By Thea Sample, Grade 11
Baptism is a ritual that represents the initiation or acceptance of an individual into a religion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as the LDF Church or the Mormon Church) believes that only people who have been baptized into their religion can go through the gates of heaven. In other religions, baptism mostly occurs when one is still a baby. The Mormon Church, however, believes that only adults, who can give actual consent to their own baptism, can undergo baptism and, therefore, gain entry to heaven. Another controversial practice is the Mormon Church’s baptism for the dead (posthumous baptism). Mormons have been known, in many cases, to baptize people via “proxy” many years after the deaths of the subjects. Essentially, the ceremony requires someone to stand in for the deceased as a “proxy” and be baptized in his or her place. Members of the Mormon Church are encouraged to research their family history, so that they may baptize those who died before being converted in Mormonism.
- Easter: a Christian festival that celebrates the resurrection of Christ
- The Council of Nicea: the first Catholic ecumenical council, who made Easter a true holiday back in 325 AD
- Christian calendar: Easter Sunday is considered the most important day of the year
- Quinquagesima: the fifty-day period leading up to Easter and, for some, the period when meat is forbidden
- Easter symbols: bunnies, eggs, plastic grass, chicks, ham, candles, palm branches, etc.
- Chick hatching out of an egg: (more…)
By Thea Sample, Grade 11
The Enbridge Northern Gateway Project is a proposal to construct a $5.5 billion pipeline that would run from Alberta to the B.C. coast. The pipeline would transport bitumen (extracted from oil sands) from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia, where it would then be shipped to Asia.
Enbridge Inc. is the corporate backer of this project and has solicited support from several large oil companies as well as the Canadian federal government. (more…)
By Thea Sample, Grade 11
Recently, many people have noticed the Occupy Vancouver tents located at the Vancouver Art Gallery. In fact, many students are either taking part in it or openly supporting the Occupy movement. In a nutshell, people are protesting because 1% of the world’s population own or control the vast majority of the wealth. Participants in Occupy protests around the world are advocating for change in the current economic system. More specifically, in Vancouver, (more…)
- 14,500 major wars ― the number recorded in world history since 3600 BC
- 4,000,000,000 people (2/3 of current world population) ― (more from the List)
- 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.
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.
By Thea Sample, Grade 11
- Windermere Secondary’s 50th anniversary: December 1, 2011
- Jeff Hyslop: Once a graduate of Windermere Secondary, and the Phantom in Canada’s traveling production of The Phantom of the Opera
- Etymology of “Windermere”: (more…)
By Thea Sample, Grade 11
July 22, 2011, was anything but a peaceful day for the people of Norway. Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old right-wing extremist and assassin with neo-Nazi views, killed at least 77 people in a rampage. His first attack took place in the country’s capital, Oslo. A van containing half a ton of explosives blew up right outside the office of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, leaving 8 people dead and 10 others severely wounded. Immediately after the bombing, Breivik travelled to Utøya, an island belonging to the Labour party’s youth organization, which was holding a camp for about 600 youths interested in learning about democracy and getting more involved in their country’s politics. Breivik went into a 90-minute shooting spree that caused the deaths of 69 teenagers, including two 14-year-olds and seven 15-year-olds. (more…)
By: Thea Sample, Grade 10
- The 125th anniversary of Vancouver: April 6, 2011
- Nicknames of Vancouver: Rain City, Terminal City, and Hollywood North
- One of the first Europeans to explore British Columbia: Jose Maria Narvaez in 1791
- The year Japanese Canadians were forced out of the West Coast: 1942, after the Pearl Harbour attack by Japan in World War II
- Oldest television station in Western Canada: CBC
- Number of workers who died in the construction of the Second Narrows Bridge: 19
- The year B.C. Place Stadium opened: 1983
- Constructions for Expo 86: Skytrain, B.C. Place Stadium, Science World, Canada Place and the Plaza of Nations
- First un-elected premier of BC: Christy Clark
- The three First Nations traditional lands on which Vancouver is located: Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh
- The oldest school in Vancouver: Lord Strathcona Elementary School
- The oldest remaining secondary school in Vancouver: Britannia Secondary School
By Thea Sample, Grade 10
In the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the coast of Japan, we find ourselves asking what happened and why. To make matters worse, the nuclear crises that followed the tsunami have caused global speculation, even drawing comparisons to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster Russia faced back in 1986, and its terrible after-effects.
