Category Archives: Editorials

Black & White Ball– Prom Review 2017

CarolineTomczak, Seniors Editor

The day we have all been waiting for, April 22, has finally arrived: the day of prom. This year Chattahoochee’s prom was at Ventanas, an event space, which is on top of the Hilton in downtown Atlanta.

The venue has large endless windows surrounding the dance floor and an outdoor patio with lounge chairs to take in the incredible view of Atlanta. Saying the views were incredible, is an understatement; everywhere you looked you could see some iconic landmark of Atlanta: The Georgia Aquarium, The World of Coke, Centennial Olympic Park, The CNN Center and the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The theme of the dance was quite timeless, “The Black and White Ball.” This classic, chic theme captured the venue perfectly. Since the view at Ventanas was basically what people tended to focus on, the decorations were very simple. The music, however, was not as great.  There was not as large of a variety of songs played by the DJ compared to last year and only one main group could actually get into the music. Even though there wasn’t a large variety in the music played, everyone still had a great time dancing on the dance floor surrounded by their closest friends.

Next to the dance floor was a photobooth, a bar for refreshments and an outdoor patio for people who were taking a break from dancing. The outdoor patio was really nice since there wasn’t one last year; it was great to just sit down and take a break from dancing to just really hangout with your friends while being surrounded by a gorgeous view.

Overall, I would say that prom 2017 was a success. As a Senior, and graduating in less than a month, it was a great last prom and an experience that I will remember for a lifetime.

To be Full


The problem with our culture is the glorification of all that is flawless. Human beings are the epitome of imperfect; how unfair it is, then, when those who show any shortcomings at all are virtually trained to hate themselves? How twisted it is to accept nothing but utmost perfection from ourselves when we were created to embody the beauty of being flawed?

I have read many articles on the evaluation of body image issues– I have read the opinions of outsiders looking in, of those who accept themselves attempting to preach some sort of message that registers with the insecure. I’ll tell you this right now: it doesn’t work. Nothing you can say or do will outweigh the overwhelming and unavoidable voice in their heads that they will never be able to satisfy their own standards. Let me tell you what it’s like when your own mind is your greatest enemy.

Emptiness becomes a desirable feeling; ironically, I seemed to feel my soul was at its fullest when my body was caving in on itself. Every person I met became another comparison to myself; is she smaller, do I look like I belong here, or am I too undesirable to be proudly standing next to her? Looking at my own reflection triggered an unresolvable panic and anxiety within me that I cannot describe, trapping me in my own bedroom out of fear of judgment.

It’s pathetic, really.

You spend your whole life blaming others for your problems, blaming who you are on past hardships and ridicule, to one day wake up and realize that your only  demon lives within you. You got to this point. You decided your image meant more to you than your health– and now you’re stuck in this inescapable, cycle of self-hatred. Whether or not you admit it now, the worst part of it all is that you enjoy the effects of killing yourself. You go days without eating, run until your head explodes, or stick your fingers down your throat, and at the end of the day, you’re satisfied. I saw results– other people saw results. I was winning, despite the fact that I was losing every other part of myself.

Before it all, I was different. I enjoyed life for the things that made it beautiful. I took pride in my intelligence; I cared about the things I was passionate about. I used to draw, and I was good. I used to write freely, and I was great. I used to sing, and I felt alive. I used to care about people, but this self-obsessed, attention-seeking version of myself pushed away any real relationships I had. When your appearance becomes the deciding factor on your mental stability, it’s easy to throw away the things that used to matter. I became a shell of a human being, shaping myself into perfection in the outside, despite how utterly empty I was on the inside– literally and figuratively.

Let me tell you, though,  how to find the light when the only thing you know is darkness. Stop looking at the unending feed of photos of women with unachievable physiques; I don’t care how unfortunate it is, you will not look like that. Flooding your brain with unrealistic expectations is guaranteeing your own insecurity; you are training yourself to despise your own reflection. Stop surrounding yourself with people who praise you for your appearance alone, but with those who recognize your hidden qualities and adore you for them. Life is more than the way you look when you bend over, stop convincing yourself that people will only be drawn to the most physically attractive version of yourself. Anyone who decides your worth based off the dimensions of your body is a person who deserves to be ignored anyway. You are more than the curves of your figure. You are a mind full of ideas and wonder; don’t you dare let that go to waste over the approval of others. Do the things in life that fuel your fire– not those that burn you to the ground.

