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Opinion

Students should let go of bad memories, hold sentimentality

By Jamie Black, Business Editor

Everyone has something they hold onto that has some very special meaning to them. That thing is near and dear to their heart. Mine is my stuffed animal bear that is so creatively named “Bear.” You might have a blanket or an old toy that you completely adore, but letting go of the right things allows for growth.

When we begin to grow out of our childhood, our rooms become barer. Subconsciously, we are letting go of our childhood, but we still hold onto some things whether they are materialistic or more psychological.

As humans, we like to hold onto things, it gives us a little bit of control, but we can’t control everything. If we hold onto every piece of our childhood memories, can we truly grow?

Letting go allows for a new form of self discovery and ability to change yourself even just a little. Additionally, it alleviates stress or worry from your life.
Realistically, you can hold onto the fact that you failed a math test for the rest of your life, but students at our school, myself included, seem to do this a lot.

Let’s get one thing straight: nobody is perfect and nobody does excellently on every single test they take. I’ve failed a test before and now looking back on it, I can acknowledge that it’s completely fine.

Pressures can be applied from external forces, like parents or teachers, creating a larger stress on a student if they fail a test, but the most important thing isn’t external, it’s internal.

As long as you are happy and aren’t causing any harm to yourself or future, who cares? Thinking like this alleviates the stresses of minor school related things that we typically hold onto so much.

Bad things aren’t worth holding onto. Good, happy memories on the other hand are the correct things to hold onto and are worth prioritizing.

Posted: May 16

Remembering our privilege:
Americans should accept war on terror, refugees

By Jamie Black, Business Editor

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary privilege is “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people,” but it’s more than that.

Privilege is forgetting that there are men and women serving in the armed forces who are putting their lives at risk to stop terrorist organizations. Privilege is forgetting that innocent people are currently dying as a result of oppressive governments and terrorist groups.

On May 5, a Navy SEAL was killed in Somalia during a mission to fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants. The SEAL, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, is obviously not the first person to die to protect our country from terrorism.

The Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War found that 1.3 million people have died in the war on terror in a 2015 study.
Two years later, people are on the Internet complaining about and planning how to dodge the draft if a World War III arises all from the comfort of their own homes, while those in the armed forces are suffering.

In addition to those fighting for their country, civilians are losing their lives because of terrorism and cruel governments. For the past seven years, the citizens of Syria have been suffering the repercussions of the civil war between the President Bashar al-Assad and a variety of rebels.

The rebels are fighting against Assad’s repression, and the civilians of Syria are just fighting for another day of life, but that hasn’t mattered too much until recently.

Before Assad ordered the Syrian military to use chemical weapons on his own people, most Americans worried only about if their country was or wasn’t taking in Syrian refugees instead of worrying about the actual refugees themselves.

Despite this worry, the Migration Policy Institute reported that between Oct. 2011 and Dec. 2016, only 18,007 Syrian refugees were let into the United States.
In this span of five years guess how many people in the U. S. died because of refugees being let into the country. The answer, zero. Zero people died from 2011 until 2016 due to Syrian refugees, and yet some Americans still don’t want to let in refugees.

The United Nations estimates that 400,000 people have died because of the Syrian Civil War. That’s about 156 people a day for the past seven years. Meanwhile, nobody is dying in America because of refugees, but our humanity sure is.

How can people look at pictures of innocent children and other human beings dying as a result of conflict and not even consider letting refugees into our country, a country that is meant to welcome the tired and poor who “yearn to breathe free” all on the behalf of Lady Liberty?

Less than a hundred years ago, the U. S. made the mistake of not letting in Jewish refugees, and because of that mistake more Jews died. Are we really going to let that happen again? Are we really going to sit back on our privileged butts and close our shores?

Not everyone in America holds equal privilege, but we must recognize that every U. S. citizen holds privilege over those who are suffering because of war. Because of this privilege, it shouldn’t be a question who we do and don’t help in times of need.

The United States as a whole is privileged. Not all its citizens are, but the country is privileged and we can’t forget that.

Posted: May 16

Remembering Watergate:
Trump parallels Nixon

By Sam Rosser, Sports Editor

The biggest political scandal in U. S. history ended up in the resignation of a sitting president, the first in our history. The events of the last few days, along with the AP U.S. History exam, have brought those events to the forefront of my mind.

President Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey on May 9, a day after Comey asked for more resources in the investigation on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluding with Russia. The last president who dismissed an official investigating him: Nixon during the Watergate scandal.

If Trump had truly wanted to fire Comey since he was elected, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House deputy press secretary, claims, why did it take him this long to do it? Is he that indecisive? How can they claim that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation, is completely out of the investigation if he and his deputy recommended to dismiss Comey? All of these questions need answers.

Trump’s innocence isn’t my issue right now: it’s his taste for political suicide that worries me.

Comey sent the letter to Congress that stated he was reopening the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, a hot topic on the campaign trail. I believe Comey is the reason that Trump ever could fire him; that letter was the kiss of death to Hillary Clinton. Before that letter, Clinton was leading in the polls consistently by four or five points. After, her lead dipped because the new allegations cast doubt upon an already damaged candidate. So, she lost.

How can he, and all the president’s men and all the president’s horses, not figure out that this has substantial political repercussions? It’s not typically a good thing to be in the same boat with Tricky Dick Nixon. The fact that Trump hasn’t signed a single substantial piece of legislation isn’t surprising. He has no mandate after losing the popular vote by over 2 million votes, a statement he has repeatedly protested with “alternative facts.”

Firing Comey sent the wrong message. It implies that he was scared of what Comey was digging for. By getting rid of Comey, he cut the head off the chicken.
Public opinion hasn’t been with him since the minute he swore his oath, with his approval rating hovering in the high 30s.

The lack of political instincts is worrisome. The flip-flopping is worrisome. The investigation is worrisome. The need for an independent investigation is imperative, we need answers.

Posted: May 15

Rep. Deutch:
What a real public servant looks like

By Sam Rosser, Sports Editor

LIGHTHOUSE POINT, FLORIDA- Light gleams across the smooth surface of the water at the Nauti Dawg, a local restaurant, where Rep. Ted Deutch amicably meets some of his new constituents. He shakes hands with the three owners of the joint, two sisters and a younger brother, and unwittingly runs into one of his staff member’s parents.

He answers questions on a plethora of issues, ranging from his newly instated Climate Solutions Caucus, a group of Democrats and Republicans devoted to helping Americans erase our imprint on the Earth, to President Trump’s Twitter account.

The answer to my questions isn’t what surprised me about Deutsch: it was his eloquence, amicability and ability to speak in sentences longer than 140 characters. It was refreshing, to say the least, to meet a truly devoted public servant.

The Florida state legislature recently redistricted our congressional districts. Rep. Deutch isn’t new to Congress, but he is new to our school.The new districts caused him and our former representative to switch districts. Both districts fall in Broward County, a reliably Democratic stronghold.

In a recent town hall meeting in Wilton Manors regarding the ethics of our president, climate change and his proposed 28th Amendment, the congressman exhibited a vocabulary above that of a fifth grader, which is, quite frankly, nice to hear from an elected official in this political climate.

It’s encouraging, to say the absolute minimum, to see that not all public servants speak in emotions (“Sad!”). Albeit, he was facing a friendly crowd, he portrayed comfort behind the podium, as if it were an extension of himself.

His proposed 28th Amendment would overturn the Citizens United ruling which allows for less stringent campaign contribution laws, which tends to favor the über wealthy. He and other sponsors of the amendment have corralled a sizable portion of congressional support, although not enough for passage.

To me, it’s helpful to see my representative actively taking a role in the betterment of our democracy. It’s even more reassuring to see him spearheading the bipartisan committee on climate solutions. The South Florida economy is based primarily on tourism. Do you think that snowbirds will continue flying down for the winter when our beaches have receded into the sea? I think not.

In any event, Rep. Deutch is a breath of fresh air during a toxic administration.

Posted: May 15

Obamacare-Lite:
Not America’s favorite health care proposal

By Alexandra Griffin, Managing Editor

The Republican Party cancelled the GOP-proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) that has been anticipated since the approval of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as “Obamacare”) seven years ago on March 24. One would think that because Republicans had seven years to come up with a reasonable replacement for the ACA that it would go through, but that clearly didn’t happen.

With the start of the most recent presidential campaign came the start of hope for conservatives that the ACA would be repealed and replaced. Unfortunately, Donald Trump won the election and many of those people lost much of that hope.

Trump’s inability to understand the basis of the U. S. law making system began the downward spiral that led to the failed repeal.

Once President Trump came into office, Republicans, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Trump’s cabinet, began working on the new prospective health care bill, dubbed “Obamacare-Lite” by many.

Politicians who were involved in synthesising the bill wanted to get it approved and to repeal the ACA before April 7, when the House went on spring break. Additionally, Trump and his cabinet were also working on other new laws, like the controversial immigration policies, so they rushed the bill so much that by the time it was done, they didn’t completely understand what the bill meant.

The bill went into the House for approval without the inclusion of cost estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, which later predicted that 24 million people who are currently insured under Obamacare would not be insured by 2026 under the AHCA.

Some changes that were proposed in the AHCA were to stop the expansion of Medicaid, eliminate tax penalties for those who are uninsured, not require large corporate companies to offer insurance to their employees, undo tax credits that help many American spay for health insurance, undo additional taxes on people with high incomes, cut off funds to Planned Parenthood and replace Medicaid’s open-end entitlement.

Ryan, one of the most instrumental politicians while making the bill, criticized the Obamacare of being rushed and disorganized, while the AHCA seems to have been just as rushed, if not more. Ryan and Trump also strongly opposed Obamacare, but the AHCA did not change many of the portions of Obamacare that Trump and Ryan criticized (hence the name “Obamacare-Lite” given to the bill by conservatives that oppose both Obamacare and the AHCA).
Despite the miserable failure at repealing the ACA on March 24, Trump announced that there will be yet another bill drafted to try to repeal the ACA.

If Republicans want to repeal the ACA, fine, more power to them, but they need to start learning from their own and other people’s mistakes. The writing of the bill cannot be rushed as the AHCA was and as Speaker Ryan claims the ACA was. The bill needs to be better catered to all citizens, not just major corporations and upper-middle- or upper-class families. The bill needs to not be a rash rebuttal to the failed act by Trump because it will fail again.

Whatever new healthcare law is proposed needs to be a long term solution to the health care problem for all of America, not just the rich.

Posted: May 15

In-school SAT great addition to junior year

By Jessica Moschette, Staff Writer

Juniors took a free SAT in school on April 5, the second year in a row of this opportunity thanks to a partnership between the district and the College Board. This is such a great advantage and I think it is amazing that the school is incorporating it into one of the school days so that every student takes the test with no fee and without interfering with time off from school.

In March 2016 a new and improved SAT was introduced. While the old one was graded on a scale of 600-2400, this new one is graded from 400-1600. The new SAT also takes less time but offers an optional writing portion, whereas the old writing portion was mandatory.

If students opt out of the essay, the test is 45 minutes shorter than the old test, but if they choose to write it is five minutes longer. This new test does not have a guessing penalty, which is a huge advantage over the old SAT. It is also available to be taken on a computer or in print.

Normally, to take the SAT, you have to sign up online and pay a fee of $43, or $54.50 with the writing portion. It is also always on Saturdays and at a different school because our school is not normally a testing center. This way, students get the chance to ace the test without even having to pay.

This test is such an important part of getting accepted into college, so it should be taken very seriously. Most universities require a certain score to even be considered for admission and it plays a tremendous part in the decision making. Scholarship opportunities can also arise from what score you earn.

I think it is a great addition and advantage for juniors to be able to take the SAT during the school day at no cost. It should definitely be continued and students should take full advantage of this opportunity.

Posted: May 15

Extra, extra, read all about it:
Fake news causing havoc

By Jamie Black, Business Manager

“Fake news” has gained major prominence in the past year, but we should begin to take it more seriously. Whether it’s Onion articles or presidential tweets, “news” is being spread with very little truth or facts.

Journalists are given the role to deliver the truth, yet no matter which political side you’re on, journalists have spread this so-called news.

Fake news doesn’t deserve to even be called news. It’s more like pseudo-journalism. News is meant to be unbiased and both political sides are in the wrong, whether it’s Republicans accusing Obama of wire tapping or Democrats saying the Russians were involved in Trump’s win, the facts aren’t always there or true.

The more serious side of the spreading of fake news is that readers believe it. By reporting it, all journalists are letting readers down.

Not presenting all the facts or presenting them differently is something I wouldn’t put past any news outlet because in today’s modern world, it’s hard to be a journalist because most people don’t trust the news. A poll, taken on Feb. 7 out of 300 people, found that just at our school 60 percent of people don’t trust the media.

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Poll and graphic by Christina Matiuk

Besides the lack of trust, the audience itself, so critical to keep a news outlet functioning, has decreased as fewer get news from old-fashioned print sources. With those two issues combined, some journalists are doing whatever they can in order to stay afloat, but that doesn’t make spreading fake news right and it should stop.

If this form of “news” continues to spread, maybe the American people can just become wiser or a little more thoughtful.

After Trump’s inauguration an article, written by The Daily Mash, began to circle around the internet claiming that the Queen of England said she could legally kill Donald Trump. The article circulated and became a internet meme, causing people to believe it was real news. I mean did people seriously think she said “Legally i can kill him (Trump)?”

The article and site turned out to be a satirical form of news, but most people didn’t bother to look that up which is an issue we need to address or question the reality of the news.

Claims like this are ludicrous and should obviously be recognized as fake, yet for some reason so many people spread it as a meme. Americans have such small trust in the media, but we need to realize that when we repost, we are the media.

Now that we can so easily and quickly become media producers (instead of merely consumers), we need to become more aware of what’s going on around us and research a thing or two before we fully believe everything that’s posted online. The world isn’t truthful and it never will be, but maybe, just maybe, we will develop to not be so gullible.

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Photo by Samuel Rosser, graphic by Jamie Black

Posted: April 7

Devos threatens our education

By Jamie Black, Business Manager

Shortly after his inauguration on Jan. 20, Donald Trump officially nominated Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education.

DeVos, a former Michigan state chair of the Republican National Committee, has only received private school education and so have her children, so she doesn’t have any experience in the realm of public education, and, therefore, she can’t relate to it.

Students who attend private schools like DeVos and her children have a privilege when it comes to schooling. The education might be equivalent, greater or lesser, but, regardless, private schools are capable of spending more money on buying computers for every student, funding clubs and other school activities because of the high tuition.

Not only has DeVos never attended a public school, but she hasn’t even taught a single class, private or public. DeVos has no clue what it is like to be a public school student or teacher, and as she hasn’t experienced it, she can’t fully relate to the issues or benefits that teachers and students alike see in public education. Why put someone in charge if she can’t understand a large part of her job?

Mr. Thomas, Mr. King and any other staff member at our school (or any other school) is more qualified than DeVos. Not only is DeVos unable to relate and is unqualified, she is also blind to how much public school teachers go through for their students.

CNS News, a group DeVos is reportedly aligned with, published an article discussing how public school teachers are “overpaid.” In Florida, according to the Florida Department of Education, the average teacher salary in 2012-13 was $46,583.

If DeVos truly believes that public school teachers are paid too much, there will be a big shortage of teachers if DeVos acts on her beliefs.

When asking teachers what they hate about their job, many will tell you the small amount of pay. If DeVos decides to cut teachers’ salaries and still expects them to happily do the same quality of work as before, then her thinking is very wrong.

Honestly, if I was a teacher working a 40-hour week and having to do additional work at home, possibly hours of work, for a minimal pay, I would be finding myself a new job or doing my job poorly. No good teacher is going to stick around with a salary cut, which would leave public schools without ideal teachers.

With fewer well-educated teachers who care about their students, students in public schools won’t do well. A school like ours would fail to exist, and any public school student would probably have a horrible education, leaving students to join private or charter schools to receive a good education.

Maybe that is what DeVos wants, the demise of public schools; it wouldn’t be a stretch based off her strong dislike of public schools, or at least the ones that aren’t “great.” DeVos said she is “a strong advocate for great public schools,” but what about other public schools that she doesn’t deem to be “great”?

So in more ways than one, Betsy DeVos is not good for our public education.

Posted: March 7

Black history is not leaving

By Nadieda Dazile, Opinion Editor

In case you didn’t know, it’s February…the shortest month of the year…oh, and it’s also Black History Month.

The fact that black people get the shortest month of the year wouldn’t matter if everyone made use of that short time, but we don’t.

Many people, especially washed-up millennials who feel as if they know everything about black history, think that the day and age we live in makes Black History Month unnecessary.

I would agree if our textbooks were not as white as the walls they are held in.

I would also agree if those “educated” millennials could tell me which black inventor helped to develop both the light bulb and the telephone without asking if “Thomas Edison was really black.”

And I won’t even try to place myself upon a pedestal because I didn’t even know who Lewis Latimer was. Latimer and many other demonstrations of black excellence have been buried under a pile of white history and white facts.

In such an open and accepting nation like the United States, why is Black History Month still necessary?

It’s probably because I am my ancestors’ living nightmare.

Dr. King and many others did not take a brutal beating at Selma for history to repeat itself in Ferguson. Between the late 1880s and 1960s about 3,446 black people were lynched, but the cut off doesn’t even count the lynchings that occur daily in the hands of the KKK.

But the KKK and other white supremacist groups are still protected by the law while the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter are considered terror groups.

I don’t even see the point in arguing that Black History Month segregates our society when we are a lot more integrated than we have ever been, even with schools of a majority white and black population.

Until there is zero percent racism, prejudice and injustice toward black people, Black History Month shall remain as it is and forever will be a reminder of our history, whether you are black or white.

Posted: Feb. 28

Millennial is not a bad word

By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief

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Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

“Millennial” — describing a person coming of age in the 21st century — to some is a bad word.

“I absolutely do not consider myself a millennial,” senior Alexis Hadlock said. “I’ve never really preferred this time period in societal terms, and I especially do not feel like I fit the cultural perspective of what society defines as ‘millennial’.”

Being part of the next generation means getting stereotyped by the previous ones. Stereotypes for millennials include entitled, job-hopping, lazy and narcissistic. The worst millennial stereotype of them all is that we expect a participation trophy.

“I hear a lot about how millennials are supposedly the ‘participation trophy’ generation, where they expect to be rewarded no matter what the outcome or effort put in,” senior Brianna Donnelly said. “I feel this is about as accurate as any stereotype: While applicable to some, there’s no one phrase or characteristic that can sum up an entire group’s experiences.”

The idea that our generation expects to be handed things is not entirely inaccurate, as many millennials are huge supporters of social programs, such as free college education and subsidized health care; however, in terms of “participation trophies,” our parents, the Gen X and Baby Boomers, are the ones who provided us with the trophies and then began to complain about their existence.

The fact that those in the generations that raised us feel the need to complain about how we act and what we expect is appalling, as they were the ones who taught us to act this way.

Even if you believe that nature is more important than nurture, the likelihood that all babies were born screaming for a participation trophy is very unlikely. In reality, those in the generations before us birthed children and gave them a lot of things, things that their parents didn’t give them that they wanted, and then when we turned out “entitled” and “lazy,” they blamed us.

I cannot fully blame the parents. I also blame the fact that these stereotypes are not entirely accurate.

As a student, I don’t believe that I’m lazy and entitled. Although I have not worked for all of the things that my parents provided me with, I do work for the things that I provide for myself. In order to maintain a good GPA and ensure that I will attend a top notch university, I have to do well in school, and in order to do well in school, I have to get my work done.

I wouldn’t call myself, or many millennials that I know, a millennial if these stereotypes are seen as true.

So, if it refers to the group of people born between 1982 and 2002, then I would encourage us all to stop using “millennial” as a bad word.

Posted: Feb. 15

Don’t boo, vote; don’t smash, march

By Nadieda Dazille, Opinion Editor

Protesters on Jan. 19 smashed the windows of a Starbucks and Bank of America in downtown Washington just a mile from the inauguration. On Jan. 20 several took a more drastic measure in setting a limo on fire a few blocks from the inaugural parade.

Donald J. Trump is officially the 45th president of the United States, and with all of these recurring events, we must carefully understand the real purpose of these violent acts.

