Frisbee Nationals

Frisbee team after winning states. Photo courtesy of Howard Chu.

Excitement was palpable and tensions ran high the weekend of May 4-5, when the Carrboro Clams, CHS’ ultimate frisbee team, brought home their first State Championship title.

The Clams, an unofficial team not recognized or sponsored by the school, have gone to States every year, but this is the first time they’ve ever won.

Winning states will allow the Clams to compete in the National Championships for the first time as well.

“Everybody couldn’t believe that we won States, and now that they realize we’re going to nationals, we’re all very excited,” said Howard Chu, senior and four-year veteran on the team.

Traveling to High Point, NC on May 4 for the first day of the State Championships, the team successfully managed a 3-1 record. Their only loss was against reigning champions Carolina Friends School (CFS), who have been on the national leaderboards for the past six to seven years.

“CFS lost to Jordan High last year, so Jordan and CHS kind of helped topple the CFS dynasty, but even so CFS is always seeded 1. We were seeded 3 this year, so people were rooting for us as the underdogs,” said Chu about the team dynamics this year at States.

On May 5, the second day of States, the Clams played an easy first round against Green Hope, and moved onto the semi-finals against Durham Academy (DA), in which they won by a close 11-10 margin. The finals round put the Clams against CFS for the second time, where they were able to overcome a tight game to win 13-11, giving them their first State Championship title and a bid to Nationals.

“I’m glad it’s finally the Year of the Clam. We’ve had the ‘year of the clam’ chant every single year, and this is the first time it’s actually come true,” said Sam Jarrett, a senior who caught the game-winning throw.

At Nationals, which will be held June 7-8 in Rockfort, Illinois, the Clams will compete for a national title against 15 other nationally-ranked teams from all over the country.

Because the Clams aren’t an official CHS sports team, their regular season is composed of games within the High School Spring League, and tournaments such as Queen City Tune Up, where they’ve played against top-five nationally ranked teams many times.

However, their unofficial status also means that traveling to tournaments and championships is all out-of-pocket; the Clams receive no funding from the school at all. Because of this, the Clams are dependent on parents and volunteers for coaching staff, practice fields and transportation.

As of right now, the Clams are coached by Schuyler Kylstra, who played for UNC Darkside, the ultimate frisbee team at UNC-Chapel Hill. They also have UNC volunteer student coaches Marc Rovner and Chatan Driehuys.

“The Triangle area is very competitive environment for frisbee,” said Chu. “We’ve become a very tight-knit team.”

Anonymous candidate runs for SGA president

Anonymous candidate Hacky Sack posted this to their Instagram page to announce their presidential run.

As May approaches and the school year begins to wind down, students all around CHS prepare for a very crucial time of year: student government association (SGA) elections. This year, among the students clamoring for senator, treasurer and presidential positions, was a unique candidate: a hacky sack.

Hacky-Sack, an anonymous online presence communicating to the masses primarily through Instagram, is a potential presidential candidate, or at the least, is trying to be.

“My goal with this movement was to create a character that transcended social status and a character who made progress based on things like clever posts and responding to comments…I want people to vote based on who they think has the most merit,” said Hacky Sack in an email interview. During the interview, the owner of the account chose to stay anonymous.

Hacky Sack first announced their intentions to run with an Instagram post on April 19 and quickly garnered student support, encouraging that, “the revolution is now!”

“My platform is to remove all school rules that conflict with the interest of hacky sacks. This includes the ban on hacky sacking. I also want to create a hacky sack team and replace the school mascot with a hacky sack,” said Hacky Sack.

In an Instagram poll by the JagWire, 56 percent of students said they would write in or vote for Hacky Sack. But with elections Friday, April 26, and inanimate objects banned from the ballot, many students are wondering what Hacky Sack’s true goals are.

“It is very clear to everyone, I hope, that the page is satire. The purpose of satire in my opinion is 5% to convey a message and 95% to make people laugh…I am running to make people laugh, give people something to remember, and to try to create a universal figure,” responded Hacky Sack.

