Are High Schoolers Too Stressed Out?

RithikDoddla, Editor-in-Chief

High school. What was originally viewed only as a place to build bonds and learn can now send chills down one’s back when referred to. High school can undoubtedly be a challenging time for students from college preparations to social anxieties. It is obvious that these factors cause stress, but is the stress so much that it negatively affects students? New research for New York University shows that a growing number of high school students are developing chronic stress, which could be stunting academic success and causing serious mental health problems.

The study examined stress levels in high school students, contributing factors to stress, and the various coping mechanisms students use. There were 128 high school juniors at two private schools in the Northeast were studied. Juniors were specifically selected because it is the peak for college preparation as students start thinking about what schools and majors to apply for. To get a deeper insight into the stress faced, various members from each school’s staff were interviewed.

The research found that 48 percent of students reported having at least three hours of homework every night and 49 percent reported “a great deal of stress” on a daily basis. Females, who had higher average GPAs than boys, also reported having more stress and were 40 percent more likely to have more than three hours of homework per night. It was found that much of the pressure to perform well academically came from parents. A teacher at the school believed that because school tuition is expensive, parents expect not only a high school diploma, but an acceptance letter into an elite college.

In an effort to satisfy parents, schools have also increased class difficulty and extracurricular requirements to make students stand out to college admissions officers. Many students reported heavy mental exhaustion and believed they were working as hard or harder than adults.

This immense stress can cause students to harm their bodies as they try to cope with it. Kids can decide to use various drugs such as alcohol and marijuana. This can result in addiction and a rise in various other health problems. Students can also be diagnosed with depression or anxiety as they crush under the stress every day. Stress can be good for the body and motivate it to work hard, but there is a limit to it and many high schoolers have already crossed it at such a young age. If schools don’t take action on this issue, the number of mental health complications will likely increase within the next few years.

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Top 5 Sports Events of 2018

RithikDoddla, Editor-in-Chief

From shootouts to comebacks, 2018 has given us so many great sports moments. It has displayed the power of sports and its ability to bring people of all backgrounds together. As we begin to enter a new year, it is only right to reflect on how we got here. Here are the top five sports events of 2018:

1. Jan. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Arguably the greatest college football championship game ever, Alabama made a surreal comeback after being down 13 – 0 at halftime. Making a quarterback switch heading into the second half, the Crimson Tide marched back with freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa under center. This game will forever be remembered as it was the first playoff national championship game to go into overtime, and it is very rare to see a freshman quarterback shine in the brightest lights in his first career start.

2. Jan. 14 New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings

Filled with highlight plays, this game was an absolute thriller as the Saints made a comeback and took the lead in the fourth quarter. Responding to the Viking’s scoring drives with their own, the Saints had the lead with 25 seconds left in the game. Things weren’t looking too good for Minnesota as they were on their own 39-yard line with only 10 seconds left. This was when the iconic “Minnesota Miracle” happened as quarterback Case Keenum threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs as the clock ran out, stunning the Saints. Looking at all the football games this year, this one might just be the best.

3. Feb. 9 – Feb. 25 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games

Whenever the Olympics are on, people tune in to watch sports they don’t normally follow. The United States finished fourth overall in this year’s Winter Olympics medal count. Each victory made a great story, but perhaps the best one was that of the U.S. Curling Men’s Team. The group lost four of their first six games and barely squeaked into the knockout stages with five wins and four losses. Once in the playoffs, the team reached their peak and went on a rampage, eventually upsetting Sweden in the finals. The squad shocked the whole world as the difference between their performances in the group stages and the knockout stages was dramatic.

4. March 13 – April 2 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament

This March was truly filled with madness as there were many shocking games aside from regular upsets that happen every tournament. Perhaps the most memorable one was the victory of 16 seed UMBC over number one Virginia. Previously, 16 seeded teams were 0-135 against No. 1 teams, so this was something the world has never seen. Another surprise was the uprising of the 11 seed Loyola Ramblers who marched their way into the Final Four, upsetting team after team. The whole nation started to rally behind them as it was so rare to see such a small a basketball school find ways to beat schools that have better high school recruits and programs. Though Loyola lost in the Final Four to Michigan, they still proved that any team can make a run in this tournament. More importantly, they made their first Final Four since 1963.

5. May 28 – June 7 Washington Capitals vs. Las Vegas Golden Knights

The Stanley Cup is something that is played for every year, but this year’s was very different from previous competitions. The Las Vegas Golden Knights had dominated the whole season and had reached the championship in their first year as a team. This has never been seen before in any of the major sports leagues across the nation so the team was looking to make history with a victory. Their competition, the Washington Capitals, were a team known for being good, but not great. They had the fifth-longest active postseason streak with four seasons, but they always struggled in the past to win games here. With  new-found determination, the Capitals marched their way into the finals, looking to bring their first ever Stanley Cup home. As both teams had such great stories, millions of people tuned in across the nation having high expectations for the series. What was expected to be a neck-to-neck series slowly faded away as the Capitals dominated the Knights and won four to one.

