The Viking Voice viking voice logo

Crossroads Middle School Newspaper

Faculty Advisors

Willa Laskowitz & Zachariah Miracle

June 2010

Mouse Drama
by Palavi D., Gopa P., Sonali B., and Nikita P.

Most of you have probably never encountered as traumatic of an experience as the students and teachers in A Hall at South recently did. On the morning of the first day of the NJ-ASK, a student from the Apollo unit witnessed a “rat”, which was later confirmed to be a mouse. The startled student alerted the rest of the class by shrieking, “Oh my goodness, a rat!”
The silent aura of the room was suddenly disrupted by the announcement. However, Ms. Zicha, the sixth grade Apollo literature teacher, was proud to state that her students stayed calm throughout the remaining 15 minutes of the test. The mouse remained inactive until the last period of the day. Emerging around 3:09, the startled mouse scurried across the room, creating an arena of havoc. It then proceeded to scamper near Ms. Zicha’s purse. She snatched her bag away in terror, worried that it would enter her purse. Caught off guard, the teacher shrieked and hid herself behind one of the students.
One of the students accidentally opened the classroom door, letting the mouse escape out into A Hall. A group of students chased after the terrified mouse in hopes of killing it. Eventually trapping it, one of the students slammed his blue pencil case onto its little body. Devastated, Ms. Zicha stated that she would have wanted to keep the mouse as a class pet, or give to Mr. Bloom to test it with his scientific abilities.
Mr. Tucholski arrived at the scene, minutes after incident. The principal questioned the students about the mouse, but to no avail, since the mouse was already dead. Disappointed, Mr. Tucholski turned to leave while an eighth grader picked up the corpse of the mouse using his lacrosse stick, and dumped it into the trash can. Poor mouse.
Later in the year, two kids, partners in a science project, witnessed evidence of another mouse. Evidently, the mouse ate through a Ziploc bag of bread used for a science project. It devoured the slice of bread and the only remains were the Ziploc bag and its droppings. Can this be a relative of the other mouse?



Traditional Indian Dance
By Saisuma V.

Dandiya, Kolattum, Garba: what are these all these names? These are the different names of a traditional Indian dance. It is also a social gathering for many people. They are performed during Navratri, which is an Indian festival around October, shortly after Diwali. People celebrate Navratri during nine consecutive nights in praise of Lord Rama, hero of the epic Ramayana, and the Goddess Durga from the end of September to early October. The dance form is actually a mock fight between the Goddess Mahishasura and the evil demon king. Navratri originated in Gujarat, India. This festival so happens to be the longest Hindu festival celebrated throughout the whole of India.

Girls usually wear traditional colorful skirts and blouses and put their hair into braids. Boys get to wear a tan, black or brown tunic with tight pants underneath. Sticks are used to perform the dance. Each region of India has a different pattern to perform with the sticks. However, young people often make up their own dances just for the fun of it.
A statue of the deity Mahishasura is placed in the center of the space set aside for dancing. Numerous circles are formed around her. The circles all move in different directions. This is the first part of the dance. After this, the performers give aarti to the goddess. This is a small oil lamp lit with a small flame to praise the goddess. Participants chant holy songs and prayers, too. The last part of this festival is done using decorated, colorful wooden sticks. Dancers stand in a line with partners opposite them in a different line. These lines are made so that everybody has a partner every turn. The dancers perform their dance once. Then, they switch to their right or left one person. They keep repeating this cycle.

We are fortunate enough to have a community where an annual Dandiya is held. It is held in the South Brunswick High School's main gymnasium. I go there every year when I can with my friends and family. We dance there with the Dandiya sticks. It is great fun to see people we know come together, united, and having fun.



Chinese New Year
By Gopa P. and Nikita P

Chinese New Year is a widely celebrated tradition in China. Not only do people celebrate this festive holiday in China, but we also respect this tradition around the world. Since it occurs in the beginning of spring it is also known as the Spring Festival.
A specific animal represents each Chinese year. These animals can also be referred to as the Chinese zodiac. The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac are the rat, ox, tiger, hare/rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Sometimes in the Chinese zodiac, the year you were born in is not shown.
Legend says that Chinese New Year started with the beast Nian, who had the power to eat up the people of a village in one bite. Therefore, village people were terrified of this monster. One day, a wise old man tried to get rid of Nian. He said, “I know you can swallow people, but can you swallow other beasts of prey, instead of people who are by no means your worthy opponents?” Nian easily accepted this challenge and also ate the beasts that had harmed the people of the village. The old man rode away on Nian, according to the legend. Eventually the old man became an immortal god. At the end of the legend, the villagers enjoyed life once again, since Nian was officially gone, and the other terrible monsters were too frightened to come out of the forest.




