Jesuit Chronicle

Honoring our seniors: Shawna Muckle

Honoring+our+seniors%3A+Shawna+Muckle

Shawna served for three years on the staff of Jesuit Chronicle. She served as a writer, page editor, and Chief Editor during her time on the newspaper. She had multiple articles honored as Best of SNO and wrote about topics ranging from race relations to politics. She will attend Washington and Lee University in the fall where she will be majoring in journalism. Her favorite memory was making a podcast about the Portland Boat Show.

  • “Shawna is an inspiring writer and a great person to work with!” -Rosa Madden
  • “Shawna was never afraid to put her voice and thoughts out into the community and to the world. She is a
    fearless journalist and dedicated to her craft. She still manages to be humble and kind despite her incredible
    journalistic skills and I can’t wait to see where she goes!” -Jayla Lowery
  • “Shawna is such an amazing journalist and very smart. She always helps anyone who is struggling and is
    there for you.” -Annie Landgraf
  • “Shawna is definitely the best writer I met in high school. She consistently made enlightening, valuable
    articles about serious issues both in the Jesuit community and the world and the entire Journalism class
    could always rely on her for good input on articles. She could consistently make the Chronicle a source of
    discussion in the broader Jesuit community.” -James Martini
  • “Focused, overachieving, super smart. First time I met Shawna, I thought, that’s the journalist I want to
    embody.” -Steele Clevenger
  • “The high level work you put into this class and your overall level of writing truly stood out in every
    newspaper published this year.” -Michael Lang
  • “Shawna always inspired me to be a better writer. Such a chill girl and will miss seeing her sprint past me in
    valley everyday” -Gwynne Olson
  • “Shawna is such an amazing writer and always has the best ideas. My favorite memory with her is Fall
    Press Day and ending up in the wrong sessions!” -Virginia Larner

Honoring our seniors: Virginia Larner

Honoring+our+seniors%3A+Virginia+Larner

Virginia served three years on the Jesuit Chronicle as a writer, page editor, and ultimately a chief editor for the paper during her senior year. A talented writer who focused on school culture and health related topics, despite the website only being a member of SNO since December, her writing was featured twice on Best of SNO. She will attend Pitzer College in the fall. Her favorite memory of journalism was working on the Christmas editions.

  • “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Virginia when she’s not smiling or laughing. She is sweet, while still getting things done.” -Steele Clevenger
  •  “So kind and thoughtful, Virginia is amazing to work with!” -Rosa Madden
  •  “Virginia is not only an amazing journalist, she’s an incredibly sweet and understanding human being. She is always willing to help other people even if it means taking time away from her own work, she made the class so much more hilarious and fun. There were a few times I was just super stuck, whether that was trying to figure out how to work photoshop or just having a rough morning, and Virginia never failed to cheer me up or to help me in any way that she could. She’s going places!” -Jayla Lowery
  •  “Virginia was a great leader this year. She was really great at helping choose interesting articles for the issues and consistently wrote important articles. If we needed an article written on short notice, Virginia was always there to step in and write it.” -James Martini
  •  “I laughed so much over the funniest, weirdest, and most random things you, Jayla, and myself would hear or talk about during class.” -Michael Lang
  • “Virginia is so sweet and caring, and she never fails to brighten my day. I’m so glad I had Journalism with her, and I’ll miss her so much next year!” -Scout Jacobs
  • “Always fun to see her in class or pass her in the hall. Had so much fun getting to know her this year and I loved her style. The fuzzy sweaters always made me smile.” -Gwynne Olson
  • “Since starting Journalism lat year, Viriginia has always been there to help me and talk to me whenever I needed her. She is so sweet and hardworking. I will miss her so much next year!” -Annie Landgraf

Honoring our seniors: Jack Kelley

Honoring+our+seniors%3A+Jack+Kelley

Jack served for two years with Jesuit Chronicle, starting as a writer and developing as an editor. He served as Associate Chief Editor during his senior year. In the fall, he will be attending Brown University. His favorite memories from journalism are the “late nights”.

