Dude, Relax

YunaLee

 

High school can be an incredible time. It can be one of unforgettable memories, personal growth and unlimited joy. It can also be an unforgiving time – demanding, stressful and suffocating – filled with homework and testing, of obligations and responsibilities. According to the American Psychological Association, “30% of students report feeling sad or depressed … and 31 percent felt overwhelmed [from] schoolwork, social life, sports or other activities.” Moreover, according to a survey conducted by the same association, teens reported a higher overall stress level than did adults. Simply put, high school is a difficult time for everyone: regardless of grades or extracurriculars, sports or awards, high school is a stressful time. Everyone can use a hand at some point, so here are a few ways to keep yourself afloat if you’re feeling a little defeated.

 

  1. It’s just a number.

Your grade on that calculus test does not define who you are. That girl in your class who got a 100 is not better than you, and that boy who got a 50 is not worse than you. People are people, not numbers, and it’s imperative that you understand that. If you didn’t do too hot, study some more next time. Maybe ask that girl for some help or maybe offer that boy some tips. If you’re having trouble in class, ask your teacher for some help! They’re here to help you, and their goal is for you to do as well as possible.

  1.   You are not alone.

Fortunately, you attend a high-end school in a high-end county in a high-end area. Naturally, your school is well-equipped to help you with all your needs. If you’re having issues of any kind, whether they be bullying or depression or just an overload of stress, your school has counselors to help. These are people whose job is to help you, people who are not there to judge you and people who are willing to listen. If you have a problem, it is yours to solve, so seek out whatever help you can get.

  1.   There’s always tomorrow.

If you’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, then chances are you’re feeling pretty down. If you’ve had many such days, you might be in a tough spot in your life. Just remember: there’s always tomorrow. If things didn’t go right today, it’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to complain, and it’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. However, that’s today. Tomorrow is a new day, and with it is a host of new experiences and joyful moments; tomorrow is your day –  so make it count.

High school can be tough but it doesn’t have to be: embrace challenges and experience the unknown. Ultimately, high school will be some of your fondest memories and the place where you grow the most as a person. Say good morning to your teachers and ask them how their weekends were. Tell your friends you appreciate them and let your parents know how much you love them. You are important and deserve the best; never forget that.

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Atlanta’s Million Dollar Investment to Help Its Youth

SireeshRamesh, Editor-in-Chief

For young people in Georgia, Atlanta can be a tough place to grow up. With sprawling gangs and high recidivism rates, the state capitol has been a cesspool for violence and drug-use among young people.

   The Promise Center is hoping to reverse that trend. Formally called the At-Promise Youth and Community Center, the Promise Center opened  last month with the hope that it would provide a new, positive setting and set of resources for young people in metro-Atlanta.

      The Promise Center’s website highlights a three-pronged approach: “diversion, intervention and prevention.”

The diversion aspect of the program stems from the recreation section of the center where students can participate in team sports and clubs or contribute to the center’s youth-run radio station.

Intervention is provided in the opposite section of the Promise Center. Families have the opportunity to opt-in to clinical assessments for their children as well as therapeutic sessions that could potentially curb or even halt destructive habits systemic to teens in the area. The center also provides character and leadership development training, healthy lifestyle programs and group counseling, all in an effort to intervene in youth’s problems before the ramifications become too serious.

      The final step of the program, prevention, is carried out through the extensive education programs the center provides. They range from GED preparation to STEM programs and credit recovery for students currently enrolled, but struggling, in their schools.

What is expected from this multi-million-dollar investment made by the City of Atlanta? First and foremost, the city hopes to decrease youth arrests and overall recidivism by 10%. Yet, beyond statistics, the hope is that The Promise Center can foster a new culture and spirit among Atlanta Youth. Better relations among police officers and students, increases in school attendance and healthier and more productive outlets are all goals that the Atlanta Police Department sets for their community. The Promise Center, many hope, will help them get there.

