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January/February 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

By Colin Kermode

Warning!  Major spoilers ahead!  Read at your own risk!


Star Wars: The Last Jedi was an amazing film to most and horrible to others. Yet, it is full of surprises, and the story really develops the characters. Some highlights are in the beginning of the film, we are introduced with a reference to the first movie, A New Hope, with a Dreadnaught chasing a rebel ship.


As the story moves forwards, newly found Jedi, Rey, is found on an island attempting to convince Luke to help fight the Empire, but Luke is reluctant. On the island, Rey is found to have a strong power and connection with the force, equal to Kylo Ren, hinting they might be related with them also talking to each other’s her in different locations.


As we go back to the ship we learn it is running out of fuel and they are being tracked through light speed. A part of the ship is later blown up and Princess/Commander Leia is sucked into the vacuum of space. She freezes and seems to be dead, but then uses the force to carry herself back to the ship and is put in intensive care.


Star WarsThis movie is great but it does have its flaws. There’s not enough story happening: in the original movies there were a lot of switches between characters and the stories rarely or barely intertwined. Also, Disney did not focus on physics: for example, cannon blasts would curve while, according to science class, they should only go in a straight line. Also, the movie portrayed Luke Skywalker as a weak man, yet he is a Jedi Master and has endured many hardships. The movie just broke a lot of the lore. The ending will not be talked about because it ruins the end. Overall, this movie deserves a 7/10 in the opinion of a fan of Star Wars. Although for a Star Wars movie it deserves a 6/10.


Personal Star Wars Rating

  1. 5/10 Phantom Menace
  2. 4/10 Attack of the Clones
  3. 6/10 Revenge of the Sith
  4. 7/10 Rogue One
  5. 8/10 A New Hope
  6. 9/10 Empire Strikes Back
  7. 10/10 Return of the Jedi
  8. 4/10 The Force Awakens
  9. 6/10 The Last Jedi

What is a holiday tradition that your family does?

By Ella Stevenson


For my December article, I decided to go around my SSR classroom to interview my classmates. Each person was asked, “What holiday traditions their family does?”


There were many fun and unique traditions. Hannah Egan said, “We get a really big tree and invite our block to a party. Then we separate all our neighbors into groups to find the tree’s ornaments and we give out prizes.”


Many people can agree that this tradition sounds really fun. Some of the family traditions involve food. Like Keira McPhie said, “For breakfast we have cinnamon rolls” and Nate Peters’ family does “candy making.” Sophie Harlan’s family tradition also includes food. She told me that her family “has a one day bake day where we bake Christmas cookies and pass them out to all our friends and family.” Those all sound like great and yummy traditions. All of the traditions involved family being together and doing fun activities and that sounds like the perfect way to spend the holidays.

Boys' Basketball Update

By Nathan Peters


Boys’ basketball tryouts have just been completed and the teams have been chosen. The eighth grade team and the seventh grade team both have 13 players on them and the coaches are Mr. Harrell and Mr. Savage respectively. Their first practice was December 4, 2017 and their first game is January 11, 2018. They practice on Mondays, Tuesday, and Thursdays. On Tuesdays the teams practice separately from each other. The seventh grade team practices in the morning and the eighth grade team practices in the afternoon. Congratulations to the teams and coaches at Ensign and good luck with the season!

Who We Are...

Writers: Nikki Blanchard, Olivia Borland, Haley Dodman, Hannah Egan, Makaelee Hansberger, Sophie Harlan, Abby Hickson, Samantha Joseph, Colin Kermode, Morgan Lamond, Aliana Lloyd, Stephanie Martinez, Cindy Mayares, Keira McPhie, Nathan Peters, Ella Stevenson

Editor: Colin Kermode, Aliana Lloyd

Instagram: Nikki Blanchard, Makaelee Hansberger

Webmaster: Abby Hickson, Morgan Lamond

Advisor: Kristine Cross

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College and all A’s are not the answer

By Colin Kermode


College may seem like a great way to make a living and prevail in life but that is only true in some cases. First off, the people who can make it into college have aced school but not aced life. Most lack the experience an employer looks for. They are also too afraid of failure, and this is where others prevail. Failure is a major part of success in business. When running a business as a CEO, you can’t be afraid of failure. Failure leads to greater ideas, but many all A students are afraid of that. They cater to the teachers needs rather than being original and taking a risk. For example, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates do not have degrees and are some of the most successful men in the world.


College is good if a person wants a professional job, but it takes more than a college degree to get far in life. The only true way to succeed is to not be afraid of failure. College is good, but there is more to being a success. After college, you still need a job and an employer is going to want a person with years of experience without a degree instead of a fresh out of college student any day. I have an idea to fix this: instead of telling children to study hard, say to also practice hard and figure out what they want to do.