Is it really justified to smash into a Bank of America to “protest” a president?

As someone who has lived long enough in the U.S to see three different presidents elected into office, I consider it a fact that negative actions in relation to a political figure, such as the president, have never led to a positive outcome.

That is why it’s important for the public to accept the electoral process, even though some of us, like me, will never support our current president.

“Our elections are what separates us from the rest of the world,” English teacher Ms. Hammond said. “We have no choice (to not accept the results) if we want to be a democracy.”

If you were like most Americans, you followed the election and noticed from the beginning that it was going to be a long and bumpy road. What astonished me the most occurred after it was over: a far worse and bumpier road.

“I was sad when Trump became president,” junior Shana Belfort said. “But I don’t condone to violence because you’re not hurting Trump, you’re hurting yourself.”

Those who are angry, which they have a right to be, may be oblivious to the fact that Trump won because there were people who actually like him, and the chaos they are causing is a key feature of America’s division.

“I was okay with the results of the election, although it was unexpected,” media aide Mrs. Estrella said. “I don’t see any reasoning behind the violence because when other people got elected, everyone eventually accepted it, and (Obama) even got two terms.”

I may not agree with this election’s outcome, but I will most certainly not step out of bounds because I know that it won’t change a single thing about who is president. If we want our disapproval of this election’s results to be heard, then we must take formal and political actions against it.

Violence will not solve this issue.

Posted: Feb. 13

Wake up: Nazi salute at assembly not joke

By Jamie Black, Business Manager

After the cultural showcase assembly on Jan. 25, I was left utterly disappointed. It wasn’t the performances that left me this way; instead, it was our school’s students that disappointed me.

This week, Jan. 23-26, of all weeks, it would be expected that all students would behave well to show the students and teachers of the International Summit the best of our school, but instead there were students calling out Hitler and doing the Nazi salute.

Just a bit of background information, before the salutes went up, the Polish students were presenting famous historical figures of Polish descent, and the audience had to guess who they were. When one of the students stepped up, his fake mustache looked similar to Hitler’s, but the picture behind him clearly wasn’t Hitler, it was Lech Wałęsa.

Wałęsa was a man who brought only good to Poland. Wałęsa helped Poland end a communist government, and the student from Poland expressed that. Yet the some of our students still had the audacity to shout that he was Hitler and throw up the Nazi salute, not only disrespecting the Polish students who were presenting their culture, but also Jewish students at our school.

Junior Kenya Fletcher witnessed the events that occurred at the assembly, calling them “disrespectful and embarrassing.” Fletcher added that “nothing was done by administrators or staff that was in the surrounding areas.”

One student, who has asked to remain anonymous, also saw the disrespectful actions.

“The two girls sitting in front of me stuck their arm out in the (Nazi) salute and kept ‘guessing’ (shouting) Hitler,” the student said.

Another witness saw one of the students who did the Nazi salute at the cultural showcase repeat his action at the Step Afrika assembly, yet again disrespectful to the Jewish students, but also to the performers and black students.

Go ahead and call what happened just a joke and a little bit of fun, but the Holocaust is not something to turn into a joke.

Our younger generation has this ability to turn things into jokes so easily. Yes, I’ll admit it is good to get a laugh every once and awhile, but not at the expense of others, not when 11 million people died. 11 million.

We can NOT normalize behavior like this, we can NOT let Nazism become a joke. What we can do is stop these behaviors, we can watch what we say and think a little about how our words and actions.

This isn’t a call to attack a specific person who saluted during the assemblies, this a call to better our school.

Posted: Feb. 8

Letter to the Editor: Paper should respect vets

Dear Editor,

Today I opened the December 2016 issue of the Tornado Times. As a Vietnam Veteran, with several combat tours, I was completely taken aback and saddened by the Opinion Page comments “Heroes fall while JROTC profits.” The writer completely missed the focus of the Fallen Heroes Ceremony.

Each of the flags honored a volunteer who made the ultimate sacrifice of laying down his life to protect our republic in a very dangerous corner of the world. Each flag represented a Gold Star Family that now has an empty seat at the dinner table.

The cost of purchasing flags, cost of printing photos, costs associated with maintaining the Tomb of the Unknowns and the cost of incentives and recognition for the effort of volunteers was absorbed by the generous donation of patriots who willingly supported the effort of JROTC cadets by purchasing a flag.

When I returned from Vietnam, citizens were spitting at soldiers, we were advised not to wear uniforms in public, Hollywood’s elite were actively supporting our enemy, a future U.S. senator was throwing his service ribbons over the White House fence, and the Veterans Administration started abandoning our veterans.

We can not let this happen again. We must never forget that good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night because highly trained, brave men and women stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Robert Martin

Posted: Jan. 23

Letter to the Editor: Parent did not fund color guard

To the editor:

It has come to my attention that the Tornado Times has recently produced and distributed the October 2016 paper (Vol. 8, No. 1). Inside the paper, there is an article regarding the school’s failed color guard with my family’s name and FALSE information. My father, William (Bill) Dowd, DID NOT provide the school’s color guard program with $25,000. This is completely absurd and untrue. Ms. Odio was not the band director at Pompano Beach High School when my sister attended and participated in the color guard, so Ms. Odio would NOT have any information regarding my father and/or a donation made.

My father would like to include this statement: “When I first saw this article, my initial reaction was shock as I never donated that amount of money. The article made it seem like no one paid their fees and that couldn’t be further from the truth. To be perfectly clear, during the six years I volunteered with the program, 90 percent of the members paid their fees of up to $1,200.00 per school year. The students who did not pay their fees were not allowed to be part of the program the follow year, with some exceptions.

“What I did give a lot of was time, the band director cannot do it alone and parents volunteering is one of the most important components to successful programs. I am not saying that everyone has to be as involved as I was, that would be unrealistic and not everyone is in a position to do that. It takes a lot of help to keep a band & color guard program going, I can tell you that while it was a lot of work it was also a lot of fun and my relationship with my daughters was strengthened by my involvement.”

Thank you for your time and response,

Kelly Dowd

Posted: Jan. 19

We’re not all that: 3 New Year’s resolutions

By Nadieda Dazile, Opinion Editor

Our school is rated as one of the best schools in Broward County and we are also the best at avoiding any sort of “drama” that creeps through our hallways.
That said, we have some things to work on. Here are three resolutions for our school in 2017.

We need to talk about our social issues.

“I think we need more opportunity for dialog among students,” language arts teacher Ms. Avery said. “Students should be able to freely discuss topics whether involving race, ethnicity, or religion.”

As millennials, we’ve seen and heard it all, whether through the media or our surrounding environment. But for some reason we avoid discussing prominent events, like police shootings of unarmed civilians or the legalization of medical marijuana, that can affect us all. We should be able to talk about sensitive topics whether or not other people agree with our sentiments toward the topic. Discussion is a key tool in democratic education.

“It’s a conversation that needs to happen.” senior Sydney Williamson said. Our school has made several short-sighted attempts, but assemblies, announcements, and speeches are only effective if you attack a problem head on. Surface conversations will only get our school surface outcomes.

“As an international school, we should be able to incorporate world-wide topics into our classes,” Williamson continued. Although we live in a country that fears discussing these topics because they can be very sensitive, that shouldn’t limit our school. That indicates that it is absolutely necessary to talk about such topics.

Focus on those who care.

“I think they (staff) need to start showing more appreciation toward the students,” junior Pedro Renteria said. “We definitely give an arm and a leg at this school and some of us barely get noticed.”

One might say that attending this school is an incentive on its own but by trying really hard to keep everyone here, the school is placing a barrier between itself and its “scholars.”

Although this school is filled with bright and brilliant students, there are students who “don’t care.” This attitude leads to counselors and staff trying to keep those students here, but they have to understand that our school isn’t for everyone.

Don’t limit students in the classroom.

“We should not feel limited by our teachers,” junior Racquel Melville said. “Their job is to teach and we take to the responsibility of using that knowledge for our advantage.”

Teachers receive a salary by transferring their knowledge to their students in ways we can understand and make use of in our course.

So often do we find students that complain about teachers who limit the creativity of their students. The “I’m right and you’re wrong” phase has lived long enough. In one class a teacher told students that he/she didn’t care about how they felt about how to solve a problem because their way was the way they had to do in the class. Yet there were other ways to solve the problem and get to the same answer.

Most students wouldn’t come to school to stare at a blank wall; they really come to learn and want to make use of the things they learn in every aspect of life.

This is why they should be able to challenge our intelligent teachers, and with all the intelligent students at this school, it should be expected.
This school has a lot of potential and with these “simple” fixes we could begin a new era where students feel a lot happier and are more successful with their academic environment.

Posted: Dec. 13

Pro-Con: JROTC Fallen Heroes fundraiser

JROTC honors veterans

By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief

The Fallen Heroes ceremony is a long standing tradition that JROTC has participated in here for years. Although JROTC raises money from this ceremony, the purpose is not to profit, but to honor veterans who died.

JROTC members sell flags, and personalization periods collect money with the class who collects the most being awarded two parties.

According to Lt. Col. Johnson, the money that is collected “goes for flags and replacing flags.” Each flag is dedicated to one “fallen hero,” a service member who died during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with there being 6,800 flags in total displayed in the grass by the courtyard.

The purpose of displaying these flags and holding the ceremony is to honor those lost. The ceremony is meant to be a “community event,” according to Lt. Col. Johnson, and the school is kept open over the weekend for members of the community to look at the flags and honor those lost.

The profits that JROTC makes are not unworthy, as cadets have put time and effort into making the event a success. The money that doesn’t go to the flags goes to “help out the program,” Lt. Col. Johnson said. With all of the work that these people are putting in, they should get some reward.

Even non-profit organizations have people on their payroll, and the way that these JROTC members are being paid for their work is by allowing leftover money to go to field trips and to keep the price down for the Military Ball later in the year.

Lt. Col. Johnson said that “it’s like a memorial.” I agree, that’s exactly what the flags are. Each flag memorializes a different fallen veteran, so, as Lt. Col. Johnson said, “no one is left behind or forgotten.”

JROTC is not trying to take advantage of the fallen heroes. They’re just trying to honor them and keep their memory alive.

Heroes fall while JROTC profits

By Jamie Black, Business Manager

Through the week of Oct. 24 study halls were given the incentive from JROTC that if the study hall participated in donating money, in equivalence of buying a flag for JROTC’s Fallen Heroes ceremony, they would receive a party where there would be food from Chick-fil-a and Chipotle.

Some students like junior Carlos Garriga believed that “they (JROTC) really would give our donations to the cause,” but Garriga soon found out otherwise.

Students’ assumption that the collected money is going toward some sort of fallen hero, or at least some sort of veteran, is understandable given the name of the fundraiser. For the past three years I have believed that the money collected when you buy a flag from JROTC goes toward a fallen hero; maybe I’m too naive to have questioned motives of JROTC and its fundraiser, but wouldn’t it have been nice to hope for good?

Recently I learned that the money collected from both the study hall fundraiser and any other flags sold by JROTC members does not go towards any sort of fallen hero.

Lt. Col. Johnson said that the money “goes for the flags, replacing flags” and the “leftovers help out the program” in order to “defray the cost.”

JROTC has not said in any way that the money does actually go towards veterans and I can’t hold that against them, but with the name of the fundraiser and how big of an ordeal the Fallen Heroes ceremony is, you’d assume the money goes directly toward fallen heroes.

The fact that the money doesn’t go to the implied cause has left me uneasy. This seems like a small issue to be upset over, but when the men and women represented by the flags so selflessly died for our great nation, a nation that JROTC prides itself on honoring, the money raised in their honor should go towards a charity that benefits veterans, whether they are dead or alive.

A few years ago, there was a donation to the Paralyzed Veterans of America given by JROTC and I urge them to do the same thing this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad JROTC is honoring veterans, but I surely would be more happy with their actions if the money raised went toward the veterans who the Fallen Heroes ceremony is built upon.

Posted: Dec. 6

An orange fights ISIS

By Jamie Black, Business Manager

Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump won supporters and Islamophobes over with his stance on Muslims and their entrance into the United States.

Trump’s campaign for presidency began in June 2015, and by December he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

The statement is bold. Trump’s words were what some Americans already believe, but his words came with Islamophobia and promoted the false mindset that all Muslims are terrorists.

As Trump’s campaign progressed, so did his ideology. On May 9 in an interview with Anderson Cooper, Trump said, “I think Islam hates us.”

The irony behind that statement is that Islam means peace and it promotes peace. سلام, or peace in Arabic, holds the same root as the word Islam. Whether Trump did or didn’t know the meaning of the word Islam and what it is derived from, the statement is wrong.

After Trump’s (incorrect) statement, on June 13, almost a year after Trump announced his campaign, his statements became more presidential or some would even go as far to say “rational.” “It will be lifted, this ban, when and as a nation we’re in a position to properly and perfectly screen these people coming into our country,” he said.

Days later on June 24, Trump made his policy on the ban less generalized and called for a “suspend immigration from regions linked with terrorism until a proven vetting method is in place.”

Flash forward to Nov. 17, nine days after Trump was elected president, his website reads “suspend, on a temporary basis, immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.”

This concept is another broad statement on Trump’s behalf in order to frankly cover for himself and be liked more by Americans, which honestly is understable based of the fact that a day before the election only 37.5 percent of people surveyed in a RealClearPolitics poll found Trump to be favorable.

Although Trump’s words don’t seem to be as filled with a flawed ideology at this point, he recently appointed Lt. General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. Flynn is known for his insulting and Islamophobic opinions, calling Islam a “cancer.”

If Trump does or doesn’t decide to issue a ban on Muslims entering the US, Lt. General Michael Flynn will be in his ear. That on it’s own is more scary than a religion that does not promote terrorism.

Whether you do or don’t believe in Trump’s original or modified Muslim ban, it is apparent that his stance has changed over time and is still problematic.

Posted: Dec. 1

Anti-Semitic in the White House

By Sam Rosser, Sports Editor

President-elect Donald Trump filled two of the most influential White House personnel posts on Sunday, one a silent nod to establishment Republicans and the other a slap in the face to Democrats of all stripes. He appointed Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff, long time head of the GOP and Breitbart news executive Stephen Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor.

Both men were on the short list for chief of staff, a job Priebus ultimately received, but both posts are expected to have serious sway with the president. One of those posts is filled by a man with substantial ties to the alt-right and white nationalist movements.

Stephen Bannon is at the forefront of the alt-right movement, giving a legitimate voice to white nationalists, racists, racists, homophobes, xenophobes, neo-Nazis and misogynists. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Bannon “was the main driver between Breitbart becoming a white etho-nationalist propaganda mill.”

Bannon seems to be okay that description, telling Mother Jones that Breitbart is “now the platform for the alt-right.” The alt-right is a group of young white men that revel in harassing Jews, Muslims and other minorities by spewing disgusting insults on social media and in person. These men also believe in white supremacy, oppose immigration, feminism and multiculturalism, all values that have fostered the nation we live in today.

The headlines at this far right website speak for themselves:

  • “Hoist It High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage”
  • “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”
  • “After the Pulse Night Club Massacre, It’s Time for Gays to Come Home to the Republican Party” (a party that says that their way of life is an abomination)
  • “There’s no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews”
  • “Racist, pro-Nazi roots of Planned Parenthood revealed”
  • “Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, Renegade Jew”
  • “Sympathy for the Devils: the Plot against Roger Ailes – And America”

If those headlines weren’t enough to convince you of their alt-right agenda, read the comments. If you aren’t alarmed yet, look at who’s commending Bannon’s appointment. The chairman for the American Nazi Party said Bannon’s appointment shows Trump’s intent on his policies might be “for real.” David Duke, former member and grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, described the selection as “excellent.”

A self-described “Leninist” with a goal to “destroy the state,” he is a highly confusing figure to occupy such high government office. Let us remember that he also called progressive women “a bunch of dy—” and wishes to “bring everything crashing down.” Is this really the man we want advising the most powerful man in the world?

A few Republicans have bravely spoken out at this horrific choice. Ben Shapiro, a former Breitbart News editor who resigned in protest, described Bannon as a “vindictive, nasty figure.” Glenn Beck, a popular conservative political commentator, called him a “nightmare.”

He truly will be my nightmare if Trump doesn’t fire him. He’ll have the ear of our president. He’ll have an office no farther than a stone’s throw from the Oval Office. Do we really want him to be whispering racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic sweet nothings in our commander in chief’s ear?

Posted: Nov. 29

Trump wins, America loses

By Sam Rosser, Sports Editor

I sat in utter disbelief as I watched the results roll in last night. I stared at my television set last night, shaken to my core. The presidency of the United States of America has been handed to the an unprepared, ill-tempered, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic gay-basher this country has ever had the misfortune to call Mr. President.

The very principles hundreds of thousands of men and women have fought for and gave, what Lincoln described as “the last full measure of devotion” were on the ballot. Equality was on the ballot. Righteousness was on the ballot. Maturity was on the ballot. Sanity was on the ballot. And yet, there I sat, watching numbers and listening to the voices of dozens of pundits tell me Trump was going to become my next president.

I never thought that millions of other Americans could vote for such a terrible human being that would take America back to a time when it was acceptable to grope women without permission and discriminate because of someone’s religion, gender, sexual-orientation or race. I never thought that enough Americans were misled to believe that this man can cause effective change that would help them in the long run, that he could win.

Not only is this man unfit to lead, he’s a straight up liar. Politifact, a nonpartisan organization that fact-checks politicians’ statements, rates 70 percent of Trump’s claims as either false, mostly false or pants-on-fire. And yet, he is perceived as the truthful candidate, and now he is the president-elect.

This man embodies the worst of us. He appeals to our anger and strife, without any real solutions to appease our very real problems. This man embodies the very reason our government has three branches, checks and balances and limited presidential powers. He is the very definition of a demagogue.

“Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us,” said John F. Kennedy, our 35th president. JFK is an example of what I, along with millions of other Americans, strive to be. President-elect Trump is not a picture of moral authority: he’s been married thrice, accused by a dozen women of sexual assault, including his ex-wife, categorized millions of exemplary Americans as “rapists,” proposed bans on an entire religion, insulted the the judgement of a federal judge, incited violence at his rallies, threatened to jail his political opponent (any Russian presidents come to mind?) and spewed hundreds of lies, which is incredibly irresponsible because of the magnitude of the megaphone from which every word he utters is projected.

This man is a poor excuse for an example to our little brothers and sisters, our friends, our family, our children. Do we, as a society, want his name to be in the history books? Do we want him to be the example for children across the globe? Do we want him to be our voice? Apparently so.

And yet, I am full of hope. I hope he performs the duties of the presidency well. I hope he can unite a country he has done his part in dividing. I hope he will protect the rights of all Americans. I hope that those who are scared for their well-being because of their sexuality or gender can find a good night’s sleep. I hope history will reflect kindly on his presidency.

Posted : Nov. 15

White out Black Face

By Nadieda Dazile, Opinion Editor

The outrageous mockery of melanous skin has gone too far.

Blackface is defined as the makeup used by a non-black performer to represent a black person. During the 19th century, blackface was used by several performers to reel in white audiences through stereotypical black characters.

This racist “joke” has not only modernized itself but also has blossomed into being accepted and encouraged.

Several comedians, such as Tyler Perry, a black man in drag, and Sarah Silverman, a white woman in painted blackface, have brought new meaning to this form of coonery.

Tyler Perry, though praised for being a representative of the black community, has profited from mocking his own. And yes! Madea is a joke and was created for comedy, but I honestly see nothing but the stereotype of an angry, middle aged black woman.

Sarah Silverman, who performed a sketch for Comedy Central and felt like “a beautiful Queen Latifah,” not only joked about black people, but made an absolute ridicule of herself. She later realized and apologized for wearing the “most racist blackface.”

With or without approval, blackface shouldn’t be happening. We live in the modern world and allowing these things to happen only shows that we are regressing.

An argument may be proposed on the actual offensive level of blackface, but might I retaliate that being black will be the only way for you to really understand why it is not okay.

So how do we fix this issue? We can’t.

We can’t stop blackface from happening, since it has been embedded into our society, but we can minimize it to a point.

The solution might be Teaching the younger generation that it is not okay to mock the skin tone of others and that they should learn to love their own.