Men In Society

HannahKornegay, Features Editor

A wave of prepubescent boys just decided that frappuccino is the most necessary drink to satiate their current sugar craving, and so all their awkward, foul-smelling, gangly limbs just poured into this small space in which I was trying my hardest to do school work. Each boy completely disregards the aromatic steam wafting from the french press, offering them a chance to taste some damn fine coffee, and instead dutifully skim the “refreshments” portion of the menu. And so the fragile looking barista begins what can only be described as sugar torture and makes them each the exact same drink with different colored “flavors” being added to the top to make them seem different. As three boys stand off to the side, poised and ready to receive their drinks, another adolescent offers his friend a sip of his drink…from the same straw. Being a woman who never had the privilege of watching my older brother at this age, interact with other boys this age, I watch, seeing if his friends will take the gracious proposition.

“Ew, that’s gay,” one of the boys declares. Then, he sticks his own straw in the other boys drink and sucks up an overly sugary-sticky portion of the whipped beverage and nods his pleasure. No one flinches, at least none of them do, for this is obviously a term that’s been thrown around before. In fact, while their conversation was audible and could easily be heard by anyone else in the cafe at the time, not one person budged.

This short interaction between two boys, arguably too young to even understand the full implications of being gay in a society that still stigmatizes homosexuality, sparked a fuse in my head. Are boys actually afraid of being gay, and if they are, what else do men feel they must define in order to fit seamlessly in a judgemental world?

It’s become commonplace to hear about the pressures women face at the hands of society, but men’s struggles aren’t acknowledged. From birth, boys are taught not to cry, to “suck it up” and suppress their emotions. They’re raised as straight by default, and people are a lot more understanding of women questioning their sexuality than of men doing the same. As for the boys in the coffee shop, they could very well be gay, but they’ve already been conditioned to believe that being gay is less-than and overall an unfavorable option.

Not only are there societal pressures placed on men to uphold a certain standard, but also similar cultural pressures men must face as well.

“As a gay man, I’m viewed as soft and submissive, but within the context of my family, I’m expected to be strong and stable,” reflects Adrian Carrasquillo (SR).

The traditional role of a woman has always been to raise and nurture her family, but these ideals are being challenged and altered constantly by women who have learned that they can be both a mother and a business owner. In the same breath, there has been an increase in men who would rather be a stay-at-home father than run board meetings.

These ideas are not only oppressive, they also instill shame in those who differ from the norm. In an effort to provide proper research for this article, I bought flowers for my mother and father. My mother took them graciously and before I knew it, they’d been displayed in the house. However, when I gave the flowers to my father, I was met with confusion. I’m positive that he was happy to have them, but I don’t think it was because he wanted them. And I don’t think he would have had the same reaction had his brother or son done the same for him. Has heteronormativity been instilled in us so thoroughly that we can’t even accept gifts without fear of the implications?

More and more each day, there are men who choose to defy these stereotypes. There are men who are beginning to feel more comfortable being themselves. Whether that means men are buying flowers for themselves, sharing drinks or simply rejecting oppressive heteronormativity, it’s important that society continues to make strides for the better.

Saving the Chattahoochee River

SireeshRamesh, Editor-in-Chief

The Chattahoochee River is one of the most commonly used water sources in Georgia, yet, continued urban and industrial neglect jeopardizes the river’s safety. When these negligent practices are coupled with stormwater surges that sweep large expanses of waste into the Chattahoochee River, the threat of having a bacteria-saturated, poorly flowing water source only increases.  With multiple tropical storms having recently passed through the Chattahoochee River region, such a possibility is a larger concern than ever before. It is up to Georgians to do something about it.

    The Chattahoochee River is generally clean and safe. It is a common destination for boating and other recreational activities like swimming and fishing. The problem emerges during heavy rains when water levels surge and pollutants wash into the river. Architects account for this possibility, and, in general, industrial and urban sites are built with impervious surfaces to prevent this very possibility.

However, the consistent and extreme flooding seen in recent weeks is at a scale that no engineer could predict to occur in Georgia. The result is that sewer infrastructures have become penetrated by the flow of storm surges, all of it pouring into the Chattahoochee River.

