Category Archives: Features

Seniors Vote Their Ossoff

JourneySherman, Editor-in-Chief

On April 18 many seniors were seen wearing an “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker. This is because Georgia held a sixth district special election to replace Republican congressman Tom Price, who stepped down to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services.

Democrat, Jon Ossoff, ran against 11 Republicans for the position and almost gained 50% of the voteswhich is what is needed to declare a winner. Ossoff fell short with having 48.1% of the votes while the other candidates roughly shared the other 51%. The Republican with the greatest percent, Karen Handel, garnered nearly 20% of the votes. Because none of the candidates cleared 50%, a runoff will take place June 20.  

Ossoff has made himself more accessible through countless rallies for supporters to sign up to volunteer and get the chance to meet him in person. I was lucky enough to attend his first rally in preparing for the runoff. It consisted of signing up for shifts to volunteer at one of his campaign offices. These volunteers are being asked to go door to door and advocate for Ossoff. They will also push “mail-in” voting and make you promise you won’t be out of town on June 20. Currently many of the official members of his campaign are from Gen X.

When I attended the rally this age group made up most of the population in attendance. Ossoff was eager to speak with all attendees of the rally and was much more personable than expected. He gave off a calm and engaging demeanor while making a short speech and greeting the crowd. Ossoff was more than willing to take pictures with supporters (including me) and listen to topics that concerned them.

With such a narrow margin of votes needed, it has become increasingly important for millennials to be involved. This means spreading the word regarding voter registration and voicing their opinions on issues that are important to them. Ossoff’s campaign has an increasing desire for involvement by younger people in the campaign.

Dreaming of Chrysalis

FernandaMorote, Staff Reporter

As an outlet for creativity, Chattahoochee’s literature department offers different publications, including a literary magazine. Each release their products sometime during the year, and Lit Mag released this year’s edition of “Chrysalis” in April, with the theme “Dreams and Sleep.”

According to staff member Hope D’Erasmo (SR), “Chrysalis” is a compilation of “student-submitted artwork, poetry, and short stories published into a book format at the end of the year.” In addition to being a school publication, D’Erasmo says that “it’s separate from academic activities, so you can get to know people in a different way.” Since Chrysalis was not released last year, Lit Mag is unintentionally hidden from the student body. This year, current editor-in-chief Natalie Patterson (SR) decided that Lit Mag should be resurrected, and she wanted to be a part renewing that tradition.

Creating such a concentrated book of artwork requires a long process, including coming up with a theme, advertising and collecting submissions, sorting through the works of art, designing it and finally ordering copies to sell. Patterson commented on the decided theme of Dreams and Sleep: “It’s a theme that is specific enough to have cohesion in a magazine and at the same time allows plenty of variation.”

As for the submissions, Lit Mag received many works which were difficult to sift through, especially since they only meet twice a week. Throughout their process, they came across a wide variety of submissions: poems from enthusiastic students, others from students required to submit something and even academic essays which were intriguing but too long to publish in the small magazine.

When designing the magazine, each student was assigned two or three spreads to work on in a specific color palette. Lit Mag’s sponsor, Ms. Scaggs, handled the ordering of the books, including finding a publisher who would make the magazines at a decent price.

Selling the books is also part of the process, so now staff members are selling books for $10 in May. When asked about selling strategies, Patterson mentioned, “We are planning some creative means of advertising, so keep an eye out for some notable things.”

Because the magazine is written by students, the works within are very relatable for teens like us. As we read, we can laugh and nod along with the creators’ experiences.

Diamond Rings and Diplomas

With the year drawing to a close, many seniors are taking the time to reflect on their four years in high school, as well as look forward to the future. For two girls in particular, they have something monumental to anticipate in addition to crossing the stage and accepting their diplomas; walking down the aisle and accepting another as their husband.

Disclaimer: Names have been changed to provide anonymity and responses appear just as they were answered.

When do you plan on getting married?

Bride 1: “June 23, 2018.”

Bride 2: “July 21, 2017, when I turn 18. That’s when we’ll be “illegally” married, but we haven’t set a date for an actual wedding.”  

What steps are you taking to prepare yourself as a wife?

Bride 1: “I’m learning to be less selfish.”

Bride 2:  “I’m learning to be more responsible. “

How will you fund your wedding?

