YouTuber sparks controversy with shocking video

by Kassie Boyd, news editor

YouTube celebrity Logan Paul, who rose to fame on the popular app Vine in 2013, has come under fire for posting a video entitled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” which was quickly deleted, but not before garnering nearly three million views.

Paul begins the video by saying: “This is not clickbait. This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted on this channel and this is the most circumstantially surreal event that has ever happened in my life.”

Paul and a group of friends filmed their experience in Japan’s Aokigahara. The forest, located near Mount Fuji, holds the tragic title of the second most popular place to commit suicide (the first is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco). The video shows a hanging victim, unblurred and uncensored, with the exception of his face. Japan adheres to much stricter privacy laws than the United States, and while Paul will avoid legal trouble, he demonstrates a massive lack of respect for the deceased man, and Japanese culture in general.

Other than blatant disregard for cultural and emotional sensitivity, Paul spends the entire video perpetuating the American stereotype: loud and ill-mannered. While the body is certainly the most shocking part of the video, it’s not the only problematic part of Paul’s trip to Japan.

Paul and company spent the entirety of their trip making a mockery of Japanese culture. He dresses up in Kimonos and throws Poké Balls at unsuspecting people, he destroys things in stores and shoves dead fish and squid into stranger’s faces.

The video was only up for a few hours. It was deleted and followed by a half-hearted apology that placed the blame on everything and everyone but himself. It’s important to note that his apology video was monetized, meaning Paul ultimately profited from this whole ordeal.

YouTube came under fire following Paul’s video, for allowing it to trend and for not taking harsher action. Many claimed that Paul’s video violated Youtube’s strict content laws about privacy and disturbing imagery.

Following the blowback, Youtube dropped Paul from their YouTube Red comedy “Foursome,” and set aside any original material Paul was working on. He was cut from Google Preferred, a premium ad program that runs on the top five percent of Youtube channels. While Paul will still make money off his videos, he won’t make nearly as much.

Subscribers and non-subscribers alike denounced his actions. “I think what he posted was extremely offensive to people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and/or depression,” said junior Mikayla Balog. “It’s also offensive to Japanese culture and the family of the deceased.”    

YouTube’s official statement included a reminder of their partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and a condemnation of Paul’s actions. Many said YouTube did too little, too late.

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” Paul said in a recent video. He plans to return to vlogging soon, most likely hoping the whole incident will blow over.

Maybe it will; people forget or ignore issues and troublesome past in order to focus solely on artistic matter.

But his reputation has taken a massive, and well-deserved blow.

Mulligan makes history at Tool City Tournament

by Braeden Kantz and Laura Monico, sports editor and social media editor

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Cody Mulligan captured his fourth straight  Tool City title on Jan. 6.

PIAA state champion wrestler Cody Mulligan became only the seventh wrestler to claim the gold medal four times at the Tool City Tournament.  On Jan. 6,  some of the state’s best wrestlers met in the 39th annual tournament finals where two of Saegertown’s best found themselves on the podium. Junior Kenny Kiser placed second,  and senior Cody Mulligan captured his fourth straight title. After beating rival Julian Gorring from Fort LeBoeuf 8-1 in the finals, Mulligan joins a small group of elite wrestlers who have accomplished such a feat.  

Going into this year’s tournament, Mulligan had beaten all of his opponents in the finals by one point. Mulligan said “Before the match, all I could think about was that I had only won by a point in the finals the last three years, so this year I was looking to dominate whoever I wrestled.” Mulligan is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation with a season record of 24-3. He has the chance to become Crawford County’s first ever two time PIAA State Champion.

The head coach of the Saegertown wrestling team, Jim Mulligan said, “Looking forward our goal is to keep wrestling well throughout the season and ultimately to be selected for the Dapper Dan tournament.” Even after such a feat, Mulligan is still working towards achieving his national level goals. He hopes to win his second state title and be nominated for the Dapper Dan team where the best athletes in the country are selected to compete on a team against Pennsylvania’s best wrestlers. In the wrestling community, being selected for this team is a huge feat.

Mulligan has already accomplished many of his personal goals this season, but he plans to achieve greater things. Mulligan’s Tool City win has credited him as one of Crawford County’s best wrestlers, but he is striving to become one of the nation’s best this year.  

Electives assembly tomorrow: new scheduling process underway

by Kaity Gage, design editor

Change is coming to scheduling for Saegertown, with scheduling forms slated to be handed out before the end of January.

“The goal is to be ahead,” said Assistant Principal Kylene Koper. In order to do that, on Tuesday Jan. 23 from 2 – 3 p.m.,  all students in grades 7 – 11 will be attending an assembly to discuss the scheduling plans for the 2018-2019 school year and learn about the elective courses available to them. This will include everything from journalism to robotics to anatomy to history of the media. Faculty speakers from all departments will be sharing the exciting possibilities offered through their electives.

