“Hold Up” Beyoncé is Pregnant


Beyoncé posted a photo on February 1st, 2016 and broke the internet with the news of her pregnancy of twins with husband Jay Z.


The internet went crazy when the news was revealed, showing the power a musical icon can have on Pop Culture. The multi-award winning singer, songwriter and actress posted a photo on Instagram Wednesday with a baby bump and the caption, “We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. The Carters.”


When the Carters revealed that they will be adding two new editions to their family, Beyonce’s fans all over the world responded and made the Instagram photo the most liked photo ever on Instagram with over 9.4 million likes and counting, beating out pop singer Selena Gomez who currently held the Instagram title.


An hour after Beconcé’s big reveal, there were more than half a million tweets about her pregnancy. Anthony Minda, Westlake student and diehard Beyoncé fan, was shocked when he saw the post: “I was shaking and did not know what was happening because she’s the best person ever. I was in shock,” whereas Peter Psaltakis, another Westlake student, was not surprised that the couple was expecting.


Many people are excited that Beyoncé and Jay Z will welcome two siblings for their famous five year old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, including Julia Remo of Westlake High School who said, “I am so excited that Beyoncé is having twins, I love Blue Ivy and I cannot wait to see the new babies.”
It is unknown how far along Beyoncé is in her pregnancy, and some worry if she’ll still be able to headline the Coachella music festival in April. The baby news blew up the internet this week, and now, the world is patiently waiting for the arrival of Beyoncé’s twins.

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Chapecoense Soccer Team’s Plane Crash


According to Matthew Weaver of The Guardian, on Monday, November 28, 2016 the Chapecoense soccer team was on their way to compete in the final of the Copa Sudamericana. Tragedy struck when the BAE146 Bolivia charter flight Lamia 933 from Santa Cruz slammed into the mountainside eight miles short of its intended destination of Medellin airport, Weaver adds.

77 people were on the flight; only six survived the devastating crash. The New York Times reports that the survivors include “three players, two crew members and a journalist who was accompanying the team.”

There is no concluded explanation to why the plane crashed but leaked recordings from the flight are making it apparent that the airplane ran out of fuel. With the plane allegedly running out of fuel, as mentioned in the recording by Pilot, Miguel Quiroga, there was no formal distress call.

According to BBC news, “LaMia announced compensations of $165,000 (£134,000) to the victims’ families and survivors, Brazilian website G1 reported.” This money given will never be able to compensate for the 71 lives lost in the crash.

The investigation is continuing to find an answer as to what happened on the plane before it crashed for the families that lost their loved ones in the crash.


Works Cited

“Chapecoense plane crash: Bolivia blames pilot and airline.” BBC News, 21 Nov. 2016, www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-38389553.

Romero, Simon, and Nicholas Casey. “Chapecoense Soccer Team’s Plane Crashes, Leaving Brazil Devastated.” The New York Times, 29 Nov. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/world/americas/plane-carrying-brazilian-soccer-team-crashes-in-colombia.html?_r=0.

Weaver, Matthew. “Chapecoense plane crash: what we know so far about the flight.” The Guardian, 1 Dec. 2016, www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/01/chapecoense-plane-crash-what-we-know-so-far.

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Yellow Fever Epidemic


In Africa, over the past few months, the holiday cheer that Africans should feel does not exist. A deadly yellow fever epidemic has swept the continent, leaving many ill and many more dead.

Donald G. McNeel Jr., in the article, “Yellow Fever Epidemic in Africa Shows Gaps in Vaccine Pipeline,” writes that “the epidemic also revealed glaring weaknesses in the emergency vaccine supply pipeline.”

It is extremely difficult to get a vaccine shot in some parts of Africa, and the lack of vaccinations in some areas are proving to be deady. With yet another breakout, people around the world are considering the dire situation in Africa to be a widespread epidemic.

McNeel writes, “For the first time, the virus reached Asia — a continent with no yellow fever immunity.” The epidemic has been a widespread problem for the past year, but ever since it reached Asia, the entire world is concerned that this epidemic will turn into a global outbreak. While the entire world is now panicking that this epidemic might spread, we must first solve this problem at the source. By improving the vaccination rates around Africa, we can limit the amount of outbreaks and control this virus.

Works Cited

McNeil, Donald G., Jr. “Yellow Fever Epidemic in Africa Shows Gaps in Vaccine Pipeline.” Www.nytimes.come. N.p., 5 Dec. 2016. Web. 22 Dec. 2016.

