Going Greek in College: a Modern Take

Having been accepted to college, high school seniors across the country are going about introducing themselves to their future classmates. In their introductory Facebook-group post, each rising college freshman lists notable things about themselves — not least of which being their preference on Greek life.

Adam Alfieri, sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity. After pledging TKE during the spring semester of his freshman year, Alfieri reflects on how his first year in Greek life changed his perspective on how he viewed the organization itself.

“I never thought I would join a fraternity. I saw all frats as being douchey guys who don’t respect women

Hazing is a commonality among Greek letter organizations (GLO) during the stage of pledging. According to Colgate University, hazing consists of various activities used to create an imbalance between the new pledges and established members of the GLOs. The pressures of hazing earned GLOs a bad reputation, with the generalization that all fraternities and sororities use those methods in the process of pledging. However, not all fraternities and sororities are created equal.

“I was never hazed and never had to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. I’m against hazing morally, but it definitely gets you close with your pledge brothers and is why a lot of places do it,” said Alfieri.

Elaine Townsend Utin, Lambda Pi Chi member, shared her experience within a National Multicultural Greek  orority (MGC).

“I became involved after I attended an information session, and I enjoyed how they could identify with my culture,” said Townsend Utin.

Despite only becoming involved during her junior year of her undergraduate education at UNC-Chapel Hill, Townsend Utin is currently serving her seventh year as a part of the organization.

“As the expansion chair for Southeast region, I work for expansion experts specifically in North Carolina. The goal is to establish a new chapter by working with latinas who don’t have that organization within their campuses,” said Townsend Utin.

The lifetime commitment to Greek life is an aspect students should consider when they make their decision to rush, or not to rush.

“It is a great way to make great friends to last your college experience and likely longer,” said Alfieri.

Regardless, GLOs are not the only opportunities to make friends when you reach campus as college opens up the opportunity to become a part of various organizations.

“I don’t think every organization is the best fit for everyone; it comes down to the vision, mission, goal,” said Utin.

Greek Life At a Glance

  • There are over 9 million fraternity and sorority members in the nation
  • There are over 6,000 fraternity chapters on around 800 college campuses
  • Over 85 percent of students leaders on 730 college campuses are involved in


  • In 2009. and 2010, 77% of sorority members and 73% of fraternity members
  • Of the 47 Supreme Court Justices since 1910, 40 have belonged to a fraternity
  • 85% of Fortune 500 Company Executives participated in GLOs

Adam Alfieri (far left) is a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photo courtesy Adam Alfieri

First CHS student Accepted into SDAP

This fall, Keiron Dyck, senior, will be one of only five students in the Scholars with Diverse Abilities Pro- gram (SDAP) at Appalachian State University, a two-year program for intellectually disabled students.

“The program prepares students for a vocational career and for advanced life skills,” said Lorrie Marro, the CHS Transition Facilitator who helped Dyck apply to the program.

Dyck, who is the first person in the CHCCS district to get into the pro- gram, had a rigorous application pro- cess involving video presentations, interviews and essays.

“I had a long application plus an interview to get into SDAP,” said Dyck.

Other qualifications for SDAP included work in the community.

“They are really looking for students who are capable of persevering, that have done a lot of work in the community, and have done a lot of independent functioning in the community,” said Marro.

“I volunteered at UNC Hospitals, Weaver Street Market, with the softball team and at my church,” said Dyck when asked what works he’s done in the community.

Dyck also worked at Stratford Assisted Living to create a music program with the residents.

When looking for his next step after high school, Dyck knew he wanted to take an academic route.

“Keiron has always been one of our students who really loves school, studying and learning,” said Marro. “This is a really rigorous program.”

Dyck added that he liked the length of the program and that he could study courses of interest and courses about life skills. At App State, he hopes to continue his love of history, specifically learning about U.S History and the First Crusades.

“I think with his love of reading and academics and leading an independent lifestyle, Keiron is going to do great,” said John Faircloth, Occupational Course of Study teacher.

Overall, Dyck is excited about attending App State in the fall but will be sad to leave Chapel Hill.

“I am looking forward to having the experience of being a college student,” added Dyck.

CHS Has Chickens?

Many students at CHS don’t realize that the school actually has its own chickens. And a further surprise to many is that we have had them since January of this year.

Stefan Klakovich, CHS environmental science teacher, looks after the chickens with the help of Eco-action student volunteers. Klakovich and the students started building the coop a year ago, in anticipation of the chickens’ arrival.

The coop, which is situated in the garden by the tennis courts and outside the math wing, took so long to make due to its complexity. It needed to be self sufficient because since there isn’t someone who checks on the chickens consistently, they needed to be safe without supervision.

