Sandia Prep Times Newspaper

 

 

 

 

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Newspaper Seniors Bid Farewell

 

Destiny Archibald

 

One thing I’ve come to realize in my four years on the staff is how close everyone became throughout the years. When I first joined Newspaper as a freshman, I did not know anyone in the class. I just knew I had an interest in journalism. The older students helped me through my first couple of weeks and I felt accepted from the start. From growing closer with Ms. Goessl, to procrastinating with Andrew, Gus and Sam, the Newspaper and now Media Production classes brought some of my favorite memories throughout my high school years at Prep. If I was having a bad day at school, I could look forward to walking into this class and expect to get in at least a couple of laughs before the day ended, which I really appreciated.

Unfortunately, with Covid this year and all of its restrictions, I feel like I wasn’t able to get the full experience of being editor-in-chief. I wasn’t judged for my bad handwriting on the board during brainstorming, like past editors, or put in charge of fun competitions, like building a gingerbread house. But, at the end of the day, I’ve enjoyed my time in the class.

Onto Prep overall: I am a new person now than I was when I first walked in in sixth grade. I’ve grown so much as a person that I can confidently say I’m ready to take on the world, one step at a time. From starting a Black Student Union here at Prep to being a five-year varsity basketball letterman, I can confidently say my time here has been well spent. 

I’m leaving for D.C. in August to begin a new chapter in my life, where it will once again feel like the first day of sixth grade. When I think about high school and how each memory and experience shaped me into the senior I am today, I know I will be okay when I leave Albuquerque and Prep, both of which have been the only places I have called home for so many years. It’s time for me to spread my wings and explore how much the world has to give.

 

Sam Henderson

 

            I joined Newspaper as a junior because I needed a DMC credit, and I got a couple of buddies to take it with me. The class quickly became one of my favorites I have taken in all of my time at Prep. I became a far better writer during my two years on the staff, and I learned how to set up and conduct an interview professionally. I learned how to lean back in my chair and not fall because if I did I would lose all of my brain power. Newspaper was the perfect balance of fun and getting work done, and that made me look forward to the class every day.

I was able to write about who made the best chicken sandwich or about my favorite sports team. Newspaper shined a light on a side of writing that I never did, which was writing about what I was interested in and letting me put my own spin on a story. There was never a dull moment in the classroom, from the final countdown to finish our gingerbread houses to Gus and Andrew wrestling by the green screen. I would recommend this class to anyone who is considering it because it has been a blast for my last two years of high school.

 

Shy Shipley

 

When I first became part of the Prep community, I was a very “shy” person. I even got told by one of my teachers that I lived up to my name, “Shy.”

For a while I chose to really live by that opinion, but as I got more comfortable at Prep, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and join activities. I realized I was more than my name, and Prep helped me get to the point in my life where I’m not afraid to speak my mind. Through the newspaper, Mock Trial, La Chispa, and volleyball, I was able to become my own person. 

            Without the Prep community, my life goals, dreams, and hopes wouldn’t be as big and astonishing as they are now.

            If it wasn’t for my Aunt Londa constantly telling my mom that my sister and I should be going to Prep, I wouldn’t be here right now. My aunt has pushed me to be the person I am today, through her love of learning, reading, and the dream of me having a good life. Thanks, Londa, for pushing me to be better and greater.

            Prep has given me every lesson and every opportunity to achieve greatness, and I hope I will. Thank you to everyone in my life for helping me come all this way and for pushing me to keep going.

 

Andrew Shoaff

 

To my readers and fans, students and faculty, I want to take this opportunity to thank you. My time with the Sandia Prep Times has been great--from writing small stories to being the writer of my own column, which turned into a successful senior project. This class has given me many opportunities that could not have been possible without it. So thank you to all the readers of the Sandia Prep Times. This is Andrew Eats signing off.

P.S. If you haven’t read the last Andrew Eats article, go read it.

 

Gus Walker

 

My time on the newspaper staff has been the most fun I can ask for. I have so many memories from the past two years that I can’t even count them. Stressing about deadlines, having a gingerbread house making competition, seeing the new edition of the Sandia Prep Times, I’ll never forget it. Thank you to Ms. Goessl for making the class super enjoyable and teaching me how to become a better writer, editor, and classmate.

Newspaper class was the birth to the legendary Andrew Eats. Andrew Shoaff, Sam Henderson and I would like to thank all the people who made Andrew Eats possible. Andrew Eats was a great bonus to an already fun class.

