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We need more Hanukkah music

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By Alexis Schatten, Managing Editor

Christmas music seems to have been plentiful since the dawn of time, and while it’s great for raising levels of festivity leading up to the holiday, it just doesn’t cover all of the festivities surrounding the month of December.

When you think of Christmas, there are at least 25 different songs that may come to mind, depending on your level of investment in the holiday. When you think of Hanukkah, you think of Adam Sandler’s The Chanukah Song, Dreidel Song, and Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah. Three songs. Pitiful.

Now, I’m not saying that we need to replace all of the Christmas songs with Hanukkah songs. We can all live together in harmony. We just need more Hanukkah songs. What else are the little Jewish kids supposed to bop to during the holiday season?

There’s plenty of Jewish people in today’s music industry, and this is a direct call-out post for them. Let’s make some latkes, light some menorahs and write some Jewish jams for us to sing throughout the year.

In the meantime, though, we’ll just have to blast the three songs we have, so I’ve linked one of Spotify’s two official Hanukkah playlists.

Posted: Dec. 12

Coming Soon: Ms. Pompano

Satire

opinionlightningjpegBy Kimberly Scanlan, Staff Writer

Mr. Pompano is a annual event held by PBHS. Students get the opportunity to watch fellow classmates make fools of themselves. What are some of the things that these competitors may have in common? They’re all funny, shameless, seniors and (duh duuh duuuh) male.

While most Pompano High students find the affair light hearted and unproblematic, some have seen past this injustice. Those with an IQ much higher than the rest of us have pointed out: “THERE IS NO MS. POMPANO!” The students who bring this up have a fair point. There is, in fact, no Ms. Pompano event. These warriors have called many of us to battle! Those of us who are “woke” know the truth: Mr. Pompano is all part of a system of oppression hand drawn by misogynistic, women-hating pigs who want women to do nothing but chores for the rest of their lives.

Many skeptics of the theory have tried to bring us down via hate speech. “I just don’t think girls would do it,” junior Khylin Bellhorn said. To that, all we can say is you are wrong. So. Very. Wrong. Even the atmosphere of the event is PG. Nothing even slightly inappropriate occurs. Everything said by the attendees focuses on the personality of each contestant. Even if a contestant is sexualized, women love being harassed. Never in my life have I heard of a female complaining of “catcalling”. It just doesn’t happen.

In addition to the family-friendly atmosphere, the attire is nothing but elegant. The senior boys strut their stuff in the classiest of clothing, including, and extremely limited to, bowties and Speedo’s. While saying women can’t flaunt what they got is extraordinarily traditional, we, the warriors for complete and total gender equality, realize that not everyone is as progressive and amazing as us. So, we were willing to compromise. If administration will not let us walk the big stage shirtless, we will regress into swimwear. This has to be okay because there is no anatomical or physiological difference between males and females at all. Gender is simply a word that defines nothing. We are all the same, so why doesn’t everyone see that?

I, for one, am thoroughly convinced that Ms. Pompano should occur. I have seen the light and intend to see the stage lights, as well. If Ms. Pompano doesn’t happen, then we have allowed a system of hatred and oppression to tie weights to our ankles and bring us down. If Ms. Pompano doesn’t happen, it means that Pompano Beach High School hates females. We cannot blame the failure of our precious Ms. Pompano on a lack of planning or participants; simply blame the system. Everything is an attack on women and we will not stand for it any longer!

JK Rowling needs to stop writing

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By Julia Latchana, Asst. Section Editor

J.K. Rowling created one of the most successful and well-known series, but while it is a great series, the world of Harry Potter has its mistakes. One of them being the author herself.

Since the books ended in 2007, Rowling has decided to tie up some loose ends from the novel and has recently begun to add to old characters and create new things and it is about time for her to stop.

One of the things that she has been doing is trying to add more representation into the series in the form of sexuality and race.

In 2010, J.K. Rowling revealed that Albus Dumbledore was previously in a relationship with Gellert Grindelwald and was gay. The Harry Potter books never alluded to this, but it was suspected that seeing as the Fantastic Beasts series focuses on the Grindelwald era it was assumed that the relationship between the two characters would be shown.

However, director David Yates said that Albus Dumbledore’s sexualiy would not be “explicitly shown”, saying that “But I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology, and each other.”

Yeah fans know that, but what’s the point of making the movie if you’re not going to be accurate or at least show any part of their relationship. Their relationship obviously affected the events of the story and not including it is just taking away a part of the story.

Throughout the novels, Rowling didn’t include many diverse characters and some fans feel that she is just trying to make her image look better by including diverse characters.

After the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald dropped, fans began to discuss the character, Nagini. In the Harry Potter series, Nagini is Voldemort’s pet snake that murders people for him.

Rowling took to Twitter to explain the character concept, stating that she is a Maledictus, a person that has been cursed and will eventually become a monster. But controversy has sparked over the actress that is playing her. Nagini is being played by Claudia Kim, a South Korean actress.

J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to defend the character saying “The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini.’ They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake. Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese and Betawi.”

But this argument is flawed. Naga are semi-divine deities that are half human and half serpent and come from Hinduism and is actively used in the religion, which is not a mythology, and originates from India. Naga are not from Indonesian mythology, has nothing to do with any of the ethnic groups that she mentions, or is a part of a mythology.

Rowling, if you’re trying to get more representation by putting an Asian woman in the film, then do your research and put the right kind of Asian.

But I guess we as fans shouldn’t be surprised by this. Rowling has also written the “History of Magic in North America” which is riddled with cultural appropriation and demeans Native American culture. In the book, Rowling groups all the Native Americans as one and uses skinwalkers, which is a part of Navajo culture, as creatures for her universe.

Rowling stated that “The legend of the Native American ‘skinwalker’ – an evil witch or wizard that can transform into an animal at will – has its basis in fact. A legend grew up around the Native American Animagi that they had sacrificed close family members to gain their powers of transformation. In fact, the majority of Animagi assumed animal forms to escape persecution or to hunt for the tribe”. Traditionally skinwalkers are witches that disguised themselves as animals and are an active part of their culture, not just a legend.

Dr. Adrienne Keene, a Native American academic and activist, even called out Rowling on twitter saying “it’s not ‘your’ world. It’s our (real) Native world. And skinwalker stories have context, roots, and reality … You can’t just claim and take a living tradition of a marginalised people. That’s straight up colonialism/appropriation,” but received no response.

Rowling is taking active parts of different cultures and twisting them to fit her need. At this point, she is doing whatever she can to keep people hooked and waiting for more. J.K. Rowling is just making things up from the top of her head and isn’t putting any thought into it. She wants people to feel represented in her books, but it does the exact opposite. Every way that she’s tried to include more diverse backgrounds (whether that be race or sexuality), it has demeaned everyone that’s apart of said background.

The Harry Potter books were full of flaws and mistakes but it was good; however, by continuing to write and “tie up loose ends”, Rowling is just ruining it and needs to stop.

Posted: Nov. 28

It’s time to be thankful for Thanksgiving

By Alexis Schatten, Managing Editor

Every year, without fail, people will begin celebrating Christmas around Halloween, nearly a whole two months before the holiday. Halloween, which is a sacred holiday in itself, is rudely disregarded as of Oct. 21, when the Christmas music pandemic begins to rear its ugly head and the searches for “Christmas music” on Google increase dramatically.

To be perfectly clear, I have nothing against Christmas. I don’t celebrate it, but I’ll listen to the music and pay a visit to Santa’s Enchanted Forest and spread Christmas cheer in general, like any good human being would. However, I don’t start blasting Mariah Carey until, at the very earliest, after Thanksgiving.

Sure, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated by as many people as Christmas is, but that shouldn’t mean that it should be cast aside like a toy you broke the day after you unwrapped it. The holiday is just as important and has just as good a meaning behind it.

Thanksgiving, like Christmas, is a time for family. So why shouldn’t we be just as eager to celebrate the holiday when it’s basically a giftless Christmas about a month in advance? The term “Christmas came early” ringing any bells?

