Volkswagen’s Dirty Diesel

by Breanna Racher

Protecting the environment is a high priority for most consumers in the worldwide market today, especially when it comes to purchasing vehicles that they will use daily. For auto companies, there is a constant race to produce the cleanest, most efficient, and most affordable cars in order to succeed. The German car company, Volkswagen, supposedly had succeeded in all of these requirements. However, in 2008, the company released a line of “Clean Diesel” cars; these cars claimed to run on diesel fuel (which has higher fuel efficiency), but release fewer emissions than the standard car at that time. These cars were first introduced into the US market in 2009 and the company received environmental awards for their accomplishments. All appeared to be smooth sailing for the company, until a group of five scientists from West Virginia University conducted a test on three diesel cars, two of which were Volkswagens.

When cars are officially tested for emissions, they go through “laboratory dynamometer testing,” which consists of placing the car onto a treadmill-like machine and measuring the emissions released over a period of time at varying speeds. When the Volkswagen clean diesel cars went through these testings, their emission levels were well above the safe levels. The scientists at West Virginia University also tested the two Volkswagen cars on live road tests. The results they received, however, far exceeded legal limits set by both European and US standards. The scientists tested the cars repeatedly and got the same results each time. After presenting their results to the Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental organizations, and after a year long investigation, an answer to the discrepancies in test results was finally revealed.

It was revealed that Volkswagen used a software commonly called a “defeat device” in order to pass regulation tests without actually meeting the standards. The device allowed the car to hold the emissions in until the steering wheel was turned. Since the vehicles are on a treadmill-style device during lab testing, the cars do not make any turns and Volkswagen was able to cheat their emission amounts. After the company admitted to their crime, they revealed that 11 million cars containing the “defeat devices” were produced and distributed internationally. Volkswagen claimed they would spend $18.2 billion in order to compensate for the emissions and to recall and refit the vehicles involved. In 2017, Volkswagen plead guilty to criminal charges and a US Federal judge ordered the company to also pay a $2.8 billion criminal fine.

This scandal raised awareness about other automobile companies that are thought to be guilty of the same the same fraudulent crime. Because of this scandal, the EPA and other regulators have made efforts to further investigate their tactics and the ways that the testing system was prone to different types of cheating.


Netflix Shows to Inspire you this Spring

By MaryClaire Fox

Hey ladies! As springtime approaches, we finally can see the end of the school year in sight, but don’t give up on your schoolwork just yet. Here are a few positive shows on Netflix to give you a mood boost next time you need some motivation to finish that assignment.

Childhood Classics

Sometimes, it’s fun to re-watch one of your favorite movies from growing up.

Possible Movies: High School Musical, The Cheetah Girls, Jump In!, and A Cinderella Story


The Art of Food

There are so many different types of shows involving food from baking the most delicious cakes to preparing a lovely appetizer. No matter what cooking show you decide to watch, you are sure to be full of bright ideas by the end of it.

Possible Shows: Chef’s Table, The Great British Baking Show, and Nailed It!


Positive Documentaries

It is so easy to find documentaries which show the injustices of the world. While these are very important pieces of film, it is also necessary that we see all the things which are improving in the world as well. I hope that after watching these documentaries, you feel that you too can make a positive impact in the world.

Possible Documentaries: Twinsters, Happy, Man on Wire, and Meru


Light-hearted Sitcoms

Who doesn’t love a good laugh? When I am feeling down, the first thing I do is watch one of my favorite comedies on Netflix to make me feel better. Sometimes laughter is the best thing to get you out of a bad mood and give you the energy to carry on.

Possible Shows: The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, and Friends




Smart Spending

by Olivia Parker

Now that most of us are old enough to have the freedom to choose where we spend our money, it’s important to trust the companies we are giving our money to. When we buy goods or services from certain brands, we are indirectly promoting the causes they support as well. For example, you could be supporting cheap labor in foreign countries, discriminatory actions, or animal testing. On the other hand, it is also good to support the brands you do agree with like female empowerment, environmental safety, and feeding the hungry. Here is some important information about select brands and companies to consider when making decisions about where to shop.

H&M and Gap – Sweatshops and racially insensitive clothing

Imagine working in a Cambodian clothing factory, sewing clothes for roughly 50 cents per hour. You are forced to work long hours in a hot room packed full of other women and children. You and other workers faint frequently and any possible strikes are shut down by authorities. You are trapped in a job that provides for your family, but will not help you escape poverty. Major clothing brands like H&M and Gap are guilty of supporting sweatshops, primarily in Cambodia, with similar conditions. These companies can sell their clothes for as little as $25 because of the outsourced cheap labor in developing countries.

In recent news, H&M has also had another press scandal concerning it’s new release of a boy’s hoodie. The serious reputation crisis emerged after the image of a small black boy modeling a sweatshirt emblazoned with “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” hit social media. H&M came out and explained that it was a result of internal procedures not being followed properly, but it quickly turned into a racially insensitive nightmare. The Weeknd, a musician and collaborator with H&M, recently announced he is cutting ties with the store in the wake of the incident.

Clorox – animal testing

The Clorox Company, which specializes in cleaning products, has been present in many of our homes since 1913. They have products to clean your bathroom, kitchen, wood products, and just about anywhere in your house. Since they do sell products with chemicals for cleaning and human contact, they must make sure they are safe for their consumers to use. This includes testing them for incidental and accidental reactions to skin, eyes, ingestion, and inhalation, occasionally using animals. On their website,, they explain that animal testing is the last resort and used only if all other efforts to ensure safety are exhausted. However, the company is currently working towards a future where animal testing has no role in product development. They believe companies should be able to use existing data and alternative tests so animals are not involved in product-safety testing.

Abercrombie and Fitch – Weight discrimination

One type of discrimination still prevalent in the U.S. is weight discrimination.  Abercrombie & Fitch’s chief executive, Michael Jeffries, admitted that his company designed clothes no larger than size 10 to target “cool kids’’ in a 2006 interview with Salon magazine. When challenged by The National Eating Disorders Association who believed this encouraged eating disorders, like anorexia, in customers wanting to fit into their clothes, the company stayed silent. It is important to know, especially now that we buy most of our own clothes, that when you buy clothing from a store you are supporting a certain attitude put on by that store.

Clif Bar, Patagonia, and New Balance– Environmentally friendly

Here are three brands that a majority of us own and love: Clif Bar, Patagonia, and New Balance Athletics. All of these companies publicly strive to make the Earth a better place. Clif Bar and Company’s Co-owner, Kit Crawford, says the company’s goal is to create “the kind of place that makes the kind of food we’d like to eat, and that strives for a healthier, more sustainable world.” Clif Bar sources quality, mostly organic ingredients from farmers and other suppliers that uses fair labor practices. The next company on this list, Patagonia, uses recycled and environmentally friendly materials in its clothing, as well as energy and environmentally efficient stores and facilities. They also donate at least 1 percent of company sales to various grassroots environmental groups across the globe. Also, while your Patagonia is keeping you warm in the winter, it will last longer and stay out of the landfills due to the Company’s Worn Wear Program. Lastly, New Balance Athletics is changing the way the sneaker industry runs with its reduced use of harmful chemicals. It’s kind of a buzzkill to hear that your fresh pair of sneakers were made using chemicals that are hazardous to the environment, so to counteract this problem, New Balance has created a special team in their company tasked with keeping tabs on harmful chemicals used in production, and finding ways to prevent restricted substances from entering factories. These are just a few examples of companies that are making an effort to better the planet by doing their part to keep it clean.

Always– #LikeAGirl campaign

We all know the brand Always as a reliable source for feminine hygiene products. In the past three years, they have launched a campaign to empower the very people that use their products- girls. Studies show that when girls hit puberty, 80 percent of them feel the societal pressure to be perfect and never fail. This fear of failure inhibits girls from trying new things and setting big goals. Always wanted to boost a girl’s confidence at the time they need it most, when they begin the daunting journey of womanhood. Part of their campaign was a commercial in which they portray their mission to encourage girls everywhere to embrace failures as fuel to build confidence and keep going #LikeAGirl.

Tacos4life– Meal4Meal

Tacos4Life is a restaurant with a great assortment of unique and tasty taco flavors that was started in Arkansas. The quality that makes this restaurant unique is its mission to give back on the global stage through their Meal4Meal program. They have decided to help solve one of the world’s greatest problems- hunger. Tacos4Life donates the funds necessary to Feed My Starving Children to purchase one meal for every meal sold in the restaurant. They also work with organizations in countries like Honduras, Haiti, Belize, Dominican Republic, and Swaziland where children face economic and health challenges.

Students Take a Stand

by Emily Pickering

On March 25, Little Rock joined cities across the nation in the March for our Lives. People of every age and from all over the state gathered for this march to protest gun violence, demand gun law reform, and honor the victims of gun violence- specifically the victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. The main march took place in Washington D.C. The march itself was very short, just a quick walk to the steps of the Capitol. The protesters marched with signs in hand while chanting “this is what democracy looks like” and “vote them out”, in reference to congressmen and senators who support the NRA.

On the steps of Little Rock’s Capitol, speeches were given by parents, students, and activists. The Little Rock march was organized by Chris Kingsby, who was the first to speak at this event saying, “Today, you have made a vow that not one morenot one more child will lose their life in the classroom.” One parent who spoke, Eve Jorgensen, is the leader of Moms Demand Action, an activist group demanding common sense gun laws. In Jorgensen’s speech she stated “We demand that lawmakers act in our best interest, and not the gun lobbies”.

One of the most powerful speeches was given by Wylie Greer, a senior at Greenbrier High School. He spoke about being one of only three at his school to participate in the school walkout on March 14. Greer’s school allowed him to choose his punishment; either two days of school suspension or two swats from a wooden paddle. All three participants chose the corporal punishment. Greer spoke on the punishment saying “I chose the swats. I don’t regret it. I don’t regret what I did in the slightest. In fact, I plan to walk out again on April 20.”

Some gun rights activists attended the rally to protest- one being Greg Giuffria, a member of the NRA. He believes that “the NRA is not powerful because they bought the politicians, but because the belief of self-defense is such a powerful belief.” He stated that he attended the march to exhibit the opposing side’s beliefs about guns.

This movement has promoted a new voice in many young Americans who feel passionate about this issue.  A group of Mount student gathered at the local march to show their support for gun reform while honoring victims of gun violence.  It is our time as young adults to stand up for this movement and use our voices to spark this change.

march for life

Dog Date Ideas

By Allison Toomer

  1. There are beautiful dog parks, such as Hot Springs Bark Park, places to treat your canine companions, such as Hounds Lounge Pet Resort and Spa, or nature trails like the ones at Pinnacle Mountain Park if you want to get some exercise while exploring the outdoors with your pet.

The Best Dog Parks

  1. Paws Park at Murray is a fenced, off-leash park for you and your pet to run around and meet other dogs.
  2. Burns Park Dog Park is also a great open area for your dog that has tubs of water and sprinklers for them to play in and cool off on hot, summer days.
  3. Fort Smith Dog Park is an off-leash, exercise and socialization spot with over 40 acres of land for you and your pet to explore.

