Archive for the ‘ Features ’ Category

Book Review – “The Son of Neptune”

By Taylor Whittemore

On October 4, 2011, a new novel by Rick Riordan debuted. The Son of Neptune is the second installation of The Heroes of Olympus series. This is a fictional novel that is written for entertainment. The Heroes of Olympus is a follow up to The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

The Son of Neptune is about three demigods from a Roman camp named Camp Jupiter. The demigods are Hazel, Frank, and Percy, and they all have mysterious pasts. Their quest is to release Thantos or Death. On their mission, they encounter monsters, gods and goddesses, allies, and an army.

This novel introduces both old and new characters, and many different concepts from the rest of Riordan’s novels. This makes the storyline hard to follow in parts of the novel. The novel is set in modern time. It takes place all across the west of the United States and Canada in famous cities.

The Son of Neptune is 373 pages on an eBook and 544 in hardcover. The novels in The Heroes of Olympus are much longer than The Percy Jackson series. The Son of Neptune is shorter than the first novel in The Heroes of Olympus, The Lost Hero.

Riordan tries to intrigue his audiences of all ages, so his word choice is limited. He writes simply, with an occasional “advanced” word embedded.

Throughout the book, Riordan gives the readers a view of the plot. He often describes the setting, but fails to use description. Therefore, the audience cannot picture the action clearly.

The Son of Neptune also has a complicated plot. These are many confusing plot twists, and events are spontaneous. However, the ending is very open, and leads into the next novel.

Despite these issues, Riordan keeps his audience intrigued. He uses comedy as he gives one of his characters a sarcastic attitude, causing laughs even in the intense scenes.

The Son of Neptune is a #1 New York Times bestseller, a USA TODAY bestseller, and a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Despite being a lower level novel, The Son of Neptune has an advanced plot. This made it enjoyable to read. Riordan also makes surprising connections with the characters, which the audience can relate to. Overall, The Son of Neptune is intriguing to read while curled up on the couch on a rainy day.


TCP Junior Wins Robotics Competition

By: Jacob Holevar

                       Robots; portrayed in hundreds of movies, from the small square robot that makes toast, to the humanoid shaped robot that is better than humans themselves. For many people robots are a mystery, what are the built out of? How do they move? How do they know where to move to? How do they know what to say? The list goes on, questions about how robots interact with their surroundings. Well, for a small group of middle and high school students, the robotic world became a lot clearer over the summer.

            This summer, Yavapai College hosted a free robotics camp in which students learned about robots and then built their own later in the course. Miles Mabey, a sophomore at TCP participated in the camp over the summer, and he and his partner won the competition at the end.

            Mabey wants to work in robotic engineering when he graduates from college and he said that the camp was a great program because there was no prior knowledge needed to enter the camp. He also said that he enjoyed the camp and that he would recommend it to others, his only complaint was that he wishes it could have been longer, because he didn’t want it to end.

            “It was an awesome opportunity and I’m glad I got to experience it,” said Mabey.

            The first portion of the camp was devoted to teaching the students how to build and program the robots, and all of the students had to learn how to program the robots using only line by line code.

            “It was cool because the leaders of the program taught the participants how to program their robots so that anyone could participate in the program,” explained Mabey.

Mabey and his partner used this to their advantage and programmed their robot to reverse direction if it was approaching an area where the ground was white. This was a tremendous asset during the competition, in which the robots try and push each other out of a white rimmed circle on a black mat.

The robot parts which came in the kit weighed three hundred and fifty grams, about 0.77 pounds, but the robots were allowed to weigh up to five hundred grams, 1.1 pounds, in the competition. This allowed teams to customize their robots to an even greater extent, did they want it to be fast and mobile, or did they want it to be heavier so it could push the other robot more efficiently?

            The robot kits came with no instructions, only raw materials, and it was left completely up to the students to build, customize, and program their robot.

            Although Mabey won the competition, when asked, he said that his favorite part of the camp wasn’t building the robots or watching them compete, but rather, learning about robots that are used in the industrial world.

            This camp is a great opportunity for anyone interested in robotics, and since no prior knowledge is needed, anyone can join. Yavapai College is hoping to continue the program next year and offer the camp again, but with two workshops for middle and high school aged participants.

            If you’re interested in robotics, Rick Peters, the Pre-Engineering Program Director can be reached at

Unhealthy Choices at the Student Store

Members of Student Council work the lunch rush in the Student Store (Patrick O'Conner)

by: Patrick O’Connor

It’s a normal Monday afternoon at Tri-City Prep. Students eagerly watch the clock during fourth hour, waiting anxiously for class to end. The bell finally rings and lunch begins. Many students flock to the student store, some to get their lunch, others to supplement their preexisting lunch. But how healthy is the food at the Student Store?

On the average day, there are twenty-five to thirty-five transactions made at the student store. Of these an average of four hundred to five hundred calories are purchased per transaction. Most experts agree that to keep a healthy diet you need to intake somewhere in the area of two thousand calories a day. The calories purchased at the Student Store alone are not enough to send students over this limit; however most students don’t eat what they buy from the store alone but rather use it to supplement other foods. While not all items sold at the student store are unhealthy, enough are that the average transaction contains twenty-five percent of your daily value of fat.

In one day, Poptarts were ordered the most out of any food products. Depending on the type of Poptart, they contain three hundred and ninety to four hundred and twenty calories. They contain seventy-five grams of carbohydrates which equals about twenty-five percent of the recommended daily value. They have thirty-three grams of sugar and ten grams of fat. Poptarts contain very little nutritional value because they have minuscule amounts of vitamins and minerals and are extremely high in carbohydrates, fat, and sugar. Due to this, these items are quite unhealthy on their own, especially if you eat more than just Poptarts for lunch.

Cup of Noodles were ordered the second most frequently. They contain two hundred and ninety-six calories. They also contain fourteen grams of fat and six grams of saturated fat which is twenty-two percent and thirty-one percent of the recommended daily values respectively. In addition the contain one hundred and forty-three milligrams of sodium which is sixty percent of the recommended daily value. This is especially important because having too much sodium in your diet can lead to dehydration, elevated blood pressure, and even kidney disease. Cup of Noodles contain little to no nutritional value but, unlike Poptarts, are not commonly used as supplements to a greater lunch.

Candy and ice cream were also commonly bought. Both of these items are high in calories, sugar, and fat but low in nutritional value. Many students bought multiple candy bars or ice creams to have with their already packed lunch, making their meal especially unhealthy. While not all the items sold at the student store are unhealthy, the most commonly sold items are. Though the choice to live healthy is ultimately up to the students the student store does not seem to be encouraging a healthy diet by selling such items.

One of the easiest ways to make sure you are eating a healthy lunch is to pack it yourself. Monitoring the nutritional value is easy when you pack it the night before. For eating healthier at the student store try to avoid the candy, microwaveable items, ice cream, and Poptarts. These items tend to be the highest in calories, fat, and sugar and the lowest in nutritional value.

When asked about making healthy changes to the Student Store, Rachel Winters, the Student Council store manager, was very interested. “I want to make the school healthier, and I think it’s very important for everyone to eat healthy,” she said.

One anonymous student said, “Students have to realize that all through life there are unhealthy choices for food. You have to condition yourself, and that is what the student store is teaching us, that the quick and easy food isn’t always the best choice. It comes down to common sense and for the student to decide what is best for them.”

If you want to eat healthier at the student store stick with the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the Baked Lays. For even healthier food on campus you can buy Naked Juice from the Green Team, which has a serving of fruit in each bottle and is high in nutritional value. Hopefully the students at Tri-City will help to promote a healthier diet.