Typhoon Haiyan: What one Chattahoochee student is doing to help


On Nov. 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan landed in the Philippines, claiming the lives of over 4,000 people. It is said to be the most power tropical cyclone to ever make landfall. With wind speed as high as 195 miles per hour, everything in the typhoon’s path was destroyed. As aid arrives, the world is getting more glimpses of the horrors and destruction Typhoon Haiyan created, and it is predicted that the body count will soon rise as helpers discover more bodies among the debris.

The Philippines is receiving aid from all over the world, whether it is in the form of money, personnel or resources. Unfortunately, rescuers have been having difficulty distributing food, water and medical supplies throughout the Philippines due to the widespread destruction that made roads impassable, cut electricity, left government buildings in shambles and forced 600,000 people to be homeless.

With hospitals in ruins, schools and airports now function as the hospitals. There are very few doctors, nurses and medical kits, but the number of injured people has been skyrocketing. Mothers who were or are about to be in labor risk their child’s life, for the hospital does not have the emergency supplies necessary to deal with the complications of birth. Those who did not die in the storm are suffering from diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, malaria, dengue fever, typhoid fever and bacterial dysentery because of the collapse in sanitation, lack of fresh water and the inability of the health teams to respond quickly.

Tacloban, the city in the Philippines that is said to have been hit the hardest, is now a wasteland. Currently, President Benigno Aquino III is in Tacloban to ensure that the city’s residents get more aid, an effort he personally made after receiving several complaints that survivors were not getting the proper help.

The Philippines is also running low on fuel, making it difficult for the few remaining trucks to distribute food and water. With resources becoming scarcer, violence has increased throughout the towns that were affected. Rioting, looting and stealing are now common on the streets of the hardest-hit cities, and already eight people have been crushed to death in an attempt to obtain rice from a government warehouse.

The people of the Philippines are waiting for the aid the world has to offer. Luckily, no Chattahoochee students’ family members were lost during this typhoon, but Arielle Perez (SR), a Filipino native from Manila, is organizing a way for Johns Creek to help out the victims of the typhoon. On her own family’s dime, she has ordered 1,000 bracelets to sell to Chattahoochee students. All of the proceeds will go directly to the Atlanta Red Cross Chapter’s rescue and relief efforts of the typhoon victims. When asked about why she started the fundraiser, she responded, “It’s in my nature to always help out those in need, and when I heard about the devastation in the Philippines, I decided to find a way to raise money since I knew I couldn’t physically be there and help out.” Perez plans to begin selling the bracelets the week after Thanksgiving break, so make sure to bring some money to spare for a good cause.

(cover photo courtesy New York Daily News)

The Monthly Update- October 2013


With so many events crying for attention, it is often hard to keep everything in order. These are the top stories that gripped headlines over the course of this month.

First Student Gallery Show Premieres in Gallery 5230:

Senior Trevor Weigle held his first solo art show in Chattahoochee’s Gallery 5230 on Oct. 31. The showcase lasted for two hours as people from around the community gathered for the event. His concentration was centered on native cultures and their contrast with western belief. Weigle’s gallery opening is leading the way for a number of gallery showings from students such as senior Caitlyn Woodhead in December and senior Hope Limyansky in January.

Chattahoochee Football Hosts Annual Taste of Johns Creek

(courtesy Taste of JC)
Over forty vendors cater to over five hundred students, teachers and food enthusiasts from around the area during the sixth annual Taste of Johns Creek.(courtesy Taste of JC)

On Oct. 6, over forty vendors catered to over five hundred students, teachers and food enthusiasts from around the area during the sixth annual Taste of Johns Creek. The three‒hour event is the biggest fundraiser for the football program. In addition to the restaurants, the event also had live entertainment, visual arts and a dunk tank with an array of Chattahoochee staff.

Hooch Teams Capture Area Titles:

(courtesy Johns Creek Patch)
The Varsity Boys Lacrosse team won the LB3 High School League Championship game over Johns Creek on Oct. 27. (courtesy Johns Creek Patch)

The Varsity Boys Lacrosse team won the LB3 High School League Championship game over Johns Creek on Oct. 27. After winning an area title earlier this month, the Varsity Volleyball team won the semi-finals against Johns Creek on Oct. 30. The team became the state runner-up after a tough game against Walton for the GHSA Volleyball State Championship title at Marietta High School.

(cover photo courtesy Johns Creek Patch)

What you should be listening to

Music serves as a bridge for people to cross into a more relaxed state; for students, this bridge is essential to maintain sanity in a world where hours of homework need to be completed daily. After a month or two, when all of the current albums have been played out, the list will be reviewed and updated. This list, along with many to come, will have the purpose of exposing fellow pupils to new types of music on top of ones they are comfortable with. While each student has their own unique taste in music, provided below is a small featurette of each main genre’s new releases. If you’re anything like me, most of these selections will be ones you are only able to find deep within YouTube, iTunes and the Play Store.

