Mr. Folkes will be taking time each month to answer questions from students. If you’d like to submit a question for him, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to view Mrs. Folkes’s video.
Monthly Archives: October 2010
By: Kent McCarty, Editor
For anyone who has had to walk down A-Hall after third block, it is evident that enrollment numbers at Oak Grove are up drastically for the 2010-2011 year compared to previous years. In fact, OGHS alone has added 124 students to the roll since last year, a number that’s more than the total school growth over the last three years combined. This year’s big increase brings total student enrollment to just over 1,500 students in 9th-12th grades.
Though some of the student population’s increase for this year comes from the size of the massive freshman class of well over 400, making it the largest class OGHS has ever seen, many of the new students that have joined the Oak Grove student body have moved to the area and chosen Oak Grove over many other local schools because of the accolades the school has received. “I think it just shows what a great school and staff we have at Oak Grove,” Principal Wayne Folkes said. “Our district has the best facilities, the best faculty, and the best students, and I think people moving to the Pine Belt take notice of that when deciding what area they’ll choose to move to.”
According to Folkes, big increases like the one the school saw this year are expected to become the norm for future years. “When we’re measuring growth at the high school level, we first look at class sizes in the middle school to see how many more students each of those grades has compared to the number of students in each of the four grades housed in the high school,” Folkes said. “Our numbers show that the number of students in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades is comparable in size to this year’s freshman class, so obviously as those students make their way to the school, our numbers will grow even more.”
The growth that’s expected over the next several years poses challenges for all of the schools in the district, but especially for schools like the high school that have to worry about not only fitting students in classrooms, but also having enough common space to allow for students to safely travel between classes. The potential for an overcrowding problem has been noticed by district officials and they are currently developing a five-year comprehensive plan for effectively managing the constant influx of students.
As for the current overcrowding situation in the hallways of OGHS, Principal Folkes has a few helpful pointers for the student body. “Take the road less traveled in the hallways and walk down side halls and back halls when you can. Obviously the main halls are going to be more crowded. Secondly, walk on the right side of the hallway just as you would drive on the right side of the road. Finally, and most importantly, don’t stop along the way to start up a chat. Time between classes is limited, and there’s just no way everyone can make it to where they have to go if you stop the flow of traffic to talk with a friend,” Folkes said.
To welcome all of these new students, the Student Council hosted a breakfast this morning in the courtyard.
By: Anna Kate Baygents, Staff Reporter
Oak Grove High School was proud to announce seven National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) semifinalists last month. The recipients were Dillon Beck, Ryan Henry, Connor Lawson, Kent McCarty, Evan Prehn, Taylor Rigney, and Steven Wild.
NMSC is an independent, not-for-profit, organization that strives to identify and honor academically talented students. This program supports education by providing scholarship opportunities. Since founded in 1955, NMSC has recognized 2.8 million students and provided over $1.4 billion in scholarships.
To achieve this award, students must score in the top three percentile on the PSAT in their state. Approximately 16,000 students make it to the semifinalist stage. The chosen applicants must then complete an in-depth application and submit a recent SAT score. Only 15,000 will advance to finalists, and those results will be announced in February.
“It’s so rewarding to see all of our hard work finally pay off,” Steven Wild said. “As a freshman, the testing date seemed so far away. Looking back as a senior, those strenuous six semesters flew by. I’m proud of all of us.”
A sister organization to NMSC, National Achievement Scholarship Program (NASP) recognizes African American students who scored high on the PSAT. Jared Keys was one of about 1,600 participants named NASP semifinalists. Keys is the second from Oak Grove to be awarded this honor. The process of becoming a NASP finalist is much like that of NMSC. In late January, Keys will be notified if he qualifies as a finalist.
“This is one of the greatest things that has ever happened in my high school career,” Keys said.
All of these students put hours of hard work into achieving this honor, and many began preparing their freshman year. Humanities I and II, taught by Andrea Clark, are courses offered at OGHS that help prepare students for the test. In these classes, students take numerous practice tests and are taught skills to quicken their reading time.
“National Merit Scholarship Competition is a great opportunity for students to earn money for college,” Mrs. Clark said. “I encourage all students to work towards this award.”
By: Ashley Ricks, Staff Reporter
On November 5 Oak Grove will play Wingfield for the homecoming game. Homecoming week has been a tradition throughout high schools across America for years, but at Oak Grove this particular week always has its own special energy. Every year the school comes together for a week-long celebration. From dress-up days to hallway decorating, everyone enjoys the excitement of homecoming.
