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by: 
Kethry, Teen Contributor

The Night Witches

A few months ago in my English class, we were discussing how individual cultures and societies change history based on their views and social structures. It made me think, what history has been "hidden" from people because of a cultures views? In addition to this thought process, I've always had a fascination with the relatively unknown facets of history (mainly women since they are so underrepresented in history). And thus, when my friend told me about the Night Witches I went and did some more research.

Now, these ladies weren’t muttering over cauldrons and turning princes into frogs. They were a group of Soviet bombers during WWII. Already a remarkable aviatrix, Marina Raskova was called upon in 1941 to organize a regiment of female pilots to run night harassment bombing missions. This regiment became the 588th regiment.

The women of the 588th regiment were a motley assortment that flew thousands of missions. They were assigned Polikarpov Po-2 wooden bi-planes that were primarily used for training. These planes could only carry two bombs and were extremely obsolete. Basically, they got the terrible planes and missions.

Many of their targets were places such as supply depots, camps, or rear bases. They never targeted civilians or cities. So, during harassment missions the Night Witches would turn off their engines and glide over the target. After they released their bombs, they would climb out onto the wings and restart the engines. The only warning the enemy had of their approach was the sound of the wind bracing wires vibrating in the wind. And by that point, it was too late. The bombs had already been dropped. 

To avoid enemy airships the Night Witches flew low to the ground and developed team tactics. The planes’ outdated technology actually helped the Witches remain invisible to radar and heat seeking detection. The canvas of the Po-2 was unreflective thus radar didn’t work and the small engines gave off very little heat causing heat seeking to be useless. But the Night Witches were not undetetcable. 

Their planes could be tracked and located with search lights. These search lights and guns surrounding the search lights caused many problems for the women. As such, they developed a strategy for the search lights. Usually, pilots flew in pairs and search lights came in pairs. Since the Po-2s had a low top speed, they were often gunned down when within the range of the search lights. The Night Witches ended up flying in threes. Two of the Witches would fly into the beams of the search lights and distract the operators while the third would fly between the search lights and drop her bombs. She would then switch with one of the other pilots and the other pilot proceeded to drop her bombs. It continued like this until all three had dropped their bombs.

These women were such remarkable pilots that German pilots would be awarded an Iron Cross for bringing down one of the Night Witches’ planes. 

If you are like Kethry and enjoy exploring history you might like to check out  Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--The World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, or Women in War by Ann Kramer.

sources

http://www.seizethesky.com/nwitches/nitewtch.html

http://www.referenced.co.uk/the-night-witches-russias-girl-power/

 

by: 
Meghann Henry, Teen Outreach Librarian

 

Summer Reading is here!  We have so many exciting things going on for teens at the library this summer, and it all kicks off this Sunday, June 1st!  Stop into the library, get signed up, and enter into a drawing to win a Spark Fun Soldering Kit.

 

by: 
Meghann Henry, Teen Outreach Librarian

Each month we are featuring an awesome member of our Teen Advisory Board (TAB). You might be wondering, "What is TAB and how can I become one of these amazing people?!?!"  TAB is a group of teens who meet monthly to discuss how the library can best serve teens, to plan events, and most importantly hang out and have a good time.  Talk with the teen librarian at your location to get involved.

 

Ivy, Evergreen TAB

Three words…who are you?

 Funny, Smart, Shy

What do you feel is awesome about the town you live in?

It's a really close community.  We have an art gallery, post office, and restaurant we can walk to.  We live next to a summer camp, Geneva Glen.  I've walked through it before, but I have never attended. I would would like to go to camp there someday.

What sucks about it?

I don't live close to any of my friends.  They all live in Littleton.

What’s the weirdest thing you could think of to say right now…now?

 I like walruses.

What are you obsessed with…why?

The Hunger Games because I think it is a really cool book.  I like the storyline and that the main character is a girl.  Divergent comes in second.

Got anything to say about the library?

ummm...I like coming here for books and I can normally find new ones...there is always something new here I haven't read yet.

by: 
Kethry, Teen Contributor

This is the first in a series of entries that Kethry is creating about her high school band and the secret complex world that lies beneath the surface.  In case you are wondering, Kethry rocks the trombone in the Jazz Band.

 

Band: an Insider's Perspective

PART 1: Social Structure

You know the kid who is super weird, has no concept of personal space, and always talks about band and nothing else? Yeah, that would be the band kid. They tend to baffle everyone and it's almost like they are another species. Look no further for a glimpse into the world of these mysterious creatures! A member of this alien species has come to enlighten you.

Band could be described as a different culture and as such it has its own rules, customs and social structure. From the outside band appears to be one big family, but social separations do exist. They can often be seen between sections. For example, the flute players stay with the flute players, the percussionists stay with the percussionists.