In Japan, the events in the order that they occurred are a reminder that earthquakes can be just the start of a series of devastating events.
Here is a recap of how events unfolded recently in Japan, arranged in chronological order:
- Earthquake and tsunami strike on March 11, 2011 (estimated death toll: a few hundred)
- Global rescue teams send in emergency food and supplies
- Thousands of people are evacuated from the areas surrounding two nuclear plants
- Four reactors in a nuclear facility are found to have cooling problems
- A second nuclear reactor was said to have exploded and parts of the plant were releasing radioactive steam
- Death toll: 1,800 Missing: 2,300
- It is predicted that at least 10,000 are dead
- Workers trying to control the damage around the nuclear reactors
- 400,000 people living in centers and shelters
- Death toll: 3,600 Missing: 7,800
- Japan receives aftershocks
- Radioactive steam continuing to be released
- The people begin to distrust that the government and authorities, who did not tell the whole truth about the nuclear explosions that caused residents to leave certain areas
- Tokyo’s water supply found to contain radioactive iodine
- Authorities urge people living around the second power plant to evacuate the area
- Possible leakage of contaminated water into the ocean
- Plutonium found in soil around plant
- Expected that there could be long lasting consequences due to the nuclear emergency
The death toll in Japan was recorded at 12,600 on April 7, but the final death toll is predicted to be 20,000.
Now, when Japan’s nuclear reactors are more stabilized, all eyes will look to the future and how the Japanese people will be affected by the radioactive steam emitted from the nuclear facility. Since Japan was considered to be one of the best-equipped countries when it comes to handling earthquakes, as a global community, we need to be ready to handle earthquake-related emergencies.
BC is long overdue for “The Big One,” and we need to be ready when that time comes. How will an earthquake affect our resources and infrastructure? As individuals we do not have much control over how our infrastructure will be affected but at the least, we can prepare ourselves.
I urge everyone to acquire a basic earthquake kit that is easily accessible.
By: Thea Sample, Grade 10
After attending the annual Westcoast LEAF breakfast where Linda McQuaig was the guest speaker, I decided I should learn more about her. Other than knowing that she writes for the Toronto Star, nothing else about her is known to me. In truth, Linda McQuaig is a force of nature. She recently wrote a book titled “The Trouble with Billionaire’s”, which talks about the growing gap between the rich and the poor in Canada. After reading some of her articles online, I came to this conclusion: the United States currently has the highest level of income inequality in the modern world and Canada is following in its footsteps.
So, what’s happening? Why wasn’t it the same in the 50′s and 60′s? Linda McQuaig says, “In the 50′s and 60′s, the real median (average) family income in Canada was growing fast enough to double every 20 years. Since 1980, it has barely grown at all.” In other words, in the 50′s and 60′s, average incomes rose with the cost of living. But since the late 70′s and 80′s, the rate of increase in income cannot keep up with the rising cost of living.
When the government cancelled the estate tax in Canada in 1972, it was estimated that the wealthiest families in Canada at the time gained around $12 billion from the change. By today’s dollar that would be equal to about $62 billion. This, in combination with other tax cuts on the rich resulted in today’s income inequality in Canada.
Currently, the Obama administration is trying to end tax cuts for the wealthy. He is also trying to save the U.S. estate tax, which is heavily opposed by the Republicans.
Have you ever heard of the ‘Trickle Down Theory’? According to www.investorwords.com, the ‘Trickle Down Theory’ is “an economic theory which advocates letting businesses flourish, since their profits will ultimately trickle down to lower-income individuals and the rest of the economy”. This idea is the foundation of economic thinking over the past 30 years – if the rich get richer, the wealth will be spread around and “trickle down” to others. In reality, however, it is the other way around. As the rich gets richer, the poor (and middle class) gets poorer.
Giving more money to the wealthy does not benefit everyone; not at all. In fact, during the thirty years (1950 – 1980) after the Second World War, when rich people and large corporations paid the highest taxes, western economies experienced the highest levels of growth. Since tax cuts have been in place, our economy has tanked, the average income suffered, and our standard of living decreased. (Think about public schools, parks, and everything else our tax money pays for.)