There might not be any recognized anthems for the holiday, but that shouldn’t lessen the excitement surrounding it. There’s still plenty to get excited about regarding Thanksgiving: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the aromas of food that fill the air, and the shortened school week, to name a few.

So before you press play on your Christmas playlist, make sure you take a moment to be thankful for Thanksgiving and all of the great things that come with the holiday.

Posted: Nov. 21

Democrats win the house

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By Julia Latchana, Asst. Section Editor

The time leading up to the midterm elections was a very irritating, but interesting ride. Slander and support were being thrown at all candidates, but by the end of election night, most states had their results and the country knew who was in power.

While the Republicans, unfortunately, still have control of the Senate, the Democrats now have control of the House of Representatives. This was a cause for celebration for the Democratic party because they finally have some power in a political landscape dominated by close minded old white men. Three House seats have yet to be declared as of Nov. 19, but it will not change the new majority as the House is currently made of 232 Democrats and 200 Republicans.

The Democrats’ winning the House of Representatives means that they can enact change that will be helpful to the common man rather than a small set of the population, otherwise known the white, rich majority.

The Democratic agenda includes plans to increase workers’ wages, better fund health care and address voting rights issues.

The Democrats aim to do what the Republicans couldn’t: actually help the American people. The new House majority wants to protect people with pre-existing conditions, protect Dreamers, create gun safety laws, and do something about climate change. They plan to address the real and pressing issues that Republicans have been calling “fake news” and help the people that have been wrongfully labeled as “dangerous criminals”, both of which would benefit this country greatly.

In addition to these efforts, the Democrats will be focusing on investigating President Trump.

The Democrats also want to look at Trump’s financial records, specifically his tax returns, collusion with Russia and the payoff of multiple women to keep them silent about extramarital affairs during the 2016 election campaign.

If it wanted to, the House could vote to impeach President Trump; however, this would not ensure that the President would be removed from office as that would be up to the Senate.

Of course, we won’t know what will actually happen in the House until they assemble in January, but the Democrats winning the House has President Trump and the Republicans scared, and rightfully so.

The Democrats winning the House may not sound so great for the Republican party and that’s understandable since they tend to resist change at every turn. However, it’s amazing news for the underrepresented populations of America and lets them know that they finally have the opportunity to be heard by the government who claims that it represents the American people, but rarely does.

Posted: Nov. 14

Satire: Death of the best social media platform

By Matthew Shanbom, Asst. Section Editor

Google Plus, a revolutionary social media platform, announced that they will be shutting down in Aug. 2019 after seven years of being online.

Google Plus introduced a feature called “circles” which were more in depth than any other social media platform out there. “Circles” allowed people to add their family, friends, and school friends to different circles and post just within that circle.. It also featured the ability to share the same post with more than one circle. This feature is ahead of Facebook groups which only post in one group or to everyone. This feature was too far ahead of its time to be enjoyed.

Google Plus also introduced the concept of Google Hangouts which offered free multi person calling. This prompted Skype to make their service free. Hangouts was later removed from Google Plus due to being fully developed and ready as a standalone product. The way that Google Plus was able to combine a full social media platform with video calling made it the best one stop shop for people who only have access to wifi. Google hangouts could not grab the audience to join Google Plus only for Hangouts which prompted the two to separate leaving Plus with only the social media aspect.

Unfortunately, Google Plus could not compete with the already established giants of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The features that made Google Plus great were mostly made into separate stand alone products such as Google hangouts and Google Photos.This left the platform as just a text and image sharing platform. All of these features combined created a social media platform that did not catch on. Google Plus was prompted to shut down due to reports of a data breach that exposed email addresses. Google has not announced any replacement for Google Plus.

Posted: Oct. 31

Does ‘Hello’ help?

By Delaney Staples, Assistant Editor

“Start with Hello Week,” a week dedicated to creating a socially inclusive environment for the students at lunch time and throughout the day, was implemented here Sept. 24-28.

It didn’t work.

“Even though we had a program to help us make new friends, people stayed mostly with their regular groups,” said sophomore Eden Wright, although she did mention having seen fewer people sitting alone that day.

The program was started by Sandy Hook Promise organization, which formed after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 with the purpose of lowering the threat of school violence, like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, by trying to eliminate social isolation.

“Start with Hello” works to help students interact by having a week where students wear name tags and try to sit with people who may be sitting alone, or simply sitting with different people in general. But did this really happen?

Teenagers — like adults — naturally arrange themselves into cliques. Because of this mindset, people find it harder to leave their cliques and speak to someone new or to be addressed by an “outsider” without feeling  annoyed or offended.

“For people that don’t need it, it’s just really weird,” senior David Dunham said. “The only way these programs are effective are if people want to, and a lot of times they don’t.”

The conception people have in their heads when coming up to someone who is sitting alone to begin a conversation, is that it will be awkward.

“It’s hard and weird to branch out and sit with someone else even though it’s what we should do,” Wright said.

Our generation is also growing up during a time with advancing technology. The majority of kids and teens have a phone or access to an electronic device.

“Kids are so absorbed in electronics, they haven’t learned how to deal with other people,” tech teacher David Holley said. “The studies have shown that social media has made people feel lonelier, more disconnected.”

“It depends on the people,” says Eden Wright.

“A lot of people don’t have home training,” Mr. Holley said, and because of this, kids will learn most social behavior outside of home.

The implementation of programs like these are “good in theory but not really in practice,” as Dunham said. The idea of creating a more socially inclusive environment to help others feel safe and accepted is great, and if the world could be like that, then school violence would certainly be less common. It isn’t that the world can’t be like that, but that the people on it choose not to try.

“Nice people are gonna be nice, not nice people are gonna be not nice,” Holley said.

And not everyone who sits alone is lonely. Some sit alone by choice, isolating themselves, and maybe that’s better for them, but what if one day that person in the back decides they want to come forward, but realizes they have no one to come forward to? The feeling can be crushing.

The change these programs do bring is subtle and gradual, if any at all.

“Better than not doing anything I suppose,”  Holley said. From his point of view, even if the mechanics of the programs don’t directly make an impact, the message being spread serves as a reminder. It serves as a reminder of what can be done and that it is possible to reach out.

All in all, these programs aren’t typically effective as the students aren’t always receptive or they choose not to implement them. “Start with Hello” barely made a dent into the rigid social structure of the high school environment, but there are other things that can be done.

The way to theoretically eliminate school violence is to create open channels of communication between people. Make it so that if someone sees something, they can say something and speak up. A way to do this would be for teachers to take a more active role by making themselves open to the students and stopping bullying or negative conduct when any signs appear.

“Like Mr. Nagy doesn’t take any of that. If he sees even a student messing with another student he shuts that right down,” Dunham said.

Another way could be to have small groups. Small groups would be something akin to mentoring but less guided and freer. Groups of students, perhaps from various grades and ages, would meet once a week or every other week to talk about the stresses of school and/or home life.

The primary repercussion of this would be that “you’re still forcing people to sit in a room and talk,” as Dunham said, when conversation should come more naturally and happen on its own. But teens struggle to do that, whether it be because electronics have damaged us and limited our knowledge of social navigation or be for fear of not getting acceptance and validation. Perhaps what is needed is for us to be forced to talk to each other. Force us to notice each other.

Yes, that’s what Start with Hello Week was trying to do, though it didn’t truly work. Perhaps if more staff and students had supported it or tried to monitor it,, it would have made a bigger impact.

The creation of a more open environment could be critical to making social isolation a rarity rather than a common thing. But it takes more than a week.

“This is how school shootings happen, like, nobody talks,” Wright said.

People need to talk with each other and feel safe doing so, but “Start with Hello” didn’t do much but create a small ripple in a storming sea.