And finally, I don’t care what you’ve convinced yourself thus far, I don’t care what you’ve been through, and I don’t care how you justify your actions; you have a problem. No matter how far gone you may be, though, you have the power to stop the insanity. Life doesn’t have to be empty anymore, and you can end the war you’ve created within your own mind. Listen to me. One day you will be full. And you will never empty yourself again.

End of School Splash

The school year is coming to an end. Finals are almost here; seniors have decided that school is irrelevant and everyone is planning what they are doing for the rest of the summer. But one thought lingers in the back of everyone’s mind…how are they going to spend the last day of the school year. In case maybe you have no idea what you could do to celebrate the technical first day of summer, this article might help you in coming up with some ideas. First thing first is the most basic of all, at least in my neighborhood. Two words…water fight! The last day of school everyone gets off the bus or out of their car and suddenly are bombarded with water balloons and squirt guns. By the end of the first hour, we are drenched and completely oblivious to the inch of water in our shoes. As you get older, it becomes a little lame to be with a bunch of middle school kids on the last day of school so I got a few other selections for you. When talking to Josh Selby he said on the last day of school “I usually hang out with my friends and we’ll go to the Georgia mill and just swim and eat lunch, I guess this year I’ll be at graduation so it might be different. This year I’ll most likely spend the last day of school at a graduation party”. Senior year is a different game and even the end isn’t the end because even after you’ve finished classes you still have pre-graduation, graduation, and all the parties that follow. But for those of you non-seniors I still have some kick-butt suggestions. “On the last day of school my family always goes to the neighborhood pool party. There are BBQ and so many fun games that they set up” (Emily Jones). However, at the end of the day, it’s the last day of school and no matter what you do make sure you spend it with your family and friends because you only get a limited amount of last days of school.

Freshman 15, More Like Freshman 50

Cookout- Here’s the thing, Cookout is possibly the best thing since sliced bread. If you are a broke college student, this is one of the best places for you. Why you ask? Because of the $5 Cookout Tray. This tray consists of one entrée aka burger, two sides, and your choice of drink. It’s an extra dollar for a fancy shake, but it’s well worth the splurge. The serving sizes are a bit on the smaller size, but whose complaining when it costs five dollars. Little suggestion on my end…get the cheer wine!

Wendy’s- Hold the phone because things just got interesting. Wendy’s changed the game a couple years ago by introducing college students to a little something called the 4 for $4 meal. What does this include you ask? Well this godly deal gives you a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, four all white-meat chicken nuggets, small fries and a drink. Ask any college student and I guarantee they are obsessed with this deal. Also if you want to mix it up a little I would highly suggest spending a little extra money on a frosty and dipping your fries. And for those of you who aren’t about to have such a plain meal, you can head to the Right Price Right Size Menu. There they have cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, nuggets, salads, chicken wraps, frosty’s, tea and lemonade. All-in-all no human college student can resist a Wendy’s.

Sonic- My last money saving fast food restaurant is none other than Sonic. During the afternoon Sonic has what they call “Happy Hour”. From 2:00pm-4:00pm enjoy half off drinks, teas and slushes. You can also grab your choice of corndogs, mozzarella sticks, onion rings and tots for just $0.99. Not to mention the Late Night Happy Hour that goes on after 8:00pm. This includes half off on all shakes at the Sonic Drive-In after eight. Sonic also constantly has new deals, the most current being Sonic Tuesday Special. Starting May 1, 2017 every Tuesday from 5:00pm-close all single-patty cheeseburgers are half price. My final deal that makes me fixated on Sonic is their $3 Breakfast Before 10am. You can get a breakfast burrito and a cup of Green Mountain Coffee or a fountain drink for $3. Not only that but it’s guaranteed to be ready for you in two minutes. What more could you ask for?

