to be cathartic. Also, building a relationship with sources allows for more of the story to come out and for more detail to be collected. Kessler and Sawyer agreed on all of these points and especially stressed that in all situations, as a reporter, accuracy is most important.

–Annie Kurz

Teen Takeover student Spencer Blake also wrote up a summary from the visit. Here is what he wrote:

You must get to the point and not ramble on, said Brandie Kessler at a Teen Takeover meeting that took place at the York Daily Record. Another essential part of journalism is to be as organized as possible. This was also said by Kessler at the same Teen Takeover meeting.

–Spencer Blake

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quiz: What TV high school would you go to?

High school has its countless ups and downs, with drama and stress at every corner. Waking up early and going to bed late makes for a life that is as far from glamorous as Hollywood makes it seem.

But, what if it was possible to actually go to one of those well decorated, and totally improbable, TV high schools? And if so, what high school would be the best fit for you? Take the quiz below to find out what halls of Hollywood’s finest educational sets you would grace.

Continue reading “Quiz: What TV high school would you go to?” »

Posted in Question | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: ‘FELT’ by Nils Frahm

I am taking a modern improvisation/choreography project class this semester in dance and a few weeks ago our assignment was to create a piece to a song called “Less” by German musician Nils Frahm.  This song is primarily swelling silences combined beautifully with eerie piano chords and the ambient sounds of the piano’s pedals, the floor creaking, and the artist’s breath. The sounds that would usually be seen as a distraction are incorporated into the substance of the music, adding a dimension that is surprisingly stunning.

Continue reading “Review: ‘FELT’ by Nils Frahm” »

Posted in Bands, CD reviews, Diaries, Music, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Evaluating Red Lion Area Senior High School’s new grading system

School systems are constantly evolving to accommodate with the changes in today’s teenagers, and Red Lion Area Senior High School is trying to adapt their grading system to benefit the students.

For the new school year, the high school converted from a letter grade system to a percentage system. The new criteria is as follows; 100%-97% is an A+, 96%-93% is an A, and 92%-90% is an A-. This pattern continues for the rest of the letters. This is change from last year’s system, where anything between 100% and 90% was an A, 89%-80% is a B, 79%-70% is a C, 69%-60% is a D, and anything below 59% is an E.

Kathy Moser, the head of the guidance department at the high school, sums up the difference in one sentence, “The system changed from a letter grade to a percentage grade on report cards.”

This means that on the students’ report cards, there will only be a percentage, not a letter grade.

Continue reading “Evaluating Red Lion Area Senior High School’s new grading system” »

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

QUIZ: Can you pass the class?

Pennsylvania teenagers go to school for five days a week from 7 am to about 3 pm every day. We are required to sit and soak up all the information from our classes like sponges.

But with so many classes to attend and a high workload from each one, are we really retaining much of that knowledge?

Test your knowledge of various school subjects like art, history, and math by taking this quiz.

Whether you sit passively in class, answer every question with zeal or click-through your own cyber school program from home, this quiz will assess just how much you can remember from class.

Good luck, and remember, no cheating! Continue reading “QUIZ: Can you pass the class?” »

Posted in Click this!, Misc | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Field of Screams from a newbie’s perspective

Every year in October, I am always bombarded with advertisements for Field of Screams on TV, the radio and in the newspaper. I had high expectations for this famous haunted attraction that claimed to be one of the scariest and haunted places in PA. There are four attractions called the Den of Darkness, Nocturnal Wasteland, Frightmare Asylum and a Haunted Hayride. It sounded like a promising idea to go with a bunch of friends and scare ourselves silly. Even though it has its upsides and downsides including the price, lines and attractions, I genuinely did have a good time with the company of my friends screaming in my ear the entire night.

Continue reading “Field of Screams from a newbie’s perspective” »

Posted in Column, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Do-It-Yourself Halloween Costumes

Halloween is quickly approaching and the scramble for an original costume has begun. Unfortunately, a simple bedsheet is not a sufficient costume now. Costumes are getting more expensive every year. Luckily, you can make some amazing costumes by yourself with simple craft supplies and some old clothes.

