Sprucing up the lawn

Carrboro students are partnering with teachers and the community to take action and reforest their campus one tree at a time. AP Environmental Science teacher Stefan Klakovich has been working with Libby Thomas, Senior Research Associate at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, to accomplish this.

According to Thomas, the school’s builders cleared much of the original forest where CHS now stands.

“[I believe that] planting native trees will provide host food and nesting sites for birds,” said Thomas.

Not only do Klakovich and Thomas want to restore parts of the forest, but they want to increase biodiversity.

To do this, they are replacing patches of grass with native plants. “Grass is fine [depending on] where you use it, like I’ve said, but for the school no one ever uses it,” said Klakovich. “It’s got to be mowed at great expense. It provides nothing.”

The CHCCS district has been supportive of the project because replacing grass cuts mowing costs.

“The idea is to have three rows of trees. I think it’s thirty trees total. When we first plant them we’ll have them in strips,” said Klakovich.

In the past, there have been obstacles to landscaping the school, such as mowers running over young trees. The solution is to plant the trees in long rows. “[Then] the mower doesn’t have to change anything,” said Klakovich. “They’re just not going to mow that strip.”

Some details still need to be worked out, such as where the funding will come from, and who will take care of the trees. “All those things needed to be put together into a plan,” said Klakovich.

A few months ago, Thomas tried to address these issues in a plan that was approved by the district. According to Thomas, the funding would come from many sources, such as the PTA and the CHCCS district, but even with that help, the project is still short on funding.

The native trees will not require much upkeep, but the problem will be keep- ing the Bermuda grass out of the tree beds. “It’ll just cover the whole thing by coming over the edges,” said Klakovich. “That’s going to be a constant battle.”

Klakovich and Thomas hope to start a community service project where stu- dents will come bi-weekly to take care of the trees.

In order to explain her greater mission, Thomas relies on an Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago — the second best time is now.

However, she also has a message for students in particular. “We think you’re important and your environment is important, and if you don’t see it you won’t love it,” said Thomas.

By involving students Klakovich and Thomas hope to install a long term vision in the students and get them more active in their community.

Photo courtesy John Randall.

Swim Team Makes a Splash

After a successful season, ending with more than half the team going to regionals and states, the CHS swim team is preparing for another season of success. Victory won’t come as easily this year, however.
“I think this year will be a lot harder due to the lack of state swimmers, since some our best swimmers graduated last
year,” said assistant coach Eli Danson. “I definitely think we gained plenty of new talent this year.”
This year, the team has new swimmers in addition to the returning ones. “At first I was nervous about changing schools because I wasn’t sure if I would fit in, but the swim team has been really helpful because everyone is welcoming and made me feel like I was part of a family,” said Ian Ward, new swimmer and sophomore on the CHS swim team.
Senior captain Caleb Bollenbacher is taking on this challenge, leading the team through challenging practices and team bonding activities. “Ever since I joined, I never felt like the team was just a bunch of individuals, but more like a family. “Everybody working together and supporting each other,” said Bollenbacher.
On December 12, the entire swim team participated in an event called “Hour of Power.” This annual event occurs all around the country in honor of Ted Mullin, a swimmer who died of cancer in 2006, and who was a close friend of Coach Eli. The event is great practice for the team, and serves as a team bonding experience. It’s engineered to teach the swimmers about sportsmanship and competition.
The swimmers will have plenty of time until states to practice and become even closer as a team, and they are more determined than ever to carry on the team’s legacy to states.

History of Holiday Songs!

1-Let it snow

Sophomore Joe Kellys’ favorite holiday song, “Let it Snow”, was written by two musicians, Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. Longing for winter during a scorching Los Angeles July, the two sat down and wrote this classic in 1945.  Since then, it’s been adapted by many musicians, with the most famous being the 1962 Bing Crosby rendition. ¨The Bing Crosby version is the one I know and love,” Kelly said. Read More

UNC/Duke Rivalry Heats Up


With the college basketball season underway, CHS students are preparing for the inevitable rivalry that will peak on February 9th, when the Tar Heel team travels to Durham for the first rivalry game of the season.  Here are some views of CHS students who are basketball diehards, speaking on the rivalry and their team of choice.


Abby Seagroves

Where do your loyalties lie UNC or Duke?

  • UNC hands down

Opinions on Coach K?

  • I hate him. He looks like a rat, and it makes me so mad that he’s the coach of team USA. I mean, he’s a good coach, but I just hate Duke because they’re so ignorant.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done for the team?