Posted: Oct. 28

Keep Volunteering Voluntary

By Kimberly Scanlan, Staff Writer

To graduate from Pompano Beach High School, students are required to have at least 40 hours of community service. This is done in an effort to promote lifelong service from the students. But recently studies have shown that schools that do not require volunteer work, but rather provide opportunities for students help their community, get a better response. The AASA states that the mandate promotes real life learning, but many students partake in activities that aren’t anything new, such as grading papers or cleaning. Wouldn’t it be better to implement more technical skills in the classroom, instead of expecting students to find volunteer jobs that would teach them skills needed in the workplace? Another point that is made by many is that once the volunteer work is mandated, its no longer volunteer work. The only thing that’s actually voluntary is what you do. The work becomes mandatory and students associate it with things they don’t enjoy doing. Once the work becomes a chore students are less likely to do it later in life. This may be why the schools that do not require it get a better response. The AASA has also acknowledged that the mandated community service could pose as an obstacle for students to complete traditional school work. That is a major issue seen at schools like PBHS where the workload is far above average. When students have to volunteer and complete massive amounts of school work, one is going to be pushed to the side. Either student will use the mandated work as a way to experience work they’re interested in and their grades will drop, or, they will end up doing volunteer jobs that require little effort and don’t expose them to real life situations. The truth of the matter is that volunteer work should be what it’s called, voluntary.

Posted: Oct. 24

Satire

The freshman invasion is real: Class of 2022 too immense to ignore

By Emily Powell, Web/Business Editor; and Madison Tappa, Asst. Section Editor

On the first day of school, well over 300 students — 350 to be exact — could be identified by their lanyards. The school had distributed lanyards to the incoming freshmen to make it easier for the rest of the high school body to identify that the freshmen class is just too huge.

Even Ralph Marchand, a science teacher who doesn’t even have to handle the freshmen, is already annoyed at how gigantic their class is.

“Freshmen, go home,” Marchand said on the freshmen invading the campus. “Don’t come back.”

If only the administrators had known that the Freshmen Invasion they had put together before school would turn into an actual freshmen invasion. They are everywhere to a point where the rest of the high school body is tired of them already.

“They’re annoying,” sophomore Jacob Giraldo said.

Other students do not have as many problems with the amount of freshmen who invaded the campus. When asked her thoughts on the size of the freshman class, junior Weronika Silva responded with an utterly brave remark.    

“Half of you guys are going to get kicked out anyways,” Silva said.

Some students have complaints on the actual size of the freshmen themselves.

“Why are their backpacks bigger than them?” sophomore Fabiana Ungaro said.

Others had comments on how the freshmen haven’t even grown an inch since middle school.

“Why didn’t you grow from middle school?” sophomore Niamh Mulroy said.

There were also some students who believed that the freshmen were still in elementary school.

“How did you skip five grades so fast?” sophomore James Hurst said.

After hearing about all of the satirical comments the upperclassmen had to say about them, the freshmen took the chance to retaliate, albeit mostly anonymously for fear of reprisal.

“They seem snobby and stuck-up in their own world like they rule everything around them,” one anonymous freshman said.

“Sophomores act like seniors,” another anonymous freshman said. (Yeah, we don’t know what that means either.)

“Whenever a sophomore or junior looks at me, they look at me like I’m contagious or like I have Ebola or something,” yet another anonymous freshman said. (Not sure how that’s an insult, but whatever.)

“They’re older, so they’re gonna die faster,” freshman Danielle Scott said. (Burn!)

One other freshman didn’t mind having the upperclassmen around.

“They’re cool,” said yet another freshman who wished to remain anonymous for fear (of what we’re not sure of).

Some other freshmen are fine with the way the upperclassmen treat them. Want to yell “Go home, freshmen!” at the pep rallies?

“I wanna go home,” freshman Christenn Loney said.

“Isn’t that how high school is supposed to work?” yet another anonymous freshman said.

Despite all of the mean comments from students and teachers, literacy coach and freshman class advisor Ann Wayland-Cook decided to welcome the freshmen.

“Freshmen are breaking down the doors to get here because they heard that Pompano Beach High School has a caring, supportive, and challenging environment,” Wayland-Cook said.

Posted: Sep. 25

Time to make a difference

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Graphic by Kristina Latchana

As we students all anticipate the end of the school year, and some of us prepare for our next endeavors at college or in the military, we reflect upon our high school experience overall. What is different about us, about this year, is what we have gone through together as a school and community. While many of us don’t realize it, everything that has happened this year will change us forever as individuals, as a community, as a generation.

As individuals, a community and a generation we have endured racial conflict, political injustice, the Stoneman Douglas shooting and much more, yet we remain stronger than ever.

Many of us have realized our values through these traumas we have faced. Too many of us lost friends this year, whether it was alumnus Andrew Coffey in October or one of the 17 killed in Parkland on Feb. 14.

As a community, we have leaned on each other and picked each other up in the face of tragedy and walked away stronger, fighting for what we believe in. We have organized rallies, marches and protests, we have made our voices heard and we will not stop until society has corrected injustice.

As a generation, we have to pave the way for the future. We have to begin thinking about those who come after us, our children and the next generation. We have to make sure that, for their sake and for our sake,  we make a difference in this world.

As individuals, a community and a generation, we have endured more than anyone should. One person killed by hazing or a school shooting is too many. These losses will affect us for the rest of our lives, and we need to let them. We need to not be numbed, but feel more from these losses. Let your life be changed by these events, and begin to make a difference.

As we move into the summer and the next school year, no matter what our futures hold, we must take pride in what we have gone through, where we came from,  embrace the changes we faced this year and make those whom we have lost proud.

Posted: May 17

Trump’s gone rogue: U.S. should stay out of Syria

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By Julia Latchana, Asst. Section Editor

A humanitarian crisis does not need more violence, and the Douma chemical attacks did not need to be met with missiles.

Bashar Al-Assad regime’s chemical attack on April 7 killed about 70 people through chlorine gas and sarin, both nerve agents.

President Trump’s response was to attack supposed chemical warehouses with missiles, something that Trump did last year. Yet missile strikes have done little to deter future chemical attacks.

Assad has been using chemicals on his citizens since 2013, when an attack killed seven people.

Trump’s 59 missile strikes last year did little to deter Assad’s chemical weapons program, which has still managed to attack Syrian civilians, so why continue to attack a regime that will continue to dust themselves off and develop these weapons?

Because it is the only thing that the United States is willing to do.

While the U. S. government is OK with using millions of dollars on means of war, only 11 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the country since the beginning of this year, according to National Public Radio.

Trump claims that he wants to save the Syrians from the “monster” (Assad), but he doesn’t want to let them into the country and has tried numerous times to ban all immigrants from Muslim nations.

To those that say that the strikes are an attack on the regime, you are wrong. The attacks are on the Syrians.

Assad is killing Syrians and the world’s response is to go and bomb the country. Our solution to solve a humanitarian crisis is to cause more threatening situations, way to go!

Trump, however, did have a personal agenda when it came to striking the country.

On April 11 Trump tweeted that “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’’

However, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, wanted approval from Congress before attacking Syria, an approval that did not happen, thus violating the War Powers Act.

Trump made the announcement on the night of April 13, and by the morning the U. S.public was told that the strike went off without a hitch. But it didn’t.

Russia and Assad shot down some of the missiles before they hit their intended targets, and it is unknown as to whether or not the strike hurt civilians. Also, by morning the regime was seen celebrating in the streets. This doesn’t seem like the response Trump was hoping for.

Perhaps the regime wanted the United States to strike back, but Trump wanted to prove that he wasn’t all talk.

Now I am not saying that Syria doesn’t need help, but barraging the country with missiles will do nothing of the sort. Do you want this situation to turn out like Vietnam, Iran or Korea, turning against us at every turn?

Missle strikes have done little to daunt the Assad regime, so why continue to attack the regime with them when they will continue to attack their civilians?

The seven-year Syrian Civil War needs to be put to an end through diplomacy, not weapons.

Posted: May 9

Same crime, same time: ID enforcement necessary

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By Maria Suarez, Asst. Section Editor

Students have always known they must wear their IDs on campus at all times. It’s clearly written in the Student Code of Conduct, but it wasn’t enforced anywhere near as much as it has been recently until this school year.

Now for a regulation to be forced upon students so soon, it takes time for students to get accustomed to it. Still, it is fair to punish students with detention simply because on the one day they accidentally forgot it.

