Aiming for iron

Devoting countless hours to a school sport is a major commitment for any student— especially when paired with maintaining grades and friendships. Nevertheless, many CHS athletes have enrolled in school sports for all three seasons.

One of those dedicated “Iron Jags” is junior Gabby Adams. Juggling basketball, soccer and track, Adams has a lot on her plate. A balanced agenda becomes one of the most important things for any three-sport athlete, and it’s important not to get overbooked.

Keeping up with one sport, not to mention three, can be pretty tough at times. There are practices five times a week, games, less time for homework, sharing practice spaces with other teams and the stress of competition that can all take a toll on a student.

However, despite her busy schedule, Adams encourages all student-athletes to stick with the team, even when keeping up with sports gets difficult. School sports allow for students to make friends, have time outside of school to destress, and to get involved in extracurriculars. “It’ll definitely be worth it in the end,” she said.

Friends can make playing sports a lot more fun, too. A lot of Adams’ motivation to keep going comes from Coach Clanton and the seniors on her soccer team. “[The seniors] have been really nice,” said Adams.

She also finds that participating in multiple sports has its benefits. Adams feels a sense of commitment, which helps with life outside of school. “Players have to learn to multitask, and there’s a strong sense of community within the teams,” said Adams.

Naturally, many sport teams are known for the camaraderie between players, and nothing brings a team together like game day. Finally, all the hard work pays off. Everyone comes together to make it work, and a season’s worth of practice is put to use.

With all the hard work student-athletes are doing, they need to be able to relax and have fun, especially when getting into the game day mindset. At a school game, you might catch Adams listening to “The World’s Greatest” by R. Kelly to get ready for the match.

Despite the grind, school sports have a natural appeal. Whether it’s the camaraderie, the victory, or the workout, CHS students are very passionate about their teams—and three-sport athletes prove it.

 

Why AP classes don’t work

As I finish my last year at CHS, I want to address an issue that I first noticed in my seventh grade history class.

As we ended the year and turned in our textbooks, I noticed something. We had only gone through about three-fifths of our textbook, never even touching on Australia or Oceania.

When I asked my teacher, he said that he always cut some of the curriculum because it was too hard to push everyone through the class, especially since some students wouldn’t absorb the information.

In retrospect, I realize that this is why the AP/Honors/Standard system was invented, to make sure that people could learn how much they wanted to learn, without worrying about others slowing down or speeding up the pace of the class.

But the AP system no longer seems to be about learning.

The toxic environment around college competitiveness has shifted the focus of many high schoolers away from learning and towards seeming as competitive as possible, which harms all parties involved.

Some students who are not fully prepared for AP classes still take them. Yet, good teachers do their best to make every class, no matter the level, accessible to the majority of students in the class. This forces some teachers to slow down their curriculum or offer scaffolded instruction usually reserved for non-AP classes.

Unprepared students are in no way bad people, and they have legitimate reasons for taking AP classes.

In fact, in the current academic environment—one which values GPA rank and the appearance of “rigor” above all else—I would say that they are making the right decision by taking as many APs as possible.

In today’s hyper competitive college environment, it is nearly impossible to get into a good school without the extra GPA weighting provided by AP classes.

This pressure from colleges pushes many students into AP classes where they may not learn as much as they would in other classes more accessible to them. The culture around GPA weighting and AP classes leads to problems for both those who take AP classes and those who don’t.

There is another uncomfortable truth about the tracking system: students of color are underrepresented in AP classes.The reasons vary, but many say this is because they don’t see other people like them taking AP classes, and are not encouraged in the same way white students are.

In the same way, many white students don’t take honors or standard level classes, leading to a “token minority” situation in which statistically we are an integrated school, but in reality we are still segregated in many ways.

Although Carrboro does an excellent job of trying to increase class diversity, there are still many issues.

In most of my AP classes I see about 90 percent white students, which is disproportionate in relation to the makeup of our student body. And because of this it is hard for certain subsets of the student body to get the competitive education they deserve.

