By Chloe Mayes
Cougar News Blog

     There has been a murder at Rundown Abby. Follow along with the characters to find out who the killer is at the Cactus Canyon drama production.
     Students can come see the show at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, Apache Junction High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are only $1 and will be available at the door.
     The play, set in the 1920s, follow detective Sam Splayed as he goes undercover as a butler to solve a murder at the English estate owned by the Crumbledowns.
     Adviser Lisa Schroeder wants her student to enjoy the experience and develop a love for drama.
     “I want them to enjoy this process and it is my hope that they truly fall in love with the theater and want to explore more or similar opportunities in the future,” said Schroeder.
     The drama students have been working for about two and a half months to prepare.The student have many techniques that they use to practice. Some students like when they can practice with their fellow peers that are also in the play.
     “When I practice, I find I improve when I talk to someone with my lines,” said seventh grader Nevaeh Erlandson.
     Since CCJH has not had a play in about five years, the class had to come up with all the costumes and props. Although, thanks to some generous people, they were able to get donations for most of the things they needed. All the money that the play raises is going toward their next play that will be in the spring.
      “We had to obtain all aspects, such as costumes, props, set pieces, etc.,” said Schroeder. “We obtained these items from various resources such as teacher, parent, and community donations. We made many of our items from recycled materials such as old boxes, and fabrics.”
     Drama students said they are really grateful to get the opportunity to put on the show and said the experience has made the group like a family.
     “Drama has taught me that no matter who I am I can always act and be myself because family isn’t always blood,” said eighth grader Kaitlin Greathouse. “It’s the people in life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

Sigfrido Ibarra
Cougar New Blog

     USS Enterprise down.
     Fans of the TV series and Movie franchise of Star Trek will be thrilled to see the next installment in the Star Trek franchise. It has been three years since the last movie and now they have come up with their best film yet. It’s captivating and thrilling to watch Star Trek Beyond.
     The fantasy/science fiction film brings back all seven main characters from the TV show and from the movie instalments, including Chris Pine as James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, Zachary Quinto as Spock, the ambassador and Capt. Kirk’s friend, and Karl Urban as Leonard McCoy, the doctor of the spaceship.
     Set three years into its five-year mission, the USS Enterprise arrives at a starbase called Yorktown to resupply, but soon after they’re sent on a rescue mission after an escape pod makes communication and claims that her ship has been attacked within a uncharted nebula. The rescue mission turns into an ambush and the Enterprise is torn apart by a giant swarm of small ships. Krall, the captain, quickly boards the Enterprise and orders his men to capture the crew.
     Captain Kirk orders everyone to aboned ship as the Enterprise enters the planet’s atmosphere but now he’s strand with only a few of his crew, but one thing is certain he will fight for his crew’s freedom.
     This movie is definitely worth watching because everything about it was great. The actors, the story, the action scenes, and especially the special effects were outstanding. While the film attempts some humor, some of the joke work and some don’t.
     The actors did a great job playing their character and showing their emotions and it was amazing how they struggle and keep on fighting. The special effect were the best part of the movie, seeing the explosion and the swarm of ships is what made the movie pass my expectations.
     Even though this movie is PG-13 it’s okay for most types of audience, but maybe not couples and little kids. It has some inappropriate words, but that’s about it. I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and I really recommend it.
      Star Trek Beyond was released Nov. 1 and is available now.

By Angelica Jimenez
Cougar News Blog

      I have lost three of my friends this year to suicide.
      My friends were always happy from my point of view they were always smiling they were outgoing they were alway smiling and laughing and making everyone happy but I had not idea what was going on with them. It breaks my heart because I didn’t notice they were upset about anything. I just wish they hadn’t have taken their lives like they did, but know I know they are in a better place.
     Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
      The reasons teens commit suicide is because they are bullied or they are struggling with school or changes in their lives. People should know that words do hurt and can have serious unintended consequences.
     Kids shouldn’t bully in general; it’s rude, it’s not nice, it is life threatening to many people that actually get hurt from it. Teens commit suicide because they feel like they aren’t loved by anyone and they think they have no one to talk to about their problems. It’s not funny to bully and pick on other student – it is a serious matter.
     I wish nobody had to go through this pain, but if you have thoughts of suicide, please reach out to a school counselor, teacher, parent, or a friend. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for help.

