Meet Ms. Jackson

Every time students walk through the front office, Barbara Jackson, the new receptionist, welcomes them. Some may recognize her as an assistant teacher from Mary Scroggs Elementary.

Jackson moved a couple years ago due to her husband’s job but is now back in the CHCCS School system. She loves the friendliness and professionalism of the staff, teachers and students. She’s the type to keep busy and loves her new job as a receptionist.

“It’s a real homey environment; it kind of hugs you,” said Jackson. “You can tell how much the teachers and the staff here care about the kids.”

She hopes students feel welcome when they walk into the school and that she’s doing her job well.

“I want the kids to feel like they can just come in and not be afraid to talk, and if they’re late, I don’t want them to feel funny,” said Jackson.

As much as she loves her current days as a receptionist, she isn’t used to sitting down all day. An active person, she will have to adjust to her new relatively sedentary job.

She loves to take long walks with her dogs and go to the gym. When she isn’t spending her time outdoors, she likes to spend time with her three sons and enjoys scrapbooking and watching movies. Jackson hopes to continue to help students in the years to come.

Not-So-Wonderous Woman

With likeable characters, fast-paced action and a strong female lead, Wonder Woman is a blockbuster that charmed many; however, it shot itself in the foot by incorporating one-dimensional villains and an amazingly uninspired ending.

It had the right idea, and came so close to being a superhero movie with a deeper meaning; however, for some inconceivable  reason, the writers decided to turn back on their own established message with a disappointingly blasé ending.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, played their roles with real charm and synergy, weaving an endearing and believable love story into the plot. Their interactions felt genuine, with quippy dialogue and solid acting that brought a spark to the large screen.

As for the action, it never left me wanting. Other action movies rely on filling the screen with chaos to replace real choreography, but Wonder Woman’s choreography and general action scenes were well-done and purely entertaining. Some slow motion shots captured the action perfectly, enhancing it effectively. There was a fight at the beginning of the movie, where the Amazonians clashed with invading German troops; despite having the disadvantage of inferior weapons, the women managed to overcome their enemies with bow & arrows, swords and a whole lot of airborne combat. This action sequence immediately set the standard for the rest of the movie’s entertaining conflict.

The romance and action parts of Wonder Woman worked well, but unfortunately, the villains and end scene did not.

Two of the main villains in Wonder Woman are Erich Ludendorff, an Evil Army Guy who killed people because he was evil, and Doctor Poison, a doctor who killed people with poison. Both of these villains were unintentionally hilarious, as they likely couldn’t have gotten any more stereotypically nefarious.

Doctor Poison was especially horrible in that regard, perfectly playing the role of the psychopathic mad scientist. She was likely not written in with originality in mind. In one of her first scenes, she is shown graphically murdering a human test subject, cackling evilly whilst doing so. Her character just seems so one-dimensional, like she’s there just to fill a role and carry the plot along, not to add more depth to it.

At the end of the move, Ares — the God of War, and Wonder Woman’s arch nemesis — is revealed to be Sir Patrick Morgan, an ally of Wonder Woman. This twist both did and did not surprise me. I didn’t expect Ludendorff to be Ares, and I did not expect Sir Patrick Morgan to be Ares either, because I didn’t think Ares was going to exist at all.

The whole point of the movie was that Ares was not causing the war, as Wonder Woman had been told, but that it was the darkness within humans that caused them to commit atrocities. Wonder Woman wasn’t meant to have an epic fight against Ares at the end because the issue was with humanity itself, something that couldn’t be resolved by defeating the God of War.

I watched the entire movie with the expectation that Ares was going to be a metaphor for the corruption in humanity, but I was disappointed when it turned out Ares was this random British politician.

Wonder Woman fights Ares in an amazingly epic battle with a plethora of explosions and CGI, and naturally our heroine comes out on top. With Ares defeated, dark clouds disperse, light shines down from above, and the Nazis stand and look around with a newfound wonder for life shining in their eyes.

The movie contradicts the point it tries so hard to get across: stopping one man was not meant to change the darkness in humanity. Wonder Woman could have played a role in breaking the dull dynamic of many modern superhero movies, which always seem to end the same way; however, it failed at the last second, leaving a sour taste in my mouth.