I know that it’s hard to feel unaccepted, but I’d rather be an outsider than an Uncle Tom.

Posted: Nov. 10

Comey sends irresponsible letter to Congress

By Sam Rosser, Sports Editor

Director James Comey sent an open letter to Congress this past Friday informing the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform that the FBI would be reopening the investigation on Secretary Hillary Clinton’s emails. The emails in question were found in an investigation on Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexual misconduct.

However, the letter was nondescript and brief. The director didn’t specify whether the emails discovered had anything to do with her time as secretary of state, nor does he know the contents of the emails. He sent his letter before the FBI had obtained a warrant to search the emails. The warrant was granted over the weekend.

Comey clearly didn’t consider the effects such a statement would make so close to a presidential election. Making such an innuendo to people who were previously unconvinced of Clinton’s innocence is irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

The FBI and Justice Department will be hard-pressed to investigate all the emails before Nov. 8 because there are reportedly hundreds of thousands of them.

Throwing a curveball such as this eight days before election violates Justice Department protocol. Several attorneys general have sent an internal memo (https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/ag/legacy/2009/02/10/ag-030508.pdf ) urging their employees not to open or comment on investigations that may have political ramifications. Comey’s letter violates these protocols and also disbars the bureau’s non-partisan affiliation.

President Obama has said that “we don’t operate on incomplete information,” which is exactly what Comey did. His actions may have irrevocable consequences. It may affect the outcome of the election. Another headline with the words “Clinton” and “emails” so close to Nov. 8 might end up deciding who may or may not be sworn in this coming January.

The source of these new emails, Anthony Weiner’s personal laptop, is an unlikely place for classified emails to be. Then to go to the public and write a vague letter with few details is irresponsible. Comey has been compared to the first director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, a man who spied upon civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and rightly so.

Comey has potentially done great damage to this country. He should hand in his resignation.

Posted: Nov. 2

She’s not a popstar, she’s a candidate

By Nadieda Dazile, Opinion Editor

Since Hillary Clinton declared her run for the presidency, a wave of controversy has trailed along her campaign. Clinton is repeatedly addressed by a mononymous Hillary, like Beyoncé, instead of Clinton or even Hillary Clinton.

So why aren’t we calling her Clinton? Perhaps it’s because of a lack of respect. We’ve rarely seen a male candidate who’s been called by his first name as she is, or even a government official for that matter.

“Looking back, no situation involving first names immediately comes to mind,” social studies teacher Ms. Magnetta said. ”I think it should be the same level of respect. Hillary vs. Trump is not apples to apples. It’s apples to zebras.”

Presidential candidates are not just ordinary people: They are officials who declared candidacy for a job that requires and deserves the utmost respect. Presidents aren’t usually approached with colloquial language, but with formality. It was never Barack vs. John, it was Obama vs. McCain.

Some argue that Secretary Clinton, as Donald calls her, was not the first Clinton to be a political persona. The main issue with that statement is this isn’t the United States’ first time experiencing presidential candidates who are from the same family, and it might not be the last. When George W. Bush was president, he wasn’t called George because his dad was a former president, he was simply Bush like his father.

And of course, Hillary doesn’t mind being on a first name basis as long as it helps her gain votes or even attention. Her campaign is #Hillary2016 and it’s no surprise that her campaign managers have taken advantage of the use of her first name as a way to benefit “Her”.

“How it normally works in politics is you want to be called by your first name because it makes you more personable,” technology teacher Mr. Holley said.

He recalled when Jeb Bush was running for president and used “Jeb!” as his campaign logo.

“The whole thing is about optics,” Holley stated. “That was Jeb Bush’s problem because he’s not expressive so he went with just ’Jeb!’ to counteract his low energy.”

Although the use of Clinton may help Hillary win more votes, it is also going against her main goal. If she wants to be president she needs to be assertive and use Clinton. It won’t be long until the general public realizes that “President Hillary” doesn’t sound official, and it ultimately downgrades the position of president to that of an indie popstar.

Posted: Oct. 24

Gun control laws should not infringe on constitutional rights

By Alexandra Griffin, Managing Editor

With many mass shootings and an overwhelming amount of gun violence in the news recently, the pitch for stricter and more prohibitive gun laws has been welcomed by many civilians and politicians with open arms. However, with some of these laws, like the law recently passed in California limiting the quantity of bullets in a magazine, a person’s Second Amendment right is infringed upon and, therefore, it should not be enforced.

While gun violence is a huge issue in the United States that hits many Floridians close to home, a person should still be allowed to own a gun.

The Second Amendment was made so that if a tyrannical government were to reign over the United States, the people could fight back. With this year’s election having the potential to go in many different directions, I feel that it is especially important to recognize the importance for the right to bear arms.

While I do not think gun control laws should oppress one’s constitutional rights, I do think there needs to be a change. I think all states need to strictly enforce a waiting period to receive a gun after buying it.

I also believe that firearm education needs to be taken more seriously. In 2016 alone, there have been 1,471 cases of accidental shootings according to gunviolencearchive.com.

A person should also have to obtain a license before being able to purchase a gun to ensure that the person knows how to use it properly, effectively and safely.

While I think, unfortunately, there is no one way to stop gun violence, it definitely is not through enforcing laws that infringe upon one’s constitutional rights.

Posted: Oct. 24

Be afraid, be very afraid

This year’s election scares the heck out of us

This election year is unprecedented in modern U.S. political history. The two viable candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are the least liked in history. It might be after Halloween, but this year Election Day is going to be much scarier.

A poll conducted by the Tornado Times revealed that the vast majority of students think either of the probable outcomes to be somewhat or extremely scary. A Trump presidency would scare 73 percent of those surveyed while 52 percent find the prospect of a Clinton presidency scary. Although both candidates are undoubtedly flawed, we cannot pretend that they are in any way equal.

Conservative news outlets have painted Clinton in a harsh light because of her involvement, or lack thereof, with the attack on U.S. diplomatic compounds in Benghazi, Libya. They accused Secretary Clinton of neglecting the pleas for help from an ambassador concerning security measures, which ultimately led to the death of four American citizens.

Seven million dollars and another seven congressional inquiries later, Clinton was cleared of any wrongdoing. But the scandal and biased coverage has left the secretary with a damaged reputation.

This, coupled with a private email server used during her tenure as secretary of state, has ignited widespread feelings of distrust and deceit among many Americans. Without an inkling of doubt, her use of a private email server was reckless. While the FBI director, James Comey, has recommended no charges to the Department of Justice, voters and/or students find this to be a scary lapse in judgement.

This scandal is perceived as scary because any of our nation’s enemies could have hacked her email, for it isn’t as protected as a government email server. While the FBI has said that there is no evidence of any hacking, the best hackers rarely leave any footprints.

As scary as the prospect of a Hillary Clinton administration is, a Trump administration unnerves us more.

In Trump’s very first campaign speech he described Mexican immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists.” He has since proposed to build a massive, expensive wall that Mexico is going to pay for. The president of Mexico has said, in no uncertain terms, that it will not pay for said wall.

Since then, he has gone back and forth with the idea of banning Muslims altogether. The idea is not only unconstitutional, but also Islamophobic and based on an irrational mindset that all Muslims are extremists.

More recently, a video has come to light regarding Trump’s attitude toward women. Trump, “because he is a star,” can grab whosever genitalia he pleases. This may not come as a surprise to some voters, for this type of behavior is completely in character of “the Donald.”

A constant claim that he is an “incredible” businessman is nearly discredited by his 1995 tax returns, reported by the New York Times. His tax returns declared a loss of nearly $1 billion from his Atlantic City casinos.

His failure to release his tax returns, a ritual in which every presidential candidate since Nixon has partaken, has been basked in lies and deceptions. He has constantly claimed that because he is under audit by the IRS, so he cannot release his tax returns.

This claim has been debunked by dozens of major media outlets, the IRS and Warren Buffett, who was invoked by Trump as another billionaire who paid no federal income tax during his second debate with Clinton. (Buffet’s promptly released his tax returns, disproving Trump’s claim.

Trump’s lack of respect for the truth, constant berating of minorities, women and immigrants, and his child-like temperament render him unfit to serve as our country’s president.

Posted: Oct. 24

Don’t vote third

By Jamie Black, Business Manager

A new president will be elected Nov. 8, so I asked the students who they want to vote for, even if they can’t, on an online poll.

Most students simply voted, while others left some not so positive feedback, but some comments were understandable. The anonymous comments, “Hillary is winning????. Don’t vote for a killer, and liar” and “Poll faker than Trump’s hair” addressed distaste for the two candidates, but other comments pointed out how the poll could be refreshed and you could vote again, which is true. This poll has no scientific meaning, but does show the depth of support some have for their candidates.

What I found to be surprising was the roughly 17 percent of votes for a third-party candidate. Third-party candidates are lesser known and the idea of a third party on its own is also lesser known. The US has its two main parties, Republican and Democrat, but there are other political parties that do exist and, together, are coined to be “third party.”

The third party isn’t just one alternate group: It is comprised of several groups like the Green Party, Libertarian Party and Constitution Party. Those parties don’t receive a whole lot of attention, but sometimes their nominees’ names, such as Jill Stein, are thrown around.

Third parties do have an appeal in some elections, especially this election where people feel as if both candidates are horrible. According to the Real Clear Politics poll, Clinton is 41.2 percent favorable while Trump is only 37.2 percent favorable.

But in a swing state like Florida, voting for a third party candidate gives your vote to the party you are likely avoiding voting for. For example, if I voted for Jill Stein because I didn’t like all of Clinton’s concepts and I for sure didn’t like Trump’s, then I would essentially be throwing away my vote or giving it to a candidate I don’t like.

In states like California and Texas, voting third party isn’t a big deal because the state already has a majority of votes, but in Florida, where the votes are so close, voting third party might not be the best option.

According to a poll by New York Times Upshot/Siena College Poll on Sept. 14, if the election were held that day, Clinton would win Florida 41 percent to 40. Third party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have percents in the single digits.

If I go and vote for Stein, who only had 2 percent voter support in that poll, my vote wouldn’t do much. On the other hand, if I gave my vote to Clinton or Trump, it could make a big difference because there is only a 1 percent difference between the two, with a 3.5 percent margin of error. My vote might just give Clinton or Trump the W in Florida.

In swing states like Florida, voting within the two major political parties is essential. The concept of third parties is nice because they do provide more options for voters, but our current politics are built on the two-party system, and those parties will have the most power whether by money or by popular vote.

If you do go vote this November, I encourage you to think about your vote wisely, and not waste that vote in order to achieve some joke of voting for a liar, a bigot or Deez Nuts.

Posted : Oct. 17

Reduce prices of college admission requirements

By Alexandra Griffin, Managing Editor

Preparing for college is one of the most exciting and stressful times of a young person’s life. While the stress of studying and homework is standard for most students, many also experience stress in finding ways to pay for testing and applications, which can all add up to be hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of dollars.

Like many other students, I am planning on taking the SAT and ACT multiple times and am also looking to apply to many colleges. If I were to take the SAT three times, the ACT twice, and apply to seven colleges, I could be paying around $475 (application fee derived from the US News and Business Report average), not including the writing section of either test and additional score reports.

Although the price of testing fees is being reduced slowly by high schools offering free testing, other college admission requirements, like application fees, can be pretty steep.

Because of high application fees, I will not be applying to as many colleges as I would like to. However, if the price of application fees is lowered, I may apply to more schools.  

For example, Stanford University’s application fee is $90, which is the highest in the country. I could live off of that $90 for two weeks in college (not including tuition), but  instead I have to use that money to apply to a college that, if I went to, I would be paying tens of thousands of dollars to attend.

I believe that having to pay such high fees for applications is unfair, as some students are offered a dismissal of their application fee if they qualify for financial aid while others are not.

While I do believe that financial aid should be offered to students who need it, I also believe that it is not fair that students who may just miss the qualifications of financial aid could have to pay over a thousand dollars to apply to multiple colleges, when someone who just meets the qualifications of financial aid doesn’t have to pay any application fees, despite the small difference in their incomes.

Not only is it not fair to students who “can” afford college applications, which is determined by the college’s qualifications for financial aid, with the amount of money colleges pay for sports, new buildings and other features not required for the school’s academic success, I find that it is not fair for potential students to have to pay such a hefty application fee, especially when they could be a great asset to the school’s academic success.

Posted: Oct. 14

Trump lowers level of debate

By Sam Rosser, Sports Editor

Donald Trump has spent his entire presidential campaign undermining intelligent debate in America. He has, without fail, lowered the level of debate in this country. His campaign has been riddled with derogatory language, simple grammatical errors, made-up words, a constant stream of falsehoods and inflammatory language.

This past week was the first of three presidential debates. According to a scientific poll conducted by CNN/ORC, Hillary Clinton won the debate by a margin of 35 points. However, Trump insists “he won in all the online polls.” He cites numerous online polls conducted by conservative websites, such as Breitbart.com and others, with no scientific adherence.

These online polls aren’t scientific in the slightest; online polls can be filled out numerous times by a single person and they don’t take into account the diversity of the electorate. Online polls have no place in determining who won anything, let alone a presidential debate.

Yet, Trump goes from rally to rally spewing lies from his orange mouth. It’s incomprehensible that a candidate for the highest office in the nation, arguably the world, is so irresponsible as to conjure these lies.

Trump has also makes up words. A six-year-old makes up words; presidential nominees shouldn’t. On live television, with the country’s eyes on him, he decided to make up a new adverb: bigly. Expanding Americans’ vocabulary is too hard and his is probably too small to do so, like his hands. At least, if he doesn’t win, he will have contributed to our beloved language.

He reads aloud insults and xenophobic remarks from his teleprompter, an object he once thought should be disallowed for presidential candidates.

He’s called for a ban on Muslims entering our nation; he’s called for a “deportation force,” because trying to deport millions of people is fiscally responsible and good use of taxpayers’ money.

According to the New York Times, Trump could have not payed taxes for 18 years after he lost nearly a billion dollars in a single year, which practically disproves his “immense” success as a businessman. Seriously, who loses a billion dollars and claims they’re “the best”? Additionally, Trump not paying taxes wouldn’t make him “smart,” and if that is your reason for voting for him, you should really be voting for his accountant.

The Donald is not a career politician; there’s no arguing that. He constantly claims he’ll have “the best” advisers. Getting hung up on a beauty queen from 1996 isn’t an enticing political strategy, a strategy, which I’m sure, his career political operatives argued strongly against.

He lowers the level of debate. Instead of arguing key issues, like national security, domestic or foreign policy, he stays up well into the wee hours of the night and smears a beauty queen. Do we really want a man that delves into the depths of tabloid trash as our president? Is this the man we want representing our country?

Presidential candidates are given a tremendous megaphone; anything they say is repeated, replayed and debated meticulously. It is irresponsible to waste such an opportunity. He doesn’t articulate any of his rather scarce policy initiatives with elegance, swiftness or grace. He doesn’t answer, or ask, the bigger questions. Trump, instead, appeals to the lowest common denominator. He should raise them up, not bring the rest of us down.

Posted: Oct. 11

Stand up for Kaepernick’s kneel-down

By Nadieda Dazile, Opinion Editor

Colin Kaepernick is a quarterback for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. On Aug. 26, he began his journey into controversy by refusing to stand during the U.S national anthem before a game.

His actions received an immediate response from the general public. Some claimed he even disrespected our nation.

“I don’t think it’s right,” sophomore Corey Little, a JV football player, said. “If anything, he should do something else instead of kneeling down during the national anthem,which represents our nation as whole, and I found that disrespectful.”

Other NFL players supported his actions and even followed his example by protesting themselves. Jeremy Lane, a Seattle Seahawk, also engaged in this protest and said that he would continue to do so until justice was served.

Were Kaepernick’s actions right? YES!

What justice is Lane talking about? It is the justice that the black community has been longing for. The recent killings of black people, especially black men, has made the community uneasy.

“As a black man in America, I feel that what Colin is doing is for a good cause and has a supportive and positive message behind it,” junior Tedrick Wilson, a JROTC company commander, said. “I also think people don’t understand what the real issue is, and (they are) also solely focusing on his position instead of the fact that he’s using his platform to bring awareness to certain issues.”

Oversensitivity to bringing up racial issues is also one of the main reasons he is receiving so much backlash.

Kaepernick didn’t hesitate to protest about the wrongdoings inflicted upon black people. Some Americans, in the land of so-called freedom, have been pushing us to censor our thoughts so that we don’t hurt the country’s feelings.

He has the right to protest, and not standing for the national anthem is not illegal.

Among all of the chaos, the NFL made an official statement that “players were encouraged but not required to stand during the national anthem.”

“Legally we can’t punish them, nor would I punish them for that,” Mr. Nagy, varsity football coach, said. “They have a right to protest.”

Mr. Nagy recalled the protest of two sprinters at the 1968 Olympics, who raised gloved fists on the medal stand as the national anthem played to protest racism.

“I do prefer the power fist instead (of kneeling during the anthem), but I’m not angry at (Kaepernick) and I won’t walk around calling him unpatriotic,” Mr. Nagy said.

We seem to forget that patriotism is the love for one’s country or nation. Kaepernick was only using his voice for the benefit of his people, and if you don’t agree with that, then try walking around every day of your life fearing that you might not make it home.

Posted: Oct. 4

Hillary Clinton makes gaffe

By Sam Rosser, Sports Editor

Hillary Clinton made a rudimentary political mistake Saturday at a fundraiser; the Democratic presidential candidate went after her opponent’s voters instead of her opponent, calling half of them “deplorable.” However, her claim, as politically incorrect as it may be, has an air of truth to it.

The full quote:
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

The former Secretary of State went on to say that the other half was “desperate for a change” and that “those are people we have to empathize with as well.” The statement about the other half got too little attention from the vast array of 24-hour news we’ve grown accustomed to. Politically speaking, Clinton’s statements may not have have been in her best interests, as there are things a politician can’t say. The good news: I am not a politician.

Donald Trump is indeed a candidate worthy of the title “deplorable.” His sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and blatant racism is perfectly described as deplorable, and anyone that tries to advance his racist, sexist, xenophobic and Islamophobic agenda could be described, in my unprofessional opinion, as deplorable.

If you think voting for Donald Trump in November will uplift your socioeconomic status, that’s respectable. His policies may appeal to you. Who doesn’t like a tax cut? But his history of systemic oppression of minorities as seen in his skewed housing ‘policies’ in New York is abhorrent, and detaching yourself from this is impossible, this needle cannot be thread.

Although, there is evidence to support that a sizable portion of his supporters don’t choose to ignore the undesirable aspects of the Republican nominee. That sizable portion wholeheartedly believes in his racist, sexist, xenophobic and Islamophobic platform.

A poll by Reuter/Ispos found that “Nearly half of Trump’s supporters described African-Americans as more ‘violent’ than whites. The same proportion described African-Americans as more ‘criminal’ than whites, while 40 percent described them as more ‘lazy’ than whites.”

Another Reuters/Ispos poll found that an astonishing 58 percent of Trump supporters have a “somewhat unfavorable” view on Islam and 78 percent believe that Islam is more likely to inspire terrorist activity than other religions.

The poll that really jolted me into a state of disbelief was conducted in February in a Public Policy Polling survey. The poll was conducted in South Carolina among likely Trump voters. The poll was, quite frankly, flabbergasting. It found 80 percent of those surveyed supported a ban on Muslims, 38 percent wished the South had won the Civil War, 33 percent support the practice of Islam becoming illegal and 31 percent support a ban on homosexuals from entering the country.

On Saturday, Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying that she “regretted saying ‘half’ – that was wrong.” Put the percentage wherever you please, it is irrefutable that there are Trump supporters that are indeed deplorable.

I can respect supporting core Republican values, finding Hillary Clinton or her policies unappealing, but I cannot sympathize with supporting Trump or his fiscally irresponsible, xenophobic, unemployable, unrealistic, rabble rousing, basket case policies. I understand but remain steadfast in believing that there are deplorable voters and that they support Trump.

Posted: Sept. 26

Football not worth headache

By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief

The risk of concussion in sports, especially football, has become an issue of concern for students, parents and coaches alike.

