A recap of the 2018 NFL postseason and predictions before Conference Championships
The 2018-2019 NFL season has seen some of the closest divisional races in recent memory, as well as some massive blowouts in the standings. The season has been unpredictable until the end as we approach the conference championships taking place on Sunday January 20, 2019. The top two seeds from each conference have reached this stage of the playoffs. In the considerably tougher NFC, we have the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots.
The NFC playoffs started off with a close wild card race between the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles, with the Eagles prevailing to take the last wild card seed for their playoff game appearance against the Chicago Bears that ended with the infamous “double-doink” missed field goal by Cody Parkey and an Eagles victory. The other side of the NFC Wild Card saw the Seattle Seahawks take on the Dallas Cowboys. After Dallas took the early lead, the Seahawks made a late-game run that was eventually stuffed by a failed onside kick attempt.
The AFC wild card saw both wild card teams defeat division champions with the Indianapolis Colts taking a decisive win over the Houston Texans and the San Diego Chargers taking revenge on the Baltimore Ravens after a loss to them in Week 16 of the regular season.
The NFC divisional round saw the Eagles take on the number-one seeded Saints. Despite a strong start from the Eagles offense, the Saints came back to claim their spot in the NFC Conference Championships with a 20-14 win. The second-seeded Rams also showed a strong showing in the first half against Dallas, but unlike the Saints, the Cowboys never managed to recover and suffered a 30-22 loss to the NFC West division champs.
The AFC divisionals saw both the first and second seed claim decisive wins over their opponents. The top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs dominated the Colts 31-13, and the Patriots put up a whopping 41 points to the Chargers 28.
Now four teams are entering the Conference Championships with their eye on the 53rd Super Bowl Title.
The Rams led by Jared Goff will be playing at the Superdome in New Orleans against a strong Saints offense led by Drew Brees. The odds-on favorites going on are Brees and the Saints. Having not lost a playoff game at home since 2006, the offensive-minded team is headed into the game with confidence and a strong offensive line.
“New Orleans is gonna be at home, in a dome, great weather conditions, they’ve earned it and it’s going to help them having that home field advantage,” said Mr. William Denofa, a Freedom high school social studies teacher and avid football fan.
Despite the Saints strong offense, I personally feel the Rams will take the NFC spot in the Super Bowl. The Saints defense suffered a major loss when Sheldon Rankins, the Saint’s top defensive lineman, tore his Achilles in last week’s playoff game. And after the Saints slow start against the Eagles, they may have difficulty coming back if the Rams come out as strong as they did against the Cowboys.
In the AFC Conference Championship, the Patriots are playing the Chiefs in Kansas City. Despite the Patriots, relatively easy regular season schedule, they were the AFC favorites heading into the playoffs and they are still the favorites heading into the Conference Championship.
“The Patriots have the AFC favorite at this point. Tom Brady doesn’t throw to the caliber of a NFL legend, but Belichick has learned how to develop his offensive strategy to accommodate for this,” said Mr. Denofa.
Tom Brady has led the Patriots to five Super Bowl victories and it is very possible he could do it again consider the Patriots consistent offensive performance throughout the season and postseason, but there one detriment is their inability to perform on the road with a 3-5 record away.
The Chiefs were a surprising powerhouse this season and edged out the Chargers for the top seed in the AFC West. Despite their strong regular season performance, the Chiefs have exhibited difficulty performing against teams with a strong defensive line, such as the Patriots.
“The Chiefs have surprised me this year, Reed coached them well and I could see them making a deep run, but I don’t expect to see Mahomes holding up a Super Bowl trophy,” said Mr. Denofa.
With the playoffs coming to an end, I predict the Patriots will be taking on the Rams in Atlanta on Sunday February 3, 2019. While I would like to see Goff and the Rams take home a trophy, I expect the Brady and the Patriots offense will be too much for the Rams to handle. I believe it will be a strong offensive game with the Patriots coming out on top and Brady taking him his sixth Super Bowl ring.
The 2018-19 awards show season is in full swing
The Freedom Forum
The 2018-19 awards season is well underway, highlighting the best of today’s movies and television. Since the Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood has been bustling with news of award predictions, celebrity fashion, and the latest red carpet gossip.
The unofficial start to the season took place on January 6 with the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards. The Golden Globes honored the best of movies and television in 2018. Winners are chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a non-profit organization founded to support entertainment all over the world. The association holds the ceremony every January in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Several surprises came along with the awards given out at the Golden Globes. “A Star is Born,” which was predicted to be the big winner for Best Drama Motion Picture, lost to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The movie “Green Book” won the most awards of the evening with a total of three, while “Vice,” which led the pack with six nominations, only left with one award for Christian Bale, winning Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy).