Beta Unit Travels to Ellis Island
by Mrs. Tartaglia & Beta students

On Friday, March 19th, the Beta Unit at Crossroads South took a field trip to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which lies at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor, just off the shores of New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey. Students had fun riding the ferry to the island, having lunch together outside on the warm, sunny day, and exploring the museum, which was filled with photographic and video displays, documents, historic artifacts, traditional ethnic clothing worn by immigrants, artwork, and other items.

“We take everything for granted, but when I visited Ellis Island, you saw what life was like for immigrants who wanted to start a new life,” said Elisa, a Beta student. Another student, Anushka, added, “You learn things from trips that you could never get from textbooks.”

Nestled near the Statue of Liberty on 32 acres of land, Ellis Island had once been the chief portal of entry into the United States for twelve million immigrants from 1892 to 1954. It is estimated that more than 100 million Americans, or one quarter of our population, can trace their ancestry back to someone in their family who passed through Ellis Island. This restored national landmark reopened in 1990 to preserve the buildings, history, photographs, records, artifacts and treasured memories of our nation’s immigrant experience.

“My mom’s family came from Poland, then lived in Germany for several years before coming to America when my mother was a child,” recalls Mrs. Tartaglia, a Beta teacher. “She remembers that the waters were rough, the ship was crowded, and they ate only soup or bread. It was scary; everyone was searching for someone else who spoke their language so they could communicate.” Mrs. Tartaglia’s grandmother, the youngest of thirteen children, who had lost family members during the Holocaust, always told her, “Remember how lucky you are to be an American! In Europe, we struggled to survive as farmers, and fled war and persecution. In America, you can live in peace and make a good life.”

Beta student Joo H. commented, “ Our field trip to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum was one of the best field trips I ever went on. It was both fun and educational. I would like to visit there again with my family.”



2010 Hasn’t Started Well
By: Krishna S & Neel A

2010 hasn’t got off to a great start! Many tragedies have occurred to start off the year. There were earthquakes, tsunamis, deaths, eruptions, and revolts/retaliations. Here is a list of a lot of the tragedies that happened in 2010.

  1. Haiti Earthquake:
    As most of you know, a tragic earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter Scale hit Haiti. This devastating earthquake hit Port-Au-Prince and killed 50,000+ people.

  2. Chile earthquake:
    The earthquake in Chile, measuring 8.8 on the Richter Scale, killed thousands. Not only did it kill many but left an extremely large amount homeless. Scientifically, this giant earthquake speeded the day by 6.8 millionths of a second and shifted the axis of the Earth by 3 inches. The Earth spins faster since the earthquake made the Earth slightly smaller and more compressed and when that happens, it spins faster.

  3. Hawaii Tsunami:
    The Chile earthquake triggered this destructive wave. Thankfully, this tidal wave was weakened enough to do no damage to the Hawaiian coast.

  4. Iceland Volcano:
    Eyjafjallajokull, (the volcano) erupted very unexpectedly, preventing many passengers from crossing the North Atlantic Ocean.

  5. Polish President Dies in Plane Crash:
    Polish president, Lech Kaczynski died in a jet accident in Russia, only half a mile from the nearest airport in Smolensk. The president and many army officials were coming to peace terms with Russia over the murder of 20,000 Polish officers during World War II when the president’s plane had to fly through thick mist and crashed.

  6. West Virginia Mining Accident:
    29 unfortunate miners were killed at the Upper Big Branch mine, another 2 were injured, and yet another was hospitalized. Sadly only four of the bodies were found.

  7. Times Square Car Bomb:
    In Times Square, a failed car bombing occurred. The Nissan Pathfinder contained gasoline, propane, firecrackers, and a few simple alarm clocks along with 8 bags of fertilizer.

  8. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill:
    In the Gulf of Mexico oil spread into the water, and still is at an outrageous speed. People are still trying as hard as possible to stop this spill, and protect all the wildlife they can. Many say if the oil spill doesn’t stop soon, it could start heading along the east coast or even further into the Atlantic Ocean.

Here’s hoping that the rest of the year is disaster-free!




Why Physical Education is Important
By Shannon S.