  • Jack’s sarcasm and wit always make me laugh. Just all around good vibes. Thanks for letting me awkwardly tag along with you and Nathan to Kaylee’s orchestra concert! –Shawna Muckle
  • Jack is such a hard worker and cares so much about journalism and his work. It was always so awesome to see how much he cared about the stories he was writing and how hard he worked to make sure they were well-informed and high quality. I really liked having class with such a hard-working, funny and kind person. –Jayla Lowery
  • Jack is always so nice and writes the greatest stories! I’ll always remember working with him at late night and his playlists. –Virginia Larner
  • Jack was a really fun presence in Journalism this year. He was always willing to help out and did a great job of keeping the classroom upbeat and cheerful, while still writing great articles about local and greater issues. –James Martini
  • Jack is such a hard worker, and he made Journalism super fun! –Scout Jacobs
  • Very easy to work and talk with this year in class and you have a great sense of humor. –Micheal Lang
  • Jack was the most chill and committed journalist. He never complained, was dedicated to the program, and was always willing to help. –Steele Clevenger

Honoring our seniors: Michael Lang

Honoring+our+seniors%3A+Michael+Lang

Michael Lang will be attending University of Portland to study mechanical engineering. His favorite memory from class was the time we spent researching the origin and practical uses of pickle juice in society today.

  • “Michael is such a sweet and caring person. He never failed to help someone out when they needed it, and
    he was always positive, especially when needed most. He also made journalism so much more funny.” –
    Jayla Lowery
  • “Michael was a great presence in Journalism. He was always there to talk about articles, school, or anything
    else and could contribute to the conversation. He always seemed present in some of the best discussion I
    had this year about articles and other assignments.” -James Martini
  • “Very creative. Quiet but helpful, Michael acted like he had been doing journalism for his whole life.” –
    Steele Clevenger
  • “Michael is super smart and brings new ideas and inspiration for journalism. He is friends with everyone
    and always fun to be around!” -Annie Landgraf
  • “Most laid back person I have met. Had so much fun writing the Kobe article with him” -Gwynne Olson

Honoring our seniors: Tristan Robbins

Honoring+our+seniors%3A+Tristan+Robbins
Tristan will be attending Oregon State University. His favorite memories from journalism was getting closer to my fellow students and the staff through interviews.
  • “Tristan wrote great articles about issues and topics relevant to students today. He could always bring new perspectives and ideas to discussions, able to engage in any conversation.”–James Martini
  • “Very funny and engaging to talk to during class.”–Michael Lang
  • “Tristan made journalism so much fun and hilarious. He always knew what to say to make someone laugh and made journalism class so much more funny and exciting.” –Jayla Lowery
  • “Tristan always had the funniest stuff on his computer. Brought comedy to class.”–Gwynne Olson
  • “Tristan is such a nice and kind soul. He is always willing to help and bring new ideas into class everyday.”–Annie Landgraf
  • “Tristan was amusing, relaxed, and somewhat of an enigma. He was a very cool guy to work with.”–Steele Clevenger

Honoring our seniors: James Martini

Honoring+our+seniors%3A+James+Martini

James will study Game Design at NYU next year and his favorite memory from Journalism this year was looking through the archives and finding the wildest articles from the paper in the ’80s.

  • “Very skilled with the work you do for this class and I often referred to the outlines of your articles and podcasts as a reference to work up to.”–Michael Lang
  • “Besides just being an amazing journalist who always put a lot of time and work into his articles, James is an overall compassionate and sweet person. He was always willing to listen to whatever opinions, stories, or whatever else you had. He made journalism such a fun and homey environment.”–Jayla Lowery
  • “James! The most enthusiastic guy! Brings so much comedy and creativity to class. So happy I met him.” –Gwynne Olson
  • “James is such a fun and sweet person in class. He always brings such a fun vibe to class and is willing to talk to anyone. I will miss him so much next year.” –Annie Landgraf
  • “So creative and curious, James always had an idea in his head. He was easygoing, funny, an intuitive writer, and fun to work with.” –Steele Clevenger
  • “James is so easy to talk to and always has great ideas. He is so helpful with photoshop and indesign and I’ll always remember his outfits!” –Virginia Larner
  • “James is an absolute boss when it comes to anything computer/technology/Photoshop related. His sarcastic comments and political takes always made me laugh a lot.”–Shawna Muckle

Honoring our seniors: Jayla Lowery

Honoring+our+seniors%3A+Jayla+Lowery

My favorite memory is definitely all of the intense Happy Birthday videos we played for everyone. It was one of the many, many times we all laughed together and made the start to my day humorous and fun.