I am sad my time on the Sandia Prep Times is over, but I am also thankful for the fond memories. Even throughout the pandemic, I always looked forward to Newspaper class. It was always a cheerful community and it lifted my attitude every single day.

 

 

 

 


Students Weigh In about Online Learning

 

By Tyanna Shipley

Staff Writer

 

As the school year comes to an end, students who chose to completely stay online during this turbulent year report different educational experiences.

Freshman Mila Lensi said it wasn’t her choice to stay home but her “mom’s opinion about being in person or not towers over” hers. Lensi described her virtual learning experience as “very different from actually being in person at school” and it being “harder to pay attention in class to what the teachers are saying.”

Lensi said her biggest problems with online school are not having “anyone to talk to or even look at because we’re not forced to turn our cameras on. … The homework is much harder because I can’t easily do things like asking for help. And it’s especially hard to not only listen and pay attention in class but to actually obtain the information.”

            As an online student, Lensi said she missed out on hanging out with friends and on school activities.

“The whole school experience this year has been so different,” she said. “It seems like I’ve missed out on a whole year of my life at school, not to be too dramatic”

            Other students have felt the same, including eighth-grader Willam Butcher, who stayed home because he is immuno-compromised. One difference Butcher has picked up on is the increased use of technology--not that he is complaining.

Butcher said he “didn’t find the risk worth it for eighth grade to go in person,” but now that the vaccine is available for kids, he hopes to get it so he can go back in person for his freshman year.

            Freshman Grace Creagan has had a slightly different experience. She has loved online school, but was concerned about the workload, which “feels heavier due to the fact that I am doing school work during the day at home.”

 Motivation has been another issue, but she’s “ learned that I have to push myself because no one else is constantly there, unlike the school environment.”

Creagan also feels that she missed out on some social aspects of school, but said that online learning allows more freedom to “do things independent of school, like traveling.”

“It has helped me in the sense of learning how to stay caught up in work and also being able to learn with distractions,” she said.


OLP Back Up and Running

 

By Jack Bilan

Staff Writer

 

For over a year, Prep’s Outdoor Leadership Program has paused all overnight trips for students and faculty, instead focusing on day trips and other activities such as mountain biking.

After a long wait, the OLP planned two overnight trips for this spring. The first trip was planned for the eighth grade, which has an infamous streak of bad luck surrounding class trips since they started at Prep. Due to weather, their sixth-grade Sand Dunes trip was canceled and, more recently, the pandemic forced a cancellation of their trip to El Malpais.

The OLP staff has decided to bring the eighth grade to Sand Dunes in hopes of letting them develop the memories that most students got to experience in their first year of middle school.

The second trip, to Navajo Lake, is for seniors--an annual kayak trip that every senior class can go on.

Amid the pandemic, it has been hard for the OLP staff to prepare for students to go on overnight trips. On any normal OLP trip, students sleep in tents with partners. This year, however, that has completely changed.

“Everyone was masked at all times, except when sleeping in their own individual tent,” said Joelle Shaw, an OLP faculty sponsor and a science teacher. “No one had tent partners this year.”

Students report that one of the best parts of OLP trips is learning to cook for a group without everyday kitchen supplies, but that duty has changed this year as well. Helen Haskell, a science teacher and OLP staff member who went on the kayak trip, said only she and OLP co-director Paul Ryder did the cooking this year.

With safety precautions in place, how are students feeling about returning to outdoor adventures?

“I'm not particularly worried about the trip,” senior Luke Bemish said. “Part of this is that we will be taking precautions against Covid-19, but the OLP staff has also already had one successful trip during the pandemic.”

Senior Charlotte Clark-Slakey said, “most years I only go on about four trips and a couple activity periods each month. This year, they've offered way more short, once-a-week activities (hiking, rock climbing, etc). The faculty has done a fantastic job making these activities available (and safe) -- even during the fall when pretty much everything else was shut down.”


With Lil Nas X, Controversy Abounds

 

By Jack Bilan

Staff Writer

 

Rapper Montero Lamar Hill, better known as Lil Nas X, has stirred up controversy, prompting people to both defend him and vilify him.

The drama started after he released his music video for the single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” named first after himself and second after the 2017 film by director Luca Guadanigno. The music video contains biblical imagery along with lyrics pertaining to his personal experience with coming out as gay.