Bride 1: “His family will.”

Bride 2: “My boyfriend has a job right now. We’re saving up to throw a big wedding. I’m probably going to get a job soon as well.”

What are your plans for college?

Bride 1: “I’m going to University of North Georgia, to become a business major.”

Bride 2: “I will be attending Kennesaw State University.”

Where do you plan on living after your marriage?

Bride 1: “With his mom until we can get our own place.”

Bride 2: “Alaska, my fiancé wants to work on an oil rig. They pay for housing and he’s already spoken with the people working there. I don’t know if that will actually happen, but it’s our plan right now. “

Are your parents/families concerned about your decision?

Bride 1: “My parents are because they think I am too young, but his family is really happy.”

Bride 2: “They don’t know.”

What are you most looking forward to?

Bride 1: “Starting a family.”

Bride 2: “Knowing that he’s mine forever. “

What most frightens you about marriage?

Bride 1: “I’m not really scared of marriage. I’m kind of excited.”

Bride 2: “That something will go wrong, financially.”

What led you to say yes to your fiancé’s proposal?

Bride 1: “I love him and I don’t want to be with anyone else.”

Bride 2: “The first time he actually brought it up, I thought about it and I realized that I would actually like to spend the rest of my life with him.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Bride 1: “Having graduated college, I hope to have a steady job, my own apartment and two kids. I would also love to own my own business. “

Bride 2: “I don’t know. Probably in Alaska, I guess.”

Major life decisions are always riddled with a mixture of anxiety and excitement. I wish the best for these two girls on their future endeavors, wherever they may lead them.

HAPPINESS IS NOT PLURAL

AllieBartlett, Staff Reporter

A common misconception among the teenage population today is the belief that the only way to get the most out of these four years is with a significant other by your side. Many believe this philosophy wholeheartedly and end up devoting all of their time and energy towards finding that “special someone.” However, as a senior in high school, I’ve come to realize that in order to reach that coveted state of self-fulfillment, you must find yourself first. It’s a difficult concept for many to grasp, but in reality, you have to be happy by yourself before you can be happy with someone else. So in an attempt to help make this process somewhat easier, here are some “how to” tips to help you reach a state of self-sufficient happiness:  

First things first: you will not be single forever. The worst thing to do is start panicking and assume you have to find someone immediately or your life is over. This air of desperation is by far the most debilitating energy to bring into a new relationship with yourself or someone else. It can blind you to obvious red flags and lead to compromising situations. Look at it this way: if you are uncomfortable spending time alone, what makes you think anyone else will feel comfortable spending time with you?

Being happy alone does not happen overnight, especially if you are a recovering codependent. There will be plenty of times that you’ll feel invisible, that no one will ever love you, that you’re wasting your life and a lot of other negative self-talk. The most beneficial skill that everyone needs to master is positive thinking. Eliminate self-doubt, and replace it with motivation to improve yourself. Take this time to become aware of your thoughts; monitor them, erase, rewrite and take the necessary steps to become a professional positive-thinker.

Stop waiting around for a someone to come into your life to start following your dreams. Do it now. Find what you’re passionate about, do the thing that scares you the most, travel the world or learn another language; just do what makes you happy. You have greater chances of finding your other half if you’re living life to the fullest.

Find yourself, and then find someone who contributes to making you the very best person you can be. Find contentment in being single—just be there calm, cool and collected with the person you love most: you.

 

Taylor Road has a GRAMMY nominated teacher

Sireesh Ramesh, Staff Reporter

Mrs. Thompson has been the Orchestra teacher at Taylor Road  for more than ten years. Her leadership has driven the orchestra to consistently achieve superior ratings and to receive invitations to play at the governor’s mansion. Her hard work was recently recognized by the GRAMMY foundation when she was chosenout of 3,000 teachers in the countryto receive a $1,000 honorarium for her work. In a recent interview, Mrs. Thompson shows a glimpse of the hard work and passion that drove her to a GRAMMY nomination.

 

You are a clinician at the Georgia Music Educators Association, a teacher at UpBeat Music camp, and have been a teacher for the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra and Florida State Summer Camp. What drives you to spend so much of your time teaching music to others?