    The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper is an organization that works to curb the effects of this type of pollution. It performs bacteria-level tests on the river to ensure proper levels and alerts the public if the bacterial ecosystem is out of balance (as would happen when sewage surges into the river.) Yet the scope of these organizations only goes as far as how many people are willing to help. If the Chattahoochee River is to persevere as a mainstay of tourism and water infrastructure, then Georgia residents need to take the initiative to help the river do so.

     This can primarily be done by signing up as a volunteer through the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper website. Jobs range from getting knee-deep in the river to measure bacteria levels and removing dirt or sediment buildups to manning the hotline for the Chattahoochee Riverkeepers. Regardless, if an initiative is not taken soon, the condition of the Chattahoochee River will eventually reach a point where it can no longer be recovered. If it reaches that point, Georgia will have lost a beautiful landmark that had sustained its surrounding communities for generations and could have done so for many more generations to come.

The Insanity of Hooch One Acts

CarolineKurzawa, Staff Reporter

The Chattahoochee High School One Acts took place Oct. 12-14 at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium. The One Acts showcase included two shows: “It’s a Wonderful Neverland” by Patrick Greene and “The Insanity of Mary Girard” by Lanie Robertson. A One Act is not the same as a musical in that there are no musical interludes or large song breaks. Additionally, One Acts run about an hour long, but for competition pieces, the time must be shaved down to fifty-five minutes.

The first show of the night, “It’s a Wonderful Neverland,” was a blend between the classic tale of Peter Pan and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Tinkerbell’s cousin, Stinkerbell, played by Gavin Van Beveren, leads Peter Pan through what his life would have looked like if he had never come to Neverland. The show was light and heartfelt, and Van Beveren’s performance as Stinkerbell stole the show with his quick wit and deep character development.

The second show, “The Insanity of Mary Girard,” contained very mature content such as domestic  abuse and rape, and young members of the audience were asked to leave before the show began. “Mary Girard” is based on a true story and takes place during the 1700s at a mental asylum in Pennsylvania. Mary Girard is declared mentally insane after her husband discovers she is pregnant with another man’s child, confusing the symptoms of pregnancy with those of insanity. Throughout the show, figments of Mary’s imagination play past patients of the asylum and ghosts of her past. The show reaches its climax when Mary has a confrontation with her husband in which he accuses her of never properly filling the role of a wife and bearing his children. A pseudo-rape scene occurs, and Mary seems hopeless and defenseless. However, Mary stands up for herself and tells her husband that she was unable to bear his children because he is impotent and void of feeling. Mary eventually submits to her hallucinations, going insane, and ends the show manically laughing in a torture chair while the lights dim and the stage fills with an eerie red glow.

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“Mary Girard” was riveting from beginning to end. Kayleigh Cook’s portrayal of Mary Girard was hauntingly beautiful, raw and incredibly well done. The entire cast seemed to share a special chemistry that allowed them to immerse themselves in the show and create magic, even with the darkest of material.

However, the cast of “Mary Girard” is not finished yet. They go to competition with this piece on Oct. 28 at Johns Creek High School. Teema Yassine, who portrayed a nurse, feels “really good” about their chances at competition and believes that there were “several small things” that brought the show to “a completely different level.”

College Alternatives

HannahKornegay, Features Editor

The time of year when students consider how they want to continue their education after high school is rapidly approaching. For some professions, such as teaching and engineering, college is absolutely the right and necessary choice, but that may not be the route that every student needs to set for themselves based on their interests and goals. For students who are unsure whether or not the traditional four year college experience is right for them, here are a few alternatives:

Entrepreneurship

There are some students who have the keen insight and imagination needed to forgo college and jumpstart their careers immediately after high school. With websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe to lighten the burden of funding an entire business alone, there have never been more opportunities for entrepreneurs than right now.

Community College

For a lot of students, the idea of a community college instead of the traditional college campus seems unappealing. However, there are a lot of community college programs that allow students to get the same credits as a traditional college so that students can  work towards the future they want. There are a myriad of perks for going to a community college. For one, it saves tons of money. While that may not be something high school students appreciate now, it makes a world of difference to young adults hoping to start their lives without being weighed down by student loan debts. Attending a community college also makes the transition to college easier and allows a student to decide which path is right for them.

