Rocket News Now

  • McNicholas Swim Team holds annual Lap-A-Thon by Madeline Scott

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, McNick’s swim team held its second annual Lap-A-Thon event to raise money for the Josh Cares Foundation. In total, the team raised over $350 for the patients of Children’s Hospital Medical Center.The Lap-A-Thon came to McNick through juniors Ashley Dundon and Kristen Rehl, who both volunteer on the Josh Cares student advisory board.

“I think the event went really well, and it was exciting to see everyone involved and willing to participate,” Dundon said. “Our team is a lot smaller than last year- about half the size- but we were still able to raise a good amount of money for the organization.”

Josh Cares, named after a young boy whose organs were donated to save others after he lost his life in a car accident, is a non-profit organization that provides care and comfort to seriously ill children by giving them companionship when their family members can’t. Known as “Child Life Fellows,” these professionally trained workers give the children love, support, and aid during their extended stays at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

In order to raise money, swim team members were asked to collect donations and pledges. For every dollar they raised, students earned a paper chain link. These links were added to the display at the Sycamore Plaza across from Kenwood Mall on Saturday, Dec. 15 during the “Chain of Love” Open House to raise awareness about the organization. If you are interested in volunteering with Josh Cares, talk to Ashley Dundon or visit the Josh Cares website for more information.

  • 56 McNicholas students inducted into National Honor Society by Sarah RuweThe McNicholas Altiora Chapter of the National Honor Society inducted 56 juniors and seniors on Tuesday, Nov. 13.To be chosen, students have to have a weighted GPA of 90 percent, take advanced classes, and complete an application and essay outlining why they are qualified for NHS.

    Ms. Michelle Semancik, co-moderator of NHS, is pleased with the group they inducted. “It’s based on the pillars of academics, character, service, and leadership,” Semancik said. If the students showed that they met these characteristics in their application, they were invited to be inducted. At the induction, each student signed his or her name in the membership book and took an oath promising to be devoted to the four pillars.

    “I thought it was a really amazing ceremony and it recognized those who are constantly dedicating themselves to the school,” said Madison Hartwell, a junior who was inducted. “It’s a good feeling to get the recognition for working really hard.”

  • Winter sports struggle to find coaches is over by Hayley ColdironAfter a scare of not having a coach this season, the Swimming and Diving Team has found a new coach, Mrs. Tessa Lengerich.“I am happy we found a new swim coach,” junior Kristen Rehl said.  “She has lots of experience since she used to be a competitive swimmer when she was in high school.  She is also an athletic trainer, so she makes sure we are doing well and are healthy.”Unfortunately, the Women’s Bowling Team was unable to find a coach.  However, the lack of a coach was not the only thing preventing a team from forming this year.  Not enough girls signed up, either.  “I hope we can find more girls so we can have a team next year,” former bowler Caroline Castleman said.

    Luckily, the girls who showed interest in being on the bowling team still have an opportunity to bowl together, despite the fact that they cannot form a team.  “[Men’s Bowling Coach] Mr. Combs offered to let the girls use one of their lanes during practice,” Castleman said.

  • Hollenkamp wins annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest by Madeline ScottOn Wednesday Oct 31, the McNicholas English Department held its Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest, which allowed students from all grades to bring in pumpkins decorated as different literary characters. The English Department then voted on their favorites, and winners were announced at the end of the day. First place was awarded to sophomore Michelle Hollenkamp for her “James and the Giant Peach” pumpkins; second place was awarded to sophomore Reagan Powers for her “Moby Dick” pumpkin; and third place was awarded to sophomore Trevor Lynd for his “12 Angry Men” pumpkins. As a prize, Hollenkamp, Powers, and Lynd received Barnes and Noble giftcards for $20, $15, and $10 respectively.“I have always liked James and The Giant Peach, so the idea just kind of came to me,” Hollenkmap said. “I worked pretty hard on all of the decorating, so I was happy to hear that I’d won.”
  • McNicholas Service Club participates in new book drive by Sarah RuweThe McNicholas Service Club is now donating to a book drive for the Jeffrey Thomas Hayden Foundation (JTHF).JTHF was founded to raise brain cancer awareness by the family of Jeff Hayden, a Lakota student who died of brain cancer in 2004.  His cousin, Maia Forman, is a freshman at McNick and started a school collection through the Service Club for the foundation’s annual book drive. Besides books, they also collect stickers, journals, CDs, DVDs, and arts and crafts supplies.“The collected items are donated to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Child Life department,” Forman said. “There they will be distributed to the patients in time for the holiday season. Some of the smaller toys may be given as incentives for children as they go through their treatments.”Sam Roflow, religion teacher and moderator of Service Club, has a collection box in his classroom in the religion hall. Donations will be accepted until Oct. 31.
  • McNicholas students and staff to celebrate local veterans at Veterans Day Breakfast by Sarah RuweOn Nov. 9, McNicholas will be holding a breakfast to celebrate local military veterans. McNicholas alumni who have served, as well as any other local veterans, will be invited to enjoy breakfast with some of the students and faculty members.The event will begin with a short prayer service, followed by a full continental breakfast.  Some students from the Social Studies classes will be selected to attend, and will be allowed to invite their family members who were in the service.”We’re hoping it will be a fun event for the students to talk with veterans,” said Jim Hay, the head of the Military Memorial Committee.  “It was inspired by a thought that students could appreciate what freedom means and thank the people who fought to provide it.”This is a new event sponsored by the Military Memorial Committee, the group who built and maintain the McNicholas Military Memorial in honor of alumni who lost their lives while serving our country. The committee also sponsors scholarships at for incoming freshman, with special priority given to students who come from military families.
  • McNicholas students to participate in Future Focus Day by Hayley ColdironOn Oct. 8 and 9, juniors and seniors will participate in Future Focus Day.  “Future Focus Day is a day where about fifty college representatives come to McNicholas,” guidance counselor Cindy Weeks said.  “Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to go to four sessions to see presentations about certain colleges.”  Students will be required to make a list of their top eight session priorities.  The priorities will be reviewed and the students will receive their Future Focus Day schedules shortly after that.  The colleges will be from all across the nation, including some local colleges like the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University, Miami University, and Northern Kentucky University.According to Weeks, it would be beneficial for students to research colleges that they don’t know much about.  Weeks would also advise students to ask questions at the end of the presentations, whether the questions be about specific colleges or general college application questions.  “The representatives are experts in reviewing college essays and applications and can be very helpful,” Weeks said.
  • Seniors work to keep Homecoming Floats by Madeline Scott

