By Angela Ho, Grade 11
Today, people around the world are becoming more aware of an increasingly controversial issue that affects all. Underneath huge reserves in various countries lies an incredibly profitable yet extremely destructive resource. The resource I am referring to is tar sands, but in particular the Athabasca tar sands located in northeastern Alberta.
In a nutshell, tar sands oil is extracted from a mixture of heavy crude bitumen, clay, sand, and water. However, it takes three barrels of fresh water in order for one barrel of crude oil to be extracted, and a massive amount of contaminated water is pumped back out to the surrounding environment daily. This is an outrageous act of crime against the residents of the Fort McMurray region. As the oil companies become filthy rich, people who live around their mines are becoming much sicker. Air, water, and land become polluted by the waste coming out from the tar sands; the entire region is virtually a toxic waste dump. Rare cancers are occurring much more frequently and people are dying, yet these companies aren’t held accountable. This is just a brief peek at how nasty the tar sands are; there are a large number of other complications around these operations, but all in all the Athabasca tar sands is one hell of a nasty place.
Recently, a huge two-week campaign against the expansion of the Keystone XL Pipeline was held in front of the White House in Washington, DC. Over 1,200 people were arrested for civil disobedience while protesting against a new pipeline that will surely bring more disasters upon North America. This proposed oil pipeline will carry what is probably the dirtiest type of oil known to mankind – tar sands oil. Stretching 2,000 miles (about 3200km) from Hardisty, Alberta, the Keystone XL pipeline will enter Montana before continuing southeast towards South Dakota and Nebraska. There, the pipeline will be connected with the current Keystone pipeline in Kansas and continue down to Oklahoma, before reaching the final exiting terminals in Texas.
Such a pipeline can wreak havoc in every shape and form imaginable. Every day, one million barrels of oil will be transferred, travelling through the heartland of America to the Gulf Coast. The Ogallala Aquifer, which is the largest aquifer in North America, will be disrupted and heavily contaminated if an oil spill occurs. This aquifer supplies a massive amount of fresh water to Americans and is depended upon by agricultural industries. If the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is approved, clean water will slowly become inaccessible due to contamination and people will suffer under widespread sickness. The air will become polluted; precious rivers, agricultural lands, wildlife, and communities across the US will be endangered. The concept of a clean-energy economy will be undermined and the progress towards a sustainable society will be impeded.
In all honesty, the Keystone XL pipeline is not for the benefit of the people; it holds a bigger agenda than just “providing oil for America”. The price of the crude oil transported to the U.S. will increase and huge profits will go into the pockets of oil companies who are rich even without the money. Additionally, the oil will be processed by American refineries for export to overseas markets. In other words, much of it won’t even reach the tanks of U.S. drivers.
This is neither right nor ethical, and definitely not sustainable! Oil companies should not gain wealth at the expense of the security and health of the general public, as well as the deterioration of the environment. Incredibly, the U.S. State Department concludes that the pipeline meets environmental and safety standards. A final decision will be made in later this year, but it’s not too late to stand up because President Obama has the power to veto this project. Sign a petition online (for more information, please visit
) and pressure him to reject the pipeline for our own sake. The planet will continue to exist for years to come, but we may be the ones who will not.
In the month of October:
- Explore your post-secondary options at http://www.careercruising.com (user name: windermere and password: secondary) and http://www.educationplanner.ca.
- Check out the bulletin on “Application deadlines for colleges/universities on the school website.
- Start your post-secondary applications, for colleges apply early. Unlike universities, admission to colleges is mostly based on the date of application (not your grades).
- Self-report final Gr. 11 marks to U. Vic in phase 1 (Oct. 1 to Nov. 30) to receive conditional admission.
- Be aware of the scholarships that have October deadlines. Check out the scholarship binder in the Career Centre, and read your emails and the items in the student bulletin.
On November 19, 2011, Vancouverites will cast their votes in to choose 1 Mayor, 10 Councillors, 7 Park Commissioners, and 9 School Trustees in the municipal election. With the big event just about a month away, the Word’s editors have interviewed two great individuals, both of whom are candidates of this fall’s election. From Vision Vancouver, we have Kerry Jang, a Professor of Psychiatry at UBC and a current City Councillor, as well as a Windermere alumnus from the 1980s! On the other hand, we have Bill Yuen from the Non-Partisan Association (NPA). He is an engineer and a former school trustee whose children both graduated from Windermere. Both Jang and Yuen are residents of our neighbourhood, and it has been a pleasure meeting them. We would like to thank them for making time for us in their busy schedules to create this segment!
