Don’t exclude Homeschooled Children

Did you know that Connecticut is one of the 21 states that doesn’t allow homeschooled children to participate in sports and other activities in public schools? There are approximately 1.7 million homeschoolers in the United States ( A House Divided; Homeschool Students on School Sports Teams ), and only 25 states in the U.S. allow homechooled children to play public school sports. At this current time, more than 19 states allow home-schooled children to participate in public school activities ( some with requirements ), while 21 other states only allow children with full enrollment to participate in their activities. The state of Connecticut doesn’t allow any homeschooled children to join and participate in their activities, and this is because Connecticut follows the rules of  the CIAC. The CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference ) says that, “Home schooled students are not eligible to participate on CIAC schools’ interscholastic teams”. Only students that are fully enrolled into the school that is under the rules of the CIAC are allowed to play and do the activities at that school.

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By excluding homeschooled children from participating in public school sports, its discriminating against parent’s  right to educate their children how they see fit. Everyone should have a right to tryout for and if they make, participate in any organization or  athletic team that their  tax paying dollars support. ( Pro/Con; Should Homeschoolers be Allowed To Participate in Public School Sports? ) There are many positive  benefits for children who play on a school-based sports team, this includes weight control, self esteem, social skills, leadership skills and better academic achievements among children who play on sports teams.  Even though children have the opportunity to attend  public schools in the area they live in, some children choose not to  attend them, and this can be because their parents are in  the military and they move around alot, religion reasons, and bullying issues.  I was very disappointed when I found out that in Connecticut the CIAC wouldn’t allow my friend and travel basketball teammate to tryout for the Dodd team.  So, I wrote to my local representatives asking them to create a new  law that would ban the CIAC from discriminating against home schooled children. All in all, if you pay taxes for the school system and you chose to educated you child at home  your children should still be able to participate in your schools team sports and activities.  It would  benefit the homeschooled children and it would make the school team stronger because you never know the next Michael Jordan or Rebecca Lobo might be homeschooled in your town.  

~Sophia

Basketball Recruit Asks Friend With Autism to Prom

In Louisville, Kentucky a high schooler named Trey Moses asked  Ellie Meredith, a girl who is dealing with autism, if she would go to prom with him. Rather than bringing his girlfriend, he decided to ask Ellie by bringing flowers inside their school’s gym and holding a sign that said “Let’s party like it’s 1989,” which is a Taylor Swift reference, one off Ellie’s favorite artists. When he was being interviewed, he explained that she knew him so well and despite what people may think, they are totally alike. Although Ellie was taken by surprise when Trey suggested that they go to prom together, she said that she knew that it would be something in Trey’s nature to do.

To me, this is really cute and shows a positive part of society. Everyone mainly focuses on race, gender, and religion when it comes to unfair equality but this can make humans finally realize that mental disabilities are another aspect. My hope is for viewers of this promposal to learn a lesson and start to act the same around everyone. Personally, this should already be happening but in reality it is not. Maybe one day, Trey’s actions can be viewed as something that isn’t a big deal because autism isn’t considered a “flaw.” Nonetheless, this story truly brings a sense of comfort because it shows that people aren’t always so self conscious on how others might view them. In conclusion, I say, be friends with whoever you want!

~Lara

NBA Finals Preview

The NBA playoffs are in full swing right now, and they have been for a few weeks. The Cavs and the Warriors have earned the right to be called champions of their respective conference. The Cavaliers are a new team who was built around superstar Lebron James, arguably the best player in the world. The Warriors have been led to the Finals by 2015 MVP Stephen Curry who averages over 20 points per game. So far this matchup is starting to look like one of the best in NBA history, but there is more to each team than their stars.

Let’s take a look at both team’s starting five. The Cavaliers have a new starting five as of this year, with many new players being acquired in trades during the season. One such player acquired during the offseason is star forward Lebron James, who some consider to be the best player of all time. The other forward on the team, who has been a fill in for most of the playoffs, is Tristan Thompson. Tristan has taken the place of an injured Kevin Love who suffered A dislocated shoulder during the Cavaliers’ sweep of the Boston Celtics. The guards on the team include players Kyrie Irving, the team’s first pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, and also Iman Shumpert who was acquired from the Knicks during this season. Both are good defensive players  who have helped this team make it to the finals. Finally their center, Timofey Mozgov has provided the rebounds necessary for the team to get more shots, and deny the other team some.

