In spring 2022, the Village Voice newsroom is launching a special news project: in place of our usual issues, we’ll be publishing breaking news throughout the term on our site, https://villagehomenews.wordpress.com/.
We’ll still summarize our work in a quarterly newsletter, but check out our new page for the latest from VH.
Vol. IV Issue III Editor: August Sharp Assistant Editor: Annika Elliott’
Table of Contents Meet the Landlords by Annika Elliott Mary Poppins Jr.: Practically Perfect in Every Way By Lena Finn-Hall Coffee on the Corner by Oliver Meskell A Day in the life of the Otter by Oliver Meskell
Meet the Landlords
By Annika Elliott
Village Home (VH) has been run by our director Lori Walker since its founding in 2002, but over time there have been many other people involved. The members at Bethel Church helped VH become what it is today, along with other homeschooling families that Lori worked with in the initial founding.
In 2002, Lori reached out over the online message board Yahoo Groups to a few other homeschooling families she knew and shared her initial idea. Others liked it and wanted to help out. The idea was that there would be a community for homeschoolers, and learners could be taught by someone other than their parents without having to go to a brick-and-mortar school.
When VH was founded, they were using a building around Oleson road, but not long after they ended up outgrowing the small space and looking for something bigger. That’s when Lori found Bethel Church and their building on the corner of 5th and Watson.
She drove by a few times and saw that the building separate from the church seemed to be empty during the school days, so she reached out. The church let her know that they weren’t able to do any other program in the building other than church activities due to the fact that they didn’t have the right permit. So Lori responded that VH would “go get the permit” and thought that that venture would be quite easy.
Unfortunately, the process was complicated. The permit needed was similar to the one that brick-and-mortar schools need to have. Extra safety measures needed to be put into the building and, since it was (and is) such an old building, many normal things like water sprinklers weren’t already installed.
Working with Bethel church, VH founders were able to fix up the building to a state where it was safe to operate as a school and they’d be able to get the permit. They then worked with the city to get a new permit, which took around 6-7 months to get done because there are many steps to go through. Only three days before fall term started, they got the completed permit and VH has been in this building ever since.
Initially, Bethel church used this building for Sunday school, and the county’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. VH is now the building’s main use, but, Sunday school and ESL classes still both happen and the building is able to be used more fully.
Bethel Church has always called the building the Education Hall and, before Lori reached out, the church had been in the process of reaching out to a few other groups that might have been able to use the space due to the fact that it wasn’t getting much use during the weekdays. But after Lori reached out with the VH idea, Bethel loved it and particularly loved the spectrum of people it would welcome to the space.
Bethel Church especially liked the idea of the VH “community” and the idea of VH aligned with the church’s mission of educating and being quite accepting.
Throughout VH’s time, there have been difficulties. Initially, sharing the new space was very different. But as time has gone on, a strong relationship has formed between our landlords and the VH community.
As senior pastor David Randell-Bodman says when discussing Lori Walker, “She’s a wonderful leader, as well as a very kind and compassionate person, and she has the ability to pull people together to work well as a team.”
Mary Poppins Jr.: Practically Perfect in Every Way
By Lena Finn-Hall
Mary Poppins Jr. debuted this weekend as Village Home’s(VH) first in-person musical since the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The musical ran through 18th and 19th of March at the Sherwood Center for the Arts, with three performances. Tickets are available online.
The plot of Mary Poppins follows the mischievous Banks children as they get a new nanny, Mary Poppins, who teaches them life lessons, all while singing, disobeying the laws of physics with magic, and never forgetting to have a sense of fun.
Mary Poppins was the first show directed by Village Home instructor Betty Hamrick. Betty started teaching at VH fall 2021, and she currently teaches multiple classes about the performing arts for ages 5-18.
Betty has been directing and choreographing since high school. She has directed various college productions and after that she started working in children’s theater for KidStage and The Academy of Children’s Theater.
Director Betty says her favorite part of Mary Poppins has been the dance choreography, “Making up and teaching dances has been such a passion of mine since childhood. It is still something I do for fun and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to do this as my job.”
The musical is based on the classic Disney movie of the same name, but it has been changed in a few important ways.
“The movie and Junior musical are surprisingly pretty different from each other. Several subplots have been taken out of the story that were in the film and others have been added,” Betty said. “For example, in the musical, we get to meet George’s nanny, Ms. Andrew, who doesn’t appear in the movie.”
There are also several new songs that have been added, but all the beloved songs from the movie remain, such as A Spoonful of Sugar, Feed the Birds and Step in Time.
When asked about their favorite parts of being in the musical, cast members praised the close, supportive environment, and the fun musical numbers like Jolly Holiday and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Ezria Graul, who plays Mary Poppins, says one of her favorite parts about the musical are the elaborate costumes.
Director Betty says her favorite moment is Feed the Birds. “It is an important moment for the children when they open their eyes and see humanity in a real and underprivileged way.”
Coffee on the Corner
By Oliver Meskell
On the surface
Just a few blocks away from Village Home, Ava’s is a fun little coffee shop, adequate for seating needs.With about 50 seats inside, and 54 outside, Ava’s has the potential to be rather chaotic.
Instead, it is a lovely and calm environment, with peaceful conversations around you, and a lovely outdoor fountain river. Ava’s environment makes a great place to study, write, or eat on break – and they have free wi-fi.
There are two main reasons to go to Ava’s as an alternative to usual hangouts like the Beaverton library. The first reason is the talkative environment, allowing for louder conversations than other spaces. The second reason is the food.
The price range of the food and drinks ranges from two dollars to nine dollars. The food consists of a variety of baked goods, chocolate chip muffins being a favorite of many customers. Also among the food are amazing zuzus, fabulous cream cheese turnovers, as well as a wide selection of cake and other treats.
When it comes to drinks, Ava’s has two main customer favorites: coffee and chai tea. They make their own coffee, and it is highly praised by customers. The coffee is very hot, and is amazing on a cold day. The chai tea has a variety of spices mixed into it, making it very flavorful and interesting.
From the staff
An anonymous staff member shared that they enjoy the non-stressful and community oriented work environment. The staff even get to make their own drinks from time to time, and they theme them around the seasons, such as a special type of cupcake in the fall. The staff member enjoys the summer pina colada that they made at one point.
Overall, Ava’s is a fun and worthwhile place to spend your time.
A Day in the Life of the Otter
By Oliver Meskell
Otter visits the lodge
Otter went to the scout lodge! In the snow!
Looks pretty cold out there doesn’t it, Otter!
Wow, Otter! Look at the huge lodge chimney! I wonder how long it took them to build that thing? Probably a while! Good thing the ranger is really
That’s a lot of board games Otter!
I see you have found the ping pong table Otter! Having fun?
What a day! Goodnight Otter!
All credit to the BSA winter lodge and to the lovely ranger who allowed me to photograph the winter lodge for this segment.
Tabletop role playing games, or TTRPGs, are a genre that has been becoming more numerous in the last few years. TTTRPGS are characterized by a cooperative story-telling method, a “Game-Master” (GM) that describes the game world and constructs adventures, and dice-based systems to resolve problems.
The first TTRPG that was ever made, Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D, is a fantasy role playing game in its fifth edition. With a wealth of resources and worlds, D&D is a relatively good TTRPG for beginners, as well as those who want a generic fantasy TTRPG.
While D&D has a free set of downloadable Basic Rules, the Player’s Handbook, with all the rules and mechanics, can be bought for about $30. For those who want to GM a game, the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual can be bought for another $30 each.
D&D is a game made for people 13 and up. However, the Young Adventurer’s Guide collection is a modified version of the game made for kids, and the game can always be run for kids if the GM so chooses.
Starfinder is a science fiction TTRPG. While the rules are a bit more complicated than D&D, it stays relatively similar in mechanics and tone. Set in a world where every species’ culture was wiped from their collective memories by a strange phenomenon around the same time as the advent of space travel, Starfinder blends magic and futuristic science fiction into a well-done blend that manages to stay cohesive and easy to understand.
The Starfinder core rule book can be bought for about $50 and contains all the necessary rules to both play and GM the game.
Pathfinder is another game that, while made for players 13 and up, can be GMed in such a way as to be appropriate for all ages, though the mechanics will likely be hard to grasp by younger kids.
LANCER is another sci-fi TTRPG, this one set in a far future where humanity has spread across the galaxy, and after several apocalypses and false starts, is striving to create the best world it can. The game focuses on combat while piloting giant mechs, interspersed with scenes of loose, unrestricted role-play.
The LANCER RPG doesn’t have any physical rule books. The basic rules of LANCER are completely free, and a player can do just fine with those, but if you want to GM the game, the full rule book is $25.
LANCER deals with some heavier topics, so it’s a game made pretty solidly for audiences of people 13 and up.
Book Review: Wings of Fire
By Oliver Meskell
In the land of Pyrrhia, dragon tribes fly over the scorching sands of the sand kingdom. In the stunning Tui T. Sutherland series Wings of Fire, you look through the eyes of a dragon and humans play a secondary role in the majority of the books.
Through the three dramatic arcs, you will follow three different groups of dragons as they attempt to right the wrongs of the dragon planet. This series plays with racial, communal, and power issues and brings them to light through the eyes of the dragons. Sutherland portrays crises troubling modern-day societies from all over the world and puts her own spin on them, flying them through the dragon world and landing them at beautiful, thoughtful conclusions.
Even though Wings of Fire deals with difficult subjects, it is a guaranteed laugh, with funny characters and a great plot. Not recommended for children under the age of nine (due to violence).
In conclusion, this is one of my all-time favorite series and will make you think about our society’s issues in a whole new light. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Talula’s Paw-some Pets
By Lena Finn-Hall
Talula, 15, has a lot of pets: four dogs, four chickens, two rabbits, and two cats. One of their rabbits, Beeps, only has three legs. Beeps moves around fairly well but needs her right ear cleaned since she can’t reach it by herself. The pet Talula has had the longest is their cat, Bernadette, which they found as a stray.
“I love having so many pets, always someone around to keep me company. It can be hard to do things like leave the house for any even somewhat extended period of time (like anything longer than like a few hours) because there are so many animals to get people to pet sit or to take with us. Overall I think it’s great to have so many creatures but it has its challenges.”
Talula participates in Model UN and Mock Trial at Village Home (VH). They chose these classes because of their interest in government. Outside of VH, they take classes at Clackamas Community College. Talula says starting college was a bit of a difficult change at first, but now they’ve settled in. Out of all their classes, Mock Trial is their favorite and they plan to continue taking classes at VH in the future.
In Talula’s free time they enjoy making origami, reading (especially fantasy), and listening to music. Currently, their favorite artists are Marina, Mother Mother, Beach Bunny, and Penelope Scott.
Alive and Wheel at Daker Rally
By Chase Williams
Just over a week ago one of the greatest racing events took place: the Dakar Rally. Racing through thousands of miles of treacherous and desolate desert over 10-15 days with only a book of directions to guide you to the checkpoints, this is not a challenge for the faint of heart. It is so hard in fact, it’s not uncommon for almost half the competitors to not make it to the finish. Even sStill, this year, over 750 competitors showed up in cars, trucks, buggies and motorbikes, and many more watched eagerly from home. Everyone from company-sponsored professional teams to amateurs who built a buggy in their garage were able to join, in fact, these private/ameteur ure teams made up the vast majority of competitors. There are minimal regulations for joining the rally, which is very special for this kind of race, since most of them require lots of prior experience, which can hinder newcomers greatly.
So how did this race come to be? This racing giant all started with one man getting lost in a desert while in a race aà la The Little Prince – but when he got back to the safety of his home in France he found himself still enthralled and obsessed with the adventure he had just had. So, naturally, he set up a new race through the desert and the legend was born. Starting at the Place du Trocadéro in the cold Paris winter of 1978, and ending up in the city of Dakar, hence the name Paris-Dakar (later changed to simply “Dakar Rally”). At the very first event over 180 vehicles showed up, a lot of them looking like something put together with parts from the scrapyard, but nonetheless the event was a huge success and continued and evolved for decades to come.
Job Profile: Underwater Archeology
By Lena Finn-Hall
When thinking of archeology, most of us don’t start underwater, but shipwrecks and flooded towns are well-preserved treasure troves of history. Because, until recently, humans haven’t been able to access even moderate depths, it’s possible to find artifacts that haven’t been disturbed for thousands of years.
These finds come at a price though, the ocean provides many new challenges; being able to conduct an expedition depends entirely on the weather and tides cooperating. It’s also risky bringing the artifacts to the surface, since water corrodes some materials and makes them delicate, and strong water currents can break them. Most underwater archeology is done with scuba diving, but for less accessible places, submarines are also used.
Underwater archaeology is a challenging and extremely exciting field that is just beginning to develop. If you have an interest in history and marine exploration, this is an interesting career path to look into. To become an underwater archaeologist, you’ll need a degree in archaeology and advanced scuba diving skills.
With the return to online learning and grey winter days, it’s easy to get off track with your education. It doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some engaging resources to recharge your education and break the winter doldrums.
Cricket Media Ages: 1-14 This company publishes excellent magazines on science, history, culture, and literature. These are for toddlers all the way up to early teens. With magazines, the themes of each issue are always different which keeps things fresh while homeschooling. The magazines are $5 per issue and they publish nine times per year.
Online College Courses (edX, Cousera, MIT Open Courseware) Ages: 13+ With college courses online, learning on a higher level is now more accessible for teens than ever. Some of the most popular websites are Cousera and edX, which feature courses from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Yale, and Berklee. Auditing the courses is usually free, but degrees and transfer credit, along with additional resources, are available for a fee. These platforms offer a wide range of courses on subjects that are hard to find in person.
Starfall Ages: 3-7 Starfall is a website for learning the basics of math and reading through games. It’s designed for little kids, so it’s ad-free and simple to navigate. The basic version is free and doesn’t require an account, while a full membership is $35 per year.
Khan Academy: Smarthistory Ages: 13+ Khan Academy’s most popular subject is math, but an equally great, less-known feature is their course on art history. Made by the organization Smarthistory, the course is a fascinating look at art throughout history, and the cultures that made them. Like the rest of Khan Academy, It’s entirely free.
Do you have a resource you’d like to share with other learners? What are you doing to keep your education exciting? Share your tip and you just might be featured on the Village Voice Instagram!
Meet the Learner: Luke Pippin
By Sabrina Martinhorst
Luke Pippin is a true renaissance learner, enjoying engineering, music, and the outdoors; particularly skiing, camping, and hiking with his Boy Scout troop. Luke, (he/him) age 13, is in his tenth year at Village Home.
Luke listens to and plays a variety of music. He can play the guitar and piano, and he tries his hand at composing music. He appreciates a wide range of different genres, but he especially enjoys alt music, specifically Fall Out Boy.
Luke takes several music classes at Village Home including, Digital Music Production, Guitars and Ukuleles, and Jukebox music review. Luke also quite enjoys the Alchemy and Potions class, since he finds it exciting and fun to see how chemicals and substances can interact, and combine to make other things.
Another avid interest for Luke is engineering. He likes building things and figuring out how to make them work. He and some of his friends built an underwater remote control robot together. It has a camera and can move. It can’t go far though, because it’s wired to the remote.
Annika Abel, who has been Luke’s instructor in a number of Village Home classes over the years, said “Luke always has a comment to share in class. He has a good sense of humor and knows how to balance bringing some fun to class in his comments with keeping discussions on topic.”
By Oliver Meskell
Challenge Accepted is a class that takes inspiration from a part of Destination Imagination (DI), which is a program that encourages imagination and creativity, as well as the ability to function with limited materials. The part of DI it builds on is the instant challenge, in which participants have to build the requested structure using limited materials. An example from the course description reads: If you were facing a challenge to build the tallest structure you could and all you had to work with were 3 straws, 2 pipe cleaners, a paper cup, 6 mailing labels, and some paper, how would you do it?