So, without further delay, let’s get right into our interviews!
Kerry Jang on September 21, 2011:
A: There are two roles to my position as a City Councillor. First of all, all Councilors are essentially responsible for things like city budget, making sure the roads are clean, and ensuring that police and fire departments have money. But, more specifically, Gregor Robertson asked me to look into the issues of homelessness because that’s what I’ve been trained in. So a lot of my work is to do with homelessness, as well as the sex trade and how to protect women and young girls who might be lured into the trade.
Q: Why did you decide to become a City Councillor?
A: Because of my interest in mental illness. I got involved through working with homeless people. I set up the Saturday Breakfast and Shower Program at the Collingwood Neighborhood House to address homelessness in our area. It was unique for its time because we looked at what the homeless people needed instead of what we thought they needed. We asked, “What do you actually want?” and a guy answered, “I’ve got kind of a place to live but don’t like sleeping here. What I really want is a place to come and shower – because I stink – and a place to wash my clothes and have breakfast.” The whole point of the breakfast program was to create a place where they could be found. We made sure all the healthcare and mental health workers were there on Saturdays to see what they needed. So, that’s how we got them treated. It was great! Sometimes we could see people from the healthcare saying, “I finally found him. I’ve been looking for three months! He can finally take his medication today!” *High five!* Also, we made sure that a homeless count would be done in the city every year. Windermere students have helped with that, I believe. This tells us what kinds of services are needed. Why would I build a big, fancy healthcare centre if they’re not even here? We have now reduced homelessness by 83%. There had once been 1,000 people living on the street, and now there are only 145 left. It’s amazing!
Q: Is there any way students like us can become more involved in our city’s politics?
A: Absolutely! We have the Vancouver Youth and other advisory groups in the city. The Youth Justice Council and Restorative Justice are both very good examples. Also, there are a lot of community consultations where youth can come and leave their comments, which are the most important to me. I’m just a few years away from reaching fifty years old now, so I’ll be seventy when the stuff I’ve been planning comes to fruition! On the other hand, you guys will still be at the prime of your lives, so you will be the ones to take the actions and carry out the initiatives. If any students want to get involved in the city’s politics, they can contact me directly and I’ll hook you up. In January, if I get re-elected, I’ll be happy to take applications from students who want to sit on our advisory boards.
Q: What was Windermere like in 1980?
A: We were just coming out of the Disco era, so lots of guys were walking around with afros. Girls didn’t wear makeup – t-shirt and jeans were all they wore. We had a reputation as a tough school; my teeth actually got punched out one time. We were really mouthy, really street-smart. There was a real spirit in the school, though, and the teachers were fantastic! They really worked to make sure we focused on what was important. They also understood that a lot of us came from a poor background – I did. They tailored programs to help us out because we couldn’t afford tutors. In fact, we all had to work and give money to our families. Right after school – bam – a lot of us would head out to our jobs. It was a very different time economically.
Windermere was our place and we wanted to protect it. It had been a good experience here. I joke about the fights a lot, but they only happened once in a while; it wasn’t a warzone in here. When I went to my 30th high school reunion, I saw that everyone was doing really well. They owned businesses, they were professional, and one was a stand-up comedian! Despite the reputation we had when I was here, everyone turned out really well.
Q: Where did you go after graduating from Windermere?
A: I graduated from Windermere – barely – with a GPA of C-. My teachers told me to go to Langara for a year or two. There, I found something I really wanted to do, which was psychology, and from there I went to SFU, then to the University of Western Ontario, where I did my PhD, and afterwards I went to UBC. Now, I’m a full professor with tenure. It’s really all because people gave me time and understood my background, and that’s what Windermere was about. We were all tough kids. You guys are in a better place, I think, and you’re a lot smarter.
Q: Earlier this year, Vision’s creation of the bike lanes downtown was scrutinized for being rather inefficient, and a waste of space. What are your thoughts on that?
