Q&A with Daniel Wu

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By: J. Robertson

Students at Bruce High School might have noticed a new face walking the halls this year. That face belongs to Daniel Wu, Bruce’s exchange student from Taipei, Taiwan. Daniel’s host parents are Roger and Donna Williams of Vardaman. I had the privilege of sitting down with Daniel and talking to him about his time at Bruce High School.

Q: What has been different about your life in America so far?

A: Well, Bruce is a lot smaller than what I’m used to. Taipei is that capital city of Taiwan, so it is very crowded and there is always something going on. Here, almost everyone in high school has a vehicle. In Taiwan, however, most people use public transportation like subways or buses.

Q: What about school?

A: School is also very different here. In Taiwan, I belong to one class. Our class stays in the same room all day. Instead of changing rooms for different classes, the students stay in the same room and the teachers change rooms. You become very close with your class; they’re like family to me. We have no janitors, and it is the students’ responsibility to clean up the school. Since it is not mandatory to complete high school, everyone takes school very seriously. There is a huge emphasis on education in Taiwan. Instead of 6-weeks tests, we only have 3 major exams throughout the year in Taiwan. They are very serious and people spend lots of time studying for them.

Q: What is your favorite subject?

A: I enjoy math because it is a lot easier here. In Taiwan, calculators are strictly prohibited. People in my class celebrate when they get a 60 in math. It’s very difficult compared to here, where we can use calculators and everyone usually makes good grades.

Q: What is your least favorite subject?

A: History is very difficult for me. I have trouble remembering all of the names, dates, and stories. However, this is probably just because I am not from America and not familiar with the history.

Daniel will attend Bruce High School for the rest of this school year after which he plans to attend a university in America. He is excited about spending the rest of the year in Bruce and looks forward to meeting new people and visiting more places around our area.

Crotwell's Classes Create Ornaments

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By: Dustin Howell

Robin Crotwell’s students created Christmas ornaments. Crotwell connected geometry to the ornaments because students used various shapes to create ornaments that resembled 3-dimentional geometric figures. The other connection to math was the symmetry in certain shapes as well as other geometric shape behaviors. The five different shapes were icosahedron, octahedron, tetrahedron, hexahedron, and dodecahedron.

Each student chose at least one difficult shape. These were harder to create because of their multiple facets. The second ornament could be simpler. Once they chose their shapes, they colored them and then incorporated their name into the shape. They cut out their shapes, careful to avoid cutting off the tabs they’d use to connect the shapes to each other. They assembled the ornaments and turned them in for a grade. Crotwell decorated a tree in her classroom with the students’ ornaments.

"My students learned about 3 dimensional shapes by making Christmas ornaments. Later, we can use these shapes to derive area and volume formulas. It was a fun activity and more meaningful than just seeing the shapes in a book," said Crotwell.

Staph Strikes; BHS Strikes Back

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By: Kathryn Hathorne

Staph is short for staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that is encountered daily and found mostly on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. Another, more dangerous type of staph known as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcusaureus (MRSA) is resistant to some antibiotics and that makes that germ harder to treat. However, MRSA can still be treated with alternative antibiotics.

MRSA usually I usually found in hospitals and health care units, but it usually is not common for the germ to be widespread throughout a community; however, it is showing up in places other than hospitals more frequently, and lately, it tried to find its way into Bruce High School. "Bruce High School is taking steps to carry out all medical guidelines and help prevent staph for the betterment of our students," said Mark Grubbs, BHS principal.

The BHS faculty has been informed is doing their part to help distribute prevention information. The football locker rooms are being mopped with Clorox and all equipment is sprayed with a special staph resistant spray. Players who are infected or carrying staph are instructed to use their own towels and equipment. Dr. Bruce Longest, team physician, said, "The key to reducing staph infections is to wash your hands frequently with hot water and soap, keep all cuts and sores covered, and basically just keep up good hygiene." Dr. Willie Wells concurred saying that he was taking measures at his clinic to help prevent the spread of staph by washing hands after each patient, using sterilizing techniques, and keeping countertops and floors clean.

