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SpartanSpec Editor

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By Bhavani Narayanan

     With Prom just around the corner, everyone is scrambling for dresses. If you’re thinking of attending the CKSS prom and planning to wear a dress, the girls of CK have put together a facebook group where they share their dresses to avoid wearing the same dress on the night of prom.

     Looking through the selected dresses, it is obvious what the popular choices are. This year’s winter colours have dominated the dresses with a surplus of dark blues, vibrant reds, and the ever classy black. Meanwhile, spring colours, such as the pastels, have been surfacing with the arrival of spring.

     There are several styles of prom dresses, as well. You have your ball gowns, your two pieces, your illusions, your short dresses, and your sleeve and sleeveless dresses. The options seem to be endless!

     With a vast selection of dresses to choose from in terms of style and material, one might ask, “How do I find the perfect dress?” And that comes with a simple answer, dear reader. A perfect dress is any dress that you feel comfortable and attractive in. Can you dance in it? Do you feel like you’ll have fun dancing in your dress? Do you love the colour and the fit? Do you just love it? If yes, then you’ve found the perfect dress!

     In the end, Prom is not about who has the best dress, or who is wearing what colour. It’s about seeing your friends and partying with them one last time before you all part ways. It’s about making the most of your last night as a Spartan, and feeling confident and attractive doing so. Whatever dress makes you feel that way is the perfect dress for you.

     Happy Prom dress shopping, Spartans!

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By: Alyssa Matheson

      St Patrick’s Day is always a big party at my house. Not only has some of my family probably come from Ireland at some point, but it is also my dad’s birthday. That morning I woke up to the sound of birds peacefully chirping outside my window, and also the blaring trill of beeps sent from my mom to wake me up in time for work. From the moment the first kid arrived at the tutoring centre for camp, there was nearly incessant chatter directed at me ranging from a high-pitch recounting of a story I had already heard the past three days, to an array of voices asking the same question within thirty seconds of each other. The peace that came when the children started to watch their movie was as short-lived as can only be expected when the students found hard-hitting questions, and completely relevant comments. I don’t blame the kids, if I had to know if a real hamster’s eyes could be that big or comment on just how funny it was that Adam Sandler got pushed into a pool, I would totally interrupt a movie and disturb the peace of my teacher who was just trying to check her Twitter feed in the few moments where she wasn’t completely responsible for the actions and productivity of kindergarteners.

      On the ride home my mother regaled me with our plans for the evening to a background chorus of rattles and creaks from our van which has come from years of being driven through our construction-riddled town. We we greeted when we arrived by a rousing Irish song (the likes of which became the soundtrack of our entire evening) and I responded in kind, singing lyrics that describe the flora and fauna found in a bog.

      That night, after a traditional Irish dinner complete with boiled vegetables, the true party began. It was filled with dancing, and giggling about missteps, and discussions ranging from T.V. shows (mainly Friday Night Lights – a show that can’t lose in my opinion,) to March Break activities, covering a range of topics with a balanced level of depth achieved through years of friendship. The comfortable conversation was far from the only sound filling the house, the quietly squeaking shoes from an abandoned March Madness game accompanied the singing of Irish songs, which eventually devolved into various genres of music which at one point prompted a cry of “This is the Arctic Monkeys you dummies!”
      The true silence after our guests left was a welcome respite from the normal cacophony of my days, which only lasted until the birds’ songs and alarm’s harsh trill shattered it once again.

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Why Your Name Should Get the Pronunciation It Deserves By: Catiyana Élanwy Adam

     A recent Facebook post opened my eyes to the discrimination many “non-white” individuals face against the most basic form of their identity; their name. While it’s often funny to hear a jittery supply teacher nervously rattle off barbaric travesties during the morning attendance, it’s not so funny when your name is mispronounced every single day. Like your appearance, heritage, and personality, your name is an integral part of your identity, something you have identified with yourself since a very young age. And when that piece of you is constantly degraded, simplified, or downright butchered by everyone around you, it becomes much easier to lose that part of you.

     People with more “difficult names” face this kind of covert discrimination every day. In an article I read, a woman named Shailee (pr. “Shuhy-lee”) described how her teachers and friends’ “anglicised” pronunciations led to an attachment of shame and embarrassment to her name, a feeling she would not shake off until well into university. By then she was introducing herself as “Shay,” a nickname that was deemed ‘cuter’ but not at all a reflection of her real name.

