From a Teachers Eye View
EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT VIRTUAL LEARNING, BUT NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT VIRTUAL TEACHING.
by Sefarina Benevides
The student body feels the pain of virtual learning. No social interaction. No conversation. No voices. No faces. And the teachers are feeling it too. How are the teachers in our school holding up? What's happened with substitute teachers? Is everything going to be okay?
I took the liberty of meeting up with a few teachers at Reagan to discuss their missions to get their students involved in online classes. Everyone knows the pain of sitting in class and seeing black screen full of circle emojis or character icons. Your peers might be off doing something else in their home. Or working on a different project. As much as you are in the dark about what's going on on the other side, your teachers are too.
Mr. Michael Moore, a mathematics teacher at Reagan says that throughout quarantine, he's been great personally. Moore says that he was built to live in isolation, and that he is very happy living his day-to-day life, only seeing his wife, son, and the occasional delivery boy. However, he hates how he has to teach. Moore says he enjoys hanging out with people and having fun in class, hopping around from group to group, dancing and singing. Profile pictures are not what he became a teacher to see.
Not only does the virtual setting take its toll on his classes, but the actual duration of the classes. During a normal school year, each class would be taught 2-3 times per week, with 90 minutes dedicated to each class, as well as an after school workroom open for an hour three days per week. This year, the schedule has changed dramatically, with over 20 hours of instruction time cut from the schedule. Moore states, “What normally would be a huge part of teaching is helping students that are struggling, but we get no feedback.” “I can put together the best presentations, but no one does them,'' he continues. “We’re here and available to help, but no one is taking advantage of that”.
With the three hours of dedicated Asynchronous work time, and the availability of teacher office hours, surely students would find the time to ask for help? I’ve heard many first-hand accounts of life during virtual learning. My peers have told me that they are either working on other school work during their classes, taking care of their siblings or other family members, or simply just going back to bed.
Teachers understand the obstacles that students are having to go through, because they are going through them as well. I'm sure you’ve seen the occasional baby crawl through the background of your teacher’s at-home classrooms.
As for Google Meet/Zoom teaching. Moore believes that if students unanimously choose not to turn on their cameras, then we should switch to Khan academy or Canvas teachings (souly virtual assignments without virtual instruction). “If you're not turning your cameras on and you're not talking to your teachers, then why the heck are we having Google Meets.” The purpose of having the online meets are for the social emotional benefits and benefits of asking questions in front of peers, and still, no one is doing that.
Moore says that, “There are kids that I teach that I have not seen or heard from since August 8th.” He says that this applied to over 50% of his students.
In an ideal world, he would be back in person, laughing about things in a cafe, going to ball games, leading after school clubs, giving jumping high fives to Puddicombe in the hallways, and making fun of Mr. Milizer
Madame Terri Knight, a French teacher at Reagen high school gives her account on virtual learning as well.
Knight is doing alright in her daily life, going on walks and getting out of her house makes her feel a bit better about the state of the world. Initially, when Knight would log on to her classes and see a screen full of icons, she started to feel like a failure. She couldn't reach kids that she otherwise would have been able to reach face to face. To try and understand everything, Knight goes back to when she was in high school. She said that she most likely would have turned her camera off too. She thinks about how it’s every kid’s dream to sit in their room for school, not have to be seen, have no one pay attention to you. Knight says, “I understand how teenagers are being judged, especially with the social media generation. Everything is deceiving, immoral, iligal, and unethical.” However, as someone who cares a lot about her students, she knows that what they are missing in their lives is making connections.
At the beginning of online instruction, Knight pulled out all the tricks she knew. She tried bribery and begging, but in the end, the teachers couldn't reach through the screen. Knight reminds us that it’s embedded in Reagan’s culture to form relationships with one another.
Of course she wants her students to turn on their cameras, but she knows that no matter what anyone says or promises, it's up to the students whether or not they do it. Knight says, “If I thought that urging them made a difference, if I thought there was a way to encourage them, something I haven't already thought of, I would do it.”