  • Last spring break, we went to Texas on a normal trip. Then we came back for 36 hours, and went back to Texas for the Final Four. We flew on the plane with the team.

Do you think your loyalties are going to change when you go to college?

  • No, UNC hands down forever.

How do you think your parents would react if you went to Duke?

  • I think they would think it was a joke because I couldn’t get into Duke, but if I went to Duke I would be that one fan in the Cameron Crazies wearing all UNC gear.

Thoughts on the upcoming basketball season?

Well Duke lost last night [11/15 to Kansas], so that’s looking pretty good for UNC. Right now we’re 1 in 0, so I feel like we can go farther than we did with the championship, I feel like we can win this year.


Sarah Montross

Where do your loyalties lie UNC or Duke?

  • UNC 100 percent, I have no love for that place [Duke]

Opinions on Coach K?

  • Obviously he’s a good coach, because he coaches the olympic team, but I don’t really like that man, and his name is really hard to pronounce.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done for the team?

  • We don’t go crazy, we just yell a lot when we’re watching games. We will get very into it, but nothing insane.

Do you think your loyalties are going to change when you go to college?

  • No, because I want to go to college at UNC, so I will never like that place [Duke]

How do you think your parents would react if you went to Duke?

  • We’ve talked about it before, and they would be fine because it’s a great academic school, but it would be weird because I wouldn’t like the teams there.

Thoughts on the upcoming basketball season?

  • We have a lot of raw talent. I think with Brice [Johnson], Marcus [Paige], and Joel [James] gone we’re just gonna have to regroup, and we’re doing that now. I think it’ll be a good season because we’re ranked fifth right now, so I’m excited.


Tabian Sales

Where do your loyalties lie UNC or Duke?

  • Duke

Opinions on Roy Williams?

  • He’s a good coach, but I think he makes some decisions he shouldn’t make which sometimes cause UNC to lose.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done for the team?

  • I would say walking around Franklin with a Duke shirt on is pretty crazy

Do you think your loyalties are going to change when you go to college?

  • Probably not

How do you think your parents would react if you went to UNC?

  • Because it’s a good school, I don’t think they would be mad at me, but they’d definitely be surprised.

Thoughts on the upcoming basketball season?

  • Duke is definitely going to beat UNC, twice in a row, and if we happen to play a third time, we will beat them again too. Roy Williams is not a better coach than Coach K.


Jake Melville

Where do your loyalties lie?

  • Duke

Do you have any traditions associated with Duke?

  • I got my first Duke jersey when I was 12, and every Duke and UNC game I always wear that exact jersey, but lately, it’s been very small on me and I’ve still worn it.

Opinions on Roy Williams?

  • He’s a good coach and all, but I feel that Coach K is better and has more experience. No shade on Roy Williams because I think he’s done a great job with UNC.

Is your family all huge Duke fans?

  • No, my family is actually UNC fans.

How do you think your parents would react if you went to UNC?

  • They’d probably prefer if I went to UNC.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done for the team?

  • I would say I’ve made some very courageous bets on some Duke and UNC games that luckily went in my favor.

Do you think your loyalties are going to change when you go to college?

  • No, they won’t. Even if I go to UNC, I will definitely stay a Duke fan.

Thoughts on the upcoming basketball season?

  • I think Duke’s going to win the whole thing is year because I feel very comfortable with the freshman class that came in. I feel confident that we can definitely beat UNC both games.

Left to right: Tabian Sales, Sarah Montross, Abby Seagroves, and Jake Melville fight it out. Photo by Mireille Leone.

Cam’s Concussion Causes Controversy

Over the most recent NFL season, there have been an increasing number of concerns about concussions. Specifically, the NFL’s lack of a proper concussion protocol, and failure to properly protect their players. Early this season, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made headlines after players tackled him in multiple games in ways that both experts and fans believed the team should have been penalized for, but they weren’t. During the Panthers’ week 12 game against the Oakland Raiders, one of the players was finally called for “roughing the passer,” meaning that the player tackled Newton after the ball was released from his hands. This call was the first “roughing the passer” since 2014. The call was made, but not Newton missed three weeks earlier in the season due to a concussion from similar hits.

With so much news concerning concussions in professional football, footballs fans were left curious about concussion policies at the local level. As a high school, is Carrboro experiencing the same problems? How does CHS policy compare, and how effective is it at protecting players?

According to CHS Athletic Trainer Matt Dorn, North Carolina must conduct its concussion protocol in accordance with the Gfeller-Waller Law passed four years ago. “If anyone is suspected of having a concussion, whether it occurs during an athletic event, on campus or outside of school, then by law, there are certain requirements they have to do before they are allowed to participate in activities,” said Dorn..

