The origins of Prom

From left to right: Juniors Kaya Hencke, Ella Speer, and Brynn Holt-Ling sell tickets at lunch. Photo by Chelsea Ramsey

As juniors and seniors look for dresses, tuxes and maybe even a date for the the annual, school-sanctioned and widely famous prom, one might wonder, where did this tradition come from?

Firstly, let’s address the name. Prom is short for promenade and can be easily defined as  a formal parade of guests. But the idea of this century’s kind of prom originates back to 19th century American universities. There, they held co-ed banquets honoring that year’s graduating class, according to Time Magazine.

Time also suggests that the banquets kept getting pushed to younger and younger students, until the 1940s where it took its hold on American high schools. In the 1950s, schools began to allow proms to be held in hotels and country clubs due to the thriving postwar economy.

Back then it was a parade of the graduating class, but what does it mean to us now? Because the event stems back generations, the reasons that we have prom have changed greatly over the years. Parker Zinn, Carrboro junior and Junior Class Council President, believes that prom is a opportunity for students.

“Prom gives students the opportunity to spend a magical night with their peers outside of the classroom and really treat themselves to the experience of a lifetime,” said Zinn, in an interview via email.

While prom is a world-wide phenomenon, and has universal traditions, Carrboro also has its own traditions.

Ella Speer, junior and Class Council’s Multi-Media Manager, shares her take on one beloved Carrboro prom tradition.

“I would say that the promposals are one of the most exciting aspects of Carrboro’s pre-prom anticipation,” said Speer, also via email.

So why have we kept these traditions alive? Zinn elaborated on the significance of the occasion.

“We believe that prom is a vital part of the high school experience because of its unique nature. All students have the opportunity to come together and celebrate each other at a formal dance, spending the night worry-free and having a blast,” said Zinn.

To promote this idea of coming together and celebrating each other, Carrboro’s Junior Class Council says that they cannot do without inclusivity.

One way they worked on inclusivity was making sure everyone could afford prom by making sure everyone could access formal wear, and offering a discounted ticket prices for those in need (see Ms. Crider in the CIC for discounted tickets and formal wear).

“This year, we hope to diversify prom and make it more inclusive to all. We have discounted ticket prices for students unable to afford regular ticket prices, additionally advertised Cinderella’s Closet and other dresswear businesses for discounted or free dresswear, and we have spoken with students around CHS to discuss ways we may make prom more inclusive and enjoyable for all,” said Speer.

Cinderella’s Closet is a charity that compiles gently used and donated formal wear for those who need it. The charity will be held the day of prom, April 13, at the Christ United Methodist Church in Southern Village. You can go there to find dresses, shoes, jewelry and other prom essentials, or you can donate any used prom items for others to try on.

Carrboro’s Junior Class Council worked extremely hard on this year’s prom and can’t wait to see attendees on April 13, at Governor’s Club from 8pm -11pm.

First track meet runs smoothly

Senior Roman Perone (left) runs the 100m hurdles with sophomore Brian Buck (right). Photo by Jade Simpson

On Thursday, March 7, Carrboro competed in its first track meet against North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM). The team ended strong with the women winning 76-29, while the men lost 58-64.

Track meets are scored per event, so each athlete gains points for their team by placing highest in their events.

The meet went smoothly despite having three new coaches, Kenneth Cunningham, Riley Mulhern and Coach Dale, Carrboro’s football coach.

They have the rest of their conference season to look forward to, as well as their non-conference regional season.

Mimi O’Grady, the team’s central coach, talked about improvements to the team over a text interview.

“The men’s and women’s teams [were] both very strong; Carrboro men can quickly dominate the conference by pulling together focused relay teams,” said O’Grady.

The next track meet will be Thursday, March 21, against Durham School of the Arts and Graham home at Carrboro, starting at 4:30 PM.

The Best of Both Worlds

On April 4, 28 students and two teachers travelled across the Atlantic ocean to visit the United States. For the past eight years, Madame Nathalie Gaut, CHS French teacher, has been exchanging students from France and introducing them to American culture for three weeks.

It was eight years ago that she first developed an interest in starting an exchange program.