Treat Your Dog

  1. The Bark Bar is Arkansas’ first indoor/outdoor, off-leash dog play area and bar. They offer discounted memberships provide a safe space for your pet to play.
  2. Bow Wow and Meow, located in Maumelle, is a shop where you can buy baked dog treats for your canine companion. They also create specialty “pupcakes” and cookies for your dog’s birthday.

Feel the Burn (with your dog)

  1. Allsop Park has a trail that runs along a stream, with plenty of trees and wonderful scenery for you to walk or jog with your dog.
  2. Petit Jean State Park also has wonderful scenery and challenging hiking trails for you and your dog to enjoy this spring.
  3. Pinnacle Mountain State Park has many trails with varying difficulties, however the climb to the top is always worth the wonderful view,

Spring Cleansing

Spring cleaning involves many different ways for people to organize their lives. Not only do I think of cleaning my room during this time of fresh starts, but I also think about clearing out my mind too. Spring cleaning can mean anything from cutting ties with toxic relationships, to cleaning your house to create a more organized, productive space.  When you clean the unnecessary things out your life, it is like giving yourself a fresh start—which is exactly what spring entails. Our lives are constantly changing, and if we don’t focus on ourselves every once in a while we can feel emotionally drained. Not only does this mental spring cleaning help better my mindset, cleaning your room can also really help your mental focus. When my room is clean, I can be more focused on my work because I am not overwhelmed by the thought of a messy room. Organizing my room helps me to be more productive and motivated while I’m at home.


A synonym for spring is “to evolve.” Not only does this make sense because the seasons are changing (or, evolving),  but this is also a time for the entirety of the natural world to start again. Spring brings us new beginnings to evolve as people as we cut out the things in our life that are weighing us down.  Even though it is hard to keep motivation at the end of the school year, I highly recommend taking this time to organize your life in order to recenter your focus for the rest of the year.

Tragedy in Austin

By Josie Fitz

On March 2, 2018, a bomb went off in Austin, Texas.

To most residents of the town, Austin is a haven of peace. When bombs disguised as packages suddenly began appearing on people’s doorsteps, everyone was petrified. Emma Schmidt, a freshman at St. Andrew’s Academy in Austin, said

“It was really scary because you never knew who was next. I didn’t know anybody who was hurt or killed, but I know of two people whose friends and family were injured and/or killed…it was alarming because Austin used to seem like a really safe and accepting city. It still is, but in that week you had to be careful and it was a good reminder that something can always happen.”

Austin residents were frightened by this very serious threat. Many say that it is the first true terror in their town since the University of Texas tower shooting in 1966. Today’s social climate only fed that fear. The Austin package bombings were random, meaning no one was safe. People were scared to pick up packages on their doorstep, schools were shut down, and GoodWills were bombed. Panic rose quickly and people didn’t know what to do.

Thus raises the question: how does a once calm city like Austin recover from such a tragedy? According to Emma Schmidt, “A lot of people have been supporting each other after the bombings. People have also been more aware because they want Austin to be safe again.” Although the city of Austin was affected by this horrible act of terrorism, it brought them closer together as a community and made them more aware that safety is not guaranteed. The most important thing to do in times like these are to offer support and show love to those around you. Never be afraid to reach out for help, because help is always there when you need it.

Contest-Winning Poems

By Raehana Anwar

On March 29, the winners for the 2018 Sybil Nash Abrams Student Contest were revealed by the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas. Out of the six winners, four are from Mount’s very own Creative Writing class. The four students submitted handwritten poems from class and ranked from 2nd place to 2nd honorable mention.

The Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas (PRA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study of poetry. The PRA was created to encourage poets and promote an appreciation of poetry in the community, and secure more recognition for the works of poets in Arkansas. This organization offers monthly contests, one of which all the students in Mount’s Creative Writing class submitted poems for, along with students from six other schools. This added up to a total of 23  high school student entries, with only six prizes given.

The winners from Mount include Raehana Anwar in 2nd place, Stephanie Verdaris in 3rd, Hannah Brockette with 1st honorable mention, and Grace Cassie with 2nd honorable mention. 2nd place receives a $30 cash prize, 3rd receives $20, and honorable mentions are awarded books. Along with collecting their prize, each winner is invited to attend the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas Dr. Lily Peter Spring Celebration and is given the opportunity to present their winning poem.  The winning pieces are listed below in order of their award.


Raehana Anwar

i am six,

with a head of hair,

free of curls,

falling to my hips.

teacher tells me i hold my pencil wrong,

but i write neater than any other first grader i know.

one day mom was crying,

and i knew my baby brother would be here soon.

i wore my best dress: blue flowers painted onto pale white.

i had to make the best of impressions for the new face.

i don’t understand the red, yellow, green lights on the streets,

how they change from color to color.

i think there are small people inside of them,

pushing buttons for hours and hours.

i would hate to have that job.

i hear a soft sound echo from the radio.

mom tells me the soft sound is called a flute.

i want to make the sound.

dad always counts his money.

he takes us to diners and days on the beach,

but it makes him sad.

his business is dying.

but he doesn’t think i know that yet,

because i’m only six.

Texas and Arkansas

Stephanie Verdaris


It wasn’t always “Texas and Arkansas”
Used to be just one state,
But then you had to leave.
Intense games of tag, lots of fun, and many playdates,
But then you went to Texas and we had to set each other free.
And then as we got older, our paths crossed once again
And we immediately remembered why we’d been such good friends.
Your positive outlook, hilarious sense of humor, and loving heart
Made me realize I should’ve kept better contact with you from the start.
But now you’re still in Texas and I am still in Arkansas
But we’re back to being inseparable.
Annual visits, facetimes, sweet texts,
And lots and lots of “I can’t wait till I see you next.”
You have shown me what a true best friend is like
And that no matter what, you’ll always be a part of my life.
Maybe you’ll always be in Texas. And maybe I’ll always be in Arkansas.
But no matter where we go, you will always be in my heart.

Lake Days

Hannah Brockette

Hot summer days
Spent at the lake.
Floating on a raft,
Tubing in circles.
Water splashes in my face.
Fast strokes against my arms,
As I race my friends.
The boat bounces up and down
As it hits wave after wave.
It pulls up on shore
Scraping the gravel.
Now I’m back at camp
Sitting around the campfire.
Listening to stories and gossip
All night long.
I get in my bed.
I lay still as a stick.
But my body still moves like a fish

Love Letter

Grace Cassie

It’s hilarious how someone can go from being your best friend
To a stranger
In a matter of seconds.

I remember lying next to you under shimmery, yellow lights,
Hoping that this moment could last an eternity,
As you wrapped me up in your warm arms,
Protecting me from the cold world around us.

I remember late nights eating dinner with your family
And losing at every card game placed in front of me.

I remember the moments when calling you could stop
The flood of tears from overcoming my life
And you calling me to listen to every moment of my day.

But, people change.

You went from a carefree boy to a politician,
Always concerned about what others thought
And, in return, trying to win over every single person you met.

You went from my undying protector
To my inevitable downfall.
But most of all,
you went from my best friend
To someone I don’t even know,
And, because of that,

I will sadly always remember you.

Spring Recipes

By Rachel Eberle

It is always fun to change up your cuisine with the new seasons. With the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in spring it is easy to create healthy, tasty dishes. Here are two spring inspired recipes that are delicious and easy to make.

Lemon Risotto with Spring Vegetables

  • 12 ounces asparagus
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen spring peas
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1.25 ounces grated parmesan cheese (about ⅓ cup)

The lemon risotto requires a little effort and prep time but the finished product is worth it. You can make it your own by swapping out the peas and asparagus for other vegetables or adding in a protein for a more substantial meal. Eating it the day after, as leftovers, made the flavors even stronger and better.

Check out the recipe here.

Lemon Blueberry Whoopie Pies 

For the Whoopie Pies:

  • 2 ½ cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, divided

For the Lemon Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4+ cups powdered sugar

The lemon blueberry whoopie pies are easy to make and are a great dessert with just the right balance of tart and sweet. You can make these you own and eat them as cookies dipped in the lemon cream cheese filling instead or as sandwiches.

Check out the recipe here.

Valentine’s Day Printables

By MaryClaire Fox

Hey ladies! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I wanted to make some printables for you guys to get in the spirit. I know it can become a time of the year you just want to skip over if you do not have someone to share the day with, but that does not mean you can’t spend time with your family and friends. I hope you guys all have a great day and spread the love!

Click here to check out the printables!

Date-Night Looks

By Raehana Anwar

With the arrival of Valentine’s day comes the stress and chaos of prepping for the perfect date.  Whether you’re going to dinner with your S.O. or having a night out with the girls, it can be tricky to find the right look for the occasion.  With this in mind, I’ve put together four different outfits for four of the most common date locations I could think of, hopefully easing your worries and providing some inspiration for your perfect Valentine’s Day look.









The movies has always been the most cliche date spot, but also the most casual. With dark lighting and comfy seating, the movie theater has the most chill and laid back atmosphere, which isn’t a bad thing at all. You can easily pull off a comfortable yet cute look with a pair of sweatpants (or any other comfy pants), slip-ons, and a long-sleeved shirt.







Dinner is a bit more formal than a movie, which means, sadly, sweatpants won’t make the cut. Depending on how fancy the restaurant is can determine how dressed up you want to get, but a typical dinner can go along the lines of jeans, boots, and a sweater or long-sleeved shirt.







A coffee date or an afternoon in the park are both casual and easy options that call for more laid back outfits. You can pair leggings with an oversized shirt and a denim jacket layered on top for an effortless put together look. Slip on some sneakers and you’re good to go.








A concert or party would be the most dressed up look out of the four. My go-to party look is a black skirt paired with a long-sleeved shirt. You can dress it up with heels or keep it comfortable with sneakers. to make a simple outfit stand out more, add some accessories. Layer some necklaces or add on earrings and the look’s complete.






Treats That Will Slay Your Valentine’s Day

By Allie Keene and Bella Giglio

Valentine’s Day is here! Whether you are snuggling up with someone special or eating away your sorrows, these cake balls are the perfect treat for you.


  • 1 box of cake mix (we used red velvet)
  • About 2/3 of a tub of icing (we used cream cheese)
  • 2 packages of candy melts (we used pink and white)
  • 1 small container of sprinkles


  • First, bake the cake as directed on the box.
  • After allowing the cake to cool, crumble it into a bowl on top of the icing.
  • Next, mix the cake and frosting together until combined.
  • Form the mixture into balls about the size of a tablespoon and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or in the freezer for 1 hour.
  • After chilling, melt the candy melts into a separate bowl. Dip the cake balls in one at a time. If adding sprinkles, make sure to do so before the candy melts harden.
  • Allow the coating to harden and enjoy!

If you follow this recipe, your cake balls should turn out great! But, if you are like us, your treats will not turn out exactly Pinterest worthy. So instead of just giving you a recipe, we are also going to give you a list of baking dos and don’ts.