On a parting note, Madame Knight wants us to know that we would feel a lot closer to each other if we started turning on our cameras. Think about how you feel when you see someone else in your class with their cameras on, you’re not judging them, you're not picking apart their backgrounds, so they're probably not doing that to you either. Just take care of yourself and you'll feel more confident.
I interviewed one final teacher at reagan. Mr. Puddicombe is an English and performing arts teacher here at school. He also runs a number of organizations within the school, including leadership programs and inclusive clubs. One organization he manages is the Link Crew program from juniors and seniors. Link crew members are upperclassmen who want to help underclassmen adapt to high school life. He started an initiative at the beginning of January for his Link Leaders to turn on their cameras while they were in class. He asked them to document the changes they saw in their classes along with any experiences they wanted to share with the rest of the Crew. During the first week, stories of kids turning on their cameras and engaging more in class were coming in strong, but after a while, thighs went back to the way they were. Eventually the numbers of kids with cameras on dwindle down, and there were no more stories coming in.
As far as teaching goes, Puddicombe hates this new environment. Especially being a performing arts teacher, it is difficult to act without a stage to perform on. Puddicombe misses being able to teach and interact with students in person, and this extends beyond just teaching. It is no secret that a number of kids struggle with mental health, and require constant help to cope with everyday struggles. Puddicombe knows that he cannot connect with his students like he used to. He says, “I think I'm good at making connections, reading faces and pulling kids aside to have check in, now that’s just impossible.”
The schedule for school times is messing up his teaching mojo as well. Just like other teachers, he is reaping the consequences of MPS cutting down instruction hours. The school board was convinced that students would use the asynchronous work time to reach out to teachers and ask questions, but that hasn't been happening very often. If the system is structured to rely on the students 50%, and that's not being accomplished, either the students need to step up their game by 150%, or the system needs to change. Puddicome says the students are held to “a level of self management that we've never asked students to do before.”
Courses are designed to have a certain level of content, and when more than half of the instruction time is wiped away, how are teachers expected to accommodate. Throughout this year, he has had to simplify his instruction plans and streamline things to make them more manageable for his students. He says that teachers are throwing out a lot of what they would normally do. Students are not operating at the “same level of retention,” so they have to introduce lessons a lot slower and with a lot more attention. Combining this strategy of presenting the material, along with the shortened class time, I see no way that teachers would be able to fit in all the district assigned course material by the end of the semester.
Puddicombe urges all students to turn on their cameras. He tries to provide positive feedback when students do what they're asked.
“Thank you for turning your camera on.”
“Thank you for unmutting.” “
Nice to see your face.”
“Nice to hear your voice.”
By treating every situation positively, he says students are more likely to want to do what they're asked. He would never call out students who are not doing what they're asked. For one, technology issues are not to blame, and a teacher would not know if a kid’s microphone or camera is not working, so who are they to call that student out publicly in class without a way for them to defend themselves. He also knows that there is no progress in making a student feel bad about themselves. There are a number of reasons why someone would not want to turn on their cameras, including: babysitting, other school work, managing the house, or a number of other legit reasons they don't want to have a conversation about. Illegitimate reasons are: watching tv, being on your phone, going back to sleep, staying in bed, or just simply not wanting to out of laziness.
I asked Puddicombe how he thought this would affect our progress towards preparing for college, as we are a college prep school and our final year has been taken away from us. He says that this situation actually mirrors college life quite accurately. Not just about the virtual classes, but the self dependence, the self management and the struggle to juggle numerous responsibilities. He says, “If you've been successful this year, you'll be successful in college.” There are so many opportunities for growth throughout this whole experience. And we have to keep in mind that everyone in the world is going through this same experience. Our school and our grade is not an exception. Were not the only school that got shut down, the only one who's schedule has changed, or the only one who has cut down on the required curriculum. All of MPS, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the US, and the world has gone through this. We are not alone.