“I called the embassies to try to find teachers in France, and finally the embassy in Atlanta called me back,” said Gaut. “I got in touch with the teacher, and I met her in France, and we decided we could work together.”

Every year Gaut has to find 28 families willing to host the French exchange students, and then the host families have priority to go to France the following year.

“You really learn about the culture… you get to live with a family and learn the language, but you also learn the culture,” said Gaut.

Cultural differences are a big part of going from one country to another; exchange student Emma
Reglin talked about how different school is here.

“It is less strict. We can wear anything we want,” said Reglin. Exchange student Marie Gagnant talked about the clothing rules in America versus in France.

“In France, when we wear shorts with a sweatshirt, everyone just thinks really bad of that,” said Gagnant.

Gagnant agreed that the rules in school are much more rigid in France.

“Our teachers are much more strict, we can’t use our phones, we can’t eat,” said Reglin. She added that it wasn’t too difficult to adjust to speaking a new language.

“We always find a way to explain what we want to say, even if we don’t know the word,” said Reglin.

Many exchange students found that their favorite part of the trip was the people that they met and how well they got along with their host families.

“[It was ] maybe too good because now it is too hard to go back to France,” said Reglin.

The host families of these students had may hopes and fears as these students arrived in Chapel Hill.

“I was worried they were going to hate me or be mean to me or not have a good time,” said host sibling Fiona Galinsky, sophomore.

Isabel Simmons, also a CHS sophomore, talked about how much she was going to miss her new friend.

“We have gotten so close. Lisa [exchange student] and I shared a room and so it was really fun,” said Simmons, “Every night before we went to bed, we’d talk about her boyfriend, the boy I like, and what happened that day.

It was really cute and fun, and I’m going to be really sad when she’s gone.”

This year’s French exchange students with their hosts

A Spotlight on the Sports: Josh Singleton

When did you start playing ultimate frisbee?

I started throwing the ultimate frisbee when my brother was in sixth grade, so I was in second grade, and I started playing when I was eleven.

What are the Carrboro Clams?

The Carrboro Clams are the Carrboro High School ultimate frisbee team; it’s a club and it’s fun.

Why are you called the Carrboro Clams?

We are the clams because when Carrboro High School was deciding their mascot, the clams were the runner up mascot choice. So we’re the clams. Because we’re a club we can’t use the Jaguars as our mascot because we’re  not a school sponsored team.

Who are the team’s coaches?

Head Coach Skylair … he played Ultimate at UNC and he plays club ultimate. There’s three assistant coaches: Matt Oliveti, who plays club ultimate, and then two UNC players, Mark Rodner and Nathan Dierhuys.

When did you start playing for the Carrboro Clams?

I picked up with them my eighth grade year because they were short on numbers and my brother, Matt, played on the team. I was put in the roster at the end of the season, and now I’m officially on the team

What is your favorite part about ultimate frisbee?

I really like their spirit of the game idea, which is that the most important part of the game is to be respectful and be a good person and do the right thing instead of just being rude to other players and trying to get in their face. So it’s really different from other sports where people are just hostile.

Do you think you are going to continue to play after high school?

I will, I’m trying to continue. A lot of colleges have ultimate teams. So… I mean that’s not a reason I would go to college but it’s definitely a big part of my life.

Would you say that ultimate frisbee is an overlooked sport? If so, why?

I think it is overlooked. I think it’s like frowned upon in the social eye, but I think it’s really enjoyable. I think a lot of people have fun doing it, and people should give it a shot. I think people see it as a nerdy or sort of un-athletic sport. Maybe at beginner levels that’s true, but at advanced levels it’s really competitive and intense and I think people just don’t see that.

Is there anything that you want people who don’t play ultimate to know?

It’s really fun. It’s really competitive and people should give it a shot before they judge people for doing it.

Survey examines CHCCS drug behavior

Every odd year, the CHCCS school district administers a survey to its stu- dents about risky behaviors. Last year, according to the survey, the trends of alcohol consumption went down from 29 percent to 23 percent, and marijuana use went down from 14 percent to 10 percent.