Unfortunately, there is no good solution to this problem.

The best solution I can personally think of would be to remove the GPA weighting from Honors and AP classes and to create some kind of portfolio assessment/evaluation. Whether it be a test, an evaluation of past class performances, an in person assessment of knowledge and experience, or some combination of these and other metrics.

This assessment would allow people to sign up for a class, and then be placed in either Standard, Honors or AP versions of the class based on where they will succeed.

Obviously this system has flaws. I have never met a single person who thought that any kind of test/metric was an accurate evaluation of a student’s skills.

This system prevents people from challenging themselves to a degree they choose. The problems and inequities of the AP system are numerous, complicated and deeply ingrained.

While this solution is not perfect, something must be done about the increasingly corrosive nature of AP classes.

Student Spotlight: Millie McGuire

Below is an interview with junior Millie McGuire. The JagWire has edited the interview for content and brevity. 

JagWire: When and why did you start singing?

Millie McGuire: I’ve been singing since I was a kid, and I’ve been doing musicals since sixth grade. I didn’t realize I was any good at it until high school when Marichi Gupta [who attended CHS from 2012 to 2015] told me to audition for Unnecessary Measures, and I was like, “Oh I might be good at this!”

JW: Who’s your inspiration? Who do you aspire to model your music after?

MM: I have lots of musical inspirations, but my main one is my girl Amy Winehouse. She just loves the music more than anything else in the world, and her voice is pure beauty.

JW: What are you working on now?

MM: I performed in the CHS musical, Cinderella, as the stepmother, and I’m in the co-ed a cappella group Unnecessary Measures. I am also working on making an album with Chris Stamey, a local music producer.

JW: What is your album going to be like?

MM: I’ll let you know when I know! I don’t know anything as of now. We are working on figuring out my style. I’ve never written original music, and that’s all Chris Stamey does, so figuring out what I want my music to sound like and what’s do-able is definitely going to be a learning process.

JW: You were on the radio this past winter, right? What was that all about?

MM: So, Chris Stamey had this idea to write a 1960s Manhattan radio play, called Occasional Shivers, about me and some other singers like Walker Harrison [who attended CHS from 2011 to 2015] living in New York and trying to make it in the music business. I recorded demos with him, performed on NPR, and he just brought me along for the ride.

Junior Millie McGuire hopes to pursue a career in the music industry. Photo by Mireille Leone

JW: Do you have any plans for your singing career?

MM: The plan is to study music during college because I can sing somewhat well, but I don’t really know a lot about music theory and stuff like that. So I think the plan is to learn and then go from there. Eventually, I hope to release my own music and albums.

JW: What’s your go-to song to sing?

MM: I’m thinking probably “Valerie” [by Amy Winehouse]. I don’t know though. I think I sound really good singing “Baby” by Justin Bieber, which is ridiculous, but it’s like right in my sweet spot.

JW: Where can we listen to your music?

MM: You can find me on YouTube or SoundCloud — just Google Millie McGuire. On SoundCloud, it’s just my name, and my website is in the works.

Have a special artistic talent? Does a friend? Be featured on the next edition of the JagWire! Email jmcline@students.chccs.k12.nc.us with an inquiry and have a chance to be the next star of the Student Spotlight!

Melissa Barry: Teacher of the Year

Recently, Carrboro awarded the Teacher of the Year title to Melissa Barry. In Barry’s sixth year teaching at CHS, she finds this award a true honor as it represents a place and profession that are both close to her heart.

Some spend all their lives searching for their true passion or calling in life. For Barry, she always knew she wanted to become a teacher.

“When I walked into my first day of preschool in the Bronx, I knew that [teaching] was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Barry.

Barry received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and went on to earn a Masters in Parent Education and Family Support from Wheelock College in Boston, MA. Her career in teaching began with early childhood education and elementary education, and Barry now finds her love for teaching in special education at CHS.

