Monday, November 29, 2010

Eating Disorders

"Eating disorders are on the rise among children and teens, according to a report published in Pediatrics Monday. Disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are increasing in male children and minorities, and also are occurring in countries where such cases have not been seen, according to the report. Lead author, Dr. David Rosen noted that eating disorders also are beginning younger meaning below the age of 12. The report also estimates that 0.5 percent of teenage girls in the United States have anorexia nervosa, and 1 percent to 2 percent met criteria for bulimia nervosa. And males make up about 10 percent of all eating disorder cases, according to the report. This spike in eating disorders paradoxically accompanied another alarming trend - about 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 are estimated to be obese. (Eating Disorders Increase)"

As the percentage of obese Americans rises the pressure put on kids to be active and diet, so they do not become overweight, rises too. This pressure and the image Hollywood has given to kids about what is beautiful has caused some kids to develop eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia. While the pressure to be thin is targeted to everyone, cheerleaders are especially vulnerable to this pressure. Being a flyer, I am under constant pressure to stay thin and light because girls my size are lifting and throwing me into the air; and the lighter I am, the easier it is for them to do this. Also, with uniforms showing more and more skin, the pressure to have a perfect body keeps increasing. Some college programs even mandate that their cheerleaders have a certain body fat percentage to be on their squad. I understand that obesity is becoming a serious problem for our country, but it needs to be less of a commercialized thing and more of a deal with it at the home issue. I know my school had done a BMI rating before, and I don't think that they should have. First off a child’s height and weight tell you very little; for example I was 5'2" and 120 lbs when my school had done this rating and my BMI concluded that I was at risk for becoming obese; I am now 18 and still at this height and weight and anyone by looking at me would never conclude that I was at risk for being obese. This inaccurate BMI rating, if I would have taken it seriously, could have caused me to have an eating disorder. I believe that all the talk about not eating this or that because it's unhealthy and you need to exercise everyday is giving kids the wrong idea. Where as the media's trying to help instill these habits; kids are taking it to the extreme, instead of just trying to be healthy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner Part 2, Seafood Edition

My family has the tradition of going out to a seafood buffet the day after Thanksgiving. For my big Italian family, one day of stuffing their faces is not enough. So everyone that goes to our family's Thanksgiving dinner, goes out to the seafood buffet on Friday. We have a competition to see which table can fill the most buckets with their shells. This year my table was victorious, filling four buckets with crab legs, shrimp shells, and muscle shells. By next year, my family will probably try to plan the whole week of Thanksgiving around food.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Controversial Research

"For only the second time in history, the Food and Drug Administration has approved human trial of a therapy developed from embryonic stem cells. The FDA granted approval to start a clinical trial using cells grown from human embryonic stem cells.  The treatment will be for an inherited degenerative eye disease. The company is hoping to find a cure for, Stargardt Macular Dystrophy, the most common form of juvenile macular degeneration, for which there is currently no cure.  It affects about 1 in 10,000 children. People with this disease usually start losing their sight between the ages of 8 to 10 years and can be legally blind by the time they reach their 30s says Caldwell. ACT developed a method in which only one stem cell is removed from an embryo, similar to a method used in some fertility clinics to test an embryo for genetic abnormalities.  That stem cell is then used to grow many more stem cells.  By removing only one stem cell, the embryo is not destroyed. (Embryonic Stem Cells)"

While stem cell research has been in the news for a few years now, it seems that scientists are finally becoming able to use what they have learned to start testing new ways for treatment. Also the fact that they now understand how to take just one cell out of the embryo and culture it so that it produces more stem cells, instead of having to destroy the embryo, should make people of the  "Pro-Life" side a little more supportive of the research. Using stem cells to try to find a cure for Stargardt Macular Dystrophy is just the start of the research. Now that the FDA has approved this clinical trial, I'm sure there will be more on the way.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cheerleading: Now and Then

My mother was a varsity cheerleader in high school and often tells me about how things were, when she cheered. Even though the basic idea of cheerleading, to lead and pump-up a crowd, has stayed the same; the way it's accomplished has changed.


Then: They were simple, easy to follow cheers. Cheerleaders were just yelling the cheers out; no motions or stunts were incorporated.
Now: Not every cheer is a "call back" cheer or one that the crowd can answer back to. Also, stunts, jumps, tumbling, and motions are incorporated into almost every cheer. Cheers are more of a way to impress the crowd than to get them involved.