The struggle of virtual instruction is real, after all “We’re human animals that make eye contact.” We have that need to connect with one another, and looking at a gray screen with a bunch of cartoon icons on it does not satisfy that. We have 10000s years of evolution training us to make eye contact, and in one year, that was stolen. Even seeing someone's face through the monitor is not everything we need either. Technically, those aren't eyes we're looking into, they're pictures of eyes, spit up into tiny pixels, and shown with blue light through a screen.
In an ideal world (while still being virtual), Puddicombe says that everyone would be seen. People wouldn't feel isolated and disconnected. People wouldn't take for granted what it's like to be in a space with lots of people. We would return to our normal lives, and appreciate it on a level we never knew we could.
marvel studios top 5 easter eggs
by Miranda Aviles
Have you ever been on an easter egg hunt? Not the kind that involves finding colorful eggs full of candy but the kind that makes you rewatch movies, TV shows, and videos over and over again in hope of spotting something cool that went unnoticed? When it comes to the media, an easter egg could be anything and anywhere. Easter eggs are visual or vocal references to things in the future, past, or our reality. They are given their name because you have to look for them when watching, reading, or listening to something. Easter eggs can be found anywhere but are notoriously famous in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise that brings super heroes in the Marvel Comics to life. With over 50 movies, 10 TV shows, and multiple animated cartoons Marvel is one of the most successful media franchises in history. Their multi-phased movies and TV shows contain a number of easter eggs. I have taken the liberty of searching through all of their productions to find the 5 best easter eggs in the MCU.
5. The Captain America Hitler Punch
Captain America’s first movie has an easter egg that brings to life the cover of the first ever Captain America Comic. At the 49:49 timestamp of Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The First Avenger, the on screen star, Steve Rodgers, is seen punching an actor dressed as Hitler. The cover of the first Captain American Comic published in 1941 had this exact scene drawn out!
4. The Infinity Gauntlet in Thor: Ragnarok
Thor Odinson, the god of thunder, has one of the most foretelling easter eggs in MCU. In the 44th minute of Thor’s third movie,Thor: Ragnarok, his sister Hela is seen pushing over the Infinity Gauntlet and exclaiming that it is “fake”. The reason this moment is so monumental is because it was made known that the real infinity gauntlet was still out in the universe and capable of being found by a giant purple titan with bad intentions.
3. Killmonger’s Suit Reference
In one of Marvel’s most iconic movies, Black Panther, it is neither T’Challa nor the setting that holds the easter egg, but the villain, Killmonger. In the Black Panther’s sixth comic, Panther’s Rage, Killmonger is seen fighting alongside his trained leopard, Prey. Instead of bringing Prey to life in the film, Marvel decided to incorporate leopard print into Killmonger’s suit.
2. Hawkeye Remembering Pietro
Avengers: Age of Ultron brought to life many new characters like The Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Vision. Quicksilver, who’s real name is Pietro Maximoff, is one of the newer Avengers and is seen bickering with Hawkeye throughout the movie. Hawkeye, who is the only Avenger with kids is not too fond of the new additions to the team but helps them either way. During the final fight, Pietro sacrifices his life to save Hawkeye and a child from being rained down on with bullets. When the fight was over, one of the most heart warming easter eggs occurred. At the 02:07:32 time mark Black Widow sees Hawkeye's newborn son for the first time over Skype. The baby is seen wearing a onesie with his name on it: Nathaniel Pietro Barton. Hawkeye decided to set aside their differences and honor Pietro’s memory by naming his son after him.
1. Stan Lee
What is probably Marvel’s most unique easter eggs is the cameo of Marvel's Comics author Stan Lee. Stan Lee, who dedicated his life to inventing and telling the stories of multiple world renowned superheroes, had an appearance in each and every of the 22 Infinity Saga movies. In Captain Marvel he is seen at the 30:44 time mark reading a script on a train and at the 01:18:15 time mark of Doctor Strange he is seen riding a bus and reading The Doors of Perception.
