This week at Alpha…

..all the craze, all the head-turning, anticipation is leading to……….. The Dessert Theatre! At eight dollars for unlimited dessert and a performance, this is the deal of a lifetime! You’ve ever dreamed of entertainment AND nourishment? Well, this is the event for you! There is sure to be a huge turnout, as everyone who ever dreamed of quality sweets handcrafted by the generous student body of alpha, from freshmen to seniors. Another event that occurred earlier this month was a field trip to the Telus World of Science, where students got to explore the World of Science, and watch an enlightening (and guilt-inducing) movie in 720p and a near-180 screen! Another event that occurred was a minor, though nonetheless amazing drama performance by the improv club on the evening of the 29th. Alpha merchandise is also on sale, quality sweatshirts, hoodies and t-shirts all with Alpha’s logo and the choice of your first or last name on the back. Overall, the school as a whole was very busy, but the Mini School 8 class was busier! With the return of Ms. Neumann, students have strived to catch up on science and math work. Also, the grade 8s have had the experience and pleasure of hearing a life story from the famed Guy Felicella, reminding us about the opioids crisis, and how substances can affect our lives for the worse.

From Beta!


BETA Bits of Business

Hello Everyone! This time for Beta Bits of Business, I’ll be talking about our very own Ms. Neumann, and her talent in kayak-polo! On the 11th, Ms. Neumann left for Argentina to compete in her first international kayak-polo tournament. Ten days later, she returned with her prize: a shiny silver medal! Woohoo! I think I can speak for the entire class when I say we were very proud of Ms. Neumann. Of course, when she was at Argentina, she didn’t forget about us. She returned with a sweet chocolate treat called an alfajores. It’s nice to know that even in the midst of a competition she still remembers us.

When she returned, so did the sweet fluffy marshmallow we call Akira return. That was also call for great celebration in our class.

What is a Kilonova?

Hi there! Welcome to Current Events Coordinator, with your host, Kowl. Here, I talk about something that’s current, and maybe that’s an event (duh). This probably will be the only one of my entries on Current Events Coordinator, so for a while I’ll be gone from this website!

Hmmmmmmm…. I’m trying to think of a good current event to talk about. Scrolling down the page, I see a lot of interesting reports. I think I’ll add something… different. Okay! I know what I want to talk about! First, I’ll flash a big cool picture to get everyone’s attention…


And then we’ll get started!

On October 16, 2017, astronomers released a huge announcement; the first kilonova had been found! I’m pretty sure you have no idea what that is, so let me fill you in; first, you need to know about a neutron star. These powerful corpses come from after a supermassive star goes supernova. I’m not going to go into the complex (lack of) nuclear fusion that causes a sun to do this, but all you need to know is that neutron stars are immensely dense; a sugar-cube-sized piece of neutronium (degenerate matter) (neutron star stuff) weighs as much as mount Everest! They spin very fast, have super-strong magnetic poles, and are basically super awesome spinning balls of energetic death. Anyway, sometimes two neutrons stars come together―either by drifting together or by coming from two already-orbiting stars―and form binary systems; two stars orbiting each other. They can circle for thousands of years, spinning faster and faster as they get slightly closer and closer. Eventually, the merge, generating an amazing explosion, known as a kilonova.

A kilonova is bigger than other types of novae; and (theoretically) more important (we’ll get into that in a minute… a metaphorical minute). You see, the power and energy of two enormously dense objects such as neutron stars colliding does some pretty amazing things. First, it generates beams called “Gamma-Ray Bursts” (GRBs), which are powerful beams of photons that are ranked smallest and most dangerous on the light scale. These usually don’t hit earth, which is very fortunate because if they did, we’d be poisoned through it’s powerful radiation energy, and it would mess up our DNA.

Okay, it’s been a minute (metaphorically). You see, astronomers and scientists have reason to believe that kilonova are the route of materials. In stars, nuclear fusion occurs (which I said I won’t get too much into), and makes a bunch of materials from lighter materials; helium, carbon, oxygen, magnesium, silicon, and iron, which is where it stops. So where do all the other heavier elements come from?… you know, platinum, gold, silver, uranium… do they just appear? Nope, they come from… you guessed it… a monkey riding a telephone booth through a nuclear hamper basket. Bet you hadn’t guessed that! No… they come from kilonovae. I just wanted to spice things up. Therefore, we theorize that all of the gold and silver and platinum and heavy precious metals on earth originated from kilonova explosions… think about that next time you see your mom’s gold rings!


Anyway, kilonovae were just theoretical (just like neutron stars were), but on October 16th they were proven (just like neutron stars were, way before that). Scientists detected gravitational waves, and saw a blast of light out in space… the only other thing that has the power to rattle space-time and generate gravitational waves through space is two black holes colliding, and while scientists can detect the gravitational waves, any light or materials made by the collision is sucked up instantly by the singularities (singularities are what black holes are; there are at the center of black holes, and the only reason that black holes look like black holes and not singularities is because singularities have such a high escape velocity that light can’t escape from a certain radius from the center, therefore it can’t reach your eyes to show you what’s there. So a black hole is literally just a singularity). However, in a kilonova, neutron stars don’t have an escape velocity higher than the speed of light, so we can view them and gather information about these elusive explosions.