These “requirements” begin with lots of paperwork, including a doctor-determined revised schedule for schools, based on what activities the athlete is allowed to do. This could include anything from allowing athletes returning from a concussion to enter school with only half days restricting computer time or giving the student extra time for assignments. Furthermore, students are often required to sit out from any physical education classes, and even on some occasions, band or chorus classes due to the risk of migraines in a course producing too much noise.

After receiving a date to return, athletes are not allowed to return to the field right away due to a five-day “return-to-play protocol” that all students must complete before returning to their sport.

“We’re just trying to do a little exercising and see if any of your symptoms come back,” said Dorn. Day one is walking for thirty minutes. Day two consists of twenty-five minutes of jogging, and some light weightlifting. Day three is running for twenty minutes and then heavier weights. Day four is a non-contact practice, and day five is when athletes can participate in a full practice. Additionally, the school contacts the doctor after day four, and an athlete’s parents after day five to make sure there are no problems. If any problems do arise throughout the week, it’s back to day three after another twenty-four hour waiting period.

Speaking on the difference between the NFL and high school football, “There’s not a huge difference, at least not in this state. The big difference is the resources that are available,” said Dorn. The largest differences come in terms of resources, noting that in college football, there’s a position called a concussion spotter. This position places a medical professional in the press box above the field, where they are able to observe players from a different point of view, and advise coaches and medical staff to remove a player from the game, if they believe that the player may have a concussion.

The concussion protocol in high school versus the collegiate and professional levels are also different, and Dorn mentioned two factors that may affect the protocol. The first of which, was the age of the players. At the high school level, students brains are still developing. “An adult can have a concussion and look like they just got off a 24 hour IDK and the next day be fine, whereas a child or adolescent may have a concussion where at worst they feel light headed and dizzy and that’s it, and they feel the same way two and a half weeks later,” said Dorn. In this way, it makes sense that the NFL doesn’t have the same five day return to play policy as high schools do, they only have to be cleared by the team doctor.

The second thing that comes into play at the collegiate and NFL levels is money. At those levels, a loss of a game can mean losing the team millions of dollars, not just a loss in terms of the season record. “At the high school level, our number one priority is our players safety,” said Dorn.  “I don’t care if we win as long as the kids are safe.” In contrast, he says “especially at the D1 collegiate level and the professional level, the amount of money that runs through those organizations really changes things.” Indicating that safety is not the only concern, and may not be the first.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is tackled by three Denver Broncos players in the season opener on September 8. Photo courtesy 9news.com

Third Time’s The Charm

The Lady Jaguars’ volleyball team defeated Maiden in the state championship at NCHSAA 2A Division match.

“It was a long time coming,” senior Christine Alcox said.

The game took place at the recently renovated Reynolds Coliseum at North Carolina State University.

The score of the championship game was 3-1 and the Jaguars won the first, second and last set against Maiden.

“One of my favorite two hours of my life,” senior Elizabeth Ollila said, describing the state championship game.

It started of with a head start for the Maiden team but Carrboro quickly recovered the crucial first set.

“We had gotten all of our nerves out and it was time to play hard” Ollila said, regarding the second set.

Despite winning the first two sets, the Maiden team took the third set.

The game finished up at the fourth set when Carrboro claimed the championship.

“We weren’t playing around anymore” Ollila said.

Although they finished with a perfect season with a record of 30-0, the season was not focused solely on winning States. They wanted to redeem themselves from the previous seasons.

“Everyone was focused on getting at least to state championship game” senior Christine Alcox said.

The win came as a result of a change of mindset from the team as a whole, following the two previous seasons ending at the final four stage.

Ollila accounted the triumph to the lack of a hierarchy on the team.

“[The coach] formed team bonding and made good coaching moves” Ollila said.

Seniors Elizabeth Ollila, Zoe Hurwitz, Grace Maggiore, Christine Alcox and Diana Alcox concluded their season, as they finish up their high school volleyball career.

The team comes together after winning a point. Photos courtesy News and Observer

Three seniors decided to extend their volleyball careers to play in college.

Maggiore committed to play at Franklin and Marshall College.

Christine and Diana Alcox committed to North Carolina Central University to play volleyball.

Feats of a Freshman Female Wrestler

Freshman Louise Monnet wastes no time in strapping on her wrestling gear the minute school is out, laughing and talking to her teammates as she does. She gets ready for practice with ease and excitement, putting the stress of school behind her while she focuses on her sport.