Granted, procedures to punish a student without an ID have been shifting.

Junior Madison Philips was caught not wearing her ID and instead of getting punished with a detention, she got a visitor sticker and received a warning.

“I came to school late and when I was getting my late pass, since I didn’t have my ID, they sent me to the front office where I had to sign a paper and they gave me a visitors pass,” Philips said.

Junior Giovany Suarez, who also didn’t have his ID, paid $5 to avoid receiving a detention. Suarez was given the options to pay $5 for a new ID and a visitor’s pass, or call home to have someone drop off his ID; if not, he would receive a Friday detention. Both students were caught with the same crime, but their penalties were different.

Holding students in the front office simply because they didn’t have their ID causes them to be late to class, like senior Luiza De Rezende, who tweeted: “So I missed 30+ minutes of class because I forgot my id today… yes, that makes sense.”

Giving detentions on Fridays also interferes with students who have to go to work on Fridays, like junior Brinya Kydd, who received a detention but didn’t serve it because she had work.

Although the specific consequences still need to be consistent and fair, the overall shift toward strictness should be appreciated.

Campus monitor Jamesey Stone stressed why students should understand the importance of the IDs.

“Wearing your ID helps us identify you,” Stone said. “First of all, we don’t know all the freshmen, juniors and seniors; they help us identify our kids. Kids have to understand that whatever profession you choose in life, they’ll require you to wear an ID badge. So why not get used to wearing them know.”

This year security is focusing on getting all the students into the habit of wearing their badges, because next school year new technology will be introduced that will require students to wear their IDs.

“We have iPads and programs that scan the barcode of a student’s ID and lets us know what class they’re in,” “Stone said.

Micro-tech specialist Ivonne Coronado recognizes that consequences need to be sensitive in order to be effective.

“They’re revising that because we don’t want you guys to be out of class and late, so they’re starting this week a new procedure that is the same as the dress code,” Coronado said.

On April 30, new procedures were in place, according to front office secretary Erika Rodriguez, who assists the security in administering the punishments. Students will sign to acknowledge a first or second warning before being issued a detention for their third infraction.

“With everything that’s happening in schools these days, that’s the best way,” Rodriguez said. “At least with their ID, they can identify students from our school or not because any young person can walk in, but if they didn’t have an ID, we can recognize it.”

As long as the new procedure is applied consistently to all students and stays in place long enough to evaluate its effectiveness, I’m all in favor of it.

Posted: May 7

Trump’s right: US must stand up for those who can’t

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By Jamie Black, Web/Business Editor

Politics isn’t simple, especially when mixed with emotions, but saving the lives of innocent civilians is very simple. With this in mind, there should be no debate over helping the civilians of Syria.

For the past seven years, the civilians of Syria have become victims of Bashar Al-Assad’s tyrannical and oppressive presidency (his presidency lacking true validity considering the consequences the citizens would suffer if anyone else was elected). In those seven years, a proclaimed civil war has taken the lives of many people in Syria, most being civilians that Al-Assad killed in order to try and stop the rebellion taking over “his” country.

Four hundred thousand. That’s how many people have fallen victim to the Syrian Civil War. Considering the value of human life, why should the United States sit on the sidelines as innocent people die? We cannot remain neutral in times of crisis, so I support the bombings of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons facilities.

The U. S. led airstrikes caused no mass casualties and were joined by allies France and Britain.

Facts aside, if someone asked if you could stop a genocide would you really say no? Would you have said no to preventing or lessening the Holocaust? Looking at the events of the past, it is so easy to say “yes, let’s stop these terrible events,” but why can’t we make it easier to support this in the present?

We can’t be passive and allow for history to take its course. We have the ability to change history. This is a genocide of the Syrian people simply because they don’t believe in what the government believes in, and we can’t allow genocide to happen.

People’s lives are in danger. Syrians are living in fear of their own government while some Americans question the bombings simply because Trump ordered them, a very selfish reason.

In 2013, President Obama was ready to take the same course of action as Trump and bomb facilities of the Syrian government but ultimately backed out. Yet Obama didn’t receive the same amount of scrutiny as Trump.

When looking at events like this, we need to pause our political biases and look at this event from an unbiased perspective, a perspective that puts what is right first. I don’t like Trump, but I support this action because it’s right to help the innocent people of Syria.

Posted: May 2

Students: Relax from setbacks

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Graphic by Kristina Latchana

The words “stressed” and “tired” are almost an instant response when a student is asked how they are, yet we don’t find that to be all too concerning.

Often we hear adults saying that the lives of students are easy and that we students have nothing to be worried about, but that just isn’t the truth.

Eighty three percent of students, in a survey taken by the American Psychology Association, credit school for being a major factor for the stress they face, which isn’t surprising to most students.

The competitiveness of school has increased dramatically since our parents were in high school. No offense, but how many of our parents would be able to get into the colleges they went to with the current standards of those colleges?

Based off data taken from the University of Florida, for the 1997-98 school year, the average SAT score for those admitted ranged between a 560-670 in verbal (reading) and a 580-680 in math. In 2016 those averages increased to 580-680 in critical reading and a 600-690 in math.

Stress isn’t all about the test scores. A student’s GPA has a major impact on their future and current stress level.

Using the 1997-98 v. 2016 data again, 20 years ago the average admitted freshman at UF had a GPA ranging from a 3.5-4.1, while in 2016 the average was between 4.2 and 4.5.

Besides good scores and a high GPA, most colleges expect rigorous coursework and an encyclopedia length list of extracurricular activities to give acceptance to a student, and once a student is accepted, there is no financial guarantee. Most students who aren’t millionaires have to start applying for scholarship after scholarship to pay for the ridiculous price of college.

The track to college is not easy one and causes a lot of stress on students, but we can’t allow the stresses of college prep and the rest of our current education in high school to ruin our lives.

Although our lives seem to be centered around school now, life is not all about which test you passed or what college didn’t accept you. Our lives will be so much more than that in such a short amount of time.

In 2018 alone we have seen so many tragedies, especially so close to home in South Florida. With these tragedies, we can see that life is short, and as cheesy as it sounds, we need to live like it’s our last day.

That said, don’t go do something incredibly dangerous or regrettable, but do something that makes you feel happy rather than stressed. Allow yourself a certain amount of time per day to just destress from your life.

If you didn’t relax and take time for yourself over spring break, do it today, even if it is only five minutes. Life is bigger than school.

Posted: Apr. 25

‘Best friend’ better than ‘cat lady’

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By Maria Suarez, Asst. Color Page Editor

It’s no coincidence that dogs are called “man’s best friend” while “being a cat lady” is an insult.

Picture this, a dog’s average lifespan is about 10-13 years. One year for a dog equals seven years for you because dogs mature much faster. So a two-year-old dog is equal to a high school freshman.

Through the eyes of a dog, humans live for hundreds of years, and their owners are the center of their universe. A child will grow up with a little puppy and as soon as the child is a teenager, the dog will already start to develop grey fur and grow weak. The dog’s lifespan flashes in front of the owner’s eyes, and while the dog may grow weak, it sees its owner is still full of life. To the dog, its owner is literally its best friend for life.

Dogs are great companions. When arriving home, dog owners hear the barks of excitement when they stand outside the doorstep before unlocking the door, to be greeted by leaping hugs and wide grins showing off those pearly whites which are both threatening yet heartwarming.

Dogs don’t hide their love for their owners. A dog will demonstrate the same affection whether its owner was gone for five minutes or five days.

Dogs can be the best workout buddies. Dogs need exercise to stay healthy, and so do you, so why not combine the two?

Unlike cats, dogs enjoy going outside and being active. Jogging and walking can easily become a daily exercise for a dog owner. Cats prefer to stay inside and lie on top of furniture like couches

Yes, a comfy couch and a furry pet sounds like the perfect cuddle time, but there’s a time for everything and luckily, dogs are down for anything. Any extra time you want to spend with your dog is like a heavenly opportunity for them.

Also, it’s quite rare to see an owner walking their cat. A daily exercise for a cat owner might as well be searching around the home to find the cat, because cats are always wandering off somewhere and usually prefer alone time.