Then: Like cheers, these were also simple. Also, they were rarely done. When they were, they were no higher than shoulder level and were stunts like thigh stands and shoulder sits; Simple stunts, which could be used to get the crowds attention.
Now: The extensive use of these now has made cheerleading more of a sport than a club or activity. Instead of the shoulder level stunts, cheerleaders are now throwing girls into the air; flyers are standing on one leg and twisting out of everything; and double level stunts are seen at college events. With these new advances in
difficulty, injuries have also become a big part of the sport.


Then: Cartwheels, round-offs, and we'll put splits in this category even though they aren't really tumbling, were the only form of gymnastics seen. Again, these skills were put into halftime routines to get the crowds attention.
Now: Cartwheels and round-offs are things you can do when you're in elementary school; and if you're serious about cheerleading you have more advanced tumbling skills by the time you're in high school. It's not uncommon for a varsity team to require a tumbling skill, like a back handspring or standing tuck, to make the team. This skill has definitely become more important in the world of cheerleading.

Cheerleading actually started out as an all male sport, but through the years has changed into a mostly female dominated activity. Also, even though it started in American, cheerleading is now a universal sport. Jumps have stayed the same throughout the years, while dancing and uniforms have changed with the times. Competitions are a big part of the cheerleading world today; there are even teams that do only this. Back in the day, competing was very rare. It seems cheerleading is moving away from its original purpose, leading and pumping-up the crowd at a sporting event, to a sport of its own, with its own set of fans.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, I can't help but think this might be my last Thanksgiving at home with my family. Next year I'll be at college and depending on where I end up deciding to go, I might not be home next year at this time. With my family, Thanksgiving starts at my aunt’s house around dinner time. My aunt's family makes the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing; and everyone else brings another side dish, dessert, or drink. My mom usually makes sweet potato casserole and some sort of dessert; she usually comes up with a new one every year. We sit around and talk, while we wait for everyone to get there. This can take some time because my mom is one of seven kids; all of which come with their family, so my Thanksgiving is spent with my 50 or so relatives. Once the house is packed full, we all stand around the kitchen and hold hands and my aunt gives a blessing. Next comes the best part, we get to start eating. My cousin's and I are always first in line. Then we all sit down and eat. Even though most of my cousins are around the age of 20 now; we still sit at the "kiddy table", this tiny pop-up table that we all hardly fit around. So while we are all bumping elbows, we engulf our food and move right on to dessert. Once all the adults are done eating the games begin. My uncles and some of my older male cousins sit around the "kiddy table" which they move into the living room, and play poker while they watch football. The rest of us always play Scattergories. Now, my family’s very competitive and this game usually turns bad once someone starts making up words or trying to find loop-holes in the rules. My one older cousin, if not in the lead, will start challenging words and arguing about if the word fits under the category or not. After we get sick of playing games, we just all sit in the living room talking and reminiscing. The same stories are always told and I can almost recite them from memory. My one uncle is always the butt of everyone's jokes, but he brought it upon himself. I mean, who rips off their shirt to kill a gardener snake with a baseball bat? After all the stories have been told and the laughs have been had, everyone packs up their leftovers and we go home. My big Italian family rarely leaves that many leftovers but they always leave many memories.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Scan For Skin Cancer

The machine, called MelaFind, is intended to examine lesions that doctors think have one or more characteristics of melanoma. Today, most lesions that look cancerous are biopsied. Many of those lesions turn out to be non-malignant. With a MelaFind, a dermatologist can scan the lesions, relying on the machine to identify early melanoma. If the machine does detect cancer, the doctor can proceed with a biopsy, but if the machine finds the lesion to be noncancerous, the patient does not have to go through unnecessary surgery to the skin. (Detect Melanoma Without Cutting Skin)"

Once again technology amazes me. Just think, they could make it mandatory for everyone once a year at a check up to get scanned for skin cancer. Now, cost could be a big factor here but if they could somehow have this covered under normal health insurance, this could save so many people. Melanoma, if it is caught in its early stages, is almost 100 percent curable. And especially with tanning becoming so popular among female teens, cases of melanoma are starting to pop up more and more. If this machine becomes part of every hospital, melanoma could almost be wiped out. This machine, if it does what its statistics say, could help doctors catch melanoma in its early stages and cut the rate of people actually getting full-blown skin cancer in half, at least. It seems like there is a new machine or medical advance almost everyday; I can only imagine what will come out next.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Public Banking