(Artist, Album Name)

Alternative/Indie – Capital Cities, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery; San Cisco, San Cisco; Toro Y Moi, Anything In Return; Washed Out, Paracosm; Vampire Weekend, Holy Ghost!; Passion Pit, Miniature Tigers, Haim and my personal flavor of the month—Snakadaktal.

Country – Lady Antebellum, Golden; Luke Bryan, Crash My Party; Keith Urban and my current favorite—Rosco Bandana. Since I am the least exposed to this genre, these first picks may seem obvious to those who listen to country artists regularly.

Dance/Electronic – Daft Punk, Random Access Memories; Calvin Harris, 18 Months; Disclosure, Settle; Empire of the Sun, Ice On The Dune; Deadmau5, Ratatat and !!! are absolute musts. On top of these artists, Pet Shop Boys, Avicii, Zedd, Icona Pop, Skrillex and M83 are also worthy of a spot on the list.

Hip-Hop/Rap – Kanye West, Yeezus; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist; and Jay-Z, Magna Carta… Holy Grail are currently the biggest rap artists. Others who have recently released albums include Wale, J. Cole, A$AP Ferg and Gucci Mane.

Jazz – I have one artist for my jazz category and that is Moon Hooch, Moon Hooch. Their arsenal includes two different saxophones and a drumset and nothing else.

Rock – Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork; Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks; Five Finger Death Punch, The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell; and Franz Ferdinand are all artists who have released an album this year or are soon to do so.

Pop – Lorde, The Love Club; and singles by Katy Perry, “Roar”; Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop”; and Lady Gaga, “Applause.” All of these selected artists are no new faces to the pop scene except for Lorde, but the 16-year-old is showing that she’s a force to be reckoned with.


(cover photo courtesy YouTube)

The Monthly Update- September 2013


With so many events crying for attention, it is often hard to keep everything in order. These are the top stories that gripped headlines over the course of this month.

Chattahoochee Students Capture Headlines:

The CHS academic team won first place with a perfect 10-0 record at the 20th Ezell Harding tournament on Sept. 14. The tournament hosted 53 teams from across the southeast. The Chattahoochee’s team was composed of James Tang (SR), Julia Tallant (SR), Nirav Illango (JR), Amith Punyala (JR) and Sahrudh Daranendra (JR). In addition, senior Rachel Smith became one of only eighty members of the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony; she is first chair in the clarinet section as well as concertmaster.

(courtesy Run Georgia)
(courtesy Run Georgia)

Johns Creek Hosts Dream Mile:

Johns Creek hosted the Vibha Dream Mile for the second year. The 5K/10K run was held on Sept. 21. Over 1,800 people attended the event aimed at raising money for underprivileged kids in India. Student volunteers from local schools volunteered to hand out water and snacks as well as motivate runners and help them navigate trails.

(courtesy SB Nation)
Groundbreaking on the new stadium is set to start April 2014 and completed three years later in March 2017. (courtesy SB Nation)

New Falcons Stadium Underway:

After reaching a deal with the Friendship Baptist Church and the Mount Vernon Baptist Church, the Falcons’ move to a create a new stadium is officially underway. The Falcons organization must provide an official notice to the Georgia World Congress Center by Oct. 1, and have a preliminary blueprint by Oct. 31. Groundbreaking is expected to start in April 2014, with the stadium to be completed three years later in March 2017. The kickoff of the new stadium is expected to be Fall 2017. Click here for more information.

(cover photo courtesy Atlanta Falcons)

Self-diagnosing mental illnesses: annoying cries of attention?


Mental illnesses.

These two words hold so much meaning and can inflict an array of various emotions in different people. In today’s teenage generation, these two words ring loud and clear, like a series of bells that never seem to shut off. Mental illnesses, such as depression, OCD, anxiety, anorexia, bipolar disorder, and so many more have had a dramatic spike in numbers of diagnoses in the last ten years, according to the Journal of Public Health. Unfortunately, more than half of these cases are teenagers. In school, teachers and instructors teach you about anorexia, bullying and suicides—but not really. They cover the basics but never go farther than that, because they simply don’t see the reality of what happens inside a teen’s mind as he or she lives through a day. Because teachers inform us about them, we must surely have an idea of what they are, right? Let’s check with a little quiz. If you are sad, you are depressed. If you don’t eat, you are anorexic. If you obsess over having your room clean, you have OCD. If you stress out a lot you have anxiety. Those are all accurate, right? Wrong. It’s simple assumptions like these that have started a new craze: self-diagnosis.

People, especially teens, have begun to make themselves susceptible to mental illnesses simply because of what they have heard or assume. They exaggerate their emotions into something that is much bigger than they think, twisting them and wringing them out like a wet cloth. Most teenagers don’t understand, however, that mental illnesses are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which you are born with; it is inevitable. Life is stressful and hard, no doubt. You may be sad, lonely, or scared, but that doesn’t mean you have a disease in your brain you can’t control. Those who struggle with these illnesses undergo serious problems, and none are easy. The illnesses consume them, feed off their emotions like a parasite, and stop them from living normal, happy lives. Why would you want this to be your life? Why would you label yourself like that, purposely?