I think physical education is important because in this day and age, kids spend a lot of time on the Internet, watching TV, texting, and playing video games. Although these activities are a lot of fun, it’s important to play them in moderation. This is because kids don’t get enough exercise, and exercise is important because it helps them to become strong and grow up healthy. When kids don’t get enough exercise, they can gain weight and this can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Physical education is also an important way for kids to learn how to play in teams and to become better at sports they enjoy, or to learn about new sports. They learn the right way to develop their skills so that they can be better athletes.

It is also an important way to learn about good sportsmanship. Good sportsmanship is not about always winning, but how you play the game. It’s important to learn to lose as graciously as when you win, because you can’t always come in first. It’s a really good lesson to learn about for all areas of life.

Finally, and most importantly, it’s a lot of fun! Kids like to burn off all of their extra energy, and it’s always fun to be able to play on teams with their friends. It’s a great way to get in exercise each and every day, and it helps them to concentrate better when they are in class.





Should We Bend the Tote Bag Rule?
By Gopa P.

Many staff members and administrators often tell the students at Crossroads South not to carry tote bags for their books. We have recently encountered a predicament where some 6th graders have started excessively using a tote to carry their books. While some people still oppose the idea, others tell these students to go for it. We recently took a poll where 7 random 6th graders are asked to give their opinion on the recent dilemma.

“I think it’s a good idea to carry a tote,” says Sonali, a student from Apollo. “It’s so very convenient for us because we have so many books. It’ll be much easier for us to have a bag, rather than to carry them around all day.”

Like Sonali, some people like this new idea and consider trying it.

However, some kids say that this may not be such a great plan. One of these kids is Samhita from the Aurora Unit. “I don’t really like this idea because you can lose the bag. If you lose the bag, you’ll lose all your books and I think it will be really difficult to find replacements for all of them,” says Samhita.

This is a rather tough choice. The tote bag principle has its pros and cons. If you use a tote, you don’t have to go to your locker in the midst of all the other students, since you have your books already. You can get to your classes much faster if you carry your bag. However, the bag can be very heavy after putting all your books in it. It can take quite a long time to get used to the bag’s weight.

We also got to talk to some staff members while taking our poll. A hall monitor from A Hall says, “Tote bags shouldn’t be allowed in our school. We don’t know what you can keep in there and if you swing it too hard, it might hit somebody. You can carry a purse or a pocket book around, but tote bags are against school rules.

Mrs. Elkin, the Apollo Unit Social Studies teacher, has a different opinion though. “I’d say that it’s a good idea,” says Mrs. Elkin. “It’ll really help kids with their books, and the bag is pretty much open, so the students can’t really hide anything in there.”
So should we or should we not use tote bags? The answer to this question is still a mystery. Now it’s up to you: what do you think?





Quick Q & A with Mrs. O’Donnell
by Krishan P.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant and meal?
A: On the Border, and my favorite meal is chicken fajitas.

Q: Do you like teaching?
A: Of course. I love to teach.

Q: What is your favorite ancient empire?
A: I love Greece.

Q: Why do you teach writing?
A: I like to teach writing because I get to see students develop their skills everyday.

Q: Do you like to teach in Aurora? Where would you teach if you couldn’t teach in Aurora?
A: I love Aurora, and if I couldn’t teach in Aurora, I’d choose Phoenix.

Q: What is your favorite subject?
A: My favorite subject is novel.



Award-Winning Poetry

This poem by Sumra A. of the Omega unit was selected as the outstanding poem in Crossroads South’s recent poetry contest. Congratulations, Sumra!

If only I ruled the world.
Nightmares would disintegrate into the dark,
And dreams would come true.
Laughter would always be present,
And love would never die.
Peace would prevail
And everyone, even penguins,
Would learn how to fly.
Hearts would never be broken,
Rude and hurtful words would never be spoken.
Summer would go on forever,
And the sky would always be blue.
Puffy, white, cotton candy clouds will
Float quite high,
And happiness would fall from the sky.
Every day would end with the gloriously orange sun setting
Behind the pink lemonade sea and the
Chocolate chip cookie moon rising with glee.
Lusciously paved milk chocolate roads will have
Luminous lollipop streetlights strung along.
And last but not least, every single soul will feel like they belong.
If only I ruled the world.




Have you ever eaten a Filipino food?
By: Phoebe A.

One of the famous foods of the Philippines is pinakbet. Many people cook this. The main ingredients are bitter melon, eggplants, okra, garlic, onions, tomatoes, ginger, fish sauce, oil, water, and pepper. You can cook this for any occasion.

Sadly, many people aren’t able to eat because they don’t have enough money. In the Philippines, some people call homeless people palaboy, but here in the United States you might call them “hobos.”