Another Fun-Filled Festifall: Recap of 2018 Festifall

As the weather finally begins to cool down, Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s community events are just starting to warm up.

Every year, Chapel Hill-Carrboro residents gather on Franklin Street to enjoy an afternoon filled with local art and food. Called the Festifall Arts Festival, or just Festifall for short, the day includes booths displaying art from around the Triangle, live music from local bands and a mix of different food trucks. Some of the highlights of this year’s Festifall, held on October 7, were a facepaint station, a customizable mural and the characteristic fall-themed chair, a favorite spot for photos every year.

Artists from Chapel Hill to Raleigh came to display their artwork, including woodworking, paintings and ceramic products. One artist, Emily Schmidt, sold handmade journals that she makes in her company, The Plum Umbrella Studio. When asked about her favorite part of Festifall so far, Schmidt emphasized the energy of the crowd.

“They clearly know what they’re looking for and they like a good product when they see it, which is very fun,” said Schmidt.

Some artists enjoy Festifall so much that they return year after year. One returning artist, Faith Beery, displayed framed butterflies to help people appreciate the patterns different butterflies have, while also raising awareness of rainforest conservation. Beery also enjoys the energy of Festifall.

“It’s well organized, the heat is probably not my favorite, but you know, it’s fun. It’s just a fun day,” said Beery, co-owner of That’s Nature’s Way.

Beyond the many booths displaying artwork, musicians and dancers showcase their art at Festifall too. Carrboro High’s own Arwen Helms performed at the festival with her clogging team, the Cane Creek Cloggers.

“It’s a very traditional dance and Festifall seemed like a good place to do that,” said Helms, a tenth grader, about clogging.

Although Helms’ team has performed at Festifall in past years, this was her first year at the event. She liked the relaxed feeling of the community gathering.

“I liked the atmosphere. It just is very homey,” said Helms. “We’re having fun, we’re enjoying music and food.”

This is the kind of atmosphere that Festifall’s organizers hope to create. Susan Brown, the Town of Chapel Hill’s Executive Director for Community Arts and Culture, oversees events like Festifall. Her goals with the annual event are to bring people together to appreciate the arts.

“Festifall’s a great event. It’s a community festival, it’s a street festival, and we also focus on the arts,” said Brown. “So we hope that folks come out and enjoy some local artists, hear a band, and just sort of be downtown.”

Overall, the 2018 Festifall was a success, with festival-goers enjoying the art, music and beautiful weather. If you missed it this year, make sure to mark your schedules for next October’s Festifall. In the meantime, keep an eye out for other community events in the Chapel-Hill Carrboro area, as they are a fun way to take a break and get outside.

Poetry Club: A “Slam” Dunk

This school year, big changes are coming for Carrboro High’s poetry lovers: Lisa Rubenstein, English teacher, is co-advising the Slam Poetry Club with Andrew Jester, English teacher. The club has transformed over the years.

Sarah Warner, senior, has led the Poetry Club with Jester since 2016. The club has always functioned as an opportunity for the young poets of our school to share their work in a public forum, but things are little different this year.

Clara Ruth Logan, a long-time member of the club is enthusiastic about the transition to a club that places greater emphasis on performance.

“I am excited about it, because I love slam poetry, and I think it’s basically what we were trying to do before, because poetry club was based on reading poems, and now we can really dive into the reading emotionally,” said Logan, a senior.

Beginning last year, the Poetry Club began the practice of starting classes with writing

prompts to encourage participation from members who aren’t actively writing poems. This practice will be continued this year with Ms. Rubenstein’s involvement.

“I feel like Ms. Rubenstein will come up with some pretty creative prompts,” said Logan.

Another major addition coming this year is club participation in outside performances. Mia Spadavecchio, club co-leader, spoke on the upcoming change.

“Every second Thursday of each month at Flyleaf, they have a slam poetry open mic thing, so we’re going to start making that an active part of our club,” said Spadavecchio.

Despite the new changes, one thing that the leaders intend to maintain in Poetry Club is its open and welcoming tone.

