In C-Town’s Own Words: Boro Blowout

English teachers kick off opening ceremonies, singing “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Photo by Mireille Leone

 

Francine and Elizabeth Ollila compete together in the Sibling Contest. Photo by Mireille Leone

“[The opening ceremonies] were awesome! I was talking to my friends and was like ‘only at Carrboro would this happen.’ It was really cool. The pie-eating contest was crazy, and I did not think Ms. Montgomery was going to win. But she took it home.”

Gabby Adams, junior

 

The inflatables, stationed outside in the courtyard, were a hit among students. Photo by Gaby Alfieri

 

Lisa Rubenstein, English teacher, taught students to make guacamole during her sessions. Photo by Gaby Alfieri

“I think it’s going really well. I think the opening ceremony is a good way to get everyone hyped and get more people to participate in Boro Blowout, and everything this year is very organized. The students and advisors have worked really hard to make sure today goes seamlessly. It looks like everyone’s having fun, having safe fun, and I’m glad we are able to continue this tradition.”

Dr. LaVerne Mattocks, Principal

 

Students had the opportunity to participate in a variety of science experiments. Photo by Mireille Leone

“Today’s pretty fun and hype! A lot of people kind of underrated this before today, but I think it’s turned out great. And being dunked [in the dunk tank] is really fun. It’s a great way to cool off. Also, it’s super awesome to be able to meet new groups of people!”

Jenna Livers, freshman

 

Juniors Emily Joashi, Chad Osborne, Erin Johnson, Izzy Benson and Dorie Speer decorate and enjoy cupcakes. Photo by Gaby Alfieri

 

CHS prepares for Boro Blowout

Slip and slides, dunk tanks, soccer, food and tie-dye. For students, Boro Blowout on April 28 will provide a day to relieve stress and have fun with friends.

SGA has stationed representatives at tables in the Commons to aid with online sign-up for sessions during the day. Each session will be a 50-minute block, with time to change in between sessions.

Students can coordinate their sessions with friends or choose sessions with activities that best suit their interests; at Boro Blowout, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. For dance fans, there’s the so-called Dance Battle of the Decades, and students who would rather be outside can enjoy inflatables, soccer or ultimate frisbee.

“The dodgeball tournament is my favorite thing about Boro Blowout. It’s time when you see students getting competitive and really creative in forming their outfits to team names,” said SGA President-Elect Niya Fearrington. “I think it’s important for students and teachers because it’s a perfect opportunity for students and teachers to have a stress free day with no academics right before we prepare for finals.”

SGA and students alike look forward to Friday’s event, and those looking for more information about Boro Blowout can refer to social media outlets for CHS.

 

Where in the World?

A quick bit of advice; when one is looking for cheap flights, Google flights (https://www.google.com/flights/) is a very easy and quick way of checking out many destinations and dates of departures.  Many people also like to use Skyscanner (https://www.skyscanner.com/).

Interview with 2012 CHS Graduate Leah Berolzheimer

Q: What inspired you to take a GAP year?

A: A drive to better understand healthcare inequalities, a desire to learn more about the clinical aspects of healthcare delivery and a need for a break from formal education.

Who else (if anyone) do you know who has taken a GAP year?

I was one of seven fellows at UNC-Chapel Hill who took a gap year. So, I know those six others, plus a whole other network of those who took gap years at UNC called “Gappl.” However, graduating from Carrboro, I knew very few others who were also taking gap years.

Where did you go & what did you do while there?

A: Nairobi, Kenya (4 months); Accra, Ghana (2 weeks); Kara, Togo (3 months) and  Budapest, Hungary (1 month). In Nairobi I worked with a non-profit based in Chapel Hill called Carolina for Kibera (CFK). I had read the founder’s book, It Happened on The Way to War, and had begun interning regularly in their Chapel Hill office my senior year of high school. So, when offered the Global Gap Year Fellowship at UNC, I knew working in Kibera was on the top of my list. At CFK I spent one day per week at the Tabitha Medical Clinic assisting and observing in one of the nursing triages. The other days of the week I focused on community development work: I helped out with the girls soccer teams in the evenings, documented events on the weekends and helped out where I was needed during the other days of the week. Mid-December I traveled to Accra, Ghana to visit a dear high school friend, Vanessa. I spent two weeks of vacation, including Christmas and New Years with her family. Next, I crossed the border from Ghana to Togo and traveled to a small town in the far north called Kara. There I worked at an HIV/AIDS clinic and community center called Association Espoir pour Demain (translated to “hope for tomorrow”). I worked alongside the nurses there and also joined in on an IRB research project that was initiated by a local Peace Corps volunteer. We interviewed over 50 women about what their perceived (and actual) barriers to accessing health care were. Lastly, I spent one month in Budapest, Hungary working with a democratic youth organization. I visited public high schools all across Budapest and gave presentations on the benefits of public service and taking a gap year.