     I myself have received a little grief over my more “difficult” name. “Catiyana” isn’t really commonplace, so I introduce myself as “Cat” most days. My middle name, which is French, is pronounced “ay-lon-wee”. I’ve gotten several interesting versions of that over the years, the most memorable of which being when a fellow kindergartner exclaimed to my face: “Wait, your middle name is SALAMI?” Needless to say, I avoided bringing that up for years, and I’ve never quite managed to look at luncheon meats the same way.

     The truth is, some names are difficult. Some people, no matter how many times you tell them, are still going to call you Fih-tee-mah, when it’s Fat-uh-ma, and vice versa. The important thing is that you do tell them. We are human, and we are capable of learning how to pronounce a few syllables correctly. Don’t let laziness on the part of you or another shrink your name into something you are ashamed of or embarrassed about.

     Learn to respect your name, so others will too!. Like it or not, it’s going to be with you forever. (Unless, of course, you decide to change it when you’re thirty-five and in the grips of a devastating mid-life crisis – but by then, all the power to ya. I just wouldn’t recommend Élanwy as a top choice.)

By: Alyssa Matheson

     What is with this school and our dances? We have tried to throw three dances – a Halloween dance, a winter dance, and semi-formal; yet all of them have been cancelled, because we can’t scrape together enough students to buy tickets.

     Now, what might be holding us back from having all the fun that high schools in movies and T.V. shows get to have? Some concerns are that nobody’s friends are interested in going to the dances. Jessica Kennedy, a grade twelve student, said that dances “aren’t really [her] scene,” and that “none of [her] friends are interested in going, and [she doesn’t] want to go without them.” This an all-too common attitude that causes a huge lack in the number of attendees; which can easily be fixed by one friend deciding to go.

     That one friend might have chosen not to go due to the cost of our school dances, particularly the $40 semi-formal. Carole Palattao, another grade twelve student, says that the dances are “too expensive, and our school lacks the spirit which would motivate us to pay for it,” which is also a common sentiment. We will never end our streak of cancelled dances if, instead of trying to participate in school planned activities, we wallow in our lack of pride.
     Here’s hoping we can pull together enough spirit to keep our next dance from getting cancelled. If some of us go, it might actually be fun!

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By: Bhavani Narayanan

Start on January 1

The most common New Year’s resolution is “to get fit.” As January arrives, gym memberships are handed out like candy. Everyone is ready to hit the gym and walk out looking like Captain America; but, by the end of the month these memberships are tossed out like used candy wrappers. For all of you Spartans who want to “get fit,” the following are some solutions to your failed resolution!

 

Step 1: Set your definition

When you say, “fit,” what do you mean? Do you want to be able to run up and down the stairs without feeling breathless? Do you want to get through those dreaded twelve-minute runs without having to walk the whole thing?  Or, do you want to be able to lift half your weight above your head? Fit is a general word and it’s up to you to decide what your specific goal is. That way you will be more motivated to start tackling your specific goal.

 

Step 2: Set a schedule

Regardless of popular belief, you don’t have to exercise every single day. In fact, doing so increases the likelihood of getting injured. At first, include two workout days per week, giving yourself breaks in-between those days. This allows your body to adapt to your new schedule; maximize the effectiveness of this by planning your workouts around any extracurricular, family, and homework commitments.  

 

Step 3: Set a regime

This is where a gym membership can come into play. You’ll need to learn how to exercise in a way that is both safe for your body and focuses on what you want to work on. A fitness trainer is ideal for those new to working out, especially if you haven’t been to a gym before. Your trainer will know what’s best for you, and will teach you how to exercise safely.

 

Step 4: Reset your schedule every month or two

Push yourself to workout harder once your body is used to working out twice a week. Try to slip in a third workout day and consult your trainer if you plan on changing it. Your fitness trainer is most likely more educated regarding strength training, so it’s better to heed their advice about how far to push your body.

 

Step 5: Relax

Assign yourself days to relax, unwind, and indulge in the simple pleasures of life. Just because you’re exercising, doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally eat chocolate. And remember: a bubblebath never hurt anyone! It’s important to know your body and to stop when you need to. Taking a week off from working out is better than hurting yourself and never working out again!