Many groups have expressed outrage over the music video topics, including a symbolic depiction of the rapper descending into hell, killing Satan and taking his horns. Others are coming to his defense.

“The expression of himself in the video makes it feel so much more fun and enjoyable to watch,” said freshman Adin Hogeland. “Most people didn’t even watch the music video and only read headlines.”

The LGBTQ community defended Lil Nas through the release of his music video, stating that the imagery reclaims the narrative that gay people go to hell. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who now serves as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, tweeted in support of the rapper, calling him a “groundbreaking musician.”

On the other hand, Christian conservatives and a few public officials are among the loudest voices speaking out against Lil Nas X’s actions. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, for example, brought her criticisms to Twitter, as did political commentator Candace Owens. Both Noem and Owens took issue with sneakers that the rapper designed and promoted.

Lil Nas X collaborated with brand MSCHF to design his “Satan Shoes,” which have gained just as much traction as his music video. This collaboration caught the eye of many, even Nike. The popular shoe company has denounced the sneakers, which mimic its Nike Air Max 97 shoes, including the “Nike swoosh.” The shoe giant assured people that Nike doesn’t want anything to do with MSCHF or Lil Nas X.

“The one thing about the shoes that put me off a little is how he used Nike shoes with the logos on, while Nikes wasn’t ever involved,” Hogeland continued. The situation escalated after Nike sued MSCHF for the collaboration. Now, the shoes have been put on a voluntary recall, in the hopes that original buyers will stop selling them. “I don't mind the shoe collaboration, though I don't really think it's that exciting of a shoe to begin with,” said Austin Davidson, a Prep graduate who now is a substitute teacher at the school. It was strange how quickly Nike pushed to sue him.”

Specific aspects of the shoes--like the drop of human blood inside the sole--have angered many people. MSCHF has stated that the blood is from brand employees, and has also been mixed with red ink for effect.

Now that the news has circulated, how has Lil Nas X’s reputation among young people changed?

“My opinion hasn’t changed at all,” Hogeland said. “I loved him before and I love him still. His music, while not being directly about LGBTQ+ rights, helps give queer people the confidence to express themselves.”


Andrew Eats: It’s Taco Time!

 

By Andrew Shoaff

Staff Writer

 

Taco Tuesday! No matter where you’re from, anywhere in the world, you have probably had a taco or a recreation of one.

Nowadays, there are so many forms of tacos that you could have them for any meal of the day. With the popularity of this traditionally Mexican dish rising, many restaurants have adopted some form of this iconic street food.

 In Albuquerque over the years, places have opened up to offer their takes on a taco. For this segment of “Andrew Eats,” I went to five different restaurants and sampled their tacos. To keep it simple, I ordered a regular beef taco with their house salsa on the side.

First I went to two common fast food places in Albuquerque, both of which have “taco” in their names: Taco Bell and Taco Cabana.

At Taco Bell, the taco was very fast-food-like, with little meat and a lot of shell. However, the meat was seasoned nicely and offered a lot of flavor. They had different levels of salsa, so I chose the one in the middle, which was reminiscent of hot sauce. Overall, it was good for a fast food restaurant, and it was pretty cheap at only about a dollar a taco.

 My next stop was Taco Cabana, with its multiple locations around Albuquerque and its popularity among teenagers. They offer breakfast tacos as well as traditional tacos, along with an array of Mexican meals. The flavor of their shredded beef taco was passable but not extraordinary. The meat was a bit dry, but once I added salsa, it improved dramatically. The meat-to-shell ratio was good, and it had plenty of traditional toppings (cheese, lettuce, tomatoes). The salsa was OK, but it would have benefitted from a little more spice.

After the fast food places, I wanted to try a few local shops.

First on my list was Rusty Taco, located in the northeast corner of Coronado Mall. This place is orientated around street tacos, but they still offer a regular beef option. This taco featured shredded beef on a flour, soft shell tortilla. The meat was OK, but it tasted kind of bland. The same story goes for the tortilla--kind of dry, and even though it was a soft shell, it was crunchy. I personally didn’t enjoy my taco at Rusty Taco, but I would like to go back and try their other street-themed tacos.

 Next, I hit the popular local restaurant called Monroe’s. I have been going there for years, but I have never tried their tacos. Monroe’s version contained ground beef, and it bursts with flavor. The shell was nothing special, but it did soak up a lot of grease from the meat. Overall, this taco was yummy but messy.