Over 100 easter eggs have been found in the MCU so far and there are more in the works right now. 2021 productions like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Loki have fans ready to watch and rewatch episodes in hope of finding something sweet. While I have gotten you started, it is time for you to pick up a basket and join the hunt.
Captain America COMICS (1941) #1: Comic issues. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2021, from https://www.marvel.com/comics/issue/7849/captain_america_comics_1941_1
Killmonger: Character close Up: Marvel comic reading lists. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2021, from https://www.marvel.com/comics/discover/904/killmonger
by Sefarina Benevides
What is D&D?
Dungeons and Dragons is an interactive role playing game where players join up with their friends and go on adventures determined by a proclaimed Dungeon Master (DM). The DM is the one responsible for how the world they are playing in reacts and evolves, they play the part of every non-player character throughout the game, are the determiners for the twists and turns of reality and by most accounts, are the “god” of that universe. The players of the game create characters of their liking, either based on themselves or someone completely opposite to themselves. In this world, you can be a Dragonborn creature, an Elf, a Gnome, or a number of different races. You choose your ethical alignments (whether you’re a lawfully good person, or a chaotically evil person) and your class (Wizard, Monk, Ranger, Fighter, ect.) While playing this game, you truly get a sense of how extraordinary the mind is. An entire universe exists within your own imagination. You have the task of roleplaying the character in the real world, in front of your friends, or nowadays, in front of a camera.
My first time
My first time playing D&D was two years ago on a short visit to Missouri. My parents and I drove down there one weekend to visit family. We stayed with a number of different family members, including my grandmas, grandpas, uncles and aunts. Every day we were at a new family member’s house, oftentimes eating barbeque and cake. On our last night, we stayed at my uncle Josh’s house, he and his girlfriend introduced us to an awesome game… a game where we spent hours designing characters, hours walking through the woods and barns and old towns. A game where we fought monster spiders and had to solve a mystery of missing cows. A game that in real life lasted hours, but in-game lasted about 45 minutes. My parents and I were immediately hooked. On the drive home it was all we could talk about. My mom started looking up podcasts and shows where she could learn more about the game, and my dad started watching instructional videos about how the rules of the game worked. I personally have always been a strong believer in winging-it, so I just sat back and enjoyed the ride home. This game was called Dungeons and Dragons.
Fast forwarding… a year later my aunt and uncle came up to visit us in Wisconsin, where my dad begged them to play D&D with us again. Now if you were to see my dad’s house, you would think he’d be a person who already knew how to play this game. Every wall in his house has some sort of medieval decoration, whether it be swords or daggers, shields or tapestry. It was clear that this game was meant for him.
We didn't get to play that visit, but once they drove back to Missouri, my parents started playing with them virtually. Over this past year, the state of the world has been a bit.. tense… so a virtual alternative to playing was definitely the way to go. I myself never was able to play with them, or even had that strong of a motivation. That was until this year.
New Years 2021
Now that my parents are proficient in the game, and have participated in a few campaigns, they definitely have a feel for it. From coming from a place of total fascination to a place of genuine passion was incredible to witness. They started collecting dice and players handbooks, watching hundred of hours of podcasts, and practicing their character voices on the regular. They were in.
I myself have never been that attached to the game, but nevertheless, my parents still urged me to learn. My mom had the idea to become a dungeon master herself. She studied and memorized and planned out an adventure of her own. With tools of books of monsters and a dungeon master's guide, she was well on her way. She had the idea to start a campaign, with her two brothers, their girlfriends, my dad, and one more person, me. They invited me to join their campaign and learn the game all over again. At this point it’s been two years since I last played, and I had almost completely forgotten how the game worked. I said I would join their campaign but it would take a lot of work. Considering I would be joining a game with three experienced DM’s, and three other well-versed D&D players. To say I was nervous was an understatement.