 

The Band Director

On the top of the social hierarchy is the band director.  Within the band, the director has almost absolute power.  They pick what music is being played, who sits where, who plays what part, and how the music is to be played.  Essentially, the director is akin to a deity that controls many of the aspects of band life.  The band director commands great respect and a healthy amount of fear.  Unlike a deity, most band kids consider the band director a parental figure, or even a friend.  

 

The Director's Assistant

Below the band director are the director's assistants. They are responsible for making sure sections do what they should be doing, preventing mutinies, keeping the band on task, helping to teach, and a variety of other tasks assigned by the band director. These, so to speak, "generals" are feared by band members. After all, the band director may like you, but if one of the generals tells him you aren't behaving properly, then the band director will be forced to act. Sometimes certain sections fear the generals if they are not of their section. At my school, the brass players (the shiny goldish colored instruments) fear the general of the woodwinds (saxes, flutes, clarinets, etc) because she is an entirely unknown entity to us, and thus is to be feared. To the woodwinds she is only mildly frightening and actually very pleasant.

 

Section Leaders

Third down on the hierarchy are the section leaders.  These people are students that play quite well (often the best of their section) and have the distinguished task of leading their sections.  Section leaders are required to lead sectionals (a time when the section practices and works on difficult pieces of their music together), keep the section in line, and work to have the best sounding section ever.  Section leaders could be considered the loving older siblings of the section or sometimes the dictator.  Often, they are respected, but not as much as the band director.  Being a section leader is like being the alpha in a wolf pack; people are out for your position (don't worry they won't kill you for it).

 

Everyone Else

Second to the bottom of the hierarchy is where everyone else is (with the exception of freshmen). This social level is where you have the cliques, AKA sections. Each section thinks they are better than all the other sections. In reality, all the sections are relatively equal.  Even though the band director says otherwise, he or she has their favorite and least favorite section. You can tell which section is the director's favorite because he or she takes almost all opportunities to compliment the favorite section. The least favorite section often receives most of the director's wrath and gets yelled at a fair amount. The most liked section is slightly elevated in social standing, while the least liked section is slightly lower in social standing.

 

The Freshmen (and others at the bottom)

On the bottom are the freshmen and kids that have somehow managed to make the band director angry. Freshmen are assigned this ranking because no one in the band knows them and thus people aren't sure if they like them. Freshmen are also considered annoying and immature. So, until they overcome their freshmen traits, gain acceptance from the band, or become a sophomore they remain at the bottom of the totem pole. The others occupying this level are the kids that have made the director angry. Mostly, it is through repeatedly angering the director that causes them to be "demoted". In order to escape from this level they must please the band director, fly under the radar as often as possible, or quit the band (there are more options than just the ones listed). Admittedly, quitting band is an extreme measure and only to be used when all other options have failed.

And that concludes the tour of the band's social structure. Next time we will discuss relationships in and outside the band...as well as dating.

 

Photo by David R. Tribble (2013).

 

 

by: 
Meghann Henry, Teen Outreach Librarian

Each month we are featuring an awesome member of our Teen Advisory Board (TAB). You might be wondering, what is TAB and how can I become one of these amazing people?!?! TAB is a group of teens that meet monthly to discuss how the library can best serve teens, they help to plan events, and most importantly hang out and have a good time.  Talk with the teen librarian at your location to get involved.

 

Pierce, Evergreen TAB

Three words…who are you?

Me, Myself, I.

What do you feel is awesome about the town you live in?

I really like the fact that we have so many athletic opportunities like the lake and Elk Meadow ( a big open space off the side of the highway).  I especially enjoy the library, because it has books here (stated with a sarcastic grin).

What sucks about it?

(thinking hard with lips pursed) ...ummmm...I really did not see that one coming...I have no clue what to say.

What’s the weirdest thing you could think of to say right now…now?

Do the Harlem Shake.

What are you obsessed with…why?

I guess skiing, because I really love it.  Well, I really love the exhilaration of speed and how you can always challenge yourself with something new.  My favorite skiing spot is Beaver Creek. When I was a kid I told my mom I wanted to ski instead of snowboard because my butt was always getting wet.

Got anything to say about the library?

...ummm improve the teen blog...okay, don't put that it's not my final answer.  Start stocking duck dynasty discs at the library.  I always have to order it from Prospector.

 

by: 
Hannah, Teen Contributor

Mother Nature #3

Number three of the Mother Nature series!  I tried to make this piece a mixture of the emotions of the other two, so I combined the red and blue for the petals.  The face is looking forward in this one to represent the Mother Nature that looks us in the eye, the parts of nature that we feel close to.

I struggled a lot with the decision to not add a face to this one and Mother Nature 2.  I actually turned in this piece with a face made of twigs and pineapple leaves.  But, when my teacher was creeped out, I knew something had to change!  I remembered a type of doll with no face that my mom made me when I was a kid.  The mentality behind leaving blank faces was so that the owner could see his/her own face in the doll's. A Mother Nature with a blank face is a Mother Nature that changes in expression and form from person to person.

