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!

CHS divided: Debate club does it again

On January 11, the CHS debate club, led by Jonah Perrin, senior, held its fourth debate since the creation of the club this fall.

This week’s debate topic was on immigration policies and the issue of building a border wall to keep out illegal immigrants. According to Chris Beichner, Social studies teacher and debate club advisor, over 70 people showed up to the debate.

Students ranging from all grades, ages, races and political beliefs attended the debate to either share their opinions or listen to those of others. Anti-immigration perspectives tended to support the building of a border wall, increasing border security and reducing the number of illegal immigrants in America. Pro-immigration students maintained that immigrants benefit the economy and add to society. They proposed funneling money into an improved immigration system rather than a border wall.

While managed by both Perrin and Beichner, the debate did at times take a hostile turn, owing to the controversial nature of the subject. Some students felt it was sometimes one-sided and difficult to prevent people from interrupting each other.

“I definitely thought it was one-sided at times; we need more Republican voices. We should be nicer to each other as well, no more personal attacks,” said Roman Perone, junior.

Other students were disappointed with how the debate turned out. Ezster Rimanyi, also a junior, believes there should be more understanding of different perspectives and actual debate for the sake of debating.

“I feel like in a bunch of debates there is a lack of opposition with really good points. We never have the ‘I can see;’ we feel like we have to just be part of one party or side. I would like to let go of emotion…If I’m on the republican side, I should be able to say, ‘I can see’. We never have that, and that’s what I kind of miss,” said Rimanyi.

Beichner, who supervises the debates (which take place in his room), has a different perspective disregarding parties or political affiliations. He felt positively about the turnout of students and their ability to debate.

“The topics are controversial, but for the most part students have been respectful. Mostly, I’ve been amazed by well-spoken people are off-the-cuff. [You’re] just 16 or 17 years old, and it’s pretty impressive to me,” said Beichner.

Further debates will be held in Beichner’s room, E216, pending the decision of new topics. Contact Perrin for information about the debate club, or if you have ideas for a debate topic.

Photo by Olivia Weigle

Girls Give Back

This Thursday, January 11, DECA will host the Girls Give Back benefit concert, working alongside the CHS Young Feminist Club.

The concert will consist of performances by a capella groups from CHS’ Sophistickeys, CHHS’ Lucky 13  and UNC Chapel Hill’s the Loreleis. There will be two featured performers, Millie McGuire, senior, and Sibel Byrnes, CHS English teacher.

Senior Kirby Thornton, the CHS DECA Chapter President, explained the idea behind the organization of the event.

“I had the interest to join [the Young Feminist Club] and help them market the event because it is a good idea to have all female performers giving back to a female-driven charity,” said Thornton.

To organize the event, Thornton used her four year experience on DECA to market the concert.

“DECA has taught me to be a leader, to learn how to delegate, as well as critical skills in business and event planning. It helps me understand what goes into a marketing plan and how to best advertise the event,” said Thornton.

Thornton elaborated on the importance of using your own interests to benefit others in the community.

“There are so many different ways to give back to a community. While volunteering is helpful, we have the ability, as younger students, to put on programs that are really awesome,” said Thornton.

Minimum entry to the event is currently listed at $5. All proceeds of the event—donated clothing, canned foods and money—are going to the HomeStart Shelter for Women and Children.

New Orange County Library in Carrboro

In a few years, Carrboro residents will have access to a new library in the parking lot next to Open Eye and Glasshalfull. The Orange County Public Library and the town of Carrboro will share the library with Town of Carrboro employees. There is also the potential for the Arts Center to move some of its programming into the new space.

Currently, the Orange County Public library has two locations in Carrboro: the Cybrary on North Greensboro Street and a branch at McDougle Middle School. However, the library wants to expand to a location that better serves the needs of Carrboro residents.

“In our current spaces in Carrboro, we do not have adequate event space. We also don’t have any meeting space and many people like to use libraries for meetings,” said Libbie Hough, Communications Specialist for the Orange County Public Library. “We want to provide another place where folks can meet, can learn and feel welcome and free to explore new interests.”

Hough added that Carrboro lacks a space with access to public computers―something that the library would add to the town.

