Monthly Archives: September 2013

SchoolHacking #1 – Ten Tips and Tricks To Make Sure You Come Out On Top

Or, alternatively, how to stay organized this year.

We all start the year off with the best of prospects. We tell ourselves, “this year, this year will be  different,” and “this year I will stay on top of things.” Don’t get me wrong, we all start off with the best intentions, but even great intentions can go to waste. I’m here to give you ten tricks and tips to keep you on the straight and narrow, and make sure your fresh start doesn’t get waylaid.

1) Keep a Calendar

I cannot stress this enough. Half of being organized is just knowing where you need to be. I’m a teenager too, and I get it. We all can have some pretty crazy schedules between school, work, extra-curricular activities, appointments, a social life, and who knows what else. Trying to plan something in your schedule is like trying to invade Russia in winter; it’s just not going to happen. Keeping a calendar can help you in check. Instead of racking your brain every time you need to plan ahead, step in front of your calendar, and there it is, laid out to see. With the amount of apps we have at our disposal, keeping a calendar is made that much easier. Most phones come with them built in. It’s portable and easy, and it keeps you right on track.

2) Keep Homework Notes

Have a small book or an app or even a sheet of paper to keep track of what you have due. At the end of every class, take down what you need to be doing that night, and what you need to be doing for a point in the future. This way, you can go home and look at what you’ve got, instead of trying to mentally retrace your steps.

3) Keep an Organized Binder

Your binder is where you’re doing all your work, so it’s integral to your learning that it’s kept clean and organized. Don’t just throw your sheets of paper in and hope for the best, because in two weeks time, or when you need to study, it’s going to drive you crazy when you need to try to find something. Make good use of things like dividers and pen holders to keep it in order. Try not to keep too much paper at one point in time, so it doesn’t get too full. Personally, I like to get notebooks for each subject, which keeps all my notes in one place, and also makes transporting homework easier than lugging around my binder. Whatever works for you, just make sure you’re keeping it straight, and keeping it neat.

4) Prioritize

Make sure you’re getting the important stuff done first. We’re all living busy lives, and we’ve all got a lot to do, so it’s important to check your due dates, and make sure you’re getting the high priority things done first. On your homework list, or even in your binder, put these things at the very top so that they get done, and you don’t have to scramble around last minute trying to get them in.

5) Stay on Top of Papers and Projects

Similarly to prioritizing, it’s important to keep track of when your papers or projects are due. Since you’re usually given them so far in advance, it’s easy to put them aside, and think that you can worry about them later. While it is important that you aren’t putting all your effort into something due at the end of the quarter, you also can’t just forget about it until the week before. We’ve all been there and done that, and it’s no fun for anyone. Make sure that every couple of weeks, you are putting a little into the project, even if it’s just some basic planning. That way, when the due date comes, you aren’t left with nothing.

6) Take Breaks Between Homework/Studying

Spending a whole day at school, and then coming home to do a few hours of homework can be exhausting. Not to mention entirely unproductive. The human brain can only focus for so long, so forcing yourself to sit down and cram can be kinda painful, not only to you, but also to your quality of work. Every 45-60 minutes or so, get up, walk around, have some water. Take a mental break. This can be about 10-15 minutes, and then at that point, you should be good to get back to work.

7) Stay Hydrated and Eat Something Healthy

Now I don’t know about everyone else, but my first stop once I’m home is the kitchen. We eat lunch at such an early time, by the time the end of school rolls around, I think it’s safe to say most of us are famished. I feel like I’m betraying some code of teenagerdom when I say this, but when you do go to get yourself a snack, make sure it’s healthy. As much as we’d all love to go for the box of Pop-Tarts, those really aren’t going to fill you up, nor are they going to help you out for whatever else you have planned for the rest of the evening. Remember that supper is still few hours away, so that means your snack can’t be too big either. Most importantly, I think to get any kind of protein in yourself would be super helpful. This could be cheese, meat, nuts, peanut butter, hummus, etc. Things like these are going to fill you up, and they are also going to last. To go with your healthy snack, make sure you are not drinking a pop or high sugar juice. Have a glass of milk, maybe, and water, water, water. A hydrated kid is a happy kid. Now, I’m not saying that you can never indulge yourself in some treats, but for the most part, stay away from the 99% sugar snacks, especially if you’ve got a big night ahead.

