The Birdwatch The Student News Site of McAuliffe Middle School Sat, 25 Jan 2020 00:58:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Star Wars’ The Mandalorin Sat, 25 Jan 2020 00:57:09 +0000 The highly entertaining new Star Wars series, “The Mandalorian,” is one of the main attractions of the Disney+ originals. 

Released on November 12, 2019, the series has been highly enjoyed with only eight episodes. It is an action and adventure fiction series. “The Mandalorian” is the first live-action Star Wars TV series starring Pedro Pascal as a lone gunfighter and bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Other actors include Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, Nick Nolte, and Taika Waitit. The music for the series was composed by ‎Ludwig Göransson. 

The show is about a lone gunfighter who makes his way through the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic. The Mandalorian, similar to Boba Fett, is a bounty hunter who kills people who committed crimes and in return receives money. Ethan Lim, a seventh grader attending McAuliffe Middle School comments, “I think the Mandalorian is very cool.”     

One day he gets offered an expensive and special bounty to go to the planet Arvala-7, and that is when he finds Baby Yoda, a fan-favorite character. Most people adore Baby Yoda because he is cute. Richie Guthrie, a seventh grader attending McAuliffe Middle School states, “I love baby Yoda.” 

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe known as The Mandalorian who is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. The series depicts a lone bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

Many people like this show because of Baby Yoda or because it is live-action and they are waiting for more, but from what most of us have learned, nothing is forever great.    

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What it’s Like to go to McAuliffe Middle School Sat, 25 Jan 2020 00:28:50 +0000 A day in the life of a McAullife Middle School student can vary, often including a range of routines, classes, and sports. One student who stands out from the crowd is eighth grader Alex Oprea.

Oprea’s day starts differently than most students at McAuliffe. He wakes up and goes to his first period class at the high school, which starts at 7:50 a.m. He goes there because French is not taught at McAuliffe. Then, Oprea takes the bus to the middle school campus and gets to school around 9 a.m. When the bus arrives, he walks to Mr. Fontaine´s room and helps as the classroom TA until first period ends. Afterward, Oprea enters Ms. Miller’s room for second period history where he studies American history and events like the Revolutionary War and the Constitution. 

After second period ends, kids attend their third period class, and for Oprea that would be Mrs. Lewis’ science class. Here, kids learn about the physical features of our world, such as the solar system and gravitational pulls. 

Next, he heads into his longest class of the day, which is core. Core covers language arts and reading, which is why it takes two periods of the day. His teacher for this class is Mrs. Barnett. During core, students learn writing skills, grammar, and analyze novels, such as Tangerine and The Crucible.   

After core, Oprea goes to lunch where he hangs out with friends and occasionally plays basketball. After lunch, he goes to Mr. McVicker for his last period of the day, math, where kids study functions like systems of equations.

Additionally, something unique about Oprea is that since he plays water polo daily, he has Independent Study instead of seventh period, which allows him to leave school at 2:19 to practice this sport.

When asked about the classes and community of students at McAuliffe, Oprea stated, “I like having classes that are new to me because it helps me learn interesting things. It also allows me to meet new people.”

This is just one example of a life of a McAuliffe student. A students’ day is unique from their peers as they vary by teachers, classmates, periods, and more.


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STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker (SPOILERS) Fri, 24 Jan 2020 21:22:13 +0000 There is a new Star Wars movie that has hit the movie theaters called “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which has already made more than 500 million dollars.

The movie starts off with Kylo Ren going to see Emperor Palpatine who has returned. Emperor Palpatine wants Kylo Ren to end Rey before she becomes a huge threat and do what his grandfather, Darth Vader, could not do: to rule the galaxy.

After that, it shows the famous Millenium Falcon on board with Chewbacca, Poe and Finn trying to get the map to find a dagger that has the secret sith writings on it. TIE fighters come to destroy the Millenium Falcon, and you get a dog fight with the Millennium Falcon jumping into light speed about every 10 seconds. They are finding themselves in different places in the galaxy, and this is when the movie begins.

According to, “Critics didn’t love The Rise of Skywalker, many calling it more or less what Abrams said it would be: a movie more preoccupied with pleasing fans than telling an ambitious story.”

This Star Wars movie had the surprising return of Han Solo, starring Harrison Ford. Ford does not like playing Han Solo and specified that in interviews. On “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Ford stated, “I did it for the money.”

When fans were asking Ford about Han Solo during an interview with TNH, he also mentioned that he wants “nothing to do with it in the nicest possible way.”  

Due to the recent tragic death of Carrie Fisher, her character Princess Leia was brought to life using CGI and old clips from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” However, Princess Leia appeared as a Jedi with a light saber in this newer film.

Mr.Bay, a McAuliffe teacher, who is a fan and has a Star Wars club on campus, explained his thoughts on the new movie, “I thought it was a return of a simple storytelling of the original films.” When asked about the return of Harrison Ford as Han solo, he added, “I thought it was a treat for long-time fans.”  