Just like the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards celebrates both television and film. This year the Critics’ Choice Awards (CCAs) took place on January 13th. The show is presented annually by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association.
The Critics’ Choice Awards often reflect the future winners of the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, which is the highest honor in movies. The big winners at the 2019 CCAs included ‘Roma,’ which won for Best Motion Picture, and Christian Bale, who won for both Best Actor and Best Actor in a Comedy. Lady Gaga and Glenn Close also tied for Best Actress.
As of press time, the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards are the only major award shows that have taken place this year.
Coming up, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards will be presented on January 27th. The SAG Awards honor the best of movies and television of 2018. Winners are voted on by the Screen Actors Guild, which represents hundred of thousands of actors in entertainment. ‘A Star is Born’ earned the most nominations for film, while Amazon’s ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ and Netflix’s ‘Ozark’ earned the most nominations for television.
Following the SAG Awards is the Grammy Awards, which is the highest honor in music. The Grammys will take place on February 10th. Kendrick Lamar and Drake lead with the most nominations this season.
Mrs. Lechner looks forward to retirement
Carly Grozier & Alexis Swoyer
Mrs. Cathy Lechner, a foods and nutritions teacher at Freedom High School (FHS), will be retiring after the first semester of the 2018-2019 school year. Mrs. Lechner has worked at FHS since 1996.
Prior to coming to FHS, Mrs. Lechner studied at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania with a degree in clothing and textiles. She then worked at a Hess’s, an old department store that is no longer running. After ten years, she decided to start teaching.
Mrs. Lechner then went back to college to get a teaching degree. Before coming to FHS, she worked in six other school districts as a substitute. She has taught many different subjects within Family and Consumer sciences, including cooking.
“I did not really decide to become a cooking teacher. I wanted a permanent job and this was the Family and Consumer Science subject available at the time. Luckily for me, I like to cook and I like to share what I know about foods and nutrition, so it was a perfect match,” said Mrs. Lechner.
Her favorite part about working at FHS were the interactions with other staff members and her students. Mrs. Lechner likes that her job has a purpose for the students. She teaches life skills daily that will prove useful to students in the future.
“I teach a life skill. It’s more than cooking. Food preparation is about teamwork, problem solving, nutrition, meal planning, and more,” said Mrs. Lechner.
She has made many foods with her students over the year. However, there is not one specific food that is a favorite among students.
“I guess the foods I like best are the ones the kids come back and tell me they made at home, or the recipes they ask for in an email,” said Mrs. Lechner.
Although she will miss her students, Mrs. Lechner is looking forward to her retirement.
“After retirement I am looking forward to not waking up to an alarm, to being with my children and grandchildren, and spending time with my husband and aging parents,” said Mrs. Lechner.
During her retirement, she is also looking forward to crossing off some stops on her bucket list. She still has 12 states to visit, so that will be taking up a lot of her time, along with many other activites.
“I know I will find plenty of activities to fill my time, because I do not like to be idle,” said Mrs. Lechner
Mrs. Lechner is set to retire this January and enter the next chapter of her life.
Realizing how difficult relationships are
Pates' Post Editor
I hate the concept of ‘third wheeling’. One of my good friends has been dating the same person for over a year now, and she constantly bugs me to go out with the two of them. She continuously claims that her significant other has plenty of friends who would be happy to double date with me, but I find them all to be absolutely awful.
To be completely honest, it amazes me everyday that my friend is still with this guy. He is just as bad as his friends that they try to set me up with. He is very disrespectful, and the whole relationship seems toxic to me. I don’t want to meddle in her relationship, but I also want the best for her and I don’t think that this is it.
But anyway, whenever I do decide to go out with just the two of them, I am completely left out. They leave me out of the conversation, have all kinds of inside jokes that I’m not included in, and they seem like they would be much happier if I wasn’t there.
However, watching the two of them together does make me jealous in a way. I mean, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and it feels wrong not to be with someone on that day. I guess it just feels like everyone around me is in a relationship and I’m not, which makes me feel pretty lonely.
So, basically I’m just asking for a lot of relationship advice, for both myself and my friend. What can I do to fix my mess of a love life?
Dear Single Pringle,
I get that relationship problems can be tough. I have been through my fair share of it, too. It seems like you have a lot of issues, so I will take it one problem at a time.