Editor’s Note: This article is the opinion of the Cougar News Blog writer Angelica Jimenez. It is the fourth in a series of stories about serious issues such as depression, eating disorders, and women’s rights.

By Bronte Pappas
Cougar News Blog

     What is an eating disorder? An eating disorder is an array of different types of abnormal eating habits. It is a mental and physical disorder that affects many people’s lives.
     Eating disorders are health issues that can cause people to either lose a lot of weight, or gain too much weight. There are many different types of eating disorders, and many people imagine a person who has one to be very skinny and not eat, however there are three commonly seen types of eating disorders that can affect anybody.
     The three major types of eating disorders are bulimia, anorexia, and binge-eating disorder. Bulimia is typically when someone will eat a large amount of food or binge and then force themselves to vomit. Anorexia is a disorder in which a person chooses to not eat most commonly in fear of getting fat or wishing to be skinny. Binge-eating disorder is when someone eats a lot of food in a short period of time. However, eating disorders are more of a psychological disorder.
     “Quite often eating disorders have a lot more to do with control than being ‘skinny,’ said Meaghan Davis, dean of students. “People who feel they do not have control over other aspects of their lives, unfortunately, try to control their eating to compensate for their feelings of helplessness.”
     Many people deal with eating disorders every day. In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men have an eating disorder of some kind. Eating disorders can be life threatening and destroy people’s lives some even as young as 13.
     “My eating disorder started when I got old enough to eat regular food,” said an eighth-grade student who struggles with an eating disorder. “When I was about 5 or 6 my mom realized that I was eating more than I had to. I would tell my mom I was full but I would want more food. I couldn’t stop eating.”
     Often people’s eating disorder ends up affecting them in other ways, too.
     “I had been bullied for being skinny my whole life so I would also eat more than I had to. I have a high metabolism so I don’t gain much weight from what I eat so it was hard,” the same eighth grader said.
     These are disorders that take control of people’s lives, it is something that affects people physically and mentally, causing them to struggle with their everyday lives, and there are some people who do not understand that this is a disorder.      Bullying about weight can cause a person to develop an eating disorder. It is not something you are just able to move on from, it is much harder than people see. We need to be respectful of people that have these problems.

Editor’s Note: This article is the opinion of the Cougar News Blog writer Bronte Pappas. It is the third in a series of stories about serious issues such as depression, eating disorders, and women’s rights.

     I find it most preposterous that it’s 2016 and yet we’re still having arguments about whether someone should have their human rights or not.
     I could go on for ages about how this could be a step backward for all oppressed groups, but this opinion piece is going to zero in on the women of the world. Women as we know make up 49.6 percent of the human population, and yet in some people’s eyes we’re seen as the lesser sex. A hundred years ago, we were treated more like property rather than human beings. In some places, we had a curfew, and if we were molested, our offender just had to pay our father some silver and then marry us. We have been perceived as sexual objects for as long as we can remember, especially now in our modern culture and media. Not to mention some of Donald Trump’s alarming statements about women that he simply dismissed as “locker room talk.”
     If there’s anything I like most about my generation, it’s the many barriers that we’re breaking. We’re working to normalise the LGBTQ+ community, and gender norms are slowly being left behind. However, the ideology of gender norms and gender stereotypes is still an ongoing thing, even if it’s been diluted. Parents who believe in gender conformity are enforcing gender norms on their children from a young age. Young boys are expected to play outside and with toy trucks, while girls are taught to be pretty and play with dolls or other pink sparkly objects.
     When I was younger, gender norms weren’t really forced on me at all. I played in the mud and dirt with my brother, and I loved the thrill of running around outside and getting scraped up when I took a fall on my wobbly toddler legs. I was a tomboy kid, with minimal pressure to “act like a lady.” I’m not too different today, though I do still find some enjoyment in “feminine” things like fruity soaps and lotion.
     One of my biggest pet peeves yet is the over-sexualization of women in the media, especially in advertising. Countless times I’ve seen commercials where a woman is displayed almost more as a decoration than a human being capable of independent thought and actions for the sake of selling a product. And women are viewed sexually in society in general; many a day a woman will be walking down the street minding her own business, when she gets cat-called by someone on the side of the road, and it’s often a rather suggestive comment that makes her uncomfortable. Then there’s the victim-blaming. If a woman is assaulted, people will often ask what she was wearing when it happened. Some will even say that she was “asking for it.” I yearn for the day that women are seen as human beings rather than objects that are there to please others. As a modern society, we’ve made progress, but we’re not there yet.
     Women do make up almost half of the human population, so there shouldn’t be any reason that we shouldn’t have our human rights. After all, we’re humans too. And I’m talking about all women. Women of color, women in the LGBTQ+ community, and women of all faiths. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter who or what we are, male or female, because all that matters is that we’re here to do good for the world.

