Category Archives: Editorials

“Carrie”d Away by High School Relationships

OliviaErickson, Editor-in-Chief

Often times in high school, we find ourselves looking at our friends’ relationships, or even sometimes our own, and questioning why they are still going on. When your bestie’s boyfriend might have kissed his cousin this past Christmas or left her more than a few impolite voicemail messages during his trip to Athens, most of us as friends intervene, stating that he is indeed a trash boyfriend. However, after said friend insists that her boyfriend really has changed this time, they let the bad behavior go and remain in an on-and-off vicious cycle of a relationship. Why, in high school, can we not see what is, or what is not, right in front of us? As my fellow journalist Carrie Bradshaw put it, “what ultimately defines a relationship is another relationship.” Are my fellow teenagers and I choosing to stay in toxic relationships because there is a lack of good relationships around us to delineate the good and the bad? Are we settling for less-than-perfect boys simply because we have a small pool to choose from?

On any given Saturday night, you can find one of my good friends crying in a corner, often alone, and you can find her loving and attentive boyfriend hitting on my other friends, throwing out comments like, “If you ever decide that you’re interested, I’ll leave her (my teary friend), in a minute.” This has been quietly going on for months now, yet the teary friend doesn’t even seem to notice how wrong that picture is. I posit that this inaction on my friend’s part is due to the fact that she really is blind to how toxic her situation is. I believe that the minute she encounters a boy who does not belittle or mock her, she will see her relationship for what it really is. The problem many of us girls in similar situations run into is that in four years of high school, we may only encounter a handful of boys who know how to treat girls and define those bad relationships for us.

I can only hope that when we all move into the next phase of our lives, whether it be college or wherever life takes us, and when we are surrounded with all sorts of options for boyfriends and girlfriends, we will finally be able to tell whether a relationship is bad for us and demand something better.



FerreiraTais, Staff Reporter

We are only three months into 2018 and there have been a total of 18 mass school shootings resulting in death or injury in the United States. Most recently, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida resulted in 17 deaths and over a dozen injured. Not only were students killed, their school staff were as well. Overcoming a tragedy like that is not an easy task and fighting for change can prove to be extremely challenging. However, students at Marjory Stoneman have stood up and taken radical measures to express their push for change. They have flooded social media platforms with different kinds of movements, getting as much support and as many people on board to get attention to the issue.

Seeing the survivors be brave, share their story and vigorously fight for change has impacted students nationwide. Students are now trying their hardest to fight for gun control and are finding new ways to improve school security to prevent shootings within the school from occuring. As students, we have a perspective that administration does not have, and we should use that advantage to keep our schools safe. Therefore, I went around school and asked many students what actions our schools should take in order to prevent the shootings from taking place.

  • Setting up metal detectors at all entrances of the school like the airport security
  • Having a check in and check out for not only school visitors but especially the students so the school can keep track of what students are in and out of the building
  • Having the counselors reach out more to each individual students to check up on them and see how they are doing and if they have any concerns
  • More school assemblies emphasizing the importance of speaking up if anyone has concerns about a classmate
  • Practicing shooter drills especially while students are changing classes or are in lunch
  • Enforcing locked school entrances

Students all over the nation are trying to implement these practices so their schools are staying active to prevent school shootings. As students, we can come together and use our voice to protect ourselves and our peers. Joining efforts, we can try our best to prevent on of our own peers from committing such a tragedy in our communities.

The Statue of Libbyty

EthanBenn, Staff Reporter

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Though written nearly two-hundred years ago, these words, forever associated with one of the grandest symbols of the United States, have taken on an interesting meaning during renewed debates over immigration. The center of the national debate over undocumented immigration is now not Washington, D.C. but Oakland, California. Several weeks ago, Mayor Libby Schaaf intentionally warned her community before an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid to apprehend and deport undocumented criminals occurred, sparking the ire of ICE and conservatives. The Trump administration’s decision to move against California’s sanctuary city policies certainly hasn’t helped to cool down the issue.

First of all, the term “sanctuary city” has no legal definition or standing – there is no specific checklist of requirements for a town or other municipality to become a sanctuary city. However, most cities described as such have several characteristics in common, the foremost being that local leaders and officials discourage or even outlaw their own police forces from asking persons about their immigration status or cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The latter happens after an undocumented immigrant is already apprehended, and when ICE issues a request to extend their detainment in order to deport them (Vox goes further into depth in this video) Regardless, this “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to illegal immigration is meant to foster a sense of community and security between local law enforcement and those they serve, as well as push migrants towards social services like hospitals and schools. It’s important to note that even though a town, city or county may not be cooperating with ICE, the person apprehended by the police can still be deported at a later date.