Buffalo Wild Wings- Let’s be real, I’m crazy about fast food. Sadly, I can’t write down every single restaurant that I would visit on the weekly. This is one of my favorites though. So why do I love Buffalo Wild Wings so much you ask? One thing…WINGS! Who doesn’t like some buffalo wings late at night? Plus, not trying to be the girl to tell you that cheap food is the best food, but ½ Price Wing Tuesday is an existing thing. For those wing haters, they also have salads, burgers, wraps and a little something called Buffalo Loaded Tots. They also have some of the most interesting drinks like any Red Bull you can think of, blueberry mint lemonade, black cherry limeade and something they call ginger lemonade. This place has it all and there isn’t a lot I need to tell you to convince you that this should be your new craving.

Panda Express- Buckle your seatbelts because you are about to be cultured. Sure, Panda Express isn’t exactly “real” Chinese food, but it’s as close to being Chinese as Taco Bell is to being Mexican. I’m not even in college yet and I already go to Panda Express on the weekly. They have plates and bowls for food. A plate consists of two entrees and your choice of side and a bowl has one entrée and one side. And let me tell you right now, just looking at the menu online makes me crave some orange chicken and tea. Panda Express literally goes all out with the Chinese theme. They have milk tea, fruit tea and lemonade tea (isn’t that just lemonade). I for one think it’s great to prep college students for what their twenties’ dinner will be like because I guarantee you’re going to want to get use to yummy take out now. Plus, this is like ramen that tastes good and you can never go wrong with that.

The Restorative Words of Kendrick Lamar

JourneySherman, Editor-in-Chief

Kendrick Lamar has been a voice for those that have been silenced by the silence in America. Frank and anecdotal details have had a major part in his music since day one.  Every album is synonymous with the diary of a black man in America, and Lamar’s lyrics come from a place of reflection and not racial partition. He advocates for Black Lives Matter without ever uttering those words.

There is a gap between his listeners though, some fans completely miss Lamar’s agenda. They only claim to admire “the beats and mixing,” but how can you only enjoy the sound behind a movement? They know all the words, but don’t understand the meaning behind them.  This is to say that you can’t discredit the Black Lives Matter movement and call Kendrick Lamar the best rapper of all time in the same breath. His racial struggles are not intersectional—so when I hear white boys chanting “N****, we gon’ be alright” I am left dumbfounded. He didn’t write those words for you. This is not to say that non-black people shouldn’t listen or even claim to be fans of him, but they should understand the weight behind his words. It carries the weight of over two-hundred years of racial dissension in America. Kendrick Lamar also speaks of the socio-economic problems he faced growing up in Compton, California, and bluntly explains this influence of  the environment he grew up. His newest album “DAMN.” does not disappoint and offers the same authenticity and genuineness.

In the first song off the album, “BLOOD.” Lamar includes Fox News excerpt,  “Lamar stated his views on police brutality with that line in the song/ Quote: “And we hate the popo, wanna kill us in the street fo’ sho'”/Oh please, ugh, I don’t like it.” The first track of the album advocates for the Black Lives Matter movement front and center as Lamar narrates himself being shot on the street as an innocent man. It changes the perspective on the loss of an innocent life. Whether he’s your favorite rapper or not, at the end of the day Lamar is a black man that is directly impacted by the slaying of black men in cold blood. Many want to remove the meaning behind his words and not think about his advocation for Black Lives Matter.

The tune “ELEMENT.” offers another blunt look of his home life growing up in Compton: “put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this s***/D.O.T. my enemy, won’t catch a vibe for this s***, ayy/I been stomped out in front of my mama/My daddy commissary made it to commas”. This lyric speaks volumes about the struggles he faced in his tumultuous environment. To put this into perspective, the national average for violent crimes per 1000 people is 3.8 while Compton’s is 10.12. He has triumphed over so much chaos in his home life. This song is for those that ever doubted his love for rapping and why he writes what he does. He will go to great lengths to continue doing what he loves, and no one will ever come between him and his craft.