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Should Fitness Tests be Part of Our Annual Checkups?


With all of the delicious food around the holidays, many people start to make resolutions to lose weight when the New Year comes around.  In 2015, “losing weight” was the most popular resolution. According to Becca Tebon, Holistic Health, Fitness and Lifestyle Speaker, out of the people who made resolutions in 2015, only 39% of people in their twenties achieved their goal and only 14% of people over 50 achieved their goal.  


Considering the current obesity rate in our country right now, it would definitely be a positive change if more people became motivated to get into shape.  One way we can do this is to add fitness tests to our annual checkups.


For a typical exam, there are many tests performed that can indicate whether a person is healthy or not.  But, how much do these tests really tell us?  From some basic tests such as heart or lung test, doctors can determine if a patient has symptoms related to heart or lung disease, but that’s about it.  These tests don’t test our levels of endurance or stamina.


Doctors can also figure out the health of a patient from their history.  I got a new doctor about two years ago and she really didn’t know much about me.  Before asking me any questions, she looked at my weight and height and started to tell me that I’m overweight and needed to do more things to excersize.  I had to interrupt her to tell her that I actually dance everyday of the week on a pre-professional level, and I built up a lot of muscle over the summer which weighs significantly more than fat would.  She quickly corrected herself and then went into the complete opposite direction to make sure I wasn’t anorexic.  


While my example seems bizarre, it really wasn’t.  Because I stare at myself in a mirror everyday in a leotard and tights, I know how my body looks and I’m confident in myself.  But, if my new doctor gave me a fitness test, she would see that I’m very much in shape.  


With obesity levels on the rise in our country, we need to start administering fitness tests at our annual checkup.  Besides the benefits of showing indicators of certain diseases, these tests can serve as a nice reminder to some people that losing a few pounds is necessary for health purposes.  So, while patient history is still important, it’s also important to run actual tests in order for doctors to get a clear image of their patient.  


Maybe this year instead of making a resolution to lose weight, we can make a resolution to be healthy.  We can do this by checking up on ourselves every once in awhile and making appointments with our doctors.

Works Cited:

Tebon, Becca. “The science-based #1 Thing We All Need To Achieve Our Resolutions and Goals.” Becca Tebon, 21 Dec. 2015, http://beccatebon.com/event/the-1-thing-wehieve-any-goal/.

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Standing for What You Believe In: Sioux Tribe and Other Demonstrators Protest Against North Dakota Pipeline


In 2014, a $4 billion project was proposed by a Texas-based company, Energy Transfer Partners, that would carry thousands of barrels of crude oil across a 1,172-mile pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois.

This action immediately led to Native American tribes around the area taking legal action against the pipeline. However, in January of 2016, a permit was passed by the government to grant access to the land, giving the numerous protests national attention.

One tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, pressed charges against the North Dakota Access as well as complained to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Catherine Thorbecke of ABCNews notes.

The pipeline would run across Lake Oahe and underneath the Missouri River which, for 10,000 Standing Rock Sioux tribe members, is the primary drinking water source. The tribe states the oil line would cross a sacred Indian burial site and insists that the pipeline can “rupture… and damage their water supply,” Justin Worland from TIME magazine reports.


In September, clashes between police and protesters became more common and more violent. News footage and witnesses reported dogs being released on crowds as well as pepper spray and rubber bullets used by police to control the masses. According to Thorbecke, local authorities claim that the “protesters became aggressive.” They “had marched from their nearby camp to private land after bulldozers began preparing the site,” Ryan W. Miller reveals in his article, “How the Dakota Access Pipeline Battle Unfolded.”

Celebrities, veterans and supporters from all over the country joined the march against the pipeline and have endured the months of protest side by side with the Sioux tribe, Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson of The Washington Post report.

On December 4, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers ruled to deny the construction and installment of the pipeline across Lake Oahe, leaving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water supply and sacred grounds intact and at peace.
Works Cited

Dennis, Brady, and Steven Mufson. “Army Corps Ruling Is a Big Win for Foes of Dakota Access Pipeline.” The Washington Post. WP Company, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Miller, Ryan W. “How the Dakota Access Pipeline Battle Unfolded.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 04 Dec. 2016. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Thorbecke, Catherine. “Timeline of the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests.” ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Worland, Justin. “What to Know About the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests.” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

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Westlake Volleyball


On November 5, 2016 the Westlake Varsity Volleyball team took home the Class B Section 1 title for the first time since 2008.