“A library makes a downtown vibrant, and it’s a huge attraction. The library of today is now a gathering space, a place for meetups, and you have art displays and books and tapes,” said Lydia Lavelle, Mayor of Carrboro. “It’s a place for the community, and it’ll be a great addition to downtown.”

Plans for the library are still in the beginning phases, with the Town of Carrboro and the Orange County Government deciding on a designer this month. For the last year, both parties worked on a development agreement to discuss how to divide up the costs of the building.

“There’s a timeline and a process outlined and everyone seems to be on board,” said Hough. “If everything goes to plan, [the library] will open in the fall of 2019.”

The library will replace an 88-space parking lot, raising concerns from both residents and businesses owners.

“The construction phase itself has the potential to have the most potentially deleterious effect on businesses in proximity, on many levels,” said Scott Conary, owner of Open Eye, in an email interview. “It could be as simple as restricting access, but can also be as complicated as affecting utilities that are needed to stay in business, and keep care of our very delicate equipment. Other concerns are noise, parking in that time frame, and the potential loss of current parking/street access.”

The main concern stems from the lack of parking during construction.

“We’re in the process of looking at the lots around the space to see if we can purchase or lease some parking space for what we anticipate will be needed and will definitely be needed during construction,” said Lavelle. “In the long term, we might put a modest deck on some place around the lot to have some extra parking― not too imposing but something to give more parking.”

Conary explained that businesses will face aesthetic and function issues such as having the view blocked, but he added that once construction is completed, the library could have a positive impact on the town.

“There is the potential for this to have a positive long term impact for bringing folks from the county and beyond into the downtown, especially if parking for the public is maintained for easy access to the town and businesses,” said Conary.

Since its incorporation in 1911, the Town of Carrboro has only built one new building ― Fire Station Number
Two ― because most buildings are repurposed. Now Town of Carrboro is also planning to fix up the area around the library.

“Part of what we’ll do is be improving Roberson,” said Lavelle, referring to the road behind Armadillo Grill and Tyler’s. “We’re going to put in bike lanes and a sidewide…to make it much more user friendly for bikers and walkers.”

With a completion date set for fall of 2019, the Town of Carrboro and the Orange County Government continue to search for a design that fits the needs and concerns of the community.

Photo Courtesy Indy Week.

A Look at Carrboro Segregation

Subarus smattered with Bernie Sanders bumper stickers, moms coming out of yoga in peace sign shirts and little boys running around Weaver Street Market in princess dresses; the slogan of the Town of Carrboro reads “feel free.” Local food markets pride themselves in being co-operative organizations — built on a sense of community, and powered by the unity of all people. A mural that depicts the United States as a “Nation of Many Colors” adorns a brick wall in the city center; it’s easy to see Carrboro as a community that respects diversity.

However, everything changes when citizens return home. As the appearance of integration and inclusivity attracts more rich white liberals to new urban developments, Carrboro’s historic residential communities face the threat of eviction. The gentrifi cation of the town of Carrboro is slowly erasing historically black communities — the very communities that built the town.

The future of historically black neighborhoods, according to the website of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, is important to preserve. The Jackson Center focuses on stabilizing and improving the most historic neighborhood in Carrboro: Northside. Northside originated as a “service community” comprised of free blacks after the end of slavery, many of whom were contracted to do hard labor by the University of North Carolina.

After desegregation, many black businesses were replaced by the primarily white-owned businesses that now reside on Franklin Street. Even local teachers were struggling to find work as the recently desegregated schools hired almost exclusively white teachers. This disruption of infrastructure financially crippled Northside’s residents, and its effects can still be seen when comparing its median household incomes to those of white neighborhoods. Northside’s battle against gentrification in Carrboro has been a long one, and it is still not over.

The town of Carrboro took steps to recognize Northside as a Conservation District in 2004, but this did not stop the displacement of its residents. The U.S. census indicates that the African American population of the Northside area has declined more than 40 percent since 1980, as the boundaries of the neighborhood continue to shrink under recent “urban renewal” plans. In 2008, a former black business district near Northside was replaced by a condominium, housing, almost exclusively wealthy, white students attending the university. Even today, despite continued work to preserve the neighborhood, its black population dwindles;, slowly being overtaken by an influx of affluent white families and college students.