For football fans like me, it is difficult to determine whether the sport is worth playing when the players’ health is at risk.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 1.6 million and 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreational activities throughout the country each year. However, concussions are not the only head injuries that can affect a player’s health.

According to Dr. Robert Stern, a professor of neurology and leader in the head injury field at Boston University, “In Pop Warner, a player can get 600-700 subconcussive hits per season. These subconcussive hits are usually not detected, so they’re not being treated. If you test the hits, they’re over 15 g in force. In high school, they are getting 800-1000 hits per season. College players get over 1500 of those hits in each season.”

As these hits are extremely dangerous in excess, and can even lead to death, football is a high-risk sport.

The movie “Concussion” was about the founding of the degenerative disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). This disease can cause a person to hurt others or even himself.

Because of the negative effects of CTE, Stern said that “there should not be any youth tackle football until at least high school.”

I agree with Stern’s reasoning. The more subconcussive hits and concussions that a person gets, the higher the risk is for the player to get CTE. So, even if the player is five years old, these hits can affect him far into his future.

The risk of concussions and permanent brain damage due to sports like football is too high for me to feel comfortable with someone that I know and love playing such sports. So, it’s hard for me to say that it is okay for anyone to play football, though I love watching the game.

Posted: Sept. 19

Who are you voting for?

Pre-college programs are worth it

By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief

During the summer after sophomore and junior year, many students attend pre-college programs that either give college credit or experience in a specific field. Accredited universities such as Columbia, Northwestern and Vanderbilt all offer pre-college programs in different subjects.

This summer, I attended Boston University’s (BU) Investigative Reporting Workshop that was sponsored by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. Through this program, I was able to live in BU dorms, take classes at BU and experience the city of Boston and its surrounding areas.

Being at BU this summer helped me envision what college will be like when I attend in a year.

Before attending the Investigative Reporting Workshop, I was extremely interested in attending BU; however, after living in the dorms and experiencing the surrounding atmosphere, I don’t know if I want to attend anymore.

It may seem as though this is a bad thing, like I wasted two weeks of my life and my parents’ money. But, the truth is, disliking a school in two weeks is not as bad as it would have been if I ended up attending the school for four years.

Taking classes at BU gave me a better look into the school than a college visit could have. The classes were all interesting, and I loved being able to learn in an accredited university.

I would recommend pre-college programs to any interested student. Being able to get the college experience for a limited time, especially at such a young age, is incredible and definitely worthwhile.

Do you think the things we learn and experience in high school will help us in the future?

Posted: May 2

Dump Trump:

Presidential candidate condones violence, racism

By Sabrina Chery, Asst. Opinion editor

Donald Trump is an experienced CEO and business owner who is running for president. While he is very accomplished as a businessman, Trump is the worst thing that could happen to America. Due to his racist and sexist comments, Trump should not be the next president.

On many occasions, Trump has made racist statements. He has called all Mexicans rapists: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” He calls black people thugs and all Muslims terrorists. He has been caught saying negative things about blacks, Asians, immigrants, Latinos, Muslims and even the disabled.

Trump is encouraging stereotypes. America is a melting pot of cultures, so the fact that he makes racist comments should be reason enough not to vote for him.

In 2015 Trump tweeted: “If Hillary Clinton cannot satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America.” He then deleted the tweet, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he said it. That comment is blatantly sexist and offensive.

Trump has also encouraged his supporters to be violent when people at one of his rallies tried to throw tomatoes at him, as he said “Seriously, okay, just knock the hell. I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees; I promise, I promise.”

He then retracted his statement by saying that he doesn’t condone violence. He hasn’t shown it though. On many occasions where violence had broken out at his rallies, he just encourages this type of behavior.

In March eight of his 20 rallies ended up with someone getting arrested for assault.

Since Trump is promoting violence and offensive behavior, he should not become president.

Posted: April 20

Posted: April 18

Feminism is necessary

Feminism_GallN

Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor

Since the Declaration of Independence was signed, declaring that all men were created equal, there have been select groups of people left behind. Although I consider there to be three main ones: African Americans, Native Americans and women, I will be focusing on women.

African American and Native American men have been excluded from the generalization of “all men,” but women weren’t even mentioned or considered — as if it is so unbelievable that a woman could have rights and be an equally respected human being.

Obviously the treatment of all three of the mentioned groups has improved since 1776, but that doesn’t mean that they are treated equally to those who were always included, and always given appropriate rights.

Feminism is necessary in the United States today because most sexism here occurs unintentionally. Feminists must make known that women are treated in an inferior way if the treatment of women is ever going to improve.

I have heard many women say statements similar to, “Things are so much better for women now than just one hundred years ago! We should be happy with the improvements that have been made.”

It may be true that things are better for women now than when they were fighting for the simplest of rights, like that to vote; however, women should not be so willing to accept the fact that the society they live in has sexism so deeply ingrained into it that the fact that sexism is limited, though still existent, is considered positive.

In the 20th century many Americans argued that segregation was a better situation for African Americans than slavery, but that did not make it an acceptable way to continue. Just because something isn’t the worst that it has ever been doesn’t mean that it is the best that it can, will and should be.

Many times when a woman is treated as a lesser person, it is not intentional. Since sexism is so deeply rooted in U. S. society, women are raised to be accommodating.

Then, after being raised this way, in some work environments, women are passed up for promotions because they’re “too nice,” “too willing to compromise” or “not demanding enough,” but society demands that they be this way.

If a woman is not nice, she’s bad-tempered; if a woman isn’t willing to compromise, she’s hard-headed and stubborn; if a woman is demanding, she’s difficult. What does society and the people in it want from us? Because right now it looks like society wants to keep women down.

There is a lack of representation of women in many different aspects of the country.

Something that has sparked controversy in the sports world recently is Raymond Moore’s sexist comments about women in tennis. Moore, an extremely relevant person in the tennis industry, as the CEO of the Indian Wells Masters, an annual tennis tournament that is held in California, said that if he was a “lady player” he would “go down every night on my knees and thank God (male players) Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”

Thankfully, the feminists of the world, including many male and female tennis professionals, like Serena Williams, one of the most prominent and talented female tennis players, and Steve Simon, the CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, responded to Moore’s insults by defending women in tennis and acknowledging the sexism in his statement. According to an article by Sports Illustrated published on March 22, Moore stepped down from his position as CEO.

The excessive differences spread to all sports. According to ESPN, the NBA player with the top salary is Kobe Bryant, who is making $25 million during the 2016 season; however, according to the Altius Dictionary, the highest paying WNBA player this year is most likely receiving $105,000.

Buzzfeed claims that Kobe Bryant in 2014 was paid approximately three times that of the entire WNBA combined.

The biggest two areas where there is a lack of representation and opportunity are history and politics.

Women are barely mentioned in history classes.

In the history class that I am currently taking, the only time that we really learned about women was in a quick 10-minute discussion about women fighting for the right to vote and how they were finally able to accomplish it. Other times that women were mentioned include when African American women were discussed, like Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou.

I went through and counted the amount of people that we learned about in my American History class and how many are women: we learned about 50 people specifically and only seven were women, each glossed over pretty quickly, too. Some women that were mentioned are Jane Addams and Ida B. Wells, as well as fictional women like Rosie the Riveter.

All of the required history classes, especially at a high school level, focus on men and their roles. To learn extensively about women in history, one would have to specifically take a class about women’s roles in history.

In politics, only 20 women serve in the Senate, compared to 80 men. Only 84 women serve in the House of Representatives, comprising 19.3 percent of those elected. As women are approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population, that doesn’t sound right to me.

Many women who run for political positions aren’t taken seriously or are overly criticized.

Although I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton myself, I have noticed that she is criticized for being too masculine. This was also noticed by Tom Lulz in his book “Crying” as he said that “Hillary Clinton has been routinely condemned by some of her critics for being too masculine, too hard and cold, but one can imagine the criticism that would rain down on her if she were to cry on camera.”

Feminism is needed because women must learn that they are just as able to be in strong leadership positions as men. If women were taught that the political world was okay for them, then more women would be in office, and the people in office could actually begin representing the people of the United States equally.

Some opponents of feminism use offensive terms to refer to them. One excessively used example is feminazi. The name feminazi was popularized on a radio show in the 1990s by Rush Limbaugh. Since Limbaugh’s first use of the word, it has taken off and has been used by many opponents of feminism when they’re trying to just “shut them up,” according to a Lip Magazine article that talks about the term.

Another reason that people use this term is as a joke. Trolls on the Internet call others feminazis in order to emphasize how ridiculous that they think feminists are being, according to an article by Zoe Williams of The Guardian. Although some may think that this is okay to say, using sexist and offensive terms as a joke further promotes the integration of feminism into U.S. culture, as it makes terrible things seem okay to say in the voice of comedy.

The referring to feminists as feminazis is offensive from any angle that it is viewed. The fact that feminism is a movement towards equality, while Nazism is the exact opposite, doesn’t seem to matter to those who use the term.

Without the help of feminists, both men and women, the United States will never be an equal society. It is important for people to stand up for what they believe in in order to make sure that the United States becomes the “greatest country in the world,” something that its leaders have been claiming to be since both women and other minorities were considered property.

Posted: April 1

Editorial Cartoon: Republican Circus

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Graphic by: Julia Latchana

What did you think of our last issue?


Posted: March 16

(Don’t) pay up:

National minimum wage should not be raised

By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor

The proper value of the minimum wage has been a longstanding debate topic for civilians and politicians alike. In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour.

A microscopic percent of people are being paid this amount. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 less than one percent of workers aged 16 and older in the United States were paid the minimum wage.

The raise in minimum wage is said to be most helpful for those in poverty; however, according to economists Joseph Sabia and Richard Burkhauser, only 11.3 percent of the workers who make minimum wage—and therefore would be affected by a raise in it—are in impoverished households. This is such a small amount of people because minimum wage jobs are meant to be performed by entry-level workers who are young and/or have a low level of skill in a working environment. These low-paying positions are meant to be stepping stones that add job experience to the person’s resume and working ability as he works his way up to higher-paying jobs.

It is clear that the minimum wage system still works in this way by the fact that, according to Mark Wilson, former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, in his research series “Policy Analysis,” nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers move above the minimum wage within a year of working. This accelerated opportunity for promotion has been proven to motivate employees to work hard to be promoted. By raising the minimum wage, the incentive to work hard to reach a higher position, and therefore make more money, will decrease, if not cease to exist, in most situations.

An example of the effectiveness of the current minimum wage is seen in junior Kimberley Sinanan. When she was first hired, she earned minimum wage; however, as she learned how to be a productive employee, she was compensated for her hard work.

“I’m thankful for whatever income I can get,” Sinanan said. “I recently got a raise, so I’m especially happy.”

In “Policy Analysis,” Wilson also claimed that 63 percent of those who would gain from the raise in minimum wage are secondary or tertiary providers whose household income is already at least twice that of the poverty line. This means that those in poverty, who are said to need the raise the most, would be affected an extremely limited amount by a raise in the minimum wage.

On the other hand, there are many people that would be affected negatively from a raise in the minimum wage.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently 27.9 million small businesses in the United States, many of which can’t afford to pay their workers any more money. To be able to keep all of their workers, they would have to raise prices on the goods and services that they provide. Kevin Hassett at the American Enterprise Institute claims that many businesses would not want to increase prices and would, therefore, respond by laying-off or firing workers. Because of this, the raise in the minimum wage may “benefit” those who remain employed, but those who lose their jobs will not have an income and will likely have a difficult time finding a new job.

Raising the minimum wage would likely even out in the end because as wages increase, prices will too, so the people who needed this raise, and got it, would technically net the same amount of money. This is because they would be spending more money on food and other necessities, so their extra income would be absorbed by the higher prices.

“I don’t think that the minimum wage should be raised because, if it were, prices of goods would go up with it,” Sinanan said. “It would just cause inflation and we would be in the same position as we were before.”

Raising the minimum wage is not in the country’s best interest because it takes rights away from states and businesses. Each state has the right to determine what the appropriate minimum wage is for its economic stability and success. Just because the state has the right to choose does not mean that it will choose a low minimum wage; in states such as California, Florida and New York, the minimum wage is higher than the federal requirement, at $10.00, $8.05, and $9.00 per hour respectively.

By forcing a state to enforce a given minimum wage, the country is limiting the state’s rights and, as it is not an issue discussed in the Constitution, it is the state’s right to make the decision for itself. Raising the national minimum wage would further limit these rights because it forces states to change the policy that they currently have.

Businesses’ rights would be limited by this raise, as well, for a very similar reason: it is a business’s right to choose how much or how little it pays its workers. This is not only an issue for the small businesses that cannot afford to pay a higher wage, but also for the large businesses that are having their rights limited more than they already are. It is not fair for the government to tell a privately owned business what to pay its workers.

With all of that said, the government should not raise the minimum wage. The amount that a company pays its workers should be its own decision, not the government’s. Those who support an increase in the minimum wage aim to assist those in poverty; however, impoverished households could be negatively affected. The minimal positive effect for certain minimum wage workers is not enough for it to make sense to put small businesses and their employees at risk.

Posted: March 9

Pay attention to primaries

By Amanda Cisneros, Asst. News Editor

It has been a strange election year. We have had some crazy claim by some characters and now the test of fire is here. Will the “outsiders” — businessman Republican Donald Trump and independent-turned-Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders — continue to dominate the polls as the first states cast their votes?

Evidently not, from what the Iowa Caucus showed us, but it is still too early to truly tell.

Whatever your political affiliation, or lack thereof, you either fall in one of two dilemmas: too little choice or too much.

For those who don’t follow politics, it seems like an annoying buzz in the background of social media. Those too young may feel more apathetic than those of us who are becoming eligible voters, but it is still important to keep up with the man or woman who may be the next president.

Being sensitive to political news from a young age builds up to becoming a responsible citizen. The only way this democracy we hold so near to our hearts can work is if we actively participate in it.

The primaries are a crucial part of the process that, unfortunately, most people skip. It is just as important to pick a good candidate for president than it is to pick a president.

The wider variety of choice in the primaries allows for the people to truly be choosy about who they want their next president to be; it’s not simply a red or blue vote, it is a time for each party to come together and decide who its best candidate is.

The problem some young people face is that they are unaffiliated with a party, and in Florida, only party-affiliated voters may vote in primaries. It’s a free country and they certainly have the right to be a free agent, so to speak, they don’t have the advantage of participating in the Florida primary, or most primaries for that matter.

The way the system is set up, it makes it almost impossible for there to be a third party. For the most part, this hasn’t been such an issue because most smaller parties such as Libertarians and Socialists align either red or blue at their very core.

It might be hard to decipher which party one should align with as a young person, but I implore everyone who is becoming of voting age to really weigh their core values, and if that proves too difficult to do on your own, there are resources, like political ideology tests or issue-based questions, that are designed to place you on a political spectrum that may help you to decide where you fall in our two party system. Helpful sites include, isidewith.com and idealog.org.
Red or blue, it’s our civic duty to get out and vote. Lately, there has been much talk about the “elite” group of individuals who control the nation. But isn’t that elite group the few people who actually vote?

Posted: March 2


Posted: Feb. 17

Remembering Riddering:

By Rebekah Garretson, Centerspread Editor

On Jan. 15, Mike Riddering, a Florida resident, was the single American killed amongst 28 victims in the Splendid hotel and cappuccino cafe terror attacks in Burkina Faso, West Africa.
At the age of 45, Riddering was a missionary who traveled halfway across the world with his wife, Amy, to establish an orphanage and a women’s crisis center consisting of over 400 individuals, in Yako, 70 miles outside of the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou.
On the night of the attacks, Mike was set to meet with a group of missionaries flying in from the United States to Ouagadougou; however, this proved to be fatal.

The terror attacks began, with hostages being held for hours by four attackers — two men and two women — linked to Al Qaeda.

At 7:23 p.m., Amy Riddering posted to Facebook that she had not heard from her husband. After she called his cell phone several times, a friend of the family who was with Mike prior to the attacks, Pastor Valentin, answered, but after a moment the call was disconnected.

Pastor Valentin called Amy back on Mike’s phone, only to notify her that Mike was not with him, but “prayers were needed.” Pastor Valentin, who was never in the hotel, managed to seek shelter in the café Cappuccino, yet was separated from Mike during the attack. Amy stated, “(Valentin) did not know if Mike stayed inside Cappuccino or tried to leave.”
Amy contacted the Embassy at 3:27 a.m. the next morning and patiently waited for news about her husband.
“Pastor Valentin was being held in the hotel,” Amy posted on Facebook later that morning. “He is out now and doing well. Please pray! We need a miracle!”
Both friends of the Riddering family on Facebook and children in the orphanage run by the Riddering family gathered together in prayer for Mike’s safe return.
Mike’s body was identified at a morgue later that day and the confirmation of his death was given by his wife at 3:36 p.m. on Facebook.
In a final Facebook post on Jan. 16, Amy wrote, “Heaven has gained a warrior! My best friend, partner in crime and love of my life. Mike was an example in the way he lived and loved. God be glorified! You left quite a legacy here. I can only imagine the adventures you are having now.”
Throughout his life, Mike Riddering focused primarily on helping others. He was an inspiration to many and never spoke about the injustice of the world, but instead, only focused on the positivity and love in it.
In 2015, Mike visited Christ Community Church in Pompano Beach and spoke about his work. He never once frowned, but always kept a smile and positive radiance towards everything he talked about.
Mike Riddering offered a new perspective on life, bringing love, hope, and the ministerial teaching to everyone he encountered. As part of his visit to Christ Community Church, Mike introduced the song “He Reigns” by Newsboys to incorporate as part of the worship during church.
On Jan. 17, the Sunday following Mike’s death, the Christ Community Church worship team sang this song as well as played an African drum given by Mike to the worship leader, Bevan Harms, in remembrance of Mike’s life and dedication to spreading God’s word.
The song states, “It’s all God’s children singing ‘Glory! Glory! Hallelujah, He Reigns!’” and just like Mike always did, as a child of God, he glorified God even from his death.
Even with the death of her husband, Amy Riddering stated in her final Facebook post, “I know God has a purpose in all things, but sometimes it is a complete mystery to me. God be glorified!”
This is the type of humility that students at our school ought to have. There will be times when life will be rocky, but it is important to get back up again and help others who can’t.

Do what you love and stay happy knowing you did something you love, just like Mike did.
He made the decision to trust in God about 11 years ago while driving his pickup truck, which radically moved him to do his work as a missionary. His work with the orphanage and widows in Burkina Faso was just an example of the way Mike glorified God in everything.
Psalm 96:1-9 from the Bible says, “Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples,” this is exactly what Mike did.

Posted: Feb. 9

Panthers will beat Broncos:

By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor

The home of the 49ers, coincidentally, will be hosting the golden anniversary Super Bowl this year: which team will strike gold?

The 50th Super Bowl will be played on Feb. 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California by the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.

Although both teams deserve to be playing, I, along with many other football fans, originally expected the match to be the Carolina Panthers versus the New England Patriots. That’s not to say that I’m not happy that the Broncos beat the Patriots; I’m always eager to watch the Patriots lose since I’m a Giants fan, but although the Broncos and Patriots had the same record (12-4) during the regular season, I felt like the Patriots played a better season. However, the Patriots did lose to the Dolphins and Jets, so I can’t really say that they’re that great.

As the Super Bowl approaches, I wonder more and more who is going to win (I don’t like surprises, so I want to know right away!), and I’ve come to the conclusion that although I really want Peyton Manning and the Broncos to win, I believe that Cam Newton is a force to be reckoned with, and it would be very surprising if the Panthers didn’t bring in a win.

But football isn’t about logic: I want the Broncos to win. This is for a number of reasons: I’m a Giants fan, so Eli Manning is a god to me, and I feel a type of familial responsibility to root for his brother. The Manning brothers are so impressive to me, along with their Hall of Famer dad Archie, that I think that they deserve to win any game that they play.

Peyton Manning is also the second oldest quarterback in the NFL, so the fact that he made it to the Super Bowl at 39 is quite an accomplishment, and by playing on Sunday, he will be the oldest quarterback to ever play in a Super Bowl, replacing former Bronco John Elway, who was 38 years old.

Although I love the Manning bros, I have to admit that Cam Newton may be the best quarterback in the league at the moment. At 26 years old, this is his fifth season in the NFL and with the Carolina Panthers.