Trade School

Trade schools offer specific training for students who choose to perfect a specific skill or talent rather than the courses required by the college. Trade schools, which often require two years or less of training, correlate with the majority of America’s “blue collar” jobs, a term that has developed a negative connotation. The fact of the matter is that skilled labor is a factor of the job market that shouldn’t be overlooked. On top of the vocational training obtained in a trade school, often times, it’s a lot easier to secure a job after school. In addition, many skilled laborers are paid well in comparison to those who do attend a four year college.

Military

There are always places for men and women who want to serve the country, and more than 100,000 students join the military right after high school. The benefits for joining the military instead of choosing to go to college include free health care, little to no living costs, a salary and paid tuition while in service. Though here are a long list of requirements for joining any branch of the military accompanied by an even longer list of risks, but the military is a very admirable alternative to college.

Gap Year

A gap year, a break usually between high school and college or between college and higher education, is rapidly becoming the reality for students who are unsure of  their next step after high school. During a gap year, a student could choose to do volunteer work in the form of a mission trip, save money to put towards college or travel to gain experience before they settle down and start their lives. A gap year gives students a mental break after the stresses of nearly thirteen years of continuous school. One of the major downfalls people attribute to a gap year is the sense of  not wanting to go back to school after their year is up.

 

Ultimately, it’s up to students to decide their own course based on the interests that apply to them. If that doesn’t correspond with the idea of attending a four year college, then there’s an abundance of other options to choose from.

Protesting on NFL Sideline Wrong?

RithikDoddla, Staff Reporter

In response to President Donald Trump’s tweet which said that NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem should be fired, all 32 NFL teams have had their own unique responses in the season’s third week. Some teams kneeled and locked arms before the national anthem while other teams showed these signs of protest while the national anthem was playing. There were even teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers who remained in the locker room for the singing of the national anthem. With each team protesting in its own way, fans were left to either support them or oppose them.

NFL fans had a wide range of responses to the protests. They ranged from cheering in support in the stands to insulting with expletives on social media. A remarkable reaction occurred during the Dallas Cowboys versus Arizona Cardinals game where the crowd loudly booed the Cowboys, as they kneeled and locked arms. Ratings for week three games on NBC, CBS and Fox decreased by four percent.

The latest ESPN polls embodies that American citizens are divided over this issue. Overall, 39 percent of people agreed with the movement with 24 percent strongly approving. Fifty-one percent of the respondents, however, disagreed with the movement with 38 percent showing strong disapproval. ESPN also recorded the race of the people surveyed and found that 54 percent of African Americans strongly agreed and 48 percent of Caucasians strongly disagreed. These protests may be receiving more support from African Americans because, after all, the players are kneeling to voice opposition for police brutality against African Americans.

ESPN also took another poll on viewers’ interest in watching the games after the protests. Fourteen percent of the people say they are more interested because of the protests, 40 percent say they are less interested and 43 percent say it has had no impact on their interest of the game. People who are less interested most likely feel that way because they may be bothered by the kneeling as they believe kneeling does not show respect to the national anthem. Among the avid NFL fans surveyed, 48 percent believe protests have had no impact on their interest and 31 percent believe is has made them less interested. This is significant because that means about a third of the hardcore NFL fans who watch football every Sunday are greatly disturbed by the “take a knee” movement.

Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, held a meeting recently with NFL teams’ owners on instigating a rule requiring all players to stand for the national anthem. This has angered many players because the players feel they are exercising their right to protest and are using their platform to make a statement. Arizona Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea has expressed his displeasure to the NFL Network, claiming that it has become a national issue just because President Donald Trump tweeted against it. Bethea explained how the movement started last year with Colin Kaepernick and the NFL and its fans had no issues with it, respecting players’ opinions. The NFL has yet to make a statement on whether or not they plan on requiring players to stand. It will be interesting to see how players and fans respond if the league does decide to permit kneeling.

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