DO: make tablespoon sized cake balls

DON’T: make the cake balls the size of golf balls

DO: allow the cake balls to sit in the fridge for the correct amount of time

DON’T: put the cake balls in the fridge for 30 minutes and immediately begin to coat them

DO: neatly coat the cake balls in candy melts

DON’T: throw the cake balls on a plate and try to roll them around with toothpicks (especially if they are not fully chilled)




Inspirational Women to Celebrate this Galentine’s Day

By Josie Fitz


Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig is a serious triple threat. She got her start as a playwright, began acting in college, and just recently made her directorial debut with Ladybird, for which she is best known. Gerwig is a perfect example of going out and chasing your dreams, and encourages girls just by doing so. She’s making waves in Hollywood for her honest commentary on what it’s like to be a teenage girl, and she is one of the only female directors in the running this awards season, inspiring many across the nation and around the world.



It seemed like the whole world was watching as P!NK belted out the National Anthem. What many didn’t know was that P!NK had the flu while doing so. P!NK always performs wonderfully, no matter what conditions she’s under. She performed at the 2014 Grammys while doing a trapeze act, and still managed to sing flawlessly. P!NK inspires us to set aside what’s holding us back and just go for it, and inspires us to be true to ourselves.


Our Moms

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, our mothers taught us almost everything we know. We strive to be like them and we admire all they do for us. So what better day to celebrate them than on Galentine’s Day? Use this day to remind your mom just how much you love her and how much she inspires you. Happy Galentine’s Day!

A Season of Love and Preparation

By Olivia Parker

Lent is a forty day religious observance that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. The tradition of Lent dates back all the way to the 4th century: people were only allowed to eat one meal a day, and there was a strict diet of no meat or fish.  As Catholics today, we are only called to abstain from meat on Fridays and to make one sacrifice throughout Lent. However, the meaning of Lent still stands the same as we take time to prepare for Jesus.

Ash Wednesday, which takes place on February 14 this year, marks the start of this solemn season of sacrifice. On this day, ashes put on our foreheads in the shape of a cross are made from the palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday mass. These ashes are symbolic of our past sins, and remind us of the period of reflection and repenting ahead.  The priest marks these blessed ashes on your forehead saying “remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day, something that hasn’t happened since 1945. Many see this as a happy coincidence to celebrate their love for others and Jesus. Sadly, you just might have to find a different way to celebrate this Valentine’ Day other than delicious food.

Marching for Equality

By Kelly Hammond

On January 20, only one year after the march in protest of the newly inaugurated Trump, women across America and other countries gathered in their cities to show their continuing disapproval of the president’s policies as well as support the fight for gender equality.  Thousands of people gathered in their local streets once again to display their feelings about the unfair pay gap, lack of women in political offices, and the recent spark of the #Metoo movement.  Protesters wore their famous pink hats from last year’s march as a symbolic message of female empowerment once again.  

The unexpected US government shutdown that fell on the day of the march was put into effect after the political debate concerning legalities of immigrants.  However, this only fueled women’s motivation to fill the streets and use their voices to fight for the rights of immigrants too.  The shutdown stirred up even more emotions from protesters who were already against the recent actions taken by Trump’s administration.

Although a majority of the protesters had differing political views from the Trump administration, including the support of Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice movement,  it is also important to point out the religious diversity that was at this march.  Hundreds of men and women joined the wave of female empowerment on this day with their Feminism and Faith in Unity rally.  People of the Catholic, Episcopalian, Muslim, Unitarian, Lakota Sioux, and Buddhist faiths all gathered to pray for rally participants and the equality of all women.  Lizzie Berne DeGear, a member of the The Women Who Stayed- a religious organization that supports the equality of men and women- said, “Thanks for this opportunity to bring our faith to our feminism, and our feminism to our faith.”

Before the march, a 42-year-old protester named Claudia Grubbs explained,

“I feel like going to the march will help re-center me, refocus me and not make me feel like I don’t know what is happening to our country. I feel like it’ll help me gain a sense of balance and a sense of purpose, and help me pursue things that I want to pursue.”

Like Grubbs, many women used this opportunity to reiterate their goals in this journey towards women’s equality.  While supporting the march in Las Vegas, singer and feminist, Cher, said “This is one of the worst times in our history and that’s why I honestly believe women are going to fix it.”

To check out more about this historic march and see pictures of protesters around the world, visit: &

Picture by Chris J Ratcliffe, Getty Images:

Self-Love on Valentine’s Day

By Brenna Stefanov

Valentine’s Day is known as the special day to celebrate your significant other. Sometimes, however, you don’t have someone to share that day with. It’s perfectly fine to spend the day alone.  It is extremely important to love yourself and have body positivity towards yourself.  It is very easy to see other people and think about how you want to change something about yourself, but the truth is God made you individually because you’re perfect just the way you are.  Everyone has their insecurities; instead of trying to hide yours or let them affect how you view yourself, try to embrace what makes you special.

Besides taking the time to think about what makes you so great, you can also take this Valentine’s Day to have a “treat yo’self” night. Some things you could do include having a bath with that bath bomb from Lush or Ulta you’ve been saving forever, giving yourself a facial, eating chocolate or any food that you love (it is a treat yo’self night, after all), painting your nails, watching your favorite movie, or even going out with a group of your friends and making it a girls’ night.  

When it comes to face masks, I really enjoy making them from scratch. One great thing about making them yourself is that you can put whatever you want in it to help your skin specifically.  A common one I make consists of a couple of crushed Ibuprofens, raw honey, sugar and a little bit of water.  Ibuprofens help with redness and inflation; honey is a really great, natural complexion corrector for your skin; sugar exfoliates your skin; and water binds it together so it is easier to put on your face.  For another great homemade mask, get one giant aloe leaf (you can find them at Kroger), slice it, and rub 


the aloe on your skin.  Aloe is so good for your skin and its use has actually been date back 60,000 years ago in Egypt where it was called the “plant of eternity.” There are so many other ideas on the internet for easy face masks using ingredients you can probably find in your own homes.  

At the end of the day just remember that even though this is a holiday to celebrate love, that doesn’t necessarily mean celebrating your love for another person.  It can mean celebrating love for yourself.  Just remember to keep this day positive and carry its meaning into your everyday life.  Remind yourself every once in a while to have a “treat yo’self” day because you deserve it.  

Also Valentine’s chocolate goes on sale after the holiday, so you could even make this “treat yo’self” day and “treat yo’self” weekend.

From Holocaust to Hope

By Emily VanEcko

On Wednesday January 31st students in the AP Human Geography class went on a field trip to the Clinton Library to hear the holocaust survivor, Dr. Irene Butter, speak of her life.

Irene Butter is the daughter of John and Gertrude Hasenberg of Berlin, Germany. Her father was a banker, as was her grandfather. The family practiced Reformed Judaism, but had assimilated into German culture and considered themselves primarily German. Irene had a very happy early childhood throughout her schooling in Berlin and she was very close to her father.

However, Irene and her family were greatly impacted by the German invasion of Holland in May 1940. Ms. Butter was expelled from school and entered a Jewish school for children with all Jewish teachers. Discrimination of Jews had just started to spread across Europe, and they were barred from public places, not allowed on public transportation, restricted to certain hours for store purchases, forced to walk everywhere, and had to wear the yellow Star of David on their clothing. Anticipating what was to follow, Mrs. Butter’s father initiated efforts to obtain a foreign passport or visa from contacts in Sweden.

In a roundup of Jews in June 1943, Mrs. Butter and her family were given ten minutes to pack before they were transported on trucks to a train station before being forced into cattle cars to travel to the transit camp, Westerbork. There they lived in barracks witnessing the weekly departures to Auschwitz. Dr. Butter talked about the horrific conditions she had to endure like malnourishment, disease, and horrible hygiene conditions. While at Westerbork, the documents Mrs. Butter’s father had solicited arrived in the form of Ecuadorian passports or visas; Mrs. Butter isn’t certain which. These documents prevented their deportation to Auschwitz and instead they were sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in February 1944. On their way to the new camp they had hope that it would be better and less harsh than their previous one.

At Bergen-Belsen the family stayed together while being housed in special barracks for those with foreign papers. The intent was to exchange individuals held in those barracks for German nationals being held by other countries. Conditions at Bergen-Belsen were unexpectedly worse than the previous camp. Sleeping facilities were wooden bunk beds, three tiers high – two people per bunk. Food was scarce and sanitary conditions were extremely poor. Mrs. Butter’s father was required to do hard manual labor. A brief contact was made with Anne Frank who was in an adjacent section of the camp when she handed off clothes to the girl who only had a blanket to clothe her body.

There was a count to see all the people who were healthy enough to trade for prisoners of war. She and her brother went and got verified for transport during the day. Later that night when her father returned from his daily labor and he was too tired to walk, the children insisted that he get checked by the doctor. So Dr. Butter got dressed and half-carried her father to the doctor’s office where the doctor mistook Irene for her father’s wife. He gave all four the passes they needed for the family to stay together. To this day she does not know if the doctor was trying to help her family stay together, or if he truly did mistake her for her mother.

In January 1945, Mrs. Butter and her family were selected for the exchange of foreign nationals. They took a four-day train ride to Switzerland in which the health of her parents diminished due to the harsh conditions. Mrs. Butter’s father also died and his body was left on a bench at the railroad station of Biberach, Germany. She believes her father died from malnutrition and the effects of internal injuries resulting from beatings received while at Bergen-Belsen. Her mother was still unconscious when he passed.  Upon arrival in Switzerland, the exchange took place and, thereafter, her mother and brother were taken to a hospital. Dr. Butter, who was only 14-years-old at this time, was sent to a DP (Displaced Persons) camp in Algiers, North Africa. There she was able to thrive and regain her emotional and physical strength. This was her first separation from her family and it was incredibly challenging for her.


Through the assistance of relatives in the United States, Mrs. Butter was able to come to America in December 1945. Her mother and brother followed about a year later. She resumed her schooling and with a scholarship was able to go to a university and then pursue a Ph.D. in economics; she graduated as the only woman in her class.

Today she is living with the memories of her scarring childhood but is also finding ways to create peace. She goes around the country speaking to young children, and has created a organization that works hard to promote peace. She is the co-founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Medal & Lecture series at the University of Michigan, and one of the founders of Zeitouna, an Arab/Jewish Women’s Dialogue group in Ann Arbor.

Her biggest message to future generations is that it is your choice to be an enemy or to not be. Her goal is that children in the upcoming generation will never repeat history but instead learn from the violence of the past.

In Little Rock, at the Clinton Center there is a sapling from the only tree Anne Frank could see from her window. The memorial is there to remind us to choose peace and not repeat history.


A State of the Union to Remember

By Emily Pickering

President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address this year on January 30. The State of the Union is a presidential speech addressed to Congress that allows the president to reflect on the nation’s accomplishments from the previous year, as well as reveal future plans for the nation in the coming years of the presidency. Donald Trump’s speech was mostly filled with calls for bipartisan unity due to the conflict between Democrats and Republicans while debating a compromise on immigration. In a pre-speech lunch Trump said “unity is what I’m striving for, to bring the country together.” He also used his State of the Union Address to talk about his plans to improve infrastructure in the nation, saying that the government would provide $1.5 trillion towards this goal. However, representative Nancy Pelosi contradicted this statement and said “he actually has a infrastructure plan with only $200 billion dollars over 10 years”.