I am going to Loyola Marymount University and am studying special education and screenwriting.

  • “She’s so inspiring in both her words and actions! Jayla’s an incredibly smart and well-versed person. She can simultaneously write fantastic articles about music and thorough, enlightening articles on serious modern issues. Talking to her is always a great way to get ideas for an article.” -Rosa Madden
  • “Your sense of humor made Journalism so much fun to be in everyday and I always looked forward to coming to class.”- Michael Lang
  • “Jayla is so creative and hardworking, and I’m beyond grateful to have had a class with her. She’s always there to help anyone who needs it, and I loved having Journalism with her!” -Scout Jacobs
  • “Jayla is so sweet and creative. She brings new ideas to the class and inspires everyone to be the best version of theirselves while in journalism.” -Annie Landgraf
  • “UGH! I love Jayla so much! Such a sweet gril. Loved doing the decades project with her and getting to know her. PS she gives th best hugs.” -Gwynne Olson
  • “I’ve had the best time sitting next to Jayla this year! I’ll never forget the Nerds slushie and her amazing outfits!” – Virginia Larner
  • “A total people-person, Jayla always made things feel comfortable and chill, even when I felt overwhelmed.” -Steele Clevenger

The Unforgettable Class of 2020

The class of 2020's legacy, by students and admin.

The+Unforgettable+Class+of+2020

The Class of 2020 might have had their senior year cut short, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t made an impact.

2020 marks the year for a lot of big changes and big firsts. In the middle of a pandemic, seniors in high school and secondary schools across the world found their very last year in high school cut short. But even with the sudden end to their high school careers, Jesuit seniors and the teachers that taught them won’t soon forget the many memories, ups and downs, failures and successes over the last four years.

Here’s what those very people had to say about the legacy of Jesuit’s class of 2020.

The Class of 2020 in One Word.

CompetitiveClaudia Poteet

Intelligent Parthav Easwar

Mojo Jonathan Ulrich

Crazy Ana Pacheco

UndefeatedChris Beardall

Unpredictable Molly Piszczek

Formidable Lizzie Dronkers

Awesome Vinh Pham

LoudKyra Lang

ResilientRia Debnath

CompassionateClaire Langley

TalentedIsabella Perscecetti

EnergeticAlyssa Knudsen

CommunityJack Kelley

ResilientHannah Stream

Family Courtney Pedersen

ResilientConner Langely

Exceptional Helen Ratcliff

ExceptionalHelen Ratcliff

UnforgettableGrace Hershey

EntertainingElla Nelson

StrongJaden D’Abreo

Favorite Memory from Jesuit.

Claudia Poteet

Saying hi to everyone in the halls even when you’re not super close to them.

Ana Pacheco

Pilgrimage campfire.

Jaedina Bayking

Pilgrimage and swaying at mass

Chris Beardall

Walking at the Pilgrimage, at the very end of it, where we all walked with our arms around each other’s shoulders

Lizzie Dronkers

Walking the last mile of the pilgrimage. 

Vinh Pham

Pilgrimage!

Kyra Lang

Walking the last mile of the pilgrimage.

Ria Debnath

Twilight parade – a valiant effort to bring some cheerfulness to pretty bleak times

Courtney Pederson

Encounters!

Sudeeksha Yadav

Pilgrimage.

Claire Langely

“Got my Mojo working“

Alyssa Knudsen

Senior pilgrimage!

Jack Kelley

NME 18 and 19 as a leader.