A: The bike lanes have been on the city’s transportation plan for 30 years. We finally decided to implement them because we noticed from data that car trips had decreased about 50% and more people were riding bikes than ever before. Without bike lanes, cyclists slowed down traffic. By creating dedicated bike lanes, we’ve actually increased traffic flow throughout downtown. Businesses thought that they would be impacted, but none of that happened. Instead, their profits went up because people without cars are now willing to go downtown. My favorite argument was that it destroys parking, but we did a study and there are more than ten thousand excess spaces along Hornby Street’s bike lane alone. I drive downtown and I’ve never had a problem finding parking, so I don’t buy any of those arguments. What we’re actually seeing is an increase in the number of bikers – it has skyrocketed. North American culture, though, is that we love our cars. This is why we need youth to change our perspective.
Q: Any advice for the Windermere students?
A: Do what you love! The money will come with it.
Q: Can you introduce yourself to readers of the Word?
A: I’ve been in Canada for almost forty years and Vancouver is very special for me. I met and married my wife of thirty-five years and raised my family here. I’m also glad that I’ve had the opportunity to help the community for the past twenty years. I had been a school board trustee; on the city of Vancouver’s Planning Commission; on the board of the Vancouver Public Library; and a council member with the Ministry of Children and Family Services. I also headed the PAC of Windermere at one point. I have done volunteer work at community centers and all sorts of fundraising for several public organizations.
Q: Your children went to Windermere, right? What do you think of the school?
A: I think it was one of the smaller schools in Vancouver, but it’s pretty close-knit and a pretty good school Both of my children got into UBC and one of them became a lawyer.
Q: If you were to be elected as a City Councillor, what would your responsibilities be?
A: Well, certainly I would be responsible for providing services to Vancouverites and for dealing with issues that come up within the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Taking care of various orders and supplies and Translink – that is part of the City Council’s responsibilities.
Q: So, you want to direct your main focus to the engineering aspect of the city?
A: Well, no, actually. I would probably have to look into the all the different aspects. I find that Vancouver needs to be more than just a green city; it has to be competitive and affordable in order to survive. What I see with young people nowadays is that it is getting tougher and tougher for them to live in Vancouver, which makes holding down taxes one of my aims. If you look at the last three years, they raised taxes by 8% in the first year with an increase in the price of houses. Just coming into the market has become an issue for them. The second area that I can work on is streamlining cumbersome regulations to improve services. My experience over the last twenty years as an industrial engineer has shown that different processes and programs can be streamlined. This way, I can make it easier for the small businesses in our city.
Q: Gregor Robertson was elected in 2008 on the platform that he would make Vancouver the world’s greenest city by 2020. What is your take on the environmental issue?
A: I support Vancouver in becoming a green city – we all want to live in a green city – but it needs to have a balanced approach. You need to balance the needs of other constituencies. For instance, bike lanes are being built on existing sidewalks and some citizens did complain to me. Once, I saw an 84-year-old with a walker having to walk past the bike lane down a hill before he can get to the car parked beside the street. I see the current government really stuffing this down our throats, saying that “this is [their] way and this is the only way.” As a matter of fact, I talked to some nearby residents and they came up with really good alternative ideas, but there hasn’t been any meaningful consultation with citizens like them.
Q: What about the store owners along the bike lanes? Have they encountered any problems?
A: Like I said, you have to look at the overall impact. Something can’t just be implemented for a special interest group. It has to be inclusive; you need to look at the interests of all Vancouverites. Going green is a good initiative, but it can’t be carried out at the expense of others.
Q: What should be the number one issue for a City Councillor?
A: I would say it’s accountability at this point. It’s important that we are accountable to our citizens and willing to find out what they need. From what I heard from people in Vancouver, affordability is number one and they don’t want to see any tax hikes, as well as money being spent unwisely. Why expand the mayor’s office or create a new lunchroom? Why would they spend millions of dollars on secret bailouts? Why spend money to make shelters for homeless chickens?
Q: Homeless chickens?
A: The government created a shelter for homeless chickens – chickens that, say, people raised but then released. That’s something the current City Council is building. Citizens don’t want us to waste money like that. That’s why I’ll certainly go for more financial transparency if I get elected. Right now, there’s just too much money spent on things that people don’t know about.
Q: Recently, parking has become an issue in Vancouver. There have been areas on Kingsway, for instance, where they have suddenly included parking meters. Is this actually a good thing for the city or just a way for them to exploit the citizens?
A: I will say that it will definitely have some impact on local businesses and I don’t think that’s the way to go. It comes back to the bike lanes downtown. They have taken away the parking there and they have to get parking fees elsewhere, so they pick places that have good businesses and a busy traffic. The bike lanes were put in so fast that there wasn’t time for any good consultation.