8) Get a Good Playlist

We live in the age of immense technology, and everyone has music on their phone, iPod, cd’s, etc., and I find that a good song can really motivate me to do my work. This advice is different for each person, and if you’re one of those people that is distracted by music, then I urge you not to take it. As for others, instead of sitting in front of the TV, or a movie, where your attention is being dragged in two different directions, cue up your iTunes with some really chill, or high energy, or instrumental music. Whatever works, whatever you like, go for it. Music is a good motivator in the right circumstances, and it can keep your work interesting, without becoming distracting.

9) Get Ready the Night Before

I know this may sound really dumb, and that it pertains more to elementary children, but getting ready the night before can eliminate a lot of stress and confusion. Even if you just make mental preparations, saving yourself of having to think of an outfit, or what to have for lunch, can cut out a considerable amount of time the next morning. Think about it.

And last, but certainly not the least…

10) Take a Day to De-stress

I mentioned this at the beginning, and I know it rings true for a lot of us; we all have crazy busy schedules. Once the school year rolls around, it feels like it’s suddenly “go, go, go” all the time, and we never get a minute to ourselves to sit down, take a breather, and just relax. Obviously, with our busyness, it can be hard to get a day for ourselves. When you do get a break, though, take it. Sit around all day. Watch a movie. Read a book. I don’t care how you relax, but make sure you do. Not all the time, but it’s good to keep in mind that you matter too, and everyone needs a mental health day once in awhile.

It may seem like a lot, but it’s ten steps, which could give you a very big hand this year. In the end, it’s up to you if you want to take me up on my advice.

Onward and upward my fellow peers!

– Baylee

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Baylee Chilton is a Grade Twelve student at CCH. She enjoys copious amounts of television, novels, and terrible, old indie music. Her favourite thing about CCH is the library at Campus East.

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What It Means To Be a Cougar

I’m going to be completely honest here; the first thing the phrase “what it means to be a cougar” makes me think of is middle-aged women. You all know what I’m getting at. Yet, if you are able to put aside the many, many possible puns, here at CCH we’re all strangely proud to call ourselves “Cougars”. When we use this term of endearment towards ourselves as fellow CCH-ers, it’s got more of the snarling, jungle cat kind of feel to it. The we-ain’t-gonna-take-nothin’-from-nobody mentality. Especially when the term has anything to do with all of our amazing sports teams. While we’re on the topic of sports (and with that wondrously not-at-all-obvious segue) here are the highlights of the football and volleyball season, all nicely wrapped and packaged in a neat little box mailed to your doorstep for your convenience! Well, as close to that as we here at Cougars With Quills can get without breaking the bank, that is.

Our fantastic footballers are doing fabulously as we’ve accomplished the formidable feat of defeating all foes thus far. (Knock on wood, everybody.) The last game was a close one: 15-13 against Winston Churchill; the week before we beat Raymond 35-27 after trailing behind in the first half. Real nail biters, those games! To get in on the fun, just travel to the magical land that is the University of Lethbridge stadium. Remember, home games are free! Even I (who doesn’t really understand what’s going on) enjoy watching the Cougars in action.

Our venerable volleyballers vying for victory have valiantly vanquished many a victim so far in the season. Both boys’ and girls’ senior volleyball teams placed second in last week’s tournament after suffering their first losses in the championship game, both adversaries being Magrath. We were so close! Ah, well, the Cougars still made us proud. This past weekend the junior varsity volleyball teams travelled to a tournament in Red Deer hosted by Hunting Hills. I’m waiting with bated breath to see how that went! Like CCH’s Facebook page, or follow @cchschool on Twitter to be a part of the CCH pride. Watching our proud Cougar volleyball teams in their element is almost more fun than venturing out to a football game; it’s inside, so it never gets cold! I’d recommend watching our hosted tournaments and supporting fellow CCH-ers with your cheering!

I hope this short and sweet little post roused some of that fighting Cougar spirit in my fellow CCH-ers and that you’re as (or more) excited as I am to see how the season progresses!

– Victoria

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Victoria Robb is a Grade Twelve student at CCH. She enjoys poetry, long walks on the beach, and poking dead things with a stick. Her favourite thing about CCH is the deep fried happiness for sale every day in the cafeteria.

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CCH People to Know – Mrs. Carol Koran

At CCH, there are many amazing individuals, staff and student alike. From the teacher coaching sports teams to that student who always makes the effort to be involved, it is a rare thing indeed to get an insider’s look into their lives. Through a collaborative effort, the CCH Bloggers managed to learn a little more about an important figurehead of CCH, Mrs. Koran, our school’s newly instated principal.