Depiction of a Wonder Woman script writer. Illustration by Ruby Handa

Dual Language on the Rise

Last year, the Class of 2017 was the first graduating class of students in Dual Language. Eighteen years following the establishment of the program, CHS is experiencing a rise in the number of Dual Language students. The Dual Language program starts from kindergarten through eighth grade, though students can apply in first and up to second grade.

According to the CHCCS website, the elementary schools involved include Glenwood for Mandarin, Frank Porter Graham Bilingue and Carrboro for Spanish. The program extends to Culbreth Middle and McDougle Elementary Schools.

The transition into middle school offers the students an opportunity to place into a specific foreign language course by taking a test. In previous years, students from Dual Language enroll at CHS or CHHS after the completion of
middle school.

For Spanish, students’ test results determine whether they place into level three or four. An additional test offers students the opportunity to obtain credit for Spanish 3 and then place into AP Spanish Language and Composition or level 4.

Recently, the foreign language department experienced a significant rise in the enrollment amount of dual language students. Maria Lopez and Amy Olsen, Spanish teachers, receive students entering Spanish 3 and 4 respectively.

Olsen spoke of the benefits related to learning one or more foreign languages.

“I think it is important to be not just bilingual but multilingual. It is beneficial in terms of being able to communicate,” said Olsen.

While students from Dual Language display comfort in their speaking abilities following nine years of practice, “most students need to go to [Spanish] 3, because the emphasis [of Dual Language] is being comfortable speaking, so there isn’t as much grammar,” said Olsen.

Freshman Alec Anderson explains the shift of focusing on culture to the grammar associated with the Spanish

“I was learning more about the culture of Spanish speaking countries, and this [class] is more based on the how we should speak it,” said Anderson.

Olsen acknowledged these same ideas, as she offered advice to students unsure of which class they would take.

“If you are on the fence, and you are coming from Dual Language, and you are choosing between 3 or 4, go to 3.”

Drawing by Ruby Handa

Meet Carrboro High’s Transfers

One thing that makes CHS unique is the amount of diversity in the student body. There are many foreign transfer and foreign exchange students who contribute to the community of CHS.

Arianna Ponte (pictured above)

Arianna Ponte, junior, just moved from Denmark and has been living in the US for one month. She loves how friendly and accepting everyone at CHS is and has enjoyed playing for the JV volleyball team. French is one of her favorite subjects this year, but she enjoys all her classes.

Ponte is fitting into the CHS community well, but she has noticed many differences between CHS and her old
school in Denmark.

“The educational system is structured differently,” said Ponte. “[In Denmark], you have ten years of schooling which includes elementary, middle and some of high school. Then, you have three years of what’s called germination, which is sort of like high school.”

In germination, you can choose the classes you want to take rather than have standardized classes that every- one in the grade takes. It surprised Ponte that in high school and middle school, students choose their electives and have classes with different students. Ponte explained that for the first ten years of her school she had the exact same students in every class.

“I guess there are some pros and cons for [the Denmark way].” said Ponte. “I like that you get to know people very well with a small class, but at the same time, it limits the different variations of groups and
group work.”

Carolina Ghisoni

Carolina Ghisoni, junior, is an exchange student from Italy and has been in the US for about a month and a half. Her favorite class this year is Ceramics, and her favorite teachers are Anna Lewis and Blake Rahn.

This year, she is most excited for prom and has enjoyed playing for the tennis team.

“[I like] the fact that you have a lot of people coming from different places and different social groups,” said Ghisoni on her favorite aspect of CHS.

Playing for the school tennis team is another new experience for Ghisoni.

“[In Italy] we don’t have clubs or sports, so if you want to play a sport you have to do it on your own, and that is not as fun” said Ghisoni.

Viljia Saether

Junior Vilja Saether is an exchange student from Norway and has been in the US for a month and a half. Her favorite class this year is Adobe Visual Design, and she runs for the cross country team.