Newton is amazing in that he has such speed and agility for his size. Most quarterbacks throw the ball and let another member of the team get a touchdown, but Newton was able to run for 10 touchdowns himself this season. This provided the Panthers with a kind of secret weapon, as most teams don’t expect the quarterback to start running down the field to get the touchdown.

Because of Newton’s skill, and obviously the rest of the team’s as well, the Panthers played a near perfect season during the regular season (15-1), losing to only the Falcons, a surprising team to lose to. (They almost lost to the Giants, too; I’m just saying.) These amazing stats during the season make it extremely unlikely that the Broncos will win this Super Bowl, though stranger things have happened.

With such a large gap in the ages of the quarterbacks, this Super Bowl will be old school versus new school, and it will answer an important question: Is experience or a young, healthy body more important in football?

Posted: Feb. 4

Read it and weep:

Yearbook not worth it

By Amanda Cisneros, Asst. News Editor
As if the end of the year needed another reason to be exciting, yearbooks are distributed some time in late May, when the buzz for the upcoming summer is at its highest.

For about a week and a half, every student can be seen huddled around the yearbook at some point of the day, craning his neck to get a look at the glossy pages with hopes that he might be on them.

Undoubtedly, yearbooks are a staple of the school system, and the end of the year just wouldn’t be the same without them. They fill us with nostalgia and excitement. That is, until one takes a closer look.

Upon first glance, the gargantuan hardcover book may seem like a steal.
We get all that content for just a few twenties? It’s so thorough that one may never get bored of looking at it. Who doesn’t love looking at a bunch of pictures of their friends that everyone else might see?

Unfortunately, upon close inspection, the yearbook just doesn’t make the grade. There are misspelled words on every page, pixilated pictures and wrong information.
I used to think that spending money I definitely couldn’t spare for such a memento was worth it.

Many students still think like that, while some aren’t aware of the yearbook price and others, like junior Jalynn Gordon, think that for one time, “$75 to $100 on a book is a fair price.”

However, if the yearbook staff feels the need to charge top dollar for a yearbook, then its product should be top quality, and that’s just not what we’re getting. The yearbook price is comparable to other schools’, but other schools offer payment installments and discounted fees all the way from the beginning of the year.
Ms. Rodriguez, this year’s yearbook advisor, disagrees. She thinks the yearbook is worth every penny.

“I think, given the variables, yes,”the price could be lower, she said. “There’s definitely a question of whether it’s possible to raise business ad prices, which could theoretically lower the cost for the students, but for this year, coming in new, I wanted to stick to the prices that have been shown to work for our students, those seniors’ parents (with the senior ads) and our supportive business community.”
The printing process is expensive and drains most of the yearbook’s funds.

“There’s the cost of printing, which differs based on how many yearbooks we have decided to order,” Ms. Rodriguez said. She suggests that for the price to drop, there needs to be more yearbooks ordered.

This is something I could get behind if, again, the quality was worth the price.
Ms. Rodriguez claimed that quality will be assured because the pages are produced, edited and sent to the printer throughout the year.

“We don’t have a set number of edits, but we do have a system,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “At the very least, each page will be edited by the section editor, our copy editor, our editor-in-chief and me.”

So, if indeed the yearbook is printed in parts, then each part should be thoroughly revised before being sent off. That should, in theory, yield the best results.

Posted: Jan. 20

What did you think of the Jan. 7 assembly?

Posted Jan. 6

Learnerator helps students pass AP exams

By Millena Rodrigues, News Editor

Students who take AP classes usually find themselves struggling to learn everything that College Board wants them to know by the time the AP exam comes in May.

Because teachers only have a limited amount of time to teach the material and help them write the essays that are on the exam, students have been forced to purchase books that will help get them get extra practice. Now, with a code provided by the school, students can practice for the AP exam for free through Learnerator.

Learnerator is a website that allows students to prepare for the AP exam by answering multiple questions about the course that a student is taking. Not only does the website provide you with the correct answer after you’ve given a response, but it also gives you an explanation why the correct answer is the best answer. When we see the explanation, it allows us to see which sections in the book we need to revisit.

Students should use Learnerator because it gives them AP style questions similar to what could be on the exam. In class, teachers mainly focus on helping students write the essays.

The multiple choice practice comes from learning the material and applying it to what the questions are asking. Students who use Learnerator have more practice on the types of questions that will be asked on the exam.

“I used (Learnerator) last year for AP World History and it definitely helped me get a 5 on the exam,” junior Stephanie Chiquiza said.

Some students feel that Learnerator doesn’t help at all because many teachers make results an actual grade in Pinnacle. If a student answers all of the questions but gets a bad grade on the section, that grade ends up lowering their grade in the class.

“I never really learn from it. It’s too concentrated on the competition,” junior Kent Snelson said.

However, some teachers see that a student is trying to answer the questions correctly and simply doesn’t know the correct response, so they make it a participation grade.

“I use it as another tool for success,” AP Psychology teacher, Mr. Strachan said.

Practicing on Learnerator allows students to get used to the structure seen on the AP exam and give them insight on what the test will be like.

Overall, Learnerator is one of the best tools you can use to study for an AP class. It allows students to get familiar with realistic AP type questions and learn from the incorrect answers.

Posted: Dec. 14

Holiday Wars: Thanksgiving vs. Christmas

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Thanksgiving takes the cake, or pie

By Alexandra Griffin, Web Editor

The holiday season is one of the most joyous times of the year. Families come together to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and many other holidays. But, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Thanksgiving is by far the most enjoyable.

Thanksgiving is not subjective to one religion like Christmas is. Anyone can celebrate Thanksgiving, so there is no rift if family members or friends have differing religious beliefs.

The tradition of Thanksgiving is also more accurate to its origin. Giving thanks, eating turkey and the fruits of the harvest were all included in the first Thanksgiving and are what it is revolved around today. This is unlike Christmas and other holidays whose meanings have changed as they have become more revolved around commercial businesses making big bucks.

Thanksgiving also doesn’t require people to spend tons of time and money buying gifts for people. All you have to do is make some food and eat it.

There is not the stress of finding the perfect gift for that one person and there isn’t the selfish appeal of receiving gifts.

With Thanksgiving being the most true, least stressful, and least subjective holiday of the season, it is clearly the best of them all.

Christmas jingles your bells

By Reese McFarlane, Photo Editor

With sections in target and Walmart devoted to it, and 25-day movie marathons it’s clear that Christmas is the best holiday.

Christmas is more than just a time to celebrate a religion. For many people it’s a time for families to spend time together and spread joy to others.

Every Christmas my family gets in the car and goes to see the Fantasy of Lights show that Tradewinds Park puts on. Just sitting in the car blasting cheery holiday tunes, laughing and smiling makes my whole family feel happy.

Christmas is an overall happy time because everyone is trying to be extra nice in order to get presents from Santa. As they behave, good karma spreads and positivity spread.

Plus, for those who don’t live in Florida, with Christmas comes the cold and the possibility of witnessing a magical white Christmas.

I personally love the cold and the flavor of fall and winter. So when companies like Dunkin’ Donuts release their limited edition peppermint bark flavored coffees, or eggnog flavor, it’s like a mouthful of my favorite holiday. Tasting the coffee is like being able to taste Christmas.

Christmas has so many sentimental and significant memories and traditions attached to it, so there’s no wonder why it is the best holiday out there.

Posted: Dec. 9

Juniors are overstressed

By Sydney Van Dreason, Editor-in-Chief

With senior year comes college applications, last-minute testing and college visits, but in today’s society, all of these senior year chores are spilling over , over stressing juniors.

There is nothing wrong with being proactive and getting testing done or beginning to look at colleges in junior year; but when the junior class seems to be more concerned with class rank and test scores than with well-roundedness and self-actualization, then there is a problem.

Junior year is a chance for students to get a head start on testing for the ACT and SAT and looking at colleges; however, they shouldn’t be worrying about applying or obtaining scholarships yet.

According to an online survey from Nov. 12 to Nov. 17 of 51 students, 73 percent feel overstressed or have felt overstressed in their junior year.

The problem lies in today’s society, which stresses the importance of test scores and GPA over all else. Being “the best” is becoming the norm in today’s world.

While juniors should take the time to get started on activities like college searches and testing, they shouldn’t be overstressed about it. Senior year is when college becomes the main priority, and it’s unfair to place that much stress on a junior who already has so many other things to worry about.

Adults, and even some other students, may say that if juniors don’t get a jump start on senior year now, then they will fall behind and struggle to keep up. While this is true in the sense where juniors shouldn’t procrastinate on this stuff, piling everything on their plates now will only result in extra stress, worry and lack of sleep.

Too much stress on a student’s agenda could affect him academically and even socially. With too many different subjects to focus on, a student could perform sloppily in all of them, and his determination to learn could be diminished with the heightened amount of stress.

I thought the whole point of school was to teach students and inspire them to learn, not drown them in worries about tests and college applications.

If today’s society wants to practically force juniors to start their senior year early, then I suppose it’s just something students will have to deal with. But I don’t think the idea of over stressing was taken into account when different stressors were being piled on the juniors’ shoulders.

Juniors have enough on their plate; there is no reason why society should try to be add senior year problems into the mix.

Posted: Dec. 2

Is Thanksgiving or Christmas a better holiday?

Do you feel, or have your ever felt, overstressed in your junior year?

Dual enrollment classes are easier than AP classes

By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor

There are only two types of classes that allow a 6.0 to be averaged into a student’s weighted GPA: Advanced Placement (AP) classes and dual enrollment classes.

AP classes are specifically made to be hard so that only a limited number of students pass and receive college credit. Some college classes are easier than AP classes.

“The classes that I’m taking at (the University of North Florida) are much easier than the AP classes that I took at Pompano,” Jordyn Evans, PBHS class of 2015, said. “But they are harder than the dual enrollment classes that I took at Broward College.”

Dual enrollment classes are taken by students of all ages at participating colleges. Many dual enrollment students here take their classes at Broward College (BC). The classes at BC are usually easier than APs and similar classes at other universities.

Dual enrollment classes are easier mainly because no extensive end-of-course (eoc) exam tests your knowledge of the entire class, and even if is an eoc, the tests are much easier than AP exams, which fail 40 percent of all test takers. Also, in my experience, having taken four dual enrollment classes and three ap classes, dual enrollment classes at BC are much easier because the material is simpler and can be easily accomplished in half of the time.

When I spoke with a New York University (NYU) admissions officer, I learned that they accept AP credits, but do not accept dual enrollment credits if the course is used as part of your graduation requirements. This is because NYU admissions believes that AP courses are more rigorous than dual enrollment, and frankly I agree.

The kind of class that you should take depends on your goals in the class. For example, if you want to bring up your GPA with less chance of doing badly, I’d recommend that you take dual enrollment classes. But if you want to impress colleges with your obvious hard work, take AP classes.

Posted: Oct. 23

Students should be able to evaluate teachers

By Sabrina Chery, Asst. Opinion Editor

By the time you have reached high school you know what makes a good teacher. Students have been learning all their lives and their performance is usually a reflection on them, but it should also be a representation of the teacher.

By evaluating teachers, students could give them an idea of what they need to improve. Because students observe these teachers daily, they know how the teachers could do to teach students more effectively in the future. By studying the evaluations, teachers can find common denominators and improve their teaching as a whole.

“I think teachers should be evaluated because it comes to a point where certain students don’t learn and the teachers are to blame,” junior Israella Elam said.

Senior Justin Perez has a similar view on the topic, but with a twist.

“I think (teachers) should only be evaluated by students who are unbiased,” Perez said. “Teachers could be too strict or too lenient with some students and it makes class unfair, or they are just teaching in a way that the kids don’t learn.”

Junior Ty’Anna Stevens, however, has a totally different outlook on the situation.

“I don’t think they (teachers) should be evaluated,” Stevens said. “Kids will just give false information.”

The students should be chosen at random and given a criteria they would rate teaches on things such as helpfulness, clarity, and presentation of content. There should also be a section where kids would be able to write any other comments.

Posted: Oct. 23

Take a stand: Stop discrimination today

Our school has been known for its lack of conflicts, its excellent test scores and its bright students; however, recent events have shown that discrimination is still very much alive here.

There has been an uncharacteristic number of fights recently, one of which revolved around racial tension. How is it that, despite all our merits, problems concerning race and ethnicity still arise?

A new form of discrimination seems to be plaguing our school. Social media has made it easier to share images, ideas and, unfortunately, racial stereotypes.

Even though many students don’t think of this as a form of discrimination, it serves as a reinforcement of the racial lines that have been a part of our nation since its birth.

Laughing at a meme that displays a racial stereotype may seem innocent, but it affects the way we think about certain races and ethnicity, giving the stereotype a sort of validity or truth. If we, as students, as the inheritors of this nation, want to put an end to racism once and for all, we must actively choose to change our way of thinking from the bottom up.

One might not think that the choice of retweeting a picture that contains “in-between the lines” racism can possibly affect society, but, on a small scale, it does. This generation has become almost dependent on what the next tweet says in order to make up their mind on an issue. Choosing to make one’s Internet presence more filtered could mean the difference between encouraging another person to think racial slurs are normal and encouraging another to break the cycle of racism.

Generally, students feel we have surpassed the point where we would look at someone differently because of the color of his skin or his ethnicity. Even though only 48 percent of the students who took our survey thought that racism negatively impacted our school, an astounding 86 percent thought that racism was negatively affected other schools.

While our school may not display many of the outside world’s racial tensions as prominently, it is still important to be aware that they exist; it is happening, and one day, when we have all moved on from high school, the issues that our parents, neighbors and even strangers across the nation, are facing will become ours to deal with.

These are choices that people have made throughout generations: to become a positive change for good, or to be on the wrong side of history. These choices are ours to make now.

As a teenager, one might not feel that one’s decisions can impact tomorrow’s world, but the individual is the basic building block of a nation. It is our duty to ensure that our country continues to progress in a positive direction, not only for ourselves, but for future generations to come.

It is important that we leave a legacy of something other than being the pioneers of the selfie and being social media sheep. We have an opportunity like no other, to rise up and finish the work of so many before us, to speak up and say that black lives matter, Muslim lives matter — all lives matter.

Posted: Oct. 23

Schools should teach pop culture

By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor

As the world evolves and culture changes, new novels and movies are created that are relevant to these changes. Students are usually exposed to what is pertinent in the modern world, but because many do not analyze it in a mature fashion, popular culture should be taught and analyzed in schools.

In school students are taught that it is important to analyze pieces of literature, but they often end up reading stories that were written over one hundred years prior. Novels like “The Scarlet Letter” and “Pride and Prejudice” are influential novels and should be taught in schools. However, students should also be able to understand modern works just as easily as classics.

Analyzing current literature not only makes the learning environment more interesting, but it also exposes students to more relevant writing styles. Some pieces of current literature, like historical fiction texts, add a contemporary twist on past events that students are required to learn about.

An example of a historical fiction series that should be studied is “The Missing” series, which is about time travelers who go back to fix events in the past. Students can learn about historical events and their importance by reading these novels. So why shouldn’t students be able to learn about these events by reading historical fiction novels?

There are many current movies that could help students learn. For example, movies like “Alive” and the new film “Everest” which can teach students about real events and survival in a dangerous situation. An animated movie that should be analyzed in schools is the Disney film “WALL-E.” This film can teach students about what could happen if modern culture takes control and the environment is neglected.

Implementing current literature and movies in schools would be beneficial for enhancing students’ writing and vocabulary, as well as allowing them to gain knowledge of more current events and practices that aren’t learned in everyday life.

Posted: Oct. 6

Do you think our school is negatively affected by discrimination?


Posted: Oct. 5

Enforce stricter traffic rules concerning bicycles

By Amanda Cisneros, Asst. News Editor

Many students have taken pleasure in riding their bikes, not only to school but also for fun. Especially the younger kids, riding their bikes gives them a simple form of independence. It is not only healthier for them than being toted everywhere by their parents, but it is also better for reducing their carbon footprints.

In south Florida, however, bike riding is a dangerous thing. Many drivers are not only distracted but some out-right don’t care if they swerve into the bike lane. The lack of respect for bike riders makes an easy three mile ride risky business.

As a bike rider myself, I have witnessed firsthand how ruthless the drivers down here can be. Until recently, I used to ride my bike to school every day and know how scary it can be to brave the bike lane. Drivers don’t realize the effect they can have if even for one second they swerve into the bike lane. It’s man against machine, and a car will beat a bike every time. Even riding on the sidewalk can be precarious.

A few weeks ago I was riding an easy 30-minute, five-mile path to Quiet Waters Park where I work. I was on the sidewalk of course, because even I don’t have enough bravado to dare ride on the bike lane along Sample Road, when a car coming out of a gas station, made a rolling stop and I, thinking that she was going to make a full stop, kept riding along my merry way, when to my surprise she kept going, I came to a screeching stop and my front tire actually hit her car. The woman, unfazed, only sped up and into the road as if nothing had happened, leaving me shocked and angry.

Even though the state has a three-foot rule on riding alongside bikes, it is rarely enforced. This raises the question of whether we should have stricter laws concerning this issue. For the safety of all cyclists, the answer is clear; implement stricter traffic rules.

Posted: Sept. 24

Is it almost necessary for an upperclassman to own a car?

Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

Posted: Sept. 24

Animal abuse must come to an end

By Sabrina Conza, Managing Editor

Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

Graphic by Nicolas
Gallardo

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“Boomer” was rescued from slaughter in Sept 2015 after living in an abusive situation. He now happily lives in Coconut Creek, FL. Photo by Alexandra Griffin

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The two rescue horses were traveling from the slaughter house in Texas to their new home in Florida, in a cramped trailer for five days. When they arrived in Coconut Creek, they were dehydrated and exhausted. Photo by Alexandra Griffin

Imagine dreading coming home from school every day because you do not want to be near the person who physically and mentally abuses you. This is an extremely abstract thought for many people, but according to the Humane Society, excessive numbers of animals have to deal with this abuse daily.

One mind boggling statistic shows just how many animals suffer abuse and cruelty every year. In 2007, the Human Society reports that about 1,880 animals were documented as abused in the United States alone. About 65 percent of those abused animals were dogs.

According to a Sun Sentinel article written on Aug. 21 by Adrienne Cutway, a pitbull here in Florida lost half of her face because of suspected abuse. The rescued pitbull named Khalessi was found and taken in by a charity group called Passion 4 Pits.

Because of the abuse that she faced, Khalessi will likely need about a half-dozen surgeries. To pay for these surgeries, Passion 4 Pits is accepting donations on Khalessi’s page on YouCaring.com.

Defenseless animals, like Khalessi, are being beaten, kicked, scared to death and even left for dead. As animal lovers, and animals ourselves, we need to stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves.

As teenagers we assume that we can’t make a difference, but we can.

By raising awareness for animal cruelty, anyone can prevent a case from escalating. Another way to help abused animals would be to donate to charities such as the Humane Society and Passion 4 Pits.

Posted: Sept. 8

YouTube: not just cat videos

By Julianne Gross, Website Editor

When many hear the word YouTube, images of overweight, pale, bleary-eyed teenagers who have never seen the light of day living in their parents’ basement may come to mind. They may shudder at the thought of the millions of cat videos that are supposedly on YouTube. There are definitely cat videos littering the site, but YouTube is not the same as it once was nor are those who post.

Everyone has heard of YouTube. It is the place to go to listen to music or laugh at the failures of humanity. Unfortunately that is all this site seems to be known for.

YouTube now is a creative, intellectual platform. Most people wouldn’t put YouTube and intellectual in the same sentence unless there was the word “not” between them, but this site is fast becoming educational. With the creations of the channels Crash Course, Health Triage, Vertasium, MinutePhysics, C.P.G Grey and so many others, YouTube is now a place where teenagers can go for information.

School is important, but it doesn’t always give you all the answers and teachers give boring lectures where you don’t understand a word they say. YouTube has fun videos that explain topics in interesting, simple ways.

Crash Course is an excellent channel for studying for AP tests. It has courses on Psychology, U.S History, Literature, Chemistry, World History, and U.S. Government (which just started so it’s not complete).

YouTube is also a place to show your creative side. YouTubers can now make videos about their varying talents, whether it’s singing, drawing, dancing or filmmaking.