“It’s a very safe space,” said Logan. “I felt like I could share my poems, and I did, and I became a better poet because of it.”

March 14th Walkout Retrospective

On March 14 at 9:55 am, one month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, hundreds of Carrboro High students gathered in the school courtyard for 17 minutes in response to the shooting. They stood in protest of the gun violence facing students in the United States by way of more-restrictive gun control legislation.

The 2017-2018 school year has since come to a close, and six months have passed since the walkout. Looking back at the event, a few important questions stand out: What insights on the walkout can we gain from hindsight? Was the walkout handled as effectively and appropriately as it could have been by students, teachers and administration? And perhaps most importantly, what was the impact of the walkout on our school and on the nation as a whole?

Varying Perspectives

Students invested considerable effort in the organization of every aspect of March 14. In coordination with the organization Enough CHC (Chapel Hill-Carrboro), student representatives from Carrboro High began planning shortly after Stoneman-Douglas and working with school administration to ensure the event would go smoothly.

Ensuring that the event occurred without injury or violence was a major focus of administration and staff at CHS.

“My main concern was coming from a safety aspect,” said Grant Mayfield, Carrboro High Resource Officer.

Mayfield, a sergeant of the Carrboro Police Department, helped to offer a police presence to the event. His intent was to provide protection to students due to concerns that someone from outside the community would target the walkout as a result of it being so publicized.

Another matter of contention, voiced by students after the walkout, was a perceived misuse of the event by students as a 17-minute break from school rather than an actual show of support.

“I kind of wish that maybe people took it more seriously. I think a lot of people chose to use it to get out of class,” said Charlotte Ellis, an Enough CHC student leader.

Not all students at Carrboro chose to take part in the walkout. The emphasis on implementing gun-control legislation led some to opt out of participating.

“If it had just been to honor the people who lost their lives, obviously, I would have gone; I think that’s an honorable cause. But it was very obviously politicized,” said Ryan Helms, a senior who did not take part in the event.

Adult Supervision

Some raised issue with the way in which the school administration was involved with the event. In preparation for the student-led exit, walkout organizers spoke with Principal Beverly Rudolph and the school board, and as a result, the schedule of March 14 was modified to accommodate the event. What would otherwise be considered skipping class was turned into a sanctioned movement into the courtyard, causing some to feel that the intended purpose was diminished.

“They robbed the people who did it of the opportunity to actually do something” said Helms.

Helms was not alone in his concern. Some people at Carrboro reflected on how  the sanctioning of the walkout affected to the tradition of “civil disobedience” typically associated with an event like this.

“The whole part of a ‘civil unrest’ or ‘civil protest’ is to put yourself out there and have a consequence to it,” said Mayfield.

This wasn’t the only issue raised regarding the nullifying of consequences for participants. Some considered the potential precedent set by that decision to be most concerning, and what it may mean for administrative handling of future student protests.

“Let’s say I’m a student. If I have something I want to walk out for, why do I get consequenced when it didn’t happen the first time?” said Mayfield.

Many of these points were raised by people concerned that the intended message of the walkout may have been softened or diminished through the administrative involvement in the protest, but the attitude is not held by all CHS students. Some believe that the impact and reach of the walkout stood on its own.

“There weren’t really that many consequences for whatever we were doing, but I don’t think it was so significant that we completely missed the point,” said Ellis.

Others are of a similar opinion that the event was both meaningful and significant beyond administrative involvement.

“It’s really nice that you guys had your voice, and it was only you. It wasn’t adults. It wasn’t other teachers; it wasn’t anyone else. It was only you guys up there talking, and you guys protesting. That’s what it should have been all along,” said Mayfield.

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Dear Freshmen,

With a new school year comes a new class of freshmen. The move from middle to high school involves many changes, but luckily, the Class of 2022 is not alone in this transition. In addition to the teachers and counselors helping freshmen, seniors are another resource available for advice.

Current Carrboro seniors reflected on their own experiences moving from middle to high school and offered advice to freshmen on how to succeed at Carrboro.