Dogs are also hard workers, helping humans in daily jobs. Dogs have special characteristics and abilities that allow for them to occupy human jobs. Service dogs are trained to help people with special needs.

Dogs have a great sense of smell, which allows them to be great first responders and serve as search dogs. Dogs are recruited and partnered with first responders by The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organization in California.

There are police dogs, which serve as investigators when hunting down criminals, illegal substances, explosives, locate missing people or find crime scene evidence. Dogs are selfless and in most cases dogs will put their lives after the lives of humans, without expecting anything in return.

Studies done by Purina show dog ownership can help those with mental health problems to recover and feel better, which is why there are special clinics with therapy dogs. In some cases, dogs have been taken to hospitals to accompany sick patients or recovering patients.

Dogs provide a sense of emotional well-being with the unconditional love they give, which is why they’re great company and comfort for people who live alone or have social problems. Studies have also shown that children with chronic illnesses often cope better with treatment when they have a canine companion.

In a recent study conducted by Takefumi Kikusui, an animal behaviorist at Azabu University in Sagamihara, Japan, a group of dogs and their owners were brought together, then allowed to interact alone in a room for 30 minutes. The researchers measured both human and canine levels of oxytocin before and after and found that levels had increased when the dog and its owner spent a lot of time making eye contact. There was an increase of 130 percent in dogs, and 300 percent in humans. The same experiment was done with cats, rabbits, hamsters, snakes and other pets as well as farm animals, but in none of those other cases was the bond as strong and trust-based as it was with dogs.

Dogs are great, but they are dependent. Dogs depend on humans to bathe them, to feed them, and to get their daily exercise. A dog isn’t like a cat who can simply lick itself clean. Dogs need baths and they are time consuming.

Much like cats they need their owner to set the food out for them, although cats are known to hunt down mice to eat them or climb up trees to kill birds, or at least that’s what Tom & Jerry teach little kids.

A dog isn’t capable of putting its own leash on and stepping outdoors to walk itself. That’s why dogs wear dog tags because they face the danger of running away or getting lost. They require a responsible owner who has enough time to take them out for walks. When was the last time you saw a cat on a leach and it didn’t seem weird? That’s because cats have their litter boxes and don’t rely on walks to satisfy their needs.

A dog doesn’t discriminate. Count all the times you’ve been out in public or in a park and a dog peacefully walks up to sniff you, and half the times all they need is a little pat and off they go. In some cases, you may say that dogs are better than people.

Posted: Apr. 25

Dogs drool, cats rule

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By Madison Steinkamp, Asst. Section Editor

Get a cat, life gets better. Well, it’s not exactly that simple, but it might as well be.

Cats cost less than dogs, cats keep you alive longer than dogs, cats are cleaner than dogs, and the most important information you’ll learn today, cat owners are smarter than dog owners.

A recent study by Carroll University researchers in Wisconsin found that when completing an intelligence test, “cat people” scored higher than “dog people.” Although they linked this to the environments that each perspective group generally stays in, cat people generally stay indoors, possibly reading, while dog people tend to be outside walking around more.

I can hear the dog people barking from here: “But dog people would healthier, ha on you!”

Well ha back on you because owning a cat reduces your chance of dying of a heart attack. The University of Minnesota did a study finding that cat owners were nearly 40 percent less likely to die of a heart attack than those who had never owned a cat.
But besides cat owners being smarter and the obvious benefit on not dying from a heart attack, cats are just better. Their food costs less and you buy less than you would
for a dog. and they don’t need toys, just an empty water bottle or a ball of yarn.

Cats are quieter, sweeter, and just plain better than dogs, no argument.

Posted: Apr. 25

Pineapple not too awkward for pizza

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Graphic by Maria Suarez

By Maria Suarez, Asst. Section Editor

The biggest argument used to be whether pizza was created by Italians, but it actually originated in the ancient times in the Middle East. History proves that the Greeks, Egyptians, Armenians, Babylonians and Israelites began by making flatbread in mud ovens and topping the bread with olive oil and spices, now known as focaccia.

It wasn’t until 1522, when tomatoes were brought into Europe from Peru, that the poor –and hungry — people of Naples found themselves placing the thought-to-be-poisonous fruit on top of their yeast dough, the first modern pizza.

After having found the answer to that problem, all other doubts and questions about pizza had been put aside, and the world of pizza had come to a peace.

The peace was interrupted when Gudni Johannesson, the president of Iceland, declared while taking questions from students at a school he was visiting that he would ban putting pineapple on pizzas. And much like a wildfire, a controversy erupted and all pineapple pizza lovers united to defend themselves.

As a pineapple pizza enthusiast myself, pineapple has all the right to go on as a topping. If tomatoes, which are also a fruit, can go on top, what can stop pineapple tidbits from joining the rest of the toppings list?

Pineapple tidbits add a touch of sweetness and savory in every bite. Pineapple as a whole is very healthy and is a source of vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber. Therefore, piling a couple of pineapple tidbits onto your pizza can make you feel a little less guilty about eating it.

Shockingly enough, according to a Huffington Post infographic, “The Top 10 Most Popular Pizza Toppings,” pineapple came in at ninth place, followed by spinach. If we allow mushrooms, which are neither fruit nor vegetable but fungus, to go acceptably on top of pizza, why can’t pineapples have the same liberty?

All it takes is an open mind and a hungry stomach to agree that pineapple isn’t as bad as you may think. Chef Anthony Carron of 800 Degrees Pizzeria, an opponent of pineapple pizza, gave in to the idea after receiving multiple orders of pineapple topping, one of the few ingredients his restaurant didn’t carry.

According to writer Chelsea Ritchel from The Independent, Carron now accepts pineapple only under one condition: no “garbage canned pineapple tidbits,” rather fresh ones that are hand-peeled and -diced, then tossed with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt before being roasted in a wood-burning oven until they are caramelized.

Still have a problem? To every problem there’s a solution. Pizzarias allow for pizzas to be split in half with the left and right sides with different toppings.

So for picky eaters out there, next time you’re going to share a pizza with a pineapple pizza enthusiast, you can either pick the pineapple tidbits right off your slice of pizza, or simply order pizza with half pineapple tidbits and the other with your preferred toppings.

That said, I hope we can all agree that dipping pizza in milk, which is an actual thing, is an utter disgrace.

Posted: Apr. 21

Don’t let Douglas become another statistic

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By Jordan Brown, Section Editor

It’s been over a month since the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and media coverage of potential legislature or just general precautions to prevent another shooting from happening has slowed to a crawl.

In the weeks following the shooting, many Americans were fired up for change and ready to make history by pushing back against the lazy politicians and pushing forward for a change in legislation. But as more days passed, the more the fire extinguished. Newspapers stopped covering it, politicians introduced completely unrelated bills and proposals, and schools across the country got tired of all the students walking out of classes for peaceful protest.

America is known for focusing on something for a few days and then throwing it to the side to focus on something else that catches its eye, much like a hyperactive child. We, as students, have an obligation to make sure that America’s short attention span doesn’t turn to something else when we haven’t gotten justice for the 17 lives we lost in that shooting. We acknowledge and are grateful for the steps that have been taken towards the goal of justice for those families and our community. But that’s just it; they’re just steps. There’s much more that needs to be done and politicians are stalling because they think that we’re placated by the baby steps they’ve taken towards completing our goal.

Legislation regarding guns and school safety should’ve been changed when Columbine happened in 1999, but it wasn’t. Legislation should’ve been changed when Sandy Hook happened in 2012, but it wasn’t. Why? Because the media, politicians and ordinary citizens allowed it to fade away after just a few moments in the spotlight.

Ways to keep the conversation going is to continue to plan marches to your local city hall, contacting your representatives, and joining other schools’ activism. Douglas survivors Emma Gonzalez, Sarah Chadwick, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky use their immense social media following to plan, organize and advocate for the prevention of gun violence and for the safety of students around the country.