Third wheeling really is terrible. However, if it is so awful, why do you keep going out with the two of them? I am pretty sure that you have other friends to spend time with or things to spend your time doing, so there is no reason to put yourself through the misery of third wheeling this often. Sure, you can keep trying to double date with his friends, but this also seems like it is awful for you, so again, just take yourself out of the situation if it is bothering you that much.
Along with the whole “double dating” thing, you should also just stop going out with these guys if you cannot see any kind of future with them, or if they just seem downright terrible. Try not to stress about finding a relationship in high school because there is a high probability that it will not last. Just focus on yourself and make that your top priority instead of trying to find someone to date, because being single can be pretty fun sometimes.
Despite your disdain for your friend’s significant other, she is still with him, so you have to respect her decision. You may think that you are looking out for her and have her best interests at heart, but remember, this is her relationship, not yours. If you really see a major issue then I would have a discussion with her, but still respect that this is her decision.
With or without a date, I hope your Valentine’s Day goes well and that you work things out with your friend.
Why do people continue to fight?
Anyone who has ever witnessed a school fight can attest to the chaos, violence, and how quickly it can escalate into something serious. There have been much discussion as to why this happens and what can be done about it. People have always questioned this violence and will continue to.
“I have always thought that fighting is pointless and should not occur in school. I think you can find better ways to deal with the problem rather than fighting it out,” said Jared Jenkins, junior.
School violence is not just something that can be seen in your community but is can be a problem for schools nationwide. According to CDC.gov, nearly 24% of high school students had been in a physical fight one or more times.
“I feel like people are willing to fight because the punishment is not stiff enough. I think that if people know that they’re just going to be suspended, then people would not be scared to fight,” said Skylar Graves, junior.
Another student, Izzy Rodrigues, has actually been in a physical fight on school grounds. He thought this was a big factor as to why teens think it is okay to fight.
“Fighting was not worth all of the consequences that came my way. But to others who fight for different reasons it might [be worth the consequences], because the reason they are fighting might seem bigger than the punishment they will receive,” said Rodrigues.
Big efforts are made every year by districts and schools across the nation, including Freedom, which should not go unnoticed. People must understand that it ultimately comes down to people making the right decision and choosing to use their self control. Students such as Skylar Graves have seen these changes and feel that they should continue to be built on.
“I feel like there should be even more authorities in the halls then there already are. They should spot people arguing and try to calm the situation down as quickly as possible,” said Graves.
Students must have each others’ backs when it comes to violence. They should have the knowledge to see when people are having differences to not ‘egg’ them on. Being mature enough to diffuse the situation can stop it from escalating into a dangerous situation.
Are the President's actions helping or hurting America?
Millions of people all over the U.S. have mixed feelings about Donald Trump. Some believe that he is the best president that we have had in a long time, and others say that he is the worst president and that he should be impeached.
“I judge Donald Trump on his results and what he has done. I think that the impact he makes after he has made a decision determines people’s views on him as a person,” said Mr. DeNofa, history teacher.
Results of Trump’s actions really do impact a lot of people’s views on him. People will judge him on the consequences of the actions that he has made.
“I think Donald Trump has done a good job addressing issues that we don’t like. It shows that he notices things that we generally dislike, and that he will do something about it,” said Mr. DeNofa.
Donald Trump is very good at getting the word out about problems in the U.S and ways we can improve them. Whenever there is an issue, he will address it to the press right away, and let us know what he is planning to do to fix it.
“Donald Trump can improve his manners, especially when he calls people out. Even if they did something wrong, that is no excuse for Trump to lash out like he has been doing,” said Mr. DeNofa. Donald Trump does not seem to think before he acts. If someone says something rude or offensive to the president, that is no excuse for him to lash out at them. For example, a disabled reporter criticized him, and Trump mocked him and made fun of him for being disabled. The president should not have done that, no matter what the other person said. It is rude of him as not only a president, but also as a person to say something that hurtful to someone.
“[Regarding the U.S Immigration Policy] I believe that we should have no open borders. We should have strict laws and forbid any illegal immigrants to enter the U.S,” said Mr. DeNofa.
Donald Trump has made several statements on the immigration policy and what he wants to do about it. The U.S. is very populated, and we need to prevent any more illegal immigrants coming over to make it even more crowded.
Donald Trump isn’t a bad president, but he certainly isn’t the best. There are a lot of things he could improve on, and some things he already does well. People all over the country will always continue to be divided when it comes to Donald Trump.
