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The Vox Box

Archive for January 2008

Superiority of the Shovel

Anyone else proud of using a shovel instead of a snowblower? Us shovelers get way more ripped. *flex*

Umm, that’s all.

Making hard lessons into something good…

This is a friend of mine’s daughter, Bee. I thought her story was one many of you could relate to. From her MySpace page…

At age 19, Bee was released from 2 and a half years in a troubled girls institution with nothing but a guitar and a book full of her songs. That night, using a fake ID she’d bought that afternoon, she walked into a bar, took the stage, and silenced the place.

She performed her own music for the first time that night, but music and performing were nothing new to Bee. She has been stunning audiences with her singing since childhood, winning Grand Champion twice in several categories at the California State Talent Competition and winning the Little Miss California pageant by age 11. “I won for my talent, not my charm, to be certain.”

Her Little Miss California crown brought good things for Bee as she spent the next year touring, singing, and dancing with Miss California. It also marked the beginning of a tragic downward spiral of rebellion, addiction, and self-destruction that ultimately landed her in a Montana institution for troubled girls at age 16. The institution is currently undergoing an investigation due to multiple lawsuits brought against it for wrongful practice. “In the solitude of that hell I picked up a guitar and found my song. I discovered a way to process the difficult and painful hand life can deal. I wrote a song every day in that place.”

I think she’s really good. See for yourself, here, as she performs in Seattle:

Question: What do you do for a “release?” Sing? Write? And has anyone close to you suffered from addiction? I’m also curious if anyone out there has a story of their being able to turn their pain into something good like this?

Spokane schools close for the week

Ok, now I know one of you sacrificed SOMETHING… A little brother or sister? Did a pagan anti-finals dance in the snow?

Updated at 4:11 p.m. on…
“After a decade without a snow day, Spokane school kids now are getting a snow week. Spokane Public Schools officials just announced there will be no classes tomorrow, for the fourth consecutive day. Friday was to be a day off anyway — only for Spokane schools — so kids won’t return to their desks until Monday. Other districts have not made similar announcements.”

Well, well, well.


Spokane pushes back final exams & cancels school Wednesday

Check it out—Ask and ye shall receive. You get another dang day off from school, and your finals are pushed back. See that link for all the details from ace S-R reporter Sara Leaming.

Wow. Did someone in calculus sacrifice a chicken or something?

QUESTION: How does this affect your weekday and final studying plans?

Atlanta students paid to study with tutors

An initiative by some Atlanta schools is raising eyebrows across the nation. Two schools are launching programs that will pay struggling students 8 dollars an hour to study with a tutor.

Forty students at Bear Creek Middle School and Creekside High School, both in the Atlanta suburb of Fairburn, began participating in the program Tuesday. The eighth- and 11th-graders chosen had to be underperforming in math and science, and many are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches.

The hope is that the bribes will boost students’ motivation to learn, attend class and get better grades.

Aside from the hourly wage, eighth-graders will get a $75 bonus, and 11th-graders $125, if they improve their math and science grades to a B and achieve certain test scores. For the older kids, that adds up to $605 for a semester of studying.

Here is a CNN video report on the same story for you auditory learners.

It’s worth noting that the sessions are not tax-payer funded, so it’s not as though this money is being diverted from other public school needs.

While some see this measure as a great way to inspire struggling students, others argue that it’s unfair to students who already work hard, or sets unreal expectations—perhaps students will stop trying unless they’re paid.

Do you think this is an effective way to inspire students to try harder in school?

Sicko of the Day

A man wanting his son to be the toughest cage fighter ever was convicted of using a stun gun more powerful than a law enforcement tazer on his 18 month old son.


Two big issues: child abuse, and parents imposing their dreams on to their kids.

This is an easy case to attack, since his dream for his kid was, well, dumb. But what about parents that impose dreams of greater success and acheivement on their kids using less than harmful methods? Is that ethical? If parents didn’t push, would there be far fewer great people and successful advancements in the world? Where’s the line between helpful and harmful?

Freedom of speech?

“…the court has ordered the husband to stop posting blog items about his wife and their crumbled marriage, possibly turning an ordinary divorce into a much broader battle over free speech on the Internet.”

Read the full article here.

Do you think it was fair that the husband had boundaries to what he could blog about? Shouldn’t the first amendment and our freedom of speech been able to protect the man?

Columnist: Ledger Ruined My Love Life

Ledger is a massive loss in pop culture, especially to my generation. It seemed like every girl I liked in high school had a “thing” for the star of “10 Things I Hate About You.” I’m convinced his wavy blond hair and dreamboat Aussie accent prevented me from scoring with at least 25 ladies. Perhaps it was also my perpetual urge to say, “I love you” to girls I barely knew. Still, Ledger’s perfection never helped my efforts. On more than one date to Italian restaurant Tomato Street, I would doodle my interpretation of the “Knight’s Tale” hunk on the construction paper covering the table. I enjoyed drawing lousy, simplistic pictures of the annoying actors girls pined over, and in my eyes, Ledger was the one who towered above them all. My doodling skills were so poor I had to write “Heathie” above the picture just so my date knew it wasn’t some “Lord of the Rings” elf/Tyler Wilson, Coeur d’Alene Press. More here.

Question: What impact did Heath Ledger have on your life?

Do you feel schools are preparing you for the world?

This article in the New York Times describes new graduation requirements in Pennsylvania.