However, some students questioned the study and whether students had answered truthfully. “There are definitely more [students doing drugs], like that’s not accurate,” said Anna Burgess, CHS sophomore.

In a study published by U.S. News and World Report, 211 teenagers were surveyed and then drug-tested specif- ically for cocaine. 71 of these teenagers tested positive for cocaine, but only two admitted to using it.

“If teens generally lie or underestimate about drug use, then the study results are going to be biased toward under-reporting and too low estimates,” said, Susan Simpson, a marketing research consultant.

Teenagers use drugs. It’s something people have known for a long time, and it’s something people have measured, studied, surveyed and tried to fix for decades. So what does Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) do about it?

According to U.S. News and World Report, results of surveys—like CHCCS’ risk behavior survey—are used by doctors and other health officials to measure the problem of teen drug abuse. If the problem is under-measured, these surveys become redundant. So how does one know if these surveys are accurate? “To address accuracy of reporting, survey experts believe that over-reporting and under-reporting balance each other out when students inaccurately report information,” said Scarlett Steinert, Director of Healthful Living & Athletics.

This is a theory suggested by many data statisticians: if the response error is random, then the results are accurate, within a margin of error that depends on the amount of people surveyed. However if lying about drug use is simply a characteristic of the demographic under study ― in this case teenagers ― then the results are biased.

For example, if as many teenagers are bragging about using drugs, but are really not using them, then the results will end up being accurate. But if all the teenagers generally lie about their drug use, then the results are biased and will lead to estimates that are too low.

So what makes students lie?

“I think teenagers would lie when asked about their drug use for fear of punish- ment,” said Ryan Deshler, CHS sophomore.

With fear of punishment, the first suggestion is always anonymity, but sometimes the promise of anonymity is not enough.

“Even though you know [the survey] is anonymous, and no one will know who you are, you still might have the urge to lie,” said Anna Burgess, CHS sophomore.

Ultmately, surveys such as those administered by CHCCS are intended to help direct resources to help students. These resources include substance abuse counseling and curricular resources, such as health classes. Researchers may need to explore if teenagers generally lie about drug usage.

Bookworm Approved: Best Books of 2017

Looking for a good way to escape the cold this winter? How about cracking open a good book and diving into a world where the cold has vanished?

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

This year many spectacular novels were written. Number one on The New York Times Bestseller List for seven weeks is Turtles All the Way Down By John Green. Green illustrates 16-year-old Aza Holmes’ search for fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett as she struggles with OCD.

This book presents a window into the mind of what a teen struggling with mental illness might have to deal with every day.

I am not your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez also deals with mental illness and is a 2017 National Book Award Finalist. Sánchez tells the story of Julia, who must put her family back together after the death of of her perfect sister, Olga. She does this while being constantly criticized by her mother, ignored by her father and struggling to come to terms her mental illness.

The book features complex characters, love, frustration, Latinx elements and important issues such as mental illness.

I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson narrates the life of two artistic twins, Jude and Noah. This book details a story of first love, betrayal and family told by both the twins but from different points in time.

Chloe Carroll, freshman, loved I’ll Give You the Sun.

“I really liked how Noah thought of art pieces he could make out of each situation… I think it really added to the story,” says Carroll.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, follows Starr as she battles the thick political and emotional waters following the police shooting of unarmed black teen Khalil. The Hate U Give has been on The New York Times Bestseller List for 36 weeks.

Kara Watson, Carrboro’s Librarian, highly recommends the book to everyone.

“I think that [The Hate U Give] sheds light on huge issues — not only police violence but institutionalized racism… I think everyone should read it.” said Watson.

What Girls are Made of by Flana K. Arnold

Similar to I’ll Give You the Sun is What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold. The book is a 2017 National Book Award Finalist, and deals with what love means to main character Nina Faye. Nina learned at a young age that there was no such thing as unconditional love; then, when the boyfriend she would do anything for breaks up with her, she struggles to learn what love means.

The book pushes boundaries and teaches readers about issues that teens need to understand and learn.

It has been a great year for books — especially ones that touch on important issues — and these are only a few of many. No matter what genre or author you chose, any of these books would be a great choice for these winter months.