Focusing on Schoolwork? There’s an App for That

Using your phone during school may not be typically associated with academic success, but these apps are here to change that. Here are four apps that some teachers and students are using to stay focused and succeed.

Pocket Points

Photo courtesy App Store

Have you ever wanted a reward for not being on your phone during class? With the app Pocket Points, you can get rewarded with free food and sales on local and chain businesses for simply not being on your phone. Pocket Points is an app created to keep students off their phone during class hours. It’s available for almost all touch screen phones and has four simple steps. Download the app, make an account, choose your school and turn your phone screen off. Every hour that you’re off your phone, you earn two points which can easily start adding up with the option of gaining 14 points per day.

Offtime

Photo courtesy Google Store Play

Unlike the app Pocket Points, Offtime doesn’t force you completely off your electronics, but it does filter what you can and can’t see. With this app, available for phones and computers, you can filter notifications from friends and social media apps that could be distracting while working. This allows you to work distraction free, or just stop you from occasionally glancing at your phone when you’re with family or friends. Offtime also tracks what apps you spend most of your time on and how often you’re on your phone. This app is currently only available for iOS and An- droid users.

FlipD

Photo courtesy Google Play Store

If you have a hard time separating yourself from your phone, FlipD is the app for you. It’s a more aggressive approach to going off the grid. Flipd lets you lock your phone for a certain period of time, and once you set the lock time there’s no going back. Even restarting your phone won’t disable the app, so it’s impossible for you to cheat. Another feature that’s helpful is that other users can shut off your phone. This could help during group projects to make sure teammates are focused. FlipD is currently only available for Android users.

Moment

Photo courtesy PacMac

Moment isn’t as extreme as other apps, however it’s still very effective. Moment is a new iOS app that allows you to track your device usage and lets you set daily limits of screen time. If having a self timer with an alert isn’t enough, you can also use a setting that “forces” you off the app by sending repetitive alerts telling you that you’ve gone over screen time. These continuous alerts encourage users to turn off their phone and get back to life.

Soccer in the courtyard: a CHS community

Students duck as a soccer ball flies overhead and soars through the air, hitting the courtyard wall with a thud. Friendly faces run forth to grab the ball and continue their game as they sprint across the field in a friendly competition built on a tradition only founded a few years prior. But from the outside looking in, the average student wouldn’t see the sense of camaraderie among the teammates.

Senior Jefferson Castaneda has been playing soccer since age four and is a founding member of the group that has grown to become a staple of Carrboro’s lunchtime. According to Castenada, he and a group of friends started the tradition his freshman year.

“We were bored,” said Castaneda. “We can interact with more people while playing soccer, and it’s fun. I came from a different school, so this helped me make new friends. We love soccer.”

In addition to pursuing an athletic interest, cultivating friendships seems to be a key reason behind a student’s choice to regularly participate in games. According to junior Raul Salazar, playing soccer has allowed most of the students’ social circles to expand as a result of meeting the other players.

“You start out with a couple of friends,” said Salazar. “But then, as you meet everyone else, you just become one big group of friends.”

Salazar has been part of the group of players since his freshman year at CHS, and with the guidance of some close friends, was quickly accepted into the group and began playing everyday.

“This is for everybody,” said Castaneda, expressing the openness towards anyone with an interest.

At CHS, a school with championship titles for soccer and a plethora of student athletes from around the community, many choose not to participate; some eat their lunches from afar while others take part in different sports.

Students gather in the courtyard to play soccer. Photo by Levi Hencke

“I haven’t [played with them] just because I don’t wear the right clothes,” said freshman Brynn Holt-Ling when asked if she ever plays. “If I weren’t lazy, [I would].”

Frae Day Moo, a junior, expressed similar concerns. He and his friends would prefer not to dirty their clothes before class, and Moo feels that there are already enough participants. But the courtyard players don’t seem to care; as Salazar sees it, people want to be with their friends.

Whether or not they join in the games, Carrboro students and staff are accustomed to seeing the players in the courtyard the moment the lunch bell rings. As students rush to claim lunch tables, the players rush onto the grass fields, immediately setting up goals with backpacks and jackets. Custodian Cliff Copeland, who often spends lunchtime outside, sees the games every day.

“It could be raining, and they’re kicking the ball because that’s what they like,” said Copeland.

It is hard for spectators like Copeland to imagine the group straying far from the soccer ball, and it is similarly hard for many of the players. Many current participants, including Salazar and many underclassmen, joined the group within their first days at school and have found a home.

“I started playing with them since the start of school, but now I don’t play that much with them because I think they’re aggressive, and they kick hard,” said freshman Joshua Molina. “But if someone wants to play, they can just get in and that’s it.”