Trump’s speech was evidently geared toward his supporters, as are most State of the Union speeches. Throughout his speech, he proposed mostly Republican supported policies like burning coal and keeping the military prison open at Guantanamo Bay. When proposing these ideas, President Trump used the phrase “clean coal,” which refers to a type of coal plant that limits excess carbon dioxide production and global warming by capturing the carbon dioxide it releases and burying it. However, only one coal plant in the country uses this method because it is extremely expensive and still releases more carbon dioxide than other energy sources. Trump also did propose plans for paid family leave and opening more vocational schools; ideas that could be seen as more liberally accepted and were one of the only parts of his speech that satisfied Democrats.

Trump’s speech was viewed by 45.6 million people, which contrary to what President Trump has said is not the most viewed State of the Union Address.  This speech was a success for his supporters and I believe it embodied what his presidency is about.

Gift Guide

by Breanna Racher

Finding the right gifts for your family and friends can be one of the hardest tasks during the holiday season. Here, you will find a detailed guide to help you navigate the intricate art of gift giving!

  1. ENO Single Nest Hammock // This is perfect for the adventurist in your life who is always ready for anything. Get this from ENO online for $59.95. 

    Click here to purchase
  2. Faux fur pom pom hair ties // For your most glamorous friend. With these accessories they will be able to compete with the most extravagant of Christmas trees.  Get these cute accessories at Target for only $5.00.

    hair ties
    Click here to purchase
  3. Triad Ball Drop Earrings // These earrings are sure to be a showstopper at any holiday party.  You can find these beauties at Target for $12.99.

    drop earrings
    Click here to purchase
  4. Women’s Furry Sleep Mask // For anyone needing to catch some Zzzs this holiday season. You can get this dreamy mask at Target for only $4.00. 

    Click here to purchase
  5. Women’s Navy Stripe Pajama Set and Cream Fuzzy Robe // Anyone would be happy to receive this cozy pajama combination; it’s sure to be the gift fought over during Dirty Santa.  These can be found at Target. The pajamas are only $24.99 and the robe is just $20.00. 

  6. Jacquard-knit Sweater, Open Shoulder Blouse, and Wide-cut Satin Suit Pants // These fashionable clothes would be perfect for the trendsetters in your life. You can find all of these trendy clothes online or in-store at H&M.  The sweater is $19.99, the blouse is $24.99, and the pants are $59.99.

I hope this guide has helped you find the perfect gifts this holiday season! Happy Holidays from MSM Newspaper!



A Tragedy in Texas

By Emily Pickering

On November 5, a gunman by the name of Devin Patrick Kelly opened fire on a small rural church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 26 people from the ages of 7 to 72 were killed by these gunshots, and 20 additional people were wounded. After another armed man started shooting at Kelly, he retreated and was chased by neighbors into another county. While in this county, he eventually crashed his car and was found dead in his vehicle.

Scott Holcombe’s father, the preacher of the church, was shot and killed as well as his mother. Scott Holcombe spoke after the shooting and said “I’m dumbfounded. This is unimaginable. My father was a good man, and he loved to preach. He had a good heart.” One woman named Sandy Ward, had family members who were also shot at the church, including her daughter-in-law and three of her grandchildren. The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, responded to the shooting by saying Texas was asking for God’s comfort, for God’s guidance and for God’s healing for all those who are suffering.”

The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs has since been turned into a memorial for all those affected by and killed in the shooting. The associate pastor of the church, Reverend Mark Collins, believes this memorial will help with the healing process that the community needs.

The interior of the building has been painted completely white from floor to ceiling. Inside, there are 26 white chairs for the 26 victims killed, each one placed in the location where the person was shot. On each chair is a single red rose and the name of the victim written in gold cursive. There is also one pink rose which is seated on a chair in honor the unborn child of Crystal Holcombe, Scott Holcombe’s wife, who was two months pregnant when she was shot. There is a recording of some of the victims’ voices reading scripture and praying that plays inside of the memorial. At the front of the church there is a wooden cross and a poster with the scripture that was supposed to be read on the day of the attack. The scripture is Psalm 100 and it reads,  

enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.”




The day the memorial opened, the family members of the victims were allowed into the memorial first where they spent a few moments of silence before the media entered. This was a very emotional experience for them and one women was led out by a chaplain in tears. The pastor of the church, Reverend Frank Pomeroy, said, “I want the world to know that that building will be open so that everyone who walks in there will know that the people who died lived for their Lord and Savior.”  

Click here to see a video of the memorial

Ways to Give Back this Christmas

by Rachel Eberle

Christmas is approaching fast. With the holiday season looming over us, we are preoccupied with thoughts of family, food, gifts, and days off. What we don’t consider as much is how to give back during the holiday season. We are very fortunate to live comfortable lives. However, many people in our state are not so lucky.

I was reminded of this reality as I drove through Southeast Arkansas during Thanksgiving break. Most of the homes I encountered were small, run down houses and beaten up trailers. So many people live in similar conditions or worse  throughout Arkansas. Even though we do not necessarily see places like this everyday, it is a reality for many people.

This Christmas, before imagining how great the break will be, put yourself in the shoes of someone less fortunate, and think of ways to help them. With a little effort and portion of our time, you can make someone else’s holiday so much better.

  1. Clean out. Donate your old outgrown clothes and childhood toys. This is a win-win for you and those in need. Use this as an opportunity to clean out your closet and get organized.
  2. Make donating fun. Find all the toys and books you used to love and put on your own Christmas list, then donate them to an organization collecting gifts for kids.
  3. Help neighbors. Give your neighbors a night off by offering to babysit their children for free. If you have a sick or elderly neighbor, make a meal for them and hand-deliver it
  4. Donate your time. Christmas break is a perfect time to volunteer. Contact the place of your choice soon to get involved. Some great places to volunteer are Our House, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, the Salvation Army, hospice organizations, nursing homes, and the VA Hospital.  
  5. Take a minute to think. Before you pick up food from a drive thru or buy a coffee, contemplate if you really need it. Someone else could benefit from that money. Keep track of this money and donate it to your favorite charity.
  6. Collect change.  Next time you are at the mall and see the Salvation Army volunteers ringing the bell, think about donating before you walking inside. Whether small or large, anything helps. Keep a collection of loose change on you to donate throughout the Christmas season.
  7. Give attention to your parents and elders. Your parents do so much for you throughout the year. During this Christmas break offer them a hand and spend a little extra time with them. Grow closer with family members or grandparents by sitting down and having a conversation or playing a game. They will absolutely love spending time with you.
  8. Help the world through organizations. You can change a child’s life by sponsoring them through the World Vision International organization. Go online to read about available children to sponsor. These children’s stories and faces will melt your heart. Similarly, you can gift an animal to a family through Heifer International. This one animal will be extremely rewarding and beneficial to a family in need.  Your donation could change their lives.   

My Thanksgiving- A Photo Blogpost

by Brenna Stefanov

Day 1

day 1

On Monday November 20th, my mom and I got on a plane at 9 a.m. and flew all the way to Billings, Montana. I was very excited about this trip because I got to spend time with my grandparents, whom I don’t get to see as often as I’d like.  When we landed in Montana, my grandfather picked up me and my mom. We went to a cute little sandwich shop and bakery, Great Harvest Bread Co., and ate lunch.  After eating a delicious turkey pesto sandwich, we went home and started to unwind and relax.

day 2

Day 2

We got up to see it had snowed  a little bit, what grandfather called a dusting,  but it definitely made the mountains look more stunning while driving to Columbus, Montana for the day.  When we arrived at this small town, we stopped by a cute little jewelers and found my senior ring. Afterwards, we went to Uncle Sam’s Eatery, which is yet another sandwich shop, but this place has named its sandwiches after American presidents.  I had a James Madison or a BLT.  When we arrived back home we just talked and worked on a puzzle before making dinner.

day 3

Day 3

It was a chill day where we stayed home, watched movies, and finished the puzzle later that night.

day 4Day 4 

This was the first thanksgiving were I didn’t eat turkey.  Instead we had “Million Dollar Spaghetti,” a spaghetti casserole, which didn’t even have turkey in it, but was still amazing.  That night we all sat on a couch and watched Hallmark Channel movies.  


day 5

Day 5

On Black Friday we ended up at the movie theater and watched The Star, a very cute animated movie which I highly recommend.  After the movie we got home and ate a turkey dinner.  At last.

Day 6day 6

This was my last day in Billings.  We started the day by making a family cookie recipe called “Auntie Em’s.” While we baked we played Christmas music and enjoyed the company of family.  After the cookies we went to see The Nutcracker ballet, one of my favorite seasonal occasions.   Unfortunately,  after the ballet we had to go home and pack.  Ending a vacation is always hard because you never quite want to leave, but at the same time you can’t wait to get home.  It was bittersweet.  We said our goodbyes and got on the plane. We finally arrived back home Sunday the 26 at about 3 am.


 Thanksgiving break didn’t feel long enough, but sometimes it’s good to come home and get back into the regular schedule of life. I’m very thankful that I got to take the time to fly out and see my family.  Overall, Thanksgiving was a successful trip of relaxation and visiting loved ones which is what the holidays are all about to me.

Gold Star Family Memorial

By Allison Toomer

A Gold Star Family is one that has lost a loved one in military service, leaving behind a family without a father, mother, brother, sister, son, or daughter. There are so many families throughout our country who have lost loved ones in the line of duty, several even in our own school.  

In order to honor these families, the members of the Marine Corps League, the Co-Chairs and the Committee Members decided to hold a competition between Arkansas JROTC programs in order to raise money for the Gold Star Family Memorial. The school JROTC program that raises the most money will be given a small replica of the monument that will be built on Arkansas’ state Capitol grounds by Hershel “Woody” Williams, a Medal of Honor recipient. The Gold Star Family Memorial being built in Little Rock is one of many monuments that pay tribute to the Gold Star Family members and families of the soldiers who have sacrificed their life for our freedom.

The Catholic High School JROTC program has gotten involved in this fundraising competition for the monument against  other JROTC programs in Arkansas. They have used class competitions, pork sales, Golden Corral Donation set-ups, car washes, raffles, media coverage, bracelet sales and various donations sites to raise funding for the memorial. Catholic’s JROTC program’s current grand total is $15,539.37 – an average of $95.92 per cadet. This current grand total consists of $9,967.04 in donations, the class totals,  $5,572.33 worth of pork sold, and raffle tickets. In total all the Junior cadets have raised $1,926.00, the Senior cadets have raised $1,172.50, the Freshman cadets have raised $607.21, and the Sophomore cadets have raised $364.00. Mount’s cadets have also gotten involved in this program raising $720.74

The Gold Star Family Memorial Dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on  Veterans Day 2018.


“Although many of the monuments are being built across the United States, this monument will become the first of its kind to be erected on the grounds of a State Capital,” says Sergeant Major R.S. Jernigan. If you would like to help the Catholic High School JROTC program meet their goal of $25,000, please donate today.