"When Leidy Sanchez and her husband, Carlos Reyes, went to the hospital last week to deliver their baby, a nurse got her a gown, hooked her up to a fetal monitor and asked an unexpected question: Would they like to donate cells from their baby's umbilical cord blood to a public bank? "We said, 'For real, people are doing this?' " says Sanchez. "We'd never heard of it." The couple had heard of private banking, where you pay thousands of dollars to store your baby's cord blood cells, but this was different. The stem cells from Christopher's umbilical cord would be stored, free of charge, at a public bank for potentially anyone in need of a stem cell transplant for leukemia, sickle cell anemia or dozens of other diseases. (Public Banking)"

Until I read this article I had no idea this was even something you could have done with umbilical cells. But thinking about it, this is a great idea. You can, free of cost, have your child's umbilical blood cells saved. These cells could later be used to save someone's life, possibly even someone in your own family. However, the cells most likely can't be used to save the child's life they were taken from because if the child is ill then the cells taken from them would be diseased as well. But there is a study going on now to see if the child's own cells could be used to treat cerebral palsy or brain damage caused by low oxygen at birth. Once again medicine is using these things we usually throw out and turning them into ways to cure "incurable" diseases.

To Nfinity And Beyond...

No, this has nothing to do with Buzz Lightyear or Toy Story. Nfinity's are a brand of cheerleading shoes; they also make volleyball and basketball shoes. They're the lightest and most flexible shoe on the market for cheerleaders. Why does the weight and flexibility matter? Well, as a gymnast turned cheerleader, I learned to tumble without shoes so when I first tried to tumble with them on it was a lot different. The weight of normal sneakers weigh you down, where as these shoes feel light as air and the flexibility lets your feet move as if you were barefoot. However, they are a bit pricey; mine cost $70, but you could pay over $100 for a good pair of running sneakers and as a cheerleader these are the only sneakers I own. So in the long run they're not that expensive. Right now, they have three different styles of cheerleading shoes; the evolution (what I own), the passion, and the phoenix. These other two styles run about the same in cost. The only difference between the styles is weight and the materials they're made out of. I've been to many competitions over my 12 years of cheerleading and now, it seems like every cheerleader owns these shoes. I honestly think these are the best shoes you can get for the sport.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hollywood Meets Biology

"Dr. Lue is one of the pioneers of molecular animation, a rapidly growing field that seeks to bring the power of cinema to biology. Building on decades of research and mountains of data, scientists and animators are now recreating in vivid detail the complex inner machinery of living cells. “The ability to animate really gives biologists a chance to think about things in a whole new way,” said Janet Iwasa, a cell biologist who now works as a molecular animator at Harvard Medical School. (Molecular Animation)"

Last year in my AP Biology class, we actually watched an animation of the human cell made by Harvard's molecular animation department. The video showed every organelle in the cell moving and functioning the way it was described in our textbooks. As a visual learner this really helped me to understand and get an idea of what is going on inside every cell. These animations will be a great teaching tool for teachers and professors to use to help students who learn through visuals understand more concepts. The video we watched was really neat; they used bright and vibrant colors and had the organelles of the cell slinking and sliding their way around the cytoplasm.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Get The Equipment

Cheerleading uniforms, warm-ups, camp wear, shoes, body liners, briefs, socks, and bows; at the beginning of the season, your coach picks out all these things and you order them. However, what if you want to buy say new shoes on your own; where do they find these items? The most popular cheerleading gear company is Varsity, but they can also be a bit pricey. However, the quality of their merchandise is very good; so if you're looking to get the best of something and don't mind spending a little more for it then I'd order from Varsity. Varsity also stands behind all of their equipment, so if you ever have a problem with something; they'll replace it for free, you may have to pay shipping though. Team Cheer, The Cheerleading Company, and Cheer Zone are also other cheerleading apparel companies. These companies sell the same brands of shoes, but the rest of their equipment is unique to their companies. So if you're looking for something unique and different, you might want to try shopping here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Big 33

"2011 PNC Big 33 Football Classic will mark the 54th year of outstanding football. The game is known as the “Super Bowl of High School football. Each year the game is shown on national TV and provides a great opportunity to showcase the best graduating seniors from Pennsylvania and Ohio. (Big 33)"