MRSA does not spread through the air or water, but is usually transferred through a cut in the skin exposed to a surface with MRSA on it. Crowded living conditions and poor hygiene can also lead to development of MRSA. It does not pose a threat to life in healthy people with healthy immune systems.

The Mississippi State Department of Health is working with MRSA clinics and providing guidelines for schools and students, along with information on prevention. Students are instructed to wash their hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Students should not share personal items with anyone who is infected.

AP English Reads Capote's "In Cold Blood"

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By: John Mark Busby, Marissa Vaughn and Dalton Russell

Allison Movitz’s Advanced Placement Language and Composition class read In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote and are
now having a conversation through a discussion board with students from Tupelo High School who have also read the book and posted their responses.

In Cold Blood is a nonfiction novel, the first of its kind about two men who murdered 4 members of the Clutter family. This was one of the first mass murders and no one knew who did it. Capote went to the town, Holcomb, Kansas, where the murders occurred and researched the family and the crime. He followed the investigation from the beginning until the arrest of two men who were found guilty and executed. Capote interviewed the murderers while they were in jail.

The AP students analyzed the nonfiction book and to learn about Capote’s craft and style and posted their insights and their responses to what others had written.

Tupelo High School AP English teacher Ellen Shelton also required her AP classes to post their comments about "In Cold Blood" on Blackboard. Because BHS and Movitz do not have their own Blackboard accounts, Shelton gave Movitz and her students access to the site.

"Through this assignment, not only were my students able to read the comments and opinions of other students, but they have a chance to interact with each other and discuss In Cold Blood. Students can see how others see and read a text. It gives them new insights," said Movitz.

"Blackboard is very convenient to use. It was as easy as logging into email. Through Blackboard, I was able to see what other students from Tupelo High School said about the book," said Clarrisa Title, AP English IV student. "While I was taking classes at Ole Miss last summer, the professors always mentioned Blackboard and what they had posted there. Blackboard is used by students at colleges and Universities, and I think it’s great that we are getting aquatinted with the web site that we will use next year in college."

Biology II Dissects Flowers

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By: Dustin Howell

Janet Jenkins’ Biology II classes dissected the parts of a flower in a lab to learn about botany. The students worked in groups to take apart the flower given to each group. The students observed the visible parts of the flower and drew what they saw without the aid of the microscope. After they finished taking the flower apart, they observed particular parts of the flower under the microscope to see and draw what they normally couldn’t see with their eyes.

"It was a good chance for the students to be able to observe the parts of a flower." Said Jenkins about the flower dissection lab.

BHS Poll

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It was October 31 and the Christmas lights were going up around town, the music in the stores featured "Jingle Bells" and before the Thanksgiving turkey was bought, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Is the Christmas season beginning earlier and earlier? SRR Pollster Shebante Welch asked BHS students,

Do you think the Christmas season starts too early?

Yes - 80%

No - 20%

Scholarship Assignment Boosts Applications

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By Kayla Howe

Did you know that most scholarships go un-awarded? According to Senior English teacher Allison Movitz, this is true. "If a student sees they have to write an essay for a scholarship, most students won’t take the time to fulfill the requirements," Movitz said. A new assignment for her seniors is designed to change that.

Movitz is requiring students to seek out and apply for a college and/or a scholarship. First, students must be sure they meet the requirements. Then, they need to gather all the parts necessary to complete the application. Movitz gets a copy of what the student is expected to mail by the application deadline. The deadline for this assignment is before the end of this semester.

"Seniors don’t realize that by the time they start to think about applications for college and scholarships in the spring, it’s usually too late," Movitz said. She hopes to hear that the majority of her seniors received scholarships on Award’s Night at the end of the year. Students created a resume to go with this assignment and to help them have the information most applications require at their fingertips.