Although the “movement” is mostly a farce, Hacky Sack noted they became inspired because of an issue they found with CHS student government elections.

“What I have a problem with is the culture that surrounds SGA elections. Students treat SGA elections like they are required to vote for their friends regardless of how much work they’ve put into the campaign,” said Hacky Sack. “I keep myself anonymous because I above all else want to know that I gathered support not just because my friends felt obligated to support me but because people respect and are entertained by what I am doing.”

Results for the election will be tallied after voting finishes Friday. While Hacky Sack may not make the final cut, their message has still pervaded the school, engendering debate over the process of SGA elections, and whether they are influenced by popularity, rather than qualification. “I’ve talked extensively with the SGA members and organizers in the last two days and they are, in my opinion, doing a good job. I’m poking fun at the culture around SGA…My overall message is that I just want to remind everyone that you might want to help your friend but at the end of the day you should vote based on merit,” said Hacky Sack.

Students represent at #WomensWave march

On Saturday, January 19, walking towards the Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C., pedestrians joined the gathering throng of protesters for the third annual Women’s March. The crowd was thick with chaos and disorganization; pink hats bobbed and signs waved as hawkers sold buttons and music played all around. People stopped to admire the increasingly creative signs, each with its own message, yet all with the same underlying purpose: to fight for their voices to be heard.

Among those present were Carrboro students, like Ella Shapard, senior, who has attended all three of the women’s marches since 2017.

“I love going to marches like these,” said Shapard. “This year, I noticed a lot of little girls [marching], which made me so happy because I think it’s important for younger generations of girls to feel empowered and supported.”

This year’s Women’s March, dubbed the #WomensWave, is the third of its kind since its formation in 2017, following President Trump’s inauguration. Hundreds of thousands of protesters across the nation originally rallied together to protest injustice, specifically against women, people of color, LGBTQ communities and other marginalized groups.

However, this year’s Women’s March varied from those of years past in multiple ways. According to NPR, accusations of anti-Semitism linked to some of the leaders of the Women’s March, lead large organizations such as the Democratic National Committee to drop their sponsorship of the event. Across the nation, marches on Saturday had lower turnout as many supporters decided to stay home.

Despite the confusion and controversy, the protesters marched with the same enthusiasm and courage as seen in past years.

Marchers in D.C. kicked off the protest at the Freedom Plaza then marched down Pennsylvania Ave NW. Shouts of “Shame!” rose as they passed the Trump International Hotel, while a female marching band beat out a rhythm in front. As protesters turned onto 10th St NW, an echoing chant unified marchers as they cried, “Show me what democracy looks like; this is what democracy looks like!”

“Being with all of those empowered women makes me feel more optimistic about the future of our country, especially at a time when it is easy to get frustrated with the current administration and the ideology of hatred that it promotes,” said Shapard, about her overall impression of this year’s protest.

Protestors eventually looped back to Freedom Plaza, waving signs as leaders spoke out from a central stage.

Protesters held signs advocating for peace at Saturday’s march in D.C.

Protesters this year opposed myriad issues, challenging white supremacy, sexism, the GOP, Trump’s wall and racism, to name a few others. Marchers also held signs that objected to the treatment of immigrants at the border and indigenous peoples, as well as advocating for popular figures such as Dr. Christine Ford, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This year’s protests coincided with the recent, and unprecedented, amount of women elected to Congress in the midterms, as well as the new Democratic majority in the House. Other recent events, like the government shutdown, fueled a new kind of fury for protesters in the streets, with many signs including messages about shutting down Trump instead of our government.

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

How-to: prom on a budget

Fourth quarter has started for CHS, and if that weren’t stressful enough, another important event is coming up: Carrboro’s prom. Prom can put a lot of pressure on students, especially in regards to expenses.