I was lucky enough to be nominated by my cheerleading coach to tryout for the Big 33. I didn't really know what to expect, but once I arrived I realized there was about 30 other girls just like me there to tryout for a spot on one of the squads. Our day consisted of learning a cheer and dance, tumbling, jumping, and some stunting. We were taught a dance and cheer and then evaluated on it about an hour later; talk about pressure. We also were evaluated on our jumping and tumbling skills. Lastly, they wanted us to do a few one-legged stunts, mainly to see what the flyers could do. Being a flyer, I had to show off my best one-legged stunts, flying on a group of girls who have never lifted me before. I always find it humorous when someone lifts me for the first time because I always get the same reaction, "You're so light!" Now I'm definitely not the smallest 18 year old, and sometimes people in this sport don't always look at me and think flyer; but I've been flying since I was 6 and I've learned to hold my weight so I feel lighter than I am. Needless to say, they were a strong group and very sturdy to fly on; so I hit my heel-stretch and scorpion with confidence. I really hope I make the squad. If I do I will get paired up with a Special Needs child and he or she will cheer along side me at the big game. This year the kids have a big surprise waiting for them; they get to wear cheerleading uniforms, just like ours. We won't find out the results till December but I really hope I get the opportunity to experience an event like this one.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tis The Season

The 2010-2011 cheerleading competition has begun. Today my squad competed in our very first competition of the year. We hosted this competition and pulled out a first place in the small varsity division and an award for best dance. We dedicated our performance to Averie. Averie, a sister of one of my teammates, passed away last week at the age of one; she had had a terminal illness since birth. We went out on the floor as a team and gave it our all. We tried our best and the crowd gasped in "awe" when I did a front flip dismount out of our pyramid. We started off on the right foot and now next week we'll travel to our next competition. We'll be fixing up a few things and working on tumbling this week at practice; hoping to make next weeks performance even better than today's.

Friday, November 12, 2010


The opening night of "Masterpiece Theater" was a huge success. The auditorium was nearly filled and the crowd seemed to enjoy our twists on some of the classics. Our skit got many laughs; mostly do to some hilarious costuming but also due to our book being the most familiar to the audience, no matter what age. All the vocalist did great and everything went as planned. Everyone did a great job memorizing their lines and adding themselves into the characters. Hopefully tonight goes just as well and if you attended last night, think about attending again. Many of the skits were going to change things up a bit for tonight's performance so maybe you'll find tonight's show more entertaining.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Opening Night

Tonight's the opening night for the Class of 2011's senior show, “Masterpiece Theater”. We'll put on a performance tonight and tomorrow, starting at 8 o'clock. The skits featured include: The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlet Letter, Green Eggs and Ham, Benjamin Franklin's Virtues, and The Raven. Each skit has a modern twist to it and most contain modern day music; either being performed by a vocalist or lip-synced.

I unfortunately didn't make it to dress rehearsal due to having cheerleading practice, so the costumes and final performances will be a surprise to me. My group actually had one of our members drop out due to an illness in his family and we've been trying to rework our skit. Hopefully tonight it all comes together. I hope all goes well tonight and everyone performing has a great time. After Friday night, I can check senior show off my list of things to participate in my senior year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Information Age: Ruining Today's Youth?

"All that texting and social networking by teenagers could come back to byte them. A new study by the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine links poor health behaviors -- including smoking, drinking and sexual activity -- to hyper-texting and hyper-networking. The study defines hyper-texting as sending more than 120 messages a day. Hyper-networking is spending more than three hours per school day on social network sites like Facebook, it said. (Hyper-Texting Teens)"

While I can believe this, I don't think it's entirely these forms of communication's fault. While texting and Facebook does make it easier to communicate to more people privately and therefore, gives teens more of a chance to talk about and plan these kinds of activities, I don't think we can solely blame this behavior on the ways we communicate. Our society and what it values must also be taken into consideration. Our society has put good values on a back burner and what teens today see is Hollywood stars that are their age that are engaging in these activities and they look up to them and want to do these things themselves. I think these bad role models and the easiness of communicating with other teens privately have caused this spike in this kind of behavior.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Human Skin to Blood

"Researchers at Canada's McMaster University report that they've figured out how to make blood out of human skin. The breakthrough could eventually mean that patients needing blood for surgery, cancer treatment or treatment of blood conditions like anemia will be able to have blood created from a patch of their own skin to provide transfusions, the university said. (From Skin To Blood)"

This is a huge breakthrough for medical science. The thought of taking your own skin and turning it into blood that could be used in a transfusion for yourself, is astounding. This could help so many people and provide a safer way to get blood. If you're making blood out of your own skin that cuts the risk of getting a disease from a blood transfusion to zero percent. Now as amazing as this discovery is, it'll still be a long time before this process is commercialized and used in hospitals all around the country. However, once this does start to become a part of everyday medical practice, the medical world will never be the same. If this proves to be as great a discovery as it sounds, there might never have to be another blood drive.