As Carrboro continues to market itself as a town with a basis in social consciousness, it must take concrete steps to meet that commitment. An inclusive community must include the needs of minorities, and if Carrboro continues to neglect the sustainability of the historically black neighborhoods, it is neglecting the sustainability of its people. If the Northside neighborhood continues to shrink, so too does the historical perspective that built the town of Carrboro.

A Voice for Students of Color at CHS

In creating clubs specifically for African American students, two students hope to bring minority students together to express their opinions and to bond with one another.

Diamond Blue, senior, has created a club specifically for Black female students at Carrboro High this year. Her club, Black Girls 4 Black Girls, creates a safe space for Black girls to speak their minds without fear.

“It’s the first club in the ten years that the school has been built that is exclusive to only Black girls and Black women. It’s just a place where we’re completely allowed to say what we want; there’s no boundaries obviously. We’re being respectful. You have to; it’s just a safe environment,” said Blue.

Blue intends for Black Girls 4 Black Girls to not only combat the issues of being a minority in a predominantly white school but also combat the stereotypes surrounding women of color. She intends to make the school more inclusive and have the girls understand that they’re a family.

“Right now in America, division is at it’s peak. Obviously slavery and all of that caused division. We’re not unified, and we’re not joined together as one, so you see a lot [of drama] in the black community [among] females, ”said Blue.

“There are these, for lack of a better term, stupid wars between females.”

Blue works hard to make sure that every girl’s voice is heard and that no student is left behind.

“We have meetings, and we either have guests or we reach out to certain girls that might need extra guidance or help. We just talk to them and kind of guide them. Because the club just started having meetings (it’s fairly new), our agenda is a lot longer than what we’ve been able to accomplish thus far, but basically the club is where we box everybody else and everything else off,” said Blue.

Some peers have pushed back against Blue’s efforts to create the club.

“I’ve had more students than anything find it offensive, saying that it’s problematic because it’s not inclusive to everyone– saying that it’s exclusive – but America, for God’s sake, is not inclusive to everyone. I’ve definitely gotten into a couple arguments about why we need it and why it needs to happen,” said Blue.

For specifically Black and Hispanic boys at CHS, Chris Thompson, a junior, created the Kings Club to unify the male students and give them a voice.

“The purpose [of Kings Club] is to have a safe space for young Black boys at our school,” said Thompson. “We can speak about whatever it is that we need to speak about, and we’re going to touch base on…things that are going on in our classrooms and going around in our school that we need to change.”

The wellbeing of Black students is something he is extremely passionate about, and he is determined to make the club successful.

“Instead of all of us Black boys and Hispanic boys sitting in a principal’s office together, we can sit in one room together and be cool with each other and have a good time and talk about whatever and just be real; you don’t really get the chance to be real in the classroom,” said Thompson. “It’s definitely a good environment for us to be in and to get away.”

Many students feel that having Black Girls 4 Black Girls and Kings Club will unite the minorities at CHS and make the school a better environment for African American and Hispanic students. Now, they hope, all students can have a voice.

Diamond Blue (left) and Chris Thompson (right). Photo by Niya Fearrington. 

Chapel Hill Youth Council Works for You(th)

The Chapel Hill Youth Council has been working on plans for a new teen center for the past year. Within the next three months, they hope to ask Chapel Hill Town Council to approve their ideas.

Chapel Hill Youth Council is a group of around 20 high schoolers who meet twice a month to address issues that affect Chapel Hill teens. Their job is to advocate for the interests of teenagers by speaking with Chapel Hill Town Council as well as different Chapel Hill boards and committees.

Jonah Perrin, a senior, joined Youth Council this year. He values the group because of the voice it gives teenagers.

“Even though we can’t vote, we are important,” said Perrin.

There is already a teen center in Chapel Hill, located in the basement of the historic post office on Franklin Street. However, the space has myriad issues.

There are no doors on the boys bathrooms (making them unusable) and the lights flicker. The ceiling leaks, the walls are graffitied, and the room is home to a number of random, even dangerous objects: electrical spikes that stick out of the walls, an assortment of old microwaves and an exposed fire-hydrant.

“It is not a functioning space,” said Susannah Broun, president of Chapel Hill Youth Council and a senior at East Chapel Hill High.

Perrin agrees.

“There are parts of [the basement] that are kind of scary,” said Perrin.

