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.

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TCP Cross Country Hits the Ground Running

From right to left, runners Hyram Yarbro, Joseph Peck, and Joshua Eddolls push themselves through the track.

By Hyram Yarbro

On Monday, October 3rd, the Tri-City Cross Country team hosted their first invitational meet. In this particular meet, they were up against 5 different schools namely Northpoint, Spring Ridge, and Oak Creek Ranch.

The course was 2.5 miles long, and covered a variety of terrain which included inclines and declines on asphalt roads, dirt roads, and the shrubs behind TCP’s campus. The course started and finished on the TCP soccer field, where parents and coaches could await their team’s winning runners.

Tri City scored first above the other schools, and all 7 runners placed under 19th position out of a total of 36 runners. The crowd cheered as the first contestant to cross the finish line was TCP’s own John Wicus, closely followed by another student at TCP, Carl Zapfe. Other runners quickly followed.

“I believe I did well. I scored under 30 minutes, and that’s good enough for me!” said Brenda from Northpoint Academy. “This is my first time, and I am excited to be in more meets coming up.”

Although some of the runners did not feel totally pleased with their score, their parents were there to cheer them on at the finish of the race. Many of the parents of kids in Tri-City’s Cross Country team believed their teens did well. Joe’s mother, Debora said “Joe did very well! I am very proud of him and his score! I am very excited when he runs and I want him to do his absolute best. It is very exciting.”

However, other parents did not feel that their child did as well as they were capable of. Tim Delaviaga’s mother, Jackie, said, “I think that Tim did pretty well, but because of side ache pains, he wasn’t able to do his best… I am absolutely looking forward to more meets. Next time, I will bring a cheering squad for Tim and the Panthers… We anxiously waited at the finish, hoping everyone would do their best!”

Tim Delaviaga, one of TCP’s runners, said, “I think I did ok, but I could have done better. Meets are a blast and I am looking forward to more of them.”

The cross country team did great on their first meet and will hopefully do just as well in their future meets!

Education Reform and Budget Cuts Sweep the Nation

By: Trenton Thompson

Throughout the country, there is an atmosphere of educational change. As a result of the terribly depressed economy, states are trying to reducing expenses. Many states achieve this by trimming the costs in public education. This is the case with the state of Michigan, where a bill to “privatize the public school industry” is being debated.

This bill was proposed by Republican senator Phil Pavlov. It states that Michigan would not privatize schools, but would allow for “competitive betting”. This means that companies and unions would be eligible to hire a teacher in Michigan’s public schools.

This year, Michigan has cut $500 million in public education. The bill has been called “the next stage” in the budget reductions of education. This is a part of the strategy of Michigan’s Republican state government.

In Pavlov’s interview with The Huntington Press, he said the bill would be adding flexibility for the school districts because of the more choices in teachers. He also said that the public’s negative attitude is unnecessary because Michigan already hires substitute teachers through partnerships with private corporations.

However, unions in Michigan worry that this bill will affect their members negatively by lowering their salaries and benefits. They have also said that the will is selling out the education industry by giving these teaching jobs to the lowest bidders.

In Arizona, people want to reform their poor educational system. Bonnie Winters, a math teacher at a charter school called Tri City Preparatory High, said that she would support reforms that brought consistency to the educational system. She wants scholarships such as AIMS to be continued indefinitely to increase student motivation. Winters also wants to see charter schools receive more funding, since public schools receive most of the funding.

Winters opposed a bill similar to Michigan’s for Arizona.

“Credentials come first, don’t hire someone just because they are cheaper than someone else”, she said.

Lady Panthers on the Prowl

Paige Skousen spikes the ball onto the opposing team's side

By: Alexes Niekamp and Aubrey Thompson

Our Tri-City Prep volleyball team is doing a great job this season! But the season is finishing up and the girls are kicking it into gear.

 The Lady Panthers played against the AAEC, an agricultural and equestrian school in Prescott Valley, for a scrimmage on Monday, October 3.  Both teams did amazing and had an awesome time playing against each other. Coach Wamsley told the girls to enjoy themselves and use this as a good learning experience. Both Tri-City varsity and junior varsity (JV) won against AAEC.

Tri-City junior varsity girls played against Spring Ridge on Tuesday, October 4. The JV team was on their game and won two games with scores of 25-14 and the second with 25-9.

While the girls were warming up before the varsity game, the varsity captain of Spring Ridge Academy, Meredith, who did not want her last name revealed, said, “I don’t want to lose.”

Before the varsity game, the coach of Spring Ridge Academy, Jana said, “It is good that the team gets the experience with the junior varsity and varsity, because other schools don’t always have both. It is more realistic for my girls, and a better view instead of the regular boarding school teams.”

Our varsity team walked onto the court prepared and ready to work as a team. Tri-City pulled ahead in the games and won the matches. The scores were 25-15, 25-20, and 25-14, all in favor of TCP.

The big rivalry game, Tri-City against Trinity, was on Wednesday, October 5. Both teams wanted the win desperately, but only one could win. Up first were the JV teams and our girls prevailed. The matches were quickly won with 25-9 and 25-14.

The varsity team was ready to play. Both teams played hard and did their absolute best. The Tri-City ladies were all over the floor, diving for every ball, some dives resulting in bruises. The first game was awarded to Trinity, 25-15, and the second also to Trinity, 25-23. Tri-City then switched it up and won with 25-23. But Trinity drove it home and won the fourth game with a score of 25-23. All of the games were close calls and everyone was impressed with the effort and sportsmanship.

For the first time in over four years, our Tri-City volleyball teams are having a winning season. Congratulations to all the players and to Coach Wamsley for a successful season so far. Don’t forget to come out and support your team in the last few games before the tournament, and don’t forget that the Panthers are on the prowl!

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 rick.peters@yc.edu.

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