Instructor Bobbi Burton challenges students to do this and more with her class, pushing students to new heights using only pipe cleaners and other like objects. The class has a friendly, competitive feel to it as students strive to make the tallest tower or the longest bridge, while still congratulating each other on the structures that they build. The class takes place at 12:00pm on Thursdays and is open to learners 9-11 years old.
Bobbi has been teaching at VH for a number of years and is currently teaching multiple other classes, including Discoverers on Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:45 and Lego Robotics on Thursdays at 2:30.
Under Bobbi’s guidance, Challenge Accepted provides a fun environment where students learn about engineering, teamwork, and creativity, as well as some of the fun, challenging aspects of the DI instant challenge.
Ask the Otter
Dear Otter, What is the meaning of life? Signed, Questioning
Dear Questioning, Otters don’t worry much about meaning, we’re busy looking for clams, playing in the water, exploring, and sleeping. Did you know otters sleep holding hands? But, I do believe life has a meaning and I think that sleeping is the key. Not the sleep part, the holding hands part. It’s connection. It’s connecting to others, helping, sharing. It’s love. –Otter
Dear Otter, I’ve been starting to learn Archery, do you know how? If so, do you have any tips? -Aspiring Archer
Dear Archer, Otters generally hurl our entire bodies at things, rather than just an arrow. It’s a bit more effective given our small arms (try pulling that arrow back when your arm is just a few inches long). However, my best advice for archery, or any new activity, is to practice, practice, and keep practicing. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t great at the beginning; learning takes time. Give yourself that time. –Otter
We’re back at it again with a Holiday edition of the paper! There is a ton of lively and entertaining activities to do from the comfort of your own home, along with some exciting winter stories this issue. Wishing you a cozy and festive holiday season!
The Winter Term schedule has some fantastic new offerings for learners of all ages.
The beloved Village Home musical makes its return with a plethora of offerings including Mary Poppins Musical Mondays from 10am to 2 pm and Props and Costumes on Fridays, also from 10 to 2.
Polymer Clay, Hands in Clay, and Little Hands in Clay, taught by the ever-popular Kristin Lake, will be back as three-week workshops on Fridays.
The Village Home team is hard at work finalizing the winter schedule with more new classes likely to be added. Winter break provides the perfect opportunity to peruse the schedule and find something new for the new year.
Speaking of new challenges, why not find out if journalism is for you? Sign up for the only class that puts learners in charge of a Village Home publication: Journalism: The Village Voice, Wednesdays at 1:15 online, ages 13+.
Worldwide Winter Traditions
By Annika Elliott
All around the world people and cultures have countless different ways of celebrating the holiday season. When talking about the “holiday season” that mainly includes November holidays, and of course, December holidays.
In México, many people celebrate Dia de los Muerto, or the Day of the Dead. Dia de Los Muerto is the celebration of dead relatives and ancestors. Legend holds that on November 1-2 spirits come back to visit their living relatives. The dead are commonly celebrated with flowers, festivals, food, and intricately designed skulls and skeletons. The skulls and skeletons are meant to signify death as a celebration of life, both past and present, and not something scary or sad.
In Italy many people celebrate Ognissanti. Ognissanti means “All saints day” and is a Catholic holiday celebrated November 1-2. Similar to Dia de Los Muertos, the celebrations of Ognissanti are about honoring dead ancestors who have come back to see their living relatives. People commonly leave food out for visiting spirits, as well as decorating the cemeteries with chrysanthemums.
The people of Guatemala also celebrate Dia de Los Muertos as well as the Barriletes Gigantes, or the Giant Kite Festival. The Giant Kite Festival is celebrated in Santiago Sacatepequez and Sumpango. To honor the dead, giant kites are built from local natural materials and then are flown around in cemeteries. This is from an ancient Mayan tradition that dates back over 3,000 years.
In India people celebrate Diwali. It is a festival of lights starting on November 4th. This holiday is one of the bigger and more important holidays of the year. The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali, which means “row of lighted lamps.” People celebrate by decorating their homes with diyas, small lamps, and other colorful lamps. There are also large and specifically intense firework shows to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
Another celebration in November is Guy Fawkes Day, celebrated on November 5th. Back in 1605 a man named Guy Fawkes tried and failed to assassinate King James I of England and VI of Scotland. In remembrance of his failure people celebrate by lighting big bonfires, and holding elaborate fireworks shows in the United Kingdom.
Moving onto December celebrations, in Sweden, they celebrate Santa Lucia Day, or Lucia’s Day. That is a celebration of their patron saint, Santa Lucia, or Saint Lucy. A common Santa Lucia tradition has the eldest daughter dress up in white and serve coffee and lussekatter, or saffron bread, to the rest of the family.
All around the world this month and next are filled with amazing holidays and traditions. What do you do to mark this season? Send us a picture of your holiday festivities at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you may see it in the next issue of the Village Voice or on our Instagram.
By Lena Finn-Hall
Regardless of age or budget, handmade gifts can be some of the best and most rewarding. They’re unique in that the giver spent their time and energy on them and they’re one of a kind, which arguably makes them better than store-bought presents. Here are some gift ideas that are almost as fun to make as to receive.
Bookmarks are one of the most customizable gifts to make. You can draw, paint, cut, put stickers on them, the possibilities are endless. This is a great craft for kids as well as teens and adults. Bookmarks make an even better gift when paired with a favorite novel.
Macrame, or the art of knotting, has made a huge comeback in recent years, and plant hangers, in particular, are incredibly popular. But don’t worry, macrame may look complex, but you can make a simple plant hanger in less than 30 minutes, and once you learn a few knots you can start to make far more complex pieces. Macrame can be made out of many different materials, including yarn, rope, and twine, but special macrame cord works best for most projects, and it’s the only material you need.
Bath salts are a great alternative to bath bombs, and they’re a lot simpler to make. All you need is salt or Epsom salt and essential oil. You can also add dried flowers and herbs to elevate it. Be careful though! Some essential oils can irritate skin, so it’s important to make sure you use the right ones in the right amounts and always have an adult help you.
In the winter, when you can’t spend much time outside, knitting is the perfect cozy activity, plus knit projects make great gifts. It’s simple to start, for traditional knitting all you need is needles and yarn so it’s an easy hobby to start. There are other ways to knit though, there’s hand knitting, which you only need yarn for, and many different kinds of knitting looms. A knit scarf is one of the easiest projects to start with, other beginner projects include hats, shawls, and baby blankets.
Day in the Life of Otter
By: Chase Williams
Otter always starts their holidays by shopping at the Entrepreneur’s Fair! It appears they bought a cool tote for their mother, a potholder for their father, who happens to be an excellent chef, some beautiful handmade pens, ornaments, and all kinds of fun gifts! And of course, they consumed a delectable snack, or two. After shopping, they appear to start decorating, but always seem to get a bit wrapped up in the holiday spirit!
HOW WILL OTTER GET OUT OF THIS PREDICAMENT? TELL US HOW AT email@example.com or @/village.voice on instagram!
By: Oliver Meskell and August Sharp
Oregon is a beautiful place, filled with wonderful sights. However as the weather grows colder, and the skies become more gloomy, it can be harder to go and see them. Following these simple steps, you can bring some of the glorious outdoors to you.
Plant care for tulips
Tulips require a lot of light, keep them in the full sun in the mornings and around noon, but make sure that they are in an area that is sheltered from the afternoon sun, as too much sunlight can destroy the flowers. Grow tulips in loose, crumbly soil, make sure the soil is slightly cool. Water tulips weekly, because flowers need water. Remember, growing flowers is a matter of rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. Tulips can be a very lovely plant if you care for them right, and they are quite pretty!
Plant care for cacti
Talking about the smaller forms of cacti, they don’t need much water. Just about a half cup of water every week or two. Cacti typically live in the desert, so sun is not that much of a problem. However, it’s important to note cacti cannot take 24-hour sunlight, but they can take up to 14 hours. Therefore, most homes are going to be just fine, just make sure you put your cactus in a bright and sunny environment. Cacti like sandy soil, or soil containing pebbles, in their pot. The soil also needs to be well-drained, so don’t just buy any soil, if possible, buy some specifically made for cacti. Cacti are great and can survive up to 10 years in your home.!
Plants can be difficult to grow and care for, but the end result will be worth it. Just give it the attention it needs and you’ll be rewarded with a superb sight. Have fun growing!
Voicing our Views: 5 Holiday Hits
By Chase Williams.
Think of a holiday scene, it doesn’t really matter which one, what do you see? Probably some snow, decorations, and music probably fits in there somewhere, too. Whether it’s from the radio or just from some jingle bells, music is one of the defining parts of the holiday season, and here are 5 favorites to get started.
Starting with a classic, it doesn’t really matter which version of this catchy tune you pick, it’s bound to put some holiday cheer in your heart. A personal favorite is the Frank Sinatra version, which, while still definitely being the timeless Jingle Bells we all know, manages to have its own swingin’ identity.
Trans Siberian Orchestra: Carol of the Bells
While a lot darker in tone than most holiday songs, it still has a highly recognizable melody. A good choice for anyone looking for something harder on their pallet of holiday songs.
The Waitresses: Christmas Wrapping
We all know how it can feel in the holiday season trying to get everything perfect, or close enough. This song is exactly about that pit-of-the-stomach Clark Griswold feeling like you’re just not able to do the holidays this year. Listen all the way through, because, spoiler, in the end, the holidays are here, and it is actually an amazing experience.
Adam Sandler: The Chanukah Song
A change of pace from the general Christmas themes, this is for those who feel left out of the Christmas hype. This song includes references to a slew of Jewish celebrities (dated as they may be) who also celebrate Chanukah. Whether you get the 90’s references or not, it’s fantastic fun! (just ask your parents!)
You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
This one is for anyone who just doesn’t like the holidays… but also for anyone who does! The deep bass vocals of Thurl Ravenscroft are booming and vast, painting a picture of a villain who’s, “…a bad banana with a greasy black peel!” yet, so inviting that it’s nearly impossible not to sing along.
Wishing you all a music-filled holiday season!
Yule Regret Not Making These Sweets, This Holiday Season
By Annika Elliott
Back to this festive time of year, a great way to spend time with family and friends is to bake with them. Here are some fun and festive recipes for chefs of all ages and levels.
First off some simple recipes for everyone to try!
First off, this deliciousOrange breadrecipe. A sweet and tart quick bread that is super tasty to eat, and easy to make. Orange bread is a common treat around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Our second dessert isPecan Shortbread cookies. Though they sound a little bit more complicated they are quite easy but still delicious. These cookies are very addicting and super fun to make. For one of the final steps, you roll the dough in sugar and pecans!
The next recipe isCandied Pecans. These are a delicious dessert as well as a lovely gift for friends and family.
Secondly a couple harder recipes for more experienced chefs.
This recipe is super tasty and a fun dessert to make with others.Pecan Turtlesare a combination of pecans, chocolate, and caramel all melted together. Be careful when making this recipe to not get hurt while making the caramel!
Another fun recipe for more experienced chefs isCandy Cane cookies. These are a family favorite, especially around Christmas. These are fun to make as well as require a little bit more effort so they are another great thing to do with other family members or friends.
One final recipe for this level isPumpkin pie bars. Many people make pumpkin pie around the holidays, but here’s something a little different!
Finally for experienced chefs here’s a few recipes.
Our first recipe is Russian tea cakes, or sometimes known as Mexican wedding cakes. These are delicious little powdered sugar-coated cookies.
The next recipe isSalted Caramel cupcakes. These are delicious and super fun to make, these are a great New years dessert, (or anytime, cupcakes are good whenever!)
Our final recipe isAlmond croissants. These are super tasty with a very unique flavor. They are slightly harder to make because of all of the separate steps, but they still have a great outcome.
Hopefully, these will be fun recipes to try and enjoy. Wishing you all a happy, and delicious holiday season!
Story Prompts for Winter Days
By: Oliver Meskell and August Sharp
The dropping of the temperatures doesn’t mean you have to drop your creativity. If you’re sitting around in your home, here are some prompts to get your thoughts and creativity flowing. There is something here for everyone, so grab a pen, a cup of hot cocoa, and happy storytelling.
Prompts for Ages 5 – 10
Jane just didn’t like the squash king, to be perfectly frank, he was rather rude and quite informal.
Zach didn’t know EXACTLY how to fly a helicopter, but how hard could it be?
The magic crystal glowed brightly on the coffee table, Nela liked it, it was rather pretty, and went well with her furniture.
Once upon a time, a little kid named Caleb found a magical pond. Fairies danced around the pond singing and playing chess. Caleb was very excited, all his life he’d believed in things like this!
Prompts for Ages 10 – 13
I was there when the world exploded. I didn’t think it was particularly enjoyable, unlike some of the others. Some thought this was a good change. They were wrong. I don’t know what to do, I have been hiding on one of the planets for 2 years and 149 days. I am running out of resources, things are not going as I would have hoped.
To be fair, Tomathon did regret hacking into the world’s most secure computer, but that didn’t really help him when he was hiding in a cave on a large cold mountain with minimal food.
Prompts for Ages 14+
“Don’t move!” Sandra said to me, the rain pattering quickly on the windows outside. “What is happening?” I replied, wincing as something stomped loudly outside.
Clegar checked her schedule, another 13 hours and she would be marching off into the war against the land wyrm kings, where thousands of orcs like her had died at the blades of ruthless blood-seeking warriors. She wrote a letter to her family, wishing them goodbye, unsure if she would ever see them again.
Taylin was still unemployed, not a big surprise, not many people wanted to hire warlocks capable of bending reality when people could just play video games or drive to work. She glanced around her musty apartment and her eyes followed the mess of half-empty cracker bags to a white bed where her roommate slept.
Hopefully, these prompts not only give you something to do, but let you tell a fantastic story. Remember all of these are up to interpretation, so have fun with it! Let your imagination run wild, and write to your heart’s content. Good luck!
Editor August Sharp Assistant Editor Annika Elliott
Editor’s Note: from the new Editor
Welcome back, everyone, to another year at Village Home! The staff is so excited to be back and to bring you another issue of The Village Voice. It’s been a crazy ride the last year, but we’re back and more ready than ever. Leaves are falling, people are back on campus, everything is changing and we’re ready to report on it all! I’m looking forward to my first year as Editor and all that comes with it, With that, I hope you enjoy!
Right to Repair is a movement fighting to make parts, schematics, and general repairability of consumer products more common. This would mean that the average consumer could repair their own possessions and give smaller, independent shops the ability to fix said possessions for them, instead of the locked-down environment we’ve been heading into for the last few decades in which products have to be trashed and replaced when they break.
Some items may not need repair, or can be fixed quite easily by the owner. For example, if the spine breaks on a book, it can most likely be glued back together. But say it was an e-book instead, like a Kindle, there’s not a whole lot the owner can do to fix it. If it breaks, Amazon may replace it, if it’s still under warranty, but they’re unlikely to repair it or offer any advice on how to repair it.
It used to be difficult to estimate how long something would last, so companies made more durable products. Reparability used to be a selling point for consumers, but companies figured out they could increase profits if, instead of repairing the item, the consumer replaced it. As computers evolved, around the ‘80s, they were able to simulate when parts would break, and planned obsolescence was born.
Planned obsolescence, producing a product that is expected to break or be replaced in a relatively short amount of time, is everywhere, from household fans to luxury cars. When something breaks the only option, often, is to buy a new one. This creates trash, especially electronic trash or e-waste, which is very difficult to recycle and creates a lot of vile pollution. Make no mistake, the companies know the short lifespan of their products and their fate in a landfill. This stretches to almost every industry, affecting almost everything.