Everything You Need to Know About Zell Miller and HOPE Scholarships

LydiaZermuehlen, Editorials Editor

As acceptances from colleges start to roll in, every senior in Georgia has the same question to contemplate: Should I stay in-state? The state of Georgia makes this a difficult question to answer because they have sweetened the pot with the Zell Miller and HOPE Scholarships.

But, are the Zell Miller or HOPE Scholarships a good enough reason to stay? Since I will personally apply for the Zell Miller Scholarship, I wanted to do some more digging.

For years, and I specifically mean from freshman year to junior year, I have heard that the Zell Miller Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship and that the HOPE covers 80 percent of tuition. Apparently times have changed, because now, for some schools, Zell doesn’t even cover half of tuition. In fact, both scholarships now apply at an hourly rate, which means both scholarships only covers a certain amount for how many classes you take. Three credit hours are equal to taking one full course, and the max amount of hours these scholarships cover is fifteen hours, or five classes per semester. Still, when I say “cover” I do not mean “completely cover,” because both scholarships only give so much now.

If you are a senior in Georgia and are dreaming of starting next fall at the University of Georgia (UGA), make sure you double check your finances, cause neither Zell nor HOPE cover as much as you thought. If you apply for the Zell Miller Scholarship and you are taking five classes, you will only receive $4,776. Since in-state tuition is $11,622, you still have to pay $6,846, not to mention room and board, books, and the meal plan on top of that. And UGA is a public school, so the numbers are even worse for private schools.

The award amounts that the Zell Miller and HOPE Scholarships give for each school is on the GAfutures website. Check the numbers and compare them to other scholarships from out-of-state schools. Your research now can save you from being thousands of dollars in debt in the future. Don’t fall for the prestige of the college or for the information you’ve heard about the Zell Miller and HOPE Scholarships from the past.  

Construction and Changes in Johns Creek

LydiaZermuehlen, Editorials Editor

As more and more people take residence in the Johns Creek and Alpharetta area, a big problem is being created: traffic. With so many people in the city and on the roads, the streets are being pushed to their limits.

The City Council of Johns Creek has taken action by expanding some of the roads. Kimball Bridge Road is the first to go under construction, being transformed from a simple two-lane street into a four-lane road with sidewalks and medians. The construction on Kimball Bridge is not yet complete and will not be for some time.

While Kimball Bridge has been under construction, it has created more traffic. With confusing, not-quite lanes, cars move slowly so as to not fall off what has been paved. Having the construction in an incomplete state makes the road tricky to maneuver.

Those living in the Johns Creek and Alpharetta area, should know that Kimball Bridge Road is not the last road that will go under expansive construction. The City Council of Johns Creek announced on their website that Haynes Bridge Road will soon undergo construction as well. From Old Alabama Road to Mansell Road, Haynes Bridge will be paved and widened. Residents should prepare for traffic and most likely rethink their daily commutes.

One road that experiences overwhelming traffic daily that is not being expanded is Taylor Road. Two separate schools, Taylor Road Middle School and Chattahoochee High School, are at the end of Taylor Road. There is no other road that leads to these two schools and Taylor Road  itself is a dead end street. Taylor Road is a relatively small two-lane road that is over a mile long and creates horrific traffic during the morning hours and in the afternoon. Parents, students and teachers all have to sit for over 20 minutes in mile-long traffic to reach their destination.

Parents and students are angry and irritated about the amount of traffic on Taylor Road. Bobby Maples (SR) said the traffic on Taylor Road, “makes Kimball Bridge look like an open highway.” Ask anyone in either school about their thoughts on the traffic and it is a rant waiting to happen.

Cultural Appropriation or Misappropriation?

GiovanaDeOliveira and BridgetHoffmann, Staff Reporters

In  recent years, there’s been a growing debate over cultural appropriation, which is the adoption of elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. While cultural appreciation is used when elements of a culture are used while honoring the source they came from. It can be difficult for one person to distinguish the fine line between either of these scenarios. How can both sides of this controversial topic be happy without crossing the line of cultural or racial insensitivity?

It all begins with respect and knowing what rules you can not violate. For example, imagine someone decides to dress up as a Native American and wear a headdress for Halloween or a music festival. Yet, they have no sort of cultural background as a Native American and the place that they will be going to has no sort of aboriginal background within the community. That would then be wrong and it crosses the line of cultural appreciation and appropriation and the elements aren’t being honored like they should for appreciation.

The significance of religions and cultures are rooted in history. This means that if one decides that they want to wear something that comes from a different religion or culture to look “hip” or “trendy,” then they’ve crossed the line and are no longer appreciating that culture.  However, when you try to participate in another culture and religion in order to show its members your respect, it has to be done right in order to truly be appropriate.