“We can have democracy…. or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of the few. We cannot have both.” – Louis Brandeis
By: Thea Sample, Grade 10
You may have heard of the recent tragedy in Whistler associated with one hundred healthy sled dogs being shot or stabbed to death. It brought outrage and questions from around the world. News of these killings came when an employee asked for post-traumatic stress disorder compensation from the BC Worker’s Compensation Board. The employee said he was forced to kill 100 healthy sled dogs and was suffering from depression and nightmares as a result. The employee claimed that his employer had told him to get rid of the dogs after business slowed during the post-Olympic slump. In a later statement, however, the company (Outdoor Adventures Whistler) said that they had never instructed the employee specifically on how to go about getting rid of so many dogs.
The main questions now are why no charges have been laid against the killer, what role the employer played in this tragedy, and why the BC Worker’s Compensation Board accepted the employee’s application for compensation. You might be surprised to know that it is not against the law to kill dogs, but it is illegal to kill them in an inhumane manner. In this case, the animal massacre has definitely gone beyond legal bounds. The dogs did not die instantly as a matter of fact. Some dogs even tried to crawl out of the grave they were thrown into after being shot.
Another question people have is why the employee or the company did not try to put the dogs up for adoption. There has been much controversy over this subject and the company says that it could not be done because the dogs were trained/working dogs. Then what happens when a dog retires from being a sled dog or even from being a bomb-sniffing dog? Well, the answer is that it is up to the company or the breeder to make sure that there is a plan for the dogs after their retirement.
“You have to have a ten- or fifteen-year plan for the dog. Our dogs are raised like pets, so they can be adopted.” said Jason Smith from Kingmik Dogsled Tours.
As a result of the sled dog slaughter, many people are calling for “stronger protection for animals and tougher laws for abusers”, according to Mike Farnworth, a BC NDP leadership candidate.
After this incident, organizations including the Vancouver Humane Society think that sled dog tour companies should be banned. However, this has yet sparked more controversies as there are companies who treat sled dogs well. Furthermore, this tragedy has raised an important discussion on how we treat animals in society, how animals are used for profit by businesses, and what our responsibility is to those animals.
By: Thea Sample, Grade 10
Fair trade and Fairtrade. What is the difference? Fairtrade is used by the FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organization) in order to identify the certification that certain products have met Fairtrade standards.
Fair trade refers to the notion and the system in general of fair trade.
Fair trade organizations follow a set of “fair trade standards”. These standards determine the minimum amount of money producers must be paid for the products they trade. Other standards that apply include the payment of fair wages to employees and providing a safe and healthy work environment.
How do I even begin to mention all the wonderful things that fair trade organizations do around the world? Fair trade organizations are responsible for improving the lives of workers and producers in developing countries.
Popular fair trade products include fruit, coffee, chocolate, cotton, clothing, jewellery, bags and shoes. Not to mention many more products sold from suppliers around the world.
According to FLO statistics “There are now 827 Fairtrade certified producer organizations in 58 producing countries, representing over 1.2 million farmers and workers.”
Fair trade began in the 1940′s when the first Ten Thousand Villages was created. A woman named Edna Ruth Byler, went to Puerto Rico and discovered women sewing beautiful lace. Despite their magnificent products, these women lived in poverty. Edna took the products back to the United States and began to sell them at church and at fairs. She then would go back and return the money to these women directly thus creating the first fair trade transactions. Her work would eventually become Ten Thousand Villages, the largest fair trade retailer in North America.
At Windermere, we have had our share of fair trade products available for sale. For example, the Cafe Etico coffee sold last year was fair trade. Many different speakers came in to talk to students about different issues within Fair trade organizations. Cafe Etico buys coffee at fair prices from farmer associations in Latin America. Something unique about Cafe Etico is that they buy coffee directly from fair trade associations. This is important because this enables small-scale farmers to sell their coffee to large overseas markets.
Other fair trade organizations include: Oxfam Canada, Equiterre, Transfair Canada, and more.
Historically, the production of bananas has been particularly exploitative for workers. Thankfully you can now buy fair trade bananas in Vancouver and I urge everyone to try and buy fair trade products and support the fair trade system.
By: Thea Sample, Grade 10
The United Nations (UN) has been declaring international “theme” years in order to draw attention to important issues, and 2012 is the official Year of Co-operatives. This means that co-ops are being recognized for all the wonderful things they do in countries around the world.
Do you belong to a co-op? If you are a member of Vancity or another credit union, belong to Mountain Equipment Co-op, or live in a housing co-op then the answer is yes. If you shop at a food co-op or the Co-op Bookstore on Commercial Drive then you are also supporting co-ops. There is something all of these places have in common. They are a unique type of organization: a co-operative.
