Snowy Outdoor Activity

The special edition for the HHS Pioneer offers the staff a new way of expressing a fun loving and personal approach to the paper. Michael Hatanaka writes about how he prefers to spend his snow days. He addressees how the students rarely get snow days, and states that they should take advantage of he snowy weather and go out. Snow days offer the perfect opportunity to go out and get exercise, breaking the normal schedule of spending the majority of every day inside.

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Alpine Club climbs to new heights

Heritage’s Alpine Club has kept busy since the start of the school year, taking their first hike up Goliath Peak on August 25. The kick off hike of the year offered new members a taste of what the club has to offer. Mr. Warren, Heritage Math Teacher, has been sponsoring the club for 18 years.

“My favorite things about the club is the ability that it gives me to see the beauty of Colorado and all of its natural wonder, and the other is Mr. Warren himself. His constant energy and excitement to get us all up to the top really makes the hikes an incredible experience,” says Alpine Club member Scott Spangler ’20.

The club devoted their weekends to early mornings of hiking places like the Abyss Lake Trail and Mount Bierstadt.

New to the club, Liberty Tyus ’20, comments on the experience of her first hike.

“The first hike I went on was Mt. Bierstadt. This was also my first 14er. It was really difficult at some points of the hike but making it to the top made it all worth it!” says Tyus.

Alpine Club members are offered opportunities unique to the club and Colorado. On October 13, students hiked the snow covered Peaks Y and Z. Club member Mark Spangler ’20 reflects on the trip.

“There was something special about the sheer remoteness of the Y and Z peaks. I hiked the castle last year and it’s still just as much fun to drink tea atop a glorious granite summit. I really felt my bonds with the other hikers grow that day,” M. Spangler says.

Both new and returning members were eager to begin a year full of new challenges, knowing that the extraordinary experiences and friendly atmosphere of the club are well worth the physical exertion required.

“I joined Alpine Club because I love to hike and I’d heard great things about it!” Tyus says.

M. Spangler comments on one of the experiences Alpine Club had to offer.

“Seeing a herd of bighorn sheep crunch through a frozen hillside was something else, and knowing that no other human was around for miles upon miles made the beauty of the Rocky Mountains that much more special,” says M. Spangler

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Advocating for Middle Eastern women

Since the rise in concern over the treatment of women in the Middle Eastern countries, women’s rights activists of the western world have been walking the fine line between advocating for women’s rights and respecting religious tradition at the same time.

A common example of this is what many tend to focus on: liberating women from the obligation of wearing a hijab. While this is important to some degree, especially in countries like Iran where women suffer harsh consequences for not wearing one, according to BBC, countries like Turkey have made it illegal in the past for women wearing a headscarf to work in the public sector, which is ultimately an obstacle when it comes to career advancement.

At the roots, however, the activists’ actions are intended to help in the advancement of Muslim women in the Middle East. The question is, in what ways can they better help the women in these countries achieve this advancement? The answer lies in maintaining an understanding and respect for the religion of Islam, while focusing on the major issues such as violence, lack of education and career instability. Using the example of the hijab, focusing on gaining Middle Eastern women the right to choose for themselves whether or not they wish to wear a hijab in public is the most effective.

The most impactful way of reaching out is through donating to organizations like the Voices of Women Organization, that helps to maintain shelters that provide for women that have escaped violence or aid in the advancement of Muslim women in careers. Since the majority of Middle Eastern men still believe women belong in the home, money going directly to programs to help end this stigma is desperately needed. More importantly, although violence committed towards women is recognized as a problem more often today than in the past, the number of women enduring these acts of violence is not decreasing.


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Amendment 73 fails to pass

The people have decided. On November 6th, the Colorado electorate had decided to not pass Amendment 73, which would have established a new, more intricate tax system for education. With the fall of this initiative come ramifications for our school system.

In LPS alone, per student cost would be dropped by over $700 dollars. To put that in perspective, that’s the cost of 4 and a half chromebooks. To meet these new budget restrictions, our district will have to make several hard decisions in the coming years. For those who had supported this initiative, this is quite disappointing news.

However, for those that were hesitant towards this initiative, this is a victory. These new tax increases are arguably job killers. In Arapahoe county alone, median income in a two worker household is nearly $100,000 dollars, and a tax increase that affects households with incomes of $150,000 or more would disproportionately affect a larger amount of households.

For a tax increase from 4% to 6-8% for these households would possibly pronounce the death knell of our economy. Taxes on businesses would also increase, and these combined effects could have led to a flight of rich taxpayers and businesses both small and large away from Colorado, decreasing our state GDP and our investments into the local economy.

For good or ill, Amendment 73 has not passed, and has ushered in a new era for our community and our school system.

whip dab naenae

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A Sporting Chance

Since the relatively recent advent of radio, and subsequently television, broadcast journalism is an industry that has skyrocketed in modern popularity. This industry, specifically in sports broadcast, tends to be majorly dominated by a male presence. Large paying markets with high viewership like Los Angeles and New York City are especially lacking a female sports broadcast presence. Why? What causes young female journalists to diverge to a different sector of news and away from the business of sports coverage?