However, Mr. Bay’s reaction to the plot of Emperor Palpatine’s return was, “It was an awkward story moment and they should have gone with a different story mark.” He also added, “I think that Rey and Ben Solo should have not kissed at the end because they already had a close connection.”

Jackson Gill, a McAuliffe seventh grade student, added his thoughts, “I did like it, but it was not the best film.”

Overall, this new Star Wars was controversial in that fans differ on whether it made the saga better or worse. Even director J.J. Abrams remarked that some people may like the new film and some may not. If you have seen the “The Rise of Skywalker,” leave your thoughts on the movie below. 

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Underrated School Clubs Benefit More Than Perceived Fri, 24 Jan 2020 16:01:11 +0000 Almost everyone attending McAuliffe Middle School knows about clubs, although many do not know the range of different clubs that McAuliffe provides and how they can better your life. McAuliffe has more than 20 clubs ranging from academics to music. “Being part of a team is very important,” comments Make-A-Wish member, Eloise Marshall. To join a club, may impact you greater than you would imagine.

Clubs can greatly help with teamwork and building friendships while providing a safe environment to enjoy them. By participating in a club on campus, you can learn new skills like American Sign Language, coding or express interests like Game Club and Comic Book Club. Ashley Woo, an ASB/Eagle Spirit member, states, “It impacts most people by letting them experience new opportunities and have different activities on campus.” You can also participate in an important cause like Best Buddies (Thursday, room 18, 6th graders) and Get Up and Move (Wednesday, room 18, 7th/8th graders), where you can build friendships with kids with disabilities.

McAuliffe has a diverse range of clubs, so you can find the right one for you. If you enjoy participating and helping with school activities, you might want to join ASB. This club is popular among spirited eagles. They plan Red Ribbon Week, Eagle Express drawings, PEACE Week, and more. This takes place on Friday in room 89 with Mrs. Ravelo during both lunches.

People who enjoy STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are attracted to the Code Club and Math Counts. All of these clubs focus on STEM-related work. Math Counts is run by Mr. Levy (room 41) on Fridays after school (3:15-4:15). For Math Counts, all grades are welcome and you can learn new, entertaining ways to learn math. Another excellent choice is the Code Club. Code Club is run by Ms. McGovney (room 37/38) on Tuesdays after school (3:15-3:55). This club allows you to use coding websites while improving at a steady pace.

Hopefully, more McAuliffe students will consider joining a club as they recognize the ways they can benefit their lives. If you think there are no clubs for you, check out the diverse range our school offers and maybe something will draw your interest.

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Lights, Camera, Action! Fri, 24 Jan 2020 16:01:01 +0000 Get your cameras ready Eagles, because the McAuliffe Film Festival is arriving in February! This astounding event will be showing all submitted entries, varying from silent films to animation, on February 26th, at 5 p.m. in the MPR.

The McAuliffe Film Festival was created by our principal, Dr. Weiss-Wright, the administration team, Mr. Danforth, Mrs. Armstrong and other volunteers in March 2019. Dr. Weiss-Wright states, “The Film Festival was created as a way for students to showcase their art and have another means of expressing themselves. We wanted them to be able to demonstrate their knowledge of digital media, digital arts…”

While the Film Festival allows sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students to express themselves through film to an audience, there are a few student suggestions to improve the performance of the festival.

Sophie Lynes, an eighth-grader who will be submitting an entry for the festival this year, explained, “I just think kind of advertising it more, like so more people could participate, it’d be cool.” Ava Tello, another eighth-grader remarks that perhaps, maybe giving a wider variety of awards, or recognition for different aspects of film would entice more people to participate. Maybe more diverse prizes would also encourage more students to join. Even though the festival could use a little improvement, it has still proven to be quite amusing for the students and everyone who attends. 

Overall, the McAuliffe Film Festival is an engaging and active way to have fun with friends and make memories. If you would like to submit a film, you have until February 12. Whether or not you join, or even attend the festival itself, you should “Never Be Afraid To Dream!”

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Jakarta Hit by Raging Floods Fri, 24 Jan 2020 16:00:48 +0000 While Australia is on fire and tensions in the Middle East are rising, Indonesia has some problems of their own to handle. 

Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, has been overrun with rampant floods that resulted from a heavy rainfall on New Year’s Eve. The rain first caused landslides and flash floods, which had easily displaced nearly 40,000 people in Jakarta and buried dozens of others. Gradually, the rains became the start of one of the worst floods Indonesia has ever faced. The amount of rain that has amassed is equivalent to 72,000 olympic swimming pools. “I can’t believe that we’re not even learning this stuff in class,” Mikayla King, an eighth-grader at McAuliffe Middle School, states. “It sounds pretty important.”

Comparisons are being made between this current flood and the flood of 7 years ago, which resulted in a casualty count of 29. Recent counts revealed that the death toll is at 66 for this year’s flood, and more rain seems to be on the way. These floods have already overturned over 180 neighborhoods as well. Poorer neighborhoods are more vulnerable to the effects of the flooding, and over 1,000 soldiers and health workers have been dispatched to use a disinfecting spray that they hope will curb any disease resulting from the floods.