 

 

 

by: 
Submitted by Belmar Teen Kenzie

This is a short story submitted by Belmar teen, Kenzie.  She is working hard on developing her writing skills by attending Write Club and looking to teen librarians for feedback on her writing.

Lindy Goes to the Bahamas to be a Trainer

It's a mild sunny day in the Bahamas.  Lindy is a dolphin trainer who has loved dolphins since she was two years old.  It was her dream when she became a teenager to work with dolphins.

There was an explosion from a ship where Kate the dolphin was swimming, and it made her blind.  Lindy goes to see Kate's owners at the dolphin show.  The air there is nice, but some people smoke. The owners are trying to get rid of Kate because no one can train a blind dolphin.  Kate can still smell the dolphin food, and it makes her feel like she is in a fishy sea.  She hears the ripples of waves from the sea.  Then Lindy says, "Hey, I am new here, but I know I can train Kate.  Even though she's blind, she might be intelligent.  That's why I came here, so I can help her.  I think I can have her ready in time for the show."

Two months pass.  Lindy trains Kate by teaching the dolphin to touch the ball with sign language on the dolphin's flippers.  Kate learns new tricks, and Lindy sees Kate is ready to perform the show.  As Kate is doing her last trick, Lindy accidentally slips on ice and her arm gets twisted.  She takes a rest and gives the dolphin time to practice with Julie, the owner of the dolphin. 

After she recovers, Lindy trains the dolphin by whistling becaue her arm is broken.  Lindy trains Kate like a musician teaches a deaf person to play music.  Lindy performs a show with Kate to prove to the owner that she could do tricks with a blind dolphin.  When the owner sees the show, she is impressed that Kate can do tricks.  She says that she is ready for the show!  Lindy teaches Kate one more trick, which is jumping through hoops.  Finally, Lindy gets the job and keeps the dolphin!

 

If you are like Kenzie and love dolphins, then make sure to check out Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell and A Ring of Endless Light by Mandeleine L'Engle.

 

by: 
Hannah, Teen Contributor

Mother Nature part 2 by Hannah B.

This is the second Mother Nature piece in my series of three collages.  This is the composed and serene side of Mother Nature, which is why I chose blue and positioned her head tilted to the side.  This time I added twigs, which I enjoyed raiding from a local park.  I also added pineapple leaves.  I wanted to look outside for more "conventional" leaves, but with an art class deadline and the Colorado weather I had to problem solve and look in my refrigerator instead!

 

Check back next week for Hannah's final Mother Nature piece!

by: 
Kethry, Teen Contributor

Creating Unique Characters

As a writer, I sometimes have trouble coming up with unique characters.  It seems like they all are the same person.  Other writers have trouble with keeping track of their characters and what they say and do.  Sometimes, a character does something they swore they would never do!  Simply put, characters are as tricky and as difficult as real people.

To help you with creating characters and keeping track of characters you have already created, I have developed an extensive character profile worksheet.  This can even be used for your favorite fiction characters.  Feel free to fill out as much of it as you want.  It is twelve pages, so aim for filling out one or two pieces in each category, or all of it! Really, whatever floats your boat.  If you want to add something, delete something, or restructure it then go ahead.

I wish you luck in all your writing endeavors!

 

Kethry is a teen from Columbine Library whose writing will be featured regularly on the Teen Page.  Check back often to see what else she has in store!

by: 
Inez, Teen Submission

 

Can You Commit to Peace and Nonviolence?

A Day Without Hate is a student led grassroots organization that promotes nonviolence, respect, and unity within our schools.  After the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, students at Standley Lake High School asked their classmates to wear white in order to show a commitment and trust in each other to make their school a safer place. 

A Day Without Hate is more than just one day where we are nice to each other in the hallways.  It is more than just twenty four hours where peace is our purpose.  When we wear white on the last friday in April, we are announcing to the world our intentions to not be just anti-violence, but pro-peace.  One day without hate turns into many lives full of peace.

This year, a Day Without Hate will be holding its annual rally at the Jefferson County Stadium on April 25th.  The doors open at 5 pm for the pre show and the event starts at 6 pm.  This rally is open to all high school students in the state of Colorado.  At the rally, all the students come together to promote peace and friendship with a celebration that includes fireworks, the Flobots, and To Write Love on Her Arms.  The price of admission is the purchase of a T-shirt (available for $8 the night of the event).

This initiative has meant a lot to the kids of Jefferson County, and we hope we can get as many people as possible to come out and celebrate.

 

Where: Jefferson County Stadium, 500 Kipling St, Lakewood, CO, 80226

When: April 25th, doors open at 5:00 pm

Admission:  $8 T-shirt, purchase available at the gate

 

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