The teen center is currently a home for local youth-centered organizations, including Blackspace — a recording studio and self-described “hub for Afrofuturism” — and One Song Productions, a youth-run theatre company. It also hosts rotating summer camps and afterschool programs.

Chapel Hill Youth Council hopes the new teen center will continue providing this meeting space while also including new amenities. Possible additions include ping-pong tables or a basketball court, college/career counseling services, art or language classes and an open study space.

More broadly, Youth Council hopes to create a space where teens from across Chapel Hill/Carrboro can come together.

“The teen center should be a place where teenagers can meet, collaborate and foster youth engagement,” said Broun.

Designs for the new center will in part be inspired by the Seymour Center, an Orange County center for Senior Citizens.

The Seymour Center is a newly renovated building on Homestead Road that contains a theatre and restaurant, hosts guest lectures, provides social workers and offers classes in fitness, arts, dance and languages.

While Youth Council does not intend to completely replicate the Seymour Center, they think it reflects the goals they have for the new teen center.

“Senior citizens have this really nice place where they can get the things they need. It’s well funded, and it looks really nice, and [the teen center] is not,” said Perrin. “We’re trying to make progress towards a center that fits our needs.”

The location of the proposed new teen center is not yet set, but Youth Council isn’t picky.

“We’ll take whatever land Town Council will give us,” said Broun.

Individuals interested in supporting the new teen center can sign Youth Council’s online petition. Broun also suggest attending Town Council meetings whenever possible and speaking with adults about the importance of the teen center.

Chapel Hill Youth Council President Susannah Broun in front of the current Teen Center

Photos courtesy Jonah Perrin and Susannah Broun.

2017 CHS Culture Fest

Anticipate food, friends and a special video from the Unity Club and about what diversity means at CHS. On December 1 at 6:30 p.m, CultureFest will be held in the commons. CultureFest is a popular annual event for students and families at CHS to attend.

The celebration is an opportunity for students and families to engage with different cultures through posters, food and music. Students bring in a dish to represent their culture or the foreign language course they’re learning, and many of the foreign language classes have performed songs that are popular in the culture — like the Spanish classes singing “Chiquirritin” the past two years.

Historically, students, CHS faculty and the Academy of International Studies (AIS) Program jointly organized the event. This year, Jamie Schendt, social studies teacher and the new AIS coordinator, is bringing some new features to the table for the event.  One of the main goals that Schendt wants to achieve is a balance between education and culture.  

“It will be a balance of gathering as a school but also educating each other about who we are as a school and what cultures we bring to the school each day,”  Schendt said in an interview.   

Culture Fest is an event that CHS families look forward to.  Come out and explore the world!


Terrific Times at T-Dance

CHS students looked forward to T-dance since the beginning of the school year; finally, the long awaited T-dance was Saturday, November 18 at the Hope Valley Country Club in Durham.

T-dance is run by a collection of mothers and daughters and is a great opportunity to dance and have fun with friends. It includes Chapel Hill, East Chapel Hill and Carrboro High School, making it the perfect opportunity to see your old middle school and other friends.

Kelley Gosk, a junior who had a great second T-dance, said in an email interview that her favorite thing about T-dance was “dancing with my friends from other schools.”

“It’ll be nice to have a space where we all can dance and have fun together,” said Morgan Jackson, a sophomore who was excited for her first T-dance.

Many students testify that CHS students won’t regret going to T-dance because they are sure to have a fantastic time. 

“[High School dances] are fun and so rare” said Gosk.

“I just think that even if you don’t have a date, you should just go because it’s a time to have fun and it’s not about going with someone else; it is about spending time with people you don’t usually get to spend time with and getting away from school,” said Jackson.

“I’m definitely hoping for some upbeat songs that we can actually dance to,” said Jackson before the dance.

T-dance had hype music and lots of dancing; overall, it was an unforgettable night for all who attended.

Back to Back Powderpuff Champions

Following tradition, the freshmen and seniors played the first game of the night. With the help of senior coaches Karl Naomi, Joe Zhang and Chris Millar, the seniors defeated the freshmen 35-0. Sophomores and juniors faced off in the game that determined the seniors’ opponent. The one touchdown of the game earned the sophomores a ticket to the final, leaving the score 7-0. In the final game, following a scoreless first half, the seniors managed to score two touchdowns before the end of the second half, making them the 2017 Powderpuff champions.