Finally, there’s one more thing that’s cool about this kilonova sighting. First, you need to know this; light travels at a set speed. It is an extremely fast speed, but an unchangeable speed nonetheless. That’s why a “lightyear” is a measurement; it’s a distance of space that would take a photon going the speed of light an Earth YEAR to get across; yeah, space is big. Anyway, this kilonova explosion happened hundreds of thousand of years ago, way off some thousand lightyears away. As the photons were created by the binding of these two neutron stars, they began their course across that entire distances, traveling for the past hundreds of years, until finally that day when they reached Earth. Of course, the photons hadn’t changed as they made their course; so when they reach our eyes or our telescopes for our brains or computers to process, we’re actually looking at something that happened before the tyrannosaurus rex roamed the earth!

Alright, that’ll be the end of this Current Events Coordinator! This is getting real long, and we all know that if you’re scrolling down the website and you see a gigantic entry, you don’t want to read it! Anyway, if you enjoyed, please leave a comment, and now, we’ll get onto the riddles.

My last role’s leaving riddle was this: “What is it that everyone is always doing at the same time?”

The answer? Post your guesses in the comments first… alright, here it is… growing older!

Today’s riddle: “who works when he plays and plays when he works?”

Stay sharp for Kowl entries in the future for answers


Published 1/ 12 / 2017 (that’s December 1st)                       Sincerely, Reporter Kowl

November in the BETA 8’s World

BETA 8 has been quite spoiled this month with not one but two field trips. But before we even started those field trips, we had one of the most fun educational units I have ever received. It was a cross-curricular unit on the Black Death. While majority of the unit was conducted in October, the most fun event, was on November 2nd. After studying biological warfare at The Battle of Caffa, we recreated our own Battle of Caffa which had a warring tribe throwing corpses infected with the Black Death at their enemies. We recreated this by creating catapults out of popsicle sticks, marshmallows, and rubber bands. We then shot paper balls at each other around the classroom, which resulted in the most fun I ever had with diseased corpses.

Later on we went to Gastown, Vancouver, with the rest of BETA, where we toured many famous areas of the city and saw some really nice architecture, like this steam clock.

We ate lunch at the Pacific Centre, and saw an outdoor concert at the Vancouver Public Library. It was a unique concert because it was played at many different angles, which projected sound very well.

Around the middle of November, we had an employee of HTEC come in to talk to us about hydrogen fuel cell technology. It was an interesting presentation that showed us alternative fuels were plausible, and will be very accessible in the future. The presentation included many well defined explanations about the technology.

A couple weeks later, as part of our collab course, all the Grade Eights at Alpha had a field trip to Science World where we had a lot of fun, by learning about many different parts of the Scimatics curriculum. The highlight of the day was when we went to the movie theater upstairs and saw a really cool movie called our Beautiful Planet on a huge immersive screen.

One noteworthy event during this month was that BETA was missing one of its key members for over a week. Ms. Neumann traveled to Argentina this month to compete in the Pan Am games at kayak-polo. She returned with footage of her playing amazingly, and some Argentinean candy. During her absence, Mr.Murray was our main teacher with a couple substitutes coming in here and there. We learned about WHMIS symbols, and 3D printing as projects that she gave to us while she was gone.

This week at Alpha…

An exciting upcoming event is Dessert Theatre! Yes, you heard me right – there are desserts involved. Come join the Alpha Theatre Company on December 7th and 8th to watch a variety of performances put on by our very own Alpha students. There will be monologues, singing, and comedic presentations. Oh, and dessert. Tickets are $8.00 for pre-sale and $10.00 at the door, so get yours soon! They are also available through School Cash Online. Did I mention the desserts? And they’re free!

All the Grade 8 students went on a field trip to Science World on November 22nd. We spent the day looking at all the exhibits, having fun with the interactive displays, and eating snacks. We got to watch an IMAX movie as well, titled A Beautiful Planet, made in partnership with NASA. It featured breathtaking views of Earth from space and the effects humanity has made on the planet over the years. The documentary was filmed by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

On November 28th, our mini school class had a very uplifting presentation by Guy Felicella, about his experience with drug addiction. His story was highly eye-opening and fascinating. He had struggled with drug addiction for three decades and his struggle with this seemed pretty intense and scary. I think it helped us see what the effects of drug addiction can have on a human being and how devastating these effects can be.

Here is a link to an article he wrote for the Georgia Straight:

Christmas is coming soon and we hope you have a great December!

From Beta

Mr. Thompson Day

November 28th 2016 holds a special place in the hearts of the grade 9 mini school students. It was the day our beloved original mini school teacher left the class and thus left us to fend for ourselves.

Exactly one year later, we have decided to not hold onto the feeling of abandonment, but to rather commemorate the improvements of the BETA mini school program by raising a toast to our current teachers, Mr. Murray and Ms. Neumann. Two amazing individuals who have fortunately saw enough potential in the class and their own chaos management skills to stick around longer than their predecessor.