Unsurprisingly, the complicated interactions between federal and state (or local) authorities over the even more divisive and undefined policy of sanctuary cities poses, as I see it, a few questions: (1) What gives mayors and city councils the jurisdiction to designate their municipalities as sanctuary cities, and why do they? (2) When the federal government (or the agencies which represent it) come into direct conflict with local authorities over actions and policy, who “wins?” (3) If the Republican party claims to be for states’ rights, is it unprincipled for its members to not support state and local governments who decide to be sanctuary states and cities, respectively? With any luck, these three questions will give us some place to start.

With that rough definition out of the way, we can dive into the how and why of sanctuary city policies. To me, the answer is in the name itself- they’re sanctuaries. Mass migrations of people out of Mexico and Central America and into these counties and towns, albeit illegally, is a continuation of a historical theme. “The concept of sanctuary derives from the ancient imperative to provide hospitality to the stranger,” writes Elizabeth Allen for the LA Times, and “the sanctuary cities of the 2000s are part of this American tradition.” In a country which preaches the equality of opportunity and egalitarianism and whose citizens generally claim it to be the best place in the world to live a successful life, having refuges for families who’ve trekked hundreds of miles through desert and rough terrain is morally and ethically correct. After all, only a few cities have policies like this. While the reasoning of “it’s the right thing to do” is admittedly weak, it really seems to be one of the main arguments for sanctuary cities.

But warm feelings and compassion don’t supercede the law- federal agencies and local police departments often find themselves at odds because of sanctuary policies. So which is superior, and why? I’m inclined to say the federal government, especially due to something known as the “Supremacy Clause:”

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

This clause essentially states that the laws made by the federal government, (assuming they are constitutional) are supreme to state regulations and legislation. While I’m no constitutional scholar, I would assume this also applies to the agencies which execute federal laws. And now the scale has tipped further into the federal government’s favor, as the Trump administration’s Department of Justice moves to sue the state of California over their sanctuary state status. Via CNN:  “‘The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you,’”  [said] Sessions [to] law enforcement officers at the California Peace Officers Association … ‘“We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America. And I believe that we are going to win.’” Generally, when the federal government decides to fight against states, it comes out the winner, and this does put mayor Libby Schaaf and other pro-sanctuary politicians in an interesting legal predicament. Some members of the GOP have advocated that they be tried for treason for failing to uphold federal law, but what about all the times they’ve encouraged states to shirk national policies in favor of their own local ones?

Health care. Environmental protections. Gay marriage and LGBTQ rights. Gun control. Tax cuts and reductions. If members of the Republican party and American conservatives want to accuse Democratic mayors of shielding undocumented immigrants, and in the process, meddling with the enforcement of federal laws, then they need to acknowledge their past sins as well. From crying “leave it to the states!” to clinging onto the Tenth Amendment as close as possible, it is beyond hypocritical for those opposed to sanctuary cities, but who also opposed following the policies of the Obama administration, to suddenly fall in line behind the Trump administration’s crusade against sanctuary cities. Apparently, the federal government suddenly ceases to be a behemoth of oppression against states when Republicans are in charge.

Regardless, none of this changes what mayor Schaaf did, and what other mayors, city council members, sheriffs and police officers will likely do themselves. Whether she wanted to or not, and I certainly hope she didn’t intend to, Schaaf did help truly criminal undocumented immigrants escape ICE- not families of four, mind you, but gang members, robbers and thugs. Schaff and other advocates for these types of policies are right in that it’s incredibly important not to mix people who came to this country illegally for a chance to work and raise a family with drug smugglers and undesirables, who come to the United States to incite violence and ruin communities. This goes both ways, though- if you don’t want ICE to target relatively innocent families, then don’t allow criminals to hide behind them as a shield, as announcing an imminent raid doesn’t help anyone.

And to cap it all off, I don’t think anyone person mentioned in this article is one-hundred percent correct about the issue- Sessions, Schaaf and so many others are really, in my opinion, exploiting this issue for personal gain. Deporting criminals looks good to the American right as it continues to push the Trump administration’s “rule of law” sentiment, and claiming to protect innocent migrants is the heartwarming story that liberals and progressives can’t get enough of.

Illegal immigration into America, and the sanctuary cities that result from it, aren’t going to be solved by simple, ideological solutions. There must be some sort of balance between upholding the laws of the United States and remaining morally principled- undocumented immigrants are people, too. With any luck, that solution might come soon.