Another example is on MasterChef Junior: the kids have not taken a cooking class, but cook restaurant quality food from home because of experience. Studying and doing are different. If you’re not good at school, there are always options, plumbers and electricians can make over 100,000 a year especially if you start a company. This is why America is the greatest country, we have the American dream, the idea of being able to be successful without coming from a wealthy family and simply having experience, without a formal education.

What is NJHS?

By Nathan Peters


NJHS or the National Junior Honor Society is a group of students on campus lead by Mrs. Cross and Mrs. Tolles. This group of students are students who have shown academic prowess, citizenship, and generosity to their community. NJHS goes on three field trips throughout the students' eighth-grade year to various college campuses. These trips usually take the entire school day. This club also hosts an annual food drive to help those in need. This year NJHS collected four boxes of food. Once in high school, NJHS students also can join its high school counterpart called NHS or National Honor Society. In conclusion, NJHS is a club at school focused on enriching students and our community.

Popular Local Restaurants In Newport-Mesa

By Haley Dodman


In this article, you will learn about three local restaurants that have amazing reviews and amazing food. Even if you don’t like the types of food served at these places, you should still stop by and try them. Each has a unique type of food, history, decor, and reviews! So keep reading from here.

The Old Spaghetti Factory:

The Old Spaghetti Factory has been up and running for fifty years now by the Dussin family. Their love of traditional Italian food is spread to all sorts of Spaghetti factory fans across America. The first Old Spaghetti Factory was opened in Portland, Oregon on January 10, 1969 by Guss and Sally Dussin. For over 48 years this restaurant has been running and making Italian food lovers happy for generations and generations to come. If you’re in Newport Beach and are craving an amazing Italian meal, stop by the Old Spaghetti Factory and get a bite to eat. Its history will add even more flavor to its menu. 


Zen Sushi:

If you’re craving an exquisite meal filled with fresh seafood, chicken, and beef, Zen Sushi is the place to go. Located right here in Newport Beach, Zen Sushi is easy to reach and easy to enjoy. Looking at the reviews, these top remarks from locals ensure an amazing outcome. With rolls, steaks, tempuras, and drinks of all flavors, one can enjoy the wonders of Japanese food in a beautiful area. The decor reflects radiant reds, stone counters, smooth, wooden tables, everything one needs to lay back, relax, and enjoy the food they serve. Some of Zen Sushi’s specialty items are the California rolls, crunch rolls, and the delicious jumbo shrimp. Stop by sometime and try out the food; I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Great Mex:

Have you ever driven around the city in circles looking for the perfect place to eat, but in the end, get McDonald’s takeout and go home? If so or even if you haven’t, I have a "great" recommendation. Try Great Mex, a restaurant filled with authentic Mexican food and a lot of satisfaction. Located on Newport Blvd., this place filled with tacos and tostadas causes crazy good reviews. On every review, someone uses the word “love,” or states how many times they go in over the week and holiday. Some of the outstanding menu items are the shrimp tacos, omelettes (they serve breakfast too), and their sloppy joes! Come on into this amazing restaurant and give it a try!  

Net Neutrality

By Stephanie Martinez


Net neutrality is a principle where all data on the Internet is the same and there are no charges based on the use of media. The decision that the Internet is a resource (information service) and should therefore not be regulated was decided in 2005, meaning that Internet providers should not control what we see and/or do online. Eliminating net neutrality would mean faster Internet services for people willing to pay and slower ones for those unwilling to pay. Those that do pay what will be high prices will receive a wider variety of websites, whereas non-payers will receive limited choices, as well as slow service.


W. Kamau Bell stated that having no net neutrality "ensure[s] that anyone who puts something on the Internet has a fair shot at finding a life-changing audience [on the topic of popularity and success through the internet]." But is this so-called benefit really worthy of charging high fees for something that has now become part of our everyday life? Because, as I see it, would only be advantageous to those receiving the money, for even those intending to pay for faster services will be deprived of large amounts of their money. Freedom of the press in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Nowadays, ensuring that our voice is heard seems to be more effective (and efficient) through sources such as the Internet, but ending net neutrality will mean more protests that may include violence.


The Internet. Not only is it a large "net" that connects those who hold the same or similar opinion, but it is also a joining platform where those who may have different ideas may get their point of view considered. This allows for the sharing of ideas between two opposing parties so that others' beliefs may be contemplated and reasons may be rethought. Without net neutrality, there is sure to be riots, protests, loud gatherings, etc. because the internet will not be there for individuals to freely express their opinions. Therefore, we as a society and a nation should be able to keep receiving free Internet, as it is not only beneficial to the population, but it will also ensure more peace in the nation. Because, amidst what is going on, we should have a calm way to be representative of our ideas and opinions, right? After all, the opinion of the people matters.