 

Step 6: Have fun

Exercising should become a  part of your normal routine, so take the opportunity to have fun with it and make it something you love! If you like reading, try audible.com – that way, you can run AND “read” (because you’ll be listening to a book read to you)! Audiobooks are a runner’s best friend, and when you sign up for audible, you’ll get your first book free!

Do you like music? Pop in your headphones and lift to your favourite songs! 8tracks.com features hundreds of workout playlists that are sure to get you pumped up for your workout.

 

While you might be a tad pessimistic after 2015, this guide should lead you through the start of 2016 feeling confident and more organized. Happy New Year, Spartans!

Let’s work it out.

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By: Catiyana Adam

January can be one of the busiest months of the year. With summatives, exams, university applications, course selections, tests, and projects crowding our minds, it’s unsurprising that most of us fall victim to stress! But what is stress? Why should you avoid it? And… HOW can you avoid it?

 

Not all stress is bad. “Eustress” is the technical term for stress that is beneficial – it helps you react and adapt to changing situations. It’s that slight panic that convinces you to get started on your homework before 9pm, or the nervousness about a presentation that prompts you to practice just one more time.

 

Chronic stress, however, is bad. When our bodies perceive a situation to be life-threatening, our flight-or-fight response kicks in. Your body readies your muscles for action, speeds up your breathing and heart rate, represses any inessential processes (such as digestion or immune response) and tells your kidneys to retain water. But sometimes our body mistakes stressful situations, like a test or a presentation, as life-threatening. When stressors like this trigger a fight-or-flight response on a daily basis, you can just imagine the long term effects! Water retention leads to high blood pressure, a lowered immune system renders you susceptible to illness, and other disorders – such as heart disease and depression – become far more common.

 

Reduce stress! Anticipate stressful situations and prepare for them as best as you can. Recognize the conversation happening between your brain and nerve impulses, and slowly you will begin to decode the stimulants that signify a panic attack. The better you get at this, the quicker you will be able to trigger your “rest-and-digest” responses by command.

 

Remember: stress is as physiological as it is mental. You CAN be in control!

GOOD LUCK as first semester comes to a close!

You got this!

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By: Nathan MacKinnon

Is there anything more Canadian than hockey? Maybe; maple syrup and beavers come close! I won’t lie, my number one dream is to ride a moose, shotgunning maple syrup, and flying through a field of maple leafs. That’s besides the point, and actually seems bizarre when I write it down. I had the amazing privilege to follow the Spartans Varsity boys hockey team, and it was quite the adventure. Allow me tell you some cool things about the hockey team filled with strong willed and passionate fellow Spartans. I went to their home game against the Frank Hayden Huskies this past Thursday, and witnessed first hand the laughter and jeers that began an hour before puck drop. The team warmed up in the lobby of the rink, in a circle together. Some of the players have played hockey together since they were kids, and this definitely created a family-like bond that is nice to see in a team.

They all geared up and entered the rink just before the game started. I sat there, feeling awesomely Canadian, as the puck was dropped. My breath came out as mist and people around me sipped on their Timmy’s.  The rink was nicely packed with parents and fans. All I needed was some poutine and I was set.

 

The first period ended with our Spartans down 2-0. I won’t lie, I wondered if the game was over, and questioned their heart. Boy, was I wrong; they came out of the first intermission flying. A strong forecheck led to the first Spartan goal! When the bell sounded at the end of the second period, the score was 3-1 Huskies, but momentum was beginning to shift. Both teams disappeared into their caves for a bit. The Spartans were doing well; all they needed were some lucky bounces and the comeback could begin.

 

When both teams came out of their dens, energy was hitting a high. The fans, who had recharged during the intermission, came screaming into the enthusiastic atmosphere created. Frank Hayden tried for the killer blow, when they scored 4-1. A 3-goal lead is pretty safe in any hockey game. Did our Spartans give up? No, and that’s when our lucky bounce came. A couple of ill-advised hits led to a 5 on 3 power play for the Spartans. As we scored 4-2, the whole place went crazy with cheering fans. Soon after the puck was dropped again, they flew down to their end, and it was a goal for the Spartans! 4-3. My heart was pounding, and I wasn’t even on the ice! This is hockey, my veins were filling with maple syrup. Next thing I knew, the puck was in the back of the Huskies’ net again! Tied game 4-4. When the final bell rang, the score was still tied and would stay that way. No overtime in regular season, but this game sets up a great rivalry for many games to come. It was super fun to watch our Spartans come back and fight. A “never give up attitude” was demonstrated by them for all of us to admire. Heart is one of those things that can’t be measured and differentiates a good team from a great team.