The last place I tried was a hole-in-the-wall spot near my house called Papa Nacho. And let me tell you, this truly was the best. The taco was loaded with juicy, flavorful meat, with a perfect shell-to-meat ratio. It was hands down the best taco I have ever eaten.

While Monroe’s came in a distant second, my top pick for this edition goes to Papa Nacho on Louisiana between Paseo and San Antonio. If you get a chance, try their tacos. You won’t regret it.   

 


Misinformation a Threat to Democracy

 

By Abby Hanosh

Staff Writer

 

            In March of 2016, a conspiracy theory arose claiming that NASA had confirmed that Nibiru, an undiscovered planet in the solar system, was locked on a direct course to collide with Earth. Many people feared the end of the world, and some even purchased high-security bunkers deep underground.

However, March came and went with no sign of planetary disaster. So did April. Now, five years have passed and Nibiru has yet to show itself. While most people did not believe this conspiracy, there were many who did.

This is one of several instances in which misinformation has led to public fear and even chaos.

Tom Gentry-Funk, a history teacher and leader of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Prep, said misinformation comes from propaganda.

“The idea (is) that you want someone to do something that they wouldn’t normally do,” he said. “You’re trying to get them to think a certain way, to act a certain way so that you can elicit some kind of response, whatever that response is.”

With a rise in use of unregulated social media and increased access to public platforms over the past few years, misinformation has spread faster and wider than ever.

Amanda Parker, a history teacher and sponsor of Empower Prep, said social media is a popular way to spread misinformation because it is instant.

“I think during the pandemic, many, many people are very isolated, obviously, and people started to access it more and more and more because it felt like a connection,” she said. “There’s reasons behind all these different emotions that are coming out on a public platform, but we have to figure out a way within a factual basis to start solving these problems and unifying. The truth can be unifying because as you pick it apart, everybody can start to take responsibility for their piece.”

She also stated that social media allows people to create “group-think” around an idea.

 “It gives people a platform to say what they want to say, find the same people who believe it, and then feel a group investment in that,” Parker said.

In order to prevent the spread of misinformation, she believes that regulating information on social media should be looked at.

“Commentary is under freedom of speech, and that’s fine,” Parker said. “What is really concerning to me is that we have folks who believe they’re getting news when they are in fact receiving entertainment full of misinformation. … And it’s almost like you can’t blame people for believing things that aren’t true because that is what they have been fed on a 24-hour supposed ‘news cycle’ for years at this point.”

Gentry-Funk said one way to regulate information is through non-profit organizations.

“Ultimately, in the United States, we don’t have a lot of laws or agencies or groups of people who will analyze the information in real time so that you can make a decision about whether something is misinformation or not,” he said. “There are some nonprofit organizations that will help identify misinformation.”

These nonprofit groups can be found all over the country and try to evaluate information that is broadcast, he said, adding that “ultimately … it comes down to the individual, in the United States especially.”

However, according to the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” it can be extremely difficult for individuals to discern true from false on social media, especially if they fall into a rabbithole--a complex metaphorical hole that leads to problems and confusion. Basically, as people are fed the same kind of information and stories over and over again, they eventually cannot tell the difference between truth and falsehoods.

Bill Slakey, an English teacher and a former city editor for The Albuquerque Tribune, shared some of the strategies he uses to spot misinformation.

“When there’s a pretty strong consensus (around a topic) and something is an outlier, then I’m going to look at it closely,” he said. “Then, I’m going to consider the sources of the information and ask myself ‘Do they have a reason to be biased?’ And if I think they do, then I have to look at it even more closely.

“So then, maybe I have to start going into the details of ‘What is the consensus based on?’ and ‘What is this based on?’” he said. “And I’m particularly confident in consensus when it’s different kinds of people who are saying the same thing.”

Slakey pointed out the conspiracy theory that the recent presidential election was a fraud to show how he discerns what is true.

“When you had election officials, who are one branch of government, saying ‘We have no reason to think there was any fraud,’ and then when you have people filing lawsuits and presenting their evidence to judges, which is a different brand of government, and all of the judges are saying ‘This suit has no basis’... that is a consensus that I feel really solid about,” Slakey said.

Despite no evidence of fraud, the idea that the election was stolen, fueled by former President Trump voters and QAnon supporters, is a very recent piece of widespread misinformation. This belief eventually led to an attack on the Capitol, in an attempt to “take back” the election for Trump. As a result, five people died, including one Capitol police officer, with two other officers committing suicide.
            From that, more misinformation spread, leading to outright denial of things that were caught on film.