Q: Do you have any advice for our readers still in high school?
A: Well, hard work! I think there’s no substitute for hard work. The real world is tougher than school, you have to be educated and be prepared. No matter what your post-secondary plans are, hard work always pays off. You have to work in the community, do volunteer work, and help others. Be a good citizen!
By Dani Tan, Grade 10
By Shawna Becker, Grade 9
High school lockers are places students put whatever they don’t want or need to carry – backpacks, coats, and binders. However, some students abuse their locker privilege by stuffing it with strange things like ‘the lollipop which you lick once daily’ or ‘the homework sheets that never get done.’ Others, including myself, often have to go to school without a raincoat because it’s been left behind. So, I went around and looked for students who would be willing to tell me their own locker stories.
One girl (unnamed for personal reasons) told me that her former science teacher was breeding a species of fruit flies, which unfortunately escaped. The next morning, all the people in her hallway were welcomed by a special surprise when they opened their lockers – they were covered by fruit flies! “He has always been a strange teacher,” she commented after the incident.
Michael Frolichturner was also suffering with a few locker difficulties. “My locker has the most disgusting thing written in it, and it deeply disturbs me,” Michael mentioned to me one day after class. I agreed with her that the school should hire somebody to clean out any insulting graffiti. “My locker also has some unholy wording inside it!” Mikaela Haeusser told me while hot-gluing her ceramics project.
Then, I had the pleasure to talk to another young woman (unnamed due to her request) who complained about the smell in the hallway where her locker is. She tracked the stench down to one boy’s locker, which happened to contain his gym shoes. “People! Bring your gym strip home and WASH IT!” she pleads.
The stories piqued my curiosity, so I decided to ask someone close to me. My 14-year-old cousin, Michayla Wolf, told me about one of her friend’s locker troubles. In grade 8, she wrote her new locker combination on her hand for memory’s sake. That turned out to be anything but wise, because she had been getting secret “presents” like granola bar wrappers and ‘friendly’ messages ever since. Therefore, you should never share your lock’s combination with anybody.
Now, I have to admit that I wrote this article not just because I was curious about the subject, but because I have my own locker story to tell. One day last year, I couldn’t quite finish the rice I had for lunch, so I put it at the bottom of my locker and promptly forgot about it. While I didn’t notice it at the time, everybody else walking by had commented on the stench and the huge congregation of fruit flies. Then, when locker cleanup came, I opened my locker and was immediately struck by the stench of left-over food and dirty clothes, which turned out to be moist when I stuffed them in a bag and threw them out. The deeper I dug, the stronger the stench grew. It was until I got to the bottom of the mess that I found out where the fruit flies originated from; at the very bottom of my now nearly empty locker sat my sad, forgotten lunch, which I threw out as soon as I saw the brown liquid inside.
That is my locker story. I hope that this article teaches everybody the importance of treating their lockers with respect and care. The school has provided us with our own lockers to make our lives easier, but this privilege is earned. We should treat them nicely.
- Halloween: October 31st
- The correct spelling: Hallowe’en
- If Halloween was a person: he/she would be 2000 years old
- Countries that celebrate Halloween: Most popular in Canada, America and Britain
- Orange and black: orange represents the Fall Harvest, and black is darkness and death
- Masks: masks are intended to keep spirits of the dead from recognizing faces of the living
- The fear of Halloween: Samhainophobia (“Samhain” was the original name for Halloween, also known as the Witch’s New Year)
- Samhain: Originally celebrated on the last day of the Celtic calendar
- “Trick or treat” in Hungarian: “Csinyt vagy Csokit”, literally “Prank or Chocolate”
- Adults buying candy bowls: over 40% of them later secretly take candies from their kids’ bowls
- Adults buying Halloween costumes: almost 45% of them are actually buying costumes for themselves
- October 30th: Mischief Night or Cabbage Night; also called Devil’s Night or Hell Night because of the vandalism and widespread arson seen in Detroit between the 70’s and 90’s
- Pumpkins first found: In Mexico
- Day of the Dead: Celebrated in Mexico between October 31st and November 2nd, where people go visit cemeteries in order to be with the departed souls
- Corpse Bride: Some elements of this stop-motion animated movie by Tim Burton reflect the beliefs held by native Mexicans in pre-Hispanic times, which were later incorporated into the Day of the Dead.