This year the theme is going to be as intense as ever. Although an official name has not been implemented, student body officers want homecoming 2010 to be centered around music. “We’re really excited about this year, music is an entertaining theme, and we hope that it will get many students involved during the week,” Student Body President Victoria Stein said.
Throughout the week the students will be able to get involved in many traditional events and competitions. Student council members and their classmates will have to put their imaginations to work in the hallway decorating competition. Each grade is assigned a hallway and is judged on their creativity and artistic skills throughout the hallway.
Another long-standing tradition is Battle of the Bands. Students with musical talent are encouraged to sign up for the competition. For years past, this has been one of the biggest events of the week. Family and friends gather to hear what talent the bands can dish out. Battle of the Bands is a great way for students to show their talents that, otherwise, may not be heard around the community.
The powderpuff football game is another crowd-drawing event. Each year, the cheerleaders arrange a friendly game of flag football. Senior and junior girls practice with football players as coaches to get ready for the fierce game and fight for the win on the field. On the sidelines, of course, are the cheerleaders, but they are not your average cheerleaders. Senior and junior boys cheer on their teams throughout the game and are the halftime entertainment.
Of course the most recognized tradition of them all is the homecoming dance. After the game, students go to the gym to take pictures and enjoy a night of dancing. The dance starts at 9:00 p.m. and ends at midnight.
For the first time last year, a carnival hosted by the Key Club took place during Homecoming week. The event was a great success. The Oak Grove community came together to enjoy an array of fun booths and concessions for the evening. Clubs and staff participated in making the carnival happen. Students got to throw pies at teachers and even made them go for a swim in the dunking booth. Key Club is planning to host the carnival again and hoping for an even more exciting event this year.
Homecoming week is always an important part of the school year. “Homecoming is one of my favorite parts of the year,” Stein said. “Hopefully, this year will be one of the best yet.”
To find out this year’s homecoming theme as well as dress-up days, follow The Warrior Beat on Twitter.
By: Will Bedwell, Staff Reporter
This past summer, all news stations heralded the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill as the greatest environmental disaster the United States has ever faced. This disaster (technically an oil leak buy referred to commonly as a spill) has gushed more oil into U.S. waters than any other drilling related catastrophe. The long-term damage, however, is still undeterminable. In the face of such uncertainty, the citizens of the Gulf Coast remain paralyzed with terror as to what the future may hold for themselves and their homeland. Yet hope is beginning to muster as the ecological impact is turning out to be much less catastrophic than predicted.
The main basis scientists have for predicting the spill’s effects is the Exxon Valdez Oil Tanker Spill that was transporting oil in 1989 when it struck a reef off the coast of Alaska and spilled 500,000 barrels of crude oil into the Northern Pacific Ocean. The spilled oil eventually covered 11,000 square miles of ocean and 1,300 miles of Alaska’s coastline.
An estimated 100,000 birds and 3,000 mammals were killed due to the spill, as well as destroying millions of salmon eggs. Environmentalists expect 30 more years to pass before any of the animal groups fully recover.
In light of such statistics, the Deep Water Horizon spill (which put an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, almost ten times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez) is expected to be extremely detrimental to the Gulf’s ecosystem.
One large concern has been the expected wash up of oil along the Gulf Coast. Louisiana’s marsh lands are environmentally unstable and many feared their destruction. Thankfully, only 400 acres of the marshlands have been tainted with oil. This is a minute amount made even smaller when one realizes that an estimated 2,000 miles of Louisiana coastline disappear each year due to rising ocean levels. Of all 253 beaches in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, only 49 had to be closed for necessary clean up, and all these beaches have been cleaned by government groups.
There are three main reasons cited by Michael Grunwald, winner of the Society of Environmental Journalists Award, as to why the spill has not had the extreme effects so many predicted. First, the oil that spewed forth from BP’s leak is of a much lighter and degradable type than what was spilled by the Exxon Valdez. This accounts for the unprecedented speed in which much of the oil is being broken down by the Gulf’s natural ecosystem. Second, the warmth of the Gulf’s waters as opposed to those in the Northern Pacific also allow for more bacteria in the water to break down the oil at a much faster pace than the Pacific’s bacteria. Lastly, the large amount of water continually deposited in the Gulf by the Mississippi River has kept much of the oil in deeper waters away from the area’s coastline.