She said that the major differences between CHS and her school in Norway is that “we don’t have to change class-
rooms; we sit in the same classroom everyday.”

“[In Norway], we also don’t have seven courses in a day,” said Saether. “We maybe have four or three that switch each day,
and one class is about one and a half hours.”

The foreign transfer and foreign exchange students are a part of CHS through sports teams, clubs and classes. They help to maintain the community and diversity of CHS. Make sure to give a warm welcome to our foreign transfer and foreign exchange students.

Photos courtesy Mireille Leone

In Defense of Modern Art

This is a discussion about art from someone who is completely unqualified to lead one. Consider yourself warned.

It’s a classic story. Someone walks into a modern art museum. They laugh and point at the white canvas on the wall or the copper-colored cube on the floor in front of them.

“How is this art?” they ask. “This can’t have meaning, and it doesn’t elicit any sort of emotion from me.”

To them, I say “you’re right.” But you’re thinking about it the wrong way.

I think the distaste for Modern Art most Americans hold comes from the false impression that a piece needs to have a hidden meaning or deeper purpose to be considered art.

Minimalism, the art movement under which most of what we consider Modern Art falls, rejects this idea. (Before you ask, no; I’m not going talk about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Wrong kind of Minimalism.)

Minimalist art encourages viewers to separate the art from the artist. It contains no symbolism, metaphors or allusions, and it cannot be better understood by learning about when and where it was made.

I find this incredibly freeing. For once, art is simply art: a concept that makes Minimalist art uniquely egalitarian. I don’t need to be an Art History major to understand that black and white lines on a canvas are just black and white lines on a canvas, and that they look nice.

Most Minimalist artist is characterized by clean shapes, a small range of often neutral colors and simple designs. The Minimalist movement emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a protest against the then-popular Abstract Expressionist movement.

Perhaps the most famous Abstract Expressionist is Jackson Pollock, who created large webs of colored squiggles by laying his canvas on the floor and dripping paint on it from above.

Through seemingly random, Pollock’s drips were very much intentional, even if they weren’t strictly calculated. Pollock claimed to be painting directly from his subconscious, surpassing any sort of thought or reason, and that anything he produced was a unique insight into his mind.

Sound pretentious? Sorry, Pollock, but I think so.

Minimalism rebelled against everything Abstract Expressionism stood for: most importantly, the idea that art was intimately reflective of the artist, and that it was chaotic and objectively messy.

If you don’t appreciate the aesthetic of Modern Art, that’s fine; I’m not here to try to change your tastes. However, I think many of us can at least acknowledge the beauty in the simplicity that is Modern Art. It’s the same reason we look through home decor catalogs and stop at the spreads that depict beautifully open floor plans and a contemporary, sparsely decorated kitchen.

I find it strange that some people can enjoy modern architecture or modern interior design but not Modern Art. These spheres all use similar aesthetic tools. However, Modern Art goes as far as to say that elements we enjoy but also consider utilitarian in modern architecture and interior design are still art when considered alone.

If there is one thing I do know about art it’s that it is what you make of it. If you hate looking at Modern Art because it bores you out of your mind or you prefer your art as complex as possible, that’s fine. But please, don’t tell me you don’t like Modern Art because it’s pointless or because you don’t get it.

If you feel the slightest bit more calm when you walk into a Modern Art gallery, or you think that huge blue octagon on the wall is actually kind of cool, then you get it. You’ve appreciated Modern Art for what it is, and the fact that it isn’t anything more than it claims to be.

Finally, don’t tell me anyone can make Modern Art. If you think that’s true, consider this a dare; make a piece of Modern Art, and sell it to any established museum. Only then will I’ll reconsider your claim.

Photo by Mireille Leone

It’s Round-About Time to Learn

Roundabouts. They seem to be popping up everywhere. There are three around CHS and more on the way throughout Chapel Hill.

Studies show that they are more effective in directing traffic than stoplights—something that the rest of the world has recognized for decades but the US is just acknowledging now.

One issue remains with roundabouts though: nobody seems to know how to use them. Here, in a new series from The Jagwire, is a guide for all the confused drivers out there.