The Golden State starting five is not so different from the Cavaliers team. First of all they have their undeniable two best shooters, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. These two players are so good at sinking threes and making shots that they have been affectionately nicknamed the splash brothers. The forward and guard both average over 20 points per game which is a big amount, so we know Golden State has big scorers and faces for their franchise, but there are other players who contribute a great amount to the team. Center Andrew Bogut will need to be a the bigger man against Timofey Mozgov, because the Cavs center has A one inch height advantage against Bogut. The team also has guard Harrison Barnes who is nothing special, just a player who averages about ten points per game and is lackluster in other fields. Lastly, is forward Draymond Green who is a considerable scorer for Golden State.

For the Warriors to win, it won’t take much. The Warriors have an explosive offense and an established coach who knows his way around the NBA in Steve Kerr. Rebounds may be a problem for the team, but if Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes step it up it could be a good day for the Warriors. The Cavs need to do a few things to win. Number one, Give the ball to Lebron James as often as possible. Let him do as much is possible, he might even go for 35 points in one of these games. They also have to hope that they can somehow manage the damage that Curry can inflict. The key to beating the Warriors for any team is to shut down Steph Curry. Lebron James may not be the best defensive player in the league, but he is their best chance of shutting him down. The last thing they need to do to win is for Kyrie Irving to stay healthy. He suffered a knee injury during the blowout that was the Eastern Conference finals, and he just needs to make sure that he does not do anything to make this flare up again.Finally, is my prediction for the winner of the 2015 NBA Finals. I think that the Warriors will play great at home, and win A game seven at Oracle Arena.For Lebron it will be much like his first year in Miami, he will lose the finals his first year, then go on to win the rest of his career.

~Will

March Madness: Cinderella Story or Heavy Favorite?

Last year, #7 seeded UConn won the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Their odds going in the tournament were at 100 to 1. Now the defending champions are on the bubble to even make the tournament. As of February 26th, the Kentucky Wildcats are still undefeated at a school best 28-0 and a heavy favorite to run the table with 7 to 2 odds.The tournament totaled over 181 million viewers across all devices.

Personally, I do not believe that Kentucky will win the tournament unless they lose a game before the “Big Dance” because no team has went undefeated and won the tourney since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. And before that was the 1973 and 1972 UCLA Bruins teams. The team with the highest odds after the Cats are Arizona and Wisconsin at 9 to 1. While no number 1 seed has lost to a 16 seed in the first round, last year Duke, was upset in the first round by way of #15 seeded Mercer. Maybe we will see the record for highest combined seeds for a title game broken again, as it was last year with #7 UConn and #8 Kentucky. There are so many scenarios during March Madness we will never know what we will see during the 2015 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

~Cameron

 

The NBA

The NBA which stands for National Basketball Association brings tons of excitement and joy to millions across the globe. Not only is the NBA a dream for kids all across the nation but a reality for tons of highly skilled athletes. For example, you may know the names Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, or Kevin Durant. All these people are highly known and respected for their level of talent on the basketball court. The NBA not only brings you a fun thing to watch on TV but also gear that the best athletes wear. You can go out and buy the new Andrew Wiggins jersey or even a legend jersey’s like Michael Jordan’s jersey. Like I said before, the NBA also allows many young children to have a dream of being a professional basketball player. The NBA has been very successful ever since it started on June 6th, 1946. It seems like every year it  is getting a little bit more interesting and enjoyable. The NBA continues to grow over the years and more and more highly skilled players are joining the league each year, With the additions of Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker this year, the 2015 season is shaping up to be a very good one. The NBA brings so much excitement and enjoyable plays to keep us occupied while watching the games. The NBA is one of the best basketball association’s there is and will always be one.

I love the NBA. The high-actioned games and plays are one of the best things to watch on television. With the addition of new players every year, the league is growing and will continue to grow. I personally like a lot of NBA players such as Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. I love getting the new gear each year and especially finding some of these all-stars rookie cards is also a great thing to do. The NBA has a very long season, 82 games to be exact, but each and every game is worth watching and they continue to get better as the season goes on. The NBA playoffs are one of the best playoffs in all of sports. Every playoff game is filled with tons of drama and disappointment. Of course seeing your favorite team lose is heart wrenching but it is worth it. The NBA certainly brings ton of excitement and drama to me and I personally love that. The NBA will always be a legendary league.