Parker said she gets especially concerned when an event is recorded, and when people can look up whether something is true or not, yet “that truth becomes debatable.”

“If you look at before the insurrection, you see a speech by the president who says ‘Let’s march to the Capitol,’” she said. “Then, shortly after, during the insurrection, you see him talking about ‘I love you, you’re patriots, please go home but thank you.’”

Then, Parker said, the president denied any association with the insurrection.

“But the third one is somehow supposed to erase the first one,” she said, “and what we’ve been seeing over the last few years is being able to watch a film but then pretend as though it didn’t happen and then denial ... of what did happen in the media in certain areas.”

Distrust in the media, including reliable news sources, has increased since misinformation has spread. In fact, some of the false rumors that are circulating directly attack professional journalists, claiming they are spreading “fake news.”

Slakey said the distinction between factual reporting and opinion has blurred since the use of social media.

“I think social media really doesn’t make that distinction at all,” he said. “If I look at something on social media, it all kind of looks the same whether it’s factual or whether it’s opinion.”

Slakey said the notion of a professional reporter has all but been eradicated.

In the old days, he said, people knew the newspaper stories they read were written by journalists who could lose their jobs if the information they reported was not accurate.

 “Not only was it written by somebody who that was their job, then it was reviewed by a number of editors, who that was their job--to make sure that it was solidly factual, and if that got messed up, then they could lose their job,” he said. “There were these many many layers of verification that went into every news story.”

Slakey said he believes social media has changed that.

“Much of what people read on social media doesn’t go through the same kind of verification process,” he said, “So because people don’t really see that distinction, I think they have begun to not trust anything.”

Slakey also said that because trust in journalism has eroded, many people prefer to trust those who have similar views rather than those whose job is to get the right information.

He said it’s easy for people to believe something is fake when they want it to be fake.

“It makes people trust one another based on what they already believe,” Slakey said. “So I trust people who think like me instead of saying, ‘I trust these people because I know they do the work of journalism properly.’”

Slakey referenced a quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a former U.S. senator from New York: “You are entitled to your own opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Parker discussed the danger of misinformation on a larger scale, noting how fragile democracy is right now.

“We know that we can elect people who don’t believe in it,” she said. “But I think the danger is that there are very many people that believe something that is just false. And what are we going to do about that?”


Conference an Unforgettable Experience

By Destiny Archibald

Staff Writer

 

            Representing Sandia Prep at the 2020 Student Diversity Leadership Conference was an unforgettable experience. From the people I met to the in-depth conversations, it was an eye-opening event.

            More than 2,000 students from schools across the country attend SDLC each year. From the moment I logged into the conference, there was an immediate feeling of acceptance, even if I had never met these people before.

In one of the first activities, called “Silent Movement,” I was one of 700 students in a Zoom room and we were not allowed to speak. Instead, each participant turned on the Zoom feature where only those with their cameras on would be shown on screen. The group leaders then began asking personal questions. If you could identify with the statement asked, you would turn your camera on to be seen by the rest of the group. The questions ranged from age, ethnicity, place of birth, family situations, sexual orientation and even your income at home.

I was overwhelmed with how uncomfortable it was to answer some of the questions. I believe this was because I am accustomed to being around the same people at Prep for close to seven years, and what appeared to be “the typical way of living.” However, during that experience I saw how different each student attending the conference really was.

            My favorite activity of each day occurred during affinity groups, where each participant signed up to attend the conference with others who had similar experiences. I chose to attend the Black and African American Affinity group, since this is what I identify as.

From the beginning of the conference, the leaders made it clear that throughout the week, we should speak from the “I perspective,” meaning if participants could not personally identify with a discussion topic, then they should not comment on the experience of another individual.

 I thought this was important because I often feel as if others often try to speak for me or even speak at me in situations that did not personally happen to them, especially at Prep. During the Black and African American group, I was in the same meeting with 600 other students who all looked like I do. Throughout my years at Prep, this has never happened before. It was in this group that I was able to speak freely about my experiences that for so many years I had stayed silent about. I was also able to meet a group of friends I still talk to today.