"The scientists were able to convert the cells directly without first converting them to pluripotent stem cells - the kind that can grow into any type of organ or tissue - and then converting them again to blood, Bhatia said."

This in itself is remarkable. From my knowledge, this is the first cell they have been able to convert from one type to another without wiping it free of its DNA first and then inserting new.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Half Days of School...

My school adopted this new program this year, where once a month the students get a half day of school; they’re called Act 80 Days. We get to come in at the regular time, classes are shortened, we eat lunch early, and then we get to go home by one o'clock. The teachers, however, have to stay the rest of the school day and have a meeting about how they can improve their teaching style. For us students, these days are the greatest thing our school district could have done for us. I mean what high school student doesn't love to get out of school early. We have one this Thursday and then we have off Friday for a teacher’s in-service day, so this weekend will be a nice long one.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Newest Epidemic?

"Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a bacterial disease that spreads through the air and makes it difficult for people to eat, drink and breathe by blocking their airways. The disease tends to yield milder effects among adults and older children than infants, for whom whooping cough may lead to severe seizures, respiratory infections and death. (Whooping Cough)"

On Friday we received a paper from our school informing us that someone in our building had the whooping cough and we were to take necessary precautions to prevent from contracting it ourselves. This seems to be becoming an epidemic; maybe not among adults but among children. This disease seems harmless enough; it's just a cough. However, this cough can lead to many other medical complications which are very dangerous for small children to have. My advice would be to get the vaccine that many hospitals and health providers are providing.

The End Has Come

Friday night ended our 2010 football season. It was freezing outside, with some sleet coming down at the beginning of the game. The boys played hard but the other team had more motivation than we did and in the end that's what won them the game. The final score was 41-14. Unfortunately we went out on a loss but we still ended the season 6-4; which is not too bad of a record. I'm still disappointed that we never lived up to expectations but it is what it is. Now instead of spending my Friday nights under the lights cheering on the football team, I'll spend those nights with friends. As much as I hate to see this season end, I'm ready for some extra free time. And now on to competition, basketball, and wrestling season. It seems like life never slows down for me in the cheerleading department.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The End Is Near...

Tonight at 7 pm., I will cheer in my final high school football game. Our record so far is 6-3, and we hope to make it 7-3 tonight; finishing off our season with a win. This game will be bitter sweet for us seniors. On one hand we'll finally get our Friday nights off and have more time to spend with our friends, but also it will be the last football game of our senior year; for most of the seniors it will be the last time they play this sport on a team. I plan to cheer in college so for me, this is just another end of a season; but for some of the girls this is the last Friday night they'll spend cheering on the sidelines under the lights. I'm sure after the clock runs out in the fourth quarter, no matter what the outcome, there will be some tears. Even though we've had a winning season, we're not going to the play-offs. This is also a huge disappointment to us seniors, who watched the seniors our freshman year make it all the way to the state quarterfinal play-offs. I cheered for varsity my freshman year and actually cheered at that game. We played Strong Vincent in Erie. It was Saturday December 1, 2007 and the snow was falling. We had just come off a game which we won 54-0 and expectations were high. Unfortunately we lost the game, but our team went down in history as the only team from our county to advance that far in the state play-offs. My four years I've been cheering for the school have been four great ones; I've gained friends and watched our team go from an amazing year to two rebuilding seasons to this year, which I thought was going to be a repeat of my freshman year. I won't lie, I'm a little disappointed that we won't have the chance to move on but all good things must come to an end.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

5 Ways Your Cell Phone Can Save Your Life

"1. Program your cell so people can find you
If you're lying unconscious somewhere, how would anyone locate you? Verizon, Sprint and AT&T all have locators where you can find members of your family. In addition, you can do a search on iTunes for applications that use your smartphone's GPS to let you know where you are.

2. Put your "in case of emergency" contact into your cell phone
The trick here is to put your "ICE" information into your cell in as big and obvious a way as possible. Connie Meyer, the incoming president of the National Association of EMTs, suggests putting the "ICE" information into your contact list under "ICE." "Most EMTs know to look for that," says Meyer, a paramedic and registered nurse. "And make sure your ICE contact is someone who really knows your medical history."

3. Put your medical information on your cell
If you have a particular medical condition or are taking certain drugs, emergency workers need to know. You can put that information in the same place as your ICE contact, and you can also get an app that stores it. Choose an app that puts the information (or an icon leading to it) on the front screen of your phone so it's easy to find. Jared makes one for your BlackBerry and Polka makes one that goes on the front screen of your iPhone, which will work even if your phone is locked.