In order to make it this far, the Westlake Wildcats had to beat every other team in the league.

“I was so nervous to be back,” Junior Laine Peterson said, alluding to the team’s loss in section finals just two years earlier. “I knew everyone was going to have to work extremely hard to pull off this win.”

This especially tight-knit group of girls proved that putting your heart into a sport and a team really pays off. Senior Captain Kelly Martin says that the feeling of winning was “indescribable. It was probably the most rewarding moment of [my] entire life so far.”

The team, of course, could not have made it as far as they did without the help of their amazing coach, Carmen Bates, who was awarded the Conference 3 Coach of the Year.

Coach Bates wasn’t the only Wildcat recognized though: Senior Kelli Kinlen was given an All Conference Honorable Mention; Sophomore Sydney Roell was awarded All Section; and Senior Captains Caleigh Carr and Kelly Martin were awarded All State.

The Westlake Varsity Volleyball team’s 2017 season was one like no other. Overall, the Westlake Volleyball team had an amazing season and they hope to be back at the section finals next fall to defend their title!

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The Power of Reconnecting


“Reconnect,” and she doesn’t mean with your Wi-Fi

She feels it is more import to reconnect with the real world than with your Wi-Fi.

Westlake High School Ambassador Girl Scout, Valeria Venturini, is working towards earning the prestigious Gold Award. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the Girl Scouts’ highest award; it is equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle rank.

In the final years of a girl’s scouting career, she is able to establish a project, identifying an important cause or issue and then create a “Take-Action” project to address the problem – not only in the community, but it also must have a global aspect and must be sustainable. In order to earn this award, a Girl Scout must complete a minimum of 80 working hours on her project, 16 of which must be leadership driven.

Venturini has been active in scouting for the past 12 years and is now a senior in high school. This Girl Scout earned her Silver Award in 2013 and after long preparation is reaching the end of her Gold Award project.  

For her project, she has decided to research the impact of technology on the new generation that has not known a world without technology like smart phones, computers and tablets. To her, the heavy and increasing reliance on technology for entertainment is bad for young children who are just learning how to properly socialize and problem solve in their growing community; she believes that proper face-to-face communication and interaction is being lost to the growth of technology like smart phones and tablets for entertainment in the younger demographic.

In her project, entitled “Reconnect,” this Girl Scout is raising awareness about the importance of good communication and problem solving skills. She will inspire young Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts to have fun without sitting in front of a screen, reminding them that there are better ways to say things, handle problems and make new friends; she also wants to inform that playing board and card games are actually fun.

Enlisting the aid of seventh and eighth grade students at Westlake Middle School and her troop mate, this Girl Scout is also helping them understand that their life does not and should not revolve around their phones.

In her three training sessions with the middle school students, she has seen that even these young girls have obsessions with staying connected virtually and that they, in their personal lives struggle some with proper communication and problem solving skills because they rely so heavily on their phones.

After the sessions, she has seen growth and has taught these girls good communicating strategies, why tactful candor is important and how working cooperatively with others is beneficial to a speedy and correct outcome.

This Girl Scout understands social pressures and knows how difficult it is for special needs to children to communicate their thoughts and make friends, so she will be donating the board and card games from her project to the North East Special Recreation program; in doing so, she is raising awareness for those who need help communicating, aiding the staff in helping these children and benefitting her community and nearby communities.

The aim of Girl Scouting is to create poised, considerate, respectful, motivated and strong young women and this student’s project has both shaped her into this type of woman, but has also helped her neighborhood see the power and importance behind good communication and problem solving skills.

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End of China’s One Child Policy


Starting from the beginning of 2016, China has eliminated the one child policy, thus allowing families to have two children. According to Wang, Gu and Cai, this nearly 40 year old policy has caused controversy within the nation for the entirety of its installation.

After an extensive three year process, the elimination of this policy is finally being recognized and couples no longer must approach and receive approval from the government in order to have a child.

This policy was originally implemented as a response to Chinas rapid population growth and lack of economic growth, Hernandez and Qin state. However, it was later discovered that Chinas underdeveloped economy was not inflicted by this, but from policies that diminished the power states had over the economy, they added. This weakened the defense of this one child policy and eventually led to its removal.