For many students like Castaneda, Molina and Salazar, playing every day is more than a means of pursuing a hobby; it is an outlet from school. Soccer has become a new source of stress relief from tests, homework and even a way to avoid the cold temperatures in the building. Above all, soccer is a source of human connection, joy and friendship.

Spring and Summers Select Shows

One the favorite past times among CHS students is going to concerts in the spring and summer days. Whether it be a more intimate concert in the Cat’s Cradle, or a sellout show in a large venue, CHS students know how to appreciate good music. Here are some of the best and most popular acts heading our way in these warmer months.

The Chainsmokers, The PNC Arena
May 24

The Chainsmokers exploded into the top 40 scene this past year, but their concerts feature more EDM and electronic than their pop songs played on the radio. With hit songs such as “Paris” and “ROSES” The Chainsmokers will perform at PNC Arena on May 24.

Glass Animals, Red Hat
June 6

Glass Animals’ unique sound emanates a calm, relaxing vibe. After releasing their sophomore album How To Be a Human Being, Glass Animals are going on a North American tour. The band has performed at music festivals like Glastonbury Music Festival, and will participate in Bonnaroo this June.

Chance the Rapper, Greensboro
June 7

For Chance the Rapper, one tour was not enough after releasing his Coloring Book album. After success from his first official album, Chance the Rapper is now coming to NC for the second time in one year.

J. Cole will perform in NC on June 18. Photo courtesy Live Nation

J. Cole, Cone Denim Entertainment Center
June 18

North Carolina native J. Cole is seen around the triangle all the time, whether it’s at the mall or at UNC vs. Duke basketball games. On June 18, J. Cole will be performing in his home state. J. Cole’s world tour for his new album 4 Your Eyez Only will be overflowing with people this summer.

Sam Hunt, Walnut Creek
July 28

Even if you don’t like country music, there is nothing like going to an outdoor country concert in the middle of the summer. Sam Hunt’s “15 in a 30” tour summer concert would be the perfect occasion to let loose and have fun this summer! With hits like “House Party” and “Break Up In A Small Town” this concert will be great to go to with your friends, dance and have a good time.

John Mayer, Walnut Creek
August 16

John Mayer is known for being one of the most talented guitar players in recent years. From my own experience, seeing John Mayer perform live is euphoric. Although he is a one man band, his soothing sound never fails to captivate his audience.

John Mayer will be at Walnut Creek Amphitheater on August 16. Photo courtesy Live Nation

Threading CHS’ Shows: Behind the Scenes

The costume designers in the spring production of Cinderella, including seniors Aria Margulies, Grace Schneider and Jewel Thompson, worked hard behind the scenes. Their expertise in sewing and costume design reaches far beyond the theatrical stage, however.

According to Thompson, the seniors’ interests in costume design and piecing together outfits sparked during sophomore year when the three made costumes in honor of the Avengers for fun.

As part of this year’s costume design team, Margulies, Schneider and Thompson converted donated prom dresses into Victorian-style ball gowns to fit the setting of Cinderella. The process of making each gown for the play began with a base fabric before being fit to a model. After envisioning a unique design for the costume, costume designers sewed on different fabrics to alter the style of the dresses. The final step in the process of costume design involved adding embellishments such as ribbons and bows.

Thompson discovered her interest in fashion and clothing design while baking a cake. She wanted to design an outfit for a character that would serve as a cake-topper, inspiring Thompson’s love for fashion design that she continues to pursue as a hobby. Currently, Thompson most enjoys making skirts and using bold color schemes in her design patterns.

Margulies, who served as assis- tant designer for Cinderella, has always loved princess-style dresses. Although she described her first attempt at sewing as terrible, Margulies improved by making countless different items, including her own dress for the CHS Snowball dance. She spends her time working on different sewing projects, especially historical costuming. Currently, Margulies most enjoys making corsets.

Cinderella marks Margulies’ fourth production working with costume design at CHS. While she’s had experience working for the costume department before, Margulies hadn’t ever tackled a project this big.

Margulies was tasked with designing a dress that would transform from a drab servants’ dress into a beautiful dress, fit for a ball.

“Cinderella’s dress is the biggest thing I’ve ever worked on since it’s going to transform on stage,” said Margulies.

For it to work, Margulies had to create patterns derived from ideas put together from a myriad of instructional youtube videos.

Schneider learned how to sew at a young age, around the same time she learned to do other household tasks such as cooking. Since then, she continued to sew and contributed her talents and knowledge to help out with Carrboro theater productions. Schneider helped with more than just sewing for Cinderella by picking out materials that go into other costumes, like the horses’ heads.

“It’s something I enjoy doing,” said Schneider about costuming.

All three CHS seniors plan to pursue their love for sewing and costume design after high school, either as a career or a hobby.

SGA Election Goes Into Second Round of Voting

Carrboro students voted today for candidates to represent them in the Student Government Association (SGA) next academic year. After counting votes, the SGA announced that the positions of Student Body President and Treasurer are still up in the air.

