April is Autism awareness month, however, every day is Autism awareness day in our homes. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that people affected by it can have a wide range of symptoms with varying severity. It is NOT the same as Mental Retardation, a condition that presents with below-average intelligence and a lack of skills necessary for life, although that's what some people associate it with. There are many indications of Autism including social symptoms, communication difficulties, and repetitive behaviors. However, every single case of Autism is different. On the website, Autism Speaks, this is stated: "It is sometimes said that if you know one person with Autism, you know one person with Autism." Currently one out of one hundred and ten children in the United States is affected by Autism.
One out of seventy boys has Autism. My brother is one of them.
One out of two-hundred and eighty girls has Autism. My sister is one of them.
When I was eleven, an eighth-grade boy came up to me and said, "Hey, you're the girl with the retarded brother, right?" He laughed. I freaked out. Sure, this isn't something I hadn't heard before. In fact, I'd heard it many times. Kids would commonly mistake my brother for a boy with Mental Retardation, but I think what made me so angry was the fact that somebody older than me was so misinformed, so unaware of how offensive he was. That sickened me the most. That was in 2006, when one out of 166 boys was diagnosed with Autism. Since then the numbers have gone up, way up.
Autism isn't a disease. It isn't something that can be cured with treatments or medications. My brother, Shaun Abell, is nineteen years old, a senior here at Buena. Maybe you've heard of him, maybe you've seen him around. Well, Shaun has had to live with Autism all his life. He never had a choice. So when kids decide to make fun of him for something he has no control over, you can imagine how angry that makes me.
Shaun was diagnosed with Autism when my mother was pregnant with me. By the time I was born, he still wasn't speaking, and he was three years old. He's my only sibling and his Autism is all I've even known. From an outsider's perspective he's too different to handle. In my eyes, he's beautiful. He's clever and absolutely hilarious. He changed the way I see the world, and when he's happy he lights up the room. Sometimes when I tell people about Shaun's Autism they apologize, but I don't think that's necessary. To me, Autism is what I'm used to, what I think of when I hear the word "brother". To me, Autism is normal.
My sister has Autism. I can never remember a time in my life when I didn't know she has Autism. It's not bad, it's not good, it's just normal for my family. When I was younger, I had no clue what Autism was. She was my big sister, and that was it- no label, no diagnosis. She was diagnosed when she was in grade school. I was maybe five or six at the time of her diagnosis. I don't remember it too well. I just know that one day, the word Autism became intricately linked with my sister.
When my sister was first diagnosed, it was a diagnosis of high-functioning Autism. Later on, they would change that diagnosis to Asperger's Syndrome (very high-functioning Autism), but now they're combining both to form the Autism spectrum. So she once again has high functioning Autism. Luckily, because of her diagnosis, her symptoms aren't as severe as they could be. However, she still has them.
During my sister’s schooling years, Autism was an almost unheard of diagnosis. Unless you knew someone with Autism, most people didn't really understand what "Autism" meant. So, my sister's peers didn't understand why she did some of the things she did and, well, kids can be cruel. But, my sister is not her condition. She graduated from Buena just like my oldest sister did, and just like I will. People just need to understand what Autism is.
Autism is a disorder that affects many peoples' lives and yet it is rarely understood. Hopefully you all have gained some insight and understanding about not only our siblings' situation, but every other Autistic individual's condition as well. Sadly, scientists have yet to find a cause of Autism and yet the rate is rising every year. We strongly encourage you to gain further knowledge and visit www.AutismSpeaks.org. This is a growing issue in our society and people should be aware of it.
It was a cold, rainy night on March 24, but thankfully the Japan Benefit concert was in doors. Seriously, it was held in the library!
The “Not-So-Silent-Library” Concert was a huge success, with upwards of 65 people filling up the middle of the library and observing some of the best performers at this school. The stars of the night were: Andy Osaidacz, Jacob Wood, Kyle Hahn, and Mr. Joel Levin. They all rocked the acoustic guitar, even Mr. Levin brought out his signature harmonica and banjo for some good folk-fun and Steinbeck chest thumping beats. Everybody truly did an outstanding job, raising a total of 350 dollars. All the money is going to the charity organization, Samaritans Purse.
Andy Osaidacz opened the event with some of his usual humor and carried some nice tunes, perhaps next time he will be a main event! After his leave, shortly after beginning due to a volleyball game (Go boys-volleyball!), Mr. Levin stepped up on stage.
His nerdy, yet rhythmical, quirky, yet extremely charming songs about his new daughter Alex, to a Steinbeck book, really created an amazing atmosphere. His Far From Kansas songs were fantastic, but I believe the most memorable one hands down is his cover of Celo Green’s song “Forget You”; taking me back to Gweneth Paltrow’s rendition of it on Glee, to be honest. Even with the crowd doing the “oh-oh-oooo!” the intimacy and comfort penetrated the nervousness of all performers.
Jacob Wood and Kyle Hahn really debuted at the event, and took all of us by storm. Jacobs high notes and Kyle’s romantic love song, to be honest, melted the hearts of every girl in the room—teenager and adult alike! The chemistry of the two best friends in front of an audience was mesmerizing, what a team. The songs Jacob wrote were poetic, catchy, and truly fantastic. The obvious love theme in all of them was beautifully worded, and eloquently preformed. But sorry ladies, these boys are taken, by some of the luckiest and most deserving girls at this school!
I digress; moreover, this night of singing fun songs and exploring some talent in the name of fundraising ended in a lot of laughs, some funny stops-mid-song with a comment or a quick “oops!”, and a ton of money raised. Since this will hopefully be a monthly thing, I strongly encourage all students to attend! If you are interested in becoming the next star at an upcoming concert, go to the library where you will find Mr. Levin, and see if you will become the school’s new rock star!