I love helping others, and I love music. The finished product when we’ve worked so hard over time is extremely rewarding. There is nothing else in the world like seeing young people make amazing progress and sound great after diligent effort. Musicians are wonderful people. They have a passion for life and commitment to quality work. Many individuals coming together to do something collectively is indescribable. Musicians are dedicated.

What do you think has lead you to be so passionate about music and teaching music?

Music has been a part of my life since I was very young. My mother was a talented vocalist and sang all the time. Music has a way of bringing people together and this was a wonderful connection I shared with her. When I was in the orchestra in middle and high school, the people I played with became my family and we shared so much that words could never express. Now I have the opportunity to share that experience with my students and encourage them to make life-long relationships through the orchestra program.

Was there any significant moment in your life that made you decide that you would focus on music education?

There were times in my youth that I thought I wanted to do other things when I became bored with playing violin. I was told “musicians can’t make enough money to support a family”. This is completely false- musicians can support a family. There are numerous jobs in the music industry, not only teaching, that support a great deal of families! My mother wouldn’t let me quit in middle or high school and then I went to college for business. Initially, I played in the college orchestra for a scholarship, even though I wasn’t studying music. My schedule became so busy with my college courses and I took that opportunity to quit. About a year later, I realized something big (really big!) was missing in my life and I started to play my violin again. I entertained the idea of changing my major from business. I soon found out I was behind schedule (just from taking one year off) and would have to do a lot to catch up. I put forth the determination and began my major in music. With diligent effort and private lessons, I was able to catch up and major in music. Music takes a lot of dedication and when I followed my dream, I was able to realize yes- you can do what you love on a daily basis and support your family. I can’t imagine doing anything else this exciting on a daily basis.

After all your hard work, how did it feel to be recognized by the GRAMMY foundation?

I am grateful to be among the finalists in the nation for the GRAMMY Music Educator Award. To be selected as a finalist among more than 3,000 teachers nominated is a huge honor. I wasn’t even aware the GRAMMY Foundation had this award until last year when they contacted me to tell me I was nominated by my student, Daniella, and her mother. I feel very special to be among this group of educators and it makes me want to work even harder to find more ways to support and encourage my students. I love how this opportunity has brought more recognition to my students, the Taylor Road Orchestra program, and the Chattahoochee High School Orchestra program. Knowing how much our community values music education is very fulfilling. The parents, students, and staff at Taylor Road have been so loving and supportive.

The Truth on School Counselors

MariaRuiz, Editor-in-Chief

Stress in high school is inevitable. You’re moving from an environment in which you are the oldest peoplethe big shotsto one in which you are freshmaninconsequential little blips in the high school hierarchy. As you get older, you think it would get easier seeing that you have grown accustomed to your surroundings. However, it doesn’t. As you make your way through high school, you begin to realize that the expectations set before you are being raised daily. First you’ll have to decide what friends to make, who your social circle will be. Next you’ll pick your classes, but if you pick wrong, it could not only affect the rest of your time in high school but also your entrance into college. You think your friends will be able to help you, but they really only know as much as you do. You think your parents will be there to guide you, but you fear that you’ll disappoint them. When the people closest to you seem to lack the answers, it’s hard to decide which is the right path for you.

Far too often, we as teenagers put too much on our plates. From the time we start middle school we begin to feel pressured to join honors classes. As time wears on, this burden only begins to weigh heavier with the addition of AP classes, extracurricular activities, clubs and just regular social drama. No matter what you do, if you continue to overload yourself you’re bound to break. That’s where school counselors come in. Yes, I said ityour school counselor. The person assigned to take care of you by your last names. Believe it or not, they are there for more than just to help you with your college recommendations. School counselors are there as a resource for you to take advantage of.

One common misconception is that a school counselor’s job is only to help students with their college plans. In the past 20 years, the role of school counselors has evolved substantially. “We actually don’t like the term ‘guidance counselor’ because it’s outdated terminology that does not represent the broad scope of what school counselors do.  Our role encompasses a wide range of topics: academic, college/career and personal/social development.  In a single day, I could talk to one student about their post-high school plans, another student about high school graduation requirements and which classes and levels would be the best fit for them, another student who is feeling anxious/depressed and finally another student who is struggling with issues with their friends or at home” said Ms. Blount, a counselor at Chattahoochee. A lot of the time, students feel as though the adults at the school are intentionally antagonizing themmaybe they have a mean teacher or the workload is too much for them. When life starts to get a little too overwhelming, it’s important to know that they have an asset in the schoolsomeone who will be on their side.