            Being in a group of 600-750 others often felt overwhelming, which is where I felt the “family groups” were beneficial. I was in a group of 20 others from the conference, and each of us came from a different background. Within this group, we would discuss the events from the previous day, as well as talk about different topics, such as our school systems, sexuality, race, or family living based on our personal identities.

Being in a smaller group, while also connecting with others from different backgrounds, was eye-opening because I not only discussed my experiences but also got to learn from others. It was also within this group that I was asked questions about myself that I often ignore, such as “What mask do you wear each day at your school that you wish you could take off ?” Since attending SDLC, I have continued to think about this question, and I think I know how I would answer it. Throughout my years at Prep, I would often try to please everyone I came in contact with, even if that meant not expressing how I actually felt. However, within my last few years here, that is something I am trying to overcome.

            Apart from the serious meetings, there were also guest speakers and nights of fun activities, such as trivia, a DJ and a talent show.

Professor and writer Bettina Love also spoke on the last day of the conference. Her words have stuck with me. She discussed what it felt like to be Black and attend these institutions, and what it's like to be Black to in America. For years, Black people have been silenced and treated almost as a number or a statistic. School systems make not only Black students but all students of color feel as if they are there to be a diversity number, or to meet a quota.

Throughout middle school and high school, I would be asked to be in an advertisement for the school, and although I never said it out loud, it often feels as if the only reason I’m being asked is because I am a Black student. This may not be the intention of Sandia Prep or other schools in general, but when Love pinpointed exactly how I feel in school, it made me realize there are others like me. I should never feel like I am just a number within my school.

 

 

 


Andrew Eats: My Delectable Dream Meal

 

By Andrew Shoaff

Staff Writer

 

Do you ever get that sudden urge to eat that one special thing? Do you ever taste something at a restaurant and say to yourself, “dang, I could eat that all day.”

Well, what if you could fulfill that wish by choosing your favorite courses in a single meal? I would describe this as a dream meal--a menu composed of food that if I had one last meal on earth, this would be it.

For starters, I’ll break down each course.

Course number 1 would be drinks, because with every meal you have to have something nice to wash it down with. My drink of choice is a Nojito from The Boathouse in Orlando. You might be thinking, does he mean Mojito? The answer is no. A Nojito is a Mojito without alcohol. This drink is refreshing on a hot summer day. The fresh lime and mint flavors go perfectly with what I have chosen for my entrée (more on that a little later).

For my appetizer. I have chosen “Poutine Burqueño” from Albuquerque’s Starr Brothers Brewery. This is a New Mexican version of a classic: poutine. Instead of fries topped with gravy and cheese curds, they’re topped with red chile and cheese.

Let’s move on to the soup/salad course. For the salad, I have chosen a classic caesar salad, though I don’t have a favorite spot for it. The soup is another matter. I love the french onion soup served at Vernon’s Speakeasy in Albuquerque. There is no way to describe it other than delicious.

My choice for an entree took careful consideration because there are so many great choices. I landed on the filet mignon from Shula’s Steak House in Orlando, where they cook the steak to a tender perfection.

And after that heavy red meat, it’s nice to finish off with a light dessert. I had to choose something that came straight to my mind, and that’s a raspberry gelato that I had in a little shop in Capri, Italy. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the name of the shop. It’s not labeled on Google, and my family couldn’t recall the name, either. But believe me, it was unforgettably the best I have ever tasted.

So, that is my dream meal. As I finish off here, I ask you to consider: What is your dream meal?


Inspiration, Hope Came with Electing Harris

 

By Destiny Archibald

Staff Writer

 

            On the night of Nov. 7, 2020, I laid on my bed watching as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris gave her victory speech. For me, seeing not only a woman but also a black woman standing there was inspirational.

            As I was growing up, my dad was always honest with me, whether the subject was sports, school, or just life in general. During the election campaign, we had numerous conversations about what it meant for little girls, especially little girls of color, to be able to turn on their televisions and see a woman in power. We also talked about Harris receiving her education from Howard University, “The Real HU.” Since I was little, going to Howard has been my dream, and being able to see a woman in power who also attended HU showed me that I, too, can attend a historically Black university and be successful.

            There are often misconceptions pertaining to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that simply aren't true--one being that HBCU students receive an inferior education. Black colleges were established to give Black and African American students access to proper education, after many were denied access to predominantly White institutions (PWIs).