Hannah Stream

Mass at the pilgrimage.

Molly Morris

Screaming at everyone in a tent at five in the morning to find my socks for me.

Helen Ratcliff

Pilgrimage.

Grace Hershey

Off campus lunch with my friends.

Helen Rocker

Prep period.

Ella Howe

Going on and leading OWE.

Sammy Goodman

Getting ready for dances with my friends

WHAT PEOPLE ALWAYS REMEMBER ABOUT THE CLASS OF 2020.

Parthav Easwar

Quarantine, lanyards, and how much smarter we were compared to all the other classes.

Ana Pacheco

No graduation.

Chris Beardall

Although we weren’t perfect we are all that we had.

Lizzie Dronkers

Corona.

Kyra Lang

How strong and loud we were.

Ria Debnath

We didn’t have first semester final freshman year or second semester final senior year.

Courtney Pederson

Our spirit and willingness to bring change.

Sudeeksha Yadav

Honestly they’ll remember the two canceled finals.

Conner Langely

Having our first and last finals cancelled.

Alyssa Knudsen

Our unity and resilience.

Hannah Stream

The car parade.

Helen Rocker

Our athletic and academic achievements.

Grace Hershey

Cancelled finals freshman and senior year.

Sammy Goodman

Quarantine, no graduation, no prom.

Jaden D’Abreo

Exceptional athletics.

The Class of 2020, by admin.

What legacy do you think the class of 2020 will have on Jesuit?

Paul Hogan

Perseverance, tenacity, love, care for one another. To be honest, I think the longest-lasting

legacy will likely be the recent Instagram descriptions of the experiences of our young women of color. Those have been a heart-wrenching wake up call. I hope we can do much better in the future.

Khalid Maxie

Unfortunately, I believe the narrative about the class of 2020 will be overshadowed by all things COVID-19. Hopefully, the aforementioned things will shine brighter through the collective the impact 2020 graduates will have on institutions and individuals.

Ken Potter

The legacy of the class of 2020 was their ability in the face of adversity to show the strength and unity that goes way beyond the walls of Jesuit High School. When digital learning took place, when all co-curricular activities were cancelled, the class of 2020 showed the determination and strength to carry on and make the best of an unknown situation. The love they have for one another and the integrity they show in finishing what they started is what makes the class of 2020 special. I will forever be grateful for the lessons they have taught me and how they continue to show the true spirit of Jesuit High School.

About the Writer
Photo of Jayla Lowery
Jayla Lowery, Staff Writer

Jayla Lowery is a current senior at Jesuit High School. She enjoys biking, reading, swimming, music, daydreaming, watching movies, and writing mediocre...

Class of 2020 faces elevated uncertainty in the college selection process

While+the+class+of+2020+battles+the+unknown+in+their+college+selection+process%2C+colleges+also+struggle+with+uncertain+finances+and+enrollment.

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While the class of 2020 battles the unknown in their college selection process, colleges also struggle with uncertain finances and enrollment.

The Class of 2020 is entering the final stretch of the college discernment process as the majority of schools maintain their May 1 enrollment deadlines. Many students are facing the unique, pandemic-driven reality that visiting campuses, some of which are thousands of miles away, will be impossible before decision day. 

Alongside many missed “lasts” of our high school careers, some of the pivotal “firsts” of seniors’ college experience, including scholarship competitions, admitted student meet-ups, and post-admission campus visits, have been either cancelled or postponed. Many colleges and universities, conscious of the difference that seeing a school makes in students’ decision processes, have expanded digital content and interactive experiences for prospective students through virtual tours, lectures, and informational Zoom meetings.

While comprehensive virtual content is a must-have for prospective freshmen still weighing their options or preparing to attend a school they’ve never visited, it doesn’t perfectly replicate the experience of seeing a school live, says senior Danny Murphy

“Being [on campus] physically, it’s really easy to get a read on the campus, and just know if it’s going to be a good place where you’re going to be happy spending four years of your life,” Murphy said. “I think on paper a college can look great, but actually going and physically being there is really different and plays a big role in making a decision. Not visiting just adds another element of uncertainty that I would rather not have.” 