Editor’s Note: This article is the opinion of the Cougar News Blog writer Savannah Barr. It is the second in a series of stories about serious issues such as depression, eating disorders, and women’s rights.

By Skyler Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

     Statistics show that 5-9 percent of teens identify as gay, lesbian, or uncertain. Seventy-eight percent of these students are teased or bullied about being gay. While teens have become more open-minded, bullying about students’ sexuality is still a problem.
     There are people at CCJH that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, etc. who are or have been bullied and are scared to talk openly about their sexuality. Teens become isolated and face a large amount harassment and violence. An eighth grade student who identifies as lesbian, talked about her experience about dealing with her sexuality.
     “I tried dating the other gender but I could not go through with it because it did not feel right. People who identify as a different sexuality or a different gender should be treated the same ,” she said. “Because we are all the same we do the same things the only thing that is different is that we identify differently.”
     Students have long been being treated differently for their sexuality. This problem may be caused because the person who is victimising them may be because they do not understand why the person is like that and cannot change their sexuality. Bullying and harassment has become such a big problem in students’ mental health that it can cause anxiety, depression, relationship problems, low self-esteem, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
     “As many as 93 percent of students hear derogatory words about sexual orientation at least once in awhile, with more than half of teens surveyed hearing such words every day at school and in the community,” said Jane Riese in her article “Youth Who Are Bullied Based upon Perceptions
About Their Sexual Orientation.”
     Twenty-two percent of students skip school for safety concerns and are three times more likely to drop out of school. Teens bullied about their sexual orientation are three times more likely to commit suicide and 30 percent are having suicidal thoughts. In 2003, a study was done and showed that 12 percent of gay students 12-18-years-old have had hate related words toward them, 1 percent of those words have been about their sexuality.
     A study done in the 1970 concluded that being gay was no longer considered a disorder and that one’s sexuality is not a choice and cannot be changed. Even though this study was done, being gay was still looked down upon. Even though this generation has become more understanding and gay people have more privileges, OK okay to make fun of me for it, I just let it go. It’s my life not theirs, they can’t tell me what’s right and wrong with me,” said another eighth grader who identifies as bisexual.
     Someone’s sexuality does not determine who they are as a person. Teens are struggling to deal with their sexuality and they are being bullied and harassed in school and their community, which are places they should feel safe. Students who are gay are struggling in their everyday lives and should not be judged on their personal preference, especially since they are so young. Teens being bullied about their sexual orientation is more of a problem than it should be.

Editor’s Note: This article is the opinion of the Cougar News Blog writer Skyler Wolfe. It is the first in a series of stories about serious issues such as depression, eating disorders, and women’s rights.

