MLK Day: A day on, not a day off

Martin Luther King Jr., born in 1929, was a civil rights activist and pastor from Atlanta, Georgia, who propelled the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century with his leadership. He gave hope to many African-Americans around the United States and took a stand at combating racial inequality in the nation.

Along with his rise in fame during the 1960s, King gained many enemies and opposition due to his stance on civil rights and peaceful protest. Despite personal death threats and attacks against him and his family, including a bomb thrown into his house in retaliation to the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott, King stood strong and maintained his fight for the rights he believed in. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, but his legacy lives on in modern civil rights protests and especially during MLK Day.

Soon after King’s death, a campaign to honor his life works and achievements began, with President Ronald Reagan finally signing the MLK Day holiday into effect in 1983. With King’s birthday being January 15, the holiday was officially recognized on the third Monday of January, close to his birthday.

This year the holiday, recognized on January 21, was given the title ‘the MLK Day of Service’ by the Corporation of National and Community Service. It is considered a day of service because it “is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a ‘Beloved Community,’” and is observed as a “day on, not day off.”

The website of the MLK Day of Service has volunteer opportunities posted for anyone to attend, including anything to help others; it does not just have to be related to civil rights. Volunteer opportunities in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro region include driving a senior to the doctor, the youth cloth bag project, volunteering with churches and more.

Though we just have one day to memorialize Martin Luther King and his monumental achievements, you can sign up to volunteer at any time of the year in his honor by visiting

Blended Classes and Block Schedule: Good or Bad?

This year marks the first school year that both blended classes and block schedule are being implemented in the classroom. Many students had their initial doubts about the changes coming to CHS, but the freshmen students now conclude that the changes were for the best.

Rekiyah Bobbitt, freshmen, likes blended classes because she appreciates that the honors students, who have been through standard classes before, can help out the standard students.

“In marketing class, and all my other classes but marketing especially, whenever I have trouble, some honors students help me,” said Bobbitt.

Bobbitt also believes that blended classes create a more inclusive and less stressful school environment.

“If it was separated ㅡ only standard in one class and honors in the other ㅡ it would make children feel excluded or not as smart if they weren’t in honors,” said Bobbitt.

Katherine Stephens, freshmen, thinks that blended classes bring many people together in an inclusive and accepting way.

“I think it’s nice that we can interact with a more diverse group of people,” said Stephens.

“It’s not like the honors kids sit together and the standard kids sit together; it’s really mixed. The only way that you can really tell who’s in the different classes is which papers they get when the teachers hand them out,” said Stephens.

Bobbitt understands that block schedule is an effective way to allow freshmen to adjust to high school.

“I feel that it’s a little less stressful, and there are less due dates since it’s less classes to take. You can really focus on the five subjects you have. It’s less homework, and you get to know your teachers better,” said Bobbitt.

However, Bobbitt says she would prefer to not have block schedule for the rest of high school because she thinks that after freshman year, she will be adjusted to high school and would rather have classes with different people.

“I think we should go back to all seven periods, so we can see different people in our different classes,” said Bobbitt.

Stephens acknowledges that blocked schedule means that students have less homework. However, she doesn’t like the way that the classes are grouped together.

“It’s kind of nice because we don’t have as much homework because we only have five classes rather than seven. I don’t like that now, we have social studies and language arts because those are my two favorites, and in the spring, we have biology and gym, which I don’t like as much,” said Stephens.

Stephens also worries that the students are less likely to remember the material from the classes they took in the first semester.

“The classes you have in the first semester, you might not remember as well the next year because you learned it all in the first half of the year, and then, you get your exams over with,” said Stephens.

The freshmen have exposed that there are many pros and cons to the block schedule and blended classes system. However, they think that the pros outweigh the cons and look forward to what their sophomore year will structurally look like.  

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.

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.

Thanks, Mom & Dad

Maxwell Luce (Freshman)

“My parents are very, I guess, ‘pro-education’ and ‘pro-knowledge’ and aren’t very indoctrinating. They don’t really care that I have radically different opinions about pretty much everything than them. Building off that, they don’t care too much when I disagree with them, as long as it’s reasonable. Like obviously, if they wanted me to clean my room and I was like ‘no’ they’d be upset, but when it comes to things like cultural values, religion, politics, philosophy, things like that, they don’t really mind that my opinion is different than theirs, which I think is rare among parents.”

James O’Brien (Junior)
“I appreciate my parents for a multitude of reasons, the most primary being that they provide for my most basic needs more than adequately; I think that’s the first thing to ask, and they do it quite well. The second thing, which many great parents do and my parents do, is that they provide multiple opportunities for my intellectual furtherment, whether it be through them or through find- ing someone else, and I’ve always appreciated their investments and care to my development as a person and an intellectual being.”