Some benefits of having the chickens at Carrboro High is that they can eat our garbage and waste. The chickens turn the waste into fertilizer, and they also produce eggs that the school can then sell to farmers markets in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. This money has helped to pay for the chickens.

Along with fundraising from Mr. Klakovich classes, Whole foods gave the school a 2,000 dollar donation for the garden and chicken coop.

Mr. Klakovich plans to get new chickens once all of the current chickens pass away. He also believes that someday he will be able to get pigs at our school, but that may be long in the future. A more feasible animal to obtain could be bunnies.

At Eco-action, which takes place on Tuesdays after school, students get the chance to take care of the chickens, plant in the garden and fix structures around the coop. Mr. Klakovich believes that these experiences are a good way to expose students to the agricultural system.

Teacher’s Two Cents

The JagWire asked these teachers this question: “If you could give one piece of advice to seniors before  college, what would it be?”

Ms. Kendra

“Be the change; take one breath at a time; be true to yourself; accept the things you cannot change; enjoy life… you only have one.”

Ms. Williams

“‘You may find happiness by realizing that life is a journey, not a destination’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Live in the moment, find something positive in every day and learn from the obstacles in your journey. Lastly, stop comparing yourself and your aspirations to the lives of other people. Trust in who you are and the journey that you are meant to take.”

Mr. Schendt

“Find your people, find your interests and embrace that to the fullest. Far too often students are given messages about what to pursue in college that do not actually benefit the holistic person. So my advice is simple: find the interests that make you happy and surround yourself with the people who will support you, both as peers and as mentors.”

Ms. Johnson
“Find a place in your life for doing something you love, even in the busiest of times.”

Ms. Jackson

“Go to class!”

Mr. Klakovich 

“Keep your eyes open to all the amazing opportunities that become available to you. College is much more than taking classes; it’s a time to experiment and test yourself. Don’t be so cautious; say YES!”

Ms. Paige

“Always be prepared for class…READ THE NOTES YOU TAKE!!!”

Ms. Schrader

“Be open to new experiences and activities; keep your chin up; make new friends; count on your reliable friends and family when things get tough; always make your education a priority. Making good decisions for the next chapter of your life will be very important for you in ten years!”

Ms. Watson

“Take classes that interest you, even if they aren’t always practical. You never know how or when something can change your life.”

Mr. Rahn

“My advice would be to explore as many activities and organizations as you can in your college/university. Also, the social aspects of being college student are a huge part of the experience, so enjoy that fully, but don’t let that become the priority over academics; find balance!”

Ms. Bulleri

“Make good choices, and be sure to vote.”

Madame Gaut

“I think one big advice would be to never keep for tomorrow what can be done right now. Don’t ever procrastinate.”

Mr. Cone

“The first year of college is bound to be tough emotionally. Don’t get down on yourself when you feel lonely and do feel free to reach out to mental health professionals, friends, family members and former teachers if you need a lift.”

Mr. Jester

“Start work the day it’s assigned, and you’ll be pleased with the pace of college life.”

Civil Disobedience

Protest can take many forms, and, although marches and public displays may come to mind first, civil disobedience is one form that can be often overlooked. Civil disobedience is a type of protest: the act of refusing to comply with laws in a form of protesting. There are many people that have displayed the courageous act of civil disobedience, but there are even more who haven’t and, in a district like CHCCS, I think it’s unfortunate how many are in the latter group.

On March 10, students all over the nation walked out of their schools at 10 a.m. to commemorate the 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida and to call attention to the need for more safety within schools. In some schools, students were disciplined for the act of walking out, but in CHCCS, not one student received any sort of discipline.

One could ask, then, if perhaps that lack of punishment was one reason that turnout was so high. There was no civil disobedience involved in the March 10 walkout. People strolled out of class, listened to some speeches, and then went back to class. However, I believe that the next student-led walkout was not same.

April 20 was 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting in Jefferson County, Colorado that saw 12 students killed. On this day, Parkland students involved in the Enough movement planned for students across the nation to walkout again at 10 a.m., but, this time, to not go back. Students were instead encouraged to go to local officials and push their demands regarding gun laws and safety in school.

Well, walking out of school for the entire school day is considered skipping. So I wondered how many students would express interest in this walkout. With athletic games, college transcripts and all around fear of getting in trouble, I doubted that support would be very high. Privileged students are afraid to harm their futures and afraid of actual civil disobedience. I believe that many students are accustomed to having things handed to them. In a competitive district with opportunities to engage and be involved in any- thing that you want, most students have not had to fight for anything more than their GPAs.