My mom helped me create a new character, and spent time re-introducing me to the game. There was definitely a lot to remember. It took some time, but I eventually became familiar with the general rules of the game. To practice combat, we played a quick one-shot where only my dad and I were playing, this would also serve as a first-time DMing session for my mom. We all helped each other learn our new roles and become familiar with the set up. We did this a few times to get the hang of the new technology we were using and online platforms that were new to all of us.
The entire party got together for episode Zero, to introduce our characters to each other and establish relationships between characters. This definitely settled some nerves, and made me feel more comfortable interacting in-game with other people. I would say my biggest inspirations for role playing are my uncles, Josh and Austin. They’re both so goofy and play so well off of each other.
Next session was episode One, this is where things got interesting. This was our first episode where we actually got to go on some adventures. We drank and ate, and sang and laughed, and fought some goblins along the way. Considering this was my mom’s first time DMing for a real adventure, and for a real party, she did an amazing job. There were some hiccups with the technology we were using, but hey, ‘tis the state of the world. Where a screen replaces human interaction and tiny character icons replace figurines. At this point I was excited to keep playing, and excited to see where this adventure would take us.
Before this, I was really doubting myself, and self-sulking in the thought of “well I’m not as good as the other players”, “I don't know what I’m doing”... so I decided for myself to get out of that mentality. I even joined another campaign with a group of friends, to learn from different people how to play.
New Years Eve was my get out of jail free card. Because I was new to the game, I had the option to leave the party completely after New years, if I didn't like the way it was going. Because hey, D&D isn't for everyone, and my family knew that. We played our New Years Eve game and had a great time. We walked through creepy caves, fought some wolves, and role played our hearts out…. literally. Five minute until 2021, we all got our wine or sparkling grape juice and counted down. 10.. 9.. 8.. 7.. 6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
After we all signed off and settled down, my parents asked me if I wanted to keep going with the campaign or if I wanted to quit now. I’m optimistic for the storyline, and know things will get a whole lot more interesting, so I’ve decided to stay with it. I'm excited to keep playing and further develop my character, Sharog Urog, the Half-orc bounty hunter, in search of their birth-father, alongside their bestest compadre Rinn Nailo, AKA “Nighbreeze”, a monk on a mission to achieve omnipresent super galactic oneness.
I’m looking forward to where this new interest will take me, and looking forward to the new year. Time to slug my hand axe over my shoulder and charge towards 2021.
is jury duty like among us?
by Sefarina Benavides
Among Us, an internet game that allows us to determine the temporary fate of a complete stranger. Jury duty, a government system that allows us to permanently alter the fate of a complete stranger. How are they different? How do they connect? Why can't we see it?
What is among us?
Among us, as most of the population knows, is an extremely addictive and popular game. It is a multiplayer interactive game where people can log and play mystery games with their friends or people on the server. The game consists of colorful characters trying to survive the round of play on a spaceship, with the constant threat of danger and death that comes from the notorious Imposters. One to three imposters are chosen at random at the beginning of each round, and their objective is to kill everyone on the ship and sabotage the completion of the crewmembers’ tasks until time runs out.
Now, right off the bat, there is some debate whether or not players are protecting the right people. After all, what kind of imposter would have full access to all of the ship’s controls, as well as the ability to disengage certain actions within the game (such as Coms) or lock the doors behind them? It seems as if the crewmates are the true imposters, stowaways who have made their way onto the ship and are in a constant race to hotwire and overpower the ship. But that’s a debate for another time…
The game was first released in June of 2018 and has become widely popular now in 2020. With high profile Youtubers jumping on the trend. From live streaming themselves playing the game, to basing recipes off the characters, and even to makeup challenges. Among Us has definitely made its mark in the cyber world of 2020.
What is Jury duty?