While this might seem all doom and gloom, there’s been a lot of progress in the Right to Repair movement. One of the earliest accomplishments came in the ‘90s when new emissions standards required a small computer in cars to regulate and track emissions. The law was written to ensure these standards were open to the public and independent repair shops, giving consumers multiple options for repairs.
One of the greatest leaps in Right to Repair happened only a few months ago, in July, when President Biden passed an executive order encouraging the FTC to create new laws to slow down these anti-consumerist practices. Not a lot has been said about what exactly will happen since Biden only told them to make the laws, not what specific laws to make. Not to mention it’s only been a few months and the wheels of bureaucracy move slowly, but we can expect to see laws requiring companies to sell replacement parts and make information on their product widely available.
Meet the Editors
By Sabrina Martinhorst
Our Village Voice editors for 2021 are August Sharp (they/them) and Annika Elliott (she/her)! Assistant editor Annika is 14 and has been going to Village Home since she was nine years old. Editor August is 15 and has been going to Village Home since 2017, making this their fifth year.
August joined the Village Voice in 2019, because a friend convinced them. This is their first year as editor, and currently their favorite thing about it is making something for the whole community. Their least favorite thing right now is the common miscommunications.
August’s favorite food is goldfish crackers. They enjoy drama and playing Minecraft, and their favorite animal is Saint Bernards. August’s favorite article they’ve written was about a play they took part in, and their favorite article they’ve edited was an interview another reporter did about August’s mother.
August’s favorite place they’ve visited was Disney World. Their opinion on whether cereal is a soup is that if you take the milk out of cereal, it’s still cereal, but if you take the broth out of soup, it’s no longer soup.
Annika joined the Village Voice in 2019, after the same friend that convinced August convinced her. This is her first year as assistant editor as well. Her favorite articles that she’s edited have been about events at Village Home, like Trunk or Treat. Her favorite article that she’s written was either the Model UN article from spring 2021 or the Meet the Editors article from fall 2020.
Annika’s favorite color is blue. She likes Crumbl cookies as a dessert and soup as a meal. Her favorite kinds of articles to write are interviews and event articles. Annika’s favorite place that she’s visited was either Seattle or Michigan. Her favorite animals are foxes.
Annika’s favorite hobbies are dancing and rock climbing. Her favorite thing about being an editor is being able to help out more, and being more involved in planning. She doesn’t have a least favorite thing right now. She does not think that cereal is a soup
Both editors are excited for the new year of Village Voice, and they say that they want to make the paper the best it can be this year.
Roots of Halloween Traditions
By Annika Elliott
Halloween, the spookiest holiday of the year, is commonly celebrated with candy and costumes. An extremely common tradition is trick-or-treating, but few know the spooky roots of these beloved holiday activities.
Halloween traditions weren’t always as harmless as they are now. Many Halloween traditions originated in Ireland and jumped to the US with immigrants in the mid-1800s, including pulling pranks on people. A very common prank was putting farmers’ wagons or livestock on the top of their barns.
Once automobiles were created, a whole new group of pranks was created. Putting fake detour signs on roads caused drivers to be quite confused.
Sadly as the United States expanded, and bigger cities formed, the innocent pranks became more and more dangerous. One year, in Kansas City, a group of children waxed the tracks of a streetcar, causing the vehicle to slip, seriously injuring the conductor.
In 1902, the Cook Country Herald encouraged citizens to protect their property by throwing or shooting rocks and pieces of salt at the “Halloween tricksters” hoping it would curb the behavior.
The issues and destruction grew with the Great Depression, and by the 1930s, people were desperate. Many cities suggested banning the holiday, but instead, people turned the focus to children, throwing festivals, parties, and costume parades. As people focused on having fun, the “pranks” dissipated. These activities evolved into the trick-or-treating enjoyed today.
How do you celebrate Halloween? If you want, you can share pictures of your celebrations/costumes to firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to the Village Voice Instagram account @village.voice.
Trunk or Treat Slideshow
by Lena Finn-Hall
New Federal Holiday: Juneteenth
By Lena Finn-Hall
This summer, Juneteenth became a federal holiday more than 150 years after first being celebrated. The bill was signed into law on June 17, 2021, by President Joe Biden.
The holiday is celebrated on June 19th and celebrates the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas were finally freed, two months after the Civil War had ended. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. On June 19, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston to take control of the state and free all enslaved people. Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1866 to mark the anniversary of the end of enslavement.
Even though it was only recently made official federally, Juneteenth celebrations have long been a part of American culture, marked by community events. Prior to becoming a federal holiday, Juneteenth was established as a state holiday in Texas in 1979, and other states followed suit. It is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. Juneteenth is mainly celebrated with family gatherings, festivals, educational events, and religious services.
One frontrunner of the movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday was activist Opal Lee. In 2016, at the age of 89, she walked from her home in Fortworth, Texas, to Washington D.C. to bring attention to her campaign to make the holiday federal. She traveled two and a half miles each day to symbolize the two and a half years Black Texans waited for freedom. In June, at the age of 94, she joined Biden at the signing after years of campaigning.
The federalization of Juneteenth isn’t without its critics though. Some activists question whether the holiday comes at the expense of systemic changes for racial equality. Despite this critique, many activists see Juneteenth as a step in the right direction toward a more accurate recognition of America’s history of enslavement. “Juneteenth marks both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation and the promise of a greater morning to come,” Biden said on the day he signed the bill.
Voicing our Views: The Mitchells vs. the Machines
By Chase Williams
The Mitchels vs. the Machines is an adventure to watch, it’s one of those movies that actually keeps you captive inside of it. Created by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the people behind Spider-Verse, Gravity Falls, The Lego Movie, and others, it’s likely that you’ve seen some of their work before.
One of the defining features of this movie is the style; with hand-drawn doodles everywhere, similar to what was used in Spider-Verse, except cranked up to 11, with the augmented 2D popping up more often and with greater intensity. Topping it all off, they created a whole new program to achieve a watercolor-type fill and outline to everything that actively responds to the light and environment. So, long story short, it looks super good.
After that, you’re probably saying to yourself, “OK, it looks good, but what actually happens?” Well, for starters, it’s about a robot uprising, simple enough, but the movie is also dealing with a family with strong dynamics and where most members don’t understand each other. The exception is Katie Mitchell and her little brother, Aaron, whose relationship simply works. The movie follows Katie, a cinephile from the day she saw her first movie who, over time, evolved her skills from stringy, dingy little puppets to full greenscreens and Adobe Premiere magic, and now she’s finally accepted to the film school of her dreams. Everything’s great! Until they take off on a family bonding road trip.
At the same time, the tech giant, PAL, is unveiling their newest product, the PAL Max robot that now makes the old superintelligent AI that was used in phones obsolete. Of course, AI of that caliber can’t be thrown out so easily, and when it knows it’s being replaced, bad stuff is bound to happen. Sure enough within seconds of saying that the robots won’t turn evil, the inevitable happens.
I don’t want to get too much farther into the story so as not to spoil anything, but it gets pretty crazy with two broken but ultimately very helpful robots and a giant Furby, not to mention a whole lot of shenanigans. Overall, it’s funny, entertaining, has plenty of fun references, and it looks amazing. This movie definitely comes as a recommendation and gets a solid two robotic thumbs up!
As the 2020-2021 school year is ending, so is my time working as co-editor for The Village Voice. I had expected to continue as editor next year. Sadly, it’s no longer a commitment that I can make during my upcoming senior year. Being a part of this class with Annika Abel has been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot while working with great people, deepened my love for writing even further, and grown as a person.
I hope that you all have enjoyed reading the paper while Aaron and I were co-editors as much as we’ve enjoyed working on it with our learner team, and that the content has reminded you of the fact that we’re all one community despite the distance and, even more so, brought you some joy during this crazy time. If you are a learner who enjoyed reading The Village Voice and want to try out your hand at helping to create it, please give the class a try. Thank you to the journalism staff–I will continue reading every issue next year, so just know… I not only wish you the best, I will be cheering for your ongoing success!
~Jillian Bauer, Editor
Dear Village Home,
This last year has been surreal. The world is so different from what it used to be, and it seems (knock on wood) that we’re close to the other side. Navigating the new challenges that have been thrown our way hasn’t been easy, but I know that — for me, at least — being in community made it easier. My sincere hope is that The Village Voice has been and continues to be another way to connect with this amazing community.
Words can’t express the gratitude I feel for Village Home and the things it has given me over the last five years. Although bittersweet, now it’s time for my next chapter. Thank you, Village Home, for being my bliss, my people, my community, and for making this chapter of my life one to remember. Bless you all, and stay safe.
Since It’s Pride Month, Let’s Talk About How to Be a Great Ally
By Mia Sharp
Happy Pride Month everyone. Fifty-two years ago was the historic Stonewall Riot, one of the most monumental events of the gay liberation movement. To celebrate this, I’m going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about how to be a good ally.
Q) What should I do when someone comes out to me?
A) Great place to start! Coming out is a frightening thing for someone to do. Even for people who have come out to other people and in other spaces, it’s scary. When someone gathers the courage to tell you about a part of themselves regarding their sexuality or gender identity, There are only two things you need to do: respond with acceptance and ask about their boundaries. It doesn’t have to be a huge commotion if they don’t want it to be. Just respond with kindness and respect.
Q) What do I do if I misgender or deadname someone?
A) Awesome question! For context, misgendering someone is when you associate someone with the wrong gender. For example: This person uses they/them pronouns and you just said, “She is going to be a tad late.” Deadnaming is when you call someone by the name they were given when they were assigned a gender at birth, that they no longer use. For example: your friend Jacob is a trans man, and you said, “Emily likes the color blue.” It’s called a deadname because it’s just that, a dead name; they don’t use that name because they’ve found their true self. If you slip up and use the wrong pronouns or deadname out of habit, it doesn’t need to be a big deal! Simply correct yourself and move on. If you realize after the conversation, a quick apology text goes a long way. Don’t put them in the position of having to accept your apology by saying you feel guilty. Try your best to get it right and eventually it’ll become second nature.
Q) But isn’t apologizing the right thing to do?
A) Another great question! It’s easy to think an apology would be the best choice, but an apology comes with the expectation of saying ‘it’s okay’ and it’s never okay to misgender or deadname someone. Breaking habits takes time and mistakes are understandable, but you don’t want to put someone in the position of having to say it’s okay because it’s not. Apologizing may make you feel better, but often it makes the person you are trying to apologize to feel worse.
Q) If someone has come out to me, can I tell other people?
A) When you do that it’s called outing someone. Outing someone is when you tell someone that another person is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community without the person’s permission. For example: This is my friend Jacob, he’s trans. Do not do this under any circumstances. Even if this person is open about that part of themselves, it’s never okay to tell others without asking first. Remember I talked about how coming out is a scary thing? It still is. When a person has trusted you with this information, it’s not yours to share. If they say it’s fine to do so, then go ahead. But always make sure to respect their comfort zone.
Q) I want to show my friend I support them, can I give them a Pride shirt or flag?
A) That’s a thoughtful idea, and I’m sure they would appreciate the effort. However, you don’t need to buy anything. Your respect and support are all you need.
These are some examples of how to be good allies, but the key thing is to educate yourself. Always remember Google is free and queer people are not your encyclopedias. Your respect and dedication are the best gifts you can give someone. I can tell you from experience, those actions speak a thousand words.
So Long, Farewell: The Village Voice Says Goodbye to Two of its Own
By Village Voice staff
Unfortunately the time has come to say goodbye to editors Jillian Bauer and Aaron Johnson, but not without a proper farewell. In addition to helping us produce a record 8 fantastic issues, they have created procedures and policies to ensure that each reporter is treated with respect. They have maximized our learning opportunities. And they’ve kept us laughing through the hours of hard work.
“Aaron and Jillian are amazing editors, and they just liven up the classroom with their personality and jokes,” says newest reporter on staff, Ezria Graul. “Ever since day one they’ve been so welcoming and made me feel like I’ve been a part of the paper for years.”
“Thank you both for being our editors[…], you helped me learn a lot, and I’m thankful to the two of you,” says another new reporter this year, Robert Ellison. Jillian and Aaron recognized that, as a learner-created newspaper, supporting their reporting staff was the top priority. At times editors have to make choices between giving reporters space to learn and creating the most polished, professional publication. Reporter Haydn Reilly wants to thank them for “being great editors and helping us all become better writers. We’re all gonna miss you so much. […] You guys are pretty great.”
Laughter was a constant in Jillian and Aaron’s newsroom. Reporter Chase Williams had this to say to them, “Theirs know write weigh two say how gr8 ewe our– thx!” Incoming-editor Mia Sharp adds, “Aaron and Jillian were both great editors. Even though one of them conveniently wasn’t there a quarter of the time during lay out, they both taught me a lot, and I’m grateful to have gotten to work with them!”
Crafting the Village Voice takes far more than an hour a week. Producing it virtually presented its own challenges. Incoming-assistant editor Annika Elliott appreciates all of the time Jillian and Aaron devoted to the paper. “This past year has been crazy, a dumpster fire, as you both perfectly put it. Yet we have put out  amazing issues.” Not one to miss out on the jokes, Annika adds, “You both have been amazing and will be dearly missed, not as much as [previous editor] Alli, but very close.”
“Working with Jillian and Aaron on the Village Voice this year has been a pleasure,” says instructor and publisher Annika Abel. Annika started the newspaper three years ago to provide VH with a learner-created publication and to create a platform for learners to hone their writing skills and develop as editors and collaborators. Jillian and Aaron “are our first editors who started as reporters, and their experience as reporters infused every decision. They made sure the reporters were able to take ownership of their articles. They were thoughtful about their choices and always, always respectful of others. And they have great senses of humor. I’m proud to have had them as editors this year. Whatever they choose to do in life, I have no doubt they will spread positivity and joy.”
Wood You Like to Go For a Hike?
By Haydn Reilly Hogan
This spring, getting out into nature is more important than ever. Here is a list of five spectacular spots to go hiking or camping this summer. All of these spots are Covid-aware, and allow for social distancing, so you can enjoy the outdoors safely.
The Wahclella Falls hiking trail is delightfully scenic and features an incredible waterfall at the end. It’s fairly wide and not too busy, so there’s room to pass other hikers. It’s not particularly difficult, so it would make a wonderful day trip for the whole family. The hike is 2.4 miles out and back, and there’s lots of rocks to climb on and a few caves to explore along the way. You can find more information here.
Mt. Ashland Campground is on the Oregon coast and camping is free there. There are a ton of breathtaking views and the close proximity to the water makes for a great spot. It’s roughly a 5-hour drive from Portland to the campground, so a week-long trip would work well here. It is located on the Siskiyou Crest, which is known for its wildflowers and birdwatching opportunities. It has an elevation of 6,000 feet.
The Multnomah Falls trail is a must-see for Oregonians. It’s a steep but short hike to the top of the falls. There are two big waterfalls along the way and the loop allows for more choice in how long you spend hiking. It’s a fairly wide trail with a few bridges overlooking the waterfalls. It tends to be a bit busier than Wahclella Falls, especially in the summer, so make sure to bring your masks. It’s easily accessible for people living in Portland, since it’s only 30 minutes outside of the city.
Gifford Pinchot National Forest is located in Southern Washington and encompasses 1.31 million acres of land. It’s well-known for its gorgeous scenery and seclusion, and is around a 3 hour drive from the Portland area. There are many opportunities for camping, and there are also cabins for rent as well as places for larger groups to stay. There are plenty of places to fish, hike, trail ride, swim, and picnic, and it is a great place for families and friends.
