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Thanksgiving Dinner: A Survival Guide

Ah yes, the familiar and daunting task of navigating Thanksgiving dinner conversation. While this traditionally tense mealtime exchange is often looked upon with a sense of unease... Okay, fine, it's terrifying, but fear not my friend! You have come to the right place! I’m here to guide you to a peaceful dinnertime conversation, or at the very least, a quick and painless one.

Step One:

I hope you’ve been practicing your poker face because it’s essential for keeping the peace. Did your aunt ask if you finally found yourself a boyfriend? Wait! Don’t cringe! Act as though you’ve just bet your life savings and remain emotionless. A respectful yes or no should keep this train on the correct track.

Step Two:

Remain calm and poised. Raising your voice isn’t going to help the situation. Your grandfather isn’t a coyote and as such will not be put off by shouting. If you feel your resolve slipping, just shove some turkey in your face and move on.

Step Three:

I know it’s hard not to be drawn into arguments, especially over passionate subjects, but resist the temptation. To not be baited into a debate that has no intention of being absolved. Leave the squabbling to the rest of your family members. You do not need to tell Aunt Martha that you prefer sweet potatoes without marshmallows. There’s no escape from those hallowed grounds.

Step Four:

Compliments! Compliments everywhere! If Grandma Suzy made the turkey, then you better tell her it’s the best darn turkey this side of the Pacific! If you eat it, you compliment it. I don’t care if you don’t like the celery in Uncle George's stuffing! If that stuffing finds its way onto your plate, you better eat every bite and then ask for the recipe! Nothing makes people happier than validation, so suck it up!

Step Five:

Personal questions are best answered with short and vague answers. You know everyone is looking for some juicy gossip. The only thing that should be juicy at that table should be the turkey, so be short and then deflect.

Step Six:

The best way to turn the conversation away from yourself is to ask about others. Anything works, but children, work, and any possible marriages/engagements are the best topics. People love to talk about their kids or how much they disliked so and so’s bridesmaid dresses. Although, it is also important to be short in your own opinions, let them talk and just nod. It’s is argument infested territory, you must proceed with caution.

Step Seven:

This final step is the single most important advice I will ever bestow upon you. AVOID POLITICS! Do not engage unless asked directly. Do nothing but listen if it comes up. If someone makes eye contact, you simply nod and eat your food. When in doubt, just eat, you can’t talk if your mouth is full of green beans. These are uncharted waters. If the boat springs a leak, you bail out. If you should somehow find yourself underwater. You escape. Sink or swim, my friend. If you’re lucky a life preserver in the form of Aunt Martha gushing about kindergarten graduation might save you.

That concludes this step by step guide to a peaceful, if not slightly less volatile, Thanksgiving dinner conversation. I sincerely hope you follow these instructions carefully and heed my warnings. I wish you all a happy, diplomatic holiday and remember when in doubt, put food in your mouth.

The Art Of Growing Up - Jobs


Lauren -

I think “So… when are you gonna get a job?” is one of those questions pretty much every teenager gets asked at some point. Sometimes it comes after turning 16, when/ if you get your driver’s license, or when a family member you only see at Christmas doesn’t know how else to spark conversation. We’ve all be there.

I’ve personally had a job since the summer of 2017, and I’m only 15 years old. If you don’t feel like doing the math, don’t worry: it means I’ve had a job since I was 14, and I’ve been an employee of my workplace for over a year and three months. So, really, I’ve only heard the dreaded question from my curious parents.

My situation, as you can imagine, is incredibly unique: the only real reason I ever got the job to begin with is because of my sister. She was 16 when she started working at Festival Foods. Thanks to a shining referral from our cousin, who also works there, she was hired pretty much right on the spot. She worked there for about 4 months before she suggested I applied there too. So, one sisterly recommendation and nerve-wracking interview later, I got the job.

Thankfully, our department manager has been kind enough to schedule us for relatively the same hours. Had this not been done, it would have been nearly impossible for me to keep the job, especially for so long. I live in a small town, I was too young to get a driver’s license (still am *sniff*), and both of my parents work full-time jobs themselves. Not to mention, the location we got hired at is 30 MINUTES AWAY from our house. Finding someone to chauffeur me to a town that’s half an hour away from my own just wasn’t realistic.

It’s funny, though, because, despite the hundreds of hours of work I’ve put in, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. I’ve watched a bunch of coworkers my age come and go, and while I found some of them immature and full of unrealistic expectations, I didn’t use their short-lived employment as a boost of my own success. In fact, most of the time I don’t even look that deeply into it: I just wake up, go to work, and go home. And I keep doing that. I don’t find it as something to be proud of, at least not with my current career. So, I think because of this, I’ve never understood the expectation for teenagers to get jobs.