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From a family of seven, Mrs. Koran is one of six others to have become teachers. The seventh is also involved in education, having studied media art. It isn’t very surprising that, with such similar life choices, her family “encouraged not to marry outside the profession”. Somewhat jokingly, Mrs. Koran informs that she chose teaching because she wasn’t aware that there was any other profession. In reality, however, she got her first taste of teaching when she brought a teacher to tears in Grade 8. As a punishment, she had to take charge of an RS class, and found she really enjoyed it. Mrs. Koran began her teaching career in 1980, and has been at CCH since 1989. Her first class here was in room 126, teaching English.

Like the rest of us surely hope to, Mrs. Koran has many fond memories that she can recall from her High School years. One of the highlights was her playing the role of Lucy in the production, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

For those students in grades eleven and twelve, one of the most recurring and prominent questions we ask ourselves is “What do I want to do after I graduate?” Just as it is hard – nearly impossible, some might say – to settle down on one idea, Mrs. Koran considered more than just a career in education. Unlike teaching, however, she always found a reason to cross something off her list; she thought about being an airline attendant until she realized they were just “glorified waitresses”; she considered becoming a nurse until she realized that being around so much sickness was uncomfortable for her. She added that she would have loved to have been a photographer for National Geographic.

Like the rest of us, there is more to Mrs. Koran than her job or school life. For fun, she enjoys hiking and being surrounded by mountain peaks as well as travelling together with her husband and two daughters. One of her proudest moments in fact was hiking the Chilkoot Trail. It is truly a special moment for her when she faces an ordeal with success. Mrs. Koran also enjoys reading, her most recent literary conquest being The Lacuna by Barbara KingsolverMuch of the music she identifies with she classifies as “old stuff”, including Neil Diamond, Meatloaf, Elton John, and K.D. Lang. An interesting fact: Mrs. Koran saw K.D. Lang perform before she was ever famous. During her time teaching at CCH, she and another teacher attended one of the artist’s performances held at the University of Lethbridge.

When asked if she had any big plans for CCH, she said she hoped to create an identity for the westside campus. She also hopes to expand many of the academies, such as Fine Arts and Leadership. It is her belief that it is quite important to prepare students to become successful leaders – proving this, she is open to student suggestion about the leadership academy itself. Lastly, she wants to put on a “good face” for the province, as we will be hosting the provincial badminton tournament in May 2014.

When asked about her favourite part of CCH, she responded with, “The energy in the school.” There are many dedicated and individualistic teachers, and students who are “honest, welcoming and courageous.” Mrs. Koran is pleased to hear from guests at our school that there is always a “good feeling” about the place.

It was such a joy getting to know Mrs. Koran a little more, both through a wonderful interview and writing this article in her honour. Hopefully, the rest of you out there reading have learned a little more about our amazing new Principal as well.

– Kima Hazelwood, with the help of Victoria Robb

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Kima Hazelwood is a Grade Twelve student at CCH. She enjoys writing and reading fantasy, baking, and belly-dancing. Her favourite things about CCH are all the wonderful staff members and linguistics classes.

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What’s New at CCH This Year

You may be asking yourself the following questions: what is the meaning of life? Is the hokey pokey really what it’s all about? And what does CCH have to offer this year as opposed to years previous? I can’t answer the second one. I have an idea of the first one, but the last one is totally relevant and answerable. And that’s why I’m here! Because there are a few things that have changed at CCH this year.

First things first, while this may sound unimportant to the person living under a rock of unimportance, Google Chrome has been installed on CCH’s computers! Why is this so great? Well, the school is notorious for having incredibly slow internet. And while this won’t get rid of the problem (because it’s mainly due to bandwidth), it helps out immensely. A word of advice – do not use Internet Explorer. It is like comparing the tortoise to the hare, except they aren’t racing. The hare (Google Chrome) is just faster.

Secondly, Campus East has brand new microwaves! What? Unimportant you say? Perhaps, but they are no longer the dial ones and they actually function properly, so that’s good!