The article says they are similar to Wash state’s:

By Sean D. Hamill
Four additional states — Arkansas, Maryland, Oklahoma and Washington — will require graduation exams by 2012, two years before the Pennsylvania requirement would take effect. Connecticut is debating the idea.

Policy makers like the requirement because “communities are telling them that American kids are leaving high school without adequate skills,” the education center’s president, John F. Jennings, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

“Report after report shows that American kids are not competing with kids in other industrialized countries,” Mr. Jennings said. “They don’t know as much; they don’t graduate as often.”

In 2006, for example, 57,000 of the 127,000 seniors who graduated from Pennsylvania’s 501 public school districts had not achieved proficiency on the assessment tests, officials said.

“As a former principal and superintendent,” the state education secretary, Gerald L. Zahorchak, told the Board of Education on Thursday, “I know I shook the hands of a number of students at graduation who were really receiving an empty diploma.”

Think ISATs. It’s that sort of thing, Pennsylvania-style. It isn’t just a Washington thing.

QUESTION: Do you feel schools are preparing you with the skills you need to be a productive adult who can go out and kick-butt in the world? Do you feel the ISATs and other performance-based tests can assess that for the state?

Survey shows 1 in 5 Idaho teens sees no risk in meth

I know this is from Idaho, but I had to post it since someone tried to make a point that kids DO “get it” in regards to drugs.

Here is an article about survey results done in Idaho and teens using Meth.

“Idaho Meth Project officials say a random survey of nearly 4,000 teens and young adults across the state shows one in five believe using methamphetamine will provide significant benefits and little risk.

Guess they haven’t seen these shots…

Anyway, some statistics from the survey:

About 22 percent of teens think the drug will make them happy.

One-quarter believe it will help them lose weight.

One-fifth see little or no risk in trying meth.

Four out of 10 young people have not tried to dissuade friends from trying meth.

One in four believes their friends would tacitly approve using it.

A third say someone has offered them meth or tried to get them to try the drug.

Half say they’ve never discussed meth with their parents.

Though 80 percent of Idaho teens and 85 percent of young adults say they “strongly disapprove” of trying meth even once or twice, one-quarter of teens say their friends wouldn’t give them a “hard time” for using the drug.

Roughly 40 percent of teens and young adults say they haven’t tried to dissuade their friends from taking the drug.

QUESTION: Do you believe meth is a problem with your classmates?

Heath Ledger found dead at 28

Wow. I didn’t see this coming….

MSNBC News Services
NEW YORK - Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at a downtown Manhattan residence in a possible drug-related death, police said. He was 28.

Again, wow. Hasn’t anyone figured out by now that drugs can kill you, even when you are young and successful and pretty?

The Mystery of Woman

So why are you women so complex? Is it a lifestyle choice or a personality defect? Or is it a personality perfection? Could it be that K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid/sweetheart/son/stanly) has been the worst advice ever given, and that women know that so they then choose to be so complex and confusing?

You Tube pic of the evening…

A former student brought this and some similar clips to my attention. I brought a colleague to tears watching…

QUESTION: What on earth is going on here?

Frontline Investigates The Risks, Realities And Misconseptions Of Teen Life On The Internet

This is what the people at Frontline think about the teenage Internet life, and I agree with quite a bit of it.

One of their most interesting points is that kids on the Internet aren’t as prone to sexual predators as parents have been lead to believe. Most kids that run into that stuff searched it out. Kids generally know what to avoid:

My parents don’t understand that I’ve spent pretty much since second grade online

Some of their assertions went much deeper though, the article opened with the story of 14 year old “Autum Edos,” or “Jessica Hunter” as she was known in real life. She reinvented herself online and managed to gain a “cult following” with her alter ego of a goth artist posting provacative pictures of herself.

“I didn’t feel like myself, but I liked the fact that I didn’t feel like myself. I felt like someone completely different. I felt like I was famous.”

The idea of teenagers completely reinventing themselves on the Internet is what confused me. Do any of you act as a different person online than in real life? I like to think that I am basically the same on the web as in person, and it baffles me that people would alter themselves so much. What changes have you made online?

The “Juno” craze…

A colleague went and saw “Juno” this past weekend and found himself to be one of only about two adults in a teen-packed theatre.

He said he thought, “Great” and figured everyone would be noisy and texting the whole time, but said all were completely enthralled with the film.

He wonders if “Juno” will be the next “Napoleon Dynamite.”

QUESTION: Have you seen the movie yet? Do you plan to? What is it about the film, do you think, that teens love?

What we call the news…

This was sent to me today. I laughed since Britney is back in the news…

What We Call the News | Funny Jokes at JibJab

QUESTION: Do you agree? Is our media too entertainment-based?

Which Star’s For You?

Male respondents (to Redbox’s Best of 2007 movie survey) selected “Good Luck Chuck” star Jessica Alba as the movie star they would most like to date and marry.

Female respondents, however, apparently seek different traits. While women chose Orlando Bloom, star of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” as the movie star they’d most like to date (16.5 percent), they’d prefer to walk down the aisle with “American Gangster” star Denzel Washington (14.6 percent).

Question: Which movie star would you most like to date?

Question stolen from HBO

Too much perfume is for depressed women


Read the full article here.

According to Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld, women who are depressed are also losing their sense of smell, and may overcompensate by using more perfume.

Shoenfeld thinks that physicians need to focus more on smell in relation to a person’s health.

What do you think? I’ve never thought of it that way, do you think this is a plausible conclusion?

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About this blog

In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at

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