CHS takes on March Madness

In a year full of upsets, buzzer beaters and bracket busters, the NCAA tournament, March 15 to April 2, has reached the height of uncertainty as sixteen-seeded UMBC beat the overall one seed UVA. According to ESPN, the odds of guessing a perfect bracket are 9.2 quintillion to one, a fact reinforced when every bracket created was busted half way through the second round.

Millions of people across the nation have made it a yearly tradition to guess which team gets to hang a shiny new banner. Here at Carrboro High School, the Student Government Association (SGA) has even endorsed an official CHS tournament challenge group which has more than 100 members.

The JagWire staff asked several students participating in the SGA contest about their picks for the 2018 National Champion. Among those interviewed, the largest portion predicted the University of Virginia as the winner, while nearly all said UVA would at least make the Final Four. UNC had the next largest number of votes to make the Final Four and to win it all. Other teams picked to go far included Duke, Michigan State, Kansas and Villanova.

Everyone has their own strategy when it comes to creating their bracket but no matter how much time someone spends on it, he/she is almost guaranteed to be wrong.

“I look back at the season, who [the team] has beaten and lost to,” said Kayla Nesbitt, sophomore, on how she fills out her bracket.

Unfortunately for Kayla and many people like her, it’s called March Madness for a reason. 2018 has been one of the most unpredictable years to date as two one-seeds lost in the first two rounds and two eleven-seeds have made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

“My bracket’s as busted as my AP World Grade,” said Annelise Cox, sophomore, on how she’s doing in the SGA contest.

Keep an eye on the CHS Bracket Brawl by SGA on the ESPN Tournament Challenge app to see who filled out the best bracket and stay tuned to March Madness to see the best team win.

CHS students walk out of class as part of national protest

In the sea of orange t-shirts, there was a sense of solidarity.

On March 14, one month after the violent Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, thousands of students across the nation walked out of school at 9:55 AM. The majority of CHS participated. Students left their classes and stood in the courtyard for 17 minutes to commemorate the 17 victims who died in Parkland.

“I liked how we focused on the victims, I think that because we’re talking about policies we become desensitized to the violence,” said Sophia Ma, junior.  

Many students walked out to support the people killed at Parkland. Others walked out to protest the gun violence that is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society. Even more walked out to protest the inaction of federal and local governments in creating anti-gun legislation. All walked out in unity, in frustration and in remembrance.

“I approve of it, I’m glad that we’re all doing this to honor the 17 people that were killed in the Parkland shooting,” said Ella Shapard, junior.

During the 17 minutes, various speakers read poems, speeches and the names of the victims. Sarah Warner and Eliza McClamb, juniors, both read poems they had written on gun violence. Cameron Farrar, Jonah Perrin and Class President Niya Fearrington, all seniors, urged students to continue to take matters into their own hands,  use their voices and head to the polls to vote.

“I thought it was really cool; I loved to hear everyone’s perspectives on things and how we came together as one. I enjoyed how we all were quiet, it really showed camaraderie and togetherness,” said Caleb Martin, sophomore, about the walkout.

Across the district, there was a huge turnout of students as well. At East Chapel Hill High for example, around 1,500 students walked out. At Chapel Hill High, a large number of students also participated in the protest.

Ultimately, despite differences in motives, opinions and agendas, CHS students came together today under a common thread: remembering the Parkland victims and using their voices to speak out.

“I think that [the walkout] was a very powerful symbol that we’re not just going to lay down and take this; we can’t keep letting this happen. We can think and pray, but it doesn’t really do anything when we think and pray. We need to keep fighting until something actually gets done; this movement can’t be temporary,” said Marcus Fontaine, senior.

Organizers spoke about continuing protests, including the March for Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. on March 24. Organizers of the walkout, including Perrin, are planning on attending and will host an interest meeting Thursday, March 15, in room E216.

Behind the Scenes of the March 14 Walkout

At 9:55 am on Wednesday, March 14, a number of students will leave their classes to stand in the courtyard in silence for seventeen minutes.

The walkout is a protest in support of stricter gun legislation and meant to honor the seventeen victims of the Marjory Stonemean Douglas (MSD) shooting in Parkland, Florida a month prior. Students from all four local high schools, several local middle and elementary schools, and a number of other schools across the country will participate.