Monnet is passionate about wrestling and her enthusiasm is obvious: she is always willing to help pull out or put away the mats, and doesn’t give up despite being one of the smallest and youngest wrestlers, not to mention being the only girl on the team.

For Monnet, wrestling is a family tradition. Both of her older brothers wrestle, and so it was only natural for her to follow in their footsteps. She described how her love for wrestling stemmed from the influence of her brothers in an interview.

“I started wrestling in seventh grade, […] my second brother was on the team with me, introduced me to wrestling and I fell in love with it,” Monnet said.

Monnet said that wrestling helps her to become more confident around people, since she tends to keep to herself sometimes. “It introduced me into a whole new world, a whole new sport, [it was] awesome, it opened me up,” she said.

Monnet and her brother, Victor Monnet, also on the Carrboro team, often have to wrestle together. According to Monnet, this was because of a lack of people on the team due to other fall sports.

“I have to wrestle with him, [and] he’s a higher level than I am, intensity wise, so it’s kind of stressful because since I know the sport, but I’m still getting used to the high school way of wrestling, so I’m a little bit slower,” Monnet said in an interview.

As a freshman and the sole female member, Monnet possesses a unique perspective. “Being the only girl on the wrestling team is actually quite funny, because you kind of get to hear the boys’ mindsets, but also for me, I’ve always been comfortable around guys, growing up with them has made me more comfortable [so] it’s been fun,” she said.

Although the only girl on the team, Monnet doesn’t let her distinction become a negative aspect of competing. While her status on the team could have been considered controversial, Monnet said that she hasn’t faced many barriers or complications since she has joined the team.

“There were a couple people that were surprised about it, and some girls came up to me, [but] they were so supportive which was really great,” she said.

Monnet’s goals for her first high-school season are to become a starter on the team, and make it to the state championships.

The wrestling team has been practicing almost every day after school since early fall, however their first scrimmage was on November 5. The season will extend into 2017, with the state championships being held on February 18.

Photo by Levi Hencke

The Untold Story of International Students

Roughly 12 percent of CHS students are foreign-born, immigrants or refugees, according to Mr. Robinson. These students face an exceptionally stressful reality while having to adapt to a new country, but they also have to deal with the overly expensive and complicated college application process of the U.S.

Most people forget about the additional hurdles of applying as an international student, and schools overlook the fact that these students require extra guidance as they navigate an unfamiliar system.

As an international student myself, I’m constantly disappointed to find out that I’m not eligible to receive in-state tuition. If you think out-of-state tuition is expensive, imagine having to pay out-of-state for any college in state too. Even when I work so hard in school to go to my dream college, my decision will always come down to the money.

I dread the moment when I discover that I can’t apply to a great scholarship or program that would have been a good fit for me. Even the programs that I am eligible to apply for are complicated because they require additional financial documents to be submitted.

Without careful guidance, one could easily fill out a form incorrectly or miss a step that would sabotage one’s possibility to receive an important scholarship. For many of us, scholarship opportunities are limited, so we can’t afford to make a mistake that would delay, or worse, cancel our applications.

My parents are not familiar with the system in the U.S., and language is a barrier that has prevented them from getting as involved in the process as I need them to be. The feelings of stress and anxiety over applying to college aren’t healthy for a seventeen year old to deal with on their own.

Long conversations with other international students prove that I am not alone in the stress of having to independently figure out the college application process. Many of us agree that applying to college is only one step of a much more overwhelming process that includes battling for good financial aid, because international students have to pay out-of-state tuition everywhere, and changing our visas in order to study in this country.

As my fellow senior and friend Minsung Kim put it, “Our stress doesn’t go away when January rolls around and college applications are done – it just changes form.”

We are lucky to have very accessible and dedicated counselors at CHS, but with all these obstacles, the school should create targeted support groups for international students, refugees, first generation students, and other minority groups to help us achieve the higher education we want.

This year, I am a part of NC Scholars’ Latino Initiative, a mentoring program that guides Latinx youth throughout their high school years. NC SLI pairs UNC Chapel Hill students with high school student to work one-on-one on applications.

NC SLI has equipped me with the tools to take charge of my future, and it has been a strong support system that I have relied on to get through an overwhelming couple of months. It is crucial that we create more programs like this one at CHS, because every hard working and ambitious student deserves an equal opportunity to reach their goals.

I cannot thank my counselor, Mr Turner, and NC SLI enough for their guidance. But the college application process is still not over, and it’s not too late to help each other out. Whether it’s reading over a friend’s essay or referring them to a mentor program, we need to be there for each other throughout these frustrating, yet exciting, times!