Taurus – Even if you are not taking an art course this year, the urge to create a masterpiece will be surging through you this month! No one knows when you’ll get this feeling again, so feed on this urge as much as you can!
Gemini – If you’ve never watched a horror movie before, this October is when you might feel tempted to try it. Go ahead and do it! Just don’t frighten yourself too much. Nightmares aren’t exactly the most cheerful things in the world.
Cancer – Pink is becoming the colour that stands out the most to you. Fortunately, it’s not going to turn into an obsession; it’s merely going to be really…noticeable to the people around you. Your friends might even find themselves staring at nothing but pink. ‘Rose-coloured glasses’, anyone?
Leo – Maybe you weren’t sensitive to the cold before, but somehow this month is going to make you want to bundle up as much as possible regardless of the temperature outside. Even a sunny day of 20 degrees Celsius won’t be able to make you feel any warmer!
Virgo – You’ll feel pretty content with your life this month! Even if you come to encounter some rocky parts, just remember to never give up and keep climbing. Everything is going to be just fine.
Libra – Computers sure are the strangest things, with which you might encounter some problems, such as YouTube videos replaying by themselves or your cursor repeatedly sneaking into the corner…
Scorpio – You will be able to make rather accurate weather predictions this month! If you say it will be sunny, the sunshine will somehow end up being unbelievably bright! But don’t go around announcing that to everybody, people might think you are out of your mind.
Sagittarius – For some reason, you are going to be feeling very excited for the entire month. This may lead to some strange and unconventional behaviors, so hopefully you can find something to legitimize your sense of excitement.
Capricorn – This month, you will start to realize that your friends are truly willing to be there for you when you need them! Make sure they know you care by giving them a big hug!
Aquarius – The summer has come and gone, but you still feel like swimming. Hopefully you can fulfill that desire by hitting the pool more often!
Pisces – You are absolutely excited about this school year! In fact, you have become so psyched that the thought of studying for the midterm exams has crossed your mind already! It’s probably a good idea for you to calm down and remind yourself that it’s only October – no need to get all stressed out.
By James Wang, Grade 12
On a warm, mid-August afternoon, the B.C. Ministry of Education tweeted that starting this school year, optional Grade 12 provincial exams would no longer be offered. I personally oppose this change, but nonetheless, others may rejoice. Keep on reading this article to find out how this may affect you!
A brief history of B.C.’s provincial exams:
Years ago, there were provincial exams which were worth 50% of a course’s final mark, and the optional provincial scholarship exams. The weighting of the former was later changed to the current 40%, and the latter was done away with. In 2004, the biggest changes came; Education Minister Christy Clark made all Grade 12 provincials, other than English 12, optional. Over the years, B.C.’s major universities, including UBC, SFU, and U. Vic, changed their admissions policies: provincial exam results would only be used if they increased an applicant’s average. So, the number of people writing them dropped year after year. Then in 2011, 30 optional provincial exams have been dropped due to the fact that only 20% of all eligible students chose to write them last school year and provincial exam scholarships worth $2.5 million dollars went unclaimed.
(Note: Grade 12 provincials are worth 40% of your final grade, but Grade 10/11 exams are worth less – 20%)
Old Provincial Exam Scholarship Rules ($1000):
- Achieve 3 “A’s” (86%+) on 3 Grade 12 exams
- Minimum of 73% on the English 12 provincial
New Provincial Exam Scholarship Rules ($1000):
- Get a “B” (73%+) overall (School Mark + Provincial) in either English 12/Communications 12
- Achieve 1 “A” (86%+) on any one of the 5 provincially examinable courses (English 10/12, Math 10, Science 10, Socials Studies 11)
- Get at least 3 other ”B’s” on any of the other 4 exams
As you can see, it’s much easier to get a scholarship now! Grade 11’s and 12’s weren’t expecting our Grade 10 provincials to matter much, but now they do for scholarship purposes. On the plus side, the exam rewrite rules have been relaxed for those students this year! Instead of allowing students to rewrite exams that they’ve done in the past year only, all mandatory exams can now be rewritten. So if you would like to do so, please talk to your counsellor.
Is the change good or bad?