What is a co-op? Co-ops are different from businesses which are owned by individual people or corporations (like banks) which are owned by shareholders. A co-op is an organization or a business that is owned by its members. Co-ops are accountable to their members and reflect their members’ needs and are not just concerned about making profits. They are usually locally controlled and, as well as providing services for members, also provide services for the communities they operate in.
We are surrounded by co-ops and we may not even realize it. About 17 million people in Canada are members of at least one co-op but most do not know the extent of the social and economic impact they have on this country and around the world.
A recent public opinion survey shows that “Canadians view co-operatives as trustworthy, well-run businesses that provide good customer service and create jobs that help support local communities.”
Co-ops also provide a substantial number of jobs throughout the world. According to the International Labour Organization, “…co-ops provide more than 100 million jobs, more than all the world’s multinational corporations combined.”
The Cooperative Association of British Columbia runs Camp YES each summer to teach teenagers about co-operative values including concern for community and learning to work within a group. At Camp YES, participants also learn about fair trade and the environmental consequences of producing and shipping cheap goods.
The UN is raising the profile of Co-ops in 2012 because they know co-ops play an important role in economies, from providing housing to banking services.
By: Thea Sample, Grade 10
The Twilight sage is the latest teen literary and movie phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. Its basic plot revolves around a girl, Bella, who falls in love with a vampire named Edward. Despite his instinctual desire of killing her for her blood and his creepy methods of showing affection, Bella falls desperately in love with Edward and is willing to abandon everything for him. In the end, Edward is there to save the day just before another vampire succeeds in killing Bella.
Aside from the fact that Stephenie Meyer is not a great writer, this is a cheesy book filled with stereotypes and abusive relationships. The U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline provides a list of questions to help women decide if they are in an abusive relationship. The list includes the following questions:
Does your partner:
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
- Make all of the decisions?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal or is your fault, or even deny doing it?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Threaten to kill you?
In the Twilight saga, the vampire Edward forces Bella to leave her home; scares her by driving recklessly; abandons her in a dangerous place; accuses her of cheating when jealous of her outside relationships; threatens to kill her; pushes, bites, and kicks her; damages her property due to anger; threatens to commit suicide; and tries to make all the decisions. Teenage girls all over the world reading these books are unknowingly getting the idea that it is okay for a man to treat a woman like this. Although the story appears to be simply talking about the ideal type of guys, it is actually promoting the propriety of actions similar to Edward’s suffocating control over Bella.
Another unhealthy thing featured in the Twilight series is the werewolf-little girl scenario. In the books, every werewolf is destined to have one true mate, whom the werewolf is unable to stay away from once the two met regardless of how old the ‘mate’ is. It is an elegant way of putting young men in complete control over 4-year-olds. I’m sorry to say that this part of the story suggests pedophilia, which is then extended throughout the later storyline.
In addition, did you know that Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon? I think that it’s possible that her religious views have influenced her writing. In Mormon-based religious sects (like the polygamous Bountiful community here in BC), young girls are often promised to older men. In fact, they are claimed by men, just like how the werewolves of the Twilight series claim other girls due to an innate attraction.
Now I am okay with reading this saga and with people falling in love with it. Hell! I couldn’t put it down when I was reading it! Nevertheless, I think readers should think about what sort of information they are unconsciously absorbing from the read. Take a step back, and think about all the things besides “OH MY GOD! EDWARD!” They actually might find themselves figuring out about what sort of behaviours are being normalized by this depiction of abusive relationships. One should know: there are people in the real world who are in situations where 12-year-old girls are promised to marry a 60-year-old once they reach a certain age. Before becoming too obsessed, readers must realize that what they are reading should not be desired by anybody in real life.
By: Christopher Ly, Matina Kamdar, and Thea Sample, Grade 9
Homelessness Action Week On Wednesday October 14, a group of Windermere students volunteered at Rosary Hall in downtown eastside during the Homelessness Action Week. The event lasted for one week. At the event, volunteers came to help the homeless. Many organizations and volunteers were needed every day of the week in order to make this event successful. Some of the things that were offered to the homeless were clothes, hygiene kits, haircuts, housing information, social services, a healthy lunch, and pet food. As for the volunteers, our job was to hand out hygiene kits and interview people about their everyday life experiences. The hygiene kits consisted of band-aids, a basic emergency kit, shampoo and conditioner, nail clippers, socks, gloves, a toothbrush, deodorant, and hand sanitizer.