Melissa Barry, CHS Teacher of the Year, plays volleyball with her student, Samantha Mpozampirwe. Photo by Mireille Leone

In working at CHS, Barry most appreciates the sense of community. According to Barry, everyone possesses valuable qualities and skill sets, and Carrboro’s close-knit community provides the ability to nurture this sense of value through education.

“To me, that is what education is all about: the ability to foster a sense of com- munity,” said Barry.

In all professions and paths of life, people learn from role models or sources of inspiration that help shape their interests and who they become. Two of Barry’s most significant role models include her first grade teacher and her high school calculus teacher. To this day, she can recall their first and last names without hesitation, demonstrating the impact both teachers had on Barry as she pursued her passion in education.

“I was always attuned to the profession,” said Barry. “Along the way I have found people that inspire me and that I aspire to be more like.”

Barry loves that teaching is full of creative license with priceless opportunities to develop something new every day. In her six years at Carrboro, Barry has only repeated one lesson plan, truly maximizing her use of creativity in teaching curriculum.

With her accomplishments in teaching, Barry continues to work toward new goals to improve her teaching as well as the overall learning environment at CHS.

“I hope that I do a really good job of creating a classroom community where my students feel valued and respected,” said Barry. “I want to be able to translate that equally well with the staff in a way that they feel their visions and goals can be a force to shape our community.”

Dear rejected student

Dear High School Senior,

On December 14, 2016 I got rejected from my top choice for college. Out of all the universities in the country, I picked the one for me, and they didn’t want me.

This was hard to process for a number of reasons, especially since two of my friends had both gotten into their top schools. We had spent months freaking out and stalking every website with an ounce of information, willing the decisions to come. The same friends who I almost cried with when we heard that applications were at a record high, got in. But I didn’t.

When you find your school, it’s hard not to become obsessed and overwhelmed with anticipation. In doing my research, I found their course catalog online, and I toured the school, so I knew all about the school traditions and places to eat on campus. I followed their Instagram, Snapchat and checked the school paper every day. Lastly, I found the forum for early applicants, which became my safe place until decision day.

The night when decisions were released, I decided that I wasn’t going to check until I was safe in my bed. In an effort not to become more anxious, I had unfollowed them on Instagram, blocked the college forum and turned off email notifications. I didn’t want to know that the decisions had come until I was able to check. But I forgot Snapchat. I was scrolling through my stories when I saw “Congratulations Class of 2021!” and I knew that my decision was out.

After months of waiting, the time had finally come. I went to my student portal, and saw the words “An update to your status” staring back at me. I clicked on it and saw “The admission committee has concluded its evaluation of Early Decision applicants. I am sorry we are unable to offer you a place in the first-year class.”

All I remember about that night is crying. I told my dad and my sister, but I didn’t know how to function. I couldn’t accept that it wasn’t going to happen; I wasn’t going to the college of my dreams.

The next few days were hard. I broke the news to the rest of my friends and family, and learned to say I was fine, and fake a smile at the words “It’s the school’s loss” over and over again. December 14 is still as clear as day, but after that, things went back to normal.

Looking back, the quick return to normalcy surprises me because I thought I wouldn’t be happy anywhere else. As I started to hear other opinions, I learned that the school I thought was the only place for me simply wasn’t. The more I talked to people with connections there, the more I realized that I had talked it up so much in my head. My dream college was more of an unrealistic idea than a place where I could have actually studied and lived.

Your story won’t be exactly the same as mine, but looking back, I learned from personal experience that everything is going to be okay in the end. If you get rejected from a college, there will probably be a time where you think there are no other options, but I promise you, there are. You will find the right school, gap year program or the next steps in your life, and you’ll be happy.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I’ll be the first to admit; I still cringe a little when I see someone wearing the school’s sweatshirt, and I have a shirt of my own, still laying in the corner of my closet. The other day, I saw that their basketball team lost, and it made me smile just a little bit. I’ll always remember it as the school that didn’t want me even though to them, I’m just one more forgettable, rejected applicant.