Plans for the CHCCS protest began four days after the Parkland shooting as a combined effort between local parents and high school students. Since then, however, it has been almost entirely student run.

“We have adult support, but we plan these meetings; we make sure people show up; we organize the roles,” said Ella Atwater, a CHS senior who has worked alongside roughly 30 other local high school students to plan the walkout.

Jonah Perrin, one of the coordinators of the Carrboro walkout, echoed Atwater.

“All of the speakers will be students; everything related to the protest will be student run,” said Perrin.

Perrin thinks being student-led will give the movement a fresh perspective.

“Adults have had this in their hands for a long time…it’s about time for the students to step up because [the adults] lost their chance,” said Perrin.

Max Poteat, a sophomore and leader from East Chapel Hill High agrees. He also sees this movement as indicative of a larger trend.

“It shows how powerful students can be and that the next generation of voters is eager to get involved,” said Poteat.

Even though the teenagers organized and will run the the walkout, they have worked closely with adults in the town police departments and school administrations to make the protest safe and effective. Each participating school will see increased police presence during the walkout, and students will not be counted as absent if they choose to participate.

“The administration has been really helpful,” said Jackson Asarso, senior and leader at Carrboro alongside Jonah Perrin and Class President Niya Fearrington. “It would have happened with or without their cooperation, but it’s going to be a lot more safe and have a lot more impact [because of them].”

The protest will largely be silent, except to read the name of one of the Parkland victims every minute. There will also be spoken word poetry as students are walking out of the building.

Two of the movement’s organizers have personal connections to the issue of gun violence. Perrin’s cousin attends MSD (she was not injured in the shooting,) and Charlotte Ellis, sophomore, lived one town over from the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting when she was in fifth grade.

Most, however, think that gun violence is relevant to almost everyone.

“I feel like anyone could have been in the situation of the Florida students, and it’s just our luck that we weren’t,” said Anna Kemper, senior.

Paloma Baca, junior, agreed and lamented the partisan division the issue has been subject to recently.

“Gun violence doesn’t stop at party lines,” said Baca.

The students outlined six goals for the protest, including to honor the seventeen lives lost in Parkland, to persuade legislators to reflect the values of their constituents, and to advocate for certain policy changes: universal background checks, a federal minimum age to purchase a gun, a ban on civilians owning weapons of war, and school safety protocol that does not involve arming teachers. Many students resonate with some of these goals in particular.

“For me, the main thing is having enforced background checks because there are a lot of reasons people shouldn’t have guns,” said Atwater. “A lot of control about guns is left up to the states … in order for everyone to be safe it should be the federal government’s job.”

Other goals are more broad.

“I’m a student, and I want to go to school every day and feel safe,” said Kemper.

Still others see the walkout as part of a growing movement.

“[The protest] is about teenagers being able to mobilize and being able to change their country, their state, their town, for the better,” said Baca.

Fearrington agreed, and she hopes CHCCS students can continue to use their influence to advocate for other causes.

“I think this is setting a precedent for the things all the high schools can do together in terms of advocating [against] more than just gun violence,” said Fearrington

While they have high hopes for the impact of the March 14 walkout, the students also stressed the importance of keeping the movement alive after the protest is over.

Specifically, they are organizing a group to participate in the nationwide March For Our Lives protest on March 24 in Washington, DC. For more information about that initiative, contact Jackson Asaro.

CHCCS students plan the March 14 walkout at Youthworx in Carrboro. Photo by Caitlin Grubbs, 11 (CHHS)

Students and faculty get their heads in the game

On Friday, March 9, the annual student-faculty basketball game will take place in the gymnasium. To make time for the game at the end of the day, there is an adjusted schedule.

Mackenzie Cox, vice president of SGA, explained the significance of the event.

“It’s something we’ve also done, and it’s one of those traditions that you work through, and something you get to in the last point of the year,” said Cox.

At the moment of Cox’s interview, there was only one female teacher signed up for the faculty team.

“I would like to give a shoutout to Mrs. [Robin] Bulleri, because right now she is the only female teacher,” said Cox.

Since then, English teacher Sibel Uzun-Byrnes has signed up to participate as well.

The confirmed list of student players includes Hugo Schuer, Karl Naomi, Neel Mahadevan and Jonah Perrin.

The game consists of two halves that are eight minutes long, with a ten minute halftime show in between. During the half, there is a half court contest composed of representatives from each grade level, as well as a dunk contest.