Ordinary people who aren’t part of the filmmaking world can still make movies or shows. Obviously they may not get much attention, but their work is still posted and can be accessed by anyone for free. One of my favorite channels, Tim H, makes great content. He has skits, short films and even a four-episode show. Without YouTube, these stories that he created may not have existed.

Another great part of YouTube is the creator-viewer interaction. With T.V. you can’t talk with someone from the other side of the world about what you just watched unless you go on social media. With YouTube, as soon as the video is done or during it, you can go straight into the comment sections without changing sites and have a discussion. This format allows for a community to be formed around specific channels and creates a place where you feel like you belong.

In all honesty, I feel like YouTube is moving up in the world. Soon it will be recognized as a legitimate platform. Sure it has its problems. Not everyone is friendly and not every video is that good, but there is a huge amount of content that is creative, entertaining, educational or all three. The world needs to give YouTube a chance.

Posted: May 6, 2015

A/B schedule proposal too confusing

In March, a district task force proposed giving high schools the option of changing the current class schedule to an A/B block starting next school year.

This proposed schedule means that students would have four classes on Monday and Wednesday, and a different four classes on Tuesday and Thursday, with one of the eight classes being a supervised study hall.

This schedule should not be implemented for many reasons.

First of all, it will confuse many students. On days such as the first day of school, students may not understand which schedule to follow, even if it is explicitly stated. With classes every day on the current schedule, it’s easier to keep track of. Teachers might also assign more homework, which kids will leave until the last minute anyway.

There are also days that have altered schedules, such as professional study days and pep rally days. On these special days it may not be understood which schedule to follow or how to carry it out.

Although a 110-minute class period could be considered positive because the student is then able to learn more in one day, it would be very difficult to focus through the whole class without a break. The current 62 minutes is more than long enough.

This new schedule may also cost the district up to $20 million. Because teachers would teach five periods instead of six, schools would have to hire more staff. To make up for the funding, classes and programs cut.

Not only will many students and staff have trouble focusing and staying on topic, but students with ADHD and other disorders that impair the ability to focus will not be able to learn as efficiently. Some teachers may not be able to teach as effectively either.

This schedule will also be much more difficult for students who want to participate in the dual enrollment program. A student who takes a dual enrollment class is able to have no class for a certain period because he is taking the college equivalent at Broward College. Sometimes the student needs that free period to travel, but with the A/B block schedule, students would have to make sure the dual enrollment class is scheduled for those travel days.

Therefore many students may have to forfeit the opportunity to participate in the dual enrollment program.

The implementation of the A/B block schedule will have a negative impact on the students and staff at our school and should under no circumstances be carried out.

Posted: May 4, 2015

Participating helps learning


By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

Beginning in elementary school, students are told to participate in class by answering and asking questions. This can be extremely helpful to students who learn by listening and find participating in class to be advantageous.

When a student participates in class, he is obviously paying attention to the material that is being taught, and engaged in the lecture. This is beneficial because listening and speaking translates directly to understanding. Comprehending the material makes it possible for the student to spend more time learning new material instead of relearning the same thing over and over again.

Even though many students learn well by participating in class, others can learn material just by listening to lectures or reading a passage that explains the material. A student who learns by listening can sometimes just absorb what the teacher is saying without needing to ask questions. Students who learn by reading sometimes do not learn anything new in class, but then they go home and read the material in order to finally understand what was being taught. For these students, participation has nothing to do with excelling.

With all that said, participation is usually beneficial and cannot hurt those who learn in a different way. Therefore, students should participate in class, especially if they learn in a conversational way.

Posted: April 8, 2015

Reading helps improve vocabulary

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

We often hear how young people have smaller vocabularies than ever before. This may not be true, but increasing your vocabulary is beneficial in all situations.

As children, we are told that if we read, we will learn more words and therefore become a better writer. At a young age, this is definitely true. As a four- or five-year-old, reading a book can expose you to new words, and as a result, your vocabulary increases and your brain’s capacity expands.

However, when you’re in high school, it’s not that easy. High school students already know simple words and increasingly difficult ones. Day to day experiences and the books teenagers like to read usually don’t offer anything more challenging than what our vocabulary already holds.

Picking up an older book, maybe with a more outdated writing style such as “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, would definitely add a more classic twist to any student’s word bank.

The fact that a classic novel has older, and different, words is not the reason to read it. The reason is because it will help you make a connection.

Perhaps you’ll see a root or a prefix in the novel and consciously, or even subconsciously, link the words in your mind. This is extremely helpful in building a vocabulary because then when you see a word you have never seen before, you may be able to see the relationship between that and another and decipher the meaning on your own.

Although having a large vocabulary is not the most important thing in the world, it is useful when learning another language, engaging in job interviews, and participating in everyday conversation.

I encourage all high school students to pick up a novel and read. It doesn’t have to be a classic, but it should be a higher-level novel than you’re used to. Reading can do wonders.

Posted: April 2, 2015

Which pet is better: dogs or cats?

Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

Dogs are better than cats

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

Pets are extremely important to their owners. They are fun to play with and have a happy spirit that they seem to radiate, affecting everyone around them. But, in my opinion, when it comes to dogs and cats, one is just simply more fulfilling to be around than the other.

By far, dogs are the best pets anyone can have; they’re not called man’s best friend for nothing.

Whenever I’m around a dog, his energetic attitude makes me instantly happier. When my dog, Buddy, hands me his paw, I melt inside and appreciate life more than ever. Anyone who has spent time with a dog for even the smallest amount of time will understand what I’m talking about.

The energy is not the only reason that dogs are better than cats. The cat’s independent nature is just not appealing. When my dogs run up to me and greet me at the door, or jump up into my lap and beg me to pet them, I know that they love me. To me, cats lack that energy to properly portray their love.

I have always understood that there are cat people and dog people, but I have never understood why. Cats just do not have the positive attitude that dogs have. Don’t get me wrong, I do love cats, but when a dog is brought into the picture, there is no comparison.

Cats are better than dogs

By Sydney Van Dreason, Managing Editor

Anatole France, a French poet, novelist and journalist, once said, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Pets are a coming-of-age moment for most children because they teach young people about responsibility and caring for dependent others. They bring families together and are responsible for unforgettable memories. And for the best way to achieve these aims, cats are the better choice than dogs are.

Cats seem to act undercover. They are part of the family and contribute to the memories and joy, but no one seems to really notice how much cats do until other pets are out of the picture.

Cats, for one, are quieter than dogs. The most noise you’ll get out of cats is gentle meows, warm purrs and maybe a hiss or two if he’s really aggravated or scared.

Greetings are quieter as well. A cat won’t bark at visitors as they walk through the door and jump up on them with uncontained wildness. Instead, cats prefer walking against your legs, warming both your legs and your heart.

Cats, compared to dogs, are very low maintenance. All you need to do is provide food and water, a warm bed and a litter box, and you’re set to go. Throw in a couple of toys and a few hours of play a day, and you have created a cat’s ideal life. No walks outside are necessary, and owners never have to pick up a cat’s business from a neighbor’s lawn. Your furniture will also be safer so you won’t have to worry about coming home to find the stuffing from your pillows sprawled around the house.

Because of their sedentary lifestyle, cats are also more ideal for cuddling. Generally speaking, cats are smaller than dogs and can therefore be held by owners and cuddled with. There is absolutely no substitute for the feeling of a cat’s purr against your hand as you cuddle with him.

While dogs are very protective and loving, I personally find my life less stressful and more peaceful with a cat as a pet.

Posted: March 18, 2015

Stop over-testing us

Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order on Feb. 24 that suspended the Florida Standards Assessment writing test for juniors that schools had been planning for the entire school year.

This suspension has had extremely positive feedback. The issue of over-testing has been a much debated one among students, teachers and administrators.

The test in question should never have been implemented in the first place. The fact that it would not have counted towards students in any way just proves that this test was not needed. The only ones affected by the test would have been teachers, whose salaries can change due to scores, and the schools, where the state’s grade could be affected.

The introduction of the 11th-grade writing test added unneeded stress to students and teachers. We see its suspension as extremely positive.
There is too much testing today for all grades, but especially 11th graders. Juniors have to take the ACT and/or SAT, and many take AP exams. The amount of stress on their shoulders is excessive because of the daunting approach of college and the added pressure to keep up their GPAs. Another standardized test merely adds to that stress.

According to Politifact Florida, a partnership of state newspapers that researches the truth of claims made in political debates, Miami-Dade school officials estimated that an 11th grader could spend as much as 44 hours taking standardized tests this year. Could this really be productive? Isn’t the real purpose of school to teach students how to prepare students for their future by educating them in a variety of subjects, not testing them over and over again in a few subjects?

The main problem that no one seems to see is that this suspension is just a temporary fix. Gov. Scott can only suspend this exam until the Florida legislature can consider the matter further. Next year’s juniors may very well have to take the exam if that’s what the legislature decides. This suspension may be positive for this year’s juniors, but it will not do any good in the long run if the exam is reinstated.

Tornado Times asks that all readers contact their state senators and representatives immediately and demand a reduction in standardized testing. The state legislature is in session and will be meeting until at least May 1. Find your legislators’ contact information at http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find and http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx.

Posted: March 12, 2015

Schools do teach to students’ full potentials

By Sydney Van Dreason, Managing Editor

It is said that you should reach for the sky because the sky is the limit, but some people believe that schools are only reaching for the treetops.

A continuous critique is that schools tend to teach to the test and ignore material that doesn’t have to do with the core subjects like math and science. Graduation and magnet school requirements both seem to enforce this belief. Students are constantly forced to choose core over electives they want to take, like band or art.

As a result of these strict requirements and students’ perceptions of different classes, some students have come to believe that schools aren’t teaching them to their full potentials. With all of the extracurricular activities going on in students’ lives and the decisions they have to make when it comes to choosing classes, it’s easy to see why students may say this.

But don’t schools still offer and teach a variety of subjects in different fields?

Students may not always receive the classes that they sign up for; instead of being sorted into theatre like they wanted, they may be placed into another science class. But just because the student never received the class doesn’t mean it wasn’t listed on the course card with all of the other classes.

Many schools all across the county have a variety of electives for students to choose from that cover an array of interests. For writers and English-lovers, electives like creative writing and newspaper production are often offered. For the students who love the sound of their own voices, classes like debate and theatre are listed. For the music-lovers, classes like band and chorus are available. Different language classes, computer classes and art classes are also offered.

The classes are there, and they cover almost every interest a student may have at 13-18-years-old.

The original concept of school, believe it or not, was to teach students various subjects and to prepare them for the future.

With all of these different classes offering opportunities for students to learn new topics and expand their interests, schools have achieved their purpose.

It may seem as though some classes teach to the test, and to an extent they do. Different teachers and subjects require different methods of teaching, and sometimes it’s necessary to teach to the test so that students can succeed in a class.

However, students are still learning new information and most of the time are asked to apply this information to real-world events and potential scenarios. Many teachers also request current events projects, further allowing students to connect what they learned in a class to reality.

While classes may be limited and not be perfectly categorized to fit a student’s personal needs, they are still there and available for students to take. These classes, both electives and core classes, serve to teach students, help them find out who they are as people and introduce them to future scenarios and real-world incidents.

In my opinion, schools are serving their purpose and teaching students to their full potentials. To me, the conflict is if students themselves are snagging these opportunities.

Posted: Feb. 18, 2015

Homework helps master material

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

In high school, especially at PBHS, the homework load can be over the top. Many students drown in it and therefore slack off and do not finish their work. One question seems to haunt everyone’s mind: Is homework helpful or just a waste of time?

I believe that homework, in general, is extremely beneficial. If you do not understand something in class, homework can help you review certain concepts, and there is usually a way to check your answers.

Not only is homework important to enforcing learned material, but doing or not doing your homework could make or break your grade. Homework is usually worth a substantial amount of points toward your grade, sometimes up to 35 percent depending on the class and teacher.

With all that said, homework could be just a waste of time, especially when teachers keep loading handing it out like free candy. Overloading a student with work can cause a student to just give up.

According to “Two Million Minutes,” a documentary done by Robert Compton, Adam Raney and Chad Heeter, only 5 percent of American students have over two hours of homework each night. Students at PBHS tend to disagree. Some nights, students may have up to nine hours of homework, and then they have to go to school the next day for another eight hours. It’s a vigorous cycle that only seems to accelerate over time. With this tough schedule coupled with the busy lives of teenagers, there is no wonder why students hate homework.

Posted: Feb. 12, 2015

Students should take online classes

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

Mrs. Blackburn teaches the online class Computing for College and Careers, the equivalent to Introduction to Information Technology. She has been teaching through Broward Virtual since last year and comes to school to help students face to face on Tuesdays.

Mrs. Blackburn is the teacher for the online class Computing for College and Careers, which is the online equivalent to Introduction to Information Technology. She has been teaching here since last year, and students who have study hall have her as their teacher.

Online classes are required for students to graduate, but do you actually learn from an online class?

I have taken four online classes in the past two years, and learning from the class depends on you and the course material.

Students who try to learn the material that an online class teaches will most likely learn a lot and be just as knowledgeable on the topic as a student who learned the same information in a classroom. With that being said, if a student doesn’t take the course seriously and/or is a more hands-on learner, he may struggle in the class.

Online learning offers many benefits to students. Taking an online class allows you to get more credits than you would otherwise and offers a much more flexible schedule to the student. You can also take many of the classes over the summer. These classes can bring up your GPA and maybe even improve your class rank.

You can take regular, honors or Advanced Placement classes online through colleges, Broward Virtual School (BVS) or Florida Virtual School (FLVS).

I strongly recommend taking an online class or two during the summer or during the school year.

Posted: Jan. 28, 2015

Books should never be banned

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

Imagine writing an amazing essay that you worked so hard on and are so proud of. You know your teacher will love this essay and give you a great grade. You give it to your teacher and she reads it over before deciding that she does not like it. She declares that the essay that you worked so hard and long on is now banned. Do you find this to be fair?

Banning books is not right because it’s a form of censorship, and it takes rights away from authors and readers. Banning a book takes a voice away from the author and a brain from the reader. Writers should be allowed to express themselves through their pieces. Readers should be allowed to form their own opinions on if a piece of writing is interesting and appropriate.

Different governments, religions and schools ban books today.

Classic novels such as “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain are all examples of books that have been deemed unfit for readers and have therefore been banned. These works of literature have shaped our society and how we view things.

In Paris on Jan. 7 twelve people who worked for a satirical magazine were murdered because the magazine made a comic including a drawing of Muhammad. This attack occurred because many Muslim scholars forbid portrayals of Muhammad and his family. This is a form of censorship because these terrorists are trying to take away the write to draw an image from the illustrator.

Banning literature is a form of censorship that should not even be thought of, let alone carried out.

Posted: Jan. 14, 2015

Assault and Pepper: YouTube community shocked with so many abusers of power

Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

By Julianne Gross, Web Editor

Sexual abuse and assault is a very serious issue, but Sam Pepper doesn’t seem to care.

This past month, Sam Pepper posted a video of himself pinching girls’ rear ends. Later, Pepper uploaded a second video with the roles reversed and a third part where Pepper, a former contestant on Big Brother and prolific YouTuber, explains that it was all a social experiment.

Labeling his third video as a “social experiment” leads me to believe that he’s trying to save his reputation from the first video. Pepper is getting a lot of hate. Vidcon and YouTubers React, two large affiliations with YouTube, have dropped him.

With all the outrage over Pepper’s video, girls are finding the courage to speak up about Sam Pepper and about being sexually abused or assaulted by him.

This past year, the YouTube community has also been shocked with other YouTubers being outed as sexual abusers, including Alex Day, Tom Milsom, Mike Lambardo, Ed Blann, Tom McLean, Josh Macedo, Kelly Montoya, Danny Hooper, Alex Carpenter, Adam Roach, Luke Conrad, Corey Vidal, Travis Neumeyer, Gregory Jackson, Stephen Purcell, Bryon Beaubien, Harry Gilliat, Ricky Richards, Jason Sansome, Neil Johnson, Destery Smith, King Russell, Jeremy Sacks, Paul Parker, Daniel Glover, Alex Goot, Paul Sykes, Lewis Parer, Mike Jaroszczak, and Tom Sinclair.

This isn’t me saying you can’t trust anyone but you should be cautious of the people on the internet.

As of now no legal action has been taken against Sam Pepper. His victims may never see justice served.

Posted: Nov. 19, 2014

Threats against feminists should never be made

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Graphic by Nicolas Gallardo

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

Popular feminist media critic and blogger Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak to college students at Utah State University (USU) on Oct. 15. This lecture was canceled due to anti-feminist threats sent by email to multiple departments and individuals around campus.

The anonymous person who sent the emails claimed to be a USU student. The email threatened that if the lecture wasn’t cancelled, then the sender would perform “the deadliest school shooting in American history.”

“Feminists have ruined my life, and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all others they’ve wronged,” the writer of the email said.

The anonymous writer went on to make more threats, saying, “Even if they’re able to stop me, there are plenty of feminists on campus who won’t be able to defend themselves. One way or another, I’m going to make sure they die.”

Sarkeesian was originally going to continue her lecture as planned but with increased security and no backpacks allowed. But because of a law passed in 2004 prohibiting Utah’s universities from restricting the possession or use of firearms, Sarkeesian had to cancel the lecture to protect her life and the lives of the people who would have attended.

The definition of feminism, as defined by The Free Dictionary, is the “belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” How could the idea of equality ruin a person’s life? How could the idea of equality make a person want to kill everyone who believes in it?

The lack of humanity in the writer of that email is angering. Equality is what our nation was based on, so everyone in the United States should be considered equal.

There is no way to prove if the writer was a male or a female. Either way, he or she is a misogynist. The ideas of misogyny should have been destroyed long ago. Men and women should be seen as equal parts of our society and as equal beings in the eyes of every person.

Celebrities should have equal rights

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

Many people say that when a person becomes a celebrity, they’re choosing to give up their rights. But celebrities sing, dance, act and entertain in other ways, for our enjoyment. So why should they give up their basic human rights?

As United States citizens, we are protected by the Bill of Rights, which gives us individual rights promised by our forefathers. Because a celebrity is in the limelight, does this mean that he or she has forfeited these rights?

As Americans, we believe that we should have rights such as fundamental freedoms and privacy. The fact that a celebrity is well known, and often talented, should not prohibit him from being able to leave the house without being photographed by paparazzi or bothered by fans.

On multiple occasions, Kanye West has been photographed and videotaped treating paparazzi badly, telling them to leave him alone. Because of this, many look down upon him for treating another human being with such little respect. Most don’t look at it from West’s perspective. These random people with large cameras are violating his personal space and privacy for personal gain, and West is expected to cooperate.

The lack of respect shown for celebrities is unnerving. If I were a celebrity, I would feel unsafe leaving my home due to the possibility that a stranger with a camera legitimately may be stalking me.

As a human being I challenge you to respect the privacy of others and understand that they have the same rights as you and anyone else.

Grades shouldn’t determine how smart you are

By Sydney Van Dreason, Managing Editor

A sign hanging in Ms. Magnetta’s classroom reads, “It doesn’t matter how smart you are; it’s how you are smart.”

Ever since students could receive letter grades on assignments, grades have determined a student’s academic status in school and their intellectual ability in subjects like math, English and science. Yet a grade is only a letter, and it may not accurately convey a student’s full potential in intellectual areas.

Some students face difficulty in taking tests. Stress and panic over assessments may lead to mistakes or poor time management, resulting in a poor grade that “reflects” the student’s understanding of the material. While it may seem like the student has no idea what to do during a test— and sometimes this is the case — they may actually know the information thoroughly but have trouble applying the knowledge during assessments.

Group work is also a loose way of handing out grades to students. While working in groups may be a creative way to process and retain new information, it is still not a very adequate way of assessing students on how much they know..

According to a survey of 80 random students, 70 percent of them have admitted to receiving a bad grade on a group project because one of their teammates didn’t contribute to the work. In this case, giving the same grade to all the students in the group is not an accurate method of assessing an individual’s knowledge of what was being studied.

Some teachers don’t enter many grades into Pinnacle either. Junior Lauren Thompson said that she has had teachers in the past who “would put only four or five grades into Pinnacle at the end of the quarter.”