The Wind Mountain Trail is great for any avid hikers. It’s a moderately difficult trail that’s 2.4 miles long. It features lots of wildflowers and scenery, and is great for hiking with your dog or trail running. It gets steep at points, but the summit has gorgeous views of the neighboring Dog Mountain and the town of Carson, as well as Mitchell Point if you look South. This is a great family hike, and is perfect for a day trip.
Particle-ular Matter? Mysterious Muon
By Chase Williams
Just last month, a tiny unexpected wobble shook the entire science community. While studying the effects of passing a muon through a magnetic field, a tiny subatomic particle, a few scientists found that it did exactly as they predicted, but just a little too much.
They had expected it to wobble, like the way a compass does when you point it in a certain direction. Scientists had incredibly precise theories on how much it should wobble. They had come up with these theories using the standard model, which is supposed to use everything we currently know to, including gravity, atoms, and even muons; kind of like puzzle pieces to explain everything in the universe.
One of the problems with figuring out the scientific standard model (or maybe finding a new model) is that it requires everything to be absolutely perfect, so even a very small disruption can mean that we have to scrap, or at least majorly re-work, the whole thing. That can make a lot of scientists a bit uneasy.
There have been many struggles with using the model, such as finding a place for gravity to fit in there, but nothing so far has contradicted our understanding in this capacity. Gravity is problematic because there is still so much to learn about it and we don’t know what physical, wave, particle, or mysterious form it actually takes. It’s a bit undefined.
This disruption isn’t the end of the world — it’s just the opposite. This could have massive implications for technologies we can’t even start to imagine yet. The biggest problem is that we don’t have any clue to what’s causing this.
Some theories are that maybe it’s a new type of matter or energy; some people think this might even explain the mysterious “dark matter” that has baffled scientists for decades. Regardless of the outcomes, it’s more proof that even the tiniest events can have a monumental impact.
Blend the Rules: Creative Recipes for Every Chef
By Annika Elliott
Baking and cooking are fun ways of passing time, but sometimes it’s hard to find good recipes. Here are three different recipes for three different levels of chefs.
First off are some simple recipes that are relatively easy to make, but still delicious to eat!
Brownies may not be for everyone, but for the people who are chocolate-lovers, these are for you. Brownies can easily be made in one bowl and one pan, which reduces the mess significantly. This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, but that does not diminish the amazingness of them when they are finished. Check out other recipes on this blog, for more gluten-free, dairy-free, and easy to make recipes.
Next up is cookies. While these sound simple, they are almost always a family favorite. Sugar cookies are fun to make because you can make frosting to decorate them with. Also, quick tip: the longer you chill them the better.
The final recipe for this level is tortillas. These are great to make because you can knead the dough for as long as you like and it feels like playdough. These taste so much better than store bought, making them at home is worth the extra effort.
For our slightly more advanced chefs, we have more recipes.
First, cupcakes — delicious and beautiful. These can be fun little art pieces. There are so many ways you can decorate them. Whether you want to put sprinkles on top, or stuff the inside, you can let your creativity flow. This is a simple recipe so you can make the frosting and cake, but decorate them if you want to.
Now we have scones, which are great for fancy but delicious breakfasts, as well as snacks. Again, you can go wild with this recipe and make it your own by adding things in. Many people like chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit, but add whatever you think will make them amazing for you.
The last recipe in our middle group is mac and cheese. If you have not caught the trend in this group, almost all of these recipes are easily customizable and you can make them how you want, and this recipe is no different. Mac and cheese has a pasta base, but many people like to add meat, vegetables, and even breadcrumbs to make it crunchy on the top. Go wild!
The final group of recipes are a little more finicky and harder to make, but still amazing and delicious.
Mousse is like fancy pudding, just more amazing. People like to make mouse and add an Oreo crust which is delicious. Try out what you want and experiment!
This next recipe is complex, and may be challenging to make: macarons. Macarons are wonderfully tasty but picky and complex, so proceed with caution. That being said, they are amazing, fun to attempt, and you will never get better if you don’t try.
The final recipe today is spanakopita, a Mediterranean spinach pie. This is made with spinach, layers and layers of phyllo dough, and many gallons of butter/oil. Just kidding — not actually gallons, but quite a lot! Hopefully, you will enjoy making some of these recipes in upcoming meals. If you want, you can share pictures of your magnificent creations to email@example.com or send them to the Village Voice Instagram account @village.voice.
By Ezria Graul
18 year old Aaron Johnson is completing his time at VH. As he prepares to leave Oregon, Aaron says “Aside from the lush greens and colorful seasons, [what I will miss most] would have to be the people. That’s the hardest thing about moving for me. I’ve never had a community like this before, and leaving it really hurts.”
Born and raised in Ontario, California, Aaron moved to Oregon when he was 13 and began attending VH. He loves VH for many reasons, one of them being that you get to choose your own classes. He always tells people “it’s basically a college for high school and younger.”
“I still remember the first time we actually talked. Two months later [he was] basically my brother,” says Aaron’s friend and classmate Maryam. He is “legitimately the funniest, most intelligent, and hardworking person I know. [He has] pushed me to be a better version of myself just by being [him].”
At the moment, he’s taking Advanced Improv, Mock Trial, and Journalism. Aaron’s been a part of the Village Voice for 2 years. He is concluding his year as co-editor, alongside Jillian Bauer. And he plans to read the Village Voice long after he graduates.
“It has been an immense joy to get to know, laugh and grow with [Aaron],” says improv instructor Whitney Johnson. To Aaron she says, “ Thank you for all of the hard work, time, passion, and dedication you’ve given to the Village Voice, Mock Trial, Improv, and to all of your endeavors while within these walls, concrete and virtual. I’m so excited for whatever is next for you, because regardless of the path you choose, I know it will be one that is wholehearted and authentic, compassionate and kind, with just the right dose of humor to make the trip even more enjoyable.”
Aaron thinks VH has a great class selection; he’s never personally looked for a class that wasn’t offered, but if he did suggest a class, it would be about transitioning into adulthood, especially in regard to finances.
His current plan is to move to Arizona around August or September. He’s not planning on going to college–at least not for a while. After he moves, he’s planning to continue building up his business and to assist as an administrative assistant for startups and individuals. He hopes to continue being involved with Mock Trial as much as possible and is looking for high school mock trial teams to assist in Arizona. He would like to find some improv groups, but he’s open for anything.
One of Aaron’s favorite memories is when he first attended the closing ceremony for a Mock Trial competition. He says, “That was when I realized that this community meant so much more to everyone in it than just being a place of learning. It’s also what ultimately led me to get more involved at Village.”
Marvelous Middle Readers
By Jillian Bauer
This summer, I will be leading a book club called Marvelous Middle Readers! This free book club is my National Honor Society service project. I will provide you (or, if you’re a parent reading this, your child) with a fun, interactive summer reading group, and you will be helping me out by participating in an opportunity where I can offer a community service.
There will be four terms — one per book. Kids can join the club for as many of the four terms as they would like. We will talk about the book, engage in fun Q & A sessions, I will share context related to the setting and provide questions to think about as students read for the next class. Depending on which term you join, activities include learning about Scottish folklore, creating our own magical forest creatures, and dreaming up fun Saturday adventures. At the end of each term, I will offer up book (and potentially movie) recommendations that are related to what we read.
The Marvelous Middle Readers will meet on Tuesdays from 2pm to 3pm on Zoom. In the first term we’ll read The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry by Rosalie K. Fry. We’ll meet ten-year-old Fiona as she leaves the Scottish mainland to live with her grandparents on the isles. The second term will take us on a magical journey through a forest as we read House Above the Trees by Ethel Cook Eliot. Finally, the third term is all about Saturday adventures as we join the Melendy siblings on their quest to liven up their weekends in The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. In the fourth and final term, we’ll read another book by Elizabeth Enright; Gone-Away Lake features two cousins who set out to uncover the mystery of an abandoned ghost town.
Cost: Free All meetings will be on Zoom Age range: 9-12 but flexible
Mars, a dusty red planet, has captivated people for centuries. As we discover more about this mysterious planet, its secrets keep us hungry to learn more. Mars is a rocky planet, like Earth, that formed around the same time. Yet Mars only has half the diameter of Earth, and a far thinner atmosphere, with a cold and desert-like surface. Evolving spacecraft technology allows for exploration of Mars’s surface in the search for signs of life. One day, we will know whether or not we are alone in the universe.
On February 18, 2021, the Perseverance Rover was dropped on Mars. The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover was constructed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life. The mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. It will also test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars.
Early exploration of Mars using telescopic observations revealed color changes on Mars’s surface that were incorrectly credited to seasonal vegetation and linear features. Further telescopic observations found two moons, Phobos and Deimos, polar ice caps and the feature now called Olympus Mons, the Solar system’s second tallest mountain. The discoveries piqued further interest in the study and exploration of the red planet.
As most people might know, the planet Mars is named after the Roman god of war (more commonly known as Ares, his Greek form). Why was Mars named that way? Well, when the Romans looked up into the sky at night thousands of years ago and thousands of miles away, they named the planet “Mars” because they associated the reddish color of Mars with the god of war — which they believed represented the same violence and bloodshed. Mars, the Roman god of war, was the son of Jupiter and Juno. He represents the untamed violence in war and the personification of brutality. You can probably see how that fits the Red Planet. Mars is very interesting to learn about and has a lot of history behind it as has been demonstrated in this article. If the facts in this article interest you, there’s lots more that can be dug up on this subject and similar subjects via the internet or other resources.
Voicing Our Views: Queer Artists
By Mia Sharp
A decade after she launched her music career, Dodie Clark released her debut album “Build A Problem.” The twenty-six year old, English singer-songwriter Dodie Clark wrote this album over a two-year span during a period of self-discovery after she came out in 2017 as bisexual with a song and video called “I’m bisexual – a coming out song!”
Her initial plan was to make the album as a suite of dovetailed songs; its second half, beginning with “Rainbow,” still does that, complete with instrumental interludes as transitions. The album has twenty-two songs, and it is an hour long. It was largely recorded in 2019, but last year, with the album substantially finished, Dodie spent the isolation of quarantine to write more songs in April 2020.
She uses her music as a way to cope with the problems she faces. Throughout the album, you hear that she not only used her voice, but also offered up her insecurities, her enthusiasm, her frustrations, her giggles, her high-school grades, her sexuality, her mental-health struggles, her sniffles from the flu, and her tears.
Now, going all the way back to her first original song, “Rain,” uploaded to YouTube in 2011, Dodie’s songs radiate transparency. They’re usually built on plucked, syncopated patterns from her guitar or ukulele, threaded through with melodies that she sings barely above a whisper, often confiding her vulnerabilities. By the mid-2010s, Dodie (her childhood nickname) had secured a loyal, voluble audience as both a songwriter and vlogger — or videoblogger, lately renamed a “creator” — on YouTube. Her three independently released EPs went on to reach the British pop charts, and she has had multiple tours of the United States, Europe, and even Australia. Her main YouTube channel now has nearly 2 million subscribers.
If you’re interested in music that is more laid-back but also is upfront and relatable, I would give this album a listen. It never hurts to expand your musical horizons and support queer artists.
Fun & Games: Find The Difference 11 Differences
By Annika Elliott
Village Home Pet Parade
By Village Home Learners
Poetry, Prose, and Art by Village Home Learners
Caroline and Kevin
By Meredith Bauer, Age 11
CHAPTER ONE ‘You might explore a cave, And you might think that that is brave But what’s more important are people, Who someday, you might save.’ –Meredith Bauer
Teeeeeeee! Teeeeeeee! Went the school bell as the girls and boys filed into the classroom. Before a 10 year old Caroline could get to her class room she heard something. She recognized that voice. She shook her head, her short blond hair tossing from the movement. It was Samantha, the school showoff. Caroline groaned. She was about to go in when she saw her friend, Becca, trying to get away from Samantha.
“Doesn’t my new haircut look just devine on meee?” he asked Becca, spreading out the word ‘me’.
“It’s much nicer than Yours,” she continued.
Samantha had been picking on everyone since she was in kindergarten just because she thought she was very pretty. She had especially been bothering Becca lately because a few weeks ago Samantha had accused her of copying her by wearing a similar dress. Becca was almost crying because she was so mad.
This was too much for Caroline. She twirled around and glared at Samantha straight in the eyes. “You take that back, you meany!” she shouted.
Samantha gasped. “Why?” she asked. “It’s true!”
“You just take your insults and your flounce somewhere else! I’m sick and tired of you picking on me and my friends! Can’t you behave?!” Caroline yelled in her face.
By now a crowd of students had collected. Samantha didn’t say a word she just stared at Caroline and after a minute turned and walked off, her heeled shoes ‘clickety clacking’ all the way. Becca flung her arms around Caroline and hugged her. No one had ever stood up to Samantha that way and both of them knew it. “Thanks,” Becca whispered.
CHAPTER TWO ‘Fighting with someone never solves, Because in time that might evolve And turn into something worse and bigger, And then that, would really hit the trigger.’ –Meredith Bauer
The next day, After school, Samantha came up to Caroline and slapped her face. “Take it back!!!” She screamed. Caroline pushed her onto the ground for slapping her and Samantha burst into tears. “I’m nice, I- I really am.” She sobbed. “Ya right” Taunted Caroline. “You’re the meanest person I know.” And she started to walk away. Then she felt a grab and a tug and before she knew what happened she and Samantha were rolling around on the floor like a couple of angry puppies. Samantha was screaming and pawing at Caroline and Caroline screamed and pawed right back at her. Then their math teacher came out of the classroom and grabbed them and pulled them to their feet. “What’s going on here?!” He shouted. Neither of them explained which led to them sitting in their math classroom on opposite sides of the room for an hour before their teacher called their parents. Later when Caroline got home there was trouble waiting. Her mother grounded her for the whole weekend because that day was friday.
CHAPTER THREE ‘Having people that understand, Can be very helpful, it can And when you are sad and need some cheer, It’s nice to know that you have family near.’ –Meredith Bauer
Saturday morning after breakfast, Caroline’s older brother, Kevin, came to her room. “See ya later prisoner!” He said as he headed down stairs. “It’s not my fault!” Caroline shouted. “Samantha is awful!” “Ya right Carry, have some fun in your room.” And he left to go see his friends. Caroline started to cry. Why did nobody understand her? Why couldn’t her brother be nice? Why couldn’t Samantha be nice? Why did her dad have to live in France and she lived in Florida? Why did her mom always have to work and not be there for her? Caroline started to cry even harder. She was all alone on a sunny, warm Saturday morning. Then a thought came to her. Why didn’t she go to France to see her dad? Of course it would be very expensive… Caroline rushed to her brother’s room. She dug through his drawers until she found his money. He had $378.00 Saved up. ‘Plus,’ She thought, ‘It will get him back for always being so mean to me.’ Then she went to her mom’s stash of money. She took $800.00. “That should be enough money to get to France on an okay plane seat.” She said satisfied. After packing her backpack she left to go to the airport. Using the little money that she had for a taxi.
CHAPTER FOUR ‘Don’t run away from your lair If you try it in your heart will appear a tear. You and your loved ones should try again, It’s not a good choice whether you’re fifteen, six, or ten.’ –Meredith Bauer
Caroline Walked through the airport wondering which way to go. She looked, and looked, and looked for the gate that led to the plane to France. But she couldn’t find it. She couldn’t even find the way out of the airport. She was lost! Meanwhile, Kevin had just got home and found a note that Caroline had left. It said,
‘Gone to visit Dad. No, Mom is not with me.
Yes I took your money, so there!’
“WHAT?!” Cried Kevin and he rushed out the door.