Thousands of people went to planned marches and walkouts nationwide in the past month because students like Gonzalez, Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick took action, standing up for what they believe is right. The march on Washington that took place on March 24, fittingly called March For Our Lives, grew from people marching to the nation’s capitol to people marching to their government buildings on every single continent.

We have to keep talking about it, we have to keep bringing it up, or else it’ll fade into the background and become another statistic. This time will be different, this time has to be different.

Posted: Apr. 10

If you want change, go vote

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By Samuel Rosser, Staff Writer

Republicans in the state Capitol shot down a measure to ban assault rifles last week, and, on Feb. 26 Republicans in the U. S. Senate killed a bill to ban assault rifles nationwide. An AR-15 assault rifle is what Nikolas Cruz used to kill 17 innocent students, teachers and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

The president of the United States of America is sending his daughter, a fashion designer, to negotiate one of the most complicated international relationships the United States has ever seen on behalf of a nation of 320 million. That president has been under investigation since day one of his administration. Republicans have control of the White House and a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and yet, they struggle to legislate effectively.

Republicans have broken promises, lived under constant scandal and failed to make anybody besides the wealthiest Americans’ lives better. It’s time to vote them out.

Democrats harbor a 9-point lead in the generic congressional ballot, which is simply a choice between a Republican or a Democrat, according to Real Clear Politics. Donald Trump’s approval rating is hovering in the high 30s to low 40s, and the respected statisticians and political operatives at FiveThirtyEight think there are a whopping 18 gubernatorial races Democrats can pick up from Republicans this year — including Florida.

None of this can be done, however, if our generation does not go vote. Our generation is socially liberal, we believe the climate is changing because of human action and we favor higher taxes on the wealthiest among us. However, we’re infamous for our laziness. You might wonder what we’ve done to deserve that label, but they’re right.

We don’t go vote. In the last midterm election, only one out of six citizens 18-29 voted. Only 16 percent of our generation voted. Sixteen. Comparatively, half of our grandparents’ generation voted, and our grandparents make up roughly the same percentage of the electorate as we do.

I know I’m not the only one who’s been sitting at the Thanksgiving table sitting quietly while our nearly senile grandfather goes on about the “good old days.” Well, our senile grandparents still get to vote, and they have nothing better to do on a Tuesday in November. Well, we get to vote too. So go and vote.

Posted: Mar. 6

PRO: Gun control can save lives

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By Alexandra Griffin, Editor-in-Chief

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The preamble to the Constitution clearly states the purpose of the document.  In light of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Feb. 14 and the eight other school shootings in the first six weeks of 2018, the Second Amendment is no longer upholding this purpose.

A “more perfect Union” is not one where innocent children get chased down and killed by their disturbed peers. To “establish Justice” for those fallen is not “sending thoughts and prayers”. To “insure domestic Tranquility” is not having kids’ best friends shot in front of them in a “safe space.” To “provide for the common defense” is not allowing a person who is barely an adult and is known to be disturbed to legally purchase a semi-automatic war weapon. To “promote the general Welfare” is not ignoring the voice of the people and ignoring our cries for gun control. And “the Blessings of Liberty” are not to send eight-year-olds to school fearful that a school shooter or armed teacher will shoot them.

While I respect the Second Amendment and our forefathers who created it, times have changed. The Second Amendment is just that, an amendment, and it wouldn’t be the first time that as a country, we amend the constitution. If we can get rid of Prohibition, we can enact gun control, not banning guns, gun control.

We need mental health checks other than a simple checkbox on a form that does not need to be verified by anyone. We need a ban on assault rifles. We need to ensure that there is not another person that has their life ripped away from them while sitting helplessly in school.

As students, we cannot sit by idly. We must be the difference. If we want change, we must be the ones to make it. We must join forces with our peers at MSD and fight for our lives, for gun control.

Write your representatives, senators, and president, walk out for school organized walk-outs, march for your life on March 24 in cities all over. Be the change we want and need.

Posted: Mar. 5

CON: Controlling guns means controlling the people

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By Jessica Buchanan, Managing Editor

The Second Amendment was created with the security of our people at the forefront of the framer’s minds. Since its passage in 1791, the amendment states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

In the wake of a tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, community members took immediate action to enact gun control laws on the general population, specifically the banning of automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles. However, gun control and an assault weapons ban will not prevent the problem from occurring again.

The definition of a well-regulated militia then and today might have changed but the foundation is still there. A well-regulated militia should allow for any legal U.S. male or female citizen to obtain a firearm as long as they pass the required background checks and are of legal age.

It is the “right of the people,” the individual person, to own a firearm, not the state or national government to declare what they think is best.

As citizens we are held accountable for our own personal safety. By placing gun control laws on those that want to obtain a firearm, their right automatically becomes infringed upon and the Second Amendment is no longer upheld.

I do not disagree with the fact that Nikolas Cruz in the Douglas shooting should not have been able to get his hands on an AR-15, with the mental condition he was in, but when it comes right down to it the AR-15 did not pick itself up and pull the trigger. It took Nikolas Cruz to commit that action and he along with the failure of law enforcement and his guardians to take away his guns should be held solely responsible. It takes a person to fire a gun, not the gun itself.

Therefore the issue does not lie in an assault weapons ban. The assault weapons ban that was in place from 1994-2004 did little to deter crime, which is why it was not reinstated when it expired. According to the FBI murder weapon statistics, only 3 percent of firearm murders were committed using rifles.  If an assault weapons ban were to be passed by legislation it would essentially only be preventing 3 percent of murders by firearm.

If the right to bear arms is torn away from the citizens of the United States, then there will be no way of protection when another incident happens.

The truth of the matter is that if someone wants to get ahold of anything illegal, then they will find a way to do it. 1.2 million Americans each year are arrested for possession of drugs according to the Drug Policy Alliance, and millions more go unaccounted for. Possession of an illegal firearm would not be decreased due to legislation.

Laws such as an assault weapons ban and increased age to own a firearm take guns away from those who respect and abide by the law. Criminals who are intent on doing harm will find a way to obtain a firearm whichever way, leaving a country where its citizens are defenseless.

There have been countless times where individuals with a concealed weapons permit have been able to save the lives of many. On average it takes 11 minutes for police to respond to an emergency call.

What can happen in 11 minutes if a gunman opens fire in a school, mall, movie theater or anywhere and no one has protection from an equally powerful weapon? How would the situation be different if just one citizen had a gun?

In 2014, a psychiatric patient opened fire on his caseworker, psychiatrist and several others in the office. This psychiatric patient shot and killed his case worker, but was shot himself by his psychiatrist carrying a concealed weapon.

The patient had 39 more bullets of ammo, but was stopped because that one person had a weapon.

“If the doctor did not have a firearm, (and) the doctor did not utilize the firearm, he’d be dead today, and I believe that other people in the facility would also be dead,” Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said, according to National Public Radio.

We need to stop talking about gun control laws and start taking action to make areas safer. Mass shootings have repeatedly occurred in gun-free zones. According to Crime Prevention Research Center, 98 percent of all mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. Las Vegas, Pulse nightclub, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, four of the deadliest mass shootings, have all occurred in gun-free zones. Now the shooting at Douglas has occurred in a gun-free zone.

Disarming people is like taking a leg from a gazelle thinking the cheetahs won’t attack it anymore because they know it’s an unfair advantage. Predators prey on the weak. Gun control laws will indeed make it harder for people to obtain firearms, but they will inevitably make it easier for those who obtain guns for malicious purposes to kill the vulnerable, powerless and those that obey the laws.

Posted Mar. 5

Clean campus breeds ignorance

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By Madison Steinkamp, Asst. Section Editor

I have a theory. My theory is that no one a part of administration ever ventures down Sixth Street (the road our buses drive down to get to the bus loop). Why?

Well, have you ever ventured down that road and looked at the ground? Have you ever walked to the junior parking lot? If you have, you know exactly what I am going to be talking about. The trash. Not just trash in general, which is plentiful, but the beer bottles, beer cans and liquor bottles, all empty but still on our school.

Of course, our campus is an open campus and does host events besides school events, but doesn’t it seem ironic that we advocate a drug-free school (which does include alcohol), yet show no enthusiasm to clean our school to replicate the drug-free mentality?