All checks are made out to The Gold Star Family Memorial.

Politicians of the Future

by Gracie Alvarez

This year, Mount St. Mary Academy represented the nations of China, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Ecuador at the 52nd annual Model United Nations Conference at UCA.

model un

Model UN is a conference of high school students who represent different nations and collaborate to solve world-wide issues. At this conference, we debated the current issues plaguing the world and worked to find possible solutions for them. Some of these issues included how to combat terrorist/extremist groups, finding new sources of renewable energy, improving healthcare, and expanding access to global financial institutions.

Model UN is an incredible opportunity for all of the participants. It brings real-world issues to the attention of bright, motivated high school students who might otherwise be unaware. The issues discussed at Model UN are the issues that our class of high school students will be dealing with and trying to find resolutions for as adults. By starting to think about and striving for peace in our world now, as teenagers, we can prepare ourselves for the world ahead of us.

We are the politicians, congresswomen, activists, and leaders of the future, and Model UN is the perfect opportunity to start to experience this.

Mount St. Mary’s Model UN group did really well at this year’s conference. The delegation of Afghanistan was awarded an honorable mention for the outstanding delegation. Katie Strickland and Katie Bailey both won honorable mentions for outstanding delegates in the Special Political Committee. All of our students that participated did an incredible job and represented the strong, intelligent, and opinionated young women of Mount.

Christmas Printables

By Maryclaire Fox

I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for the month of December. It has to be one of my favorite months of the year because it is filled warm drinks, big sweaters, and Christmas joy. However, it is also one of the most stressful times of year with so many commitments. While we are all in panic mode with upcoming exams, don’t forget to take a few moments out of your day to just breathe. I made these printable coloring sheets and gift tags as a way for you to take a break from the upcoming craziness and still enjoy the little things like coloring. I hope these printables fill you with Christmas spirit!

Click here for Christmas cards, coloring sheets, gift tags, and more!

DIY Winter Decorating

by Emily VanEcko

The Christmas season is finally here, and if you are like me at all the Christmas season will rush by in a flash. Here are three easy DIY decorating ideas that you can do without the stress. Pictures and decorations by Pinterest.

1. Snowman door/ wall decoration

This budget-friendly decoration is definitely a “snow-stopper”!

Just take some black paper and leftover ribbon from your Christmas tree to make a unique and friendly fellow. Even if your door isn’t white, feel free to use any wall or fridge in your house. 

2.  Paper Christmas Lights

These adorable and super easy bulbs will certainly light up any Christmas season. All you need to do is shape construction paper into a light bulb and string it together.

Photo from


3. Sock Snowman

This cute little guy is an easy project, and can be made with materials you already have in the house. First, take a spare sock and fill it with rice or cotton balls. Then tie a spare cloth and add a few beads or buttons for a holly jolly buddy.

Photo from

4. Popsicle Snowflakes

These special decorations will provide festivity to any wall or room. All that you need

to do is hot glue popsicle sticks together in any shape you choose. Then you can paint them and stick them up on the wall.

Photo from

5. Flameless Fire Pit

This radical decoration will create a cozy mood in any room, and is sure to spark a conversation. Click here for step-by-step directions on making your own!

Photo from


Sister Act

By Josie Fitz

Sister- a word with many different connotations. When you hear the word ‘sister’ you might think of a sibling, a good friend, or your classmates. This weekend, however, sister will had a completely different meaning in Sister Act, Mount St. Mary’s fall musical. Sister Act follows the story of Deloris Van Cartier, played by senior Leah Paige, who must hide in a convent after witnessing a crime. There she forms a strong bond with the nuns and discovers who she’s truly meant to be.

So what makes this play so special? According to Ms. Jenny Moses, the show’s director, ”It’s one that the audience will connect with and enjoy, but it also will make them feel something, and that is my philosophy of theatre- that I want the audience to walk away having felt something.” Audiences are sure to connect with Sister Act because of the genuine connections between many of the characters in the show.

The connections between the cast happened offstage as well. Senior, Hailey Grillo says, “I definitely feel like I have bonded with my cast mates in Sister Act. Many I have just met this year and many this is my fourth year of working with. When practices are long and exhausting I know there’s always a supportive shoulder to lean on. This cast, as it has in past years, has become my family. We’ve laughed, cried, stressed, and bonded together over the past few months. With this being my last show I couldn’t be happier with the friends I’ve made behind the curtains. The musicals are always such a fun way to make friends that share the love of the theater with you. They’re all my sisters and brothers now, and I’m already so excited to see how the underclassmen continue to develop their craft in the next years.” This is a great story about  finding yourself, redemption, and love.

The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

By Kelly Hammond

Click here to listen to the full playlist filled with a mix of new and classic Christmas songs!

  1. Ariana Grande // Santa Tell Me
  2. Justin Bieber // Mistletoe
  3. Donny Hathaway // This Christmas
  4. Mariah Carey // All I Want for Christmas Is You
  5. Kelly Clarkson // My Favorite Things
  6. Band Aid 30 // Do They Know It’s Christmas (2014)
  7. Straight No Chaser // The 12 Days of Christmas
  8. OneRepublic // Christmas Without You
  9. Jackson 5 // Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  10. Andy Williams // It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  11. The Ronettes // Sleigh Ride
  12. Bobby Helms // Jingle Bell Rock
  13. Brenda Lee // Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
  14. Burl Ives // A Holly Jolly Christmas
  15. Idina Menzel & Michael Bublé // Baby It’s Cold Outside
  16. Michael Bublé // It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
  17. Nat King Cole // The Christmas Song
  18. Glee Cast // Last Christmas
  19. Dan + Shay // Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  20. Bing Crosby // White Christmas
  21. Josh Groban & Faith Hill // The First Noel
  22. Dean Martin // A Marshmallow World
  23. Burl Ives // Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  24. Jimmy Durante // Frosty The Snowman
  25. Faith Hill // A Baby Changes Everything
  26. Stevie Wonder // What Christmas Means To Me
  27. Dean Martin // Let it Snow
  28. Pentatonix // Silent Night
  29. Justin Bieber // Christmas Love
  30. Jose Feliciano // Feliz Navidad
  31. Josh Groban // I’ll Be Home for Christmas
  32. Pentatonix // Mary, Did You Know?

Festive Eats & Treats

By Brenna Stefanov & Emily Angyal

Thanksgiving Break is now over, but every Mount girl knows that the next thing to look forward to is Christmas Break. In anticipation for the Christmas season, we have come back try more holiday themed treats.

First, we made simple, no-bake peppermint oreo truffles. They were so simple to make and they ended up tasting great.


All it takes is crushing the oreos, mixing them with the cream cheese and peppermint extract, and then rolling them into balls and dipping them in white chocolate. For more details on how to make them, click here:

While they were setting in the fridge, we decided to make a holiday-themed drink to go with it. it took a few minutes, but we were able to whip out a batch of Sparkling Cranberry Cider. The inspiration for the drink is here .


However, we ended up switching up the ingredients and amounts based up our personal preferences.

Both recipes were super easy and ended up tasting great! They’re perfect for a Christmas themed potluck, family dinner, or to reward your homeroom for when they bring in their Robinhood can goals. They’re both easy, but impressive recipes that anyone can create.

Winter Watch-List

by Caroline Potts

Christmas is right around the corner! With all of the haste of the season, it’s important to take a step back and get into the Christmas spirit. Enjoy these movie trailers to Christmas and winter films, some classics, some new.  Watching these films are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.  

  1. Elf-
  2. A Christmas Story-
  3. Holiday Inn-
  4. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer-
  5. The Polar Express-
  6. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas-
  7. Home Alone-
  8. Murder on the Orient Express-
  9. Frozen-
  10. Frosty The Snowman-

Now, choose your favorite movie on the list, and go watch it! Remember to enjoy the holidays with your family and friends even through the stress of exams, sports, and other activities. Merry Christmas!!

What’s Going On in the Natural State

by Olivia Parker

Arkansas cuts off relationship with “Love Locks”

The unique trend of attaching locks to bridges or public structures as a sign of love between couples has made its way to Arkansas. The trend started in Paris, France on the Pont des Arts Bridge which became a small tourist attraction until 2015 when the weight of 700,000 locks was crumbling the gates of the bridge. Love locks have also recently been removed from Arkansas Junction Bridge railings to prevent damage to the integrity of the bridge. Similar to the Pont des Arts in France, the Junction Bridge is a pedestrian and cycling link across the Arkansas River. The Junction Bridge Board stopped the love craze before it became a heavy problem by removing the current locks and preventing any future locks from being put on the bridge. Although the love locks can no longer stand the test of time on the Junction Bridge, love in Arkansas is still thriving.

A Little Christmas Cheer in the Cafeteria

Newark Elementary is blessed to have Mr. Heath as their dedicated custodian for Christmas every year. Mr. Heath has annually decorated the school’s cafeteria for Christmas so the students can have a taste of Christmas they might not see at home. Even though Mr. Heath works in a place full of constant noise from children talking, chairs clattering, and trash bags opening, he just so happens to be deaf. Mr. Heath attended the elementary school as a child and has a deep connection to Newark.  His dedication to the children shows through his hard work and compassion for the school.

Wildfires in Arkansas

The Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission (AFC) suppressed 103 wildfires that burned 1,805 acres over Thanksgiving break. Current dry weather and droughts have made Arkansas vulnerable to wildfires, and has also caused many burn bans across the state. 59 of Arkansas’ counties are also now under high wildfire danger. U.S. Forest Service crews are responding to wildfires currently burning within Arkansas’s National Forests in Perry and Johnson Counties, which may create smoke throughout Central Arkansas. In November alone, 196 wildfires have burned over 3,000 acres. Arkansas is on its way to another high wildfire year since 2012 when over 34,000 acres burned This year is not far behind with over 22,000 acres already burned. Please keep the firefighters and crew members fighting the wildfires in your prayers as they continue to work through the upcoming holiday season.

Christmas Spirit in Downtown Little Rock

A new tradition begins this year as Little Rock brings in a 40 foot white fir tree to Main Street. This new addition will light up the streets for the holiday season in addition to the beautiful Capitol Christmas lights and the Capitol Hotel’s gorgeous indoor tree. The tree will be decorated with hundreds of multicolored lights to hopefully attract Arkansans to the downtown area for the holiday season. During this Christmas season don’t forget to stop by and visit the new tree.

(Source: Fox16 News)

Let The Games Begin: Friendsmas Edition

by Bella Giglio & Allie Keene

This year, almost everyone participated in Friendsgiving. However, if you missed out, and were simply too busy to take part in this friendship-filled holiday, we have some good news for you.  Friendsmas is finally here! This is a great time to celebrate and cherish the people you love. If you are worried about buying gifts, stressed about finals, short on time, or just plain broke, consider these fun gift exchange games. They are a wonderful way to save money while still giving gifts to loved ones.