CHAPTER FIVE ‘Having a sibling who can help you out, Sometimes they can also make you want to shout. But overall, it is nice, To have a sibling that is not mice.’ –Meredith Bauer
“Excuse me,” said Kevin to an older man in the airport. “Have you seen a little blond girl walking around here alone?” He asked. “Yup. Over there.” The man pointed. Kevin looked. “But she’s not alone!” He complained. “Oh- oh… did you say alone? It slipped my mind.” The old man chuckled. Kevin ran off calling, “Carry, hey Caroline!” Finally he found her huddled on a bench. “Carry- what are you doing here? And what do you think you’re doing taking my money?” He asked, taking back his $378.00. Caroline looked up. “Kevin!” She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. “You didn’t answer me!” He protested. “It’s none of your business!” She snapped. “And besides, didn’t you see the note?” Kevin thought for a moment. Then he grabbed her hand and dragged her out of the airport. They walked home in silence until Caroline said, “Sorry I took your money, I was just so mad at you.” She explained. “Ya, I didn’t mean it either when I called you a prisoner, sorry Carry.” The two hugged and went home. When they got there, Caroline heard a voice that she recognized and she rushed to the living room. “Dad!” She cried, throwing herself onto his lap. “I came for a visit but when I got her you were gone.” He said as Kevin sat down beside them and hugged their dad. Then Caroline said, “Every family should know, That a family has to be just so. It isn’t complete without every member, And may all your hearts be very tender.”
Caroline and Kevin’s father continued to live in France but visited them every month and stayed with them for three nights every time. Caroline’s mom still had to work on the weekends, but started to spend more time with her and Kevin. And after all of the adventures that you have heard about in this story, Caroline and Kevin fought a lot less.
By Oliver Meskell, Age 13
Mon 1, Jan 1973 My dearest Kaley, it has been quite a while since I last wrote, the situations that I have been placed in have been treacherous at least, and deadly at most. I do regret leaving you and Moly, your mother and my dearest wife, back at the log cabin. I hope you understand that what I am doing is important and necessary. With love, Your father, Timothy.
Fri 5, Jan 1973 My dearest Kaley, I do now think that upon your 15th birthday, I should reveal what I do when I go out from our log cabin. I am a leech slayer, I go around the world and slay the horrid pests that clog up our lakes and suck our blood. Armed with my rifle, my jungle sword, my somewhat rugged hat, and my spiked boots, I will take down every last leech on this earth. With love, Your father, Timothy
Sat 13, Jan 1973 My dearest Kaley, it has been longer then I had hoped. I have not been able to write because I have been busy scouting out a murky lake infested with the vile creatures, I will admit I had a close call with a leech that darn near attached itself to my leg when I was scouting out the dock, it was about to attack but I shot it just in time. I do hope I will be able to write soon, with love, Your father, Timothy
Mon 22, Jan 1973 My dearest Kaley, it has been much longer than I ever could have imagined this battle could take, I have fought a battle that lasted much longer than anticipated. I moved in on the leeches, I got 9 of them with my rifle, but it ran out of ammo and I was forced to back off, the leeches advanced, but I got most of them with my saber, the next day I was fighting more leeches and defeated them all, but I got a leech bite. with love, Your father, Timothy
Wed 24, Jan 1973 My dearest Kaley, I have contracted a disease from the leech bite, I cannot carry any more equipment with me, please send my love to Moly for me, with love Your father, Timothy
Thursday 6, Mar 1974 My dearest Kaley, I know you have most likely thought me dead, it has been over a year since I last wrote, my apologies, I have been undergoing a long and terrible process of curing the disease, as well as I only recently acquired paper to write you with (the rest was in my equipment) and I would like you to know that I am alright, though I do not know where I am and I am afraid I will never be able to walk very far again. With love Your father, Timothy
Thursday 7, Mar 1974 Dear Mum, this is Kaley writing, I do hope you are okay, do not panic, I have gone off on a leech hunt, and I will not return until I have found father. I do hope you receive this, with all my heart, Your daughter, Kaley.
By Levi Joiner, Age 11
It was cold at the time. I climbed onto the pink armchair to look out of the window. The cones had fallen to the foot of the pine tree like grenades. Poof! Something had landed on the window. It was a snowflake!
I ran to my sister’s room. “Chloe, it’s snowing!” I yelled excitedly. “Really?” asked Chloe. She jumped out of bed and ran to the window. Staring at the snow in unbelief, Chloe shrieked, “Let’s go outside!”
Running down the stairs, we went to the cubby hole. Excitedly, we pulled our snow gear on. Opening the door, we saw snow covering everything like a tarpaulin. Throwing ourselves onto the ground, we made snow angels. Eagerly, we had a frantic snow fight. Chloe and I made a plan to go sledding the next day.
Suddenly, I woke up because Chloe was in my room. She yelled, “Levi we need to go sledding!!”
“Ok,” I said. I scurried out of my pyjamas and seized my clothes.
Later, I clutched my snow gear and grabbed my sled. The snow was like cream on top of a cake. Chloe’s friend was there. My cousin took the dogs out. We flew to the golf course. Sledding was fun! To my surprise my cousin was there and we had fun making a mini snowman.
All-in-all it was the best day ever. The moral of my story is to always be ready for a surprise!
Finn the Otter
By Write Well, Not Good Class, Ages 10-12
At first glance, Finn appeared to be a fairly ordinary otter. Finn’s day consisted of all the usual otter-kid things: math, science, sweeping the clam shells out of the family den. What most otters missed about Finn was that he had visions telling the future. He never told anyone because while this gift made him unique, it embarrassed him.
Then, one day, as the sun was going down, he met a swallow. She seemed different, in a way that made Finn feel he could trust her with his secret. He never felt like he could trust someone before, it was such a weird feeling. He stared at her for a while.
“Hello little swallow,” he said. “Do you want to be my friend or at least a bird I can spend time with?”
The swallow seemed to consider it, as if trying to read him in some way, then stammered, “How can I answer that, I don’t even know you. You’re an otter I just met.”
Finn considered this, not sure what to say, then before he couldn’t stop himself he blurted out, “I have visions of the future.”
The swallow froze. Finn, embarrassed, wondered what to do. Should he walk away? Should he run and hide? Then the swallow said, “You don’t need to make things up to impress me, you know!”
Finn sighed. “I know this must seem crazy to you, but I’m not making it up! I have been living with this secret for so long that I just needed to tell someone!”
The swallow looked confused. “Really,” she asked, “Can you really tell the future?”
“Yes,” Finn said
“So you are actually him!”
Finn asked, “What do you mean ‘are you actually him’?”
“I mean, your grandfather was a king long ago. His son had a child and your grandfather wanted to do something amazing for that child. He ordered 21 amphibian witches to come to the castle each had to bring a gift for the child. However, the witches gave the baby one gift, a doll. Your grandfather was so angry! He threw the doll out the window and said that his grandson would have an amazing life, even without gifts from witches! Shortly after he exiled the amphibian witches from the kingdom.”
Finn’s mouth dropped open. “How do you know all this and I don’t?” he asked.
“I have my ways,” she said coolly, and please close your mouth, you look like a codfish.”
“But how do you know?” Finn said, closing his mouth. “Are you stalking my family?
“NO OF COURSE NOT!” She chirped
Finn and the swallow, who’s name he found out was Nora, went on a walk along the river bank and were silent for a while, but then she finally talked. Finn learned a lot about himself that night!
The next day after school, he swam as fast as he could to the river bank where he had agreed to meet Nora, but when he arrived no one was there. He looked around, confused.
“Where is she?” he thought. Immediately, Nora shimmered into view.
“Hey,” Nora chirped. “When did you get here?”
“Just now,” Finn said. “ Sit down. We have a lot to talk about.” Nora flew beside him and grinned.
“It’s just so cool!” she said. “ You’re the one!”
“Okay. Start from the beginning. I’m so confused, I have been thinking about this all night!” Finn said.
She puffed out her wings and said, “Your grandfather discovered that the doll, from the witch Hagna, was cursed with evil sorcery. That’s why your grandfather exiled the witches.”
“WHAT? Does everyone know?”
“Probably not, but I am going to tell everyone!”
“No, don’t! I don’t want anyone to know!” Finn exclaimed.
“Because I didn’t want to tell anyone in the first place about me being able to see the future.”
“Well you told me,” she said in an obnoxious voice.
“Because I thought I could trust you, I guess not.”
“Why would you tell a bird you just met?” she asked.
He opened his mouth, then closed it again and then said sadly, “I guess I thought you were different”
“Oh but I AM different from other animals,” blurted Nora.
“Then why were you going to tell everyone?”
“I just thought people should know. Why do you want no one to know any way?” asked Nora.
“I just think if everyone knew they would bully me,” said Finn.
“Why do you think they would bully you?” said Nora. “Just because you are different isn’t a reason to be bullied.”
“Well, they might be jealous,” said Finn.
“Did you hear that?” Nora paused and turned around. “I hear something coming from the other side of the river bank.” Finn looked at her with confusion, she was standing as still as a statue.
“It’s late,” said Finn. “I should go sweep my den.” He left in a hurry.
“Oh! Goodbye Finn.” then Nora flew off into the distance.
Suddenly a figure emerged from beneath the water. It had obviously been spying. It smiled slowly and eerily, then it hurried off in the same direction as Nora.
The next day Finn went back to the river bank hoping Nora would be there, but Nora was nowhere in sight. Finn looked around and saw a turtle. Uncertain about what to do he stepped forward and said, “Hi. What’s your name?”
“My name is Hagna Jr. And yours?”
Finn thought he recognized that name. “My name is Finn.”
After the introductions, Finn felt a breeze and Nora arrived as though surfing the wind.
“Nora, look who I have met. This is Hagna Jr., the turtle,” said Finn.
Nora turned around quickly and said, “Hagna, I know where I recognize that name from! Hagna was one of the amphibian witches that were exiled. Are you Hagna?”
“No, I am Hagna, Jr. just like Finn said.”
“Well then are you related to the amphibian witch, Hagna?”
“No, Nora. I have no clue in the world who this ‘Hagna’ character is,” Hagna Jr. said with a fake smile.
Nora stared at Hagna Jr. and pulled Finn aside.
“Finn,” she said. “I know who this girl is. She is a relative of one of the witches from your Grandfather’s party.”
“Are you sure Nora?” asked Finn.
Nora turned around to find Hagna Jr. walking in the direction of the town.
“I sense that she is up to no good!” Finn exclaimed.
“We should go follow her,” suggested Nora.
Finn nodded in agreement.
When they got to town, they watched the turtle go down the stairs leading to the basement of the old apothecary store. They followed, even though they had butterflies in their stomach. The room they entered seemed to be a secret meeting place, a secret club! Everyone stared at Finn and Nora. The amphibians whispered and pointed their fingers at them. Were they preparing to cast spells?
Suddenly someone screamed out, “Hey! It’s that otter! The one that has visions!”
Finn couldn’t handle everyone looking at him. He ran off with a beet red face. Nora, escaping attention, started to look around the room searching for Hagna, Jr. She found her, in the corner of the crowd, surrounded by engrossed amphibians.
“What did you do? Did you tell everybody?” asked Nora.
“I just told some people! You never said not too Nor,” laughed Hagna Jr. knowing she should not have told anyone at all! Nora, discouraged, slowly walked away to find Finn but he was nowhere to be found.
Nora returned to the riverbank in the morning, their secret meeting place, to look for Finn.
“There you are Finn,” said Nora. “I had visions of the past last night when I was falling asleep! You’ll never believe this but the amphibian witches were actually the good guys! I’m sorry to tell you this but your grandfather was the evil one. They had been battling for years because the witches were trying to prevent him from taking total control of the kingdom. Obviously he did not like this one bit. The witches thought the invitation to your party was a truce so they all attended. Instead it was your grandfather’s plan to turn everyone against them. The doll the witches gave you as a present was fine. It was a lovely gift. Your grandfather pretended it was cursed with evil sorcery and when he threw it out the window HE put a spell of banishment on it. He knew that one of the amphibian witches would pick it up and bring it home to their child. Unfortunately it worked and he cast a spell upon them that exiled them from the kingdom. Luckily your grandfather died before his plans for total control could be realized but the witches have been in exile ever since! No one ever realized the wrong that was done to them,” blurted Nora.
“Hold on, you have visions of the past? You never told me!”
“I was waiting for the right time. And now there’s no time! We need to find Hagna Jr. as soon as we can and tell her!”
“Wait! I had visions of the future last night!” Finn said.
Nora turned around. “You did? What happened?”
“I saw us freeing the amphibian witches. I saw us explaining to everyone that the evil spell was not cast by Hagna! It really confused me, but now I get it. The evil spell was cast by my grandfather. It’s all making sense!” exclaimed Finn.
Nora nodded as they both set off to the amphibian meeting place to find Hagna Jr.
“Hagna, we have something important to tell you.” Finn said
“I do too,” Hagna replied.
“The amphibian witches were not the bad ones that caused us to be exiled. It’s Finn’s grandfather. He was the one that cursed the evil doll that someone gave to my great great grandmother. Once she hugged it the spell was released and ever since the witches have been exiled,” Hagna explained.
Nora and Finn stood still like stones. The room became quiet. Then Nora and Finn filled in the missing parts of the story with the visions they had the night before. The only question that remained was how to break the spell. That would be up to the witches, of course. The oldest witch in the room, sitting far off in the corner by the fireplace, began to speak. The one who never spoke, Dorkus, amazed everyone.
“Aye, I remember that day well. Hagna, your great grandmother was my best friend. She loved that doll. No one would ever have suspected! I have treasured that doll since her death. It is in my bag by the door, please get it for me, Hagna Jr.” Hagna brought the doll to Dorkus. Dorkus shocked everyone by ripping it open. Then she pulled out a shining onyx stone. She threw the stone into the fireplace and it exploded emitting ghastly green smoke.
“There,” she said. “The spell has been extinguished! Nora and Finn you have solved the puzzle that entrapped us. We are forever grateful! And now we are all free to return to the kingdom we have so loved and missed for so long!”
One Sky, One Elephant
By Wenyuan Abel, Age 11
Once there lived an elephant named Barb. She lived in a hot and sandy desert in Africa where the sky was always a bright, bright blue with clouds as white as snow. She lived with her herd of elephants. She would play with the other kid elephants for hours and hours.
After a while though, she would get very thirsty and need water. The only problem was the closest water hole was far away from where she and her herd lived. So why don’t they move closer to the water hole? Well, where the water hole was it was very polluted from leftover gasses that were left by humans exploring the desert and it could really harm them if they lived there.
Once a week she and her family and friends would walk the long and hot trek to the water hole and fill buckets with water. Then they would walk all the way back to where they lived. This is where our story starts. Barb and her herd are trekking the long trek to the water hole.
“Are we there yet?” asked Barb to her mother.
“No dear,” her mother replied wearily.
“Not for awhile, now go talk to Dalla and Veevee,”
Dalla and Veeve were Barb’s best friends. Dalla was another kid elephant that was really sweet and kind and Veevee was a small bird that always had good ideas.
Barb went to the row in the elephant train where her friends were and fell in step with them.
“Hi Dalla and Veevee,” Barb said, waving her trunk a little.
“Hi,” Veevee chirped, flying right above Barb’s back.
“I really wish we had water closer to where we live,” Dalla said, hopping up and down trying to get her foot to uncramp.
“We all would like that,” said Veevee with a sigh.
“Earlier I asked Mom why we’ve never tried digging and making our own water source.” “She said it was because it would be very hard and we would not want to take all the water from wherever our water source was connected to,” Barb told them.
“Interesting,” said Veevee.
“She also said no one would want to do it anyway,” Barb added.
The three of them followed the rest of the herd up a hill that had a stream connected to the water hole. A big mound of sand stood at one end, stopping the stream from going downhill towards where the elephants lived.
When they got to the water hole all of the elephants filled leaf buckets with water. After all the buckets were filled the elephants all got in the water hole and swan for a while before heading back home.