Citizens of the United State are summoned for jury Duty at least once in their lives. It is an obligation that all people must comply to. The people are randomly selected to participate, and are given brief training on how to be a just juror. According to the United States Courts, there are two circumstances in which a jury is present; the first being a criminal trial, where an individual is accused of committing a crime and a unanimous decision from the jury is required to convict the person on trial as guilty. And “the government must prove the crime was committed ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Guilty pleas and plea negotiations reduce the need for juries in criminal cases.” (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the Federal Judiciary)
Some citizens await the day they are chosen for jury duty, it's one way where they feel as if they are participating in the government's decisions, and feel as if their time is valued and important. Not to mention the days off of work. But for others, this day is an inconvenience and should not be mandatory. They receive less pay for work, sometimes have to suffer emotional baggage from heavy cases, and lose time from other higher-priority tasks, like caring for their families and going to work. While in jury duty, citizens are briefly trained for the procedures that a juror must follow through.
The selection part of the trials include something called a voir dire.
The judge will make an introduction to the case and the lawyers will disclose any immediately important requirements. The lawyer might ask questions, for example if you intend to be honest to them throughout the process, and if you might have any bias towards the trial. (Law Firms. The legal Processes)
The general population tend to like to follow leaders, whether it be subconsciously or intentionally. This phenomena is known as countertransference (Michael Maccoby, 2004). In almost every human environment, whether it be business or leisure, requires an agent who is deemed the leader of an organization of one who knows answers. Sigmund Freud was the first person to provide explanations for how a follower’s unconscious motivations function. A follower-leader relationship between two people is not always positive; this occurrence is called “transference”. An example of this negative alteration of occurrences if found within the jury system, when being told accounts of first-hand interactions of whiteness.
Example of player blaming another without proof
We find this pattern on accusation and systematic accusal within the game Among Us. This game gives us a perfect example of how transference could go horribly wrong. When a person in Among Us believes someone else is Imposter, all they have to do is comment on the color of that character the next time a meeting is called or a body is reported. By simply saying “Orange did it”, or “Orange is suspicious”, the other players in the game tend to fall in line—free of questions. Rarely do people ask for proof, and when they do, they often don't receive it. Yet they still end up voting the accused person out of the active game, giving the true Imposter an advantage.
Having to defend yourself
It can be very discouraging when you know you are not guilty of any crimes, yet you get voted off the game by your peers. I'm sure it has happened to most everyone who has played the game, you get blamed for traveling through vents or killing someone when you've been the perfect little crewmate—completing your tasks and minding your own business. Letting your fate be determined by a bunch of strangers is nerve-wracking. Imagine how people who have their fate are determined by a jury of their peers feel. This of course does not warrant a direct and indisputable comparison, but it surely can be used for food for thought.
Sometimes the only defense for yourself is “I didn't do it” or “It wasnt me”. Unfortunately, those defenses don't usually hold up.
Literal death penalty, but in real life you dont get to complete your tasks as a ghost, you’re done.
As much as humans take pride in their integrity, we are a very influential species. Damasio is a term used to describe how a person's emotions influence their decisions. When someone upsets you or irritates you, you might want to take vengeance (vote them off). Oftentimes jurors are subject to the tactics of framing effects from lawyers and attorneys. This means that when information is presented in a certain way, a more favorable way, people are more likely to side with it. This is a dangerous tactic to be dealing with, especially when a person's life is at hand.
Next time you're determining someone's fate, make sure you know how you're being influenced by leaders around you, and make a rational decision that's not based on emotion or convenience, but on fact.
Lowkey, Orange is kinda sus tho...
ANN jACOBS INTERVIEW
by Gabriella Hartlaub
howler recipes: chicken soup
by Gabriella Hartlaub
my day as a poll worker
by Gabriella Hartlaub
In 2020, election day turned into election week. From the voting day on Tuesday, the results of the presidential election weren’t announced until the Saturday afterwards, which took the focus off the normal election day party that usually happens. While a lot of people in this country were waiting for the election results to pour in on November 4th, I participated in this election by spending the day working at my local polling place.