Kara, Togo, the rural village where Berolzheimer spent three months working at an HIV community center/clinic called Association Espoir Pour Demain

Where outside the U.S. have you visited, if anywhere, and for how long and in what context?

I traveled frequently as a child, but most recently, I have spent time in Israel on a Birthright trip (December ’15-January ’16), and in Myanmar and Thailand from May-July of 2016 completing my nursing practicum.

What was your budget?

I was awarded $7,500 by the Global Gap Year Fellowship at UNC-CH. I did my best to budget this as closely to that as possible, though traveling to several countries in Africa and Europe over the course of eight8 months made it difficult. I ended up spending only about $500 more than that amount, as I had a generous donor that gave me thousands of airlines miles which paid for two portions of my flights.

What did you hope to get out of the GAP year?

A: A break. Overcoming the challenge of living and traveling solo for eight months. French language immersion (Togo). Clarity on what I wanted to study once starting at UNC. A greater perspective. A chance to serve others, while also serving myself–validating my own needs to see new places, experience being a minority and learning how to live with and learn from people of backgrounds different than my own.

Did you get out of your GAP year what you hoped to and what did you gain, realize, etc that you did not anticipate?

Yes. I learned that you truly cannot plan or anticipate what will happen over the course of eight8 months. My gap year was really tough at times; it was in these moments though that I learned the most. I came back to UNC with a much wider perspective, a much greater appreciation for the salad bar at Rams Head Dining Hall, and a passion to study Nursing.  

What research or preparation did you do?

I had a weekend long orientation at UNC in which we had time to talk through our expectations and start searching for organizations. I did a lot of networking on my own and found that the best experiences were those that I had personal connections to, rather than ones I found through online research. I’d be happy to share my own connections that I have made with anyone interested!

What worries or concerns did you have about the GAP year?

Traveling as a solo female definitely made me cautious. I learned to take things day by day, or even minute by minute, and also learned to follow the advice of locals—–they truly were always right.

What advice would you give others who are contemplating taking a GAP year?

DO IT!

How did you integrate yourself into the local culture?

I think the first step to doing this was by traveling on my own, rather than in a group of other westerners. I stayed with host families in Kenya and rented out a small hut/house in a compound with other Togolese people while in Togo. I was open to eating almost any foods, tried tirelessly to learn the local languages and assumed the position as the learner, rather than the teacher, wherever I went.

What were your experiences of culture shock abroad?

My most extreme experiences were actually with reverse culture shock upon returning home! Though I was ready to come home when the time came, it was extremely difficult to pick back up with friends who had just completed their first year of college, to pick back up with my job as a summer camp counselor, and to move back in with my family after living on my own for so long.

Include anything I didn’t ask, but which you feel is important to know.

I continue to say that taking a gap year was the best decision I’ve made. This is a unique time in our lives—–taking a “gap year” after college is SO different. My gap year influenced what I study today at UNC, how I think about and approach each of my patients as a soon-to-be nurse, and how I consider the value of walking in someone else’s shoes before making assumptions. Thanks!

Feature image: The Fruitful Women cooperative (a makeshift school and foster center) in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya.  Photos courtesy John Hite.

Lunchtime Behind the Scenes

Cafeteria workers serve school lunches to over half of all schoolchildren in the U.S. Many students get their first and second meals of the day from the school cafeteria. But what goes on behind the scenes in the preparation of these lunches?

“Well first, we look at the production sheet,” said Carrboro cafeteria worker Misty Paisant. After noting the production sheet, the actual cooking process begins.

“If there’s any vegetables, wash the vegetables; after that, cut them up; then prepare them to go into the steamer,” said Paisant.

If necessary, whatever meat or entree is going with the vegetables is prepared in the pan.

“We either cook that ahead of time or cook it later on — it all depends on what it is; fish you cook later; lasagna or spaghetti, you bake it; chicken, you cook ahead of time — by the time lunchtime comes it’s coming out the oven,” said Paisant.

This process is completed in full everyday before serving the meals to much of the student population.

Paisant’s favorite part of the lunch preparation process is the cooking.

“I just love cooking — it’s just been a passion of mine since I was like six or seven years old,” said Paisant.