The student coach is senior Joe Zhang, and the faculty coach is Dexter Croom. Beverly Rudolph, CHS principal, Chad Osborne senior, and Tommy Holt, junior, will serve as referees.

UPDATE: The final score was students 29 and faculty 27.

Photo by Jade Simpson

Failed New Year’s resolutions

Every New Year, people across the world discuss what they will do to grow in the new year. However, by the time March rolls around, most New Year’s Resolutions are left in the dust, leaving many — including CHS students — to wonder if a new year really does mean a new me.

Katie Brannum, sophomore, made the New Year’s Resolution to make her bed, be more cleanly and have better organization habits.

“I need to be cleaner and more organized, so I don’t have to clean my room every weekend,” said Brannum.

However, Brannum quickly forgot her New Year’s Resolution by the second day of 2018. She decided that the resolution was too much effort to maintain and that it would be best to fall back on her old habits. Brannum thinks New Year’s Resolutions are pointless and forgotten within a few days. She also believes there is no such thing as New year, New Me.

“You can’t be a new person every year. You’d have to change everything and be completely different,” said Brannum.

Cora Therber, sophomore, made a New Year’s Resolution focusing on their happiness and self-health.

“My New Year’s Resolution was to do more things that I enjoy with my free time,” said Therber.

Therber has been gradually working on this goal since last year when they realized that they didn’t actively seek out the things they enjoy during their free time. Therber is now focusing their free time on doing the things that bring them joy and allow them to live their life to the fullest.

“I feel like it will just be good for me because it will make my life better and more fun,” said Therber.

Therber thinks most people don’t follow through with their New Year’s Resolutions. However, when people commit to a resolution and focus on it, they can create a lot of positive change within their life.

Paw La La, sophomore, made it her New Year’s resolution to get to bed earlier and procrastinate less on her homework assignments. She made this resolution because she realized that she was always drowsy and unable to focus during class; she needed to make a change.

“I feel like a zombie when I don’t get enough sleep, and I feel like the main reason for that is procrastination,” said La.

La says she was able to keep the resolution for one week, but after that she fell back on her old habits. La doesn’t think New Year’s resolutions are helpful because she makes a similar resolution each year and nothing changes. She also thinks that a New Year isn’t a strong enough force to motivate a significant change in someone’s life.

“I don’t think [New Year’s Resolutions] are helpful because it’s not a force that can help you do something. If you want to do something, you can start at anytime. If you have your heart into it, of course you can accomplish it” said La.

La thinks change has to be motivated from within an individual and not by a change of the year.

“Just because it’s a New Year doesn’t mean you are going to change. The year has changed, not you,” said La.

New Years is a time to celebrate a new beginning, to reflect and to revise one’s lifestyle. However, most people make goals that are quickly forgotten because the power to change doesn’t come from the changing of the year, but rather from the determination within. If we focus on obtaining a goal, anything is possible.

There are several good books that focus on how to motivate to achieve goals. Drive by David Pink shares secrets for how to accomplish your goals by focusing on self-actualization. Self-actualization is the human desire to reach the highest standard possible and be the best we can be. Pink’s analysis of motivation can be used by students to help them accomplish their goals such as getting a certain test score and improve their daily satisfaction. Charles Duhigg wrote The Power of Habit, which focuses on using the patterns within our lives to achieve success. Duhigg explains why habits exist and how to change unhealthy habits to promote success. Students can use Duhigg’s advice to break their bad habits such as procrastination that prevent them from succeeding in the classroom.

Whether your New Year’s Resolution has been left in the dust or not, it is never too late for a change. All you have to do is find the motivation within.

Illustration by Ruby Handa

Which English Teacher are You?

Do you ever lie awake at night, counting sheep and wondering which CHS English teacher is your spirt teacher? Well, wonder no more! The Jagwire finally presents a way to answer your most burning question! Sleep happy knowing the truth is only a quiz away.

[os-widget path=”/hopeanderson77/which-chs-english-teacher-are-you” of=”hopeanderson77″ comments=”false”]

Darkest Hour Does Not Deserve the Limelight

Darkest Hour, the 2017 drama which follows Winston Churchill’s first weeks in office, won two Oscars Last night — Best Actor (Gary Oldman) and Best Makeup. It was nominated for four more awards, including Best Picture. I enjoyed the movie alright, but in my opinion, Darkest Hour was overrated.  