Senior Serena Trika also observes that not all virtual content is made equally. While many schools provide imagery of buildings on campus, some don’t offer visual access to the inside of their facilities or their classrooms. 

“Past campus visits made me like the school more because I get to see all of the facilities and opportunities that they have,” Trika said. “Virtual tours don’t really show you inside every building, especially the ones I might primarily be in, so it’s hard to get an idea of where I will be everyday and what classrooms look like exactly.”

Right now, inadequate virtual exposure to campus life is a problem for students everywhere and for universities everywhere, creating a major incentive for institutions to enhance at light speed what were once relatively paltry digital resources for admitted students. Being able to schedule visits to campuses in the roughly four to six weeks after acceptance, however, has always been reserved for the financially privileged, whose families can afford time off from work, hotel expenses, and last-minute plane tickets. In that vein, the coronavirus’s role in pushing schools to better simulate academic and student life online is perhaps a welcome first step towards equity and access for low-to-moderate income  admits.

Several schools have also gone so far as to extend the traditional May 1 deadline for students to pay their enrollment deposits to June 1 and beyond. Some common colleges for Jesuit students that have delayed their enrollment deadlines by a month include Gonzaga University, Oregon State University (as well as its Cascades campus), Seattle University, and University of Portland. 

Most schools across the country, however, are maintaining their May 1 enrollment deadline, citing a desire to plan effectively for their incoming class at a time when yield rates, or the percentage of accepted students who ultimately choose to attend, are in flux.

“Most colleges are sticking with the May 1 deadline not to be pernicious, but to help with their own planning,” college counselor Mr. Johnson said. “The earlier that they know what kind of class they have coming in, the more productive they can be to plan for what fall of 2020 is going to look like in terms of enrollment, orientation, waitlist activity, that kind of thing. From the student perspective, with colleges having varying deadlines, it does give them a bit more time to seek reconsideration for financial aid, for example, which is not a quick process.”

Given the increasingly disastrous predicted outcome of prematurely lifting social distancing guidelines, shifting enrollment deadlines is unlikely to enable students to visit campuses in May. According to a model designed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, if governors choose to lift statewide shelter-in-place orders 30 days after ordering them, or in roughly mid-to-late April, the U.S. will likely see a deadly resurgence of the pandemic in mid-summer. Irrespective of whether states remain in lockdown by May, it’s unlikely that travel restrictions will be lifted or college campuses will be open for tours and visits.

Ultimately, the lack of alternatives for campus visits means the Class of 2020 will have to make college decisions based on more distant assumptions and information sources. With a critical aspect of the discernment process rendered inaccessible, seniors will also need more flexibility and willingness to adapt if they discover after arriving on campus next fall—or later—that the school they chose isn’t quite what they envisioned. 

“The class of 2020 will need to be a little more hearty in terms of making do,” Mr. Johnson said. “They may arrive at a campus that doesn’t meet all of their needs simply because they weren’t able to discern in the way that they would have liked, but I think that our students are stalwart enough to be able to see that through. Seek the services that are available at their future college, reach out, build relationships, meet faculty, and really give it the best shot that they can.”

Colleges and universities, too, are facing various elements of uncertainty, some of them perilous, when it comes to building their incoming class. Geographic distance may now be a much bigger consideration for seniors and their families, particularly for students that previously planned to enroll at colleges in the epicenter of the outbreak, such as New York City universities, says Mr. Johnson. In order to build a geographically diverse class, universities may need to incentivize student enrollment from distant regions of the country with increased financial aid packages.

While colleges wrestle with concerns about under-enrollment and a loss of diversity, they also may be contending with grim financial realities. In the 2008 global financial crisis, the endowments of both Harvard and Yale University, two of the most financially sound collegiate institutions in the country, shrunk by approximately 30%. It’s difficult to imagine that any school will exit this combined economic and public health crisis with a better financial situation than it had coming in. 