With very few grades entered into Pinnacle, it can be harder for a student’s true understanding of a subject to shine through, especially if the entered grades are poor. Other work can receive high marks, but it may not be entered into Pinnacle and count towards the overall grade.

These neglected grades still represent a student’s understanding of a subject, but if they’re not entered into Pinnacle, then it can be more difficult for a student to maintain a good grade in the class.

Grades are still important in the sense that colleges look at them when deciding whether to accept you or not, and they also affect students’ GPAs and class rankings. Students should always be concerned about their grades, but they shouldn’t be the only way of determining how smart a student is.

Students can be smart in other areas that don’t involve academics. Making smart choices in life, such as not smoking or texting while driving, is an example of an area where students can display intelligent thinking, but one can’t necessarily grade a student on their decision-making in life.

Thompson said, “My parents have always told me that it doesn’t matter what grade you get. As long as you put effort into it and enjoy the process, then everything will be okay.”

Students are very complex, especially during the teen age when they start to join clubs or become involved in their quests for finding out who they truly are. By using grades alone to determine a student’s intellectual ability, schools are only assessing how smart a student appears to be while ignoring how smart a student actually is.

Hit the snooze button again: school starts too early

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

At our school we must be sitting in our first period classrooms at 7 a.m. sharp. This is much earlier than most high schools in Broward County.

As teenagers, we’re supposed to get 10 hours of sleep. Also, because of our natural circadian rhythm, we shouldn’t be waking up before 9 a.m. Biological sleep patterns in teenagers lean towards later times to wake up and go to sleep.

The lack of sleep that we get often leads to chronic sleep deprivation. From a survey of 87 students conducted on Sept. 24, we have learned that no students get 11 or more hours of sleep at our school, and only 1 percent of students get 9-10 hours of sleep every night. This is not surprising coming from my experience of talking to friends about what time we go to bed and wake up.

The school day definitely starts too early. I think that we should begin at 7:45 or 8 a.m. and end the school day at 3:59 p.m. I don’t think that would be a problem for most students.

If students were able to sleep more, their performance in classes would be much better, and their grades might go up. With more hours of sleep, teenagers would be more refreshed for the school day, not dozing off in class or feeling fatigued and they would learn more in class.

The National Sleep Foundation says that not getting enough sleep can limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate, solve problems and remember things — all the tasks we practice in school. Without the appropriate amount of sleep, going to school isn’t as useful as it could be.

The only real solution to our sleep deprivation due to early school hours is to take naps during the day. For most high school students, this isn’t possible because when we’re not at school, we’re at home doing homework. Some students can sleep on the ride home from school, but for students who drive themselves or walk home, this isn’t possible.

The only way for all students to get the appropriate amount of sleep is if school started later and we could wake up at a later time.

No more Fergusons: Show acceptance, fight black male stereotypes

An unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a police officer, in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9. These events have caused protests on the streets and indignation on social media.

Police say Brown was shot during a fight for Wilson’s gun, but some witnesses say Brown put his hands in the air and was then shot by Wilson, while others claim that Brown stepped toward the officer in a threatening manner and therefore was shot.

The deep emotional response nationwide to this event, and too many like it, shows this country is still burdened by racism. A random survey of 87 PBHS students shows that 86 percent think racism is a large problem in the United States today.

In terms of racism, this country has improved. When asked if things are better off for black males today then when he was growing up, Assistant Principal King said, “Yes, when I was growing up there was segregation. Everything was segregated. There were white churches, black churches, white bathrooms, black bathrooms, even white drinking fountains and black drinking fountains.”

But racism remains an issue. Mr. King said, “I think it’s good to bring awareness to the students that racism still exists.”

Although racism is a big issue in the United States, 82 percent of students feel that racism isn’t an issue at PBHS.

“I haven’t seen any racism at our school,” Mr. King said. “We’re a simple society (at PBHS), everyone accepts each other. If everyone was like this, the world would be a much better place.”

Although most students here believe that racism isn’t an issue, 31 percent of students feel as if black males are stereotyped at PBHS.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of racism is “belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

Is the stereotype of a group considered racism? Dep. Smith says it is.

“There is racism everywhere,” Dep. Smith said. “People look at a black man and think he’s a thug or a robber. They hold their purse closer.”

Outside of school, students face racism every day. “One time at my job at Panera, a customer called me ‘Black Soup Maker.’ I didn’t know if he was joking or not,” senior Chelson Exume, SGA president, said.

As a school that believes in acceptance and equality, shouldn’t we try to spread these ideals to the rest of our country? Yet 48 percent of students believe that there are no measures that we can take as a school to prevent racism.

When told this statistic, Principal Thomas said, “I don’t believe they’re right. With education we have the ability to create a more open environment.”

Dep. Smith offered a simple idea on how to stop racism and create a more equal society.

“Racism wouldn’t be an issue if everyone just judged others by their character and didn’t make assumptions,” Dep. Smith said.

But to judge someone by his character, you must first get to know his character.

“The basis for any kind of interaction is having a relationship,” Mr. Thomas said. “(Conversation) breaks things down.”

Mr. Thomas would like students to do a simple thing to prevent racism. “I think that we should have a day to say good morning to someone you don’t know. We’ll call it ‘Good Morning, Pompano.’ This could be a great opportunity for students to get out of their comfort zones and possibly build friendships. But the interaction takes two people willing to communicate.”

Exume had a similar idea on how to overcome racism: “Not every person is the same. To stop racism we should get to know a person before judging them.”

Through the survey, several students anonymously gave suggestions on how to prevent racism at our school. One student suggested, “We should have guest speakers come to our school to talk about how they have been stereotyped and treated badly because of their color.”

Another student suggested that we call upon not only the students and staff at school but also the music industry to become more accepting: “To prevent racism it’s important that we stop singing offensive and racist songs.”

As a school we must get together and accept each other. The color of a person’s skin doesn’t determine his personality and whom he is inside. The stereotypes for each race aren’t accurate because every person is different. We are all human beings.

Posted: Oct. 14, 2014

Don’t view hacked photos

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

Personal, and some nude, pictures of about 100 different celebrities were posted on the Internet on Aug. 31. Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst and Rihanna are some of the big name female celebrities whose accounts were hacked.

The pictures were reportedly first posted on 4chan, an image sharing forum and social media network. Some of the celebrities admit that the pictures are of them and others deny that the pictures are real.

The pictures were said to have been obtained by hacking iCloud, though Apple denies this.

The fact that anyone would even hack iCloud to get those pictures is disgusting, but to then post them on the Internet for everyone to see is even more revolting. Even if these photos aren’t of the celebrities they’re said to be of, no one should post pictures that they have no right having access to.

The women mentioned earlier as targets of the iCloud hacking took these pictures because they wanted to share them with someone they love, not the entire world. When people blame those women for taking the pictures in the first place, it is absolutely astounding. The only person to blame is the man who reportedly hacked iCloud, an illegal act of its own.

Although it doesn’t seem like it, blaming the woman whose pictures were leaked contributes to rape culture. Also, the fact the people on the Internet feel that just because these pictures are leaked it’s okay to look at them is remarkable. These are the private pictures of women who never wanted, or expected, them to be posted.

Out of respect for these women and their bodies, I encourage you to not look at these revealing and private pictures.

Posted: Sept. 24, 2014

Fast food industry must be stopped

By Sabrina Conza, Opinion Editor

Nowadays, the fast food industry is worldwide. McDonalds, probably the most well-known and profitable fast food restaurant, has locations in over 100 countries. But popularity doesn’t mean quality. Fast food is terrible for your health and is usually prepared in unsanitary environments.

Students seem to understand the harm done by fast food. Tornado Times surveyed 149 students in early September and found 66 percent believe that if you want to be healthy, you should never eat at a fast food restaurant.

Even with this knowledge, 75 percent of our students said that they eat at a fast food restaurant at least once a week.

There are some benefits to eating fast food. It is quick to pick up and bring home, it’s very inexpensive, and all of the artificial flavoring and added fat and sugar make fast food taste pretty good.

The negative aspects of fast food, however, greatly outweigh the positive ones. A British newspaper, The Telegraph, tested students and the results showed that people who eat a lot of fast food score lower on tests. The food is also extremely unhealthy and can cause obesity if eaten excessively.

The meat used to make the infamous McDonalds chicken nuggets is made from left over chicken byproducts. Maria Godoy from National Public Radio reported on a study by doctors to determine the ingredients of those nuggets: “The nuggets examined were only 50 percent meat at best.”

Therefore, it’s the least healthy part of the chicken that the McDonalds employees deep-fry and serve to you. The same is said for burgers and any other meat you buy fast food restaurants.

The dependence that our nation has on fast food is incredible. Every person in this country knows what fast food is and where the nearest fast food restaurants are in relation to where they live, go to school and hang out. Even though we criticize fast food restaurants daily and know how unhealthy the food is, when our mom calls and asks where you want dinner from, we’re still going to name your favorite fast food restaurant.

But the only time we should eat fast food is when there isn’t anything else to eat.

Posted: Sept. 17, 2014

Follow me: all students have the ability to lead

By Sydney Van Dreason, Managing Editor

Junior Miriam Mata leads the JROTC students in an inspirational chant. The 9/11 ceremony was held on Sep. 11 in the gym. Photo by Ashley Voet.

Junior Miriam Mata leads the JROTC students in an inspirational chant. The 9/11 ceremony was held on Sep. 11 in the gym. Photo by Ashley Voet.

Welcome to the generation where everyone is expected to be a leader, but only certain qualities are accepted as “leadership-worthy.”

“Leaders should be hardworking and organized,” junior Elisabeth Palacios, President of the Music Appreciation Club, said.

According to CNN, leadership is one of those traits that can “vary in style.” Yet when experts were asked what qualities a person must have in order to become a leader, the most common responses always tend to be responsible, intelligent, and outgoing.

Schools and parents push every student to be a leader but their definition of a leader is hard to fit. Shy students don’t believe they can be a “true leader” when everyone is in one way or another.

“You can be shy and still be a leader though,” Palacios said. “You just have to be able to step out of your comfort box for the benefit of others.”
Like Palacios, who describes herself as “shy and not outgoing at all,” students may feel the pressure either to develop the qualities that characterize a “true” leader or not to become a leader at all.

Leaders are all around us, whether it be your class’s president or the group leader for a project in class. Society has burned the concept of leadership into the minds of students, making it seem as though leaders can only be people of outgoing character and supreme intelligence.

And yet leaders still remain, hibernating inside each and every student. They are the people who sit quietly in class, taking notes and listening to the discussion instead of contributing their thoughts. They are the people who shyly suggest ideas for class projects and presentations.

We shouldn’t justify who we think is and is not a leader just because someone is shy or not ranked in the top 10 percent of his grade.

“A leader is someone who takes charge and isn’t afraid to think out of the box,” junior Stephanie Young said. Young holds no leadership position in clubs or in classes, but she often finds herself “helping others and guiding them along.”

Some of the most successful leaders have confessed to having a personality that contrasted with the accepted definition of being a leader. Women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Princess Diana were not the most outgoing people, and yet they managed to make lasting impressions on their countries .

The most important thing anyone can do to help them become better leaders, according to Time Magazine, is to “surround yourself with people who complement your strengths.” By doing this, leaders can gain confidence in themselves and their strengths.

Potential leaders should also focus on completing one goal at a time. If focused on too many objectives, a person may become overwhelmed and suffer on one of more of their goals. By focusing on only one goal and completing it, a person raises his confidence is once again raised and feels like he can accomplish even more the next time he sets out to do something.

Students who strive to become future leaders can take steps that may seem insignificant at first but will have an important impact in the future. Stay organized, whether just keeping your backpack neat or cleaning your room every week. Speak up in class once in a while too. Even if your answer is wrong, at least you built up the confidence to speak out loud, and your confidence will continue to grow.

Leaders can be anyone. Society has done a wonderful job over the years of making sure that students identify leaders as people who are intelligent, responsible, organized and outgoing. But everyone has the potential to be a leader, whether they believe they can be or not.

Posted: Sept. 11, 2014

Letter to the Editor

RE: Best Generation Yet?

Dear News Editor Shreya Aggarwal,

While the high number of clubs and club membership seems to guarantee greater diversity on future college résumés, it has become apparent that not all clubs will remain in “business” long enough to count as an extracurricular on future college résumés.

Students tend to underestimate the large amount of work needed to make a club successful. A common interest is not enough to make a club legitimate. Mandatory ICC meetings take place on the first Monday each month. Clubs that do not send a representative face possible suspension and termination. The club administration must plan interesting meetings lest they lose club members. Because of the increase of clubs, clubs do not have the luxury of holding fundraisers whenever needed. Raising money is now on a first come, first serve basis that may limit a club enough so that they do not reach their fundraising goal. When responsibilities are neglected, clubs are terminated. For example, the first ICC meeting of school the school year ended with the creation of the Comic Book Club. Club members and club sponsor alike were optimistic about the future. Unfortunately club members were unable to commit to meeting on club dates and to attending ICC meetings and the club ended.

There is much to rejoice in starting a club, but only dedication will keep a club alive.

Sincerely,
Canisha Ternival

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Time, time, time:

Teens do more than meets the eye

By Emily Solley, Features Editor

Being involved in drama for the past six months has taught me that teenagers aren’t as lazy as popular opinion perpetuates. Full rehearsals from 3:30 to 6:00 on a Thursday afternoon have had 95 percent attendance. Leads stay until 5:30 most days out of the week. They might complain, but they show up.

Let’s take a look at how a Drama club leader spends his Monday through Friday week:

  • 33 hours at school
  • 13 hours at rehearsal
  • 4 hours working on drama at home
  • 6 hours working on homework

That comes to a grand total of 56 hours, leaving 64 hours for everything else. To put that into perspective, if a person following this schedule wanted to get a fair eight hours of sleep, he would have 4.8 hours a day to go to work, eat, watch TV, do chores, talk to parents, go to other clubs, etc.

There won’t be many years after high school where I can handle such a demanding schedule. But for now, juggling seven extracurriculars, a job, and a full schedule at school doesn’t seem like too heavy a load.

Students involved in SGA, yearbook, newspaper, JROTC or sports follow similar schedules. It’s amazing that any human being could handle such a full schedule and still have membership in other clubs and hold a part-time job.

But a lot of us manage that and more. High school might seem like four years meant for napping and watching every episode of every show on Netflix, but most students find an extracurricular that takes up most of their time and energy.

So how is a person who has little to no free time to handle the stress? Here are some tips and tricks for the busiest of our students:

1. Take 20 minutes to read a book for fun. There’s really nothing else that takes enough focus to distract you from your responsibilities (without feeling sinful).

2. Skip a meeting to take a nap.

3. Give yourself at least two free hours on the weekend. Don’t make any plans. Stay home and see if they’ve put the newest season of Sherlock on Netflix yet.

4. Have other interests. When everything else falls apart around you, you need something to remind you that the universe’s main goal isn’t to ruin your life.

5. Love what you do. If you hate it, don’t spend 30 hours a week doing it.

6. Stick it out. You’re young, full of vitality, and probably look better than you will for the rest of your life. It’ll get worse.

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What to do when you don’t know what to do

By Sydney Van Dreason, Staff Intern

Every child faces the same question at various times during his life. It is a question that may have one answer, infinite answers or no answer at all. It is a question that stresses teenagers out, especially those who are going through high school. This taxing question is none other than the infamous “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Students face this question so many times in their life that they most likely do not even remember the first answer they ever gave. For high school students, this question remains an essential factor in their ever so close future.

However, as many of us have seen, especially over the recent course selection cards present among us, this question still remains unanswerable, particularly among freshmen and sophomores.

These two groups of students are still in their early phases of high school. They are still learning who they want to be as individuals, and most are still trying to figure out how to balance out school and social lives. It is not really fair to expect them to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives compared to the juniors and seniors, who have had three or four years of high school and rigorous classes already tucked under their belt.

When students first start off in high school as freshmen, their primary academic concern is to get through their classes with decent grades all year and establish a foundation for themselves at school. They are not exactly haunted by the choice of what they want to do in the future like the juniors and seniors, who, for the most part, have ideas of what they want and are looking and applying to colleges.

Likewise, in sophomore year, many students are just figuring out how to deal with AP classes, sports and clubs at the same time. Some are just starting to take AP classes and are mainly focused on passing them with good grades. Many do not think ahead to the future at this point; they are too concerned about today.

When 100 freshmen were asked if they knew what they wanted to do with their lives in the future, 78 of them said that they did not have any clue. Similarly, when 100 sophomores were asked the same question, 63 of them said that they were still undecided or confused about their decisions concerning the future.

Despite the pressure and advice from teachers and parents, it is ultimately the students’ responsibility to figure out who they are and what they want to do. Some students figure it out quickly, and they have this rare opportunity in which they know what they want with their lives, and they have more time to work for that goal.

For others, the decision may take longer. But there should not be a set time limit on when students must decide what they want to do with something as important as their future. Every person is different, and each deserves his own time to find out what he wants to do.

But, despite all that being said, students should be constantly thinking about their future. Having general ideas about what you want to do in the future can help with choosing which classes to take the next year or deciding which clubs to join that might help you achieve your goal.

However, thinking about something and actually knowing the answer to something are two different things. While students, especially freshmen and sophomores, may be thinking about their futures, they should not be required to know exactly what they want to do yet.

They still have much to learn about themselves and many opportunities in their next two or three years of high school to think about their future. Then, they can come up with an answer to that demanding question.

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Profane music should not be censored

By Sabrina Conza, Staff Intern

Popular artists such as Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Rihanna and Lady Gaga all have one thing in common – they have recently become much more profane with their music and the way that they display themselves to the public, especially with their music videos.

Is this an okay thing to do? Should artists be allowed to be half naked in their music videos and sing about matters that are considered to be only for “locker room” conversation?

Personally, I believe that these artists may express themselves in whatever way they see fit as long as they are not personally targeting or hurting somebody.

Many people, especially parents of younger children, believe that these artists should be much less open with their bodies in their music videos and stick to something more PG when the whole world can see what they do. But can’t the whole world see what just about anyone does through the Internet anyway?

Just because Miley Cyrus is famous does not mean that she shouldn’t be able to act like a normal 21-year-old; if you do not want your child exposed to the profanity in the music industry, you should prevent your child from seeing it.

The lack of effort on the parents’ part is astounding. Their children can look whatever they want up on the Internet, and the parents will probably never know, so why is it such a problem that Robin Thicke danced with Miley on stage when they are both of legal age? They were just having fun, and they had the consent of Thicke’s wife.

Censorship of the media and music industry has never worked in a democracy; therefore, parents need to take initiative if they do not want their child exposed to the adult content in the music industry. Yes, the tools that help parents to filter these things for their children are not always effective, but it is important that we protect the rights of all citizens, including famous people. They have the same rights as anyone else living in the United States.

Sadie Hawkins dance fights stereotypes

By Daniella Theodosiou, Assistant Editor

The idea of a Sadie Hawkins dance is from the 1930s comic strip L’il Abner. In the fictional town of Dogpatch, Ark. On a specific day in November, the women run after men, and whichever man one apprehends, she marries.

The premise of the Sadie Hawkins dance is for the girls to ask the boys and for the dance itself to follow the general theme of the comic strip, a casual Southern or farm-like feel.

Talk of a “Sadies” at this school has been filling both the hallways and the social networking sites students frequent. Can we actually do this? Will people actually participate?

The feedback from students and officers revealed an overwhelming “yes” to both questions.

Not only is the dance creating excitement between peers, but it brings an interesting twist to the usual dynamic of a high school dance. The Sadies provides an occasion for stereotypes to be broken and reinvented. We are used to dances bringing on the excitement of boys asking girls in clever — if not corny — and sometimes elaborate ways. However, in a Sadie’s dance, the girls will have to conjure up a plan to ask their potential dates.

The idea of the dance itself has raised interest among both sexes. The reactions have been positive schoolwide. The dance has given an opportunity to break social boundaries — not on a serious level, but your basic “the boys gotta ask the girl” expectation.

While it may be traditional for the male student to ask the female student, having a Sadie Hawkins dance is a great tribute to the strides made in the modern women — taking charge and taking part in the usual “male” or “masculine” duty of making the first move.