Behind The Curtain

CarolineKurzawa, Staff Reporter

The musical theatre department at Chattahoochee High School is well known for their spectacular plays and musicals, particularly the spring musical. Chattahoochee has tackled shows such as: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Chicago,” “Hairspray,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Grease” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” Every spring, the students and faculty of Chattahoochee as well as the local community can expect to be dazzled and amazed by Chattahoochee’s spring musical. This year, the musical theatre department has pushed new boundaries with “Follies,” a show composed by the famous Stephen Sondheim. As someone who has worked on these musicals for the past four years, I am able to give an exclusive, insider review of how a fantastic spring show comes to fruition.

Before auditions can begin, the spring musical must be approved, and the rights must be purchased by the directors. This is why it can be somewhat difficult to choose a show. First, you have to make sure the rights are available and how expensive they are. The average cost of rights is $4,500-5,000, with Disney shows costing upwards of $6,000. Shows that are currently on Broadway or on tour cannot be purchased. Additionally, it is important to consider the size of the musical theatre program when choosing a show. If it is a small program, it makes sense to choose a small show. Once the rights are secured, the show must be approved by the administration, so the show is not announced until all these factors are certain.

Many people don’t know how long the cast, crew, directors and orchestra work on the musical. The auditions usually take place around November, and the cast meets in December to read through the script together. In January, rehearsals begin: they alternate between music rehearsals, where the cast learns their songs; dance rehearsals, where they work on choreography; and blocking rehearsals, where the cast works on how they will move across the stage during scenes. Most of these rehearsals last a couple of hours, ending around 6 or 7 p.m., and the stage manager attends these as well as other crew leaders like assistant stage managers or directors’ assistants. By the end of January, the cast is expected to have mostly memorized their script and music.

In February, the rehearsals start lasting longer, the set is being built and costumes begin being made. Here at Chattahoochee, we hire a technical director to help design and build the set, but cast and crew is still expected to come to set builds on Sunday afternoons. For costumes, there are costume designers and seamstresses to make sure that costumes fit the characters and show. By this time, the crew is also attending rehearsals in order to learn the pace of the show.

This year, “Follies” required even more work and dedication than other musicals due to the complex nature of the show. It required elaborate costumes, stunning dance numbers, strong singing and acting, and intricate makeup, particularly for those who were playing older characters. On the technical side, the lighting for the show, which was fantastically done by Ireland McCreadie (JR), needed to showcase the duality of the show taking place in both the present and past.

In March, the show is just around the corner, but there are still a few more regular rehearsals before the dress rehearsals start. Once the finishing touches are put on the set, blocking and costumes, the dress rehearsals begin. For dress rehearsals, the cast must be in full makeup and costume and have microphones by 5 p.m. Once we start running the show, we don’t stop except for a 10 minute break between acts. When rehearsal finishes, the cast takes off their microphones and costumes, and the cast, crew and orchestra all eat dinner together. It’s a fun time for everyone to come together and bond over delicious food. Dress rehearsal week is busy and tiring, but it means that we are that much closer to putting on an amazing show.

On show days, the energy and excitement is high. The crew must be ready to go around 4:30 p.m., and the cast must start getting ready at 5:00 p.m. in order to be ready for warm ups at 6:20 p.m. The orchestra arrives around 6:30 p.m., so they can be tuned and ready to go for the 7:00 p.m. show. Once everyone is ready, we gather in the chorus room for warm ups and pre-show traditions. After warm ups and traditions are finished, the cast and crew gets into places backstage, and the orchestra settles in the pit. The house manager lets the stage manager know how many people are still in the lobby, and once everyone has made it to their seats, the lighting designer or assistant dims the auditorium lights, letting people know that the show is about to begin. Then, the pre-show announcement plays, and the orchestra begins to play, opening the show. Behind the scenes, the stage manager is calling cues over a radio from the tech booth in the back of the auditorium, quick changes are happening backstage and microphones are being checked and having batteries changed. Once the show is over, the company bows, and the cast, crew and orchestra go into the lobby to be greeted by family and friends.

However, the musical process does not end until after closing night because after the final show, we have strike, where the set is taken down and put away for the next year. Once this is finished, the musical season is officially over for the year, and we wait anxiously for the next exciting show to begin.

Freedom to Protest?

HannahKornegay, Features Editor

CarolineKurzawa, Staff Reporter

Protests by their very definition are disruptive. However, many schools won’t allow students to freely express themselves. Often times, when presented with what could be perceived as a “disruption,” schools censor and diminish planned protests to the point that they no longer resemble the original plans.

This was the case on Mar. 14 here at Chattahoochee. Because the Parkland, Fla. shooting occurred at a high school with teenagers, the effects have been widely publicized on social media. Almost immediately after the shooting took place, flyers declaring a student-led protest to take place on Wednesday, Mar. 14, exactly one month after the shooting, began to circulate. The intent of this day of protest was to urge lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws and protect students on campus. While the day could also serve as a memorial, Chattahoochee High School has already honored and grieved for the victims who lost their lives in this needless act of cruelty during a moment of silence in a pep rally that took place on Feb. 23.