One pattern I have noticed is that recently, teens self-diagnose themselves in order to make them look “special,” or “unique.” Depression especially has been glorified, and teens need to realize that these types of illnesses are in no way, shape, or form “cool” or make you “interesting.” Having a mental illness is not glamorous, but life-ruining and unfair. “Self-diagnosing or classifying certain traits as disorders degrades the individuals who are truly affected. There are hundreds of thousands of people that actually have those illnesses, and then there are the kids claiming to have them just for attention. It’s seriously unfair and a shame,” says anonymous. People self-diagnose because they have a range of unexplained symptoms, and are scared and confused by what they could mean. If you are in a situation where you can’t get treatment, obsessing over the fact you think you have a certain diagnosis, telling everyone you know about your “disorder,” and over analyzing every possible symptom does you more harm than good. One thing people don’t seem to understand is that you don’t need a mental illness to make your problems more valid.

Others, however, think diagnosing yourself with an illness is helpful and can get you started in a good direction. Aly, a high school student in North Carolina, blogged that “I believe self-diagnosis can be a healthy starting point. If a teen thinks something is seriously wrong with him or her, self-diagnosing can be the easiest way to answers.” Once you have this idea, however, it is important to follow up with medical treatment. Another teen also feels strongly against the hatred of self-diagnosis. “Let’s put it this way,” she says, “if you were cutting yourself and having suicidal thoughts, would you just sit there and pretend like nothing’s wrong until you’ve killed yourself because you didn’t believe you might have had depression? You have to self-diagnose at some point to even think about going into some form of formal diagnosis.”

While this is true, there are still those who use it for attention. You don’t want to give people the wrong idea about you if you’re perfectly healthy. If you are seriously and undoubtedly struggling with anxiety, moderate to severe depression, anorexia, or any other disorder, please see a doctor. It does no good to try and live with them when it could be so much better. To those who think it’s a joke or “cool,” it is very offensive to all who are fighting not to have those labels while you are fighting so hard to have them.


(cover photo courtesy journal-online.co.uk)

Junior Lot creates reign of terror and chaos


The Junior Lot: the place where the greatest drivers convene daily and show off their skills and mastery of the road. In my opinion, the lot should be renamed to “The Most Serene Place on Chattahoochee’s Campus, The Crown Jewel of the Cougars.”

With all the students trying to leave at one time, it is absolutely astounding as to how many individuals patiently walk at a moderate pace to their cars. As many of these students go to their cars, they buckle their seat belts, check that their mirrors are tilted at just the perfect angle, start the engine, slowly back out of their parking spot and form a neat line to exit the parking lot. Since I walk home daily, I go through the lot and can testify that there is not a single honking of the horn, cutting off of other vehicles or screaming from other sane human beings.


When students actually hear the words “Junior Lot,” the first words that come to mind are “chaotic,” “hell” and “an overbearing sense of doom.” Some have even shamelessly admitted that before they cross the parking lot, they text their mothers, “Crossing the Junior Lot…Just know that I love you, and that it was me who ran over your flowers…Sorry.”

The Junior Lot is the site of World War Three. I think that I am going to need to see a psychiatrist for my developing phobia of dying due to some reckless driver after having to cross through all that terrain and cross-fire. Hardly anyone looks before backing out of their parking spots, nor does anyone pay much attention to the walkers.  They always assume that they are the kings and queens of the road and that walkers will stop for them.

Before I walk home, my friends always tell me, “Try to get out alive!” At first, I took their warning lightly, but after multiple incidents of almost getting hit and observing a three-car fender bender, I became worried about my ability to come home all in one piece. The amount of times where I was almost hit by a car is just too high.

Last week, when I was crossing the street, a Jeep exiting the Junior Lot was speeding through and drove onto the sidewalk that I was walking on. I was only inches away from dying such a tragic death!

A piece of advice for those walking through the parking lot: do not listen to music or be on your phone. You will not pay enough attention to the cars around you, and you will get hit.

It is understandable that students want to beat the traffic and not sit on Taylor Road for 40 minutes, but drivers should consider how dangerous and risky it is to rush out of the parking lot the way they do now. The repercussions of hitting another car (or worse, another student) will remain with you for the rest of your life.

Actually, it is more inefficient if students try to exit as quickly as they can because there is no procedure to get out, making it more likely for accidents to happen. If drivers remained patient, got in line in an orderly fashion to exit and stopped speeding through the lot to cut the line, the Junior Lot would no longer have this problem. Why can’t we be civilized drivers?

What do you all think about the Junior Lot? Do you agree that students should drive better when they leave the lot? Comment and tell us your opinion!


(cover photo courtesy Nate Harris)


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