An overview of students' opinions on the new Keystone exam schedule
Since September, many students have been dreading the unpleasant, yet imperative Keystone Exam. The Keystone Exam is a Pennsylvania standardized test that is broken into three subjects to assess a student’s performance in each. It is mandatory for a student to pass the Algebra I, Literature, and Biology Keystones in order to graduate from high school, unless they are excused from testing by a parent/guardian.
Starting from the very first day of school, teachers begin warning their students about the importance of passing the Keystones that year. However, most of their students are reluctant to take the Keystones and do not see the importance of them quite like they do.
“I don’t think Keystones should be necessary to graduate because if we pass the classes for each subject, the Keystones are then redundant and a waste of my time. I believe they are not an accurate representation of how much I know in each of these subjects, so they should not be seen as so important,” said Caitlin Murray, sophomore. Murray has not yet taken her Literature Keystone this year, but she has taken her Algebra I and Biology exams in years past.
Preparing for the Keystones is very challenging because no one, not even teachers, know exactly what kinds of questions will be on the test, and some of the topics on them are not even covered in class that year. The open-ended responses also prove to be difficult because the Keystones do not look for creativity in the student’s writing. They only want the student to follow a specific format, which usually brings down the quality of their writing, making it redundant after a while.
“I don’t think we should need them to graduate because, in my opinion, you can’t really prepare for the Keystones. I think they should just be used to evaluate our placement,” said Sarah Sylvester, sophomore. Sylvester has completed all three of her Keystones already.
The actual Keystone test seems dreadful enough for most students, but this year Freedom High School created a new Keystone schedule, which has proven to be unpopular among students. In past years, students who had to take the Keystones came to school regular time and everyone who did not, came three hours later. The school ran on three hour delays for six days (two three-hour delays for each subject). Now, students who need to take the Keystones come for one full day of school and non- Keystone testers do not even have to show up for school that day.
“Six hours of Keystones in one day is too much and counterproductive. I think it will make students do worse on the Keystones than if they stuck to the normal Keystone schedule,” said Murray.
When I took the Literature Keystone this year, writing eight essays in one day and not being able to show my creative abilities in any of them was difficult and exhausting.
Students all around Freedom High School will have different opinions on the Keystone Exam, but no one can deny that a lot of students are becoming frustrated with them.
“I’m really hoping that passing the Keystones will no longer be a graduation requirement because that puts too much pressure on students and frustrates them more if they fail by just a few points,” said Murray.
Allegations of Drake mimic those of R. Kelly
Millions tuned in to watch ‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ Lifetime’s disturbing docuseries exposed R&B singer and songwriter R. Kelly’s habit of preying on young girls. The program consisted of numerous testimonies of Kelly’s victims, who say they were groomed from an early age to be abused and ultimately discarded. Women that were onced silenced are now emerging from the shadows to unite their voices and share their stories.
The series shined a necessary light on Kelly, who managed to stay on top for years after marrying an underage girl, Aaliyah Haughton, and filming a sexually explicit video with a 14-year-old adolescent. R. Kelly’s playboy lifestyle has had its fair share of rumors of abuse, predatory behavior, and pedophilia; however, despite multiple witnesses and accusations, none of these allegations have affected his career until recently.
For the first time ever, survivors and people from R. Kelly’s inner circle are coming forward with new allegations about his sexual, mental, and physical abuse. They are now sharing their sides of the story and are unveiling the unseen truth to the public.
“It's not surprising this wasn't discovered sooner since celebrities can simply just pay people off to keep their wrongdoings a secret from the public,” said Sam Moschonas, junior.
It is clear that R. Kelly’s career is starting to plateau due to the backlash from high-profile celebrities and everyday supporters, as well as prosecutors in Atlanta and Chicago who are looking into allegations and asking potential victims and witnesses to come forward.
R. Kelly is not the only infamous artist to have serious allegations against him. The world-wide sensational rapper, Drake, has also taken quite a few hits after an inappropriate a video of him surfaced on Twitter. Some are even calling him the R. Kelly of a younger generation.
In the video, shot years ago, Drake was spotted taking a break after performing on stage and welcomed up a member from the audience - a young woman. He gets a little too intimate with her on stage before he asks how old she is. When she responds that she is only 17 years old, the crowd erupts in laughter as if it was all a huge joke. It did not seem to faze the rapper in the slightest and he continued to kiss and embrace her on stage before biding her farewell.
“This type of behavior is inexcusable and should've have been caught earlier, but most people thought it was all just a joke,” said Nicole Rodriguez, junior.