Emma Simpson, another eighth-grader, can’t believe what’s happening in Jakarta. “I feel really sad for the Indonesian people. I’m literally speechless.” 

Though many of the Jakartan people are blaming the rains, landslides and floods on monsoon season, many others have been attributing the large downpour to climate change. Jakarta houses the largest uncovered landfill in all of Southeast Asia. The population has also been climbing unsteadily, so there’s many numerous water shortages. Many Indonesian people have disregarded the idea of climate change having an impact on their weather, though. 

With more rain expected to fall and Jakarta in critical condition, we need to do our best to help out the Jakartan people by donating or spreading awareness about this tragedy. 

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2ND and PCH Wed, 22 Jan 2020 21:14:02 +0000 0 The Future is Present Tue, 21 Jan 2020 22:16:49 +0000 Some people may claim that self-driving cars are the way of the future. For example, companies such as Tesla and Waymo have been studying and improving the idea of a self-driving car  for the past decade. 

Waymo is a Google company that separated to focus on cars while Tesla has been an automobile manufacturer for 16 years. They both, however, have the same goal in mind. To build a self-driving car. But why?

Waymo and Tesla believe that self-driving cars are safer than traditional cars because their sensors detect objects, which results in less chance of hitting and killing pedestrians, passengers, and other drivers. 

Other people argue that the self-driving cars offer a higher risk because they don’t carry the full awareness that an average human would have.

Self-driving cars have been driving on roads freely, but only in designated areas with restrictions. For instance, Waymo’s “Waymo One” cars can be used as taxis in Phoenix, Arizona.

Connor Irish, an eighth grader at McAuliffe Middle School, stated, “It’s good for everyone because it’s less effort to drive.”

The Waymo One has five sensors built into it. According to TechCrunch, “Waymo uses a combination of lidar, radar and cameras to detect and identify objects. Fog, rain or dust can limit visibility in all or some of these sensors.” According to Tesla, their cars include “twelve updated ultrasonic sensors [that] complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system.”

Ultimately, Tesla and Waymo are leading the way in self-driving car technology. By the time we reach 16 and start driving, this technology might be more popular or even the trend and, if so, these are the main companies buyers should check out.

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#MCAULIFFEFULLYCHARGED Week Two! Tue, 21 Jan 2020 03:26:15 +0000 This week, McAuliffe Middle School will continue its 21-day challenge, #MCAULIFFEFULLYCHARGED, with days six through nine. This challenge is to help students improve their physical and mental health and wellness.  Each day, students will participate in discussions and activities that teach them how to plant the seeds for success. Topics to be covered include the benefits of healthy sleep patterns, exercise, diet, building your own efficacy, as well as connecting socially with peers.

The daily activities will also include an option to post your experience for a chance to win a prize, so pay attention to your teachers’ instructions. Post with the hashtag @MCAULIFFEFULLYCHARGED on your social media accounts or below in the comment section for a chance to win!

Stay fully charged, Eagles!

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Meet Charli, TikTok’s newest viral teen celebrity Fri, 17 Jan 2020 15:31:43 +0000 Most teens have probably heard of the 15-year-old TikTok starlet, Charli D’Amelio. Her popular dances and stunning appearance have gained her a rapid rise to fame. What is the cause of her quick acceleration throughout social media?

D’Amelio first began her TikTok journey in June of 2019. In July, she posted a video of her duetting another user. It was a very straight forward dance, yet it gained over 2 million views in less than 48 hours. About a month later, she reached 100,000 followers on TikTok. 

“Ever since then, it’s just been growing from there,” D’Amelio told NBC News. Over the last couple months, D’Amelio has gained more followers and her videos pop up on the ForYou page frequently.

McAuliffe middle schooler Gabby Wittenberg states, “I think that Charli is famous because she’s a really good dancer and is pretty.”

It all took a turn when D’Amelio announced she was going to host a meet-and-greet in her hometown Norwalk, Connecticut. She charged $100 for a “VIP experience” which included a private meet-and-greet with D’Amelio to learn an exclusive new TikTok taught by her, and take pictures and selfies. Many of her fans thought this was outrageous and that she was charging too much while others thought she was going to keep all of the money to herself. 

D’Amelio later posted a video on her YouTube channel to clear up all of the misconceptions about the meet-and-greet. She clarified that all the proceeds would be donated to The Abilis Foundation which is a charity that helps people with special needs. Tickets sold for the meet-and-greet raised approximately $7,000 and about 400 people came. 

The TikTok star hit 10 million followers on TikTok on December 15, 2019 and made a video thanking all her fans. In a recent interview with MEL, she states, “I wish I could give everyone an explanation as to what happened, but I have no idea.”

Overall, fame can overcome even the youngest of teens within a short period of time. The spotlight can both guide you to a future of value and respect, but can also be dreadful and dangerous. However, behind every spark of fame is a personality that will catch the attention of audiences all around the world.

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