Secret Santa: In Secret Santa, place the names of all those participating into a hat or box, then choose a name randomly. The name you chose is the person you will buy a gift for, but remember to keep it anonymous. When the gifts have been delivered, you may guess your Secret Santa. This is a great way to save money if you have a large group of friends, or you are on a tight budget.

Dirty Santa: In Dirty Santa, all those participating decide on a price range, then everyone buys one gift for the exchange. Once all the gifts are together, everyone decides on a player order. The first person in the order chooses a gift from the pile to unwrap. The next in line can decide if they want to choose a new gift to unwrap or steal another player’s gift. However, different renditions of this game have varied rules. For example, some people might have a rule where there are no swap backs, so if a gift is stolen from you, you cannot steal it back from that same person.  Feel free to set your own rules and put your own spin on the game. Dirty Santa is a fun game for a big party or get togeth

Left or Right: Left or Right is a game that starts out similarly to Dirty Santa. Those participating choose a price range at which to buy their gift. Then, everyone sits in a big circle holding their gift. After everyone is seated with their present, one person reads a short story or poem that frequently uses the words “right” and “left.” Whenever one of these words is read, everyone passes the gift they are holding in the corresponding direction. Once the story is over, the gift you are holding is the one you unwrap and keep. Below is an attached story you can read to play the game.

Musical Gifts: Musical Gifts is a game similar to musical chairs. Everyone gathers their gifts together in a pile, then distributes them randomly. After all those participating have a gift, everyone sits in a circle. Someone plays holiday music, starting and stopping it sporadically. When the music is playing, everyone passes around the gifts as quickly as possible. When the music stops, everyone unwraps and keeps the gift they are holding. This game can also go on however long the group would like it to.

Paris Fashion Week 2017

By Caroline Potts

A Brief History of the Fashion Show

         The idea of the fashion show came to existence in France in 1858 at a Parisian fashion house, otherwise known as the House of Worth. Charles Frederick Worth presented a “parade,” or défilé, of models wearing his designs to his wealthiest clients, inventing the idea of both the fashion show and the live model. The first official American fashion show occurred in 1903 in a New York City shop called Ehrich Brothers. In 1943, during the German occupation of France, Eleanor Lambert of New York City organized the fashion shows of numerous designers under a single period of time, calling the shows “Press Week.” In 1945, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture established a time during which each designer exhibited a minimum of 35 looks, establishing a time of “haute couture,” or “high fashion.” In 1958, the National Chamber for Italian Fashion established “Settimana Della Moda” in Milan; however, many individual designers such as Dolce & Gabbana exhibited and continue to exhibit their models without the interference of the National Chamber for Italian Fashion. In 1973, the French Fashion Federation organized “Paris Fashion Week,” presenting many “prêt-à-porter,” or “ready-to-wear,”  designs at the Versailles Palace. In 1984, the British Fashion Council founded “London Fashion Week.” The shows in New York City were simply called “7th on Sixth,” in honor of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, until 2004 when Olympus, a camera company, renamed the series of shows “Olympus Fashion Week.”

A Look into the Prêt-à-Porter Paris Fashion Week of 2017

In the Prêt-à-Porter Paris Fashion Week from September 25 to October 3, designers presented the spring and summer looks of 2018 to crowds in numerous locations across Paris. Below are numerous designs exhibited at the show.

Jacquemus by Simon Porte Jacquemus
Jacquemus by Simon Porte Jacquemus presented “happy, excited, and impatient” looks reflecting his fun childhood to open Paris Fashion Week on the night of September 25.
Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri
The models of Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri exhibited comfortable designs, with visible underwear and low heels, in hopes of appealing to millennials and honoring female artists.
Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello
Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello presented models covered in feathers, glitter, and satin in front of the glimmering Eiffel Tower on the night of September 26 in efforts to capturing the idea of fun “escape” from the business of life.
Lacoste by Felipe Oliveira Baptista
Lacoste by Felipe Oliveira Baptista presented looks of the “past, present, [and] future” on a runway modeled after a basketball court, closing the show with pastel polo dresses.
Chloé by Natacha Ramsay-Levi
Chloé by Natacha Ramsay-Levi showed models in printed boots accessorized with multi-strap anti-It bags in a successful show, which culminated looks of the predecessors of Ramsay-Levi.
Balmain by Olivier Rousteing
Balmain by Olivier Rousteing exhibited designs with sharp V necklines and hints of gold at the Palais Garnier, an opera house where Rousteing was taken as a child by his adopted parents, with hopes of impressing audiences.


Elie Saab by Elie Saab
Elie Saab by Elie Saab exhibited models dressed in the colors Amazon theme with hints of camouflage and green and accessorized with fall hats on the afternoon of September 30.
Givenchy by Clare Waight Keller
Givenchy by Clare Waight Keller showcased models at the Palais de Justice, a government building, emphasizing the shoulder, the classic clover print of 1961, and the classic animal motifs of 1981; utilizing black and white shades with mint and red accents; and introducing the GV3, a multi-strap handbag.
Balenciaga by Demna Gvasalia
Balenciaga by Demna Gvasalia presented a gothic collection with spiked, pointed heels, croc platforms, and lingerie attached to other garments.
Valentino by Pierpaolo Piccioli
Valentino by Pierpaolo Piccioli encompassed the beauty of Earth during the Apollo Moon Landing through clear plastic and embellished athletic gear during the afternoon of October 1.
Hermès by Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski
Hermès by Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski presented models in checkered patterns in a room covered in graph paper.
Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld
Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld beautifully exhibited models in clear plastic, pastels, and fringe in what seemed to be somewhat of a disco themed collection against the waterfalls of the Gorges du Verdon, where a rainbow happened to grace the runway.
Louis Vuitton by Nicolas Ghesquière
Louis Vuitton by Nicolas Ghesquière presented models clothed in frock coats and silk running shorts at a new pavilion at the Louvre, in what was a moat that protected a castle, in attempt to create anachronism, the idea of portraying costume through everyday wear; the show included a Stranger Things shirt and the presentation of a new sneaker.



National Merit Semi-Finalist: Katie Strickland

By Gracie Alvarez

Katie Strickland, Class of 2018, was recently named a National Merit Semi-Finalist due to her performance on the PSAT last fall. She is one of only 136 semi-finalists in the entire state of Arkansas. She shared her feelings about the achievement with us, and the surprise she had upon finding out she had qualified: 

“When I first heard that I was a National Merit Semi-Finalist, my heart did a mini flip. I couldn’t stop thinking about how thankful I was for this opportunity!”

The classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021 took the PSAT this past Wednesday, October 11th. The juniors that tested will find out next fall if they qualified to be a National Merit semi-finalist, while the freshmen and sophomores will have another chance to take the test.

When asked “What was the first thing that went through your mind when you heard the news?”, Katie told us that “Sister Joan actually told me in a meeting the day before they announced it to the school…we had been discussing the status of my college applications whenever she revealed to me that I was selected as a Semi-Finalist. When Sister Joan made the intercom announcement, I was sitting in my AP Research class praying that I had charged my computer the night before!”  

The qualification as a semi-finalist is a huge achievement; however, Katie still has to go through a rigorous process before she receives scholarships for the title. She must fill out an application, complete an essay, get a recommendation from Mount, and show evidence of taking the SAT recently. She is motivated to move forward, and told us that she

“[has] only excitement (and slight nervousness) for the adventures and challenges ahead! I will be ever-grateful for the opportunities which being a National Merit Semi-Finalist may open up, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the Class of 2018.”

A Letter to Seniors

By Emily Pickering

Dear Seniors,

This year is a stressful one. We are applying to colleges and scholarships, writing admissions essays, choosing what university we want to go to… and on top of all of this, we have the stress of keeping up with homework, quizzes, and tests. Even though it feels like there’s an overwhelming amount of work to be done, we need to remember to enjoy our last year at Mount. This year can be exciting. With the prospect of freedom just around the corner, we can be anxious for the year to end. While it might seem like this year couldn’t be passing by any slower, it’s important to remember that before we know it the year will be over and we will be at graduation receiving your diploma.

Make the most of your time, make a difference, and don’t sit back and let the year fly by. You don’t want to look back on your high school years and regret anything. Do your best this year in your classes. I know you might have been told that colleges don’t look at your senior grades, but scholarships can depend on them. Make sure to get your applications and essays for colleges done in time, but don’t stress out about them. Most colleges don’t expect your essays to be world changing, they just want to learn more about what makes you who you are. Enjoy your time with your family and friends because, unless you go to the same school, you won’t be seeing them everyday like you do now.

Seniors: this year will be over before you know it, so make the best of it!

Your Fellow Senior,

Emily Pickering

Fall 2017 Watch-List

By Josie Fitz

1.) Fantastic Mr. Fox

          Fantastic Mr. Fox is a Wes Anderson film about a fox who gets in the habit of stealing from a poultry farm to feed his wife, child, and nephew. The farmers Mr. Fox steals from begin to hunt him and his family, forcing the foxes to go into hiding underground. The farmers continue to persecute them, but, with the help of the other animals in the neighborhood, the foxes prevail. It is a story about difficult family relationships, breaking bad habits, and making compromises for the good of the whole. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a great fall movie to watch with your friends for a night in.

fantastic mr fox

2.) Halloweentown

    Halloweentown is a Disney movie about a girl named Marnie who discovers not only that her grandmother is a witch, but that she is also a witch. This causes her and her siblings to sneak away to Halloweentown, where their grandma lives. There they battle evil forces to save the town and the creatures in it. It is a classic Halloween movie and great to watch with family and friends. Also, it plays constantly on the Disney Channel this time of year, so now is the perfect time to see it!


3.) Stranger Things

      Stranger Things’ first season rocked the TV world last summer when it was released without much hype on Netflix. Since then it has developed a huge following. Stranger Things is about four nerdy boys who live in Hawkins, Indiana, in 1983.  When one of the four goes missing under strange circumstances, the others set out to find their friend with the help of a supernatural girl named Eleven and the town’s sheriff.  Stranger Things will be returning for a second season on October 27th, just in time for Halloween.  Get ready to binge this incredibly binge-worthy series!

stranger things


Playlists For the Year

By Raehana Anwar

—click on the playlist titles to listen—

CHILL– comforting & calm

  1.  Oh Wonder // Solo
  2.  Frank Ocean // Pink + White
  3.  Harry Styles // Sweet Creature
  4.  Khalid // Another Sad Love Song
  5.  Troye Sivan // Suburbia
  6.  Billie Eilish // Watch
  7.  Szymon // Golden
  8.  Lany // 13
  9.  Chance the Rapper // Summer Friends
  10.  The Lumineers // Sleep on the Floor


STUDY- quiet & simple

  1. Petit Biscuit // Memories
  2.  Tom Misch // The Journey
  3.  Pools // Blue
  4.  Petit Biscuit // Alone
  5.  Lofi // Radio


 DRIVE- upbeat & carefree

  1.  Coin // Run
  2.  Calvin Harris // Slide
  3.  Portugal. The Man // Feel It Still
  4.  Børns // Electric Love
  5.   Camila Cabello // Havana
  6.  Lorde // Perfect Places
  7.  Frank Ocean // Lost
  8. Chance the Rapper // Finish Line
  9.  Quinn XCII // Fake Denim
  10.  Nappy Roots // Good Day

Las Vegas Shooting: an American Tragedy

By Breanna Racher

On the night of October 1, 2017, the deadliest mass shooting by one individual in all of American history took place at the Las Vegas strip. This individual was Stephen Paddock from Mesquite, Nevada. Around 10:00pm, he fired thousands of rounds from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel down to where the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival was being held. During singer Jason Aldean’s performance, Paddock broke two of the hotel room’s windows and fired into the audience. The gunfire continued for a span of ten minutes. 59 people were killed, including the gunman, who shot himself in the head, and 498 people were injured. For many, the first thing they saw the next morning was notifications about the tragedy on their phones, leaving the entire country in disbelief.  Many celebrities and everyday people offered their condolences through prayers, donations, and social media posts.