But I’ve moved on. I haven’t found my place, but there’s one that’s right for me, and I’ll have experiences far better and more memorable than one bitter college rejection. Everyone of you will find your place, and I can’t wait to see where that is.

Sincerely, Maura Holt-Ling

Sorry, you can’t be what you want

The unintentional shaming of a person’s career choice is subtle. The frozen stares, the fake smile and the slow nod that so obviously wants to criticize you but refrains from saying a word.

These are the familiar expressions of those who don’t know how to react when I tell them I want to write for a living. These are the shared looks of judgement that most people who want to be elementary school teachers or truck drivers are oh-so familiar with.

It has become a societal norm to shake our heads when a person chooses not to pursue a job that doesn’t follow a highly ambitious path or the standard nine-to-five routine. And this condescension isn’t even just isolated to careers in the arts.

A bias has grown within us through the influence of mass media, that looks down on people who want to drive a dumpster truck, work in the public service industry or become a
stay at home parent. Why should a person’s career choice be up for any criticism?

But why don’t you want to do something more…safe? Like a doctor? Engineer? Lawyer?”

I thought about how I wanted to justify my choice to pursue screenwriting for a very long time. I thought about how I wanted to prove to people that I wouldn’t be in debt after college ― a lie; the average student loan debt is $30,000 regardless of major. I thought about how I would convince myself that this would be the right choice.

Should I switch to an economically stable career where I know I won’t have to bus tables or take up odd jobs to pay off my tuition? Should I ditch pen and paper and pursue a career where I still get to tell stories, argue and write, such as a lawyer, but get paid much more?

Illustration by Katy Strong

I want to write for SNL. I want to work on television and movie sets with a script in my hand and a pen behind my ear. Just because someone wants to write, or work with their hands and build cars from scratch, doesn’t make them any less educated or happy than someone who chooses to become a neurosurgeon.

You should not base your decisions off the opinions of others because, at the end of the day, you’re the one who is doing the work; you decide what you want to do in your life. Yes, I will be starting from the lowest tier of the industry, and no, I won’t have a six figure salary, but who is to say this is what truly matters?

There is no “right path” for me to take because I don’t know where my career will take me, and I don’t know why someone’s career choice should determine their worth.

But there’s one thing I do know: whether you choose an obscure art major or a law degree, you should do what you can see yourself loving twenty from now. And even if you don’t what direction to head in, move towards something that will pay you not only in fortune, but in fulfillment.

 

CHS Students Strive for Consensuality

This April, the CHS Women’s Rights Advocacy Club (WRA) will present the second annual presentations on rape culture and consent. The club intends to raise awareness about consent, especially for teenagers who may regard the topic with less severity and less information.

The presentations, which former co-presidents Jocelyn Buckley and Allie Walter created last year, provide information about rape and the importance of consent that goes beyond typical knowledge. The WRA will show the presentations again this year to both teachers and students.

The discussions focus mainly on the gray areas of consent. According to a 2015 Washington Post poll, there is still confusion surrounding the topic; the college-aged popualtion is roughly split on whether nodding or removing clothes signifies consent. They outline NC laws about consent in hopes that students will fully understand the legal limitations. Students don’t always have a clear idea of what constitutes consent. Many would also argue that in the digital age particularly, there is an emphasis on hookups and electronic relationships that can create uncertainty when it comes to boundaries.

Information taken from a 2015 Washington Post poll of college students.

The presentations for teachers will also focus on how to deal with the subject of rape or sexual assault in the classroom, as some students can be personally affected by the topic. The goal is to show teachers how to approach the topic of rape, and also how to react to students who may come to them to talk about their own experiences with sexual assault.

Sophomore Nina Neiswender is the president of the WRA. She views these presentations as an important step in educating consenuality and related issues.

“I think that [these presentations] are important because sometimes there are questions that people don’t know how to ask, or people are afraid to ask, and information can get easily skewed based on where it’s coming from,” said Neiswender.