As my friend pointed out to me after the final scene, Darkest Hour is a war movie without the fighting — a concept I can stand behind, in theory. Yet at points the film was too slow, and as someone who likes slow movies that’s saying a lot.

There were only two conflicts throughout the entire two hours: who should succeed Chamberlain as Prime Minister and whether or not Great Britain should engage in peace talks with the Nazis. This sounds fine, until you realize every scene is the same argument played out between different characters in different locations.

Darkest Hour also contains quite a few WWII cliches: the young, bright typist whose brother is killed in the war; generals constantly huddled in the War Rooms around a giant map with colorful tacks on it; Winston Churchill reading important documents in the bathtub or eating an absurdly large breakfast; Parliament dissolving into yelling matches out of frustration, etc. Alone none of these is problematic, but in order for a film about WWII to receive such critical acclaim, I thought it would be a little more unique.

One thing that did make Darkest Hour stand out from similar films was its cinematography. Much of the movie was shot and edited to be deliberately beautiful, with its clean lines and calculated color scheme, unlike most historical films I’ve seen. However, personally the artistry trivialized the brutal, inhumane war happening off camera. While it was lovely to watch aesthetically, to me Darkest Hour romanticized the war as puzzle for Churchill to solve rather than recognizing the sheer loss of life it meant for most Brits not in his position of authority.

Finally, imagine my disappointment when I learned that the most powerful scene in the movie — the one where Churchill rides the Underground and talks to Londoners about whether to negotiate with the Nazis — never actually happened! Did I mention this is the climax of the story?

Overall, Darkest Hour was fine, and I’m sure historical junkies enjoyed it more than I did. But its lack of excitement, creativity and tact left me wanting so much more.

Carrboro High receives its own report card

Many students are familiar with the concept of report cards, as they get their own every year. But what most don’t know is that — just like students — schools get report cards too.

North Carolina School Report Cards (SRCs) aren’t too different from those given to students: they give informa- tion on the characteristics of a school, from standardized testing data to stu- dent proficiency to academic growth.

“Most of it is based on EOG testing for high school, four-year graduation rate and ACT test scores; it also just tells us things like teacher qualifications, teacher turnover rate and teachers with advanced degrees. It talks about discipline, criminal acts; it’s really pretty vast in that it holds a lot of information,” said Beverly Rudolph, CHS principal.

For Rudolph, the School Report Card is a concise summary of data to review. However, the SRCs are most useful for parents, community members, and administrators. They can look at the information to see where schools are progressing and how they can improve.

“Several parents use this when determining whether they’re going to move to school areas that are better or worse, helps out of state or different part of state, comparing schools and school districts,” said Tomeka Ward-Satter field, one of the CHS assistant principals and school testing coordinator.

School data is tracked on the SRCs which can be found online, and the school is given an overall letter grade based on their statistics. Grades range from A+NG, A, B, C, D, or F. A-ranked schools lie with- in the 85-100 range; to receive an A+NG score, a school must also have no signif- icant achievement or graduation gaps. For the 2016-17 school year, CHS received an “A” score, or an 86 percent. In comparison, Chapel Hill High School (CHHS) has a B, or an 84 per- cent, while East Chapel Hill High School (ECHHS) has an A+NG score, or an 89 percent. While on the surface that would seem to create a clear hierarchy in the three CHCCS high schools, a deeper look at the data reveals more.

ECHHS has just 18.7 percent of students living in economic disadvantage, while CHHS has 21.8 percent and CHS has 24.1 percent. Beyond the economic makeup of the schools’ students, the three high schools differ greatly in the makeup of their teachers. CHS employs only seven National Board Certified teachers, versus CHHS’s 21 and ECHHS’s 26. While East and Chapel Hill have more students than Carrboro, this disparity is still sizable. A more notable trend, though, is seen in how ECHHS teachers outpace CHHS ones. While CHHS’s student population is about 120 students larger than ECHHS’s, East has 12 percent more teachers with advanced degrees, five more with National Board certification and six percent more fully-licensed teachers. While East has ten less total teachers than Chapel Hill, the quality of teachers — at least by the metrics shown on these SRCs — seems to be higher at East.

One could ask, then, whether this disparity in teacher quality derives from the economic makeup of CHCCS’s two largest schools; could the wealthier nature of East students in any way relate to the school’s higher quality of teaching?