Thomas Soden (Junior)
“The thing I’m grateful for most about my parents is that they are always caring and supportive of anything I do. Even if they don’t approve of it, they’re still willing to give it a shot. Like, my first time playing la- crosse…they wanted me to play baseball, but they still helped me and supported me, and I’m still playing lacrosse to this day.”

Andrew Hoffman (Sophomore)
“I appreciate that my parents allow me to take opportunities; they’re very open to that, like if I want to try a new sport or a new thing or do a new camp or something, they’re very supportive and they’ll help me see it through. I’m very thankful that they allow me to take these opportunities and that they can give them to me. There’s this summer camp I went to called “Camp Carolina,” and it’s a pretty expensive camp to go to, but I think I learned a lot through it and grown, so I’m very thankful they allowed me to go there.”

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

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.

Roommates 101: To Pick or Not to Pick

Receive the email. “Your application status had been updated.” Open the acceptance letter. Scream a little. Then join the college Facebook group.

It’s a process familiar to most seniors who choose to apply to college. Today, insert-college/university-name-here Class of 2022 Facebook groups, as well as websites such as, help prospective students connect and, oftentimes, find freshman year roommates.

Yet how much about a person can really be gleaned from one social media post? Moreover, by what criteria do students evaluate potential roommates, and how does this affect their first year experience?

In light of this recent trend, some universities have taken action. Notably, Duke University announced in March that next year’s freshman class will no longer have the option to select a roommate before enrolling. Other local universities that have opted to end roommate choice include High Point University and Wake Forest University.

Rachel Jensen, a first year at UNC Chapel Hill, estimates that almost all her classmates found their first year roommates on Facebook.

“In my experience, 90 percent of people go in choosing their roommate…it’s definitely far more common,” said Jensen.

While in the minority, Jensen — who was assigned a roommate randomly after filling out a short survey — says she and her roommate live well together.

“We are able to balance each other out,” said Jensen. “I’m lonely when I go home and I have my single-person room.”

Anna Kemper, a senior at CHS, says the number of people who “go random” at Butler University, where she will be a student next year, is a lot larger. She trusts the system and isn’t too worried about not having control over her roommate.

“Even if I’m not best friends with [my roommate] I don’t have to see them all the time,” said Kemper. “There would only be a huge issue if she’s really mean or doesn’t have good hygiene.”

Savannah Dolan, a senior at CHS, and Maura Holt-Ling, a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill, both chose their freshman year roommates before matriculating.

Dolan choose her roommate through Facebook so she wouldn’t have to worry about being put with someone she isn’t compatible with.

“You don’t have to stress out about being put with someone you don’t have similarities with, or someone you don’t think you’re going to be able to be good friends with and live with for a year,” said Dolan.

She and her roommate were immediate friends and Facetimed for three hours before committing to room together.

Holt-Ling also felt an instant connection with her roommate after meeting online and going through what many students dub “roommate dating.”

“We just hit if off right away,” said Holt-Ling.

Kemper opted for a random roommate since she doesn’t know anyone else going to her college and since the university strongly encouraged it.

Jensen, on the other hand, said the decision was basically made for her.

“I decided where I wanted to go to college kind of late,” said Jensen. “I missed the wave of people looking [for roommates] on Facebook.”

Duke University cited diversity as one of the main reasons for their recent policy change. According to a university statement, when students have the option to choose their roommate, they generally gravitate towards students with “very similar backgrounds to their own.”

“Research shows that the more diverse the interactions among students, the better equipped they are for life after Duke,” the letter continued.

Holt-Ling and Dolan both say they have a fair amount of similarities with their respective room-

“I wanted to find someone who shared a lot of the same interests as me,” said Dolan.

“I reached out to [my roommate] initially because we had some of the same music tastes and liked the same TV shows,” echoed Holt-Ling.

Still, they also emphasized that they and their roommates are distinct people.

“My roommate and I have some things in common, but not everything,” said Holt-Ling.

Jensen feels she and her roommate are less similar.

“We’re pretty different personality wise,” said Jensen. “She’s definitely more outgoing than me … I appreciate that, because I feel like it encourages me to put myself out there a little more.”

Kemper added that similarity does not  equal compatibility.

“A lot of friends I have now I’m complete opposites with,” said Kemper.

All four students emphasized that whether or not someone chooses their roommate before college or is assigned one randomly, they can gave a great first year experience.