Pick Up the Pace

Three minutes. That’s all the time that Carrboro High School students have between each class. Three minutes may seem like a lot, but when you factor in using the restroom, grabbing a quick snack, dropping something off at the office and, of course, the slow walkers, the time you need increases.

Unfortunately, we cannot change the amount of time between classes. However, we can change how we walk in the hallways. School is stressful enough; walking through the halls between classes should not contribute to that stress.

The hallway between class periods is not the time or place to congregate with your friends. Although class time may not be important to everyone, please respect the time of the people who feel that it is. When you force people to walk around you, it holds up the tens of people behind you, causing a traffic jam! Social time is not in between classes; rather, socializing should be reserved for lunch and after or before school. Better yet, why don’t you walk and talk at the same time?

Another thing to consider is your pace while walking through the halls. We all have someplace to be, and wouldn’t you like to get to class on time, maybe even with a minute to spare? Take the people behind you into consideration and pick up the pace.

Next time you are walking in the hallways, please consider the time of other students around you.

Choosing to Walk or Not

#Enough is enough. On April 20, students in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools left class and marched to the Peace and Justice Plaza, on East Franklin Street, in protest of gun violence; however, debate over the walkout could be heard much earlier.

Carrboro High School was filled with voices advertising the walk out. Students said, “if you are physically able, you should be walking on Friday.” Or even, “would you rather be shot or risk detention?” as there were threats of detentions and notes in your file for walking out and skipping class.

The peer pressure that students felt is unnecessary. Each and every student should be able to show and express their beliefs and views in the way that they choose to do so. Choosing whether or not to walk out has been a challenging decision for some, and many have witnessed extreme amounts of peer pressure. They’ve been told that if they don’t walk out then they don’t care, or it isn’t important to them. Well, not necessarily. Some students don’t hold this cause near and dear to them. Some students don’t think that it is important. Everyone has their opinions that they are entitled to. They should not be asked to explain themselves, but if they would like to, they deserve the same respect and open ears that everyone else receives.

However, there are also students who really would have wanted to participate, but couldn’t for various reasons such as sports, absences, tests or even because their parents didn’t want them to. And some students don’t want to risk getting a detention or a note in their file.

After CHS sent out a message about treating the walkout like skipping class and giving out detentions and notes in files, many students didn’t mind risking those possible outcomes, but other students had pre-existing notes or detentions that they preferred not to add to. This doesn’t mean that they don’t care, and just because you didn’t walk out doesn’t mean that you didn’t show your support in other ways. For example, on that Friday,

Carrboro High School was a sea of orange. Many students showed their support by wearing the orange shirts whether or not they walked out. No one should be shamed or judged for their decision, but sadly this isn’t the case. Most students expect every other student to have the same opinion that they do and don’t understand when they don’t.

Some students think that the cause is important but don’t agree with the proposed solutions that are be- ing represented through the walkout. I’ve seen a lot of exclusivity in the various walkouts that I thought were supposed to bring people together through a common goal. There are only a few views and opinions being represented. If you have a different idea, you’re likely undergo scrutiny for your views. Seems a bit hypocritical if you ask me.

Speaking of hypocrisy… why is it that it takes students from an upper-middle class, majority white school to be shot and killed for everyone to be up in arms? There are kids, teens and adults alike killed in neighborhoods every day.

Tutoring the way to success at CHS

Every Tuesday and Thursday after school in the Carrboro High library, tutoring is in session. Students can find tutoring from teachers, volunteers, parents or other students.

“I come here mostly for math, and it has helped a lot,” said Gabby Ortiz, a junior who regularly comes to these after-school tutoring sessions.

Ortiz said that she usually comes to one of the tutoring sessions each week and has seen an improvement in her grades, especially on tests and quizzes. She also gains a better and more thorough understanding of her classes’ material.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, you can find Elena Peot, CHS senior, in the library tutoring fellow students.

“The National Honors Society requires that you come at least once, so I came once and just never stopped,” said Peot.

Peot started coming to tutoring about two months ago when Ms. Rubenstein suggested that she do so, because everyone is welcome. She tutors in all subjects, with the sole exception of social studies.

Peot thinks it is important for students to know that most of the tutors are qualified to tutor past math levels one and two; most are also able to tutor in AP level classes, and there is no shame in AP stu- dents coming to tutoring.

The number of students at tutoring varies. Peot said that there are usually about 20, but if there is an essay due the next day, then there are often closer to 40 students.

You may also receive help from a UNC Chapel Hill student. Tessa Szalkowski is a UNC student and an Alpha Chi Sigma member. Alpha Chi Sigma is the chemistry fraternity, and tutoring is a service requirement for members. Szalkowski tutors every Tuesday from four to five o’clock, mostly in math and science.

Although she won’t usually work with the same students every session, Szalkowski says that she sees many students making big improvements.

“I have definitely seen students who come here regularly. I’ll see that there is a definite improvement. They are getting good grades on their homework and that sort of thing,” said Szalkowski.

Not only do these tutoring sessions help students in raising their grades, but it is also helping with their social skills, notes Szalkowski. She has seen that students have become more comfortable with asking questions.

“I think that this is an amazing program. I think that it is a way to collaborate with not just older students and teachers, but other students and form study groups,” said Szalkowski.

Overall, Carrboro has improved students’ education by offering a well-round- ed tutoring program. So next time you find yourself feeling confused in class, think about heading to the library after school on a Tuesday or Thursday.