Now, you are probably wondering why anyone would voluntarily write a 2-to-3-hour exam under the risk of losing up to 40% of their final grade. Right off the bat, it seems quite unfair that Grade 10’s are now under the pressure of having to write three provincial exams while Grade 11’s and 12’s write one exam only. Does that make sense to you? Secondly, students who didn’t get desirable results in previous provincial exams but would like to get a shot at the provincial exam scholarship must now rewrite them, despite the fact that they would have to study for courses they had taken one or two years ago. Thirdly, cancelling optional provincial exams might cause some negative repercussions on the education system. They had been a great equalizer between different schools. Students of private and public schools in both urban and rural areas had all written the same exams. Plus, the exams ensured that every teacher followed the same curriculum. Now, course materials may vary dramatically and students’ fate may be determined by the type of teachers they get.
Nonetheless, I do concede that some good does come out of the cancellation of optional provincial exams. Students are now much less stressed! The most positive effect is that there will be more scholarships given out! (Hopefully, the Ministry won’t run out of money and start reducing the scholarship amount.)
Although student apathy has undoubtedly played a part in causing this ‘atrocity’, the government cannot deny its responsibility either. Personally, I think students should have at least gotten a one-year advance notice of such a drastic change.
I lament the loss of optional provincial exams. Frankly, I was looking forward to writing them, to challenge myself and to gain a sense of achievement. But, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade! For now, concentrate on doing your best in the mandatory provincial exams. If you do well, your $1,000 scholarship depends on them!
Hey Warriors! It’s really been a while, but StyleWatch is now back, providing you with an up-close look at the fashion style of teachers here at Windermere Secondary! This time, the spotlight has shone on our principal, Ms. Taddei. If you want to know more about her, then today is your lucky day!
Q: How would you describe your sense of fashion?
A: Flexible. I am quite flexible with my clothing choices. Sometimes I can be professional and conservative, and other times I can be casual and laidback. That way I can switch from moment to moment. I like my casual wear so I can work on my fitness. The weekend is the only time when I get to be very casual by wearing sweats, fitness clothing, and t-shirts.
Q: How did you decide on what to wear today?
A: I made my decision by looking at the weather. It was going to be sunny today, so I wore light clothing with light colours such as beige.
Q: What do you think about the sense of fashion of the Windermere students?
A: It’s casual and trendy, which I would expect from most teenagers. The casual comfort and trendiness are great!
Q: If you could return to an era of fashion, what would your choice be and why?
A: The late 60’s. At the period of time when I was going from elementary school to high school, jeans, t-shirts, and mini-skirts were very popular. Bell-bottoms and boots were considered very nice and trendy at the time, too!
Q: What are some of your fashion pet peeves?
A: Big shoulder pads. Back in the 80’s, women would wear big shoulder pads that were connected to their blouses. I don’t like that. Also, I don’t think giant holes in jeans look very attractive.
Q: If you could dress up as anyone, who would you want to be and why?
A: I would just wear jeans and a t-shirt. I like that look because I like being comfortable.
Q: What has been your most memorable Halloween costume and why?
A: My most memorable Halloween costume would be the huge bee costume I wore when I was at Lord Byng Secondary, because it was that time when the Bee Movie was out. I was the Byng Bee! As a child though, I would dress up as either a hobo or a hippie. At Van Tech, I was Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
By Chris Tam and Mike Chen, Grade 12
Hello Warriors! As we are all settling back into school, the NHL is preparing for another great season. We here at the Word have assembled our “Power Rankings” for the top 5 NHL teams as a season preview, with special coverage on our Vancouver Canucks.
NHL Power Rankings
- Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks are determined to get back to the finals and win it all this season! They may have a rough start to the season as winger Mason Raymond and MVP Ryan Kesler are both expected to miss at least a month of action due to injuries (back and hip, respectively). But, the Canucks have proven in the past that they have enough depth to keep playing without missing a beat. Their defence core is still strong despite the loss of Christian Ehrhoff. At the net, Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider will share the crease, in the league’s top goaltending tandem. The team is a heavy favourite to return to the Cup Final.
- San Jose Sharks
Coming off two straight Western Conference Finals appearances with only one win out of nine games, the Sharks smelt blood. On draft day, the Sharks acquired defenseman Brent Burns, who can control the offensive tempo from the blue line. Up front, two-time fifty goal scorer Dany Heatly was dealt to the Wild for speedy winger Martin Havlat. Without a doubt, Captain Joe Thornton and the rest of the Sharks are hungry for the Stanley Cup.