“PRIDE.” screams Lamar’s honest hopes for racial reconciliation and an overall peace between people with different cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds. “Promises are broken and more resentment come alive/Race barriers make inferior of you and I/See, in a perfect world, I’ll choose faith over riches/I’ll choose work over b******, I’ll make schools out of prison/I’ll take all the religions and put ’em all in one service.” These lyrics speak volumes and provide a theme to the album as a whole. His album comes from a place of reconciliation and advocacy for peace.

The Immigration Courts



The topic of immigration is a rough subject with a long, terrible history that many don’t willingly talk about. Many people don’t think about how immigration takes place in the courts. The judges are some of the most underfunded in the country with one of the smallest total staff. Today there are only 277 immigration judges and 58 courts in the country that must deal with more than 1500 cases a year. Due to this extremely low number, most cases aren’t given the time of day and over half of all immigrants are instantly deported just do to a lack of time for a full out trial.

          As of today, there are over 4.3 million immigrants in the United States. One single judge must handle no more than 700 cases a year. Most of them push over that limit just to get through their cases. If not they would have to push back a trial months or years while the some of the immigrants in question would remain in a jail or just deported.Most immigration courts currently have an insane backlog of 489,000 cases. These immigration courts, unlike real courts, don’t even provide lawyers. Not even unaccompanied minors. In one case a man named Mark Lyttle, who was a US citizen with mental disabilities, was deported as a part of the ‘mass removal’ in which they’d ask if you object to being deported. These people barely spoke English and didn’t know what they were saying.

          With such an underfunded system in place to handle one of the most important issues, what can we do to fix it? For starters, we should allow those who cannot afford a lawyer and those too young for one to be allowed one. The government must acknowledge that this issue needs some assistance. Hundreds of US citizens are being deported without any consent. It continues to remain to be seen whether the United States Congress can muster the responsibility and will to do what is right and achieve the immigration reform this year. Republican leadership in the House of Representatives continues to hold immigration reform hostage, most recently justifying inaction by blaming President Obama’s alleged track record on failing to enforce our immigration laws. Now with our new president Trump, will we see a change in immigration courts, or will we see more of our own citizens being deported unjustly?

The Dissection Debate

LindseyAranson, Staff Reporter

One of the most interesting classes offered at Chattahoochee is one of the least popular. Despite its relevance to various scientific fields including biology and healthcare, only fifteen students take Human Anatomy and Physiology (HAP), which covers all the systems in the human body and how they work together. Because HAP will not be offered for the 2017-2018 school year, these fifteen students will likely be the last at Chattahoochee to participate in this honors class’s memorable end-of-year lab—a cat dissection.

After months of studying the inner workings of the body, the hands-on experience of dissection cements students’ understanding of not only where structures are located, but also how they function.   While animal rights organizations like PETA argue that virtual dissections “have proved to be as good as, and often superior to, [traditional] dissection as a learning tool,” the National Association of Biology Teachers “acknowledges that no alternative can substitute for the actual experience of dissection…and urges teachers to be aware of the limitations of [digital] alternatives.”

Mr. Leet, the HAP teacher, finds that students engage more with true dissections than virtual simulations. “There’s only so many times in a person’s life they can actually cut something open [to] see what’s on the inside,” says Leet, discussing why he teaches cat dissections. “I think that it gets students excited if they want to be doctors. Even if they didn’t think about being a doctor, it might give them the idea, ‘Hey, I might like doing this. I might want to work towards it.’”

For students who want to study healthcare or biology, the tactile experience of traditional dissection is far more informative than a computer simulation. “If you’re planning on going into a field in medicine…you’re not going to be able to see everything. A lot of what you’re going to find [will] be through touch rather than just seeing,” explains Katherine Dunn (SR). While examining the superficial muscles of their feline cadaver, Dunn and her lab partners Emily Macko (SR) and Rachel Thomas (SR) discovered that their cat’s ribs were broken just by feeling the bones through the tissue. The group contends that no virtual alternative can compare to this firsthand learning: “Holding it in your hand is a lot different than watching it on a screen,” Macko insists.  Where computer animations of muscle movements leave students confused and disengaged, manipulating muscles by hand and watching them move instills understanding and wonderment at the complexities of the body.

