Village Voice, Winter 1, 2022

Vol. IV Issue III
Editor: August Sharp
Assistant Editor: Annika Elliott

Table of Contents
Recharge Your Education by Lena Finn-Hall
Meet the Learner: Luke Pippin by Sabrina Martinhorst
Challenge Accepted by Oliver Meskell
Ask the Otter by Otter
Fun & Games by Village Voice Staff

Recharge Your Education

By Lena Finn-Hall

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. 

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.” 

Challenge Accepted

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

By Otter

Dear Otter,
What is the meaning of life?

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.

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.

Fun & Games

by Village Voice staff

Scroll down for the solution

Village Voice Fall 2, 2021

Vol. IV Issue II
Editor: August Sharp
Assistant Editor: Annika Elliott

Editor’s Note

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!

Happy Holidays,
~August Sharp

Table of Contents
Coming Soon: New Offerings for Winter Term by Village Voice staff
Worldwide Winter Traditions by Annika Elliott
Homemade Gifts by Lena
Day in the Life of Otter by Chase Williams
Plant Care by Oliver Meskell and August Sharp
Voicing Our Views by Chase Williams
Yule Regret Not Making These Sweets, This Holiday Season by Annika Elliott
Story Prompts for Winter Days by Oliver Meskell and August Sharp
Fun & Games by Annika Elliott

Coming Soon: New Offerings for Winter Term

By Village Voice staff

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, and you may see it in the next issue of the Village Voice or on our Instagram. 

Homemade Gifts

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.

Macramé Plant Hangers  

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  

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. 

Knit Scarf

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!


Plant Care 

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.

  1. Jingle Bells

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.

  1. 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.

  1.  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.

  1. 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!)

  1. 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 delicious Orange bread recipe. 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 is Pecan 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 is Candied 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 Turtles are 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 is Candy 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 is Pumpkin 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 is Salted 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 is Almond 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.

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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!

Fun and Games

By: Annika Elliott

(Scroll down for answers!)

Village Voice Fall 1, 2021

Vol. IV Issue I Fall 1 November 8, 2021

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!

Happy fall,
~August Sharp

Table of Contents

Right to Repair by Chase Williams
Meet the Editors by Sabrina Martinhorst
Roots of Halloween Traditions by Annika Elliott
Trunk or Treat Slideshow by Lena Finn-Hall
New Federal Holiday: Juneteenth in by Lena Finn-Hall
Voicing our Views by Chase Williams
Fun & Games: Find The Difference, and Fall Word Search by Annika Elliott

Right to Repair

By Chase Williams 

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.

Editor August Sharp (right) and Assistant Editor Annika Elliott (left)

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. 

Trick or treating at Trunk or Treat

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. 

VH Learners at Trunk or Treat circa 2015

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 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!

Fun and Games

by Annika Elliott

Find the Difference

(Scroll down for answers!)

Looking for a cool class? Siblings bugging you? Otter answers all your questions in their column, Ask the Otter

Village Voice Spring 2, 2021

Vol. III Issue VII Spring 2 May 17, 2021

Editors Jillian Bauer & Aaron Johnson

Table of Contents

Being You is Do-Abel by Mia Sharp
Get Off Zoom, Spring’s In Bloom by Mia Sharp
Out and About with the Village Voice by Annika Elliott
Reading Roundup by Haydn Reilly Hogan
Meet the Learners: Sophia and Brooks by Annika Elliott
Day In the Life of Otter by Ezria Graul
Voicing Our Views: Animal Documentaries by Haydn Reilly Hogan
Fun & Games by Ezria Graul

Being You is Do-Abel

By Mia Sharp

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. 

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

Reading Roundup

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. 

Wilder Girls – Rory Power, dystopian fiction (14+)

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

Sophie’s Destination Imagination team in 2020

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

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.

Fun & Games

By Ezria Graul

(see below for answer key)

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

Village Voice Winter 3, 2021

Vol. III Issue V Winter 3 March 15, 2021

Editors Jillian Bauer & Aaron Johnson

Table of Contents

Classes Learners Want by Annika Elliott
Voicing Our Views by Chase Williams
Dueling Editorial Percy vs. Potter Part I: Percy Jackson by Mia Sharp
Step Into Diverse Reading by Wenyuan Abel
Ezria Graul Takes the Stand by Haydn Reilly Hogan
Day In the Life of Otter by Lila Jackson
Fun & Games by Sophia Serrano-Dodd

Classes Learners Want

By Annika Elliott

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:

Broaden your musical horizons with California stars

Take a trip down Mermaid Avenue

Dueling Editorials Part I:

Percy Jackson

By Mia Sharp

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.

Learners in Annika’s literature class last year

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!

Fun & Games

By Sophia Serrano-Dodd

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