The new scheduling forms will be different from what students have known in the past in an effort to make them easier to read. Each grade level will be given a specific form to allow them to see what courses they will be required to take (which will be highlighted) and what electives are available to them.

Several new classes, such as computer programming, may be offered next year. However, for the classes to be put onto the master schedule, ten students must enroll in the course. If there are only five students who are looking to take a course, it is likely that the class will not be offered that year. It will become a supply and demand situation. When it comes to AP (advanced placement) classes, there are not clear rules to how it will work yet if there are not the minimum ten students enrolled in the class.

The new scheduling process has been district approved and is being implemented in an effort to create more consistency between the three high schools in the PENNCREST school district.

The plan is to have the master schedule and the student schedules completed prior to the end of the school year. This would alleviate a majority of scheduling problems that are normally encountered over the summer months and at the start of the year.

More information will be available to students after the assembly on Jan. 23.

Pasta with a Purpose: Benefit dinner this Saturday

by Morgan Radwick, staff writer

IMG_5912On January 20, there will be a pasta benefit dinner for Saegertown senior Dakota Price. Dakota was diagnosed with leukemia last March and received treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for the remainder of 2017. He had a bone marrow transplant on Dec. 5 and learned he was in remission exactly a month later. Dakota will be spending the next several months in Pittsburgh as he gains strength throughout his recovery.

  Members of the community, friends, and members of the church are helping make cookies, salad, and meatballs in preparation for the dinner as well as helping serve and clean as it takes place. Senior Michael Chess has been involved with gathering fellow students to help out at the event. “We’ve all known him for so long, and I think we should be doing everything we can to help him, especially given the circumstances.”

Many Saegertown students have committed to helping at the dinner, including several NHS and Key Club members as well as junior high students.

The dinner will be from 2 – 6 p.m. at the Saegertown United Methodist. The cost for the dinner is a donation and takeout options available.  There will also be a Chinese auction, for which donations are still being accepted.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will be going to Dakota and his family. You can donate by contacting the church office at 814-763-6685 or email saegertownumc@gmail.org.

Workrooms provide push in positive direction: Next incentive day scheduled for February 23

by Kaitlyn Kozalla, staff writer

While some students spent their last day before Christmas break enjoying a multitude of festive activities, students who chose not do their work were in teacher-supervised workrooms. On Dec. 21, the workroom gave an opportunity for students to complete their work during the Lip Sync and participate in the afternoon activities once all of their incomplete assignments were finished.

Assistant Principal Kylene Koper noted the promotion of fun activities or rewards helps convince students get work turned in. “The day work was due, there were around one hundred thirty students with incomplete work. By the end of the day, there were around fifty,” Mrs. Koper said. She also added her thoughts of improvements for the workrooms. “Next time we want to have some hard copies of assignments for students. We also want extra iPads or laptops, extra pencils, and for students to bring a book to read when they’re done.”

There were differing opinions on the workroom. Some students failed to utilize the opportunity. “I didn’t get much done because there were students who were talking non-stop while other people were trying to get stuff done,” tenth grader Joshua McWright said.

While some students had a negative attitude, others were very optimistic. “The workroom was nice,” said seventh grader Montana White. “I got to spend time working on what I needed to work on.”

The workroom supervisors in the morning were Mr. Adam Horne for seventh and eighth, Mr. Richard Rutkowski for ninth and tenth, and Mrs. Heather Mook for eleventh and twelfth grade. “The students were doing their work, and they worked well,” Mr. Rutkowski said.

In the afternoon, Mr. Brad Wise supervised the middle schoolers while Mrs. Melissa Statman was in charge of the high school students. “It was absolutely productive,” Mrs. Statman said. “Every single person was working the entire time. Most of the kids were pretty good natured about it. There was even some camaraderie with kids who had the same teachers and assignments working together to get done.” She also noted that four or five students finished all their work during the afternoon and were able to go to an activity.

The next activity on February 23 will include a teachers vs. students dodgeball tournament as part of the day’s festivities. Again, the purpose of these activities, according to Mrs. Koper, is to reward students for getting their work turned in before the end of the nine weeks and to build community spirit in the school. So take note; make sure you turn in your work in time to participate in the next fun-filled day.

Principals’ talk will return next week. Stay tuned for the topic of a new attendance incentive.

Saegertown alum recognized as Junior Fair Person of the Year

by Scout Van Cise and Kassie Boyd, editor-in-chief and news editor

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Austin Brown with David Hallstrom, President of the PA State Association of County Fairs.

“My life is usually strictly farm stuff, that’s just kind of the way it works,” said Austin Brown, graduate of Saegertown High School class of 2017. Brown was recently recognized as the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs (PSACF) Junior Fair Person of the Year.