Although birth restrictions in China are still present, they are loosening and allowing families to give birth to two children. It is still and will always be a mystery to the public why China resorted to such drastic measures to prevent overpopulation in comparison to countries facing similar situations.

Works Cited:

Wang, Feng, Baochang Gu, & Yong Cai. The end of Chinas one-child policy.Brookings, N.p. 30 March 2016. Web. 24 November 2016.

Hernandez, Javier C & Amy Qin. End of Chinas One-Child Policy Stings Its Loneliest Generation.The New York Times,  N.p. 13 November 2015. Web. 24 November 2016.


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What Will Be the Popular Sale of the Holiday Season?


With the holiday season coming into full swing the week following Thanksgiving, stores prepared for, “an estimated 137.4 million people [that] plan to or are considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend,” according to NRF’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights.

The real question of the season is: what will be the most popular gift?

The Target and Wal-Mart price war also has people questioning which store to purchase their gifts. Target is “focus[ing] more on deals and value than it did in 2015,” Phil Wahba from Fortune.com suggests.

Clothing and accessories, as usual, will be the popular sales this holiday season along with an increase in technology.

According to Business Wire, the technology gift given most this year will be wireless headphones, which is “driven in part by tech industry movement toward wireless audio devices.” Apple’s new IPhone 7 will be another popular gift this year.

Regardless of whether you wrap up clothes, accessories or technologies this holiday season, remember to bring the holiday cheer.

Works Cited

“November 2016 Consumer Survey.” National Retail Federation, nrf.com/resources/consumer-data/holiday-headquarters.

“Record-Breaking Holidays Ahead for Tech: More Consumers Than Ever Plan to Give Technology Gifts This Season, Says CTA.” Business Wire, www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161011006247/en/Record-Breaking-Holidays-Tech-Consumers-Plan-Give-Technology.

Wahba, Phil. “Target Unveils a Christmas Plan to Respond to Walmart’s Price War.” Fortune, fortune.com/2016/10/25/target-holiday-season-walmart/.

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Don’t Use Your Inside Voice


On Tuesday, November 8th, Donald J. Trump won the Presidential Election of 2016 and became the 45th President- Elect of the United States.

For some, his win was a success. It would cause change. It would help the economy. It would benefit all people.

But for others, his win signified the frightening reality of America. In the aftermath of the election results, the country feels more divided than ever. It seems that you either fully support Trump’s presidency or would do anything to get him away from the White House.

Despite your views, however, every person in the United States deserves a choice, a voice, and a way to be heard. All civilians deserve to be accepted, valued, and respected.

Although we, the American people, like to say that every citizen is given those things, we are not.

Minorities now have a leader who is endorsed by a KKK member, who has threatened to ban all Muslims from the U.S, and who has called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers.

Women now have a leader who has openly bragged about sexually assaulting other females, and currently has over a dozen women accusing him of sexual harassment.

People of the LGBT community now have a leader who has the power to appoint conservative Supreme Court Justices, who can possibly repeal the same-sex marriage act, and a Vice President who believes in conversion therapy.

To most of the United States’ population, Trump’s plan for the country does not seem to be one that will “Make America Great Again.” Instead, it seems to be appropriating racist, sexist, xenophobic and homophobic thoughts instead of battling those outdated and shameful ideas.

But the election is over, and Donald Trump will soon be leading this country, whether we like it or not.

Maybe his stance on some issues will shift, and maybe they won’t, but all we now know is that the majority of America does not believe in equality for all. The people have spoken, and they have said loud and clear that certain people in the U.S should not be heard, should not be given equal rights, and should not be allowed the same opportunities as others.

In January, when Trump is sworn into office, do not let him and the Senate, Congress, and other government officials discriminate against the people of this country.

This election has taken away the voices of so many people in America. Instead of being discouraged about the results, instead of leaving the fate of this country in the hands of Trump, speak up against the prejudice flooding our home.

Help your community by raising awareness for climate change, volunteer at a children’s hospital, or simply show your support for those afraid to practice their religion freely.

Join a club that stands up to bullies at schools, bullies online and bullies in the White House.

If you are lucky enough to have a loud enough voice in this country, use it.

Some donation and volunteering opportunities include:

Health and Wellness Organizations

The American Foundation for AIDS Research


World Health Organization


Disability Organizations

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation


Autism Speaks


Women’s Rights/Reproductive Rights Charities and Organizations

Planned Parenthood


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