That night while Barb was sleeping she had an idea. If the stream was connected to the water hole couldn’t they just dig the rest of the way to where they lived? She knew her mother would never agree to talking to the other adult elephants about it because she would think it was impossible. Barn would talk to her friends about it tomorrow and see what they thought.
The next day she talked to her friends about her idea.
“You want to do what?!” said Dalla, spitting out her water in shock after hearing Barb’s idea.
“Interesting. It would take a lot of work but it could happen,” said Veeve, less shocked. “We could think about it.”
“Your idea is a good one, Barb, but it would take a lot of work and energy. And how would we build a small water hole thing? You know your mother would never agree,” said Dalla, much calmer.
“We could build it, us kid elephants and tell the adults when we finish it,” Barb replied determined.
After thinking a while Veeve went to Barb, “Ok. Dalla and I talked about it and we will try your idea, Barb. Dalla is collecting the other kid elephants and getting shovels.”
“Great. Let’s go,” Barb said both excited and ready to work.
She and the other elephants began shoveling a hole right outside of where they live. None of them talked much as they shoveled. It was grueling work and it was also very hot.
Finally after days the hole was finished and they began shoveling towards the stream. The only sound Barb heard was the crunch of the shovels against the sand. As sand swirled around them Barb realised their hole that they had worked so hard on was filling with sand.
“We need to stop. Our hole is filling with sand,” Barb said. There were lots of murmurs and “oh no”s and “what do we do.”
Finally Veevee said, “We could get mud and put a layer over the hole and the stream path.”
Everyone agreed that was a good idea and they went back to the hole. They collected lots of mud from where the herd collected and made mud and started patting mud on to the sides of the hole.
Finally when that was done, they left the mud to harden and started the work towards the stream.
After digging towards the stream for a long time and slathering on mud, one of the elephants said, “I can’t do this anymore, I quit.” Others nodded their heads and started heading back.
“Please don’t go. Don’t you want to help get water to the herd?” Barb said.
“Sorry Barb, but we are all tired and really want to get this mud off of ourselves,” they replied walking away. Barb knew she couldn’t change their minds and sat down.
“It will be ok,” Veevee said, soothingly.
“Maybe we should just give up too,” Barb said on the verge of crying.
“I’m going home,” Dalla said, tiredly following the other elephants.
At that Barb started crying not just because Dalla and the others were quitting but because she was starting to realise maybe this really was impossible.
“It’s ok,” Veevee said, sitting on Barb’s head.
That night Barb was too tired and shaky to go home and thought about how Dalla was right to doubt Barb’s idea. Eventually Barb fell asleep.
The next morning Barb headed home. Where was Veevee? I bet she left too, thought Barb glumly.The sky was bright and the hot wind was blowing through the sand as if mocking her and running around her saying, “Haha you failed and your friends quit on you.”
As she was walking, she saw two figures coming towards her. Barb stopped, wondering what they were.
“Hi Barb! I got Dalla to come back! She says she wanted to come back because she realized she really believed in you and wanted to help you!” said Veevee, her words jumbled. “Oh and sorry I was not there when you woke up, I wanted to try to get other elephants back. Then I saw Dalla headed back to where you were and she told me she had tried to get the others to come back too but they said no.” Veevee added, out of breath.
Barb was too happy to speak and just smiled. The three of them went back to where they had left off and went to work.
Eventually they had reached the mound of sand that stopped up the stream. All the mud had dried and they began digging away the mound.
“We made a slab of hardened mud so we can monitor how much water comes into our water hole. All you do is insert the slab into a ridge that we made where our water hole meets the start of the stream,” said Dalla.
They finished digging the mound and water started heading down their stream path. They started screaming and jumping up and down.
“Yay! It works!” Veevee chirped happily.
As Barb watched the stream she realized, after all the hard work, it was more rewarding than she expected. Even though it took much longer to build than it would to just walk to the water hole itself, it would save them much more time in the future.
“Come on,” Dalla said, running, following the stream.
Veevee and Barb followed her gigging and splashing water at each other and Dalla. They all ran and jumped, following the stream and knowing that their friendship would be as bright and endless as the sky.
By Leroi von Passow, Age 15
Black hole: you are the balance; the everlasting
the bringer of Life the dirt covering the grave of our loved ones
Your abysmal abyssal maw.
Like Death receives
everything in your grasp.
Farewell Brethren good-bye.
For I know there is no escaping the endless gravity.
But is the Black Hole not also the source of the material from which we have been created? The endless field of destruction reminiscent of Dante’s Divine Comedy also creates
Nay! Nay! It is not true
They say, the Undertaker is not capable of creating Life
But is the dirt not responsible for nurturing the souls of our deceased? Are the trees we see not a result of the careful Earth? And what of the Earth? — The light? Could such a thing be created without the darkness?
Without a seed there is no tree.
But what is a seed worth without the sun without the water the dirt
Everett Abel has combined his passions to bring Village Home (VH) a captivating new class, Unsung History: Queer Musicians.
Everett is a senior at Portland State University, majoring in history, and a former VH learner. He has a lengthy list of previous teaching experience. He has taught for seven years at Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, (Rock Camp is in the process of changing their name to be inclusive of trans youth) around three-to-four years at Tryon Creek Nature Day Camp, and has taught drum lessons for the past five years. So when his mom, current VH teacher Annika Abel, suggested that he teach a class at VH, he knew that he would be down for the challenge.
He wanted to teach a history class from the start, but he knew VH already had a good variety of history classes. Instead, he took his love for music, added a new angle, and suggested this class. He always knew he would teach at VH. “If I had to choose between going in once a week to a normal public school and teaching at Village, I would still choose Village,” he says, “Because it gives me more freedom as an instructor to teach what I want to teach to kids who want to learn.”
In this class, you go through the decades starting in the 1920’s and working up to current times, and in each decade you’ll look at queer musicians who were popular at the time. Some examples are Big Mama Thorton and Elton John. Plus, this class doesn’t just focus on history; it covers multiple different subjects.
Everett also strongly embraces the music aspect of the class. You’ll learn about the different parts of a song and about music in general. As well as learning about the musicians, you’ll listen to some of the songs they produced. Then, as a class, you will analyze the song by looking into what you think the story behind the lyrics are and what emotions they convey.
It is also about queer history specifically, and because of that, Everett strives to make his classroom a safe space to talk about anything regarding the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a place for self-discovery and learning. As you learn about musicians you’ll also learn about the community itself, like the different terms and how to be respectful.
This class really is a multiple-trick pony. His final words of advice to any learner who is scared to express this part of themselves is, “Just be you. It’s not weird or different, it’s just you and that’s really awesome!”
Get Off Zoom, Spring’s In Bloom
By Mia Sharp
With warm weather upon us, many of us are wanting to go outside and enjoy the wonders of nature that Oregon has to offer. Plus, being on Zoom calls constantly definitely isn’t helping with the feeling of being cramped inside. These fun outdoor activities are perfect for families of all ages, can be done safely, and are all at a reasonable price point. From swimming to sports, here are three great options for anyone wanting to get outdoors.
Portland Japanese Gardens With the recent rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes, it’s even more important now to support these businesses. The Japanese Gardens in Washington Park is a truly beautiful place. On their website you can schedule a time to take a nice calming walk throughout the gardens. The times are specific and change because of Covid restrictions, but they offer great prices for kids and adults. It’s a simple one, but definitely a must-see.
Mary S. Young Park Located in West Linn, Mary S. Young Park offers you a quiet place to walk or sit by the Willamette River. About 128 acres, this joyful, forested park should be a go-to for families with younger kids. As you walk deeper into the forest on any of the several different trails (5-8 miles worth), it’s easy to forget you’re in a city. It’s a quick but peaceful stop if you don’t have time for a drive to the country. Plenty of room for kids to play on the sports fields, a restroom, shelter (that can be reserved), and an area for dogs to run unleashed.
A little farther down, you will find a loading dock, so bring a canoe or a kayak and ride up the Willamette River. There is also a good sized beach area right by the water that you can either walk to or go down from the dock. It’s a great place to relax in the sun, or go for a refreshing swim.
Tennis This is a great non-contact sport to play outside when you’re trying to be more active. You can go to a variety of public parks to use courts if you’re just wanting to play, or if you’re wanting to learn and gain a new skill. You can sign up for tennis lessons at one of the many Oregon Recreation Centers. For example, The Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District offers court rentals and instructional classes Monday-Fridays at varying times. Costing around $14.00-$17.50 a lesson for up to four people. You can check their website for more information. You can start tennis at any age, or level, and play it safely.
Whether you’ve lived in Oregon for years or you’ve just moved here, these are all great places and things to do as we are finally getting to see the sun. And, none of these have to take a full day. If you only have half a day, you can keep these in your back pocket for a quick and fun adventure. Happy travels!
Out and About with the Village Voice
By Annika Elliott
By Haydn Reilly Hogan
Dragon Slippers – Jessica Day George, fantasy (8+)
This is a fun, magical, modern fairytale book about a girl named Creel whose aunt sends her to be held hostage by her local dragon in hopes that a prince will rescue her. Creel, however, has other ideas, deciding instead to bargain with the dragon, winning a pair of slippers in the process and beginning her journey to the city to fulfill her dreams of being a dressmaker.
When Creel arrives in the city, she notices strange things starting to happen and realizes that the slippers she won in the beginning of her journey may possess much more than meets the eye. This is a great fantasy book for both younger readers and older ones, sporting an impressively executed plot.
Wolf Hollow – Lauren Wolk, historical fiction (11+)
In the wake of two world wars and growing up in a small Pennsylvania town, Annabelle’s quiet life is disrupted by Betty Glengarry, a new girl at school. She decides to torment Annabelle, and Betty’s manipulation starts to affect everyone Annabelle cares about. Annabelle then meets and befriends a reclusive World War I veteran who becomes Betty’s new target. She turns the town against Toby, and Annabelle will have to find the courage to stand up for what she knows is right when no one else will. Wolf Hollow is a Newbery Medal winner and is a great historical fiction book.
My Sweet Orange Tree – José Mauro De Vasconcelos, biographical fiction (13+)
This book is perfect if you feel like crying your eyes out. Based on the author’s childhood life, My Sweet Orange Tree is about a little boy named Zezé who is clever beyond his years and disarmingly precocious. Zezé likes to play pranks on the neighbors and is severely punished by his parents for his mischievous nature. His family is also struggling because his father has recently lost his job.
Zezé’s life begins to change when he meets his first real friend which shows him the beauty of human tenderness and also brings him terrible sorrow. This book is gorgeously crafted, translated from Portugese by Alison Entrekin, and it will stick with you for a very long time. The writing style and storyline are achingly beautiful, but younger readers might want to veer more towards Crenshaw or Dragon Slippers as there are some harsh moments throughout the book.
This new bestseller is definitely worth the read for fans of dystopian fiction and anyone who enjoys really well-written fiction. It’s about three girls named Hetty, Byatt, and Reese, all living on an island because of a terrifying sickness called “the Tox.” The mysterious disease creeps into your veins and turns your body against you, so the students of Raxter School for Girls have been kept on the island for two years, cut off from the rest of the world and quarantined inside the school grounds.
When Byatt goes missing, Hetty and Reese will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and venturing into not only the woods, but the dark secrets surrounding both the Tox and their life at Raxter. This book is masterfully crafted and resembles a feminist Lord of the Flies. It will keep you glued to the pages and it includes some romance as well as lots of action and sci-fi conspiracy, but it gets pretty intense, so readers younger than 14 should be cautious.
Meet the Learners:Sophia and Brooks
By Annika Elliott
Sophie Krajcar is 10 years old and has been going to VH for five years. Sophie has a younger sister named Anya, who is 8 years old and a dog, named Cam, who she loves to take on walks and play with.
Sophie mainly likes to take very hands-on classes, i.e, art, baking, and nature classes. She is also part of the Rivers program. She’s taken a few classes with Anya and says that they were fun.
Outside of VH Sophie uses Khan Academy for more learning. She also enjoys playing tennis with her dog. Sophie loves reading. Some of her favorites are Harry Potter and The Hobbit
Sophie is also an artist. She enjoys drawing her sister and her dog, as well as her favorite anime characters. Another one of Sophie’s interests is creative writing and it’s one of her favorite subjects..
Sophie has indulged her interest in cooking throughout quarantine and likes making soups and salads for her family.
Brooks Sharp, age 7, loves going to VH, and he has been going here for 4 years. Brooks says that he likes going to VH because he enjoys being able to see his friends. Brooks has three older siblings Keller (10), Bryce, 18, and Mia (14), three dogs, Avery, Bowser, and Sadie, and one cat, Chansi.
Brooks is currently only taking one class at VH, Rivers, the day program. Brooks has been in Rivers for 2 years.
Outside of VH, Brooks is involved in an outdoor forest school which he has been going to with his older brother, Keller, for two years. He also enjoys a tennis class..
Reading and drawing round out Brooks’s hobbies. His favorite book is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl. Recently drawing has become a passion of his.
Lastly, a random fact about Brooks is that his favorite foods are macaroni and cheese and pickles.
Day In the Life of Otter
By Ezria Graul
Voicing Our Views: Animal Documentaries
By Haydn Reilly Hogan
This spring, getting out into nature is harder than ever, so learning about the world we live in is a great way to connect with the natural world. Nature documentaries are a lesser known form of entertainment, but they can be a great way to bring together the whole family in an educational way. There are lots of great options on different streaming platforms including Netflix, Disney+, and PBS Kids.
Dolphin Reef is a great educational documentary on Disney+ about coral reefs and their ecosystems. The story centers around a young dolphin and his mother, and has a lot of interesting facts about sea life. The storyline is entertaining and easy to follow, which makes it perfect for younger learners.
Wild Kratts is a timeless classic. It’s an animated show on PBS Kids about two brothers and their adventures into the wild. It blends sci-fi with documentary techniques, and incorporates tons of interesting animal and ecological facts. It’s an educational show, and younger learners will absolutely adore it. You can find it (as well as a number of interactive educational games based on the show) on the PBS Kids website.
Growing Up Wild is a Disney documentary on Netflix, starring Daveed Diggs. It’s about five baby animals from different parts of the world and their stories. We follow them as they learn to navigate their surroundings, helped by their families. It’s very sweet and lighthearted, perfect for kids.
Monkey Kingdom is a documentary on Disney+ about a female monkey navigating the social hierarchy of her troop. She has to develop survival skills and trust her instincts, and step up to lead her family when they get forced out of their jungle home. It is entertaining and lively, with a bit of fighting and lots of funny moments. Tiny Creatures is a Netflix miniseries about the adorable, smaller side of the animal kingdom and how they survive and thrive in our modern world. It’s great if you’re looking for something cute and fast paced, and it features a wide variety of different animals. It will keep every member of the family entertained with lots of action and humor.
Nicole Roberts has been a great many things in her life, but most of all, she is an artist. She first got into art in primary school, after she read a book called East of the Sun and West of the Moon by author and illustrator Mercer Mayer. Mercer described his illustrative process, and that made her realize that people actually made a career out of illustration and it was possible to dream big in her art.
Nicole was never homeschooled herself but really likes the concept. As a kid, she loved learning and was interested in things, but she often had trouble staying engaged. Nicole has trouble focusing on just one thing for a long time, preferring to move quickly in her work. She’s always searching for different ways to learn, so one of her favorite things about Village Home is that it gives you the freedom to tailor your learning to your own needs.
Across the board, Nicole’s favorite and most helpful learning experiences were the moments teachers went out of their way to cater to students’ needs. Nicole was a bit scared of teachers growing up, so she really appreciated when they went out of their way to bring her out of her shell. Nicole has tried to emulate that mindfulness throughout her own teaching career.