According to her, the club members will specifically inform the students about sexual assault and how to navigate relationships safely and consensually.

“The purpose is to really make sure that everyone has a full understanding of the laws and what they can do to prevent sexual assault, and to make sure everyone is being responsible,” said Neiswender.

The club will show the presentations before prom, in late April, and during lunch in the auditorium. WRA club members encourage people to attend, citing the importance of spreading awareness about these serious issues. If you’re interested in what the club is doing and want to know more, club meetings are held Monday during lunch in Ms. Olsen’s room, or E118. Anyone is invited to join Carrboro’s WRA club.

A fantastic obsession

It’s a sport that nearly 60 million people in the U.S. and Canada take part in, yet it requires absolutely no physical activity. The involved costs range from thousands-of-dollars all the way to zero. And around 32 percent of teens in the U.S. are players (FTSA).

Fantasy sports have seen massive growth in the past few years, with the number of participants doubling from 2009 to 2015. At Carrboro, it’s become a favorite pastime across grades and genders.

Fantasy football the most popular of the fantasy sports. Junior Karl Naomi attributes
its success to the combination of football being such a massive sport—one that “millions of people watch every Sunday, Saturday and is high Friday too with school [football]”— with the monetary benefits and “pride against their friends” that winning a league can earn someone.

One phenomenon that the growth of fantasy sports has brought is an increased interest in the sports themselves. One survey by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association found that 64 percent of fantasy players watch more live sports and 61 percent read more about sports as a result of playing fantasy sports.

Photo courtesy www.beckett.com

Karl Naomi again comments, saying, “I’m definitely watching more intensely when fantasy’s involved.”

When it comes to the success of fantasy sports, sophomore Tommy Holt considers the cause to be slightly different. When asked why they’ve risen to such heights, he alluded to science. “ It is because of the competitive human nature.”

However, the various types of fantasy sports aren’t limited to football and basketball. Junior Sydney Mosteller describes how her “friends like to watch [The Bachelor] together, so we thought it would be fun to enter and compete against each other,” and how the group formed a fantasy Bachelor competition.

The group went all out on the punishment for league-loser Millie McGuire, as Mosteller describes: “Each of us goes to Walmart and picks one article of clothing that’s super ugly, and then [Millie] has to wear the combined outfit to school.”

Rewards, however, can make competing very appealing. After beating CHS junior Joe Zhang in the championship of their football league, Episcopal High School junior Connor Kocis won over 200 dollars.
Clearly, there’s a lot on the line. When it comes to fantasy sports, with their growing popularity they’re just one more activity that students balance in their busy lives—but also one of the most fun.

And with so many ways and reasons to compete, it’s a trend that will continue to grow.

 

Opinion: The price of success

You probably don’t associate your high school volleyball team with the wage gap in America. But high school sports, as well as club sports teams, have more to do with the wage gap than you think.

From Little League to the NBA to even the Olympics, sports create a sense of friendly competition and passion among players. However, not everyone gets the same opportunity to pursue that passion. Playing a sport, especially for a club team, is a privilege that some can’t afford.

According to the Capital Area Soccer League’s mission statement, their goal is, “To provide positive, high quality soccer opportunities at all levels of play for youth and their families and to serve as a valuable community partner.”

However, club sports teams are expensive and elite. Parents hope to refine their children’s skills, and make them the best they can be at their sport. Whether it’s CASL, TUSA, CHAVC or NCLA, clubs charge thousands of dollars to parents yearly. For example, one year in Chapel Hill Area Volleyball Club can range from $708-$3,836, depending on the team you’re on.

Many parents choose to start their kids in club teams at a young age – as early as three or four years old. Meanwhile, for children whose parents can’t afford the elite teams, they have to wait for school sports that allow them to play the sport they love, without additional costs.