When she was younger she ate school lunches as well.

“They were great. The pizzas — flat, square pizzas — those were the best lunches,” said Paisant.

The pizza [we make] has actually gotten better — they look like Papa Johns pizzas, not just little square pizzas. So, they taste better and they look better,” said Paisant.

“My favorite lunch was the grilled cheese,” said Paisant’s cafeteria co-worker Cheryl Weaver. Now that she’s preparing them however, Weaver has a different favorite to make.

“Pizza. That’s what I do — I make pizza,” said Weaver.

Paisant’s favorite dish to prepare is Lasagna. “It’s complicated — there’s so many steps to it — but it comes out looking so pretty,” said Paisant.

These are the testimonies of just two of the many dedicated workers in CHS’ cafeteria.

Photo by Levi Hencke

Dear Jagwire Judy…

“How/why do you stay motivated senior year?” Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Honey, you deserve a congratulations. You’ve worked really hard over the last three and a half years; buy yourself a slice of cake and celebrate that.

Nevertheless, you are most certainly not allowed to give up. Keep your grades close to what they typically are. Even if you’re already accepted to college admissions committees CAN and WILL reconsider you if your grades drop significantly.

Make sure this doesn’t happen by setting clear goals. Tell yourself (or better, write down) the grade you need for each class this last quarter.

On a more positive note, try to find one thing each day to look forward to. Maybe it’s where you’re planning to go for lunch or the fact that you finally remembered to charge your phone. Similarly, you can end the day by listing the best two or three moments. This will boost your mood and give you reasons to keep showing up to school.

For the times you decide to do your homework, increase your productivity by keeping your study space clean. I know those piles of clothes are “part of your organization system,” but I find it impossible to concentrate if my room is a mess. At the very least clean your desk. You’ll be surprised at how less stressed and overwhelmed you feel.

Finally, instead of thinking about how long you’ve been here, think about how little time you have left. Not that there’s anything wrong with high school, but it’s a big world out there, and you’re so close to being a part of that!

Take care,

Jagwire Judy

“In class all anyone does is talk. It’s not actual conversations that bug me; it’s the little hum or murmur of all the small conversations that I cannot deal with. I can’t hear myself think or focus on anything, because the people around me won’t shut up. Help, please.” Can’t hear myself think

Dear Can’t,

The best thing to do is to eliminate unnecessary noise all together. If everyone is working on individual assignments your classroom should be very quiet. Sweetheart, it’s more than reasonable to nicely asking the people around you to quiet down if they are being too loud.

However, I can absolutely understand if this makes you uncomfortable. You can also talk to your teachers outside of class and tell them how this noise bothering you.

Unfortunately, sometimes there’s nothing we can do about those around us. Listening to music always helps me study in a noisy environment. Personally it’s easier to focus with classical music or jazz because I’m not distracted by the lyrics, but use whatever works for you. If this sounds helpful I recommend the Peaceful Piano playlist on Spotify. It’s gorgeous, dear.

Some people prefer white noise to music. If that’s you, Coffitivity is a fantastic site. There you can listen to background sounds from a variety coffee shops while you work.

Good luck, darling.

Take care,

Jagwire Judy

Candid Clubs: A Closer Look

Clubs represent an opportunity for students to meet with others who share common interests. CHS has an abundance of clubs for students to join, from service learning to other, more specific interests. Movie club is a new addition to the list this year.

Junior Max Smith is the president of the movie club. Smith has a strong interest for the process of filmmaking. Movie club mainly meets every Monday and Friday, to watch a movie, in Jeff Arthurs room (D115). Students create clubs to share their interests with others.

“I have always had a love for movies. It was always an idea to look at movies from a cultural part or analytical view of them,” Smith said.

Movie club offers students an opportunity to experience a variety of different films.

“It is a chance to take a break from the crazy school work and enjoy a good movie every once in awhile,” Smith said.

Students interested in taking a break from their busy days and wanting to watch a movie should drop by at any time.

Language for Youth is another club at CHS. This particular club works in collaboration with Culbreth Middle School. Students from CHS go to Culbreth Middle School on Tuesday mornings to work with their students interested in world languages. The club tutors students in four languages: Spanish, French, Latin and German.

Language for Youth offers middle school students an opportunity to explore languages they would not otherwise get exposure to. For example, German is not a language offered at the middle school.

Alexander Egersdoerfer is the primary German tutor, and he is a native German speaker.

German is a very personal language to me. When I hear it or speak it, I feel very much at home and certain words and phrases bring back memories from the times I am in Germany,” said Egersdoerfer.