For a poll worker, the election day starts at 6am, when all of the voting booths, the voting machine, the registration table, the check in table have to be unpacked. This year we had to set up everything with special COVID regulations, such as everything had to be six feet apart and there were barriers put up at the registration tables. The polls open in Wisconsin at 7am sharp when the Chief Election Inspector announces, “Hear Ye, Hear Ye, the polls are now open.” At my polling place, we had a huge morning rush and lines out into the lobby of the high school we used. People came up to the line, showed the check in workers their ID’s, and then received their ballots to vote.
Not only were people voting, they were also registering to vote. Wisconsin has same day voter registration, which means that people can come in and register to vote on election day, then be able to cast their ballot. As I was directing people to voting booths I overheard a man at the registration table explaining why he had come out to vote. He said that he hadn’t been inspired by any of the campaigns but he’d woken up on election day and decided that it was his civic duty. Although at that point I was beginning to get tired, hearing him say that really kept me going through the long day. What would’ve happened if there had only been five polling places open in the city like there were in April? Would he have felt the same way, and braved the long lines to cast his ballot?
Throughout the day, I was reminded of just how important the job is. We had at least ten first time voters, some who had just turned eighteen but some who were old and decided that this election was the one where they needed to get involved. Everytime a first time voter put their ballot in the machine, they were greeted with a round of applause from all the workers congratulating them on contributing to our democracy. There was a young man who was having trouble getting the identification needed to vote, who left but then came back a couple of hours later with everything ready to go and was able to cast his ballot.
Watching people come and vote really reminds you of how important voting is to democracy. It’s so easy to get caught up in the big fights, in the supreme court, in the parties going against one another, in the negative ads, scandals and power plays but in the end, it’s all really about one person and one vote. Democracy is about voting, it’s about making your voice heard whatever it takes. As I watched people cast their ballots, I thought about those who had voted early and waited in the long lines to do so. I thought about those who are still disenfranchised because of a previous criminal conviction, or voter suppression measures in their state. I thought about everyone who died for everyone to have the right to vote.
All of which to say, if you can vote you should vote. In every election primary elections, special elections, not just the general election because putting that one ballot into the machine means everything. But also make sure that you put your ballot in the right way, because as someone who had to climb into the voting machine to release a ballot that got stuck it is very claustrophobic and dark. And if you can, become a poll worker. This experience was so interesting and rewarding for me. The satisfaction that I felt from registering people to vote, marking people’s number in the poll book, and double checking names in the poll book so that there were no discrepancies or fraud is something that felt so good and like nothing I had felt before.
At 8pm, the Chief announced, “Hear Ye, Hear Ye, the polls are now closed.” A couple of people were still inside voting as we began to take down the tables, and the barriers, and begin the paperwork that would need to be completed by the time we left. The poll books needed to be double and triple checked, the voters for each and every ballot assigned, the voter registration forms matched with the list of registered voters for the day. The ballots were all packed into bags, and all of the workers for the day, and the poll watchers for each party waiting for the Chief to announce the results from the voting machine. When all the write in votes were written down and categorized (just so you’re aware you have to write in a registered voter for it to count, anything fictional characters or dead people will be discontinued immediately) the day was finally over.
It was a long day, but at the end we could be sure that the votes we facilitated would be counted, and the voters we registered were able to vote for years to come. It’s pretty cool to think about the fact that the vote total from all 300 of the voters we saw got put into the county total and eventually the state total all the way up to the national popular vote. It is less than one year from now that I will be an eligible voter, and I am going to participate in democracy by working and voting. I will not just post my thoughts on instagram because I know now more than ever that there is work to be done to make a Democracy.
junior board forum
by Gabriella Hartlaub
It’s no secret that a lot of students have been struggling with the transition to virtual learning, and sometimes feel like they have no avenue to share their comments and concerns with their teachers. The Junior Board attempted to remedy this with a forum for junior students and staff held two weeks ago on November 4th. This event was planned to allow a conversation to happen between students and staff, and for students to propose solutions for issues that they are facing.