So in order to turn around the negative vibes of the date, we as a class worked as a team (surprisingly for once) and put together “Mr. Thompson Day” to celebrate and look at how far we have come since then. Now, leading up to this event, there was a fair amount of planning involved, courtesy of Peter Szymborski, the mastermind responsible for all these plans. We sought approval from the teachers to grant us the permission to run an unknown event during class time and everyone contributed a bit of cash to fund for the cake and various other snacks.

When November 28th finally rolled around again this year, an in class party was somehow smoothly executed in honour of this event. We as the mini school worked together as a team and thus reaped great rewards in the form of a costco cake and junk food.

This week at Alpha…

This week at Alpha,

students around the school have been getting their term 1 report cards seeing how many of them have “failed the Asian test” or did completely fine in normal Canadian society’s expectations. Also at the start of the week there was a fun movie night brought to you buy Alpha’s music council, who decided to be watching Spider-Man Homecoming in the drama studio. On Wednesday all of the school’s 8th Graders took a trip to Science world as per annual tradition, here they’d experience the various exhibits and watch a film in the IMAX Theatre. Thus a wonderful week is concluded, with many exciting and stressful times.

    From Beta

This week at Alpha…

This week at Alpha,

Featured the first dance of the year, the Glow dance, run by Alpha’s very own student government, for the students. This week also had many students doing the Beaver Computing Challenge, a challenge that tests one’s ability to quickly and effectively problem solve and figure out logic puzzles. Many people had gotten varying results, but a majority of them seemed to have been positive. This week the skiing and snowboarding club announced that they would be taking students on trips over to whistler for what seems to be thrilling downhill runs for some, and vomit-inducing, bone breaking trauma while being forced down a mountain for others. Overall this week has been very eventful for many students, sharing fun times at the dance or stressing over random questions while a timer slowly ticks down, thankfully we’ve been having many long weekends lately!

    From Beta

North Korean ICBM launch

In the early hours of November 29 the DPRK did the first launch of the Hwasong-15 ICBM. North Korean state media stated it was the most powerful Missile launched by the DPRK to date claiming that it could reach any part of of the USA (I am assuming that Vancouver is in range so please don’t kill me Mr. Kim Jong un).

This is very alarming to most of the international community (especially the US) Because generally US citizens were safe from the DPRK. This will put the US government in an interesting situation on how it will have to move forward on the DPRK issue.   

The ICBM was launched at 0300 hours from South Pyongyang province DPRK, The ICBM flew 950 KM Well into Japan’s EMZ(Exclusive Economic Zone).

That may not seem far at all when considering hitting the USA, but consider that it launched 4,475KM into the Atmosphere. 13.5 time’s the International space station’s orbit, so at least hitting North America’s west coast seems quite probable and some independent scientists are confirming the DPRK’s statement, despite the DPRK being know for making false claims.

The reaction from other world leaders has been almost instant. The US has called for all nation’s to ties with North Korea, mainly in the form of Chinese oil supplies. The US also stated that the DPRK would be “utterly destroyed” in any war situation.

China and Russia, both allies of the DPRK condemned the missile launch, but have also called for the US and South Korea to cancel military exercises.

To Alpha…

To Alpha;

The Beta mini school collects recyclable containers such as bottles and cans from the “recyclable containers only” bins throughout the school. There is a large plastic bin in our classroom, where the bags full of recyclables are stored until they are taken in and exchanged for cash at the recycling depot. The problem is that our teachers couldn’t find anyone to empty the bin in our classroom, since they were to busy to do the vile task of sorting the dirty containers at the depot themselves. So the pile of plastic bags got higher and, by the end of the first month, was starting to overflow the sides of the big bin in our classroom. As September turned into October, the pile grew and the bags that wouldn’t fit in the bin were stored under desks.

This wouldn’t have been a big problem if it weren’t for the smell. You see, when the bags were taken out of the “RECYCLABLE CONTAINERS ONLY” bins, they were full of half eaten sandwiches and full milk containers. As well as a bunch of other nasty stuff that, over time, got nastier.

But still nothing was done about the situation.

By the time November came around, we all knew we had a big problem on our hands. Nobody wanted to sit near the back of the classroom (near the bags) because on top of the smell, flies had started to arrive and make a home in our classroom. As well, some of the bags had broken, and garbage juices had leaked out, onto the floor.

Luckily, about halfway through this month of november, a parent was meeting with the teachers and, when asked, said they would take the bottles and cans (and other things) in to be returned at the depot.

So one dark and stormy night, after school, the unfortunate parent came into the classroom and loaded all of the plastic bags into their car and drove away into the night…

A few days later, the child of the unfortunate parent walked into class at the start of day to quickly drop of a top secret envelope containing the money from his dad’s trip to the recycling depot. He then left for his other classes, the day went pretty much as usual, except other students noticed that the young boy was quieter than usual and tended to jump at small noises. Although they could never have guessed the reason for this, I’m going to tell you, first hand, that it was because of the horrors from inside the plastic bags that the child’s dad had spoken of that very morning. These stories would go on to haunt the poor child for the rest of his life.

From Beta.

Special thanks to my dad for giving me the idea for this. And for cleaning up all of the plastic bags. The whole class thanks you!