“I am excited myself about sharing and communicating this language that is so important to me with others who it might be equally important to in the future.”

It is known speaking multiple languages allow people to more efficiently communicate with different people. Egersdoerfer attributes languages with a high level of importance in his life.

“It is said that learning, speaking, and thinking in different languages can “rewire” your brain and cause you to think differently and approach either social situations or conflicts differently,” said Egersdoerfer.

Clubs allow students to explore their many different interests with others. From movies to languages, there are choices for everyone. At the start of every year, students have the option to make their own club that is not yet a part of the choices.

Photo courtesy Max Smith

Better Prom, Bigger Prices

This year, prom tickets cost as much as $25 more individually and $45 for couples. The increase in price is meant to enable a better prom experience; however, it also raises a concern for some students about equity.

Prom, located at Chatham Mills — a rustic performing arts and event center in Pittsboro — will stand out from previous years. With hardwood floors, furniture from the 1920s and extravagant decorations, students will immerse themselves in the world of The Great Gatsby.

In response to complaints about raised prices, Junior Class Council, who is planning prom this year, emphasized that the problem exists beyond Carrboro. Tickets at Carrboro cost no more than those at other CHCCS high schools.

“We did the price based on other schools, and what we needed, plus all the recommendations from last year,” said Junior Class Council member Rachel McCown. “In order to make the improvements, it costs more money.”

CHS offers financial aid for students unable to afford a ticket. Additionally, April Crider, social worker at CHS, coordinates Cinderella’s Closet, which provides dresses, tuxes or shoes to students in need of financial assistance.

“I just feel like the prices this year are going to be really unaffordable for a lot of people,” said junior Niya Fearrington. “I think prom is a once in a lifetime type of experience that many people look forward to, and because of the raised ticket prices, many people won’t be able to have the opportunity.”

Despite this available aid, rising costs underline some of the bigger issues surrounding prom as a tradition.

“Equity has been, and will remain, a very large issue around a lot of societal institutions, school being one of those [institutions],” said Dr. Mattocks.

Moreover, she explained that the issues around inequity aren’t solely in ticket pricing.

“[Prom] really should cause us to question our values and what we believe it should be, and the pressure that we as a society put on parents and young people to expend those types of resources,” said Mattocks. “When in fact the things that really matter about prom are intangible.”

Some students have also voiced concerns over equity, saying that prom is not an event they feel welcome being a part of.

“There’s not a single student of color on the prom committee,” said junior Cameron Farrar. “And I’m not saying that’s anyone’s fault, but when that’s the culture that you see, you kind of fall in place and say ‘well obviously my voice does not matter and this event is not for me.’”

Farrar also worries about how equity concerns will affect the racial makeup of prom attendees.

“As a student of color, I will attend prom but under the notion knowing that I will be one of a few African American students there,”  said Farrar.

According to Junior Class Council President Mackenzie Cox,  the hardest part about planning prom is taking into account suggestions from the student body. “We have to think about everyone; you have to think about every single person and what they would want,” said Cox.

Fearrington agrees that planning prom is a complicated endeavor.

“I give kudos to the people planning prom because it is a hard process and you can’t please everyone, but I’m excited and I’m going,” said Fearrington.

Regardless of this year’s price difference, CHS hopes to move forward and make prom an accessible and fun experience for everyone.

Farrar took this idea further, offering concrete solutions to the equity issues surrounding prom. She suggested the SGA and Junior Class Council work together to raise money year-round to offset prom costs.

Mattocks is optimistic about prom, despite any unintended impacts of the price changes. “I think all is going to end well,” said Mattocks. “Maybe we come together and say ‘we want to have a prom where no one is excluded and no one has to ask anyone for anything.’”

Illustration by Katy Strong

Administrators: They're Students Too

Dr. Mattocks

After seven years of working on her dissertation, Principal Laverne Mattocks received her Doctorate in Leadership Perspectives on June 21, 2016. Due to this, Carrboro High School students have referred to her as “Dr. Mattocks” since extended grade professionals maker the start of the school year.

The process involved choosing a topic, researching it and then writing a paper. Dr. Mattocks did all of this work while maintaining her position as the principal of Carrboro High School, causing the process to take longer than it does for most written terrorism in soviet union sample essay.

“It mixes educational psychology with the laws behind what we call IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,” said Mattocks. “So, I wanted to look at the disproportionate placement of African American males in the disability categories.”