For more information on NC SLI:


sli@unc.edu | +1 919 962 6313 tel

Why I’m Leaving CHS

Among the many valedictorians living off instant coffee and the constant pressure that you may never achieve your dreams because of a three digit number, it’s easy to forget that you have other options besides living just to work yourself to death.

Last year, I realized that spending an average of nine hours per day in an artificially-lit building didn’t make me happy. I loved being outside, but I didn’t have time for it.

Between my school assignments, theatre commitments and basic human obligations (sleeping, eating, showering), I had few moments where I felt like I didn’t have anything I should be doing. I was stressed. I was sad. But honestly, I wasn’t the only person fed up with the monotony of my current school experience.

I am lucky to attend CHS—one of the best public schools in the state. However, like all public schools, it has institutionalized issues: cramped bell schedules, large teacher-to-student ratios, and students struggling to find their niche. Most students manage to bite their tongue, make it through four years, and then move on to do the things they actually wanted to spend their time on.

I started to think something was wrong with me. The daily routine of things that I didn’t even enjoy started to drive me crazy. Why do I have to spend four years of my life stuck in a perpetual groundhog day?

The truth is, I didn’t. So I decided to apply to the Outdoor Academy, located in the mountains of North Carolina. I did it to mix things up, experience something new, and more importantly, to do something I was afraid of.

The thought of waking up every morning to a mountaintop sunrise started to become less of a pipe-dream and more of a quickly-approaching reality. I was thrilled to be in smaller, more specialized classes with an environmental focus.

Admittedly, the reality of spending four months with “the world being my classroom” (as advertised) was incredibly daunting, but the problem with my life in public school is that I wasn’t doing anything that scared me. Honestly, what scared me probably more than anything else was the idea of not doing what everyone else was doing.

The typical high school culture creates mountains out of molehills instead of actually just climbing the mountains. We place value on numbers and scores and grades and not on real, genuine experiences.

Public school is not for everyone, and the simple truth is this: just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it is the best option. Non-traditional types of schooling may be better for certain students. Don’t push yourself to settle for something that may not be for you.

If you’re tired of worrying about the molehills, it might be time to find your mountain.

How the Economy Sends us to School

We spend around 2,400 days of our lives in this system, and we have no say in those days. Seven hours a day, 185 days of the year, we are in the same building. But the people spending these seven hours aren’t the ones deciding the timing of them—businesses make these decisions for us. What I’m talking about is how our N.C. yearly school schedule reflects more the interests of the tourism industry rather than the those of the students.

Every year for three months, most of the under-18-year-old portion of the U.S. population (around 22.9%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau) becomes completely unoccupied and ripe-for-the-taking by the American tourism industry. During these summer months, most Carrboro families take trips to visit family in other states, see new places or just hang out at the beach. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work.

By creating this massive market for commercial America, our public school schedules—and, by extension, those of most private/charter schools—have become part of a carefully crafted system that provides business owners around the country with a massive and dependable source of income. Are we as a state really okay with our public schools being scheduled by business owners? Beyond that, our current schedule gives students only three minutes between classes, which gives the school day a nonstop feeling that can be overly stressful to students.

However, it doesn’t need to be this way. There’s a better school schedule; one that would give students more structure and make the year feel more spaced out. That schedule is simple: nine weeks on, two weeks off, for four quarters—and then a full four week break between each grade year. This satisfies both the district’s 185-day-per-year requirement, while still making the sub-18-year-old population available for commercial exploitation for a full month out of the year.

The benefits don’t stop there. With a full two weeks between each quarter, school becomes more structured, and student stress goes down thanks to the consistent and extended break time. Families will also still find it easy to take their yearly vacation, and may even find that crowds are smaller if they go to Disneyland during the two-week winter break instead of during the spring or summer.

But this still isn’t the perfect system. The second component of a perfect school schedule is equally as simple though: block schedules. Not only do block schedules allow students to have a more meaningful amount of class time everyday, but the 90 minute classes allow a standard course to be completed in one semester—meaning that students can take eight courses per year. Add that up and you can satisfy your 22-credit graduation requirement within just three years of high school. This in turn allows for more flexibility in class scheduling and creates more time in students’ schedules for extracurriculars and career development.

A combination of a four-class per-day block schedule and nine weeks on, four weeks off, would benefit students, teachers and parents, as well as continue to sustain the U.S. commercial machine. It is absolutely nonsensical for our education system to remain in its current state, which creates stressed students and is commercially-controlled; it’s up to us students to push change in that system.