4. Get an app that teaches you first aid and CPR
Several groups, including the American Heart Association, have an app for that.

5. Find help nearby
Several apps, such as iTriage or DocGPS, will direct you to the nearest emergency room."
(5 Ways Your Cell Phone Can Save Your Life)

In today's day and age pretty much everyone, even children, have a cell phone; so this is a great idea. This could help out not just in car wrecks but also in missing person cases. Say a child is kidnapped; if they have their cell phone on them and it's programed with a locator, the police on the case could use this to find the child more quickly and easier. Programing your phone with these easy tips and downloading these apps for your smart phone could maybe one day save your life; so take these tips to heart.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Competition Season Is Right Around The Corner...

Typical Cheerleading Gym - pretty much just a
giant building with a large blue mat

Next Saturday my squad will compete in our first competition of the season. Every Wednesday starting last week and ending next week, we travel about half an hour to practice on a full spring floor. At our school we don't have the money or storage for a full size competition floor so we have to travel to practice on one; this is what we have been doing every Wednesday to make sure we have our spacing right and so that we may practice our routine full out. These are the practices that take endurance and perseverance because this is the first time this year we have run this routine with all the tumbling and stunts, so the first few times will seem like a real workout. Also, these are the practice that we really need everyone to attend because like my coach always says, "no one sits the bench in cheerleading."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All-Star Competitive Cheerleading

Along with High School Competition squads, there are also All-Star squads. All-Star squads have their own practice building and consist of kids from a surrounding area, not just from one school. They practice only once a week and each All-Star "company" has different levels of teams. Each level has special regulations that tell them what stunts and tumbling they are allowed to perform. (Regulations For Level 1-6 All-Star Cheerleading) They have to have a two minute routine just like high school competition squads. The only difference is they do not have to have a cheer; usually they have a voice over in their music of a short chant. All-Star squads usually have anywhere from 20-40 members on a team; this is the most significant difference from a high school squad. Also their uniforms are noticeably different. While high school squads have more clean cut and simple uniforms; All-Star squads have flashy and usually mid-drift baring uniforms. Another difference from high school squads is the cost. You must not only pay for your uniform but you must pay to just simply be on the squad. The cost can range anywhere from $25-$100 per month. Some also require you to pay for each competition you attend; which usually is around $100 per athlete. Besides the cost, another significant difference from high school squads is they must also provide their own transportation to and from competitions. Also All-Star squads definitely put more emphasis on the tumbling aspect of cheerleading, where in high school it's great if you have it  but it's not required to make the team. Also I feel this should be obvious but it might not be but All-Star squads do not compete again high school squads at competitions; they are in their own division. The divisions in All Star cheerleading are: Mini Level1 (this squad consists of 3-5 year olds), Youth Level1-3 (this squad consists of elementary school aged children and the level varies depending on the experience and talent of the squad; however, they usually do not go higher than a level 3 due to difficulty of stunts for children this age), Junior Level1-5 (this squad consists of middle school aged kids and level also varies depending on ability), and Senior Level 1-6 (this squad consists of high school aged kids, with level again depending on ability). The All-Star competition season is also from November through March. So that means this month starts the season and I personally can't wait.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Teens Are Losing Sleep From Texting

"A new study out of JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey finds that teens and tweens are texting when they should be sleeping and it may be causing mood or learning problems. In the study, 40 kids treated at the medical center's sleep clinic were surveyed. These are kids who came to the clinic complaining of trouble falling asleep and daytime sleepiness. Researchers found those kids sent an average of 34 texts a night and woke up once a night to answer a call or a text.  Dr. Peter Polos of the JFK Medical Center said, "Unless you take the cell phone away from the child, they are really at freedom to do whatever they want, sort of, whenever they want." In addition, kids who reported texting or using the internet at night were more likely to say they suffered from anxiety, depression, a-d-h-d and learning difficulties. However this study did not say texting or surfing the web actually caused those conditions." (Teens Lose Sleep From Texting)

This is very true; I can remember countless times when I myself have been woken up on a school night by a text or call from a friend in the middle of the night. However, I do sleep with my phone on my pillow; teens that keep their phone on a night stand may be less likely to wake up due to not hearing the phone go off. This does seem to be becoming an issue, especially since it's taking away from the hours of sleep a teen needs to function. However, this is an easy fix; turn the phone on silent when you go to bed. You may still use it as an alarm and sleep with it. This easy fix will keep you from being woken up in the middle of the night again.