Category Archives: Opinions

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.

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.

No More White Screens

LeahZarzour, News Editor

Music festivals have the stand out quality that has made it more popular than ever by promoting popular performers and drawing in people of different backgrounds. Festivals provide a plethora of new and exciting concerts at once—making it easier than ever to experience different genres of music.  However music may not always be the reason people attend these events.

Social media users, especially on Instagram, tend to use these festivals as the ideal photo-taking backdrop. Some festival-goers might even see “selfies” being taken during a show. People are concerned about whether or not they have the best photos to post to prove they really had the festival experience. However, this entirely contradicts to the real value of concerts—the music. Imagine standing front row screaming the lyrics in front of your favorite artist, but with your phone right in your face. With a sea of screens, artists cannot make that personal connection that they try to evoke with their audience

Social media is not the only reason why flashing phones are constantly in the air during a concert—it’s all about the moment—or at least taking the moment. People care more about the pictures and videos of their favorite performers that they miss the real-life moments. Why look through the tiny screens of your smartphone when you can look at what’s actually happening in front of your eyes. This argument can best be portrayed though performers: The Lumineers, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, and Jack White.

White is a passionate advocator of experiencing concerts first hand. As he once explained on an interview with Conan in 2014, during his previous tour, he asked the audience to put their phones and cameras away in order to truly immerse themselves into the music and enjoy the acoustics around them. In fact, White has tried to play with the reactiveness of his audience. Instead of using a set list during his concerts, he performed certain songs that matched the energy of the crowd. Though some well-known artists think this would hurt their fan base, this created a unique connection that has become difficult to experience during festivals or concerts today.

Constantly taking videos can take away the intimacy that live performances try to enhance. It loses the connection that many people crave yet dismiss because they are too busy trapping the moment on their devices.

Running From the Field to the Couch

CaseySabath Staff Reporter

You wake up one day and it’s over. No more 6 a.m practices, and no more staying late at the gym, and no more conditioning workouts three times a week. So what happens now?

The next day you hear the 7th period bell ring and instead of going to the locker rooms, you head to the bus canopy and head home at 3:30p.m. For once in your life you have absolutely nothing to do so you sit on your couch. You stay still for at least 10 minutes before you turn on the tv and actually accept that you have nothing else to do today. So that’s all you do…sit and watch tv shows for hours on end. By the end of the first week of not being swarmed with practices and games you realize you have time for homework so you end up actually doing your homework and for a little while your grades improve. You’re also no longer having to eat healthy so you finally discover fast food and realize what you’ve been missing out on. The first couple of months you’re still eating the same amount of food as you did when you were exercising so you don’t realize anything is off. Within those months you lose at least 10 lbs of weight and are wondering if not being active is the real way to lose weight. You’re wrong. All your muscle is disappearing and once it’s all gone you’re stuck with the inevitable fate caused by eating bad and not working out. Within three months you start to realize that maybe you need to go to the gym; so you begin your two month gym craze during the summer. This includes going to the gym everyday and maybe starting a food cleanse. Summer ends and you no longer have time for the gym everyday. But it’s senior year and you’re going to support the teams. “Maybe I should have played”, that question will roam through your head quite often. By the time the season is over you’re going to have a small bit of lingering regret. Maybe you’ll get over the regret, I haven’t yet. However, I do have those days when I’m swarmed with work and I’ll stop for a second and realize that if I was still doing my sport I wouldn’t have had time to finish my work, or to go hiking with friends spontaneously. You come to terms with it.

A Strong Minded Teen’s Take On Conversion Therapy

Everyday I am dumbfounded as I am hit with more and more information on the wrongdoings being performed in this world. Walls are being built to divide instead of hands being outstretched to unify, those who once looked to our country as a place of solace and understanding are now being forbidden to immigrate here, and everyday more and more people are discriminated against. It’s a horrible thought, to think that a place that once boasted about its equality and the better life that one can make for themselves in the United States of America is deteriorating more and more each day.

Although massive strides have been made in terms of acceptance and understanding in regard to LGBTQ community and their place in the societal roles of America, an encumbrance remains hindering any and all progress.

Conversion therapy, otherwise known as “straight camp”, is a system riddled with harmful practices and techniques geared toward influencing a person’s sexual orientation. Often times, upon arrival campers are stripped of their own clothes and given a uniform from which no sexual desires can be derived.  Those who attend the camps are unable to speak to one another and are forced into an existence of quietness and solitude. Meals are eaten alone and speeches are given in which campers are listed reasons for why their sexual orientation is wrong. Aversion therapy, a type of behavior therapy designed to make a patient give up an undesirable habit by causing them to associate it with an unpleasant effect, is a technique used in order to rid a camper of their sexual desires of the same class. However, it only takes a semester of any high school psychology course to understand that pairing a negative effect with feelings of sexual desire to the same sex will do nothing to change those feelings, it just changes your understanding of those feelings to be negative.