HBCUs became the principal means of providing postsecondary education. Consider, for example, that more than 80 percent of all Black Americans who received degrees in medicine and dentistry were trained at traditionally Black institutions--Howard University and Meharry Medical College. Black colleges and universities also awarded baccalaureate degrees to Black students in the life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics and engineering. Despite the large gap between the amount of funding PWIs and Black colleges receive, the programs are comparable and highly competitive.

            Harris is just one of the many notable graduates of an HBCU. Newly elected U.S. senator Raphael Warnock, from Georgia, graduated from Atlanta’s Morehouse College in 1991. Both Harris and Warnock are people others can look up to. Like me, other little girls sat in front of their televisions on the morning of the inauguration, watching in awe as a woman was sworn into office.

Whether or not people support Vice President Harris, what she has accomplished throughout her years to reach this point is admirable. It isn’t about what she’s done wrong, but about the fact that she brings a sense of representation to children and teens by being Black and a woman.

 


Vaccines Now Available to Young People

 

By Shy Shipley

Staff Writer

 

As Covid raged, the hope for light at the end of the tunnel diminished. Doctors and other scientists have brought back that light through the vaccine, and it’s grown even brighter now that young people can get it.

            The process of signing up for the vaccine is a confusing area to navigate, with many people waiting months after signing up and some waiting just a few weeks.

Senior Charlotte Clark-Slakey stated that “once you get your appointment date, you go to the place, stand in line, get checked in, get the shot, and finally sit in a room for 15 minutes to make sure the shot doesn't make you nauseous,” she said. “This last part is basically what happens when you get any shot.”

            Clark-Slakey said she wanted the vaccine for a couple of reasons.

 “Mostly (for) the whole herd immunity thing, and it makes me and my family and my friends safer,” she said. “It also helps with getting things reopened, and less of a chance I’d get it and pass it on to like Nora (her younger sister) or the little kids I babysit,” she said.“Especially with working and playing sports, I don’t want to carry it to someone else, and with more people getting vaccinated there’s less of a chance.”

            School nurse Lynn Jeffries offered advice about getting vaccinated.

 “I would say if people are hesitant, they should get information and recommendations from a health care provider they trust to help make the decision,” she said.

Jeffries said the major concern among hesitant people is how fast the vaccines were developed. She said funding vaccine development usually takes a very long time, but, with Covid, “that was not an obstacle, so that helped to expedite the process.”


Women’s NCAA Treatment Takes a Hit

 

By Destiny Archibald          

Staff Writer

 

Instead of the usual hype that surrounds March Madness, the 2021 college basketball tournament was filled with outrage, with players and fans taking to social media to spotlight the disparities between the way the men’s and women’s teams are treated.

Sophomore Emily Cook first heard about the incident from a Tik Tok posted by University of Oregon forward Sedona Prince. Price showed photos of the food they were served, as well as their weight room, which consisted of a single set of low-weight dumbbells. The men, on the other hand, had access to a fully stocked weight lifting facility. The video went viral on both Tik Tok and Twitter, and other players and coaches also posted about their experiences inside the bubble.

“I was astonished at how little the women got compared to the men,” Cook said. “The weight room was especially a large slap in the face to the entire female community because it emphasized the stereotype of women being weaker than men, and that they overall matter more.”

Prep alumna Austin Tackman agreed with Cook, saying she was disgusted after hearing about the different treatment.

“The fact this happened in the NCAA, which preaches equality no matter the gender of their athletes, is disheartening to say the least,” she said.

In addition to fans, the situation reached the attention of several NBA and WNBA players, who tweeted their reactions as well.

Basketball star Steph Curry retweeted Prince’s video and called out the NCAA and March Madness for how the women were treated. Natasha Cloud, a 2019 WNBA champion with the Washington Mystics, also sent out a tweet, along with the picture of the women’s weight room. She also called out the NCAA and March Madness, and followed by saying, “Don’t worry we see what and who y’all value. Title 9.”

            Title IX, which took effect in 1972, prohibits educational institutions that are federally funded from discriminating against people based on their gender. It intends to require fair opportunity for both men and women to succeed. If Title IX was followed for the March Madness tournament, it would mean both the men’s and women’s teams would receive the same treatment, including food and equipment. However, the NCAA as an organization is not subject to Title IX, although its member institutions are.

Dan Gavitt, the senior vice president of basketball at the NCAA, said the organization should do better.