A common message from seniors was that freshmen should take advantage of opportunities to get involved. High school offers a variety of clubs, sports and other activities, and seniors agreed that freshmen should explore their interests.

“Try as many things as possible, and just try to be interested in as many things as possible. Try to explore everything from sports to arts; anything,” said Elijah Jones.

“Coming here as a junior, I wish I had done a school sport or participated in more school activities so I could have gotten to know people more quickly,” said Ella Shapard.

Another change that comes with moving to high school is the increased time commitments. The combination of extracurricular activities and homework can be overwhelming for many students. Seniors offered advice about how students can balance their time.

“Stay focused, and always remember to do your work. Always turn in your classwork on time,” said Sindely Castaneda.

“I would suggest getting involved in activities, and also taking online classes, because those give you enough time to worry about your other classes that you might have to deal with,” said Spenser Barry.

Seniors also offered their opinions on what makes Carrboro High School different from other schools. They cited the students and their diverse interests as aspects of Carrboro that have contributed to their positive high school experience.

“Something that makes Carrboro unique is the really vibrant student body, because we’re all into all these different things, and we’re really passionate about them,” said Bonnie Stolt.

Finally, seniors also shared their opinions on what members of the Class of 2022 have to look forward to. Seniors pointed to the opportunities to pursue different interests that come with an increased variety of classes.

“Freshmen definitely have a wide range of classes to look forward to, so as you go up through high school and college, you get to kind of figure out what you’re interested in and do more of what you’re interested in, which is something really special,” said Cici Sullenger.

Although the move from middle to high school can seem overwhelming at first, most Carrboro seniors seem to agree that they have found new opportunities in high school. Getting involved in activities, balancing extracurriculars and classwork and taking a variety of classes are a few things that freshmen, and all Carrboro students, can do to make sure they make the most of these opportunities.

ESL Newcomers

A lot of students don’t know about the ESL program at CHS and the people the program helps.

ESL is coursework in Carrboro High School designed to help students who are looking to learn English as their second, third or in some cases as a fourth language.

It’s a really big challenge for ESL students to come to a place where nobody else may speak their language, and they need a lot of help from teachers to understand English and its vocabulary.

“International students need help more than American students,” said Jeff Roberson, retired ESL teacher, about why he made the switch from English to ESL teacher.

From the student perspective, “I think English learning was hard because of all the big amounts of vocabularies I had to learn to go through one class,” said Faisal Al Zoubi, CHS senior and ESL student.

ESL teacher Mrs. Angela McChesney chose to teach the newcomer class to learn about different beliefs and life experiences.

“I love traveling and to learn about different languages and cultures,” said McChesney, who teaches World History and English for CHS newcomer and ESL students.

Speaking other languages can help teachers connect with students. Roberson can speak different languages, such as Spanish and French, which makes it easier to explain English to newcomer students. McChesney teaches students who don’t speak English by acting out or showing pictures to their students, but best way is repetition.

“Repeating the same thing again and again [helps] because studies show that repeated exposure to vocabulary is necessary,” said McChesney.

The ESL program is an opportunity to get the students to improve their English by practicing it in a comfortable. The students are allowed more time on the test, which can help give time to understand vocabulary.

The program also includes learning about different social skills and American culture. The program gives students the chance to talk with teachers who have an experience with different cultures, which becomes a common connection between the students and the teacher.

In the end of every year, the students are required to take an ESL test. The ESL test is made up of 4 parts:  speaking, writing, listening and reading. The test is made to see if the students have improved and to see if the teachers have done their job perfectly.

“I passed the ESL test, but I have experienced it for four years, and it was kind of  hard each year, but every year I took it, I improved,” said Gerardo Medina Lopez, sophomore.

Spirit Week: Twin Tuesday

Twin Tuesday has everyone wondering who is who? Twin Tuesday was a chance for friends and siblings to coordinate their outfits and create lots of confusion.


Spirit Week: Meme Monday


From vines to Facebook memes, the CHS hallways were crowded with the most popular memes. Students expressed their creativity by becoming real life memes and generated lots of laughter.