After the walkout, my theory was shattered just a little. As predicted, students still managed to try and get around the punishments. People got notes for “educational opportunities” or came back after they rally ended. However, there were some students that believed in and knew about civil disobedience. It’s the acts of these individuals that catch the attention of lawmakers and public officials to decide we need to do something.

So, almost a month later, the conversations have ceased, and the student activist have gone back behind the scenes, but what’s next? Is this enough for one year, for one high school career, or will the conversation continue?

In Appreciation of Furry, Feline Friends

Recently, while perusing the JagWire, I found myself reading a disturbing article. The article titled “In appreciation of canine companions,” erroneously claimed that dogs are the best pets known to man. As a proud cat owner and enthusiast, I’m here to disagree.

According to the Smithsonian, cats have lived with humans for around 12,000 years. When humans first started farming, storing food and creating civilizations, wild cats became useful as pest control. Thus, the symbiotic relationship between felines and humans first appeared: cats ate the pests and the humans were left with undamaged crops.

As time went on, many civilizations began to see how beneficial and extraordinary these domestic felines were.  Ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Indian, Persians and Chinese cultures all had a special history with cats. Most of these populations revered cats, viewing them as sacred, even divine, animals. The Egyptians loved their cats so much that they would shave off their own eyebrows in mourning if one of their pets died.

Historical evidence aside, cats have long been important in human households, not just because they are useful, but because they are cuddly, friendly and fiercely independent. As any cat owner will tell you, cats can be aloof, condescending and autonomous; it’s true. But once you gain a cat’s trust, they are loyal to you for life. They’ll settle down on your lap, rid your house of mice or provide a source of silent support when needed.

Many people will claim to hate cats just because they are more partial to dogs. I’m not saying that dogs are evil, or any worse than cats. I simply believe that cats are superior pets. No cat will drool on you or clamor for your attention. No cat will wake you up in the wee hours of the morning because they need a walk. No cat will bark whenever a stranger comes to the door. While some will meow or beg for food, a well-fed and pampered cat can be a delightful companion. Cats are wonderful, individualistic, anthropomorphic, low-maintenance pets – what more could a human ask for?

Unsurprisingly, America agrees. According to the Smithsonian, cats are the most popular house pet in the U.S., with over 90 million felines in American homes. In our culture as well, cats have become beloved icons, with representative figures such as Puss-in-boots, Garfield, Grumpy Cat, Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes and Tom from Tom and Jerry.

Cats can also be inspiring, as well as comforting, pets. According to Buzzfeed, Nikola Tesla, the original inventor of the light bulb, started to study electricity after his cat gave him a static shock. Cats have superhuman powers, too: they can run three miles per hour faster than Usain Bolt, and they can make over 100 vocal sounds, which is pretty cool.

Personally, I love my cat. Just the other day, while I was sitting on my couch and avoiding my homework, he climbed up into my lap and went to sleep. His comforting warmth gave me a feeling akin to a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day. In my opinion, nothing compares to the face of an adorable kitten, especially when they crawl up to you, looking to be scratched. I wouldn’t trade my furry feline friends for any amount of dogs in the entire world – and that’s that.

Illustration by Ryx Zan

What happens when the majority protests?

Armored in orange, students all over the country left their classes on April 20 to protest the atrocities committed in their own classrooms. They walked out of class, took to the streets and protested on DC grounds, marching for their lives in record numbers.

However, some Black American students at CHS wonder: where were the walkouts when Black fathers were shot in their cars, when Black sons were shot while on their iPhones at the hands of the police?

Some Black students at CHS have reflected on what they believe to be a lack of support for Black lives during the recent increase of protests and media coverage of school shootings.

“I think that it’s good that kids are trying to do something about it, that they’re standing up for what they believe in,” said Christine Njogu, freshman.

However, some feel like it has minimized the ongoing violence against Black Americans that has been occurring for hundreds of years.

“I think that gun violence and police brutality should both be taken into account together, and it shouldn’t be one thing more concentrated on than the other, because both things have been happening,” said Njogu.

“Recently, because of all of the school shootings, I think that [gun violence has] been more of the popular thing to protest against, but now police brutality is a secondary thought,”

Leon Wambugu, Carrboro High sophomore, agrees.

“I do think police brutality has been swept under the rug because it’s  more of a minority issue, so it’s not been given as much attention: but school shootings, they’ve recently come up in the news. It doesn’t happen as often as police aggression so [school shootings are] reported much more often,” said Wambugu.

Wambugu compared the media coverage to that of plane crashes and car crashes.

“[It’s] like with plane crashes: they report them much more than car crashes because they happen less,” said  Wambugu.