BHS Students Treated to Plays

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By: Dalton Russell

New Stage Theatre, an acting troupe from Jackson, MS, performed "A Mid Summer Night’s Dream" for middle and high school students. This romantic comedy by William Shakespeare portrays the adventures of four young Athenian lovers. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and four New Stage Theatre interns performed it for schools in the county.

Earlier, the same troupe performed "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kippling for the elementary schools in the district. This performance was followed by "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" for middle and high school students. All students were expected to attend the free performance.

Superintendent Beth Hardin arranged the performances through New Stage Theatre’s Betty Wong who offered the performances to our school district. "I accepted the offer because the stories are literary classics and the performances would be free to all students so no one would be excluded," Hardin said.

Elizabeth's Calendar

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  • I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving holiday, and is glad to be back at school.

  • Nov. 27- BHS Basketball @ Water Valley.

  • Nov. 30- BHS Basketball @ Coffeville.

  • Dec. 4- BHS Basketball against Eupora at Bruce.


Brain Brawl Competitors Earn 4th in North Mississippi

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By: Kathryn Hathorne

Twenty-five different teams from North Mississippi competed in a Brain Brawl for the Regional Brain Brawl Championships. Team Captain J. Robertson and team members Brandon Franklin, Ariel Keon, John Mark Busby, Jotavius Jones, and Corey Collins from Bruce High School competed in this competition nd won 4th place.

The 4-person team played 5 preliminary rounds that consisted of two 10-minute halves. The team made player substitutions at the halves. In first round competition, Bruce beat Baldwyn with a score of 102 to 49. The second round Bruce played Pontotoc and won with a score of 67 to 52. Bruce’s winning streak continued with a score of 75 to 66 over Horn Lake. The only loss in preliminary competition for Bruce was in the 4th round against Corinth with a score of 65 to 54. But Bruce regained their composure to win round 5 with a score of 76 to 47 over Itawamba Agricultural High School.

In the semi-final rounds, however, Bruce lost first to Southern Baptist Education Center then to Itawamba’s second team.

"The Brain Brawl was a blast! Not only was I able to apply what we’d studied in practice, but I also ended up needing facts I’d learned in school," said John Mark Busby. "I learned new things and met new people."

History of Thanksgiving

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By: Eli Morgan and Alaina Dorris

Thanksgiving started with the Pilgrims and Indians when together they held a feast to give thanks for a bountiful harvest in the Pilgrims’ "New World" and thus began the tradition of Thanksgiving in 1621. Thanksgiving was later declared a holiday by President George Washington in 1789.

The first Thanksgiving was formed by the Plymouth colony after a harsh winter. In that same year Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. The colonists then celebrated it as a traditional English feast and invited the Wampanoag Indians to join them. Their feast contained an assortment of crops and meat. From corn to deer and of course the turkey.

By the mid 1800’s, many states observed the Thanksgiving holiday, but poet Sarah J. Hale was wanting it to be a national holiday. During the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln was looking for ways to reunite the nation and decided to discuss the national holiday idea with Hale. In 1863 President Lincoln gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring the last Thursday of November a day for Thanksgiving. Since then each year the present United States President gives a Thanksgiving Proclamation proclaiming Thanksgiving day a day of thanksgiving.

Turkey Feathers

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By: John Mark Busby

To raise money, the Bruce High School Student Council sold "turkey feathers" for ten cents a piece to place on teachers’ doors. The teacher with the most feathers on their door turkey got a $25 gift certificate to Piggly Wiggly. The deadline to buy "turkey feathers" was Thursday, November 11.

The last fundraiser undertaken by the Student Council involved the sale of "pumpkins" for teachers’ doors. Robin Crotwell, BHS math teacher, won the last gift certificate with 316 pumpkins on her door. Through the pumpkin fundraiser, the Student Council raised $128.


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Welcome to the official blog of the Skuna River Review. We provide information about all of the daily happenings at Bruce Schools. Be sure to check in for updates throughout the week. The Skuna River Review is published weekly in the Calhoun County Journal.