 When police invaded Paddock’s hotel room, they found 23 firearms, a large amount of ammunition, and high-capacity magazines that were capable of holding 100 rounds of ammunition a piece. He also had a bump fire gun stock, which allowed him to shoot 90 bullets in 10 seconds. This event has brought up the concern of gun laws and regulations in the United States, with many people claiming that Paddock could not have done as much damage as he did if he did not have access to these semi-automatic weapons. While there is not a solution to this debate yet, the one thing all Americans can agree on is that these acts of terror need to end.

photo by David Becker/Getty Images

A Mount Alumna: 10 years later

By Olivia Parker

Meredith Parker is an alumna of Mount St. Mary Academy, class of 2007. Today, ten years later, Meredith is 28 years old and working as a Senior Graphics Operator at two local news stations. Meredith was the twelfth of fourteen girls in her family to attend Mount St. Mary Academy. Over the past ten years, Meredith has pursued a career in news production through graphic design and simultaneously widened her perspective of her city and grown more confident in herself.

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While in high-school, Meredith did not think of pursuing graphic design as a career, but instead was more focused on a music career. She gravitated towards more creative classes at Mount, like art and music. After high school, she attended University of Central Arkansas and decided to try out the film program. Throughout college, she started to focus less on music and more on film, photography, and graphic design. Although Mount did not offer a Broadcasting or Graphic Design class when she attended, Meredith recalled that Art and Concert Belles both fed her creativity and enhanced her artistic abilities in college. She ended up graduating UCA with a major in Digital Filmmaking and a minor in Photography and Graphic Design.

Meredith has been working at the local news stations, KARK 4 News and Fox 16 News, both owned by Nexstar Media Group Inc., for six years. She mentioned that she “still felt prepared because of my degree, even if it wasn’t in Broadcasting”. She started off in basic production by operating cameras, working the teleprompter, and operating graphics. As years went by, she transitioned to full-time Graphics Operator and now creates graphics for the show and controls them during shows. Meredith even gets the occasional graphics request from reporter friends at other stations across the country.

Working at a news station as a graphics operator is a unique job that most young students don’t think about when choosing a career. When asked for one reason why she loves her job, Meredith told us that “we get to put on a show everyday.”  Even though it is the same news show, the content is always different and this keeps each day exciting and unique. During the show, Meredith sits in the control room and helps put on the show that you see on your television. With the help of the audio man, director, teleprompter, and the producer,  the show is called, graphics are cued, and the teleprompter is run to ensure that the show goes smoothly every time. News stations are always buzzing with activity and on the lookout for breaking news and severe weather. Whether it’s creating graphics, listening to police scanners, finding a story, or filming a show, the world of news never stops.

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Between the two stations there are several airings of newscasts, two sports shows, and a political show. With all these programs, the news is constantly on air. Two stations in the same studio is actually “quite common in the news world today.”  Making sure the shows have different looks and styles is key when creating graphics. The sets of the two shows are very different from each other and are further distinguished by their graphics. Meredith said that starting off just working for Fox 16 part-time, then merging with KARK 4 caused “double the work, but helped me grow and improved my abilities.”  Her hard work and growth was acknowledged when she was voted Employee of the Month twice and the first Employee of the Year by her coworkers and superiors. Working at a news station in the control room requires you to “be flexible…the show must go on,”  especially when technical difficulties occur.

Aside from graphic design Meredith also utilizes her photography minor by maintaining photography as a hobby. She loves to check out the latest camera technology and graphics programming to keep herself up to date on advancements in the field. Recently, she has photographed weddings for friends, taken family photos, and even some senior pictures.

One of the many things she likes about graphics is that “you are never satisfied,”  it is always improving and there are endless possibilities. This is a growing career path with endless job opportunities.

From an interest in a music career to a job in graphic design, this just goes to show that “ sometimes your career will take you to places you wouldn’t have ever thought of going.”  


Mercy Day

By Kelly Hammond

Mercy Day is a beloved tradition in the Mount community that takes place every September.  While most girls are just get excited to be out of class for the day, the meaning behind Mercy Day goes much deeper.  In honor of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Mount students spend this day providing service on campus and throughout the community.  Students trade in their hounds tooth skirts for a pair of jeans and gloves, and travel to various sites including Susan G. Koman, Calvary Cemetery, Helping Hand, the Compassion Center, Access Schools, Allsopp Park, and more.  This allows everyone to have the humbling opportunity to serve those in need and live like Catherine herself.  

When I was told that I would be going to a cemetery for Mercy Day, I was honestly pretty scared.  When most people hear “cemetery”, they automatically think of spooky ghosts, dark lifeless trees, and haunted graves.  However, what I found on my journey was quite the opposite.  The sun washed over the green, tree-filled area and illuminated the headstones of various shapes and sizes.  When we first arrived, we made our way through the front of the cemetery, past graves and presents left by loved ones, towards Bella Brown.  We took a moment of silence to remember her joyful and compassionate personality; a perfect reminder for us on a day focused on serving others.


We then headed to the area of the cemetery where several Sisters of Mercy were buried.  It was sorrowing to see the rows and rows of disheveled and unclean headstones.  Most of these graves-some of which were almost 200 years old- looked as if they hadn’t been cleaned since they were put there.  

To give these headstones the proper TLC they deserve, we used sponges, brushes, and rags to gently remove the dirt and moss growing on the stones.  This experience gave me a new perspective on the word “cemetery”; one that doesn’t include scary ghosts, but instead a reminder of how we can still care for those who have passed on.  Even when we lose a loved one, honoring their memory by caring for their grave is just one way to continue serving them.  

Other members of our newspaper staff, Breanna Racher and Raehana Anwar, told me what they learned from their Mercy Day experiences.  Breanna said,

 “it seemed like what we were doing was very insignificant…until two women that were there told us what we did in an hour and a half would have taken a week for them to do.”  

Raehana recalls a similar feeling and says, “At first I thought cleaning up bikes couldn’t really do much to help the community, but after hearing about how excited the kids would get and how meaningful it was to them, what I was doing seemed to have more purpose. I felt like I really was impacting people’s lives, just by fixing up some bikes.”  Both girls’ time at their service sites proved the big impact we can make when we come together to help others.  

—Timelapse of Raehana and friends building a bike at their service site—

By Raehana Anwar

Fall Treats: from Pin to Plate

By: Brenna Stefanov and Emily Angyal

It’s finally October, which means all things spooky and Halloween.  Normally we just pin autumn recipes, crafts, and fashion to our specified Pinterest boards and promise ourselves that we will use them sometime. This year, we decided to actually go back and try some of the hundreds of pinned fall recipes. 

We chose two simple recipes that seemed perfect for any Halloween party: pumpkin cheesecake truffle mummies and a sparkling apple punch to go along with our mummy treats. Although these were a ton of fun to make, the mummy truffles took a little longer than we expected, so they aren’t exactly a last minute treat to make.

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One thing that surprised us about both recipes was how inexpensive they were; partially because we already had half of the items in our own kitchens. Normally, when you see things on Pinterest, you always assume that they are super expensive and complicated to make.  However, these recipes consisted of  just a few simple steps. There are also so many things you can do with each recipe to make them more to your liking and add your own flare.

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It was a ton of fun to finally create our own Pinterest-inspired treats. If there is something you have always wanted to make, go for it! You won’t regret it.  Here’s how our creations turned out:

If you decide to recreate these delicious treats, click the link to the recipes below:

Beatification of Father Stanley Rother

By Emily VanEcko

Stanley was born on March 27, 1935, in Okarche, Oklahoma. He was the oldest of  four children and attended the Holy Trinity Catholic Church and school. He worked hard on his chores, went to school, played sports, and was also an altar boy. In high school he made the decision to discern to the priesthood and went to seminary in Texas.  

While in seminary, he struggled with Latin studies to the point that he was asked to leave the seminary because of his inadequate grades. He went to speak with the bishop at the time, Bishop Victor Reed, and he decided to let Stanley have a second chance. Stanley then enrolled at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Maryland, and was later ordained as a priest on May 25, 1963.  For five years he worked as a pastor in Oklahoma, then Pope John XXIII sent him to the mission in Santiago, Guatemala.T6e-QSXy0XN8OKgN0UbpAJz5IKA53ysrv9Wp9P7phtOrcIw4nFjFVyboM866NjVU9Ooocwm-AdS_GAgE3KGdotnXvyM=s2048

Although he was in a new and intimidating country, he instantaneously made a great connection with the people of Santiago Atitlan. The main tribe there are the Tz’utujil, the main descendants of the Ancient Mayans. To be able to evangelize and spread the faith, Fr. Rother had to learn both Spanish and the Tz’utujil language. One of his great achievements is his translation of the Catholic bible’s New Testament to the Tz’utujil language. For years he assisted the people with agriculture, helped the sick, and provided faithful company.

A few years later, a civil war between the government and the Catholic Church ravaged the city; Father Stanley was stuck in the war-torn city. The violence grew and spread to the point that Stanley discovered a Hit-List with his name on it. He went back to Oklahoma for his safety, but was majorly conflicted about whether he should return to the village or not.  Finally, he decided that he had to go back and give his life to his people.

He stated that “the shepherd cannot run,” meaning that he has to help guide his people and cannot leave them by themselves. He went back knowing that there was a high chance he would be attacked or murdered. On July 28th,  three men entered his rectory, fought with him, and finally murdered Father Rother. The killers were never found, but the Catholic community was shaken by the execution.

The people of Santiago Atitlan lamented over the loss of their leader, priest, and friend. The people, who were inspired by Father Stanley’s bravery, nominated him for the process of canonization.

On December 2, 2016, Pope Francis officially announced Father Rother as a true martyr for the Catholic Church. He is the very first recognized martyr for America and the first American born priest to be beatified.


The beatification was in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at the Cox Convention Center. Catholics and believers from all over the country attended.  The village’s people that he so dearly loved and that so dearly loved him also came to honor their old friend. The mass started with thousands of people and hundreds of priests and holy people. There were four magnificent choirs who performed individually. Then, the people of Santiago Atitlan walked all the way around the stadium while drumming and marching. After that, the swordsmen took their places around the priests.  Once they were completely ready, Cardinal Ángelo Amato, S.D.B. walked in with the Gospel and many bishops training behind him. The beatification process began with Archbishop Beltran reading a brief biography of the Venerable Servant of God Stanley Rother.  Cardinal Amato then read the Apostolic Letter, which was written by Pope Francis, and deemed Stanley a Blessed person. A giant velvet curtain fell down and a beautiful image of Blessed Father Rother was unveiled underneath. In the final process of the beatification, the cardinal blessed Father Stanley’s relics which were then infused with incense.