By Zachary Grattan
Cougar News Blog

     Doctor Strange is an action film, science fiction film, superhero movie, adventure film, and fantasy film which received a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The main character Dr. Stephen Strange, is played by actor Benedict Cumberbatch who has been in many movies like Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 12 Years As a Slave, and Star Trek Into Darkness. Other stars include Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, and Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius.
     Doctor Strange starts with a fight scene between two powerful beings that hits the viewer in the face with the twisting building and magical weapons that leaves them breathless. Strange’s story is about an extremely talented and rich doctor that winds up in a car accident that sends him almost flying through the rain, damaging his hands permanently. The injury ends his career as a brain surgeon and he spends all of his money on experimental procedures to restore his hands.
     After hearing about a man that was completely paralyzed who miraculously made a full recovery, he starts asking questions. This leads him to Kamar-Taj, a magical sanctuary for sorcery and ends up in the middle of a magical war against evil.
     The actors are perfect for their roles, the story is extremely intriguing, and it’s definitely different from other Marvel superhero movies. Mostly because it presents a sorcerer as a superhero.
     What I mostly liked is that the movie was almost completely unpredictable with a lot of twist and turns that kept me watching. It also does not fail to show the viewer the perspective, personality, and emotions of the characters, especially Doctor Strange.
     This movie is appropriate for most ages, but I wouldn’t recommend it for small children. There are some short graphic scenes like a beheading and multiple deaths. For those reasons the movie is rated PG-13. I personally recomend this movie and rate it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

By Chloe Mayes
Cougar News Blog

      Trolls is a heartwarming movie about a crazy adventure that Poppy and Branch make together to save all their friends. Poppy, played by Anna Kendrick, is the princess and the most happy and joyful troll of all her subjects. Branch, played by Justin Timberlake, is the opposite of Poppy; he is an overprotective, over-prepared troll. They both set out on an adventure to save all of the other trolls that have been taken by the Bergens that invaded Troll Village, which means they have to put their differences behind them. This movie was based off of the troll dolls that were popular in the 1980s. Trolls was directed by Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn.
      The Bergens are meat eaters that devour the trolls. They believe that in order to be happy they have to eat trolls. Whereas the trolls believe in singing, dancing, and hugging. In this movie, the trolls escape from the Bergens, only to be rediscovered by them years later.
      This movie is worth watching for families and people of all ages; it teaches the lesson to never give up, like how Poppy never gives up even though there is a lot in her way. This film has comedy that will make people of any age laugh. Although this film has many great qualities, such as its special features, it is really short. This film is only an hour and a half, whereas other movies are usually an hour and 45 minutes to two hours. It did seem to be a little rushed, but overall it was a great movie.
      I would rate Trolls 4 out of 5 stars. I feel like this movie was very good quality, although I feel like they should have made it a little longer. I recommend this movie to people of all ages that are looking for a good laugh.

Jaden Unise, 8, serves up a cup during the NJHS chili cook-off on Oct. 26.

Jaden Unise, 8, serves up a cup during the NJHS chili cook-off on Oct. 26.

By Anyssa Pena
Cougar News Blog

      Members of the NJHS raised over $300 for Project Help on Oct. 26 with its third annual chili cook-off.
      The money raised from this event will go towards purchasing turkey dinners for families in need this holiday season as well as assist in purchasing holiday gifts for children through the Angel Tree project.
      The event included many different chilis entered in by the contestants. Students and parents could enter a chilli dish or come out to try the chilli and vote.
      Mrs. Schroeder was happy with the the turnout and the amount of money raised.
      “I believe that this year was a successful fundraiser as we had a nice turnout of over 15 chili entries,” she said. “In addition, we raised more funds with this event this year than in years prior.
      The chili cook-off is a fundraiser for NJHS students to learn leadership skills like accountability, teamwork, and time management. Mrs. Schroeder is in charge of organizing it so she does have some expectations from the student to show that they are responsible enough to have another fundraiser.
      “My expectations of my NJHS students in hosting organized community events, is to learn communication, dependability, and a sense of responsibility and citizenship within their community,” said Schroeder.
      Even with the success of the event, the group is already thinking about next year’s cook-off.
      “I am always looking for new ideas and ways to improve events,” said Schroeder.