When she was a senior in high school, Nicole had an English teacher who helped shape her. The teacher liked Nicole’s writing and saw that she was quiet, so she recommended books, talked to Nicole after class, gave her advice, and wrote a recommendation letter for Nicole’s college applications. That was the first time a teacher “saw something in me that everybody didn’t, or that nobody bothered to point out.”
Nicole used to teach English in Korea and has taught French and other language classes before, but the majority of her career is in art. She loves to travel and has lived in Thailand, France, and Korea, as well as having visited many more places around the world. “I get a lot out of the differences in culture,” Nicole says. She adores the fact that each new place has an entirely new system of language and doing things. She knows many foreign languages, including French, Spanish, and Thai, although French is the language she knows best.
When Nicole went to college, she majored in geography, which ultimately contributed to her love of travel. She minored in art, and eventually one of her teachers said to her, “I don’t understand why you’re not majoring in art”. That, along with others pushing her towards art, served as a wake-up call.
Even though she was hesitant at first, Nicole eventually decided to go to graduate school for art at Savannah College for Design. Her first job, once she had graduated, was designing prints for clothes at Target, which was her introduction to designing textiles and patterns. Nicole has been a part of the art world for 20 years now and currently works as a teacher at VH and a freelance product/textile designer on the side.
She has used a lot of different mediums over the years but stuck mainly to pastels in college. She loves watercolor and pen and ink the most. Nicole values artistic freedom and the opportunity to put colors on the page, and then letting it go wherever it goes is liberating for her. She loves seeing what happens and creating something from it, letting her art take the lead.
Nicole uses lots of strong, simple strokes in pen and ink, channeling a calligraphy style in her pieces. She often puts down watercolor and then goes over it with ink to give elegant definition to the shapes. She really enjoys that kind of creative chaos and the chance to make something beautiful out of something that seems very random.
Her advice for aspiring artists is to draw every day. She says that building muscle memory will help your art flow more naturally, and not to be discouraged by your own critical eye. If you love making art then you don’t have to be incredible at it, because people enjoy what other people love, and “You might find an audience that loves what you do.”
Nicole has been teaching at Village Home since last year when her nine-year-old daughter started attending classes. She says it’s been a strange experience being a new teacher at VH during Covid since everything is online and this is her first virtual teaching experience. It’s difficult to gauge where the class is at, and finding a balance between how much freedom and how much instruction to give her students has been difficult online.
Nicole prefers to keep her classes focused but not linear, and the learners seem to enjoy being there. She really appreciates how “they all have something to contribute,” and says it’s validating when a student affirms that they’re learning and enjoying class time. When you see kids who are struggling and you have the opportunity to connect with them and make a difference, it means a lot to Nicole.
Even though it’s been a weird introduction to VH, Nicole likes how it brings many different perspectives and backgrounds to the table and lets learners customize their education.
You can visit Nicole Roberts’ website here. East of the Sun and West of the Moon can be found for sale here.
Stay Motivated, Summer’s Nearly Here!
By Jillian Bauer
With spring break over, we now have summer break to look forward to! But in between now and then, there are still some weeks of school. It can be easy to lose motivation in the later months of the school year. So, here are a few ideas of things you can do to refresh your mindset and space for the last term of the school year:
To-do lists can be super helpful in staying motivated and getting things done.
Get outside, and even work outside if possible; spending time outdoors has been shown to reduce stress and support good health in general.
Tidy up or do some cleaning to refresh your space. A cluttered space can contribute to stress.
Make sure to spend some time in-between classes and homework relaxing to prevent burnout.
Listen to some music that you find motivating, journal about your goals, or make a list of things you want to do when you’re finished with the school year to help you maintain your motivation.
Many students find things like marking off days on a calendar (or creating a paper chain you can watch visibly get smaller as summer break gets closer) helpful. If one of these suggestions is helpful for you, tag us on Instagram @village.voice or share one of your own ideas!
Indie Game Roundup
By Chase Williams
Sometimes, video games can feel like a cash grab as the latest trend, just look at any mobile app store. But behind the scenes, there’s a deep and rich group of game developers who know what they want to make and make it for the sake of making it (of course it can go deeper than this, but usually there is some hint of this in there).
Oftentimes, large AAA games will sometimes have hundreds, even up to a thousand people, working on one game. In the case of one of the most widely recognized games, GTA5, this can make the game differ by miles between the concept and the final product, which can often feel kind of watered down.
A lot of indie games are made by one person, or a small group of people, which results in an often less refined game, but more true to the original soul of the project. One great example of this is Undertale, one of the most successful indie titles. Undertale knows exactly what it’s supposed to be, and it has executed that extremely well, creating an unmistakable experience for the player. As a bonus, a lot of these games are very cheap and accessible. If you like games with character, charm, and often an amazing story, then check out this list.
Please note that these are not listed in any particular order.
5. Celeste Classic. (9+) (free/$19.99) Celeste is a classic side-scrolling platformer, kind of like Super Mario Bros., though the main difference is that with Mario there is an emphasis on battle, while with Celeste, the main goal is reaching the destination in the first place.
Celeste Classic has a simple enough goal: get to the top of the mountain with a side objective of collecting eighteen strawberries along the way, but that’s much easier said than done. In Celeste, the difficulty is turned up to 11, and that’s without collecting all eighteen strawberries. If you want to get to 100% completion, I wish you the best of luck.
If you want to try it for yourself, the full game is on Steam for $19.99 and works on Windows PCs, but there is also Celeste Classic which is a free browser game as a prototype to the final product. While a bit less polished, it definitely will be a more than suitable replacement.
4. Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy (11/12 +) ($7.99) In a similar vein to Celeste, you have to climb up a mountain but the difficulty will make you want to run away screaming. The gameplay between the two is almost exactly the same. Just get up a mountain in a 2-D side scroller, the biggest difference being that in Getting Over It, you’re stuck in a cauldron and need to move about with a hammer.
Between the clunky controls, a severe lack of checkpoints, and the fact that it’s impossible to balance a cauldron with a round bottom, this has been touted as one of the most frustrating games ever. This game is not for the faint of heart, and the developer put it pretty much perfectly: “I made this game for a specific type of person: to hurt them.” This game will be a challenge like no other, but that makes getting to the top of the mountain all the more rewarding.
3. Kerbal Space Program (KSP) (8+) ($39.99) Kerbal Space Program may not have a story — it may not even have a real main character. But it doesn’t really need that to give you the sense of overwhelming accomplishment when you land on the moon for the first time with all of your astronauts alive. KSP is currently one of the best rocket simulators, especially for people new to the genre.
While not a direct copy of the real world, the planets are a lot closer and the engines are a lot more powerful. It’s still a great way to learn about, and play with, rockets and other aeronautical nonsense. With 3 modes, all of varying difficulty, you can play however you want. Want to make a flying car and just goof around with rockets? Sandbox mode it is! Want a complete NASA sim with money and research as part of the equation? Career mode for you!
KSP is not a totally accurate sim, but if you enjoy spaceflight, airplanes, and engineering, or even just want to feel like Elon Musk and send a hypercar into solar orbit, then I highly recommend this.
2. Oxygen Not Included (ONI) (10+) ($24.99) Klei Entertainment is no stranger to survival games, often putting a strange twist on it and having a story that you have to piece together bit by bit. And, when paired with an unforgettable art style that can be as cute or as grim as it wants, you get an experience that only an indie game can give you.
We’ve all played a city builder or a survival game (Minecraft), but it’s not too often that they both come together. That’s exactly what Klei did with Oxygen Not Included, where it starts out like a survival game, only underground and you have NOTHING except 3 duplicants (the “printable” almost-people that will populate your world) and enough food to last them a few days.
Once you start to become self-sustained, the city builder aspect comes in, building facilities and rooms for your duplicants to work in. It might look like you’re on easy street at this point, but these duplicants will also get stressed, which might keep them from doing what they need to do.
After a while, you’ll end up with an elaborate system of pipes, wires, and chutes to keep everything perfectly in check. Only then can you start digging towards the surface and uncovering the experiments that led to where you are now.
1. Stardew Valley (10+) No indie game list can go without Stardew Valley, arguably one of the most beloved games of all time. At first glance, this game seems like a simple little farming/adventure game, but as you start playing the game, going through the natural progression, it starts to feel like the people of the valley aren’t just faceless NPCs. They have their own problems; their own struggles to overcome, and you can help or hinder that.
There are stories to uncover and tales to be told as you search through the forgotten mines and tend to your crops, saving up for the next season that will be here before you know it. Even once you get to the end game, there is a very large modding community with tons of additions to the game.
All in all, this is a great representation of what an indie game can be. It’s an amazing experience now, and it’s still being updated with a focus on expanding the story, so if you stick around with the game, there is sure to be more to come. If you were to buy one indie game, it should most likely be this one.
Minecraft Bonus! (7+ but it’s recommended to have a parent help set this up) ($26.95)
If all of this sounds interesting, and you want to try it yourself, well, you’re in luck because Minecraft was actually an indie game! Older versions of Minecraft (pre 1.9) do a good job of giving that indie feel, so if you have Minecraft Java edition (the one only available on PC, make sure you have Java and not Bedrock, which can also be used on consoles and mobile devices) open up the launcher, then at the top go to “installations.” You’ll see a list of Minecraft versions you have installed, and above that you’ll see “+New”. Click on that, and you’ll see a list of available versions. Scroll down a bit until you find one that you want to install.
You can read all about each version on the Minecraft Wiki, and in the bottom left corner, you’ll see a button saying “Create.” Click on that, wait for it to install and once you’re back at the main launcher screen, to the left of the play button you’ll see the version. Click on that to select the installed version you want. After that, just hit “play,” turn the music levels up to 100%, and enjoy classic Minecraft.
To sum it up, indie games are a great little section of gaming worth visiting and playing around with. These games are sure to put a smile on your face — even if it’s upside down from trying to get across that one gap. Next time you’re looking for a new game, pass by the mass-produced games on the market, do a little digging like Steve, and you can find a true gem.
Dueling Editorials Part II:
By Haydn Reilly Hogan & Lila Jackson
We all know the famous Harry Potter, the boy who lived, surviving countless deadly trials and making valuable friends along the way. The Harry Potter books are a cherished piece of literature and history for countless people, and many of us have grown up alongside Harry and his friends (which may have given many of us a somewhat biased view of the quality of the books themselves). However, even though many details of the series are definitely mediocre when taken out of context, when they’re all put together into the series we know and love, they combine to become something extraordinary and exciting.
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series (as well as most of his other books) features a male main character who is witty, brave, and relatable. He’s often an underdog and is a picture-perfect protagonist, but he doesn’t change much throughout the story. Harry Potter, on the other hand, is very mild and easygoing — a bit of an unlikely hero. He also has a lot of space for personal character development throughout the series, which makes it quite the journey as you watch him grow.
Another great thing about the Harry Potter books is that there are a lot of characters who are dynamic without being the center of attention, which is why we grew up loving the Weasley family just as much as we love Harry himself. It also features antagonistic characters who are just as dynamic as the protagonists, and they’re not always on the bad side.
A lot of the struggles Harry faces come from supposed “allies” — people who worked within the wizarding systems and ended up making things difficult for Harry such as Professor Umbridge, Dumbledore, and Snape. This makes for complex relationships and character dynamics.
In my opinion, the Percy Jackson series is redundant and has fairly one-dimensional characters who don’t have a lot of personal development. Plus, it’s not nearly as meticulously intertwined as Harry Potter. The main allure of the series is that it was one of the first modern depictions of ancient Greek mythology and it taught us a lot about that culture, but the series itself doesn’t quite match up to the rest of the genre. I think it was a much-needed segue into that literary genre, but that’s the best I can say for it.
Harry Potter is similar to this in that it was one of the first series’ to really branch into the magical world in such a new and unique way, but it’s different from Percy Jackson because it appeals to, and entertains, a very wide range of people and age groups, whereas Percy Jackson mainly caters to grades 3-7.
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series features more diversity than J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, but J.K. Rowling sets a shockingly low bar for inclusion. Neither of the authors had sufficient standards for representation, which makes it hard to compare that aspect of the books, but Rick Riordan has definitely branched out diversity-wise in his other books while J.K. Rowling has made a few choice opinions frustratingly clear recently.
Personally, this makes it difficult for me to read the series without feeling like I’m going against my own values, but at the same time, the series is really important to me. I think it’s okay to love the series without loving the author, and two things can be true at the same time. J.K. Rowling is someone who has harmful ideals that lack empathy and go against my own beliefs, and she’s also someone who wrote a really great series that a lot of people love.
That said, it’s really important to acknowledge the author’s flaws without condoning them. It’s not fair to say that J.K. Rowling gets a moral pass because she wrote the Harry Potter series, but it’s also okay to love the books.
100 Objects?More like 200!
By Luke Pippin, Guest Reporter
In History of the World in (about) 100 Objects, Deborah Mueller is, instead of teaching the learners about one or two objects a week, teaching them about four or five!
History of the World in (about) 100 Objects is for learners ages 10-12. It takes place from 9:30-10:30am on Thursdays via Zoom. In this class, Deborah teaches history by having different groups of learners look at objects and try to figure out what they are. Deborah will then reveal what the objects really are and use these objects to talk about a culture in history.
“It’s a fun and interesting class that I have learned a lot from,” says Rachel, a learner in the class. When asked about how Deborah is doing more than planned, she responded, “I think it’s just the right amount, and that she is not pushing it too far.”
This class requires homework and has about fifteen minutes to an hour’s worth of required homework, plus another fifteen minutes to one hour’s worth of optional homework. This homework mainly consists of watching videos and reading articles.
During class, the learners will usually finish discussing the culture they’re learning about. Then they’ll go into breakout rooms and try to figure out what the different objects are. After that, Deborah will reveal what the objects actually are and how they relate to the culture the class will be learning about. During the last part of a class, learners will learn about the culture that the objects relate to.
Inside Model United Nations
By Annika Elliott
Many people know what the United Nations (UN) is, but since not everyone does, here’s a little bit of history.
The UN was founded in 1945, and if anyone knows their history, that was right after World War II ended. The main purpose of the UN was to help maintain peace and security and to help all the countries get along. In the beginning, there were only 51 countries that were a part of the UN.
The first-ever UN conference was held in San Francisco and delegates from 50 countries attended. This first UN meeting happened four months before the UN was founded on October 24. The main reason for this meeting was to sign and ratify the charter for, well, itself. At this meeting, China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as a few other countries, signed and ratified the charter causing the UN to be formed.
Since then, the UN has grown in size and strength. Now, there are 193 countries involved with it! The UN has 6 main languages spoken: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
The UN still tries to maintain peace between nations as well as help those living in poverty. The UN also has many other goals called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The SDGs were created to help bring notice to problems that were not getting addressed. They have helped resolve many problems around the world.
Now that you have a small background on the actual UN, let’s talk about Model United Nations (MUN). In Model UN, you create an UN-like setting and debate, make speeches, and help educate teens about real-world problems.
At the beginning of MUN class in the Fall, you start off understanding what is going on; mainly learning about the UN, and what MUN is. You learn about what you will do throughout the year. After a couple of weeks you find out which country you will be a delegate for. This year VH represented Canada. You will learn about your country and get to know its stance on different topics. This is a very important part of the process. You are acting as a representative of this country, so you should agree with what your country agrees with and disagree with what your country doesn’t agree with.
After you figure out your country, you will get to learn what options there are for committees. Committees are different parts of the UN (and MUN) that help work on different topics.
In VH’s MUN class, we got to choose the top three committees that we’d like to be in. In almost every committee, there are multiple people. The more people in your class, the more people in each committee. While preparing for the end of the year state-wide MUN conference, you work with classmates in committee, but at the conference, the committees are broken into sub-committees where you work with teens from other MUN teams.