The idea came from the junior board members, who wanted there to be an open line of communication between students and staff. “We know that a lot of staff members are looking for student interaction on their lessons,” Vice President Jordyn Czyzewski said, “So we wanted to give the students a chance to give that feedback in an environment where they were less nervous.”
Before the event, students signed up to speak on a google from where they listed their area of concern and their name so that they could easily be called upon during the meeting. Overall, about ten students were able to speak to a panel of teachers that included Mr. Tillman, Ms. Briethbarth, Mr. Murphy, Ms. Jamieson and representing the administration, Ms. Sato. Going into the event, Junior Board President Daisy Kiekopher expected it, “to be hard to talk to everyone at first. Mental health is a topic that has had serious taboo for years. Only recently has it been acknowledged as a true problem in our community.” Student stress was a topic that was talked about multiple times, with both staff and students giving out solutions and support to try and remedy the epidemic of stress that students are feeling during virtual learning.
Student’s spoke about their own struggles with virtual learning, things that did and did not work for them, and offered solutions to the panel. Teachers also shared things they have been struggling with during this virtual semester, offering the floor to students to give suggestions for them as well.
When asked if she considered this event a success, Ms. Czyzewski said, “I think it was a success. We wanted students to be able to communicate with staff in an effective way which they did.” Ms. Kiekopher agreed adding, “I’m hoping this is the first step of many to help students and teachers adapt to digital learning.”
The junior board hopes to hold more events like this in the future, and possibly go into the holding board meetings that are open to the junior class to make their voices heard. “Virtual learning is not going to work unless everyone is in constant communication with each other," President of the Board, Daisy Kiekopher, said, “I believe we’re making progress in adapting effectively to digital learning. We have a long way to go, but if we want to support our students and value their mental health, we can’t stop looking for a solution.”
our voices matter
by Maria Patterson
As long as time, people felt as if their voices weren’t being heard. It is important to make sure we are all heard in order to have a strong community. To make sure that we all have a voice, we have to have a strong understanding of who we all are. We also have to show respect and let others know that we care. This series dives into the depths of unheard voices and why we should actively care about what others have to say. We will hear from strong leaders and the determined youth to create a more advanced knowledge of why we should listen and be there to support others.
We will provide voices by interviewing others and informing our community. Each Edition of the Husky Howler will have new voices spreading awareness. So make sure you are tuning in and continuing to read our articles. You may learn more about what others have to say, and if you speak out, you may even be featured in the upcoming articles!
The whole idea of this series is to make everyone feel that their voice matters, and that includes you. So, if you have anything you would like to get off of your chest, or just speak out about what is important to you, fill out the Google Form for others to hear your voice. Go to https://tinyurl.com/huskyvoicesmatter to have your opinions expressed. We hope to hear from you soon!
by Maria Patterson
On November 17, 2020 Reagan had it’s first Freshman Lunch of the 2020 school year. Around 60 Freshman participated and got to join in on the fun. Some people watched Anime, played Among Us, and participated in Kahoot. Of course this experience wouldn’t have happened without the Freshman Board and one member was so kind to speak out.
After interviewing Suheidy Montenegro Nevarez, a member from Freshman Board, we got to learn more about the behind the scenes and we got insight on someone who participated both in Freshman Board and Freshman Lunch. Suheidy worked with the Among Us group and had nothe=ing but good things to say. By participating, she got to meet new people and make friends just like other participants. The interactions were great and it was an awesome way to communicate with friends and classmates.
Suheidy joined the Freshman Board with the experience and interactions. She wanted to take part of this amazing opportunity and just wanted to participate. As this was a great way to communicate, this is a great way to meet your classmates. It’s hard making friends in a virtual world, so joining these lunches is the perfect way to meet new people.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the process of creating the lunches. According to Suheidy, the Freshman Lunch took about 1-2 weeks to devise. She said that after all the stress of putting together the lunch, it was nice to have fun. It was an exciting way to meet new classmates and see old friends.
If you would like to be a part of Freshman lunch, stay tuned because there may be one coming your way!