Photo by Levi Hencke

Snowball gives exclusivity the cold shoulder

Every year, the Carrboro Student Government Association (SGA) throws the Snowball dance, the only SGA-sponsored dance where all grades are invited. In past years, it has been held at venues such as the Haw River Ballroom and the Friday Center. This year, Snowball is taking a different turn, as it will be held on Saturday, January 27, in the commons of Carrboro High School.

This year, all SGA officers ran on a platform of wanting to be more inclusive and that all Carrboro students should be able to feel like a Jaguar, explained Cameron Farrar, Carrboro’s SGA treasurer. In past years, some students have refrained from attending school hosted events due to transportation and money issues. The changes this year are meant to make Snowball a place where everyone feels welcome.

Since Snowball is being held at the school, there is easier access for students to attend. For example, Chapel Hill Transit, the city bus system, provides easy transportation. Many students also live in apartments within walking distance of school. Another important aspect of the dance being held at Carrboro is that everyone knows its location, since; we come here everyday. In the past, location has created issues with cost and attendance

SGA didn’t want price to be a deciding factor in students’ attendance. This year’s Snowball tickets are only $10 for a single and $15 for a couple which is much cheaper than previous years. Hopefully this drop in price will encourage more students to attend.

Farrar mentioned that there is a large demographic of students who don’t feel welcomed at school events.

“I think there is a certain comfort in knowing about the school and where the school is so you don’t have to be worrying about a bunch of different things,” said Farrar.

Additionally, SGA is really pushing the winter wonderland theme, with plans for: trees, snowflakes, lights and even chicken nuggets!

Snowball will be held Saturday, January 27 from 8 to 11 p.m. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, don’t worry; they are available for purchase at the door!

Background checks don’t solve

With the October 1 tragedy in Las Vegas, which took 58 lives and injured almost 500, the question of whether to restrict civilians’ constitutional right to bear arms has become a hot button topic. Should the government create stricter gun laws or gun registries? Is it the gun that is the problem, or is it the person pulling the trigger? This topic has long been relevant with last year’s elections and continuing discussions and events.

Some identify the culprit of violence around America as the gun and push for tighter gun control or even complete confiscation. No guns, no crime. Others disagree and feel that criminals will always find a way to get a hold of guns and that law abiding citizens should not be penalized and prevented from legally owning guns.

In order to effectively address this crisis, it is important to look at the facts and statistics. According to Gary Kleck, a Florida State University criminologist, guns serve defensive purposes at least 760,000 times a year. Furthermore, 60 percent of felons say that they would not commit a crime if they were aware of a victim carrying a gun. Therefore, carrying a gun can both protect you and prevent a crime from taking place. I find it interesting that the President and celebrities have armed bodyguards to protect them, but some feel that ordinary people shouldn’t have that right. What makes their safety more important than ours? Law abiding citizens are not the problem; criminals are.

Background checks are ineffective in weeding out criminals since five out of six felons who possess guns obtained their guns from theft or a secondary market. Background checks can be inaccurate as well: according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, since the passing of the 1994 Brady Act, more than 118 million National Instant Criminal Background Check System applications for firearm transfers or permits were checked and 2.1 million were denied, but about 95 percent of these denials were false positives.

While some, including former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, push for bans on certain firearms, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) expressed that no law could have prevented the Las Vegas shooter from committing a terrible mass murder. He had passed background checks and registered his guns.

While we debate over what the right answer is, consider that 42.5 million adults live with some form of mental illness. Although they may have insurance coverage, oftentimes they cannot find therapists that accept insurance or are accessible. Many on both sides of this issue think that the answer to preventing terrible tragedies, such as the one that took place this past month, is providing better mental health care to those who need it.

Carrboro’s Global Citizen

While most students were lounging by the pool or relaxing at the beach this summer, Carrboro’s Paw La La had a unique opportunity to travel to South Africa.

La heard about this opportunity, which was through an NGO called Global Citizen, from Social Studies teacher Matt Cone. La applied last year and was admitted into the program, making her one of six accepted and the only high school student.

La’s first stop of her trip was to the Global CItizen headquarters in New York City. Global Citizen’s mission is to eliminate poverty by the year 2030, and they hope to inspire the younger generation, like La, to join Global Citizen’s mission.

“I really enjoyed [Global Citizen’s headquarters] because I was surrounded by people who are working to do something better in the world, to improve the world,” said La.

During her ten days in South Africa La attended numerous business meetings, where she learned about different organizations such as Embrace Dignity, Umbiyozo, Unjani Health and Kliptown Youth Program.

Seeing that the townships and schools that weren’t integrated, greatly impacted La. She also opened up about her life and how she felt a strong connection to a slum called Kliptown.

“Once I entered Kliptown, I felt like I knew Kliptown. I was born in a refugee camp and everything from that town felt so familiar,” said La.

One of the hardest things for her was to see the children in the slums.

“The children were so happy, but when you look at the statistics, you see where they are going to end up. They aren’t going to go to school and the cycle will continue,” La said.

Now that La is back in the United States, she has big plans for Carrboro High School. This year she is starting a club called Global Community Club that aims to create “young leaders who are informed about the world” and global citizens. She recognizes the diversity in the school but thinks that the student body is not connected enough.

La was once new to the United States and knows what it is like to walk around the school and speak barely any English. She also says that the Karen community has New Year ceremonies and would like to invite all students to join in and engage in a different culture. She hopes to have events like breakfast with new students to create a more inclusive community.

Photo courtesy CHCCS