I walked from the junior lot to the bus loop today and counted two beer cans, three beer bottles and two liquor bottles, one of which was directly next to the elementary school fence.

I’m not blaming our students or staff for bringing the alcohol onto our school grounds. I understand that it may have been brought in another way, but what I am complaining about is how it continues to lie there.

How helpful is an assembly advocating against drunk-driving when you just walk to your car and see our school littered with alcohol? Everything the student just listened to in that assembly is forgotten. If there is alcohol on my school grounds, why can’t I drink it?

By leaving alcohol containers on the ground, we aren’t just littering the earth, we are littering minds by, in a way, promoting the consumption of alcohol.

This littering is not the fault of our janitorial staff, nor the administration, nor the students, nor the city. Maybe it is the city’s for not cleaning up after hosting an event, maybe some students do chug a beer before school and litter it, maybe the administration does not walk to the junior lot to see this, maybe the janitorial staff thinks that path is the least of their worries, but it’s not just one person or one group’s fault; as an entity we all should be working to better our school, we all should care about the trash on our grounds, we all should do something about it.

Regardless of who brought the alcohol onto the grounds, it needs to be picked up, and I don’t care who does it, just clean the path.  

Posted: Mar. 5

Fresh start: Ninth-graders describe transition, pan mentoring

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By Emily Powell, Web and Business Editor

A quick survey shows that the class of 2021 have different views on their transition from middle school to high school, most describing it as “somewhat positive” with “little help from their mentors and staff.”

Graduating from middle school is a great achievement, but as we continue to grow and transition, school can become more difficult. The school becomes bigger, the work gets harder, the teachers seem stricter — it’s basically a fresh start.

As a freshman two years ago, my transition was kind of tough, considering I was the only one out of my middle school friend group to get accepted into Pompano. I had no friends and didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing. I had to fend for myself until things finally fell into place.These freshmen, though? They are persistent; they just may survive high school.

Kyle Zahn was the only freshman out of the groups surveyed to say that his transition was very positive. Zahn attended Deerfield Beach Middle School and was a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which he thinks helped with his transition.

“The workload was about the same as this, and the IB program really helped me prepare for Pompano Beach High School,” Zahn said.

Other freshmen saw their transition differently. Paul Spade, for example, was one of the many freshmen who described their transition as somewhat positive, mentioning how useless the mentoring program is in easing this dramatic change in their lives.

“Mentors don’t really do anything, and they can’t relate to us,” Spade said.

Jon-David Delcastillo had similar views as Spade, also describing his transition as somewhat positive in spite of the mentoring program.

“Freshmen don’t really want to do anything at the mentoring sessions,” Delcastillo said. “Mentors do nothing, anyway.”

The current freshman class feels that they have not been given enough help to ease their transition into high school, but the mentors have their own opinions on this. They feel that the freshmen don’t want or won’t ask for their mentors’ help despite having it. Mentors feel that there is room for improvement with the program, though, and shared their thoughts on the matter.

Senior Katerina Argianas suggested that the program would be more effective if mentors were assigned to fewer kids than they’re assigned to now, such as providing one mentor for two kids instead of one mentor for five.

“Doing this would allow more people to communicate with each other,” Argianas said.

Junior Matthew Narkier also recommended that there should be fewer activities and more bonding between mentees, since they’ve agreed that the program is “boring.”

“We should be able to talk to them and hang out with them,” Narkier said. “I feel like they kind of feel like it’s more of a ‘work thing’ whenever we see them because they’re always doing little projects and stuff like that.”

So, freshmen, help is here for you. Please, don’t be afraid to ask!

Posted: Jan. 31

School vouchers for bullied students to compound bullying problem, not solve it

By Alexandra Griffin, Editor-in-Chief

A proposal reached the Florida Senate on Jan. 23 which would use taxpayer money to provide bullied students with school vouchers so they can attend private school. Doing so will not only compound the bullying problem, but will be costly to the state budget, a budget that already under-funds public schools.  

While bullying is terrible and I hope that nobody ever has to go through being bullied or feels like they need to be a bully, if you are involved, it’s not a problem from which you can just run away as the legislature proposes. Confronting bullies and pushing through the experience promotes the problem solving and collaboration techniques that life in college and the workforce demand.

The bill teaches students who are bullied that they do not have to live in an environment that is hostile or unfriendly when the legislators making the bill know first hand that people can be cut-throat and unkind. An elected official cannot just resign from office after he loses an important debate or is called out by an opposing party member, so why propose we train the next generation to do so?

Letting victims of bullying run away from their bully/bullies also makes the perpetrator(s) more likely to target another student. If culprits are never chastised or never realize that their actions are wrong, how are they supposed to fix them?

Additionally, by approving the bill the state government would be throwing its support at private schools that do not pay their teachers as much, do not have a better education than public schools and do not necessarily have a better solution to bullies than public schools have. In fact, out of the top 10 schools in the state only a third of them are private according to the U.S. News and World Report.

The solution is easy: allocate those funds from the school vouchers to programs that help to make students’ voices heard. There is no way to fully outlaw bullying without taking away freedom of speech, but students will feel better if they have someone to talk to and someone to help them solve the problem in a safe and healthy manner.

Posted: Jan. 30

Parents pressure for peak performance

By Emily Powell, Web and Business Editor

A survey of 80 students showed that most parents get mad when their children get poor grades on assignments, even though a majority of students said they don’t feel stressed because of their parents’ feelings.

Parents want us to succeed no matter what we’re doing, whether it be playing a sport, having a job, you name it. That’s just what they do. Parents love watching their kids win their games or come home with a paycheck, but they especially love when their kids are excelling in their academic studies.

But sometimes the pressure is too much.

“When my parents yell at me because of my grades, it makes me feel like I’m not trying hard enough and think there is no use for even trying in school anymore,” junior Brinya Kydd said.

Many students would love to have Kydd’s grades, yet she still feels the pressure. But is that pressure healthy? Even the students whose unweighted GPAs fall below the magnet-required 2.5 will say that the conference with magnet coordinator Jeff Williams and their counselor has worked better than being scolded by their parents.

The students’ responses to the survey show ninth and tenth graders feel obligated to have “perfect grades” because of pressure from their parents. However, as the grade level of students increases, the students feel less responsive to parental pressure.

As we get older, the effectiveness of parental pressure decreases. So, parents, please, lighten up!

Posted: Nov. 30

Mass shootings, gun control

Change won’t come unless we embrace it

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Graphic by Kristina Latchana

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — A man opened fire on a country music festival from his room in the Mandalay Bay hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. This was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. He reportedly had upwards of 20 guns in his hotel room. His firearms were outfitted with scopes, tripods and attachments that converted his semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons.

He set up shop in his hotel room, schlepping his mobile arsenal with him. He loaded multiple weapons, broke open the window, aimed down the sight, put his finger on the trigger and had yet to commit a crime. The absolute insanity of that is baffling.

Nearly every member of Congress and our dear president sent their thoughts and prayers to those who lost loved ones in Las Vegas earlier this month. Their thoughts and prayers won’t prevent any equally as disturbed gunman from doing something eerily similar to the appalling actions of Sunday night.What will prevent senseless violence and dismay is a policy change.

Despite knowing how new regulations on guns can save lives, they refuse to make a change. The National Rifle Association has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on campaigns in the 2016 election cycle alone. The donations range from state legislatures to the highest office in the land. The candidate with the most money in his campaign war chest usually takes the bacon on Election Day.

Thus, the NRA has most of Congress’ metaphorical balls in a vice grip. None is going to risk losing NRA endorsement to challenge the status quo. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t applaud any such rabble rouser.  Change is on a horizon that we can’t even glimpse yet.

Their stubborn refusal of change represents our nation as a whole. In our relatively short history, we have resisted change at every turn. It took us way too long to outlaw slavery.

We need to stop resisting change at every turn. Our country’s foundation is the most radical change in history. We inspired the world to change in ways that were unimaginable at that point. The world has looked at us for the past century for leadership, and, right now, we’re failing. We were the shining city on the hill. But at this rate we might become the town dump.

