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.

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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.

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

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

Hurricane Season, Raging On

By Emily Pickering, senior writer


Hurricane Harvey developed rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico and has now hit parts of Texas. It hit Corpus Christi as a category four hurricane and then hit Copano Bay as category three hurricane. This storm has devastated many of the most prominent cities in Texas, with the hardest hit being Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States.

“This could easily be one of the worst flooding disasters in U.S. History.”

— Greg Postel (@GregPostel) via twitter August 27, 2017 

Hurricane & Storm Specialist, and Co-Host of AMHQ Weekend at The Weather Channel.

And he’s right: this was definitely a strong storm. Winds up to 130 miles per hour and up to 50 inches of rainfall in some parts of Texas. President Donald Trump addressed the people of Texas saying “We will get through this. We will come out stronger. And believe me, we will be bigger, better, stronger than ever before. The rebuilding will begin and in the end it will be something very special.” The President and his wife, Melania, visited towns in Texas and Louisiana affected by this storm. They talked and helped pass out lunch to citizens affected by the storm.

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Steve Culver comforts his dog Otis on Saturday, August 26, as he talks about what he said was the “most terrifying event in his life.” The hurricane destroyed most of his home in Rockport while he and his wife were there. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Another hurricane followed closely behind Harvey: Hurricane Irma. It hit parts of the Caribbean on September 6 as a category five storm with winds up to 185 miles per hour and destroyed 95% of the buildings in Barbuda. It has also hit the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba and has killed at least twenty four people. President Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida and the Governor of the state, Rick Scott, stated,

“regardless of which (Florida) coast you live on, be prepared to evacuate.”

The storm hit Florida as a category four storm causing havoc in major cities such as Miami, where winds reached up to 90 miles per hour. Florida is not the only state affected by the storm. The governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, has issued a state of emergency for all counties in Georgia due to possible flooding from Irma.

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A driver works his way through a maze of fallen utility poles in Taft, Texas, on Saturday, August 26. Eric Gay/AP

Vice President Mike Pence commented on Irma and stated,

Wherever Hurricane Irma goes, we’ll be there first. We’ll be there with resources and support, both to save lives and to help to recover and rebuild these states and these communities.”

This is the first time that the United States has been hit by two category four hurricanes in the same year.

Yet another hurricane is forming and is set to hit following hurricane Irma. As of now the storm, Hurricane Jose, is stopped in between Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. There is a reported wind speed of 110 miles per hour due to this storm. The storm is expected to fluctuate in power for a couple of days, and then steadily weaken.

For now, there is only one more hurricane, Hurricane Katia. On Friday September 8, this storm hit the city of Tecolutla, Mexico. When Katia first hit land, it had winds were up to 105 miles per hour, but they have quickly weakened to around 40 miles per hour downgrading this to a tropical storm. Even though this storm is not quite as strong as the others, it still caused a fatal mudslide which resulted in the death of two people. Mexico not only was hit by Katia this week,  but was also an extremely powerful earthquake that killed 64 people.The president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, called for three days of mourning for the people killed by Katia an

by the earthquake.

Images from CNN Hurricane Harvey: The Week in Photos http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/08/us/hurricane-harvey-week-in-photos/