As you approach a roundabout, first scan the entire roundabout surrounding roads and sidewalks for incoming cars, pedestrians, and cyclists. Focus especially on on any traffic that is coming around the roundabout from the left of your entrance.

If there is no traffic in the roundabout or entering the roundabout, you do not have to slow down or stop beyond the safe speed of the roundabout. Roundabouts are based around the idea of yielding, and when there’s no traffic in the round-
about, you need not yield.

If there is traffic in the roundabout, continue slowing until you can tell what they are doing — exiting before your entrance or continuing on. Cars inside the roundabout always have right of way, so do not cut in front of them; stop well before
the entrance of the roundabout and wait until they pass.

Once you’re in the roundabout, proceed at the listed speed limit of the roundabout to your desired exit. Never stop or slow excessively inside the roundabout, as you slow the flow of traffic and increase the likelihood of an accident.

The quicker you can get out of the roundabout, the quicker everybody can get where they’re going.

Now, signaling. Contrary to some beliefs, it is important to signal before and in roundabouts. As you approach a roundabout, signal as if it is a stoplight. If you’re in the roundabout and you note a car waiting in the entrance directly after your exit, it is a courtesy to signal with your right blinker as you exit, to indicate to them that they may enter.

Finally, some considerations for pedestrians. Pedestrians always have right of way, and as you are approaching a roundabout you should scan for people as well as cars. Especially at 3:55, be cautious of bicycles, pedestrians and reckless drivers.

Photo by Levi Hencke

Saving Clay, Saving Dollars

While many classes begin with a warm up and everyone at their desk, one class — Ceramics — works differently. The routines of CHS Ceramics classes are designed to engage students’ creativity and save money.

As the bell rings to signal the start of the period, students start to get their tools and clay. When they have what they need, they head to their tables and start working. They mold the clay as they wish until they have their desired look or continue the previous days work. If they break or don’t want to keep what they have they scrape it into a special device: a pugmill.

Candacie Schrader, Arts and Ceramics teacher, explains the importance of the pugmill to the department and classes.

“The pugmill is used for reconstitutionof the clay,” said Schrader. “The [device] ensures that clay can be reused rather than thrown away. Without the pugmill, we wouldn’t be able to reconstitute that clay and constantly reuse it.”

This process ensures that more clay is saved rather than lost.

“We are talking about fifteen-hundred pounds of clay we would lose a year,” said Schrader. “We order three-thousand pounds of clay, and without the pugmill we wouldn’t be able to reconstitute that clay.”

Former CHS student and current employee at The Clay Makers (a ceramics studio in Durham), Emmanuel Oquaye also sees the benefits of the pugmill.

“If a project [breaks] or if the student doesn’t want to fire it, it gets added to the water bucket,” said Oquaye via text message.  “Then you have some nice clay mud [which goes] on plaster boards to stiffen up a bit until it’s the consistency of workable clay. [Then it’s] run through the pugmill.”

Recycling clay and saving money is not one person’s job; it takes work from teachers as well as students.

A ceramics pugmill allows artists to recycle their clay. Photo by Levi Hencke

Carrboro’s Global Citizen

While most students were lounging by the pool or relaxing at the beach this summer, Carrboro’s Paw La La had a unique opportunity to travel to South Africa.

La heard about this opportunity, which was through an NGO called Global Citizen, from Social Studies teacher Matt Cone. La applied last year and was admitted into the program, making her one of six accepted and the only high school student.

La’s first stop of her trip was to the Global CItizen headquarters in New York City. Global Citizen’s mission is to eliminate poverty by the year 2030, and they hope to inspire the younger generation, like La, to join Global Citizen’s mission.

“I really enjoyed [Global Citizen’s headquarters] because I was surrounded by people who are working to do something better in the world, to improve the world,” said La.

During her ten days in South Africa La attended numerous business meetings, where she learned about different organizations such as Embrace Dignity, Umbiyozo, Unjani Health and Kliptown Youth Program.

Seeing that the townships and schools that weren’t integrated, greatly impacted La. She also opened up about her life and how she felt a strong connection to a slum called Kliptown.