"I apologize to the women's basketball student-athletes, to the coaches, to women's basketball committee for dropping the ball, frankly, on the weight room issue in San Antonio," said Gavitt, who oversees both the men’s and women’s tournaments. "I apologize and feel terrible about anything that falls short of our lofty expectations. We'll get that fixed as soon as possible."

Many people tried to justify that the food and weight rooms were different because the men’s teams bring in more fans and revenue. Although this may be true, Cook believes it is still not fair.

“Whether the revenues for men’s programs are higher, it does not cancel out the idea that there should always be equal rights in all sports, even if that means it costs a little more money,” she said.

Paanii Ashford, a senior at Cottonwood Classical Prep, believes the reason people try to justify these actions is because of history and overall gender roles.

 “Because of how women have been viewed in society, in both the past and present, they continue to be viewed as less athletic in the sports industry,” he said.

Tackman agreed.

“Systematic gender discrimination has followed women from general society onto the court and field,” she said. “People make excuses by saying that women sports don’t bring in enough revenue to be made a priority, but in reality, they are just saying they don’t want to make women a priority. I think a true fan can find the same amount of enjoyment in men’s sports as women’s sports.”

The differences between the men’s and women’s side have left an impression that change is needed. Ashford, Cook and Tackman all believe that more media coverage in women’s sports would be a good place to start.

“If I could make one change in women’s sports, it would be how much it’s publicized,” Tackman said. “If this past year's basketball tournament taught us anything, it’s that people care about more than just men’s sports.”

She noted that while people started paying more attention because of the NCAA’s treatment, “in the end it brought more attention to the women’s tournament and therefore more viewers. More viewers means more revenue, means better treatment across the board.”


Prep Athletes Back in Action

 

By Sam Henderson

Staff Writer

 

With sports an uncertainty for most of the school year, Prep athletes finally took to the fields and the courts.

Fall sports such as soccer and volleyball were delayed until spring. For months, athletes spent their evenings practicing without knowing if they would have a season.

            Pre-season practices were much different than in a normal year, with teams split into smaller pods and contact between players prohibited. These requirements had both benefits and drawbacks.

Junior volleyball player Haley Feuerheurd enjoyed the unusual preseason.

“At the beginning of the season we had to practice in smaller groups so we got more one-on-one with our coaches,” she said.

Senior  soccer captain Ellie Cook liked focusing on the fundamentals, but said “pre-season was challenging because we weren’t able to practice going in for tackles and correctly bumping people off the ball.”

            Fans were not allowed at indoor games, but they could attend outdoor sports if they stayed socially distanced. Parents and some fans could attend soccer games, but volleyball could have no fans, even for their successful state championship run.

Sophomore goalie Alex Jeffries said the smaller crowds “didn’t really affect me personally. I mainly feed off the team's energy rather than the stands.”

Feuerherd said her “main complaint would be not having our family and friends at state, especially because the Pit has such a big capacity.”

While this season was tough and erratic, Prep teams continued to perform very well.

Both boys’ soccer and the volleyball teams won the state championship, and the girls’ soccer team made the semifinals.

 


MLB Contracts Hit the Stratosphere

 

By Gus Walker

Staff Writer

 

Major League Baseball’s contracts are unlike those found in any other sport.

 In past years, the MLB has seen a boost in contract extensions, with some of the bigger contracts covering 13 years for $330 million; 12 years for $365 million; and 12 years for $430 million.

Junior Isaac Nelson has his own opinions about these contracts.

“To me it seems pretty stupid,” he said. “You never know where a player is going to be in 10-plus years.”

Compared to other major American sports, baseball’s unique, big-money contracts stand out.

“There is no salary cap (in the MLB),” said junior Estevan Ortega. “If an owner is willing to spend his own money, they can sign players for as much as they want.”

For instance, Minor League players make from $6,000 to $15,000 a year, depending on their playing level. Once a player reaches the MLB, the league minimum contract skyrockets to $570,500. Many players make above league minimum and many are signing massive contracts. Since 2019 there have been nine MLB players signing at least a 10-year, $200 million contract.

Some MLB fans think taking the risk of signing a young player to such a large contract is worth it.

“These players are bringing in so much revenue for the franchises that they can afford to pay big,” Ortega said. 

The bright new star in baseball, Fernando Tatis Jr., signed a 14-year, $340 million contract back in February. To begin the 2021 MLB season, Tatis hasn’t lived up to the expectations, and the San Diego Padres are stuck paying him his money, no matter how poorly he performs.