Many students don’t consider prom an option because of its notoriously high cost. There are students who can’t afford a new outfit, new shoes, hair and makeup, accessories and dinner reservations for just one night of fun, and there are others who simply don’t want to spend an obscene amount of money on a school dance.

However, I’m here to tell you that there are ways to save money and still feel glamorous on prom night.

One way to save is through Cinderella’s Closet, a national program that provides donated dresses and accessories to girls who otherwise couldn’t attend prom. Christ United Methodist Church in Southern Village hosts the Cinderella’s Closet for students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, and it’s open to anyone. Similarly, borrowing a friend’s or older sibling’s dress or tux is an easy way to lower your prom expenses.

Many thrift stores also have unique options for dresses and men’s formal wear, and you’re more likely to find something vintage if that’s more your style. You can also find shoes there, as well as handbags, ties and bowties. Department stores or online shops will often have sales on prom outfits, although it might take some searching to find them.

Boutonnieres and corsages are another added cost for students. Local flower shops can give you nice varieties, but regular grocery stores such as Harris Teeter or Food Lion can also have cheaper options. Or, make your own out of flowers from a garden or local market. There are thousands of DIY tutorials online for this. Another idea is to just forgo the flowers altogether! You can still have a fun time at prom without flowers on your wrist or lapel.

Many students worry about how to style their hair and makeup for prom, but that’s an easy fix. Some opt to get both done by a professional, but there are less expensive solutions, including your own family! Have an older sibling or a parent help you with hair and makeup, or even ask a friend if they’ll do it for you. There’s no need to worry about looking good and saving money, because you can do both!

Finally, there’s the issue of food. Countless plans detailing dinner reservations, the amount of people in a group, who will pay, etc., can be frustrating and overwhelming. But, of course, there are simple solutions. First of all, going with a larger group of friends could mean you split the cost of dinner and save money overall. If that’s not your vibe, you can choose to go to a cheaper restaurant–who says you need to have a five-course, five-star meal before prom? Hit up Wendy’s, Chick-fil-a, Elmo’s or another more casual restaurant for an affordable meal. Besides, prom will have snacks and drinks, as well as plenty of dancing, so you probably won’t want to fill up anyways.

Although prom can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of ways to make it low-cost and still have fun. This year, CHS prom will take place on Saturday, April 21, at the Governor’s Club. You can buy tickets online or at lunch, and there are scholarships available for them, covered by the PTA.

 

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.

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 NCReportCards.com

Creatures of Carrboro

The JagWire traveled around the school asking different students these two questions: What is on your mind lately? What helps assuage your worries? These are their answers.

Jack Knowles, Freshman:

“Honestly, I’m mainly worried about school work and stuff; [there are a lot of] super tight deadlines because of snow days. What helps me is just relaxing or taking a quick nap, especially when my workload is excessive.”

Vilja Saether, Junior:

“Is it bad to say Trump? Him and the North Korean leader; we all die if they start a nuclear war, and if they want to start a war, they will also die themselves. Maybe it’s because the US is a main power country, so its actions affect the whole world, not just the US as a country. Maybe we have other, smarter leaders in the world that can help us and that now after all of history we know it won’t lead to anything. I could also say quizzes and tests, but I only have to pass so it’s OK, I don’t worry as much about them.”

Aadit Nerkar, Junior:

“Well I worry about work, and I worry about the big issues going around in the world; following the news and hearing all the big things. It’s like you’re [always] wondering, ‘What does this mean?’ and ‘Where are we gonna end up?’ and ‘Why is this happening?’”

Sophie Therber, Senior:

“I guess the biggest thing recently is the whole process of going to college because I’ve been accepted to a few places, but I still don’t know exactly where I’m going to go or what I’m going to do. If I spend too much time thinking about it, I’ll drive myself to the ground, so it’s good to focus on other things.”

Joe Zhang, Senior:

“I worry about Nebraska football; I don’t know.”