A class float competition is now officially part of the 2012 McNicholas Homecoming, despite previous plans to replace it with a hallway decorating contest.  Every year, the junior class is in charge of Homecoming, and for 2012 the juniors initially decided to replace the float competition. They felt that poor participation on the Float Committees forced a small group of students from each grade to be responsible for the entire float, and that the tradition was more trouble than it was worth.

When this was announced, many seniors in Student Council were against the proposal, and immediately worked to keep the old tradition. During one class bell, senior Tony Losekamp received 39 signatures on a petition in support of Homecoming floats. Losekamp also posted on the Facebook McNicholas High School Alumni page to make past students aware the tradition might be changed. When Homecoming Committee saw the efforts being made to keep the float competition, it decided not to change it.

“I have been involved in float building every year, and I think it is a great source of class pride,” Losekamp said. “This tradition is part of who we are as Rockets, and I think it’s important to get underclassmen involved and start their school spirit early. I know that some classes don’t get as involved, but I think it’s something everyone should get excited about.”

  • Seniors stopped by a closed campus by Madeline Scott

McNicholas is now a closed campus school, according to Principal Patty Beckert.  Students are not permitted to leave the campus during the school day, in particular the senior class which has been allowed “off-campus” lunches since 2010. Beckert feels keeping seniors on campus will not only build a sense of community among grade levels, but also keep students safe.

“My main focus is the safety and security of McNicholas students,” Beckert said. “It’s very hard for the school to put preventative measures in place when we have over 100 seniors coming in and out during lunch. Teenagers have to deal with a lot of distractions like texting and making it back for class, and there is an increased chance for trouble with the whole situation.”

Beckert, however, is open to discussing alternative senior privileges. During the first Student Council meeting, senior representatives presented ideas, and Beckert is currently reviewing them. The ideas included midterm exam exemptions, out-of-uniform days, and lunch catering.

  • Exam exemptions offered to underclassmen  by Madeline Scott

Underclassmen with a 93 or above average in a class are now eligible for a final exam exemption.  Previously, only seniors with an 85 average or above in a class could be exempt from that class’s final exam.  For the Class of 2012, the necessary average will remain an 85. Next year, the policy will change again so that every student, even seniors, will need a 93 average or higher to be exempt from final exams.

“I’ve always thought this was a good motivator,” Director of Curriculum Dan Rosenbaum said. “By offering this reward for hard work, it will keep students engaged and attentive up until the final days of the year. Getting a 93 average takes work, and I feel students will actually learn the final chapters and work on the tests if they know it will pay off at the end.”

Despite this, some faculty members were concerned this change will make kids less prepared for college exams. While Rosenbaum doesn’t think it will be a problem, he agrees that the first couple years with this system will be “trial and error.”

“Even if a student is exempt from every final exam in their high school career, they’ll still have to take 28 midterm exams,” Rosenbaum said. “On top of that, students go through various standardized testing, not to mention the tests they take for their everyday classes. While there will be some things we need to work out, like the exams for semester classes, I don’t think students will be less ready for college.

  • Paradise Parking lot closed for 4-6 weeks   by Madeline Scott

As McNicholas student drivers now know, Paradise is currently under construction and cannot be used for a parking lot. Although there are plans for the parking lot to be open in 4 to 6 weeks, this could change depending on funding.

“I’m afraid I really can’t give you any specifics,” Director of Athletics Rob Heise said. “My best guess on the current phase with the funding we have available would be another 4-6 weeks. The poor timing is a result of delays getting zoning approval and permits from the city of Cincinnati.”

One thought on “Rocket News Now

  1. Hi I’m a teacher lariarbin in Vic at a primary school and just getting a blog ready to use with our students for the first time. I’m very impressed with your blogs. I wondered if students really would like writing on line, but I can see you all have heaps to write about and spend time making you entries interesting for your readers. I’m keener than ever to let my classes start blogging.Good luck with the rest of your year. I look forward to popping in again and seeing all the updates.From Mrs C: Thanks for visiting and for some feedback. When you get your blogs up and running, please let us know where they are so that we can visit.

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