Once teenagers enter high school, sports become an even bigger deal. With the right amount of talent, you could get a scholarship to a dream college and even continue to play professionally. The level of ability needed to play professionally can be given to you through club training. Club teams are able cultivate skill and guarantee a superior level of training, which also guarantees a better chance to gain scholarships.

These skills can be earned, but there are also those who don’t have the opportunity to develop the abilities because of factors such as money or geographical access.

No one should be refused the possibility to do what they love. The small differences between those who can and can’t pay have bigger consequences. According to CNN, white families typically earn more per year than minorities. This means that those who are paid more annually are also able to pay for extracurriculars and privileges like club teams. Those who have the club experience are more likely to get scholarships for their achievements and play professionally. This possibly lessens the diversity in the athletic community.

This racial gap stems from something greater than just club versus school teams. It’s possible that this separation is actually a result of the wage gap in America. People of color, women, and other minorities are usually paid less, resulting in little wage gaps all across our country. A man of color typically earns 65-75% of a white man’s hourly wage, according to a recent report by Time Magazine. One small can become the difference between those who can pay for a club sport and those who can’t. Not only is there already discrimination in the athletic world, but there is also under-representation of different races in different sports. In the U.S., the land of opportunities, this seems more than a little unfair.

In order for these club teams to comply with mission statements such as CASL’s, these high quality sports opportunities should be offered to all. Scholarships based on need or talent could be offered to different kids who have a passion for sports. Meanwhile, raising the minimum wage, paid leave, and non-discriminatory wages could target the racial wage gap on a larger scale.

Alt-right is all wrong

As more and more members of the so- called “alt-right” begin to emerge and gain positions of power, many skeptics are beginning to question where the line is between radical right-wing beliefs and neo-Nazism.

Because of Nazism’s negative connotation, modern day proponents have found a way to endorse their views without restrictions. The alt-right provides a cover for neo-Nazis to congregate, tyrannize and condition the views of others.

Merriam-Webster defines Nazism as “a member of a group espousing the programs and policies of Hitler’s Nazis.”

Blatant anti-Semitism, racism, nationalism, homophobia and ableism are just a few of the beliefs held and acted upon by Nazis and neo-Nazis alike. Anyone who actively shares the ideas of the Nazi movement could potentially be a neo-Nazi.

Because of the widespread usage and negative connotation of the term “neo-Nazi,” many people who would traditionally be placed in this category have found a way around the ugly reputation by joining the “alt-right.”

Affiliates of the alt-right have followed the group’s informal founder, Richard Spencer, in cleverly masking their prejudice as a legitimate political view by backing offensive statements with bureaucratic armor.

Although the title alt-right only emerged recently after Spencer coined the term, its sentiments date back centuries.

Spencer is well known as a white nationalist who has advocated for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” and ran a website that published an essay entitled “Is Black Genocide Right?”

Spencer has been filmed speaking at an alt-right rally, saying “heil Trump,” met with cheering and Nazi salutes from the crowd. Just as with any other organization, anyone who identifies with the alt-right is subsequently identifying with its founder’s ideas and actions.

Clearly, this particular organization was born from a place of hatred—as established in Spencer’s speeches and articles. To add insult to injury, people are falling for it.

Neo-Nazis are now able to excuse their ideologies by presenting them as political views, protecting them from the appropriate response and criticism.

With a political veil, it is more difficult for one’s ideas to be dismissed as pure bigotry or for actions to be punished as hate-crimes. Instead, neo-Nazis are being given platforms to spread their ideas to others without shame.

The spreading of these ideologies is having tangible effects on real people.

As we have seen with Trump’s administration, when members of the alt-right are elected, they are granted the power to create and alter policies and legislations.

These policy-makers have a great deal of influence over top officials, including our president.

A great example of these powerful “alt- right” influencers is the infamous Steve Bannon. Because of his position in the White House, we end up with even more discriminatory executive orders such as the maligned ban on travel from seven majority-muslim nations.

It is time to be honest about the ideologies informing the alt-right.