When she researched this issue of disproportionality, Mattocks found that the success of these schools came from the leaders of the schools believing they could make a difference and then acting on it. Mattocks believes that even acknowledging the problem of disproportionality can help to mitigate the problem in schools.

Mattocks found that the strong leaders, who believed they could change their school and had strong relationships with faculty and staff, were more successful in addressing the problem.

Although Dr. Mattocks worked on her dissertation while she serving as principal, she was sure that the writing process never distracted her from making CHS the best it can be.

“Other things did take a second seat because I wanted to do a really good job my first couple of years here, so I couldn’t work on it very much, I was always focused on Carrboro,” said Mattocks.

While she did not allow herself to work on her dissertation at CHS, Mattocks found that as long as she allotted her time properly, it was easy to avoid working on it at school.

“I wasn’t ever able to write here, because I couldn’t get in that frame of mind. Often I would go home, or on the weekends, as I said, to reflect on just the job, I often found inspiration to start writing” she said.

While Dr. Mattocks took a long time to complete her dissertation, she feels it has been worth it. Why? Because she believes there will always be students who need her and other teachers to push them to higher levels of learning.

Dr. Mattocks and Dr. Hawkins. Photo by Olivia Weigle

Dr. Hawkins

On January 24, Assistant Principal Spencer Hawkins successfully defended his dissertation on equity in school scheduling, earning him a Doctorate of Education this academic year. Receiving the degree involved a year’s worth of research, culminating in a presentation to a committee of academics and education professionals.

Hawkins’ research investigates which classes three high schools in North Carolina assign their highest quality teachers. He determined teacher ability by combining elements like years of experience and number of advanced degrees.

Although many factors affect educational outcomes, previous research indicates that the quantifiable measures he uses in his metric still have a clear impact on outcomes in schools. Further, this methodology makes his process replicable, possibly across larger districts.

Hawkins chose to study equity in scheduling because of the lack of scholarly research he found on the topic.

“I wanted to fill a hole, fill a gap,” Hawkins said. “I feel like I’ve done that.”

Moreover, the fact that no one, to Hawkin’s knowledge, has attempted research like this before means he could later turn his 278 page dissertation into a book.

Ultimately, Hawkins found that in certain departments of all three schools, higher-quality teachers disproportionately teach higher-level classes, like honors and advanced placement. White and financially advantaged students are overwhelmingly more likely to take these classes. Therefore, he argues, assigning teachers classes is an issue of racial and economic equity.

As the creator of Carrboro’s master schedule, Hawkins hopes to learn from his research. He is interested in gathering data on Carrboro teachers for the metrics determining teacher quality discussed in his dissertation. He also plans to share his dissertation with the schools he studied.

As the first college graduate in his family, Hawkins is proud of what he has accomplished.

Making of March Madness

At 11:30 pm on Monday, April 3, thousands of people poured onto Franklin Street in celebration over the UNC Men’s Basketball team’s win over Gonzaga in the NCAA National Championship Game. With a score of 65-71, the Tar Heels claimed their sixth national title.

In a tournament with match-ups between the top 68 collegiate basketball teams in the country, the NCAA tournament is better known as March Madness to many, including a majority of the CHS student body. According to a survey sample of CHS students, at least two-thirds of students followed the 2017 NCAA tournament in some form. 20.6 percent of students admitted complete devotion to making brackets and watching in angst as the unlikely team (Xavier) took down the favorite (Arizona). However, another 23.5 percent of students had no clue what March Madness even meant.

62.5 percent of CHS students correctly predicted UNC’s tournament success. A win over the Gonzaga Bulldogs meant redemption for the Heels after losing to Villanova by three points at the buzzer in 2016. Only 5.9 percent of students foresaw the Gonzaga Bulldogs’ first ever national championship appearance, and no student thought Gonzaga would be named 2017 National Champion.

The most common predictions for NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament winner after the Tar Heels were reigning champion Villanova and Duke. Both Villanova and Duke ended their championship hopes earlier than expected this year with respective losses to Wisconsin and South Carolina in the second round, shattering brackets all across the country.

.CHS students predicted which NCAA team they thought was going to win the tournament. 64.5% of them predicted it right. Photo courtesy Google Docs.

Although Duke’s meager performance in the NCAA disappointed many fans in the CHS community, the Duke and UNC Basketball programs have each earned one national title in the last three years, continuing their legacies of dominance in men’s basketball on the national stage. As Carrboro lies within a 14 mile radius of the both universities and basketball rivals, it is no mystery as to why many students make bets for the best bracket and sport the colors of their favorite team each year throughout the month of March.