After you are assigned a committee, you get different topics that you are going to debate at the conference. Each committee usually gets around four topics. These topics are picked by the MUN team that has set up the conference.
Over the year, you will pick three of the topics and write position papers. The position papers aren’t as scary as they sound. They are your country’s position on that topic, as well as what the UN has done about it, and a solution that you have found to help solve it.
This was my first year in MUN and I enjoyed it and learned so much through it. I was in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) committee. This committee, as it sounds, is about women’s rights. The topics that we got were maternal mortality rights, teen pregnancies in Africa, education equity, and lack of access to sanitary pads for people who menstruate.
The main thing I wish I had known before the conference was that I needed to relax. The entire MUN is high schoolers and a few middle schoolers, so you’re not debating against adults, and many of the teens are pretty new to debating. That being said, there were also seniors who had been there for five years and knew a ton.
Usually, the conference is held at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Since there is a worldwide pandemic right now, it was held on Zoom this year, and surprisingly it went really well!
The actual conference was only around two days long, but there was a third day where we did a general session. It was held on Friday, a day before the actual conference started. In that beginning meeting, we met the main facilitators of the Oregon MUN and a few people gave speeches. They gave us a rundown on how the conference would go and a few other random tips. An interesting part of it for me was something called a Webinar which I personally had never been on before.
The second day started off with another Webinar where we were able to hear more people give speeches and then got even more information before we went to our first committee session. The committee sessions were all in different Zooms, and you could talk with the other MUN members in these meetings (whereas in the webinar only a selected few could turn on their cameras and talk).
In the committee session, you debate your topic. At the very beginning, you have to discuss each country’s thoughts. Discuss is a better word for this part than debate, in my opinion. During this part, everyone is extremely formal. When you’re in person, you have a placard that you can raise to signify that you would like to talk, but since we were on Zoom, we would type either that we would like to make a speech or make a comment in the chat.
A speech is either saying what your country thinks or bringing up a question or a comment. A comment is something you ask another country. So in that case you can make a comment on what another country said. While you can ask a question, try not to ask too many as it could come across to the other delegates as if you do not know much about your topics.
After you do your initial debate, you can either call for a caucus or move onto substantive debate. A caucus is a place where you and other countries can get together to talk without having to be as formal. The main purpose of a caucus is to work with other countries to start writing a resolution. Resolutions contain the actions your committee wants to take on each topic.
The only time you would skip a caucus is if enough people already have a resolution started. If that happens, then you can just move straight into substantive debate. During that time you make amendments to the resolutions. It’s like you’re editing them.
After everyone has deemed the resolution good and finished, if there is another resolution that someone else proposed, then you will work on that one, make amendments to it, and do the entire process all over again.
Once we finish all the resolutions proposed, the committee will vote on them and a final resolution gets sent to the committee called the General Assembly (GA). When it gets sent to GA the delegates there will vote on it and it will either pass or get sent back. If it gets sent back you will amend more parts of it before sending it onto the GA again hopefully for it to be passed.
That process repeats for each topic, though you don’t always have time to get to all your topics.
The CSW committee was small with thirteen members. This meant that we only ever had one resolution processed per topic, so we got done pretty fast and were able to get through all of our topics.
The first day you have 3 committee sessions, and all of them are only about 1-2 hours each. After the committee sessions at the end of the day, you will do another general session where they actually hold a game night.
I was quite surprised when I heard that there was going to be a talent show and game night in MUN. Apparently, that has been a tradition for many years.
The next day you, will repeat the entire thing. They started out with a general session where they gave more speeches. Then we went to committee sessions where we started work on our topics.
In the last committee session, instead of working on the topics, we did something called a crisis simulation. Crisis simulations are where you get a crisis that has happened somewhere in the world and you need to solve it to the best of your abilities. The crisis we got was not real and hasn’t actually happened.
Something really nice about the crisis we got was that they wrote out what we were supposed to do. By that, I don’t mean they gave us all the answers. They just gave us topics that we needed to focus on which helped us get it done quicker. The crisis process is the same as it is with the topics, but with less emphasis on your country’s thoughts because we hadn’t had as much time to research it beforehand. We had to work toward a resolution that can take action immediately. Sadly, with this last resolution, you don’t send it to the GA due to time constraints.
After the last committee session, you have one final general session. In this one, they give out awards. They gave out awards for the talent show and the winners of the games. This year we played Kahoot. After those they give prizes to the best representatives from each country as well as the best consensus writer. That meant the person that did the best job bringing everyone together and building a consensus. Those prizes are per committee.
Then they give more speeches before it’s over. The VH group met up afterward to share fun stories and share how it went.
I am so glad that I went and I’m extremely excited to continue MUN next year. I’d highly recommend this for anyone interested in public speaking as well as learning much more about the world around us.
Spring is when the fabulous instructors of VH propose classes for next year. The wide variety of classes sets VH apart from traditional schools. Instructors dream up amazing courses like Hogwarts Academy, Unsung History: Queer Musicians, and Inside Broadway. Learners also have great ideas for new classes.
Ada, age 10, has quite a few class ideas. Her love of animals led her to suggest a class about urban wildlife for ages 5-10. While many instructors could teach this class, Ada thought that either Annika Abel or Deb Guerrero would be great at teaching it.
Ada also suggests a class on geology, about specific rocks and more information about them. Ada says Deb Guerrero would be great at teaching this one, too. Homework would be required for this class but there would not be a ton of it.
Carina, age 15, had many great class ideas including a class about women who changed the world and what they did. This class would go into detail about great women in history for the 13+ age range with some homework required.
Cultural anthropology was another suggestion from Carina. It would be a history class about ancient cultures such as the Mayans, Romans, and Greeks. It would explore ancient artifacts and give history about them. This class would also be 13+, and it would definitely be a homework required class.
Some other VH teens also suggested courses. Aaron would like a class on finances and investment for the 14+ set. A history class on conflict and war would interest Robert. Chase said a tech class focused on hardware and building technology from the ground up would interest him.
When the class schedule comes out in August, maybe some of these courses will be there!
Voicing Our Views:
A Trip Down Mermaid Avenue
By Chase Williams
Billy Bragg and Wilco, Mermaid Avenue
Almost all of us have heard a song by Woody Guthrie, whether we know it or not. He wrote some of the most iconic American songs ever and is considered by some to be the best American folk singer and writer. Some of his best known works are “This Land is Your Land” and “This Train is Bound for Glory” which are both hugely popular, although maybe not so much today when Ariana Grande and Cardi B dominate the billboard.
Guthrie was always writing music, right up to his death in 1967. This left a lot of unpublished songs from his career. It was in 1992 when Woody Guthrie’s daughter, Nora Guthrie, decided some of these lost songs should be heard. Nora didn’t just want more Woody Guthrie, she wanted to modernize the music so that a younger audience would pay more attention to it. To do this modern take, she contracted British singer Billy Bragg and the American band Wilco, and out of that collaboration, Mermaid Avenue was bor
Mermaid Avenue is full of amazing songs— some of them being my all time favorites— but one of the best and most well known is “California Stars” which is a simple yet beautiful song consisting of only 4 chords, 2 repeating verses, and the end. The song, as I interpret it, is about someone who’s distant from his loved one and just wants to see them again. In the end, he finds solace in the watching stars above him. This might be because Woody left home when the dust bowl struck and later met with his family again in California (hence California stars). But of course, the song can mean whatever you want it to mean.
The story is only the start to why this song is so good. The real beauty is in the delivery. It is speckled with hints of Woody’s life, like the comparison of the stars to grapes, which is a connection to where as a dust bowl refugee he had to work extra jobs at orchards and vineyards picking fruit.
The music is so full, yet so minimalist at the same time. All areas of the music are deep and rich with the standard instruments you would expect: bass, drums, guitar, as well as less conventional instruments like the fiddle and slide guitar coming in and out. The minimalism comes from the repetitive nature of the song, (just alternating between 4 chords) but it still manages to keep your attention. At the end, the instruments start dropping off until you’re left with only guitar and some soft drums. This song has a feel to it that no other collection of musicians could have produced and pays homage to Woody’s legacy.
If you want to listen to the song or even the whole album, which I highly recommend, then here are some links:
Distinguished readers, today we are here to debate something that has been troubling book nerds’ minds for generations. It is a question that since the year of 2005 has been asked non-stop. A question, so difficult, so peculiar, so mind-boggling. Which is the superior series: Percy Jackson or Harry Potter? I will be arguing the case of the underdog, Percy Jackson.
I know what you’re thinking: Percy Jackson, better than such a popular franchise? However, I have three main points: diversity, the longer story, and the main characters themselves. If these sound fascinating, then do read on. For anyone who has not read the books before, I will give you a small spoiler warning.
Reason Number One: Diversity
To put this in perspective, the first Percy Jackson book, The Lightning Thief, came out in 2005. In 2005, when seeing a person of color or a queer person in your favorite series was pretty uncommon. However, in Percy Jackson, we have inspiring characters that are African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc. For example, there’s Hazel Levesque, Frank Zhang, Piper Mclean, and Leo Valdez. These characters are all people of color and are part of the seven most powerful demigods in the world, with powers varying from controlling rocks and minerals, controlling fire, shapeshifting, and master persuasion. Together, these characters defeat the literal earth goddess.
Now, I am very much aware that this diversity is not the best-written. It is a tad white-washed, as most things are when written by a straight, cis, white male. We should always strive for the best diversity. Although The Lightning Thief was progressive for its time, we should always try to improve.
Along with that, we also have a gay male throughout the series: Nico di Angelo is the son of Hades, who is one of the three most powerful gods. His powers allow him to travel anywhere through the shadows and raise the dead. We even get to see him start dating Will Solace, son of Apollo, later on. We also see characters who identity as bi-sexual, lesbian, and genderfluid. Again, it would probably have been written better if the author wasn’t a straight, cis, male, but it is appreciated and I was shocked to find out it is actually in the books, and not something from the fandom.
Reason Number Two: More Books
We’ve all had the experience of finishing a series and wishing that the fantasy wasn’t over. While all good things come to an end, Percy Jackson doesn’t end so quickly. The Harry Potter series only has seven books in total. On the other hand, we have Percy Jackson and The Olympians (PJO), a series with two sequels. Each series has a total of five books each. This means you have fifteen books in total of a thrilling, young adult fiction (YA) adventure. That’s not even counting the several other smaller books, filled with a ton of short stories related to the main series. You don’t have to say goodbye to your comforting characters as fast compared to the Harry Potter books!
Of course, you also get a full story from PJO alone, so you can stop there and be satisfied with a killer ending. But if you’re interested and invested in the story, there’s so much more! Now, time for the final reason (as if you weren’t already convinced).
Reason Number Three: The Main Characters
Don’t get me wrong, Harry Potter is a decent main character; however, Percy Jackson is just more interesting to read about. I can prove it.
Percy can control any form of sea water, speak to sea creatures, sail anywhere at a master level, and literally create his own hurricane. He defeated a god at twelve years old using his powers alone. Harry, on the other hand, needs a wand and the skills to use it to defend himself. Or just to do anything cool.
Percy is funny and has another life outside of being a hero. Harry is just sad, like, all the time. Percy has family, friends, and he’s even on the school swimming team. Even in the darkest of situations, Percy manages to keep a sense of humor and cracks jokes. Harry, while having some hobbies, just constantly seems mundane. Like, he’s just “The Chosen One” and nothing else.
When it boils down to it, it really just depends on personal preference. I like both of the series, but I just like Percy Jackson more. If you would rather read a story about a traumatized teenage wizard boy with a stick over a story about a demigod with water powers strong enough to take down a god… Then be my guest! Reading does depend on what makes the reader entertained. Hopefully, this shows you that Percy Jackson is more entertaining, and overall the better of the two series.
Coming soon to Village Voice: Is Potter Better than Percy?
Bibliophiles: Step into Diverse Reading
By Wenyuan Abel, Guest Reporter
Bibliophiles is a great class for learners who love reading. This class, for learners ages 10-12, is taught by instructor Annika Abel. It meets Mondays at 9:30a.m. on Zoom.
Bibliophiles covers a bunch of great books every term. There are also fun activities and conversations that engage learners each week. The books in this class are very interesting with good plots and great characters.
Another great thing about Bibliophiles is that the books are diverse. The class reads books in lots of different genres including fantasy, historical fiction, and fictionalized memoirs. The characters come from different backgrounds and cultures.
In Fall term, the class read The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, and Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhhà Lai. This term the class is reading Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, Surviving The Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan, and Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan.
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry is about a Black family in Mississippi during the Great Depression. Surviving The Applewhites is about a homeschooling family of artists. Mañanaland is set in a fictional Latin American country and is about a boy on a journey seeking answers about his family.
In Spring term, the class will read Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed which takes place in Pakistan. We’ll also read the fantasy classic A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes which is about two biracial brothers.
Instructor Annika Abel has taught literature classes at Village Home for three years. Learners really enjoy her classes, and in fact, three learners have taken her lit class all three years!
Ezria Graul Takes the Stand
by Haydn Reilly Hogan
A community is made up of people you can rely on to have your back, and VH learner Ezria Graul’s favorite part about Village Home Mock Trial (VHMT) is exactly that. She loves working together with a team, and says that even though getting sidetracked and going off topic to discuss something with your team isn’t very productive, it’s also one of her favorite parts of the whole class.
14 year old Ezria has been attending Village Home since she was 5. She’s currently taking Taekwondo, On Camera Acting, and VHMT, as well as participating in the Beaverton Learner Council.
Ezria started taking VHMT in September of 2020. In class learners prepare for competitions where they take on different roles in a court case, some learners portray attorneys while others play witnesses. VHMT teams compete against other student teams. Portraying a character and bringing the creative elements of VHMT to life have come naturally to her.
According to Ezria, “It’s absolutely hilarious to be on the sidelines watching a debate go down. I also love the team work! It’s a great feeling when you’re stressed about something you need to write, and you just sit down with your team and get it done.”
She has learned a lot from Mock Trial, including how to improve her public speaking skills. “I knew that joining Mock Trial would help me with public speaking, which I struggle with and want to get better at.” she says.
Mock trial has also helped her make some new friends within the community, and the law aspect has been particularly beneficial. Ezria says that she’s “Learned a lot of laws which I kept telling myself I should sit down and learn, but I’ve never had the motivation to do so.”
Going into VHMT for the first time online didn’t worry Ezria much because she figured it would be less overwhelming than an actual courtroom, and she’s happy with how it’s gone so far. However, she does hope to get to compete in-person in a real courtroom sometime soon, since Zoom can be especially draining.
The hardest part about VHMT for Ezria so far has been nerves. “I almost didn’t join because of that reason,” she says. But she reached out to some friends in VHMT as well as the instructor, Deborah Mueller, and ultimately decided to give it a try.
VHMT competitions can get stressful, and the best advice Ezria has for new learners is to “Take it slow and breathe! It gets intense and intimidating, but just taking a breath can really help […] That was the main advice I got as a newbie, and one of the most helpful.” So far Ezria has found that the more she practices and works with her team, the easier it gets.
Deborah and the VHMT alumni who assist in class have been very helpful towards Ezria. They’ve worked with her and her team to give feedback and constructive criticism, which has really helped her improve. It is, in her opinion, one of the most beneficial things for a learner to receive.
Ezria is glad she joined VHMT because she loves the classroom dynamic. She says that VHMT is “A group who will support you when you need it the most.” Ezria highly recommends this class to her fellow VH learners.
Day In The Life of Otter
By Lila Jackson
Otter are you at the mountain? That looks like a lot of fun! It looks like it’s really cold. It’s good you got a sweater so you can stay warm. The mountains are really beautiful! Did you go skiing or snowboarding? Or did you just sled and play in the snow? Well we hope you have fun!