Pennsylvania is divided into four different zones: northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast. Chairpeople from each zone decide from a number of applicants who they will nominate for the state award. From the four nominees, one is chosen to represent Pennsylvania in Hershey on January 20.

Brown was nominated by the PSACF board after they reviewed a resume Brown sent to the Crawford County Fair Board. “We have criteria,” said Sherman Allen, honorary board member of the CCFB. “Most has to do with fair participation, some community involvement, and fair endorsement,” Allen said. Brown’s resume stood apart. According to Allen, “…his involvement at the fair within the sheep department, and what he does with helping out other exhibitors to help them perform at their best” secured him the nomination.

Brown has been working at the fair since he was three years old, helping his father set up sheep pens. Brown’s father, Robert Brown, is the sheep chairman of the Crawford County Fair. While not official, Brown has assumed the duties of assistant sheep chairman alongside his father. He sets up sheep pens, repairs things that need fixed, answers questions about where animals should go, shears lambs, and helps weigh animals for 4-H projects. “It [fair week] is the most important thing I do. It’s an opportunity to work with the community,” Brown said.

Brown majors in animal science at Penn State. He plans to continue with his major, although he is not sure which route he wants to take after graduation. “At school, I see a lot of options,” Brown said. “I’m not sure what my ultimate goal is.”

This past summer, Brown and his agricultural ethics class travelled to a conference in Harrisburg. He met with politicians and other important agricultural figures. “Agriculture is a very true pursuit. We talked with politicians who were arguing over whose policies were the best,” Brown said. “I don’t see narcissists with agriculture. They’re all very down to earth. Agriculture is a huge family.”

 

Stachuletz Stories: Wel-‘Cone’ to school – a German tradition for elementary kids

by Paula Stachuletz, staff writer

The “school cone” is a German tradition based on a story that children were told back in the 19th century. According to the story, teachers owned a school cone tree; and when the cones had grown big enough, it was time for the six or seven year olds to start school. Every child was handed his or her own cone as a sign that they now were “big kids,” not kindergarten children anymore.

School cones come in various shapes and sizes, but the most common ones are a little smaller than an average first-grade student. In the federal states that belonged to West Germany before the wall fell, the cones are usually round; while in East Germany, they are hexagonal. The big, open end is traditionally closed off with tulle which is tied together with colorful strings and ribbons. Parents usually spend between 50 and 100 Euros (60 – 120$) for a complete school cone.

The cones themselves are on sale a few weeks before the school year starts (depending on the federal state that can be around late July or August). They are made from cardboard or hard plastic and can be plain, uni-colored, or have pictures of animals, movie characters, fantasy creatures and cartoon figures on them. A lot of parents, like mine, actually buy plain cones and decorate them to make them more personalized for their children. In my case, my mom stayed up long nights turning my cardboard cone into a very cool one with a princess and red and pink flowers (I still have this cone and I love it). I wasn’t allowed to see it until the day my school induction ceremony took place, and even then I couldn’t open it until that event was over – I’m telling you, for a six-year-old, that seemed to take forever!

Traditionally, all the children starting school get dressed up very fancy on the day of the induction. For girls that’s usually cute dresses with bows in their hair. The boys wear a shirt, dress pants, and a flie or little tie. Then the ceremony starts with a welcome program prepared by the fourth-graders because in German elementary schools, they’re the oldest and will leave for highschool when they enter fifth grade, so it’s their goodbye and welcome for the new students at the same time. The program varies every year and at every school; it contains songs, dances, little theater performances, and speeches from teachers and the principal.

Then the newcomers line up on stage and get their cones. Because of the myth of the “school cone tree,” all the cones are hanging from a metal construction resembling a tree, and they’re “harvested” by the teachers who hand them to the kids. After that, the children are split up in the classes in which they will remain until they leave elementary school.

And of course, the cones aren’t empty. After the ceremony, children return home with their families, open the tulle, and turn the thing around so everything falls out. The cones are filled with candy, school supplies like pens or erasers, little card games or puzzles, legos, and stuffed animals. Some parents put in practical supplies like lunch boxes, water bottles, or watches, while others give their kids little books and quiz games to motivate them to learn. I remember that my cone had a big plush unicorn on top, and my little brother’s had a rabbit. We both got lots of chocolate and gummy bears, memory cards, plastic animals, CDs, and pencils.

We raided through the contents of our cones, eating way too much candy and covering the whole room in wrapping papers and string. It was so much fun. For me, the cone is one of the most exciting things about starting school in Germany.

(Stachuletz is an exchange student from Germany. She can be reached at pastachuletz@psdmail.org.)

Note on photos above: To the left is Paula’s brother’s cone, in the middle is Paula’s cone, and to the right is her school’s cone tree.