Father Rother is an inspirational example of how we should live our lives while accepting God’s plans for us. His bravery is noteworthy and motivating.

A Spontaneous Connection

By Breanna Racher, senior writer

As the Michigan State University sign became visible to us, the only thing on our minds was “we are here to win.”

The Odyssey of the Mind team was finishing up it’s long and tedious journey from Little Rock, Arkansas, to East Lansing, Michigan. We checked into our dorm rooms and went down to the lobby to practice for the Spontaneous category; this category tests a team’s ability to come up with creative answers in a limited time period. The team members do not know the problem until they walk into the room. The year before, our team was named first in the world in the Spontaneous category.

While we were practicing our verbal Spontaneous problem, a coach from a different team walked up to our coach.

“Alright girls, now we’re going to try a spontaneous problem with these young ladies,” our coach, Deborah Baldwin, said to us after speaking with the other group’s coach for a moment.

A group of seven young girls sat next to us and anxiously waited for the problem. After they struggled for a few rounds, we saw their answers begin to improve. Pretty soon, the girls’ answers started to compare to ours. They were ready to compete.

After the girls went back up to their rooms, the coach thanked us for helping. Those young girls had a chance to see and work with a talented, independent, and most importantly, all-girls team that had conquered a large part of the competition. Our team didn’t immediately realize the influence we had on those little girls.  Later, however, we came to realize that by witnessing our teamwork, confidence, and creativity, those girls had a chance to see what practicing and building each other up as women can do.

Influencing the lives of young women was more valuable to our team than any trophy ever could be.

Amalie: New York, New York

By Olivia Parker, senior writer

This past summer Amalie Shollmier, class of 19’, caught a plane to the Big Apple. She took part in one of the lesser known trips at Mount, Ms. Moses’ annual trip to New York City, along with three other Mount girls and two Catholic High students. Over the course of five days, Amalie remembers eating a considerable amount of cart hot dogs, exploring Time Square, wandering through Central Park, braving the New York subway, and making memories to last a lifetime.

In order for Amalie and her friends to make it through each day, there were almost hourly stops at Starbucks to keep their energy up from all the walking. Besides coffee and hot dogs to keep her going, Amalie claims one meal from a spur of the moment Mexican restaurant “had the best chicken quesadillas of my life, I wanted to cry.”  She also learned how to walk in New York, by developing a city slicker pace and keeping eye contact to a minimum.  Although she was a pro New Yorker by day three, Amalie still got lost  in Queens; however, she safely made her way back to the group a few minutes later. The Mount group was also a frequent user of the subway to reach different parts of the city. According to Amalie “it smelled like straight foot, a sweaty gym foot, but it was a good way of transportation.”


The smell wasn’t the only thing they encountered in the subway.  Amalie spotted Tony from the hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, “I didn’t say anything because I got nervous” was her excuse for missing the autograph and photo opportunity, but we will forgive her. In addition to this celebrity sighting, there were many Broadway stars seen up-close on either the stage or the streets. In one incident, Ms. Moses bumped the lead actor in Miss Saigon with a revolving door as the rest of the group stood by laughing. Their experiences with actors were much more extraordinary when the group got to see them on stage in one of the five musicals and plays they saw each night. When they saw her favorite musical, Waitress starring Sara Bareilles, Amalie says,

“I cried like three times and I don’t cry”, but “being in the presence of Corey Cott , from Bandstand, changed my life.”

When asked what was your most interesting memory she immediately said “Baguette Lady”. To make a long story short, Baguette Lady was a nickname given to a stranger the group saw on the side of the road during a tour who “pulls out a folded Panera baguette out of her black tote, danced around with it for a solid thirty seconds, folded it back, put it in her bag and walked away.” This moment would inspire inside jokes and laughs to last the whole trip.

Overall, Amalie claims New York lives up to most of the stereotypes. The city “literally never sleeps” and includes many walks of life.  This trip is 100% recommended by Amalie for upperclassmen who love theater and are looking for a personalized trip with a close-knit group. From the towering skyscrapers, to Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty, New York is a trip worth taking.

Is Your Phone Affecting Your Sleep?

By Rachel Eberle, senior writer

According to Business Insider, 95% of people are on their cell phones before bed. A survey taken by 18 – 29 year olds shows that 90% of that age group sleeps with their cell phones nearby. However, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that proves people should not sleep by their cell phone, or use these electronic devices before bed.

The blue light given off by phone screens suppresses the amount of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland that controls a person’s sleep and wake cycle.  Any light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin; however, blue light is more powerful and thus more damaging. With the suppression of this hormone, the quality of sleep is sure to be hurt. Considering long term effects, exposure to harsh light at nighttime and suppression of melatonin may increase a person’s risk to certain cancers.

Cell phones also make it harder to fall asleep.  Using a phone stimulates the brain, which makes winding down and falling asleep a longer, harder process. Similarly, radiation emitted by the devices makes it more difficult to go to sleep as well as decreases the amount of time a person can sleep. Cell phone radiation may also cause confusion, loss of concentration, and headaches during the next day.  Because of this, it is best to place your cell phone at least six feet away from you before bed.

        Not only is the cell phone dangerous before bed, but it can even have negative effects on someone while they’re asleep.  The sound of alerts or incoming texts, emails, or calls can easily wake you during the night.  Again, melatonin levels can be suppressed if a phone lights up during the night. A nearby phone can even cause an unconscious tenseness that makes achieving a deep sleep harder.

        Although rare, temporary blindness has been caused by using a cell phone in bed. In one case, temporary blindness was caused in one woman’s eye as she layed on her side with one eye watching the phone, and the other covered by a pillow. In this case, the temporary blinding was due to the retina of one eye adjusting to the light while the retina of the other eye adjusted to dark.

It is tempting to browse Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, or other social media before bed, but despite what you may think, checking your phone before bed will not actually help you fall asleep.  Even though using cell phones before bed has been proven to hurt the length and quality of sleep, damage eyesight, and cause fatigue during the next day, there is only one way to prevent these effects.  Stay off your phone for thirty minutes to an hour before bed, and place your phone six feet away from yourself during the night.

A Letter to the Editors

Dear Gracie and Kelly,

I am writing to thank you!  The Welcome-Back Day 2017 edition of The Mount was phenomenal.

It was a wonderful way to welcome back the students and to introduce our community to the Freshmen and the new students.  Plus, it had a lot of good tips.

The introduction to the new staff was interesting.  The headline quotes drew the reader in and it is always fun to know personal things about the faculty and staff.

Another reason for my appreciation is that it is in paper version. I am the Archivist which means I keep EVERYTHING we do at MSM.   So, when you come back for your reunions; the scrapbooks, yearbooks and newspapers will be there for you to reminisce.  

Over the last couple of years, I have tried to print the online edition and it is not satisfactory, as it is not in newspaper form. It doesn’t flow.  The MSM newspaper has been bound from 1931 and MSM also owns yearbooks from 1926.  That’s pretty cool stuff!  Computers are wonderful, but sometimes things need to be printed so that they can be kept for historical purposes.

Another thing,  the articles were relevant.  This is not always done.  I read this edition from cover to cover.

I was the newspaper sponsor in the past for many years.  The students used to sell ads to help with the cost.  I don’t know if that is an option, but we taught it as part of the process of learning the newspaper business.  I know you go to workshops and get new ideas.  Maybe this is not done anymore at the high school level.

I have been at MSM for 27 years and I do not remember ever having a paper printed BEFORE school starts to WELCOME US BACK.   The color pictures were fantastic and really added to the paper.



I look forward to your next edition.

Ms. Alice Jones

Elevating Expectations

Alice Worley Jones ’73

Mount St. Mary Academy


3224 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Little Rock, AR   72205


Behind the Balance

By Brenna Stefanov, junior writer

My favorite snack consists of Laughing Cow cheese and Hot Cheetos.
One cheese wedge equals one small bowl of hot Cheetos perfectly and creates the perfect combination of flavors.  

One very, very, late night in July, I was sick and feeling down. So of course, I decided to indulge in my favorite snack.  As I went to get the cheese I noticed there were none left, but found that I still had one-third of a bag of Cheetos.  Now, my mother knows that I hold claim to this certain kind of cheese and it is only to go with the hot Cheetos: that left only one other person who could have disrupted the balance… my sister, Mariah.  I stormed up to my mom’s room and proceeded to rant about how Mariah was a traitor, and had ruined my life. Without the cheese, I didn’t know how many cheetos I needed.  This went on for a good 30 minutes.  

Mariah had ruined the perfect balance which I had created.

There is balance behind everything and everyone.  However, more often than not we find that this balance is constantly getting disrupted. This example of balance, using my favorite snack, was just a small one in the grand scheme of things.  There are larger, more existential examples: when someone dies, we know that, somewhere in the world, there’s also a baby being born.  There’s also a balance in day-to-day things, like doing your homework. Freshmen year I would put homework off until the very last second; I learned that it was so much more stressful in the long run, though, than when I would do my homework in a timely fashion (instead of just watching Netflix like I wanted to).

It’s important to find balance in your daily life. Without it, you’d find yourself in a state of chaos. Though that’s how you may feel sometimes, it doesn’t mean balance is gone.  So remember: if you’re going through a really hard time, balance will always find you and reward you.  Balance comes to everyone at different times, so don’t fret – it will find you one day.  And just so you know, my mom went out the next morning and got two packages of Laughing Cow Cheese: one for me and one for my sister.


The Solar Eclipse

By Caroline Potts, sophomore writer & Allison Toomer, sophomore cartoonist

American scientists had anticipated the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, since 1932. Through accurate studies of the movement of the solar system, scientists, who dreamed of observing the Sun’s corona, predicted the eclipse in The New York Times several decades ago.

Most teenagers, on the other hand, heard the term “solar eclipse” only a few short weeks before the occurrence of the event. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on Earth. The recent eclipse of August 21 was, therefore, underappreciated by many due to little understanding of the natural phenomena; however, this only ensures that the solar eclipse of 2024 will truly be an opportunity to admire the wonder in a new, appreciative light.

Rather than viewing the eclipse through a notecard from the Mount St. Mary Academy parking lot, Cecelia Rech dreams of viewing the eclipse of 2024 from the top of Pinnacle Mountain while enjoying a picnic lunch with friends. Hailey-Belle Thiltgen, on the other hand, hopes to view the eclipse of 2024 from the top of Mount Everest.

Like these students, you can experience the eclipse of 2024 as not just a brief topic of discussion in science class but as a lifelong memory.  Where do you want to be for the 2024 solar eclipse?

Allison Toomer, one of Mount’s very own, had a unique experience during the eclipse that’ll certainly be funny to explain in 2024.