Sometimes, it can get hard as a teenager. To you, your problems are as real as ever; however, every adult you talk to seems to never really take you seriously. For us, our GPA is the end-all-be-all of our academic success. The parties we get invited to dictate our social standing. When those things don’t go as planned, it can get stressful. It’s reassuring to know that you have someone on your side no matter how inconsequential your problems may appear. “Our goal as a department is to teach kids to keep balance in their lives,” stated Ms. Blount, “Some students want to know the ‘magic number’ of AP or Honors classes they should take to get into a certain college and what their class rank is.  Our answers are:  (1) there is no magic number of AP or Honors classes, and (2) we stopped reporting class rank because we wanted to remove some academic anxiety since Chattahoochee is a high-performing school, and it is becoming increasingly less important to colleges as an admission factor. We encourage students to find the “best fit” school for themselves, not the “best school” according to someone else. What really matters is that students are working to their potential and challenging themselves appropriately, but also that they are able to balance their academic work with having fun and enjoying high school.” School is meant to develop students into well-rounded people; however, it has morphed into a competition to be the best in only one or two areas. Your GPA or test scores do not define you. In the words of Ms. Blount, “be your best self and be authentic to who you are as a person. That will set you up for success and happiness!”

Behind the Scenes: Teachers

DrakeMackley, Staff Reporter

Fifty-five million students wake up every weekday morning and grudgingly brush their teeth, take a shower and go to school, but how many people stop to think of the 3.1 million American teachers that wake up over two hours earlier than students in order to complete their morning routine and commute to their job? Teachers are responsible for the future generations of the world and are too often taken for granted. It takes courage to perform on a stage or present a business proposal, but to be at the top of your game every weekday for thirty people seven hours a day, is truly an extreme feat and is accomplished by millions of teachers worldwide. Do these teachers have superpowers or other unexplained factors that enable them to be so extraordinary? What makes these people more impressive to me than a fortune 500 CEO? One of Chattahoochee newcomer teachers, Olivia Doochin, allowed me a glimpse into the madness that is a teacher’s schedule.

To put an end to my childhood suspicion that all teachers are superheroes, Ms. Doochin (soon to be Mrs. Heller in January 2017) explains that she grew up in a suburban household like Chattahoochee students and had normal, non-superhuman, parents. In fact, Ms. Doochin didn’t realize she wanted to be a teacher until she was a sophomore in college, when she student-taught a high school class. While student teaching, Ms. Doochin realized that this was her dream job and was ready to take on the responsibilities of being a full teacher. Shortly after finishing her university studies, Ms. Doochin took her first teaching job at Chattahoochee High School in Johns Creek, GA. From teaching stuffed animals as a child to teaching history at one of the top schools in Georgia, Ms. Doochin has all the qualities that a high school teacher would need in order to handle a stressful job. Along with many of Chattahoochee’s fabulous teachers, Ms. Doochin is extremely respectful towards her students, calm in the face of complication and never fails to keep the classroom full of energy. As students we spend every day with the best public school teachers in the nation, yet many students may not realize how much work teachers do outside of the classroom. In an interview, Ms. Doochin stated, “from 6:30 [a.m.] to my planning period at 2:30, I’m constantly doing something and when I get home I’ll work another forty-five minutes to an hour” she elaborated to reveal that her weekends were often spent planning for upcoming classes. I’m not a picture-perfect student, but if I had to spend my precious weekends studying I’d go crazy, so I respect the dedication that Chattahoochee teachers have for their job.

Why would anyone want to commit themselves to an extremely busy schedule with crazy kids? When asked what makes teaching so great to her, Ms. Doochin replied that the Chattahoochee faculty makes this school the best working environment for a teacher through its helpful and courteous employees and relaxing events such as the Chili Cook-Off. Although she did not experience this last year because it was her first year teaching, students have returned to see Ms. Doochin and have shared the current happenings in their lives and their plans to go to college. Ms. Doochin shares that “knowing I helped influence, even in a small way, the lives of my students makes this job so rewarding.” I encourage students to revisit their teachers and share what’s going on in their lives, as well as, thank their teachers for all the hard work that is done behind the scenes.