A walkout planned to protest the current lack of gun control laws was warped into a second pseudo-memorial for the victims. Students were told by the administration that they were allowed to leave class at 10:00 a.m. and go to the gym to have 17 minutes of silence for the 17 victims of the shooting. While this is a thoughtful gesture for the students of Stoneman Douglas, we need action and new policies. The point of the protest was to garner the attention of lawmakers; however, it’s unclear how any attention was received when we were not allowed to leave the building. We need to be able express our thoughts and fears. There needs to be change. Seventeen minutes of silence won’t lead to change, only action will.

The walkout seemed more like a punishment than an actual protest due to the fact that teachers and administrators guarded the doors, and police officers were active on campus, monitoring the parking lot. When students tried to take action by walking out of the building, they were punished with the threat of disciplinary action.

Of course, we understand that it is the administration’s responsibility to protect their students. Therefore, they went about this in a way that we think they believed would both appease the students’ need to protest and keep them safe. So, in a way, we can understand the guarded doors and making sure that students can demonstrate in a safe and monitored area, but this simply wasn’t a protest. There was no way that it would result in change. If there were going to be a problem with having a protest during the school day on school grounds, the administration should have made arrangements for this by allowing students to demonstrate after school at another location even though this would have broken with the idea of a united, national protest.

Additionally, should walking out result in an in-school suspension or other disciplinary action? Julia Tracy (SR) attempted and was successful in walking out of the building in order to adequately express her beliefs but was stopped and told that she would be receiving “disciplinary action.” When asked how she felt about the consequence, she responded that she would wear the discipline as “a badge of honor.”

The most frustrating point of this protest is that the administration avoided giving the students what they truly asked for. Instead, they appeased the student body, hoping that they wouldn’t cause too much of a disruption or distraction. While it is understandable that the administration and teachers are here to protect students, this day did not contribute positively to the cause in the way it was intended.

The Roots of Racist Stereotypes


Minorities being elected into political office does not solve racism in the US Government. This argument is beyond facile. A black president isn’t proof that racism has ended. The fact remains that the use of offensive racial terms such as “Negro” and “Oriental” in US federal law was only banned last year. This rhetoric perpetuates racism because they aren’t just used in “old” laws. Racial slurs and stereotypes against black people have real impacts. It goes beyond hurt feelings and unease. These slurs and stereotypes are used to keep black people in their place. Racial “slurs” against white people like “Cracker” also originate from slavery. The difference is that white people were the masters in charge that cracked the whip. Frankly, joking about food and spices (or lack thereof) doesn’t regularly affect the everyday lives of white people. Black people, on the other hand, face incarceration, police brutality, poverty, and housing and job discrimination at levels white people don’t face at the same scale.

Assigned Books: “Mint” To Be Read

Olivia Erickson, Editor-in-Chief

As we advance through high school, we become less and less inclined to complete the assignments given to us by our teachers. Similarly, as we advance through our literature and composition pathways, when a teacher introduces the next piece of literature that your class will be dissecting, and emphasizes the importance that your class actually reads this one, everyone seems to roll their eyes, sigh under their breaths and, most of the time, mentally decide that they won’t even open the book. We may still end up scoring well enough on the tests, but are we missing out on something more important than a good grade?

In ninth grade, most of us actually read the classics “1984” by George Orwell and “Fahrenheit-451” by Ray Bradbury, which teach us the value of individual thought in corrupt societies. In today’s world, where it seems like everyday politics only get more unethical, I reflect back on messages these novels conveyed to freshman-year me.

Then, in 10th grade (when most of us started to get tired of reading), I was assigned “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey, which quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. At a time where the atmosphere surrounding mental illness is as stigmatized as ever, this novel peers into the minds of those deemed mentally unfit to function in society and illuminates the difficulties that those who are labeled as mentally unhealthy suffer.

During junior year (where only half the class even picks up the book), for our American Literature credit, we read “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, which not only remind us of important historical phases in society but also deal with ever-present problems such as shaming women for their sexuality and alienating people without viable reason. After four years of literature courses, I couldn’t imagine reading or writing a piece of literature without some of the messages taught to me by assigned books in mind.

The teachers at Chattahoochee typically do not assign large projects like reading a book simply for the fun of it; they want you to get something valuable out of it. Reading books in general, but especially reading books purposefully selected for high schoolers, can give way to important life lessons, new ways of thinking and exploration of the depth of the human condition. As burgeoning adults, it’s more vital than ever to take every learning opportunity we’re given, especially ones that can provide such enduring and unfailing instruction.