Some Black students at CHS feel that the media’s lack of coverage of police brutality is para-

“I think it’s kind of hypocritical that people care about guns when it comes to shooters, but they don’t care about the fact that law enforcement is supposed to protect you, but they’re also hurting a lot of people,” said Selia Lounes, sophomore. “I also think that it’s kind of annoying that people don’t talk about it anymore. Now that there’s a ton of shootings they’re taking more about that.”

Selia Lounes believes that the difference in the coverage and protesting is impacted by racial biases, and her twin sister, Louise Lounes, agreed.

“It’s a very different approach, not like one of them is more important than the other, but one of them definitely needs better attention” said Louise Lounes, CHS sophomore. “I don’t like saying it, but I do think it’s a race thing.”

Other students echo this sentiment. “I guess it’s a bigger issue because when white kids are being killed, they’re not being seen as dangerous,” said Wambugu.

Many other students shared this feeling of the media not supporting Black Americans as much as White Americans.

“They’re both big issues…they should both be dealt with at the same time, not put one in front of the other. I  have noticed there’s a lot more support for this ‘March for Our Lives’ than there has been than when the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests were going on,” said Selia Lounes.

“You see a lot of stuff about how when there were protests about ‘Black Lives Matter’ people got sent to jail, but when there were protests for ‘Enough is Enough’ people were getting free lodging and bus rides. It’s a very different approach, not like one of them is more important thanthe other, but one of them definitely needs better attention,” said Louise Lounes.

Overall, the interviewed students support the walkouts and protesting of gun violence in schools, but they also hope that the same energy will be put towards other forms of violence.

Jagwire’s ideas for Mother’s and Father’s day

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are just over a month apart and right around the corner. When it comes to picking gifts, essentially all the same rules apply.

Choosing gifts comes naturally sometimes, but other times life leaves us a little clueless. It’s okay though, because keeping just a few things in mind streamlines the process of choosing the ideal gift. The number one thing to keep in mind is the generality of a gift. Gifts for parent should be thoughtful and come directly from the heart. Think back to something your parent really wanted, but never took the time to get for themselves and you’ve got yourself a good gift.

Gifts should also under no circumstances throw shade. Just don’t do it.

Imagine the gift is an introductory book to Spanish. There’s a big difference between giving that to someone who wants to learn Spanish compared to someone struggling in a Spanish class. No matter what the intent of the gift is, if it can be interpreted as judgmental or insensitive, you should probably avoid it entirely. Remember: there’s a fine line be- tween a thoughtful gift and a hurtful one.

Gifts people end up using a lot will constantly remind them of the gifter, but gifts that never get used aren’t harmful.Understand there is incentive to choose a good gift, but no penalty for being a little creative.

Price also plays a very significant role in what gift to buy. Buy something that’s too expensive, or more accurately, something that seems expensive, and you’ll make your parents feel self conscious.

A good way to minimize price while dramatically increasing value is to make gifts yourself. Homemade blankets, or fabric things in general, make good gifts.

Homemade coupon books, on the other hand, may have worked when you  were seven, but unless your parents specifically asked, it would be better to find something else.

Then again, gifts don’t have to be limited to physical possessions. The classic breakfast in bed effectively conveys how much a person means to you by the effort  put into making the meal. However, actually serving breakfast in bed is generally a bad idea as it is uncomfortable for the person eating and can be a hassle to clean up, especially if any accidents occur.

Be careful when attempting to select something you are not familiarized with. You don’t want to be the guy that accidentally gets his dad the fifth book in the wrong series.

Gifts can be a secret, but they don’t have to be. If surprising your parents works for you and adds something of value to the experience, go for it, but generally speaking it’s not a big deal.

Mother’s/Father’s day gifts aren’t necessary like birthday gifts. They hit a sweet spot between practicality and need. In the end, you aren’t just celebrating a person; you’re celebrating your parent’s efforts and successes.

If your parent is into carpentry, maybe consider a tool or gadget they don’t already have. If they like to cook, a cookbook isn’t a horrible idea, but a utensil specific to what they cook, like a spatula, might make a better gift. If they like piña coladas or dancing in the rain, buying a blender might be too expensive, but some stylish rain boots might do the trick.

The amount examples for specific situation make all the possible gift combinations virtually unlimited, so remember not to stress yourself too much. You might as well check yourself before you actually wreck yourself, but it’s not the end of the world if you mess up. Feel confident that the gift you thoughtfully selected is the best one you could have given.

Illustration by Ryx Zan

Treasured Tattoos

Tattoos: a form of self expression rarely seen amidst a high school population because, legally speaking, you have to be eighteen to get a tattoo in the state of North Carolina. Therefore, the select few who have chosen to have something permanently inked on their body naturally draw a considerable amount of attention.