The video, which has been retweeted several thousand times, has received heavy backlash on Twitter. This is not his first time Drake is receiving backlash for his behavior towards young women. In September 2018, reports emerged suggesting Drake was in a romantic relationship with an 18-year-old model, Bella Harris, whom he had known since she was 16. Drake has also been caught sending inappropriate messages to child celebrities including “Stranger Things” star, Millie Bobby Brown, who is only 14 years old.
“It's a shame that more celebrities are showing their true colors, but now whenever I listen to their music again, I don't think I'll listen to it the same way I did before,” said Moschonas.
Information on Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a widespread mental health issue. It is characterized by a period of fall/winter depression and spring/summer remission, meaning those with this disorder feel more depressed and manic during the colder months of the year. SAD’s causes are still unknown since it is such a complex disorder.
SAD is described as a syndrome involving depressive episodes that occur and dissipate based on the time of year. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a manual on diagnosing mental health disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, includes a seasonal pattern specifier often applied to bipolar disorder cases and major depressive disorders where the depressive episodes recur in a specific season and change to mania/hypomania at another time of year, which include dramatic mood swings and elated emotions.
Although a spring/summer pattern of recurrence is possible, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of these cases follow a fall/winter depression with spring/summer remission. SAD is relatively distributed among the general population, but young adults and women are most likely to experience it.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and overall happiness, levels in the human brain are lowest in the winter season. Using types of light therapy, individuals treated relapsed when serotonin levels decrease. The Phase-Shift Hypothesis implies that the body’s sleep-wake cycle is phase-delayed due to the environmental light-cycle, based on observations of delayed beginnings of sleep, melatonin, and other bodily functions in some SAD patients. Phase-delay means that the sleep patterns of the person are behind, or later, than the patterns of most.
Most treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder includes light therapy where the patient sits a few feet away from a special light box to be exposed to bright light within the first hour of being awake each day. The bright light is meant to mimic natural outdoor light and causes a change in brain chemicals linked to moods. Sometimes patients are prescribed with medications as well.
“Trying different things will help you find more happiness during these times where you are limited to things, or feeling trapped in the coldness and darkness of winter,” said Jenelle Romig, senior.
A version of therapy known as psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a form of treatment where a patient identifies negative thoughts and behaviors and changes them to prevent themselves from feeling worse. The patient also learns to schedule activities and interactive social events to keep the mind active and connected. Patients are also advised to do every day healthy activities such as getting more sunlight and exercising daily.
February 18th is more than a day off
February is a month filled with snow and early sunsets, but that does not mean that it is without holidays. Valentine’s Day often steals the spotlight, and students tend to forget that this day of romance is not the reason that many people have a long weekend in the middle of February.
One of the ten federal holidays observed by the United States government, Presidents’ Day, has its roots in the 1880s. This was when Americans first celebrated the birthday of the nation’s first president, George Washington. Known as Washington’s Birthday, the holiday was celebrated on February 22 annually.
It remained an informal day of remembrance until 1968, when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill. This bill assured that several federal holidays would be celebrated on Mondays, and Washington’s Birthday was no exception. Due to its close proximity to Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, Washington’s Birthday became ‘Presidents’ Day.’ People from all across America celebrate Presidents’ Day on the third Monday of February.
“I think it is really important to reflect on our previous presidents. Whether we have liked them or not, they have all impacted our history tremendously and we should understand that the president will continue to impact us for years to come,” said Namrutha Kanakavelan, senior class president at Freedom High School.
The holiday is not exclusively intended to appreciate the lives of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Of the 44 men who have served as President of the United States, some have certainly been more effective leaders than others. But students remember each and every one of these men on Presidents’ Day, especially the outstanding ones.
“I think President Franklin D. Roosevelt did an amazing job of leading our country. He was able to make critical decisions that helped us prevail during the war,” said Kanakavelan.
It is essential that high school students understand presidential policies, as many of them will be voting in the 2020 election. For some students, involvement in a political system begins at a young age.
“[As senior class president] I have put in hours of work before, during, and after the regular school day to plan things for our class and school. Both [class and student government] presidents must also be able to take criticism well because it is apparent that not everyone will like our choices and us as people. But either way, we must do things in order to make the greater majority happy, and make things a little more enjoyable for them,” said Kanakavelan.
Regardless of how someone feels about America’s current political scene, they can take a few minutes on February 18th to reflect on the accomplishment of our nation’s great leaders.