Students and staff here at Buena High School are sad to see the loved English teacher and Student Assistance Program (SAP) advisor, Mrs. Kochel, retire after being part of the Bulldog family for twenty-six years.
For those of you who don’t know what her Student Assistance Program is, they’re support groups. Their main focuses vary from family issues to drug abuse issues. The most popular group is Anger Management. Not only does she do SAP but she is very committed to English Language Development (ELD) and helping people learn the English language. As you can see Mrs. Kochel is very involved with the student body and she really knows how to connect with them. “My heart is with the students,” she said with a smile.
Not only is she a teacher but she is also a lawyer. She works in her husband’s law firm dealing with wills and trusts. She prefers teaching because in her words, “being a lawyer is too serious.” She is in her second marriage with whom she’s been with for over twenty years. She has two children, thirty-three and thirty-six, and two granddaughters, three and one. After retirement she plans on continuing helping her husband’s law firm out but she’s mostly looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren, daughter-in-law, painting and writing. She loves reading, walking and playing the piano, so I’m sure she’ll be spending a lot of time doing that. When I asked her why she chose now to retire, she said, “It’s just time to make a change.”
Don’t be too worried you won’t ever see her again because she is planning on subbing the first two periods of the day until June. If you haven’t met her, stop by her classroom and say hello! Mrs. Kochel, we at Buena wish you a very happy retirement and we’ll miss you!
Thank you for all the hard work and dedication you’ve put into Buena High School throughout the years, we really appreciate it!
In the last hours of the 111th Congress, the democratic majority passed three landmark bills. Among these are the 9/11 First Responders Act, a Nuclear Arms treaty with Russia, and the most controversial and bitter: the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. These decisive victories for the Obama administration and the Democratic Party are significant in our politics, but not as significant as it is to the armed forces. I applaud Congress in their decision to repeal DADT.
Before 1993, the US Armed Forces could proceed in investigations to determine the sexual orientation of the soldier in question. After determining the sexual orientation, the military could court martial and dishonorably discharge the soldier from combat. During the Clinton administration, Congress passed the law “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, or DADT. This prevented the military from inquiring on sexual orientation, but still granted the power to fire a military personal who openly admitted to being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. For the time, this was the compromise to end all compromises, however the repeal of DADT now allows for openly gay soldiers to remain in the military, and quite frankly, it’s about time.
For the past decade and a half, gay activists, humanitarians, and civil liberties lawyers have tried ceaselessly to do away with the military’s discrimination. The top two military officials in the country, Admiral Mike Mullen (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense) have come out (excuse the pun) against discriminating against the brave men and women who help to defend our country. I feel that the top military brass, not any politician, should have the final word to the rules of the military. Soldiers polled have revealed that most of them do not find it offensive or dangerous to the military to allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve their country. If both the soldiers serving and the top military officials have given gays the o.k., then why on earth is this even debate?
One point of those against the repeals the fact that we are changing a major military law in the middle of the war. Some argue that we should stay the debate until our troops are home safely and out of harms way. The truth is, if we are in a war which has lasted so long and is apparently so unstable, then why not recruit as many willing soldiers as possible including those of all sexual orientations.
I applaud Congress for their foresight into this issue. The repeal of DADT marks a new era in civil rights for all people. All major civil rights legislation was controversial when it was passed but looking back upon them, most Americans find them not only appropriate but what is expected. In twenty years, we will all reflect back on this and nod our heads approvingly.
Sports documentaries have come and gone over the past decades, from informing sports fanatics about the past, to just documenting one’s life obsession of sports. But ever since ESPN aired the unprecedented “30 for 30” series to celebrate their upcoming 30th anniversary of informing the world of sports news, sports documentaries have never met this high of a standard before. The series features 30 of today’s finest storytellers who chronicle 30 remarkable sports from the ESPN era. Each storyteller brings their very own passion and point of view to the film detailing the issues and events that transformed the sports landscape since 1979. These films will move you to breaking down in tears, to giving you the chills, to inspiring somebody to become something more.
The films grip not necessarily the most famous things that have gone on over the last three decades of sports but instead the most interesting stories, often stories that don’t reach the surface of the sports world. This is what makes the “30 for 30” series that much more gripping. For the most part, sports fans have to endure pretty lame treatments of the culture surrounding the games we watch. There are the shrieking furies of talk shows, which really just provide sensational, often grotesque amplifications of the event we’ve already seen, or reduce it to a militaristic, statistical analysis, with virtually no effort made to decipher the anthropological or social meaning implicit in the game. Fortunately the documentaries that ESPN produces have more in common with literature than they do with box scores. They’re really social documents, rooting themselves in a particular time, place, and experience that speaks to a much larger and more lasting reality than what happened on the field.
The storyteller use methods to present their film not in the run of the mill ways but instead methods such as cut-and-paste documentary template, the movies tell their stories through video clips, archival photographs and interviews with the participants and observers of the time, and through this pastiche a clear picture of what happened and what it might mean emerges. In one episode the story uses entirely no narrator, using only video clips from that day in sports, news, and video camera footage to depict his story of one day in sports. The list of methods goes on and on, there’s just too many brilliant techniques these storyteller use to convey their memory of the sport story they’re depicting.
The ESPN “30 for 30” documentary series has surpassed the typical or customary barrier for not just sports documentaries but in fact all documentaries with their sense of storytelling and usage of the series to inform all sports fans that the life of sports isn’t about the most famous things but instead the things that matter most. ESPN airs this program from time to time but not on a consistent basis, but for most of the time the show airs on Thursday nights if there’s a new episode.