“Once I entered Kliptown, I felt like I knew Kliptown. I was born in a refugee camp and everything from that town felt so familiar,” said La.

One of the hardest things for her was to see the children in the slums.

“The children were so happy, but when you look at the statistics, you see where they are going to end up. They aren’t going to go to school and the cycle will continue,” La said.

Now that La is back in the United States, she has big plans for Carrboro High School. This year she is starting a club called Global Community Club that aims to create “young leaders who are informed about the world” and global citizens. She recognizes the diversity in the school but thinks that the student body is not connected enough.

La was once new to the United States and knows what it is like to walk around the school and speak barely any English. She also says that the Karen community has New Year ceremonies and would like to invite all students to join in and engage in a different culture. She hopes to have events like breakfast with new students to create a more inclusive community.

Photo courtesy CHCCS

Klakovich Likes to Compost

Worms, mulch, soil, food scraps, decomposition. To Stefan Klakovich, CHS environmental science teacher, composting is a way of life.

Composting, or the decomposition of organic materials, isn’t a new concept to Carrboro. Many middle and elementary schools in the district already have composting systems set in place during lunch, with parent volunteers organizing it.

“Why can’t we compost at Carrboro? We should be experimenting with composting at this school. Composting is an underutilized solution, and it solves so many problems,” said Klakovich.

According to Klakovich, who is an avid composter both in the classroom and at home, Carrboro High is not putting enough emphasis on composting. He believes that teaching people about composting is a crucial step to reducing the waste CHS sends to the landfill.

“Here, there is no excuse not to do it. It’s the future. We want to get to zero waste, and composting brings us half the way there,” said Klakovich.

A CHS student last year, after completing an informal study of the waste in the bathrooms, found that the majority of it consisted of compostable paper towels.

This year, students like junior Eva Nobel have taken steps to make composting more of a priority.

“I hope that more people understand the benefits of compost and the importance of it. If everyone really composted then
we could really reduce waste. It’s not just composting either, but sustainability in general,” said Nobel.

Recently, Nobel created the composting club at Carrboro. She runs it with fellow junior Lyra Hitchcock-Davis, and has big plans for the upcoming year.

“We just started and we’re trying to improve the composting system at school. We’re planning on composting the paper towels in the bathroom and mixing them with yard trimmings so they decompose properly. We’re also going to work with other schools to exchange programs,” said Nobel.

Both Klakovich and Nobel are determined to make a difference at CHS, through composting or other green measures.

“We have to try and make it a sense of pride,” said Klakovich. “CHS should stand for Compost, Honor and Support.”

Photo by Levi Hencke

Student Spotlight: Ella Atwater

Q: What work are you doing with the current show, She Kills Monsters?

A: My official title is Stage Manager, and I always help out the Director.

Q: What was your inspiration for joining theatre?

A: I have done it since sixth grade, and I have always been into stage management. I have always loved theatre, but I am not an actor because I have stage fright. This is the next best thing. I like to have everything planned out. I like being the person for people to talk to. In high school, it was the experience and the credibility. I want to do theatre in college too. Putting this experience on my resume is really good.

Q: What advice do you have for freshmen joining technical theatre?

A: I would definitely say you have to be bold about it. It’s different in high school: bigger space, more people. I would just tell them to speak up about it, and talk to me or one of the Assistant Stage Managers (ASM). Come to rehearsals and join a class.

Q: Do you plan to continue your career in technical theater?

A: My dream job is to be a stage manager on Broadway. I plan on majoring in business and then double minoring in stage management. Hopefully, if I can afford it, and if life lets me go to New York, than I would love to do that.

Q: What is your favorite memory from the last four years?

A: I would definitely have to say Grease is my favorite show. I was in a very transitional point in my life. I was very young and the whole cast was seniors who were graduating. It felt like I had all of these big sisters and brothers who were like, ‘you got this! You can carry on this legacy for theatre. It was a super fun show. I made a lot of connections and relationships that I still have now. That’s one thing I can say, no matter what aspect you do, you meet so many people and they’re all amazing.

Photo by Mireille Leone