Not only is straight camp cause for concern among the LGBTQ community, it should be a concern for anyone who believes in equal right for all people. Conversion therapy encourages the suppression of one’s true self, which is the greatest crime of all. Those who undergo straight camp are forced to lie and hide the true nature of who they are as human beings rather than be faced with the humiliation and the torture that accompanies being openly gay and nothing- especially a camp that you must pay to attend- should be allowed to make anyone feel that way.

Is Protesting Worth It?

I have mastered the art of the subtle eavesdrop.

By no means did I truly believe that completing my homework in a coffee shop instead of a home filled with rambunctious animals and nagging parents, would lead to more efficiency. But as I sip green tea and hit shuffle on a playlist that took longer to curate than doing my homework will actually take, I find myself listening in on the conversation at the table beside mine. A teenage girl, who most likely attends the same school as me, is truly outraged by the fact that the holiday cups are not the same vibrant red that they were the year before, but instead the classic mermaid branded cup that she receives every other month of the year. She laments to her friend who simply replies,

“We should protest.”

They both laugh, and the subject is forgotten as witty banter in their otherwise highly eventful lives.

Often times, it remains to be seen whether or not the cause you’re fighting for is worth being fought. It is stressful to think that while we are able to practice our rights to free speech, and the ability to protest for our beliefs, those efforts may not always prove fruitful. As I write this article, dozens of protests are being conducted in the world around me. Monumental ideas and concepts including a women’s right to choose, and nuclear proliferation are being fought for while smaller topics such as Starbucks holiday cups are being protested. And just because one issue may be smaller in the grand scheme of things, does it mean that it is not worth it?

In regard to protesting, it is my belief that there is no such thing as protesting a useless topic. Even if you are the only one wrestling the pros and cons of any given issue, if it is an issue that is meaningful to you then you have every right to fight for it. It is personally important to me, as a black American woman, that I speak up for the things that are important to me because I was only recently given that right.

It worries me as an American citizen that- at least once a week- I receive a CNN notification that genuinely frightens me and makes me believe that as a society, we are reverting back to a world reminiscent of a much more tumultuous time, but I have faith that the opportunities given to Americans for peaceful protesting and the ability to voice the opinions of a community of people who may feel as though their voice is not always heard. These occasions give me faith that no matter the outcome of the world around me, America will persevere.

The Rise of Accelerated Classes

Sireesh Ramesh, Staff Reporter

The popularity of accelerated classes has only grown in recent years. Four years ago, Chattahoochee did not offer an Accelerated Science Program, an Accelerated History Program or an opportunity for students to jump two years ahead in math. Yet today, all of these programs have not only become available, but commonplace among the student body. With a successive increase in the number of accelerated classes, the standard slowly increases as well. And students striving for the top feel the pressure to meet it.  So with middle schoolers now being able to take high school science classes and take 10 honors lit as a freshman, where do we draw the line?

Accelerated classes are justified as a means to offer a pathway to high achieving students. But in four years time, a school’s student body changes very little in terms of average test scores and GPA. Thus, how can we justify the fact that the number of opportunities to accelerate have more than doubled? To many, the boost in classes may not seem harmful. After all, if more classes are offered, more students can find a path specific to them. But in the context of the competitive high school sphere, there can be some undesired consequences.

In fact, many students have also shared their concerns at the number of accelerated classes . Jack Caldwell (JR), a junior in AP Calculus, reflected that he “probably would not have taken [AP Calculus]” if it was not for a growing number of his junior peers taking it. To even be on a level playing field, Caldwell believed, he would have to jump ahead a year in math. It seems that, when the offering of an accelerated class raises the standards, competitive students feel the pressure to meet it. Unlike AP classes which delve into topics with more detail than their corresponding on-level classes, accelerated classes force students to skip an entire year’s worth of material to move onto the next class. And with standards for acceleration declining- the requirement to accelerate went from scoring an A to scoring a B on the evaluation test- this could mean more students taking classes with a critical gap in knowledge. This gap can have serious consequences in classes like literature, where prolonged exposure to works rather than quantitative knowledge is needed for success in the class. The English department head, David White agreed, saying “many students taking 10th honors lit as a freshmen won’t be ready for the material we give.”

Some may argue that accelerated classes are essential and give high-achieving students a path that best reflects their skillset. Niranjan Ramasekran (JR) argues that he is “more than happy” that he took AP calculus and is happy that the school offered a chance for him to accelerate. Matt Mihordea, the science department head at Chattahoochee, agrees, believing the Accelerated Science Program “offers opportunities to high achieving students.” Programs like the Accelerated Science Program and a one-or even two- year acceleration in math have already proved their effectiveness, with many students in the program voicing great support for the programs. Yet, the same cannot be said for all accelerated programs.

Offering accelerated classes in middle school raises the standard to the point where almost no students can meet it. The experience required in 10 honors literature is something that no freshman can or should be able to handle. Yet, administrators keep raising the standards and force students who are not ready into skipping a year’s worth of material.

In the future, administrators consider offering more accelerated classes, they should do so with higher scrutiny, weighing the benefits of a new class over the competitive results it leaves on high school students.