Understanding the culture and being able to use it in your own style depends on if you have any type of connection with it in your background in order to make sure that it does not become an inappropriate use of its relevance. No culture nowadays is homogeneous, meaning that it’s a society that has similar kinds of people, especially where there are no significant ethnic differences. This means you need to understand the history of its people to appreciate the culture correctly. However, no variation of using other cultures or religions to just be trendy is acceptable. Understanding where one person crosses the line of appreciation and into appropriation is essential to understanding how to not be offensive and disrespectful to others.

Making Ugly Christmas Sweaters 101

GiovanaDeOliveira, Staff Reporter

The holidays are here and there seem to be more and more Christmas sweaters in stores. But what’s better than being able to customize and make your own for a low and reasonable price? All you need are some craft supplies and the magic of a thrifted comfy sweater that you’re not afraid to meddle with and make your own.

First step:

Locate a store near you that has affordable, plain sweaters such as Walmart or Goodwill. You can even use a large sweater you have lying in your closet. The prices generally will range from no cost, (if you already own a sweater) or $3 to $10 if you get lucky!

Second step:

Time to go to the closest craft store. Good places to go include Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics and Crafts. The items you are going to need are:

  1. Fabric Glue ranging from $2 to $5
  2. Hot glue gun and glue sticks starting at $2
  3. Needle and thread, which you can typically find lying around your house
  4. Fun little holiday embellishments such as: Santa, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, Snowmen and small ornaments.

Third step:

This is where the fun really begins.  Lay your sweater down on a table and put a piece of cardboard inside to prevent things from sticking together. Pick out your main embellishment, such as Santa Clause or a Christmas tree, and use your fabric glue to stick it on the middle of your sweater. Other fun little decorations include jingle bells, which can be sewn onto the border of the neck of your sweater. Finally, use your hot glue gun or a needle and thread to put some small ornaments all around so it can look even more festive. Even add some lights to this DIY Christmas sweater to flash them all day long!

Fourth step:

Make the final touches to your personalized sweater and let the glue dry so nothing falls off. Don’t be afraid to make it original and add as many embellishments as you want. Now your ugly Christmas sweater is done and it’s time to show it off.

Hot Podcasts: What’s Trending

LydiaZermuehlen, Editorials Editor

Crime Podcasts

“Sword and Scale”

The catchphrase of this podcast is “the worst monsters are real.” Obscure and well known crimes, murderers and worse are covered in this in-depth podcast. You may lose your faith in humanity while you listen, but your curiosity won’t let you stop.

“Criminal”

For a true crime podcast, this one takes a different spin. Not all of the crimes cover arrested people, but people who breach the gray area of morality. With stories that will shock your socks off, to ones that will almost make you laugh, “Criminal” gives its audience loads of attention-grabbing stories.

“Serial”

Most people who don’t even listen to podcasts have heard about “Serial.” It is an insanely popular podcast, and for good reason. Each season consists of one edge-of-your-seat story with season one being its most popular. If you want unbelievable and mysterious crime stories, “Serial” will give you everything you want.

Comedy Podcasts

“Dear Hank and John”

Hank and John Green are brothers, Youtubers, authors and now podcasters. Between the two of them, they find answers to their listeners’ questions. The questions range from “What would it feel like to get microwaved?” to “How do I convince my boyfriend not to grow a mullet?” Hilarious questions with even funnier responses, “Dear Hank and John” is a great place to get some laughs.

“Ear Biscuits”

Rhett and Link, well known YouTubers, interview other YouTubers and comedians to give you a whole hour of giggles and chuckles. As they explore interesting and humorous topics with their guests, you are bound to learn some extremely odd facts.

“The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast”

Comedians Cody Ko and Noel Miller discuss what’s latest in the news and pop culture while giving laugh-out-loud commentary. This podcast does not hold back on anything, so prep your ears for the wackiest topics and discussions.

And More

“Lore”

“Lore” is a popular podcast about historical tales and myths. Superstitions, creatures and freaky places are explored in-depth and are guaranteed to make you check your locks twice before you sleep. Explore the terrifying stories humanity has told since the dawn of time with Aaron Mahnke in this fascinating, yet educational podcast.  

“Stuff You Should Know”

Hosts Josh and Chuck dive into well-known and not so well-known topics to give you all the details you could possibly ask for. In one of the most educational podcasts you could possibly listen to, you’ll hear about topics ranging from safety pins to Vomitoria. Want to get some great and fresh conversation starters? This podcast will really give you something to talk about.

“Welcome to Night Vale”

Have a taste for the nonsensical? “Welcome to Night Vale” is a perfect podcast to listen to. This podcast takes you into a world you could never imagine, where there are no dogs in the dog park and everyone must hail the Glow Cloud. Take a trip away from reality for an hour or so with your host Cecil.

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