Most environmentalists were worried about the spill’s impacts on the Gulf of Mexico’s populations of sea-life, birds, and mammals. Much to their elated surprise all fish and shrimp have tested clean. Also the amount of oiled birds is only 1% of those oiled by the Exxon Valdez spill, and the amount of oiled mammals only 3%.
All facts seem to point out that the largest effects of the spill are not environmental but actually psychological. The American Public’s psyche has been rocked and is in turn causing the Gulf Coast’s economy to suffer. Commercial fishing and tourism are the industries being hurt the most.
Due to the public’s fear about the spill poisoning seafood, a fishing ban is currently enforced for 40,000 miles of Gulf waters to ensure harvested seafood’s safety. The ban threatens the livelihood of thousands who depend upon commercial fishing for their career, despite all tests proving the fish and shrimp of the area to be untainted and all of their chemical findings being well below any levels of concern.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, the current trend of scared tourists canceling trips to Gulf Coast’s beaches could last three years and cost the area $23 billion. To put that figure into perspective, visitors to the Gulf Coast fuel both the $34 billion tourist industry and the employment of industry’s 400,000 workers.
If this disaster is to be thwarted and if the Gulf Coast is to survive, the American Public must turn to the facts instead of the prophetic doom being preached by the mass media. President Obama has declared all beaches “clean, safe, and open for business.” He explained the solution to the situation perfectly when he said, “If people want to help, the best way is to come down here and visit.”
By: Miranda Rester, Staff Reporter
The Oak Grove High School swim team has done well at a number of their past competitions, and they don’t expect this year to be any less successful than the others. The team has only had two meets so far this year, and their discipline and talent have shown in both competitions.
Their first meet this year was in Vicksburg. The girls placed fifth in this meet while the boys placed seventh. “The boys have lost some swimmers, but they’re rebuilding,” Coach Nora Rapetti said. “Even with the boys’ part of the team dwindling, they show no sign of letting it stop them from succeeding. They have been placing very well so far this year.” During the team’s meet at the West Jones Invitational on September 25, both the boys and the girls earned second place. “I think the girls are going to win the South State competition this year, and the boys are going to place well,” Rapetti said.
The team’s extreme talent and ability to win are the products of many hours of training and practice. Since swimming requires a lot of energy and physical strength, it’s hard to believe that the team can handle three practices a week, but they do. They work on improving their times with many different strokes such as the butterfly stroke, freestyle, backstroke, and breast stroke. The goal is to have the fastest time. To achieve the fastest time, a swimmer must reach the end of the pool before any other swimmers. The oldest stroke, the breast stroke, usually produces the slowest times while the crawl, a freestyle stroke, tends to produce the fastest times. Also, when swimming the butterfly and breaststroke, swimmers must touch the pool with both hands simultaneously when they finish. Although the practices are long and hard, they seem to be paying off quite well for the swimmers. “We’re expecting this to be a really good year,” Rapetti said.
In high school swimming, the boys and girls are split into two separate teams, and are given separate scores. Each swimmer is given a specific number of points depending on where they placed in a race. All of these points are added together to determine the team’s score. In order to win a competition, a team must have the most points out of all the other teams.
Swimming is one of the least dangerous sports because it is considered to be low impact and easy on bones and joints. Therefore, the team doesn’t have to worry about losing athletes due to injury as much as other sports teams do. Although at least 50% of swimmers suffer from shoulder pain, they can swim through the pain. This means they can spend more time practicing and less time trying to replace injured members.
Everyone is looking forward to seeing the swim team continue with their victories this year.
By: Amelia Passer, Staff Reporter
Synthetic cannabis, also referred to as Spice, was outlawed by Governor Haley Barbour on September 3, 2010, making the use, sale, or possession illegal statewide. The bill was passed on August, 27, 2010, to which the Governor quickly signed.
“Several Mississippi communities have attempted to stop the sale of this drug,” Barbour said in recent news release. “However, our law enforcement needs a comprehensive law to address the issue. Spice is no different than marijuana and should be treated as every other controlled substance under our laws.”
Spice was ruled in 2009 by the Drug Enforcement Administration as “a drug of chemical concern.”
The synthetic drug, which is commonly sold as incense, is sprayed with chemicals that mimic the effect of THC, (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is naturally found in marijuana; however, spice users tend to experience long term effects far more intense than the effects from the consumption of cannabis.
Those who consume the synthetic drug have been reported to experience anxiety, agitation, and sometimes seizures or convulsions, and when overdosed may cause serious dangers.