Now, let’s get serious. A new feature called “Flex 5” has been added to CCH. It’s basically an extension of Trinity Learning Centre, for those students that are using Distance Learning to earn their high school diploma. It allows people aged 20+ to have some quiet and supported study time between 5pm-8pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you are unable to attend classes due to work, illness, traveling, family matters, etc., this program can be of great use to you. Plus, the name just sounds cool. FLEX FIVVVVVVVEEEEEEE…..vv……

In terms of new staff, Mrs. Koran has been appointed the new principal of CCH. Now, she may seem intimidating at first, but she grows on you. Mrs. Koran is pretty funny, and is super supportive in your endeavours. And while we’re talking principals, two new associate principals have been added this year: Mrs. Polec and Mr. Munroe, although Mr. Munroe is still a counsellor halftime. We also have a new counsellor by the name of Mrs. Kroker, and a new Family Liaison Counsellor named Mr. Lilja, who will provide all of your counselling needs.

But how could I forget? But hey, knowing me, I can’t forget this…CCH’s musical is now official. We are doing “The Sound of Music”! What does this mean to you who love musical theatre? Auditioning of course! But what, lo? Can’t sing, dance, or act but still want to be a part of the whole theatre family? Look no further than crew! Crew helps backstage with building the set, fetching props, setting up lights and so on. Am I excited? YEAH!!!!! OF COURSE!!!!!! So please, come join the theatre family!

And last, but certainly not least, if you’re reading this, then you have undoubtedly heard of CCH’s new blog. It’s a new feature that my own dear mom thought of. After saving a burning orphanage and rescuing kittens from a tree, she thought, “You know what CCH needs? A blog!”

And it was done.

If you enjoyed this, check out the other blog posts and stay tuned for more to come!

Until then, this is Avery Hofferd, signing off.

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Avery Hofferd is a Grade Twelve student at CCH. He is an esteemed actor, director, fisherman, and bridesmaid. His favourite thing about CCH is the Fine Arts program.

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How To Get Involved at CCH

Summer holidays have come to an end and we’ve already survived one great week of school. You may be sitting around at lunch and thinking of all of the things you could do to get involved in the life of CCH. If you are a new student to CCH you’re probably already nervous about what these first few days have been like, not to mention finding an activity that is right for you, but don’t worry. There will be plenty of chances to get involved with something great.

If you’re interested in Leadership you can join two different Leadership teams. Athletic Leadership team members help cheer on our athletic teams, keep the scoreboards running, and sell tickets to games at the door. During our football season these team members paint faces of young cougar fans and keep the CCH spirit alive! This team meets every Friday after school at 12:45 on Campus East.

Our Student Council team (formerly known as Student Leadership) organizes fun events for the student body. The first meeting will be Monday the 9th, at 3:00pm in the library at Campus East. New members are welcome!

If you feel called towards volunteer work, check out our Santa’s Anonymous team. This incredibly important crew collects donations, purchases toys and food, and creates hampers for families who need a little extra Christmas cheer during the holiday season.

If you’re into photography, graphic design, and writing, maybe you would like to join our Yearbook team! You will take pictures of various activities and events that happen in our school community and design the pages that showcase them using online software (which means you can work from home). The Yearbook crew meets at 12:35 in Room 202 at Campus East. Mrs. Gardner would be thrilled to have you join this exciting project.

For our Performing Arts fans, we have lots of fun activities for you to get involved in. Our musical production is a great way to meet new people who have the same interests as you, and advance your skills in drama and music. Choral music students perform at our faith services throughout the year and of course Band students are so integral to the strong Fine Arts experience CCH has to offer. They are the orchestra for the musical production and have two concerts per year, along with the choir.

Our athletes can join many of our CCH Cougar Athletics teams. Volleyball, basketball, badminton, and track are only a few of the several sports teams that CCH has to offer. Even if you aren’t the athletic type, you can still come to our many home games, which are free for CCH students! Wear your cougar blue and come cheer on the team.

It’s still early in the year and you have many opportunities to get involved at CCH. Becoming a member of one of the many co-curricular options is a great way to create new friendships, to learn new skills, and to make your ideas heard. Chances are, regardless of which activities you choose, you will always be welcomed by a great group of friendly people.

Keep your eyes open for posters and listen to the announcements. Surely with all the great activities that CCH has to offer, you’ll find something that is right for you. I wish you the best in finding a great group and hope you come into your new activity motivated to share your voice and make great changes!

– Nicole

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Nicole Anton is a Grade Eleven student at CCH. She enjoys writing novels, English class, and cooking. Her favourite thing about CCH is that there are always great activities going on.

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