~Matt

Uconn Denied for Big East Tournament

Many people are probably wondering what’s the deal with the the issues concerning Uconn’s eligibility in the Big East Tournament. This is why I read the article “UCONN MEN’S BASKETBALL: No Big East Tournament for Huskies if team not eligible for NCAA Tournament” By The Associated Press. In this article it states “our presidents conceptually agreed that any team in any sport that is ineligible for postseason NCAA competition that they would not compete in the conference tournament or championship.” I personally  don’t like the idea of that because I am a die  hard Uconn fan and always attend at least one Big East Tournament game.  It also says under rules approved in October, the Uconn Huskies would be academically ineligible in 2013, because the NCAA plans to use data from the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years, when Connecticut’ scores were too low to meet the standards. I found this really interesting because I guarantee  a lot  of  NCAA  Mens Basketball teams are under the standard score limit.The last fact that I saw was Connecticut has been pursuing an appeal that could result in a waiver of the sanctions, arguing that it has made changes that have resulted in significant improvements in the program’s academic performance. After reading this part of the article I don’t get why they can’t just let Uconn work on their grades without being punished with such harsh punishments. This article was great and gave good information on my Huskies.

This really answered almost all of my question’s except one. This question is what if they get their grades up before the season starts? I want to know this because if they do why can’t they enter the tournament. I think this punishment is very harsh and out of order. They just don’t make sense, they should have a chance to redeem themselves. Maybe this ruling will change, I guess time will have to tell us.

~Mike Millea

First Defensive Player of the Year at JMU?

Nikki Newman, #30, a 6’ 2” Junior at James Madison University (JMU), plays for the women’s basketball team. Nikki is one of the three team captains; playing Guard and Forward. In her college career so far she has received many awards. In her 2009-2010 season as a freshman she received the JMU Athletic Director Scholar Athlete, JMU Team’s Most Improved Player Award, and was among CAA leaders in blocked shots (11th). In her sophomore season 2010-2011 Nikki again was among CAA leaders in blocked shots (10th), and rebounding (20th). She was also second on the team in steals and third in assists and blocked shots, and got the school record for games played by a sophomore (34/tied). More recently, her current season as a Junior 2011-2012 Nikki was named All-CAA Defensive Team of the Year, and named Conference (CAA) Defensive Player of the Year. She is the first player named Defensive Player of the Year in the schools history.

Recently, JMU’s Women’s Basketball team has been playing in the WNIT tournament. They are currently in the semifinals, they will play Syracuse on Wednesday the 27th. Now back to Newman; not long ago Nikki made a amazing shot from WAY behind the 3 point line, draining it! And is now a ECAC Play of the Week Nominee. There was 6 seconds on the clock and they were down by 3, and Nikki tied it up bringing JMU to Overtime. During Overtime JMU scored 14 points winning the game with 84-76 vs. Wake Forest.

~Jenny Vignola

Then There were Four

The Final Fight, for glory, for the ring, for the crown, for the trophy… for the NCAA Basketball National Championship. Today is March 28th, 2012 and in three days crowds will be jumping, colleges will be cheering, and blood sweat and tears will be spilled on the court, because on March 31st, 2012 the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four will tip off in New Orleans with Kentucky playing Louisville for the first spot in the National Championship game. Quickly after that game, Ohio State will attempt to upset Kansas for the final spot in the National Championship game. Winner of those two games will play each other in the NCAA Division I National Championship game on April 2nd. After the Men’s Championship Game, the Women’s  Final Four will begin. First strong hearted Baylor will attempt to knockout Stanford and get their chance at the title. Then Uconn Huskies are taking on the Fighting Irish in what is predicted to be a fight to the finish.

The University of California has the most NCAA Basketball Division I Men’s championship trophies, even though they haven’t made the tournament in the last 3 years. Pat Summit of the University of Tennessee has the most wins in a regular season as a coach, and the most National Championship wins for the NCAA Division I women’s basketball. Local favorite Uconn, has won 8 total National championships, the women winning  6, and the men winning 2. Lets hope that the women win it all again this year! Have a nice day! And be sure to watch the rest of the Final four!

~Alec Fowler