Kayelona -

Jobs seem like an unofficial passage into adulthood; it’s one step closer to freedom and responsibility. After-school jobs are a wonderful way to have a taste of adulthood. They are a time-consuming, semi-rewarding expectation, but they are just that: an expectation. Most teens have the opportunity to work an after-school job, and others do not.

I speak to the ones that do not work a steady job, as I am in the same boat. Before you jump to conclusions about my work ethic, take into consideration my environment. I live in the country, ten minutes from the nearest teen job opportunity, I am the oldest of four children, and I do not have access to a car as I have not yet obtained my license.

I have grown frustrated with the job search, having applied to multiple employers and being declined or not contacted whatsoever. I understand the frustration of job hunting and the disappointment when it doesn’t work out, but I continue on. I find ways to make money, like cleaning houses and raking yards so I’m not left penniless. I encourage others to do this, especially if it is one’s desire to have money they worked for. I also keep my eyes peeled for steady job opportunities, in hopes that I may find an employer to hire me.

Attaining a job is not my greatest wish and it doesn’t have to be; I am quite content with the amount of money I have and where my time is spent. I have made a choice to remain jobless until I can drive, that way, I don’t have to burden my family with my schedule. Overall, I am content with my spent time and finance situation, but I look for a job so I can be more dependent upon myself rather than my parents.

Whether you are like Lauren and have a job, or you are like me, without a job, spend your teenage years where you see fit. My advice would be don’t be fearful of responsibility and independence, aka a job, but to jump into the world with both feet, whether a job is what you want or not. During these high school years, focus on things that are important to you and learn important life skills before you’re blindsided by adulthood. If having a job is important to you, by all means, go for it! Don’t let others force you into a job, but let the decision be your own.

Lauren -

Agreed! Despite having a job myself, I definitely don’t see it as something a teenager needs to have. School alone can be a lot to manage, especially if you’re involved in extracurriculars. Not to mention, jobs take up a lot of your free time, so if you have time-consuming — but worthwhile — hobbies, you shouldn’t feel the need to give those up in order to prove something. Having a job has opened me up to opportunities, but I would be lying if I said it’s only been good. I have my own money now, yes, but I used to get incredibly stressed out about the lack of time I had to myself. I started out feeling like I was trapped in a cycle I couldn’t get out of, a cycle that was so bad I almost quit after 3 months. If you’re in a place where you feel like a job would be too much, then you shouldn’t force yourself into getting one, especially if it’s for all the wrong reasons (to impress your parents, to prove you can be mature, etc). Like Kayelona said, being in high school is a time in your life where you’re lucky enough to have the choice to do things that are important to you. And, when it comes down to it,  school is your full-time job. Leave the 9-5 for your future ;)

Kayelona -

I agree with Lauren, school is the top priority during these years we’re experiencing. During high school, we are just learning time management, organizational skills, and more important life skills. Most of us participate in many attention-demanding things, so it’s best not to overwhelm ourselves. To tag onto that idea, discovering who you are and what you enjoy are both things we work towards in this time period. So all in all, focus on what’s important during these years while you have the time.

Lauren -

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

See you next time!

K + L

Student Spotlight: Makaiya Howard



Student Spotlight

  • What is your name?

    Makaiya Howard.

  • How old are you?

    I am 16.

  • Where are you from?

    I have lived in the Sturgeon Bay area all my life, but my family and I plan on moving to Green Bay.

  • What grade are you in?

    I am a Sophomore.

  • How long have you been in RVA?

    I just started this year.

  • Do you like RVA so far?

    I actually am liking RVA so far, there of course a few bumps in the road here and there, but overall, RVA is pretty great. This is actually my first year in RVA, or any online or homeschooling, so I was a bit nervous about that, but everything has been going pretty great, I have made a few friends, and all my teachers are really nice, so that’s a plus.

  • What is the hardest part of being new to an online school?

    I would have to say the hardest part for me is probably my independent classes. Since I like to work at a slower pace and with a teacher so I can understand the material better and make sure I am doing everything correctly.

  • What schools did you attend before RVA?

    I have gone to 3 different schools, but I have switched schools 4 times, if you include RVA. I was originally in Sturgeon Bay school district until 6th grade, then I moved to Southern Door school. Things weren’t really going that amazing for me in Southern Door, so I switched back to Sturgeon Bay for freshman year. Then after that we decided to do online, and now I am a sophomore in RVA.