Evie Joseph, a senior at Carrboro, is among the select few sporting tattoos at Carrboro. Her tattoo is the female symbol, and inside of the circle is an outline of the continents of the world. It lies on the right side of her ribs.

“[My tattoo] has a few different meanings; the globe part, by itself, shows my passion for travel and global justice,” said Joseph.

Joseph got her tattoo on February 25 of this year, but says she’s always known she wanted a tattoo. Joseph says it’s important to solidify your tattoo ideas long before you commit to them, because – although they are fun – they are permanent and to a certain degree cannot be  removed.

Laws pertaining to tattoo guidelines differ from state to state. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that, in the state of North Carolina, you cannot legally get a tattoo until you are at least eighteen years of age.

Even with parental consent, tattoo parlors can not legally give you a tat- too if you are underage.

If you are someone thinking about getting a tattoo, make sure it’s something you are certain you want, since tattoo removal can be especially pricey.

Once you’ve solidified your design, make sure you find a place that fits your needs and abides by state-regulate codes. Hygiene is key when making decisions that will permanently alter your body. After taking proper precautions, students can have positive experiences.

“I would recommend getting a tattoo [and I] love my tattoo,” said Joseph, reflecting on her experience having a tattoo. “They’re not for everyone, but if you have something that’s really important to you, or a design you just really like, why not?”

Partnership Between Elon and CHCCS Schools

In recent surveys, CHCCS schools have been identified as schools with high numbers of Academically/Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students. To ensure that the needs of AIG students are being met in the classroom, the Elon AIG Teacher program, a new partnership between Elon and CHCCS schools, was negotiated by CHCCS Superintendent, Dr. Pam Baldwin. This program offers a few graduate classes that are taught at the Masters level to CHCCS teachers. Elon’s School of Education Project, Leveraging All Unique Needs (LAUNCH ), started this program to educate teachers about how to best teach academically gifted students.

“It’s not a true Masters program, but after I finish it, I will get my AIG licensure, which is basically intended to allow me to teach other teachers at this school about teaching AIG students,” said Pierre Lourens, CHS English teacher and journalism advisor.

Lourens explains that the AIG program does a good job of teaching different ways to structure a class to meet the needs of AIG students. The program also provides resources for teaching AIG students for whom English is a second language, or who have learning disabilities. AIG students are students who are identified as being above average in intelligence level and creative potential.

CHS Social Studies teacher Lisa French thinks that this additional licensure will help her to better meet the diverse needs of the students of CHS.

“So far the courses we’ve been taking, although it’s been focused on gifted education, it’s come from the model where the teaching and planning strategies will benefit all students,” said French.

Lourens thinks that the Elon AIG program gives teachers more of a voice in determining the curriculum for future years and ensuring that the highest qual-ity education is available for students.

“I think by having trained people within a lot of the schools will help the natural course of action that we need to plan together, and we need to assess work together,” said Lourens.

Jacqueline Cerda-Smith, social studies teacher, believes that the Elon AIG Teachers program will facilitat communication and collaboration of teachers in CHCCS schools.

“I’m hoping that we can have a more consistent and well-thought-out approach for how we approach AIG stu-
dents in our classroom and the different techniques that we’re using for them. It’s also very helpful to work with other teachers in the school and in the district to collaborate for some of the ideas we have for projects and units,” said Cerda-Smith.

French also thinks that the Elon AIG Teachers Program will add to her toolbox of teaching abilities and will especially help her with teaching blended classes.

“Since I teach these blended classes that we rolled out this year with the freshman class, I’m really excited to get new strategies and new ideas for my lessons to reach my gifted students,” said French.

Cerda-Smith also teaches blended classes. She and the other teachers are confident in their ability to meet the needs of standard and honors level students, but struggle to reach and challenge AIG students.

“Mr. Lourens, Mrs. French and I are all teaching heterogeneous classes this year, so we all feel that the AIG program will be a great fit because we all feel like we don’t know how to best serve academically gifted and talented students,” said Cerda-Smith.

Lourens is excited to meet other teachers from other grade levels and other disciplines through this program. He looks forward to discussing with middle school teachers about how they are preparing their students for high school and what he expects from high school students. Lourens believes that important discussions like these will ensure the fluid transition of students from middle school to high school as they continue on their thirteen-year education path.

Teachers and students are excited for the Elon AIG Teacher Program as it will truly enrich the CHS learning environment for the school’s AIG students.

Pierre Lourens and Lisa French are both part of the Elon AIG Teacher program.