However, SRC grades don’t measure everything. While the information and statistics are useful for assessment, other aspects of a school — such as spirit, student involvement, creativity and environment — don’t show up simply because they can’t be tested.

“When you look at this report card, it’s highly based on test scores, and test scores alone are not an indication of how well a school is doing. It can really paint a picture of a school that’s not accurate; a school that’s working really hard and improving their students; it doesn’t necessarily show that,” said Rudolph.

These SRCs are important tools for teachers, administrators and parents, and with CHS’s most recent grade it’s clear that there’s still room to grow. Achieving the A+NG grade is something that the CHCCS district as a whole is pushing hard for, and for good reason: CHCCS is the sec- ond-most unequal district in the US in terms of race-based achievement gap.

For the moment, though, both Rudolph and Ward-Satterfield say that they will use the information from Carrboro High’s School Report Card to improve their own school as best they can. Their primary focus is on raising test grades, especially in relation to the achievement gap.

Photo courtesy

Political debate at CHS

Talking politics is often a sensitive topic. Whether at the dinner table with family or the lunch table with friends, someone is bound to have an opposing view. Following President Trump’s inauguration, politics became an increasingly polarizing subject of discussion in America.

With that shift came a change in the way people talk about political issues; some try to avoid them, while others love talking politics. Although Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. have historically had widely dif- fering opinions on political and social issues, the division between the two groups has widened even further since the 2016 election.

At Carrboro High School, senior Jonah Perrin created the very popular Young Republicans and Teen Dem- ocrats Debate Club in order to hold open debates, during which students can share their opinions on various social and political issues. In past meetings — they meet every Thursday in Chris Beichner’s room — they have discussed issues such as gun control, abortion, the Pledge of Allegiance and immigration.

“We decided this year to make a Google Doc that people can add their topic ideas they want to discuss during the debate. It’s shared with all the members of the Debate Club and open to anyone who has an idea,” said Jacob Steinert, CHS senior and Vice President of the Republican side of the

Debate Club. “We decided this would be a lot better than us, the club leaders, choosing the topics. So we could actually debate and have civilized discussions that students at the school ac- tually care about.”

On November 28, the Young Republican and Teen Democratic Debate Club had their first debate of the year on gun control.

“I was excited and surprised to see so many people attend the first debate; it’s one of those clubs that really thrives in numbers. Many students showing up, whether or not they participate, is a huge part of the club. A good debate is better when there’s more people,” said Perrin, president of the club.

More than 60 people attend the debates weekly; therefore, the club has easily become one of the most popu- lar clubs at CHS. Many students often have trouble finding a chair, instead sitting and standing wherever they can find space.

“It’s really cool to see students at CHS having civilized discussions about really controversial issues and being able to share political opinions without fearing backlash from other people — something you don’t usually get to do at school,” said junior Josh Coyne.

In today’s modern political climate, open discussion — like that found in Carrboro’s Young Repub- licans and Teen Democrats Debate Club — is ever more important.

CHS leads the way

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering classes are in their third year at Carrboro High School, and the program is more popular this year than ever before. The number of students involved in PLTW has increased since CHS introduced its first class within the program: Introduction to Engineering.

The number of students in the program has roughly doubled each year, according to Jeffrey Arthurs, one of the classes’ instructors.

“We’ve got a lot of recruitment with eighth graders, people getting ready to come over here to get them excited about it; I think that has helped a lot,” said Arthurs.

The bulk of students are in the freshman class, according to another instructor within PLTW, Caroline Morais.

The increase in the number of the stu- dents in PLTW classes has also increased the number of STEM-focused students at CHS overall; many of them are becoming more interested in the field, with some even moving in the direction of majoring in engineering at uni- versity.

PLTW classes are a special type of elective, as all of them are AP-weighted even though they aren’t AP listed. This is done mostly to encourage enrollment, as they positively affect students’ GPA.

“We’ve talked to admissions people at the university level, and they all say they weigh very heavily people that have taken Project Lead the Way courses,” said Arthurs.

With the benefit of AP credit and interesting and engaging courses, many students are trying out PLTW classes and becoming more interested in engineering. Most come to the classes with previous experience or interest, but many others without previous experience are becoming more interested in the field thanks to PLTW.

Photo by Levi Hencke.