- Los Angeles Kings
Being arguably the most improved team in the last season, the Kings took advantage of Philadelphia’s off-season hysteria by grabbing their captain, Mike Richards. They then signed sniper Simon Gagne, a former teammate of Richards in Philadelphia. The team’s concern is speed, but with two young puck-moving defensemen, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, no concerns have been raised so far. In the crease, Jonathan Quick has quickly developed into a reliable starting goaltender. The Kings, being young and skilled, will be a threat in the West for years to come.
- Pittsburgh Penguins
Although Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal were plagued with injuries last season, the Penguins still claimed the 5th spot in the East, based on their team-first mentality. With Malkin and Staal ready to start the season and Crosby just about set to play, this team is Chris’s pick to win the East this season. Backed by Marc-Andre Fleury and coached by Dan Bylsma, the Penguins are stacked. There is no doubt that they will be in the mix come playoff time.
- Washington Capitals
The Capitals have been a contender for the President’s Trophy in the past four seasons and we expect the same from them this time. With a top line of Ovechkin–Backstrom–Semin, Washington has the firepower… Do they have the willpower, though? This past off-season, they added some size and grit with the likes of Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer. If somebody other than Alex Ovechkin can start taking a leadership role with the team, look for the Capitals to be a tough team to beat this coming season.
The Canucks had a relatively quiet off-season, when GM Mike Gillis went and refined an already stellar team. Power forward Marco Sturm was the biggest name to sign in Vancouver this off-season. Although he has undergone two knee surgeries in the past, he has put up points in the past, so he does add some desperately needed grit to the roster. On the blue line, the void left by Christian Ehrhoff will be filled by Keith Ballard, Sami Salo, and rookie Chris Tanev. The forwards are led by the Sedin twins, who have risen to elite-player status. Ideally, Cody Hodgson will step up to play the second line center role, with Higgins and Samuelson flanking him. When healthy, the Canucks have the most depth in their forward positions of any team, which was a key part of their success from last season. And Vancouver’s favourite whipping boy, Roberto Luongo, is still a top five goaltender in the league and the franchise player. He will definitely be looking to prove his critics wrong this season and shed his unwanted (and undeserved) “chocker” label.
Mike’s Prediction: I believe this team will make it to the Western Conference Final, but that’s as far as they will go. Their depth in all three positions as well as their experience and motivation will make them a legitimate threat in the league, but I am picking the San Jose Sharks to win it all this season.
Chris’s Prediction: Keith Ballard, Cody Hodgson, and Marco Sturm will step up and become the players they were expected to be. The Canucks will go marching back to the Stanley Cup Finals in June….and NO WAY is San Jose making it past the second round, Mike!
By Thea Sample, Grade 11
On August 19, 1989, Troy Davis was accused of murdering a police officer. He was charged and convicted and has been on death row for 20 years. And yet, he had proclaimed his innocence until the end.
At the beginning of the murder case, some of the witnesses testified that they saw Troy Davis shoot a police officer. Many of those witnesses went on to retract their statements after the verdict, and some of the jurors now say they have changed their minds about his guilt. Therefore, shouldn’t uncertainty in Davis’ case lead to uncertainty about the death penalty? Many people think that if the guilty verdict had to stand, he should have been sentenced to life in prison instead.
On Wednesday, September 21, 2011, Davis was strapped to a chair and executed by the State of Georgia with a lethal injection. Hundreds of his supporters stood outside the prison, along with many thousands worldwide, and begged for his life to be spared. Thousands of people, including celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Kim Kardashian, expressed their shock and disbelief through angry remarks on their phones or computers. A tweet from Alec Baldwin said: “U.S. Death Penalty humiliates us in the eyes of much of the world”.
The next day, an interesting thing occurred. The same parole board that sentenced Davis to death gave clemency to a man who confessed and then apologized for his crime. Having said that, it has not gone unnoticed that this man is white while Troy Davis was an African American.
Canada, on the other hand, does not have death penalty, but the homicide rates in our country are lower than in the U.S. In addition, if we compare the 14 U.S. states with the country’s highest numbers of executions to the 14 U.S. states without capital punishment (or death penalty), we find drastic differences in their murder rates.
Germany abolished the death penalty in 1949, and almost three decades later in 1976, Canada did the same. Supporters of the death penalty say it deters crime, but most people nowadays believe it to be false. It is not impossible for innocent people to be executed due to false accusations, not to mention that fact that executing convicted criminals, especially those who have confessed to their crimes, does not reduce crime.