So far, the bill has caused much controversy. “It is not a problem that responsible people use [spice], it is a serious problem if foolish or naïve people use it. It is the same problem that surrounds alcohol and any other legal prescription drug.” journalist, Kevin Keck, who researched the synthetic drug, said.
Law enforcements have discovered no stores in Lamar County selling spice, but just in case, officials have given retailers of the product until October 1, 2010, to turn their stocks over to law enforcement or legally dispose of the drug in some way.
Interestingly enough, when the Handy Pantry, located on 4th Street, and The Raw Shop, located on Hardy Street, were asked to answer questions on Mississippi’s new law for this article, both stores refused to disclose any information on the subject.
The bill bans the sale, use, or possession of synthetic marijuana. Any violators face up to six months in jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both, which is the same offense as possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana as well as no more than 90 days in prison.
“This bill gives our law enforcement the support they need to rid our communities of synthetic marijuana. Effective immediately, all store owners must stop selling this drug, and consumers caught with it will face serious consequences,” Barbour said. “I appreciate the hard work by the Legislature to swiftly pass the important measure and protect our communities.”
By: Victoria Chen, Staff Reporter
With temperatures spiking to all time highs, everyone wants to be in an air-conditioned room watching TV and eating ice cream, but not everyone gets these luxuries. With the State meet coming up in November, Coach Robin Ryder and the cross country team are preparing hard in the heat for future successes.
The top 14 athletes on the Oak Grove Cross Country team are Melinda Solomon, Kayla Stricker, Christie Stricker, Chloe Sanders, Dana Dillistone, Sarah Rublelowsky, Victoria Chen, Chad Moore, Garret Head, Anthony Stricker, Jackson Shahady, Will Murphy, Artem Jordan, and Nick Stevenson. These students will be representing Oak Grove at State. According to Coach Ryder, Chad Moore, Melinda Solomon, Christie Stricker, and Kayla Stricker are big threats to surrounding schools and even other states across the country.
To prepare for the upcoming meets, the team spends their afternoons running a variety of workouts designed by Coach Ryder. Many practices consist of what seem like never-ending miles around the school grounds and Temple Baptist Church, to even sprinting countless laps around the track, all in the heat of the day.
“So far we have improved every week,” head coach Robin Ryder said. “We have finished first in two meets for the girls and second in two for the boys.” The girls recently placed first at the Golden Eagles Invitational on Friday, September 24, with Christie Stricker, Melinda Solomon, Kayla Stricker, Chloe Sanders, Dana Dillistone, and Sarah Rublelowsky in the top ten, which is even more proof that all the sweat, cramps, and shin splints have all indeed paid off.
The team has currently been practicing hard for the Jesse Owens Classic, scheduled for today and Saturday, a highly anticipated meet, where they will race against teams from Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. “This meet will help us prepare for the pressure of the State meet in November,” Ryder said.
“Coach Ryder is a great coach and has become an even better coach over the years,” senior and fifth year runner, Melinda Solomon said. “He is doing a real good job of getting our team recognition.” Whether it is from college scouts or opposing teams, the intimidating black on black uniforms of the team are sure to turn some heads.
Contrary to popular beliefs, cross country and track are NOT the same things. While they do both involve running, cross country focuses more on endurance, whereas track is centered on speed and agility. Like many, this sport takes hard work, skill, and determination to train and keep up Oak Grove’s competitive name.
When school lets out, these students aren’t racing to their cars like everyone else – nope, it’s straight to the field house to get ready for a much harder sprint.
Wish a team member good luck today as they head to the Jesse Owens Classic meet in Alabama.
By: Steven Wild, Guest Writer
Before I begin, I want to be clear about the basis for this discussion. State-sanctioned marriage is a crucial element of everyday life. It no longer exists solely for a religious purpose; marriage entails a host of substantial legal and social benefits that are entitled to couples of all ages, races, religions, classes, heights, shapes, and sizes. In the United States, any set of consenting human beings wishing to profess a life-long partnership and be formally recognized and rewarded by their respective states is granted the chance to do so—excepting one group: homosexuals. I contend that the ban on gay marriage established by California Proposition 8 is legally and logically unwarranted, and Justice Vaughan Walker’s decision to overturn it should be upheld.
The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly demonstrated that marriage is indeed a fundamental human right under the Constitutional wings of liberty, privacy, and freedom of association. Marriage, as a civil bond universally respected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, grants beneficiaries a number of privileges; thus, without equal allowance of marriage, equal rights can never truly become a reality. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “Our fathers brought forth a proposition, that all men are created equal.” What better way to perpetuate such principles than to extend equality to those who differ only in their sexual orientation?
