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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY LOUIE CASTILLO, Clearwater Central Catholic
In the animal kingdom, spring is the time when everything emerges from hibernation. Bears, squirrels, rabbits all leave their hideaways keen to shed their coats, grab some grub and move on with life. We humans are no different. Though human winters for the most part lack the threat of starvation or attack, we still must go through our own seasonal stresses, like exams, and who will we ask to prom. So really, what better way is there to start spring than with a clean slate?
That is different from what our parents may be nagging us to do this time of year — spring cleaning. Even though a clean room is always pleasant, and helps us unearth items that have been missing since fall, I for one think we’d all be better people if we looked internally and did a little spring cleaning of the soul, to try new things and maybe become more accepting and tolerant of others in the process.
Here are some suggestions:
Develop a sense of empathy and understanding while the snow melts (or in our case, ocean heats up). If you are a music snob, take a break and listen to a bit of Top 40. Stop your lip curling for once at their pedestrian lyrics; for God’s sake, Ke$ha spells her name with a dollar sign, so what do you expect? Woody Guthrie’s ghost inhabiting a human? There’s nothing wrong with dancing a little, and you won’t know how fun it is until you’ve tried being Will-i-am and Britney.
Spring is a good time to branch out with the ol’ wardrobe, too. I for one shouldn’t talk, because for the past few months, I’ve been rocking the beat to death in Dickies and Vans. Replace those skinny jeans that have just about fused to your legs with a more breathable form of trouserdom, maybe even a pair of those chubbies you so despise. The Sperries need a break, too! I’m a firm believer in classic footwear, and a good pair of Doc Martin boots will last you a lifetime, plus when your dad sees you in the Docs, why, nostalgia could earn you some brownie points.
Just like the animals, so must we shed our winter coats. A little hair cut never hurt anyone (unless you’re Samson or Troy Polamalu). Spring is near, ladies and gentleman, the time of year for radiance! Do something fresh! New! Bring back the Caesar, the Jheri curl. They might have been atrocious back in the day, but hey, you know what they say, ’90s nerd equals 2013 hipster.
It’s also a good time of year to take up a hobby, even better for one involving water. For all those people who claim to be “beach boys” just because they know secret parking places near Pier 60, it is time to put your money where your mouth is. In earlier days, beach boys were native Hawaiians who lived on the beach but spent all their time in the water, surfing, diving, fishing and spear-fishing. Put down the tanning oil and pick up a board! Sand Key beach in between Indian Rocks and Clearwater Beach has good surf in the spring (at least by west coast standards). Stop leaning toward the Guido spectrum and move more toward the waterman side.
Above all, let’s all try to be nicer people this spring. This winter brought about many tragedies, scandals and other sorts of less-than-awesome news, so even simple gestures are welcome. Share your Pop-Tarts at lunch, or instead of Toddlers and Tiaras, meditate on peace and love and agree to disagree with those who say The Following is more exciting than The Walking Dead.