Don’t resist change, embrace it.

Posted: Oct. 23

Pro-con: President Trump’s accomplishments

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Commander in change makes us great again

By Madison Steinkamp, Asst. Section Editor

The United States of America is a business, as corporate and cold as that may seem to refer to our country and home as, it is true. And in November 2016, when Donald Trump was elected president, it proved that the majority of Americans think so too. Unlike his competitor Hillary Clinton, Trump had no experience in the world of politics; he was never a governor nor a senator nor a mayor, but he did have the experience that matters: business experience.

Worth $3.5 billion according to Forbes, Trump knows how to run a company and profit from it, and that is just what he is doing for the United States. Although the world expected more change at a much faster pace, he was left with the ruins of America after President Barack Obama contributed $7.9 trillion to the national debt.

Housing prices are rising since Trump took office, according to CNN. As of June 2017, the average price for a home was a record $263,800, 5.8 percent higher than a year ago.

And although the trade deficit with China has risen, Trump has increased exports to Canada and Mexico.

Speaking of foreign countries, Trump ended Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but has given Congress six months to rewrite it until the undocumented “Dreamers” official lose their status.

Many people have slammed Trump for this decision, something that definitely shouldn’t be happening.

While many Americans are friends with and love Dreamers, we need to remember that they are illegal, undocumented immigrants, and we are Americans. While it may seem harsh to put ourselves first, in this unforgiving world, Americans must come first.

We need to fix our economy, our nation, our home before we are capable of housing others. And once we fix ourselves first, the next people we should let in are not undocumented illegal immigrants, but the immigrants who have applied for citizenship and are waiting in a line, not just hopping a border, a border that will be safer and better soon.

In order to prevent more illegal immigrants from coming in and destroying our economy and taking our jobs once again, Trump plans to create a wall at least 18 feet tall, with an unbreachable six feet below ground.

And while some Americans are completely against this wall, and others believe it will never actually happen, it will.

Two prototypes will soon begin construction in San Diego: one is a completely concrete wall, while the other is more mesh-like see and through.

And Trump’s plans to help America first are working as well. Since taking office, the unemployment rate is at an all time low from the past 16 years, 4.5 percent, according to CNBC. Over 1 million jobs have been created, and in the past 12 months, CNN reports, the average hourly wage has increased 2.5 percent.

So no, Trump hasn’t been systematically destroying our country since January — he has been running our country, boosting our economy, protecting Americans and changing our nation, some things that haven’t been done since before Obama went into office.

Liar in Chief fails to make any deals

By Sam Rosser, Asst. Section Editor

What has Donald Trump actually done? The short answer is this: a lot.

He’s announced that the United States would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords — a deal the United States was integral in making. He’s rolled back environmental regulations that President Obama set. He’s failed to corral Congress to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He’s escalated tensions with North Korea.

His crowning non-achievement? He’s failed, not once, not twice, but three times at one of his prime campaign promises: to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

He is supposed to be the best deal-maker in the country, and yet, he has failed to make a single legislative accomplishment.

Keep in mind, both the House and the Senate are controlled by Republicans. He can’t even make a deal with members of his own party. The supposed best deal-maker in America can’t make a single deal.

This failure could be for a host of reasons. Foremost of which, he has no political clout.

A majority of Americans have disapproved of his presidency since mid-February. And a majority of Americans have never approved of the work he’s doing. It’s hard to make a deal when nobody likes you.

And, to boot, he’s a pathological liar. According to PolitiFact, about 70 percent of what he states is either “mostly false,” “false” or “pants on fire.” Most recently, he lied about his new tax plan he’s rolling out. He claimed, falsely, that millions of small business owners and farmers would benefit from this.

Frankly, they won’t. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that, in 2017, only about 80 farms or closely-held small businesses would pay any estate tax.

He also claimed that he would reap no benefit from this new tax policy. Again, he blatantly spewed a lie with no regard for the truth. The New York Times found that he would save an estimated $1.1 billion if his plan became law.

Donald Trump has made hollow promises time and time again. When will the 38 percent of Americans who support him realize that he is a pathological liar that can’t follow through on his promises? 

Posted Oct. 20

Rocketman vs. Cheeto threatens WW3

By Julia Latchana, Assistant Editor

Maybe we should limit the child’s play going on the world stage. Or should I say playground?

Ever since Donald Trump began his presidency, he has been butting heads with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, most recently in a response to the dictator’s testing of nuclear weapons and the “success” of their hydrogen bomb testing.

As a response, Trump called Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” during a speech to the United Nations on Sept. 19, trying to get the dictator to stop his nuclear testing and echoing his tweet on Sept. 17: “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!”.

This then led to Kim to retort, with a variety of nicknames for Trump including “mentally deranged,” “dotard” and a “barking dog.” Trump then responded by saying that Kim is “obviously a madman.”

The North Korean dictator is not dimwitted, as we Americans would like to think.

Okay, so maybe Kim did feed his uncle to dogs so he could obtain power, but as the “grandson of a god” he can do whatever he likes, meaning that his loyal citizens may not give a damn, which is frankly good for him.

However, President Donald Trump might not have his hat on the right way.

Since taking presidency— and a little bit before that— Trump has done some questionable things without thinking about how they affect all the American people, and not just the business side of things.

I believe that this is a fight that neither side will be able to win. If Kim Jong Un were to shoot nuclear missiles at the United States, more than half of the country would likely be devastated. On the other hand, if the United States  strikes first, the ensuring war would destroy not only North Korea, but South Korea — a U. S. ally. That would then cause China, and maybe Russia, to throw a missile our way.

Either way, we’d be screwed.

If you were to take out all of the political factors attached to this dilemma, and a nuclear warhead were aimed and shot, the destination would be utterly decimated. The warhead wrecking the land when it hits its target is already big problem, but the after effects would be worse. Some living things will die as soon or right after it hits, but the living things that don’t die, will most likely get cancer or radiation poisoning.

Even if we didn’t have Trump as our current president, the threat of nuclear strikes between the two countries would still be possible because of the U. S. stance on North Korea and how we helped protect South Korea from invasion.

With Trump, the inevitability of oblivion seems to get closer everyday.

Posted: Oct. 20

Don’t blame Trump for neo-Nazis

By Jamie Black, Section Editor

Don’t shoot the messenger, but the riots, neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville aren’t President Trump’s fault.

Let’s get one thing clear here, I’m Jewish and I hate Nazis. If I truly believed Trump had anything to do with Nazis, I wouldn’t be writing this article.

With that put to rest, let’s address what occurred. On Aug. 11 , those against the removal of confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue protested in Charlottesville. By the end of the night, there was clashing among the protesters and the counter-protesters, who were in favor of the statue’s removal.

The fighting sparked outrage, and a lot of the outrage blamed Trump calling the attendance of neo-Nais and white supremacists “Trump’s America.”

News flash: Nazis and white supremacists existed before Trump was in power!

The KKK was formed in 1865, and the atrocities members have committed have not become forgotten, but it seems as if people think what occurred in Charlottesville was the KKK’s and the neo-Nazis’ rebirth.

Yes, the lynchings might have stopped, but it doesn’t mean the KKK disappeared. All they did was take off their masks and tell the neo-Nazis to hide their swastikas.

Maybe some can argue that Trump and Republicans are promoting or indirectly promoting neo-Nazis and the KKK suddenly appearing, but let me ask you this, when black men were getting lynched in the South, were there Democrats in office?

Yes there were. Neo-nazis and the KKK are not a partisan issue. I hope we can understand that these idiots with the brain capacity of birds are horrible, closed-minded pieces of scum, and we don’t need politics to figure that out.

Leave the politics out of this, and maybe instead ask a minority affected by these hate groups how they are. Do they feel safe? Or even, are they glad to be able to see the face behind the mask?

Trump is not the biggest issue here. Yes, he has said some things or tweeted things that might encourage hateful behavior, (this being documented and compiled together by the Huffington Post) but the neo-nazis and white supremacists are the real problem here.

Posted Sept. 27

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