Fears of anti-gay advocates are also largely unfounded. The most common refrain addresses the “harm” allowing homosexual marriage will have on heterosexuals and the concept of marital tradition; yet, in an evolving society, stubborn tradition means nothing. If we upheld tradition at all costs, we would still live in segregated schools, women would still be excluded from voting, and hangings would be issued at any accusation of witchcraft. Furthermore, nothing exists to indicate that allowing same-sex union will harm the value of relationships. Marriage between two partners indicates a stable bond founded on aspirations for a loving household and social and economic prosperity—these bonds between average Joes (or Josephines) who work and contribute to their communities like any other citizens will only benefit societal welfare.
Last is the moral contention. I do not discount any moral standing as being inferior; I simply ask that those who hold their own moral standings act in a non-discriminatory manner toward those who hold different beliefs than their own. Of course, values are worthy of consideration, but when dealing with public policy we must incline ourselves towards legal and logical backing rather than a lone moral viewpoint. Consider if the United States had done otherwise when the Klu Klux Klan supported extremist segregation by “biblical teachings” or when certain traditional Muslims opposed progressing women’s rights. Strength in numbers perverts the moral issue of gay marriage; however, Justice Walker is correct to recognize that the opposition to gay marriage contains “no rational basis” and should soon become a civil liberties infringement of the past. Let the revolutionary cry of equality and rationality ring loud and clear: Viva Ghé!
By: Miranda Rester
Marriage is a religious symbol of union between a man and a woman, and most religions are against homosexuality. That’s why I believe in California’s Proposition Eight. Gay marriage should not be legal.
I agree that all people should be treated equally; however, gay marriage has more to do with religion than equality. Over-turning Proposition Eight would force California’s churches to marry homosexuals. If the church refuses because of its beliefs concerning same-sex marriage, it could lose its tax-exemption. Also, preachers and ministers speaking against gay marriage would be at risk of being sued for hate speech.
In addition to controlling what churches preach, over-turning Proposition Eight would control what public schools teach concerning marriage. Students of all ages would have to be taught that same-sex marriage is perfectly acceptable. I don’t believe that schools should have the right to tell young children that such a controversial thing is okay without knowing what the children’s parents believe they should learn.
School isn’t the only way children would be affected by gay marriage. Adoption agencies would have to allow same-sex couples to adopt children regardless of the agencies’ views. Although I believe all children need a good home, I don’t think they should be subjected to the emotional damage that can come with being the child of a gay couple. Children adopted by gay couples are more likely to have depression and anxiety disorders.
Children also function better in a traditional home with one mother and one father. A stable environment with both maternal and paternal roles is what children need. It is believed that children learn essential things from their mother that their father cannot teach them and vice versa.
Same-sex marriages are more likely to end in divorce than traditional marriages, because gay marriages tend to have more cases of infidelity. “Particularly among male homosexuals, the promiscuity is phenomenal,” Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said. Along with that comes a variety of dangerous sexually transmitted diseases such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). According to a study done in 2005, homosexual men are diagnosed with HIV more than heterosexuals. It is also extremely hazardous to victims’ health. HIV can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS, which shuts down the victims’ immune systems. Allowing gay marriage puts more people at risk of this disease.
“I don’t support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman, and I think through nuances we can go round and round about what that actually means. I’m being as straight up with Americans as I can in my non-support for anything but a traditional definition of marriage,” Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin said.
For full video coverage, click HERE.
Dear Mr. Folkes,
The cafeteria lady said I owe $4.00, and I haven’t charged any money to my account. What should I do?
You should get with Mr. Mike and check to see if someone else has been using your number because that could be the problem.
Dear Mr. Folkes,
My math teacher said I have a test on Friday, and I have no clue how to do this stuff. What should I do?
Start off by asking your math teacher if you can come in before school or after school for extra tutoring, and maybe ask a fellow classmate who understands to help you as well.
Dear Mr. Folkes,
How can we recruit more guys to be in our Showchoir?
Well, I think a lot of the recruiting starts off at a younger age, so you could try to approach the middle school. You could also put out more posters to get the word out, and maybe do more shows throughout the year to really showcase the talent in this fine school. Also word of mouth is always a good investment. If you know some guys that can sing and dance, go ask them.
Dear Mr. Folkes,
What was your favorite subject in high school?
Well, I taught science at Oak Grove for several years, so I’d say science and history were probably my two favorite classes to take. I excelled in both of them.