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Sweater Weather:

South Florida teens face danger this winter

By Jon Gardner, Graphic Design Editor

Well, it will soon be time to brave the harsh South Florida winter. With cripplingly low temperatures below 71 degrees, I have devised the official South Florida Winter Survival Guide™! The guide has been divided into three portions for your viewing pleasure: outfitting, nutrition, and social networking logistics.
Outfitting:

In the event of a blizzard, it is important to be prepared. Whenever the temperature ventures below 75 degrees or lower, full precautions should be taken in your outfit to prevent frostbite. Ugg Boots are the only brand of footwear that will protect your fragile toes from devastation and the possibility of required amputation. Any other boots that cost less than $100 will provide inadequate protection from the dangerously low temperatures. Leggings, when paired with Ugg Boots, ensure survival.

Nutrition:

One of the most tragic situations is a lack of nutrition while braving the frozen expanse of South Florida.  I have only one suggestion. Five-dollar coffee. The emptying of your wallet will not only lighten your load and make transportation easier, but will provide you a vital resource: Starbucks. The low temperatures that terrorize South Florida have been known to completely freeze internal organs. To prevent this and keep your precious organs safe, at least one cup of Starbucks must be consumed daily, especially with whipped cream. Any less expensive coffee will speed up the process of your insides freezing.

Social Networking Logistics:

Finally, looking out for your fellow South Floridian. Among the early warning systems, Twitter and Instagram are vital tools used to notify residents of blizzards. One tweet regarding the temperature outside or a picture of your Starbucks and Ugg Boots could save a life. For those not fortunate enough to be involved in these life saving social networks, there is sadly nothing we can do.

I hope this life-saving guide will aid you in your outdoor missions this winter.

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Holiday cheer should go on all year

That rosy-cheeked mythological image of St. Nicholas exists in all of us.

You know how it goes. The weather gets a little colder and out come the sweaters and the checkbooks. In general, people are more willing to give toward the end of the year. According to Blackbaud, a supplier of software and services to nonprofit organizations, in December such groups see 18 percent of their total charitable donations, more than double any other month.

The reasons for this trend are easy enough to guess. Around the holidays, our hearts are meant to be full of joy- joy we are meant to spread through charity, not necessarily for religious reasons. While 98 percent of Americans report celebrating Christmas, only 51.2 percent of Americans belonged to a church in 2012.

You do not have to belong to a church to spend weeks searching for the perfect gift for a loved one, or to drop your change into a jar for a bell-ringing Santa. We are all susceptible to the warm fuzzies. Few joys are greater than knowing that you have made someone a little happier, even for a few moments. And how much does anyone miss the 58 cents thrown into a collection jar?

For that matter, how much would anyone miss $10 a month to help a food bank keep going through warmer, less charitable months? How much would a few hours given to lonely residents at a nursing home cost? Could we all afford to spend a little less, and give a little more, year round?

It seems that our time and money is worth more to us after the holidays. In a modern world full of distractions, it can be easy to forget that holidays are not the only excuse to be a loving, generous human being.

The true challenge of the holidays is not to find the perfect present, or to learn a new complicated method of gift wrapping, or even to manage busy holiday airports. It is to extend the joy so many of us try to spread beyond winter. No matter the time of year, we should not need the presence of fragrant trees, long-burning candles or a hay lined cradle to remind us that there are others who suffer.

The easiest way to reduce suffering is to find someone who is a little worse off than you and help however you can. This can be as simple as donating money, time or even just patience. How often in our daily lives do we ignore the people we pass in the store? But would we not exchange a “Happy Holidays” with them if we made eye contact on Dec. 25?

In 2014, give a little more money, time and joy whenever you can. Say “Happy Holidays” all year round, and when someone finally asks you what you are celebrating, respond:

“Being alive.”

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Censorship strangles voice of people

By Austin Stanbury, Staff Intern

Censorship is a hard bargain. For governments, school officials, and other positions of authority, it’s the “ace in the hole”: Ability to control what information is made available to the public is the security blanket which many leaders search for.

On the other hand, in a democracy the general public needs to be made aware of information, and the constriction of its flow is grounds for moral and ethical outrage.

Ultimately, the government does have an obligation to hold some information from the public. If the structure of society might collapse due to release of some information, censorship is necessary. However — as with most things related to governments, schools, and other authority centers — things quickly get out of hand.

As citizens, we must ask ourselves a question: “When does protecting become concealing?” Protecting certain information is not the obstruction of justice, nor is it the obstruction of equality. It is not hiding unfair bias to prevent social outrage. And although protecting includes the silence and censorship of radical groups spouting nonsense, the silence of all political groups or opposing factions is an injustice.

At our school, students don’t have to worry about religious or political censorship — unless they express it in a way that the school would have to take responsibility for. Laws ensure the ability of students to believe as they wish to believe; however, teachers are limited in what they’re allowed to express.

A frequent setting for conflict is the drama program, where the desires of the director and the school board may not always line up. While it may be necessary to censor information from a play (if only to prevent the school from seeming to endorse a political/religious standpoint), artistic integrity must be respected. During the production of “Bury the Dead,” director Ms. Perlowski was warned that she needed to “be careful” with what she put on stage. Purportedly, the concern was over any “weapon’s ability to hurt people” — which, if was the actual motive, is completely reasonable. But censorship of weapons in a play specifically intended to purvey an anti-war message seems like it could be an attempt to stunt an anti-military platform. For this reason, censorship (especially when directed at students) must always be watched with a keen eye.
So what separates “helpful” censorship from “harmful” censorship? I have an answer, and it lies directly in line with the behavior that has come to be expected from powerful groups of people — personal gain.

The obstruction of information should never be done with a smile. Sometimes a doctor must not tell the patient that “it might be cancer,” because the anxiety would kill him faster than would a tumor. In much the same way our public must sometimes be deprived of that which is a needless worry — understanding, in a sense, that those who do the blocking have nothing to gain from it. Otherwise the masses are being duped and abused, and this can be justified by no man.

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Increase global awareness: Study abroad, be informed

As technology allows instant global communication and an international marketplace for jobs, we students must take time to learn about the world in which we live.

The most immediate way to immerse oneself into another culture is to take foreign language classes seriously. Speaking another language can not only allow a person to communicate with others, which can help a business in reaching out to customers, but it also helps a potential employee’s resume.

“To a potential employer, your ability to communicate with manufacturers in Asia or target Spanish-speaking demographics here in the United States is a valuable asset,” said Melissa Woodson, social media outreach coordinator from CareerRealism.

Students should not just rely on language as an indicator of their international awareness. English teacher Ms. Avery, who studied at the University of Barcelona and taught English to elementary students in that city, urges, “Travel. Travel to other countries as much as possible”.

Realizing that not all students may have the opportunity to travel and study abroad as she did, Ms. Avery still thought it important to “read and watch shows to increase your knowledge.”
Ms. Perlowski, theatre and English teacher, also believes traveling is the best way to expose oneself to other various cultures and people groups.

“You don’t always have to pay for travel,” said Ms. Perlowski.  “I travel the world on grants that ask me to give back in significant ways such as teaching, or consulting, or leading students.  There are many opportunities out there to travel if you are willing to share your talents and serve.”

The benefits of travel extend beyond the departure and return dates. Ms. Avery suggested students “make international friends,” allowing students to be opened to other cultures and ways of life different from their own.

After spending a year studying abroad in Croatia, senior Terry Cadet has discovered how rewarding it can be to live in another country.

“My trip to Croatia has turned me into a better individual,” said Cadet. “I am now more independent, mature, and globally aware. I learned a new language, made lifelong friends, and became part of a new family.”

Ms. Perlowski has traveled to England, Germany, Russia, India, and Sweden, to name a few. From her experiences abroad she has noted that “U. S. students are not terribly knowledgeable about anything beyond their own interests or towns.”

She credits this to the somewhat isolated location of the United States in relation to the rest of the world.

“My theory is that due to our geographical position, bordering only two countries and two oceans, we are far away from other cultures, so we care less,” said Ms. Perlowski, “This is not the best attitude.”

Not quick in wanting students to remain in this mindset, Ms. Perlowski offered a plan of attack to remove naivety of worldly affairs.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice.  Mark Twain said that,” said Ms. Perlowski.  “This is the number one reason why travel is important.  The more we communicate with people, the less fearful we are of things that are ‘different’ from us.  Actually, you realize that we are more or less the same. “

Even if a student feels internationally unaware, taking steps to increase one’s knowledge is not a daunting task.

“Living in Croatia, I noticed that all the teenagers my age were always talking about global events, it felt as if they knew more about the U.S. than I did,” said Cadet. “Because of that, I became more observant, and I started learning more about global events, starting with Europe.”

As students at Pompano Beach High School, we already have the benefit of studying Spanish, French, or even Mandarin Chinese. Also, our technology magnet requires classes that can help students learn skills needed for global communication, such as the ability to edit websites.

We commend the school for offering two study-abroad programs: a Spring Break trip to Sweden and a summer service project in Costa Rica. We encourage students to sign up.

But even those who can’t afford the trip can still grow in global awareness. We all should make time to watch the news and to debate issues with peers. Seeking to be informed about social and political events that will shape the country in which we live, such as the potential U. S. strike on Syria, will help us be well-informed and prepared for our careers and our personal lives.

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Homecoming proposals: tacky or romantic?

By Daniella Theodosiou, Asst. Opinion and Business Manager

 Homecoming is one of the most awaited events each school year. The year just hasn’t started until we’ve covered ourselves in paint and paired up on the dance floor.

I’m not quite sure what it means, or why we expect it so eagerly, but something about the promise of a night in our finest, if not skimpiest, apparel is incredibly enticing to students. The night before, everyone cheers on our football team for what may be the only game most of us attend.  And the next night, the best and most anticipated night, is the dance.

One of the most attractive things about homecoming is the romanticism put into the “dates”. In earlier years the idea was for the boy to ask the girl to the dance, maybe pay for her ticket and show up at her house the night of for some pictures — and we were quite satisfied with that. In fact being asked to homecoming is something most girls would wait for and many would fantasize over. Girls these days, however, are demanding much more than an invite or simple request — they want proposals.

Boys are now faced with not only the daunting task of asking a girl out, but also impressing everyone and their mother while doing so. For whatever reason, it’s no longer enough to sincerely ask a girl to the dance. We want flowers and something witty or creative. And shockingly enough it’s not just the single guys feeling this pressure. Girlfriends have also started to expect an elaborate proposal even though their dates were basically set already.

Sophomores Gabby Esposito and Jake Solley were dating for nine months when homecoming came around. Yet Solley still went out of his way to ask her to the dance. He put seashells in a bottle and placed a starfish necklace with a note attached: “Will you go to homecoming with me?” The bottle didn’t reach the ocean, but the proposal was done in the courtyard after school.

Esposito said, “It was cute! He told me he needed me to get something from his backpack, so when I went into his bag, I found the bottle.”

All right, it is kind of cute; however, I think the high demand for imagination within a homecoming date is getting excessive. Has the novelty behind a simple and genuine offer been lost? It seems it has. Sophomore Dylan Pinard romanced sophomore Camila Rodriguez into being his date by way of Starbucks — a known weakness of most teenage girls. “I went to Starbucks, got a frappe and had them write ‘HOMECOMING?’ on the lid,” Pinard said, “then I gave it to her with flowers! It was worth it.” Rodriguez added that she was “pleasantly surprised” by his request.

Senior Melinda Paduani has no problem with this trend toward ostentatious requests: “They’re actually nice. If someone were to ask me, I’d just want them to show some kind of effort, but not a whole big thing”.

When the person making the effort is more concerned with getting attention from everyone than getting a simple “yes,” the proposals became increasingly cheesy and forced. Every girl wants a guy to go out of his way for her, but there is a fine line between genuine effort and romantic overkill.

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Dear drivers: Learn how to drive

By Jon Gardner, Graphic Design Editor

Nobody wants to ride a school bus, so we have our share of student drivers, myself included. I would like to share one of my most horrifying experiences: driving with you PBHS students.

Many of you don’t realize all the technology that comes with your cars. Most cars include an exciting breakthrough technology: turn signals. It may come as a shock, but the average driver enjoys advanced notice before you make dramatic, emergency turns. In addition to turn signals, our nation’s best scientists have worked long nights to provide a nifty piece of technology called the “rear view mirror.” You might find it intimidating to take all four sides of your car into account when maneuvering it, but checking for other cars tends to be beneficial. Please don’t assume that everyone is watching out for you.

If that peek into the future of automobile driving didn’t blow your mind and you’re still reading, let’s address music. Everyone likes music. I like music. And most people like playing music in their car too (though only a select few can concentrate while listening to NPR or in absolute silence while driving). Everyone enjoys expanding his musical horizons too. But perhaps there is a better way to share your favorite music with everyone than blasting it at 100 percent volume as you pull out of the lot. Trust me, no one will think of you as any less of a “thug” if we can’t clearly hear Rick Ross roaring from your car.

I will admit to employing some unsavory driving tactics myself. I make sure everyone is absolutely clear as to what kind of music I like to drive to. I also enjoy braking abruptly to trick my pals. What I advise is to employ these tactics conservatively. No one wants to see a classmate get injured on the road. Safe driving, everyone!

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State grading system should not discriminate by race

By Max Orellana, Staff Intern

States seem to be playing a game called “Let’s see who can do the most controversial thing.” Iowa took the cake when it started allowing blind people to carry guns. But Florida should be in the top five. In October 2012, Florida passed a new grading system, to be used in 2018, based on race.

The new system means that in reading, the state’s goal is to have 90 percent of Asian-Americans on grade level, 88 percent of whites, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of African-Americans. As for being on grade level for math, the state seeks 92 percent of Asian-Americans to be on grade level, 86 percent of whites, 80 percent of Hispanics, and 74 percent of African-Americans.

The state is discriminating on the entire student body by saying, “If you’re a minority, we honestly don’t expect you to do as well as your white or Asian peers.”

Now, the board’s intention was to get all kids to master key academics and to reward improvement among struggling students. But varying goals by race has a racist tone. Also, not only are school’s grades being determined by race, but by lifestyle, for example, students living in low income families, suffering from disabilities, or still learning English. So the state is also saying, “If you are poor or you don’t know English or whatever, we don’t expect you to do as well as the other kids. So our emphasis won’t be really on you.”

By not holding all students to high standards, Florida is oppressing some of them. So are they actually helping everyone? No, just a certain percentage of every race. Since not every person in a race has the same abilities, it is unfair to pool every student of a race together, take on a percent, and leave those not in the percentage to suffer.

I’m sure the board had a nice idea of pushing as many students as possible to reach their potential, but the tone that came out wasn’t the best. The board should revise the plan to avoid discriminating races.   

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TO CONFORM OR NOT TO CONFORM:

Enjoy your cage: run, rat, run

By Phelan Kenyon, Guest Writer

All people are at the very core the same. Life is essentially like running on one of those circular tread-mills in a rat cage.

Our lives can fold out into only three patterns. One type of person will never fully understand that we are just running on and on. They stop periodically only to drink or eat, but they are not really aware.

The next two types of people will become aware through some external or internal means that they are running for no purpose other than running itself. These rats will take a break and think about or try to grasp what they are doing: maybe sniff the wheel or bite the wheel, trying to break it, (you know, rat stuff) but then they’ll realize they can’t really change the wheel.

Then the two types split into those who keep running because there’s no point not to. “Hey, there’s a wheel, we have legs, why wouldn’t we run and enjoy it?” The other type will refuse to run on the wheel and give up the opportunity to keep going. That rat will probably die quicker, and it does not necessarily show stubbornness or weakness.

Of course, to say there are three types, or any types, of patterns is close-minded and crazy. Life is not like that. Sometimes the wheel is crooked; sometimes the rats will lose their ability to run, physically or mentally or what have you. Maybe the rats were born with faulty wiring before they even began.

In any case, the happiest rats are the rats that know they run the wheel for no reason other than the pursuit of running, the desire to stay in shape. To be conscious of the purposelessness of existence can give a stronger purpose than any fabricated ideals, job or relationship can; it can also destroy.

And what happens after the rats die or become sickly, or the scientist just decides to pull out the rat from his well-organized but seemingly random cage? That is an entirely different topic and, for the most part, unknowable. The only truth I can ascertain is that another rat will run on that wheel, and time will not stop.

But think about it, past the wheel. Is this just one rat cage in an otherwise empty lab? Are there more rat cages next to us? Do rats sometimes see other rats and get inspired to keep going? Or are there different animals that the rats can’t comprehend because they’re so universally different, or maybe some are the same.

I think the only way to answer any of these questions is to die, or open your consciousness up to the lab around you and accept. To that extent, maybe the happiest rats are the rats who got out quickly. But I believe that those rats missed a very important step in the first cage-stage that might make them fail this grand experiment. I hope that they get the chance to run again.

Humans should follow the pack, the herd, the wheel. But we should always, as individuals, be conscious of our actions, and observe and ponder at what is beneath our feet.

We should not follow someone else’s stride, but should decide for ourselves, how to run, how to exist, and then hop back onto this stupid wheel until it stops spinning or our little hearts stop beating. The extent to which we follow those around us should be adjusted to the individual because there is no such thing as total individualism or conformity without suicide or insanity.

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TO CONFORM OR NOT TO CONFORM:

Break free: Physics says be yourself

By Emily Solley, Features Editor

The cute high school cliché of self-discovery is actually a biological imperative.

Without individual expression, humanity will become an entire species of obese, moronic robots. Full bellies and empty heads are the hallmarks of conformity to a society that preaches fanatic devotion to the newest sensation. Forcing ourselves into molds we do not fit will lead us to shove to whatever honest things we have to offer into the black depths of self-deception.

As small, nuclear families become the reality, humans naturally search for artificial ones. We have seen this need for human bonds manifest in nationalism, religious fanaticism and, most recently, boy band cults.

It doesn’t take much to explain the destructive nature of these false attachments. Look no further than Nazi Germany, the Crusades and the Beliebers. It’s not clear yet which has had more of a devastating effect on society.

In all three cases the world has watched in horror as perhaps naturally harmless groups united against a common enemy. It probably wouldn’t have taken much more than one bumbling follower to wonder how he really felt about blind hate to bring the whole movement to its knees.

That is not to say you should avoid Twitter or the radio unless you’re looking to avoid a headache.  But the only person you will be responsible to explain your actions to is yourself and maybe the police.

Whatever you do, do it because it is what makes sense to you.

Physics has given me two very useful examples to demonstrate individuality. First, the formula to solve for force is simply mass times acceleration.

This explains so many natural phenomena that I have probably written it out one thousand times during Mr. Marchand’s physics class. Most of physics has to do with recognizing that the formulas, which explain even the most complex of natural phenomena, are fairly simple to understand.

Yet human beings are not defined by the force of gravity. No amount of putting variables in order can tell you how to live your life. If it were that simple, conformity would be the answer. The majority would have to be right because it includes so many smart, rational people. Surely, they would have plugged all the right numbers in the right formula and found the answer by now.

But that’s balderdash.

Physics also relies on the theory of entropy, a part of quantum mechanics. Entropy means disorder. Systems are constantly evolving toward the state of maximum entropy. At some point, the universe will be nothing but entropy.

This isn’t complicated. All energy will be, at some point, unusable because, for some reason, the universe strives for disorder.

Who are we as humans to fight it? Why should we attempt to make ourselves more like each other when it is clear that is the opposite of what everything else in the natural world does?

It is not my job or yours to make order out of chaos. We are built out of the same thing as stars at the molecular level. And at the spiritual level, there is nothing more real to each individual than himself.

If you want to listen to the most awful bubblegum pop ever produced by a platinum-plated record company, do it. If you want to wear horribly ugly Hawaiian shirts or brightly colored shorts most people think show a bit too much leg hair, do it.

You don’t have license to be cruel to other people. But you do have license to be merciful to yourself.

No one really cares what kind of music you listen to or what you have in your closet. What matters is only what matters to you. I might like to be around you more if you read good books, but I’m not going to be the determining factor in your happiness.

Entropy rules, and we flail against the laws of nature if we do not recognize our own absurdity. I am a fool, and so are you, and so is he, and so is she, and so are we all. We’re better off being genuine fools than fiberglass geniuses.

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