Village Voice Spring 1, 2021

Vol. III Issue VI Spring 1 April 26, 2021

Editors Jillian Bauer & Aaron Johnson

Table of Contents

The Path to Painting: Nicole Roberts by Haydn Reilly Hogan
Stay Motivated, Summer’s Nearly Here! by Jillian Bauer
Voicing Our Views: Indie Games by Chase Williams
Dueling Editorial Percy vs. Potter Part II: Harry Potter by Haydn Reilly Hogan & Lila Jackson
100 Objects? More Like 200! by Luke Pippin
Inside Model United Nations by Annika Elliott
Felix’s Follies by Chase Williams
Word Search by Annika Elliott


The Path to Painting: Nicole Roberts

By Haydn Reilly Hogan

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!

Click the image or HERE to submit your work.

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:

Harry Potter

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.

Felix’s Follies

By Chase Williams

Word Search

By Annika Elliott

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