Photos by Chelsea Ramsey

What to do on Valentine’s Day if you’re single

When Valentine’s Day rolls around, people usually take one of two paths. People in relationships tend to use the holiday as a way to express their affections towards their significant others. But those who are more romantically-challenged (single people, for example) often find themselves feeling lonely, apathetic or indifferent to the mushy, lovey-dovey day. Here are some ways to turn Valentine’s Day from a card-giving, chocolate-eating, lonely-feeling, pink-and-red mess, into a special day to appreciate yourself and your loved ones.

Show your pets some love. Walk your dog! Play with your cat! Pets will be there for you no matter what while significant others will come and go and are virtually useless. Pets deserve love too.

Take a personal day. Read a good book to forget you aren’t in a supportive romantic relationship, or take a bubble bath to relax from all of your stress. Treat yo’ self!

Hang out with friends. Friends are great, and you can even give them valentines without the fear of emotions messing anything up (like in a relationship).

Sleep all day. Think about it: if you sleep the day away, it’s like Valentine’s Day never happened. Bonus: you get beauty sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed and invigorated, which can be rare.

Go do a cool activity. Go for a hike, paint a picture, go to Frankie’s, hit up ice-skating or watch a movie at home. All of these activities are fun, need only one person and keep your mind off of Valentine’s Day!

Sequester yourself. Watching Netflix all day by yourself or playing angsty, unromantic music will definitely keep you occupied, and you won’t have to see anyone you don’t want to. Win-win, for sure.

Treat it like any other day. All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day is just another regular day, whether you are single or not. You don’t have to jump up with joy to celebrate it, but you also don’t have to be the Scrooge of love. Just be yourself, do your own thing and remember that you’ll have 364 days until it comes around again.

Illustration by Ryx Zan

There are only two guarantees in life: debates and tax bills

This Thursday, February 1, starting at A lunch, Debate Club met again to discuss the issue of taxes, and primarily how the recent GOP tax bill will either benefit or hurt Americans.

Opponents of the bill brought up points such as how, in contrast to what President Donald Trump has promised, the bill won’t help the middle and working classes in the long term. Others mentioned the part of the bill that allows drilling for natural resources in Alaska, and the worrying aspect that this has little to do with taxes. Further still was the issue around how the bill was passed.

A big aspect of the debate was whether the bill affects different political parties, social classes, or all Americans in general. According to some, the majority of citizens wouldn’t be receiving tax cuts within the next decade.

“This bill was targeted specifically at democratic communities, and I think it’s important that when senators and representatives are drafting bills, they should take into consideration the needs of all the American people,” said Paloma Baca, CHS junior and opponent of the bill.

The GOP tax bill, which was pushed by Senator Mitch McConnell and passed through the Senate and the House, is trying to promote economic growth. The bill will make long term cuts to corporate income taxes, and short term cuts to individual taxes. Main components of the bill also include only four tax brackets instead of the previous seven, while the amount of income that would be taxed will decrease.

Proponents of the bill wanted to focus on the effects of the bill rather than how it was passed. Many cited the idea of trickle down economics: decreasing taxation for large companies will allow them to stimulate the economy and effectively create jobs, which therefore increases spending in the community. They maintained that the bill was trying to promote prosperity within the economy.

“I thought the debate went well; it was a lot more civilized this time,” said Andrew Stewart, junior.

Debate Club leader Jonah Perrin, senior, has made some changes to make the debates run more smoothly. Whereas before participants would raise their hands and jump in when called on, Perrin now intends to make a list of everyone who wants to bring up a point at the start of the debate. Those people will get the chance to speak, and people who want to rebut statements can raise their hands as well during the argument. Perrin aims to make the club more formal in order to have a more reasonable flow of debate, and stay on topic.

Future debates will be held in room E216, Thursdays beginning at A lunch, unless otherwise posted. Feel free to contact Jonah Perrin to join the email list for the club, or about debate topics for coming meetings.

Photo by Olivia Weigle