To win, a candidate had to garner the majority, not just plurality, of the votes. But candidates only achieved majority votes for a few of the positions: vice president and secretary. Students can re-vote for the remaining two positions tomorrow, this time choosing between the top two candidates in both categories.  SGA will announce the winners of all positions on April 28.

Mr. Schendt announces a secondary voting round on his Twitter page. Photo courtesy @SchendtCHS

Niya Fearrington and Joe Zhang will be the two choices for President, and Cameron Farrar and Ojas Patwardhan are the two finalists for Treasurer.

All four candidates learned of tomorrow’s run-off at the end of the school day. For Zhang, who had a lacrosse game after school, the afternoon was a rush; it involved coordinating a time to meet with Mr. Schendt, hearing the results and then quickly sprinting back to his team. Regardless of the circumstances under which they learned of the secondary voting, all express their gratitude for voters.

The election process isn’t over; the candidates have taken to Instagram over the past few days to encourage voter participation.

I have made it to the secondary elections, and it is essential that you don’t forget to vote for your candidates of choice at this stage in the election,” said Patwardhan via Instagram earlier today.

Going into tomorrow’s final round of voting, all four students praise the other candidates’ efforts. They also acknowledge the role of the school community in helping them run their campaigns. 

“Campaigning is definitely not a one-man job,” said Zhang. “It’s hard work, and it’s a group effort.”

 

Nom Nom Novels

Carrboro’s seventh annual Edible Books Contest took place on Thursday, April 13 in the library. The contest was a part of the National Library Week celebration, which also included activities like book spine poetry — poetry created by stacking books and then reading their titles.

Thursday’s competition included nearly thirty entries. Some were literal — often comical — representations of a book’s title while others depicted important scenes from the story or cover like the mockingjay symbol from The Hunger Games.

Many “books” were made out of cake, but other edible materials included cupcakes, gingerbread, cookies, donuts and pretzels.

Students voted throughout the morning for their favorites entries. Winners Anna O’Connell and Soe Moo each received $25 gift cards to Open Eye Cafe and Al’s Burger Shack respectively.

Anna O’Connell’s entry for the book Bunny Suicides won first place in the teacher category.

An entry by Soe Moo which won first place in the student category.

Librarian Kara Watson started the edible books contest when she came to Carrboro in 2010. She explained that the contest allows students to embrace the joy of reading.

“It’s an opportunity for kids and teachers to be creative and to express how they feel about a book. It’s meant to purely be fun,” said Watson.

In the end, Watson was grateful to Carrboro for making the contest a success.

“It’s a fun way to celebrate what the library does for students and what the students do for the library. It’s a relationship that goes both ways,” Watson said.

Feature photo: A entry representing Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist. Photos by Hope Anderson

Bouncing Bulldogs establish world’s first jump rope gym

On April 8, the Bouncing Bulldogs Jump Rope Team will jump to new heights with the opening of a new gym. The new Bouncing Bulldogs Community Center (BBCC), located off of Old Chapel Hill Road, will serve as the first building in the world built specifically for jump roping.

The new gym will allow the team to accommodate more jumpers and aid the expansion of programs for preschoolers, children with special needs and adults.

Glimpse at the new community center.
Photo courtesy Bouncing Bulldogs

According to Head Coach Ray Fredrick Jr., “the BBCC will belong to the community, and it will be a place where all boys and girls in the community can come and develop their physical, social, emotional and academic standards.”

The Bouncing Bulldogs program, founded in 1986 by Fredrick at Hope Valley Elementary School as a club of 15 jumpers, now includes a competitive team of 160 boys and girls and serves hundreds more in the community through classes, camps, performances and outreach programs.

As the team has grown over the years, the need for a larger facility arose. Starting in 2011, the Bulldogs began to raise money for a gym of their own after years of practicing in dance studios, school gyms and shopping centers.

“There’s 4,000 jump rope teams in the world, and most are school based or practice at a recreational facility, and they pay rent,” said Fredrick. “[The BBCC is] historic because it will be the first gym just for jump roping ever built in the world.”

Currently, the team has generated a pledge of $1 million towards the BBCC. According to Fredrick, the capital campaign process required years of patience and teamwork.

“I think the Bouncing Bulldogs community has really supported this,” said team co-captain Brooke Bauman. “The mission statement of the program is to help kids grow emotionally and socially and to encourage jump rope for fun and fitness. I think this new building is going to help us reach that goal.”

Members of the Bouncing Bulldogs. Photo courtesy Anna Reeb and the Bouncing Bulldogs

The BBCC ribbon cutting ceremony will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 8 and is open to all members of the community. “This gym would not have been built without the support of the entire Chapel Hill community,” said Fredrick. “We’re going to work as hard as we can to make the community proud.”