These costumes are so easy to make that even a zombie could do it.

The Classics

  1. The vampire: Black pants and a red shirt are the basics for this costume. Use blood red lipstick on your mouth, or just smear some red face paint around your mouth.
  2. The female ghost: Find an old white dress (or buy one from Salvation Army) and tear the bottom. Wear white tights. Paint your face with white paint (make sure it is non-toxic first!)
  3. The male ghost: Wear a white shirt with white pants. Paint your face with white paint.
  4. The zombie: Find some old, dark clothing. Splatter some red paint all over the clothing.  Use face paint or makeup to make dark circles under your eyes. Dab some red paint near your mouth for an extra creepy effect.
  5. The witch: Any purple or green clothing will work for a witch.The hat is what makes this costume. You easily can make your own. If you want a Wicked Witch of the West look, feel free to paint your face green. If you want a more natural look, you can follow this more complicated tutorial.  The broomstick is optional.

The Modern Hits

  1. Elsa and Anna: If you are looking for cute costumes to wear with a friend, you should go as this duo from Disney’s Frozen. For Elsa, anything that is blue and sparkly will work. Or, if you need to make a blue dress sparkly, follow this tutorial. If you want to take it up a notch, make a cape fit for a queen. Put your hair in a side braid and finish the look with some sparkly makeup. For Anna, you will need a dark blue skirt and a black top. Throw a purple coat on and pull your hair into two side braids. Now you are ready to build a snowman.
  2. The Joker: All you need for this costume is some green hair chalk and red lipstick. Run the hair chalk throughout your hair and smear the lipstick all over your face.
  3. Batman: Wear an all black outfit. You can even make your own Batman cape.   You can find a black mask, or paint your face to look like Batman’s mask. Bonus points if you and a friend go together as Batman and the Joker!
  4. Katniss Everdeen: For the outfit, wear a pair of distressed jeans, lace-up boots, and a plain t-shirt. If needed, layer an army jacket over the shirt. To finish the costume, fix your hair into the signature side braid.
  5. Wordplay costumes: You will be the funniest person at the Halloween party with any of these costumes. You can be anything from a ceiling fan to pumpkin pie.

The true magic of Halloween is how a little bit of paint and fabric can transform you into someone else’s nightmare.

If you want to see what other teenagers in York County are doing for Halloween, check out this article.


Posted in Holiday, How to... | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

York County teens share their Halloween traditions

Halloween is the first of the wondrous triumvirate of late-in-the-year holidays that seems to hold the sole purpose of filling us with lots of goodies and treats. And, just like Christmas and Thanksgiving, Halloween also has its traditions like trick-or-treating and carving pumpkins. Here, a few teens share their own unique Halloween traditions.

Adrielle Smith-Stevens


“[My siblings and I] would dress up as the same thing or similar characters. Like, if one of us dressed as Mickey Mouse, one of my other siblings would dress as Minnie Mouse or Donald Duck. Then, our family and friends would all go out together.”
– Adrielle Smith-Stevens, ninth grade at Susquehannock High School

Alexis Czaplinski


“My little brother and I used to dress up as a pair. For example, when I was 8 and he was 5, I was a remote and he dressed up as the TV. We also did one where I was Santa and he was a bag of presents.”
– Alexis Czaplinski, 11th grade at Susquehannock High School

Allie Blackwell


“My birthday is the day after Halloween, so every Halloween I have a birthday party. We go bobbing for apples, have pie-eating contests, and see who has the best costume and they get a trophy. The best costume I saw was when I was turning 10. My mom dresses up as a hobo. She got root beer and put it in a paper bag and pretended to smoke a cigar.”
– Allie Blackwell, 9th grade at Susquehannock High School

Posted in Holiday, Teen pulse | Leave a comment