Because cats share many anatomical structures with humans, this firsthand knowledge is extremely valuable for aspiring healthcare professionals. However, not all students in the HAP class plan to attend medical school. “Dissection is important to know about animals and people when it’s for your job,” acknowledged Elizabeth Noble (SR), “but as a high schooler, I don’t think it’s necessary for my education because this is not what I’m pursuing.”  Noble, a proud cat owner, believes dissection is unethical if it is not absolutely necessary for a specific career path. “It’s not something that’s for my high school anatomy class. It’s not for my career, it’s not what I’m going to school for…I don’t think a bunch of high schoolers should just be able to cut up cats in school.”

Noble’s lab partner Selma Rafiq (SR) was also reluctant to participate in the lab. “[Dissection is] disrespecting the body because we’re taking it apart,” she says, “and I feel like [animals] should be buried.” Responding to the notion that animal dissection is disrespectful, Leet says respect is something he’s “strict” about in the lab. The science teacher demands that “there’s no joking around” in his classroom— “We’re [dissecting cats] to learn something. It’s different from just cutting them up to mutilate them for entertainment.” Although students take pictures of the cat for a muscle and organ identification project, Leet is adamant that pictures are not to be posted on social media. “[Dissection teachers] should do just what Mr. Leet is doing,” said student Celia Imhoff (SR). “[He] make[s] sure that everyone is doing things safely and respectfully.”

However, much of the concern with animal experimentation lies not with the actual act of dissection, but with the suffering the cats endure before they even reach the lab. According to PETA, cats used for dissection may be “stolen or abandoned companion animals” who are gassed and “injected with formaldehyde without first being checked for vital signs.” These claims are unsupported, but animal suppliers like Carolina do obtain euthanized cats from shelters. Carolina, Chattahoochee’s source for preserved cats, emphasizes that these cats “would be destined for the landfill” if they didn’t furnish them for dissection, yet animal rights activists maintain that the purchase of euthanized cats ignores and furthers the problem of kill shelters.

While the neglect faced by euthanized animals in shelters is certainly horrific, PETA’s extreme accusations of animal torture are not rooted by solid evidence. “Animal activists prey on the emotions of pet owners,” responds Carolina, who is “proud to have an outstanding USDA inspection and compliance record.” PETA’s emotional targeting can be most clearly seen on their page PETA Kids, aimed at elementary school children: “EVERY animal used for classroom dissection was once alive and didn’t want to die. I mean, come on!” the page asserts with forced childlike colloquialism. “Would you want to end up on a dissection tray for a classroom experiment? No way, José.”

Countering this argument, Rachel Thomas argues that dissection is “not a fate no human would choose. People donate their bodies…to be cadavers in medical schools.” In fact, Mr. Leet emphasizes that students who want to be doctors and surgeons “will be using human cadavers” in college. “A cat is slightly different [from a human], but it’s analogous with a lot of the same structures…I think [cat dissection] does inform [students] to build on that in college.”

Still, for students uncomfortable with dissection, Mr. Leet does offer an alternate assignment. “If [students] have any [reservations]  about doing this before we start, I’ll say, ‘it’s okay, there is an online thing we can do,’” he says. “However, I hope they would give it a shot because once they start, I think they would find it super interesting.” Seeing that no one opted for the virtual dissection, Mr. Leet was correct. “I hope the students…get something out of it. I hope they get a passion for the human body and how anatomy and physiology work.”

From my experience in Mr. Leet’s HAP class, I would definitely argue for the educational benefits of dissection. Before this lab, it was difficult for me to envision the textures, sizes and locations of anatomical structures—and while I don’t plan on entering a medical field, I feel that understanding the body is important for anyone who has one (that would be everyone). At the same time, however, it is important to consider whether these educational benefits outweigh the potential harm to animals. This is certainly a controversial issue, and it’s up to us to enforce proper regulations and respect for all life.