I present a simple answer. Firstly, women are belittled for not knowing enough about sports; contradicting, they’re also belittled for knowing sports too well, a compromise in the typical “men’s club” that sports have been treated like for decades. I would find it logical for women to avoid the ordeal entirely, not willing to brave the rude and nasty comments from others simply due to their gender.

Solely upon attempting to research women in the field of sports broadcast, I found several articles ranking the looks of the top ten sideline reporters. It seems, either way, women cannot win. Apparently, no matter a woman’s merit, she can only be considered on how she appears physically.

Oh, you’re not aware that former Jets quarterback, Joe Namath, was a first-round pick in the draft of ’65? What about the time the Quebec Nordiques packed up and moved 2000 miles to the West overnight, became the Colorado Avalanche, and still managed to play in a Pepsi branded rink? I’m willing to bet that American Sports Broadcaster, Lesley Visser wasn’t aware of that useless sports trivia either. However, Lesley Visser has covered 28 Super Bowls, 29 US Open (tennis), 12 NBA Finals and 7 World Series games in her 44 and ongoing year career. She also became the first woman to cover the World Series as well as the only woman to handle the Super Bowl Trophy presentation. Not only this, but she’s the first female recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, all according to her own website. Thus proving women are perfectly capable of sports broadcast excellence; so what’s the issue?

Well, another simple answer. People are uncomfortable with a woman presenting sports. This can be attributed to whatever you wish to call it; however, whatever name it goes by, it is the same issue. A systematic, ill-treatment of women that has placed obstacles in the way of women everywhere attempting to succeed. This just allows society to belittle women for being female. One might go so far as to say that femininity in our society is such a played up concept that it tells women the only thing that they’ll ever be valued for is their appearance, anything outside of their looks is treated as ill-will. I, frankly, refuse to believe that this is how it will continue. As a relatively young person, I haven’t got much of a choice but to remain optimistic for our future as a society. Hopefully, we’ve still got a Sporting Chance.

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VPN Policy Explained

Within the last six months there has been a noticeable increase of VPN usage within the student body in the Littleton Public School District. As a result, the school is more strictly enforcing the policy in place. Upon discovery of a student using a VPN,  the district technology office will freeze Google accounts and shut off access to get on the network.

VPN stands for a Virtual Private Network. It  enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks. It is a technology that makes an encrypted “tunnel” in an existing network and connects a device (computer/phone) to an outside server.

“Students use it to bypass the filter in place. Think of it as keys to open doors. We give students certain keys to open doors but students using VPN essentially have a master key,” says Jo Andrews Technology Support Technician.

Schools block and filter websites for many reasons. Not only are they protecting the students, but they are also required by law.

“Public schools are bound by law to establish content filters between students and the World Wide Web.  So students using VPN are putting school districts at risk of being out of compliance with The Children’s Internet Protection Act,” says Mike Porter Director of Technology.

Many students use VPN in order to access social media and other resources.

“I use VPN to access helpful websites that the school has blocked, and also to go on my social media when I have off hours,” says Cindiley Vargas ’19.

If there is ever a blocked resource that you believe is useful,  talk to administration and avoid going through the hassle of getting blocked from the network.

“Let us know.  There are billions of websites out there; if something is categorized incorrectly, and is good for students and teachers, we’d like to see that you get access to it,” says Mike Porter.

VPN Collage

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Snowy Indoor Day

For the special edition of The Pioneer the staff takes on a lighthearted approach to the paper. During snow days students have to decide if they want to spend their time inside, playing their favorite games and drinking hot chocolate, or outside sledding and playing in the snow. Cameron Brown writes an article about the more enjoyable activities to do inside during snowy days, like wrap up in a warm blanket.

Indoor activity-Darien Russell

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Juuling Punishment Continues

Since the release of vape pens to the market, they have become increasingly popular, particularly in high schools, and Heritage is no exception. Administration has since been exploring ways to fix the problem in order to keep students safe from the harmful effects of vaping.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so students don’t know what it’s actually doing to their body, or how much nicotine they’re actually inhaling, because they’re hearing different things,” says Assistant Principal, Mr. Brock Becker.

Like many other risky topics in high school, information behind vaping has become more than warped by students. Many students assume that because there’s no smoke, Juuls and other products are harmless to the body, but as Becker explains, this is far from the truth. Heritage administration has been trying to combat the misinformation by spreading awareness on the harmful effects of vaping. Case and point, they’ve put up posters outside the bathrooms with statistics on the matter.

“We’re starting to add it to our health curriculum. We’ve had some nights where parents have been invited to learn more about vaping,” says Becker.

While providing more information is one solution, punishment is another. Rules and punishments surrounding nicotine usage can be found in the Student Code of Conduct. Currently, based on district policy, the punishment is a mandatory one day suspension. With that said, Officer Evans explains that punishments can go further based on the situation.

“There can be legal ramifications. Typically a ticket and the person will have to appear in court,” states Police Officer Johnie Evans.

Many students find the punishments too harsh, but the majority of teachers think otherwise. Although only a handful of students are caught using nicotine products on the average week, countless more students continue to vape in the bathrooms, the parking lots, and even occasionally in the classroom, lighting up- or rather powering up- right under teachers’ noses and so the battle continues.

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