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By: Nathan MacKinnon

Happy New Year! I’ll get that out of the way now. It’s 2016, and the amount of times I’ve had to rewrite 2015 is unreal. Today, I write about the one thing people do when they see 2016 on their phone’s calendar, and that is to create a resolution. We all look at our lives and decide to try something new or fix something we don’t like about ourselves. The number one thing that people decide to change, the same time the calendar does, is their weight. Tons of people pledge to lose weight as the clock strikes 12 on the new year.

So, to help out all those who are about to pump back some weights, who did the newspaper send? Me. Yes, Nathan MacKinnon, the fittest person in CKSS. When people look at me, they wonder how someone could be so perfect. I am, of course, joking. When it comes to losing weight, I’m not your guy. I do know someone though, that knows everything and anything about getting you in sweet shape. When I realized I just had to talk to him for you all, I ran for the first time since football season, and ended up in the one place that everyone works out. Outside our CKSS library. There, sitting on a bench, in full workout gear and protein shake in hand, is Aaron Zomer.

 

Zomer, as I call him, played football with me for three years. If you haven’t met him before, just picture muscle on muscle. Then, picture a workout bag over one shoulder and a tub of protein powder. He’s deezed, as the saying goes. After I caught my breath from the run, which by the way started inside the library, I began to ask for advice on losing weight. This is another great thing about Aaron Zomer, he’s humble, and was totally down with sharing tips. I learned some really interesting and cool tips that I’ll share with you.

First things first, set a goal. What do you want? That’s key. Make sure the goal is attainable too. Something small and work your way up.

Secondly, consistency is the biggest component. Make sure you’re sticking to your goal and working out when you choose to work out. You skip one day and that turns into three days. Then 10. Aaron put it the best, “Next thing you know, you’ve given up”.

Finally, I asked him what the biggest misconception was about losing weight, and Zomer said the following, “Nutrition, without a doubt. People think that they can workout for an hour, then eat whatever they want. Everyone needs to know that the food you put in will translate with the body you get out. Eat well. End up well.” I couldn’t agree more. I love cheese. Too much cheese doesn’t help out my temple, but I love my gouda. So there you have it; use these simple tips and get out there! I’m going try something too. I going to jog from the library to the cafeteria. Then I’m gonna buy a cookie. Big thanks to Zomer! Let’s get deezed.

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Laura Wagnell, Grade 11, is CKSS’ nominee for the macMEDucation program. She will be attending McMaster University for a 4-day intensive introduction to Medical School. Laura has earned this honour after writing an excellent essay and taking part in the interview process along with 4 other amazing students. Kudos to Georgia Munro in grade 10 who is the school’s alternate nominee!

 

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By: Alina Yusufzai

2016, the new year. Just as the excitement of the new year dies down, we begin to ask ourselves, “What will I do differently second semester?” Well, as always, the Spectator has got you covered; here is a list of ways to tackle a brand new semester:

 

1) Set Goals:

Goals are very important in order to achieve your aspirations, but make sure to set realistic and timely goals that you know you can achieve with a little hard work and determination!

 

2) Join more clubs and teams:

There are so many ways to get involved in our school community! Join a new club or explore a new interest, and it’s bound to pay off! Can’t find a club you want to join? Start your own!

 

3) Take notes, and listen:

A key to doing well in class is taking detailed notes and paying attention. Make sure you note down important points and listen, it will make studying and homework much easier! Also, your teacher will also be very impressed with your ability to complete homework by referencing the lessons!

 

4) Don’t procrastinate:

We all procrastinate, it’s true. This semester commit to what you should be doing, while also allotting time for well deserved breaks. This will allow you to get work done quickly and effectively without overwhelming yourself.

 

5) Be open to possibilities:

This semester, decide that you will be more open to new ideas, and will take some chances by stepping out of your comfort zone. By doing this, you give yourself the chance to explore avenues and paths that may end up teaching you more about yourself and those around you. If we stay closed off our entire lives, we close many doors of experience and opportunity. Be open to opportunities and explore new subjects, books, and maybe even countries! To learn we must experience, and I wish you all the best in doing this and all other endeavors!