  • What is your favorite class?

    I am not totally sure which class is my favorite right now. I am doing great in all my classes. I kind of like all my classes equally, except for history (sorry Mr. Wellman) I am just not a big fan of history. I like some history, but it’s just not my specialty.

  • Are you in any clubs?

    I am in the Photo Enthusiasts Club, and that’s lots of fun. We only meet up Fridays, but I look forward to Fridays because of that club. I really love sharing photos and seeing other club members’ photos.

    Check them out here

  • What do you see yourself doing in the future?

    I am not actually sure right now what I see myself doing in the future job wise. I used to want to be a vet or a veterinarian technician because I like animals a lot, but than I realized I don’t like doing anything that has to do with health, like giving shots and stuff like that. I would like to do some traveling in the future. I am actually going to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in January/February sometime to visit family. It will be my first time out of the country and on a plane, so that should be fun.

  • What are some hobbies you have?

    One of my favorite hobbies is playing the ukulele. I taught myself, and I have been playing for maybe almost two years now. I like to make covers to songs, and play them on my ukulele. I have even made a couple small original funny/silly songs. I also am learning how to play guitar. I like to artsy things like drawing and painting sometimes. I also like to snowboard in the winter, since we get so much snow here, might as well do something with it. I also like photography. I like to take lots of picture of all sorts of things. I take my photography with my phone, and also with my Canon camera.

  • Are you in any sports?

    No, I am not in any sports, but I do love sports. I like to be active and play sports, but I am not on any specific after school programs or anything. If I was to play, I would probably pick soccer because soccer has always been my favorite sport, and it is just lots of fun to play.

  • You’ve said you own chameleons, what is it like?

    Yes I do have two panther chameleons a boy and a girl. The boy’s name is Eclipse, and the girl’s name is Saphyra. I am hoping to breed them some time soon. It is a lot of fun having chameleons, and I would definitely suggest if you are a responsible person to get them. They are fun, but they can be quite a bit of work, and they are not cheap pets to have. I do love my chameleons, and they are really friendly the boy, Eclipse, will come by the door and climb on it when he wants to come out. Out of all my pets I have had, these ones are definitely my favorite. I also love showing people my chameleons because you don’t usually see people having them as pets, and it’s cool to see people reaction because they are very intriguing creatures.








RVA Weekly To Host Fall Fest Stream

The RVA Weekly will be hosting a live stream covering the events at RVA Fall Fest 2018.

This stream will be hosted live on YouTube starting Friday Oct. 12 at about 4:45 pm.
You may join our live stream via a link posted on the RVA Weekly Homepage at the start of this event. Otherwise you can click “Go To Stream” below.


Fall Fest Schedule*:

4:45 pm to 4:50 pm:

- Welcoming Time.

4:50 pm to 5:50 pm:

- Group activities, RVA Weekly Staff Introduction, Mario Kart, and other fun Games and Activities as well!

5:50 pm to 6:00 pm:

- Intermission.

6:30 pm to 9:15 pm:

- Dance and Dance Live stream!

9:15 pm to 9:30 pm:

- Wrap Up/Credits.


*All Times Listed Are In Central Daylight Time.

Image: Karilynn Sandoval

Student Spotlight: Anna Gunderson


Student Spotlight

  • What is your name?

    Anna Gunderson

  • How old are you

    I am 17, but I will be 18 in two months

  • What grade are you in?

    I am 12th grade

  • How long have you been in RVA?

    I have been in RVA for 4 years now

  • Where are you from?

    I live in Holmen, WI

  • Do you like RVA?

    I love RVA! It has given me so many opportunities

  • What is your favorite class?

    My favorite class would be the forensic classes I took

  • What hobbies do you have?

    My hobbies are writing music, playing with my goats, baking, cooking, photography, school, website designing, and writing books.

  • What classes do you find the most important

    For now, I think my Dual Credit classes are very important, I mean free college credits, it’s a win-win. Another class I find important is Career Prep. It gets you ready for what you will be doing after high school or in high school as a senior.

  • Do you have some advice for new RVA students?

    The advice I would give to new students is to ask lots of questions, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Also, stay on top of your school work, it can get out of control fast. Stay motivated and have fun!

  • Do you have any favorite RVA events?

    My favorite RVA events would be Prom, Fall Fest, and Coffee, Coco and Friends

  • What do you see yourself doing in the future?

    I would like to be an FBI agent in my future so I could transfer into the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit)

  • Are you in any sports, if so, what?

    I am not in sports any more. I used to be on the swim team and I used to play basket ball and softball.

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