What this means is that while many students now weigh affordability more heavily due to the economic fallout of the epidemic, schools may be less able to dole out generous need-based and merit-based financial aid. According to the Washington Post, this may result in over-enrollment among in-state students at public universities, while private and out-of state enrollment shrinks. 

Even ongoing scholarship competitions have been heavily downsized in the past few weeks. Schools such as Loyola University Chicago, Syracuse University, and Duke University cancelled major on-campus finalist events. 

“I was supposed to have an interview for a big scholarship that just got canceled completely,” Murphy said. “I think that an interview would have helped my chances of getting the scholarship, so that wasn’t happy at all.”

Despite financial uncertainty, Mr. Johnson assures students that schools will most likely not revoke the current awards they have issued, and some institutions may be willing to engage with merit scholarship reconsideration in spite of financial contraction to increase yield rates.

“I have not seen colleges pulling back from existing commitments they have made via certain need-based aid or certain merit scholarship programs,” Mr. Johnson said. “Will discount rates increase at colleges for the class of 2020 in order to fill their class? I think it just depends on how healthy the institution is. All of higher education is at a pivotal point where there are colleges that are financially healthy and sound and will sustain themselves through this, and there will be other colleges that will be challenged financially.”

About the Contributor
Photo of Shawna Muckle
Shawna Muckle, Chief Editor

Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

Spring break plans cancelled due to COVID-19

Spring+break+plans+cancelled+due+to+COVID-19

Due to the Caronavirus spreading so rapidly many spring break travels have been cancelled or postponed due to either travel restrictions or self quarantine. 

 

For those planning on traveling internationally, those plans are to be put on hold. All travel to or from China, Iran, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK or Ireland has been banned. All US citizens who have visited one of these high risk areas for enhanced screening after reentering the US.

 

Unless your family is prepared to remain outside the US for an extended period of time, your trip might as well be cancelled. 

 

As for travel within the US, the biggest restriction is self quarantine rather than actual travel restrictions. Mandated social distancing has been enforced along with proactive monitoring for signs of ill passengers has been implemented in many states. 

 

On March 16th, Governor Kate Brown announced that seated dining is banned along with gatherings of more than twenty five people.With the amount of restrictions in place, most people have been finding it easier and less stressful to either travel within Oregon, or just stay at home. 

 

This was very frustrating to many students.

 

““I understand how important it is to keep everyone healthy, especially my grandparents who I was going to stay with in Hawaii,” junior Damon Grim explained. “It’s still so frustrating to get spring break canceled. I had been looking forward to this trip with my grandparents all year.”

 

However, some disregarded suggestions to self quarantine and went on their vacations anyways. 

 

“My family was planning on going to Palm Springs anyways and we decided it was still worth it to go to the sun,” junior Maria Breault said. “It’s just so quiet here. My family goes to Palm Springs a bit and I have never seen it so void of people.” 

 

With Coronavirus being so new, many people are not sure how to react. Many people are taking it very seriously and staying in door while others and taking advantage of no school and exploring nature. To learn more about COVID-19 go check out articles by senior Shawna Muckle or junior Rosa Madden that discuss the recent outbreak. 

 

Stay safe and have a good spring break! 

About the Writer
Photo of Gwynne Olson
Gwynne Olson, Staff Writer and Social Media Specialist

Gwynne Olson is a junior staff writer for the Jesuit Chronicle. Gwynne is the youngest of two. Brooke, her older sister, is a recent graduate from the...

Multicultural Week places spotlight on racism and microaggressions

Both+portions+of+Multicultural+Week+contained+pointed+references+to+social+justice+issues+such+as+border+camps--and+most+significantly%2C+to+microaggressions+at+Jesuit.

Jeanne Manthey

Both portions of Multicultural Week contained pointed references to social justice issues such as border camps--and most significantly, to microaggressions at Jesuit.

During this year’s Multicultural Week awareness assembly, student speakers shared their experiences as people of color and identified a broad array of racial aggressions and fears, many of which related to subtle experiences of ostracization and judgment.  

Senior Arleth Rodriguez and sophomore Melanie Elizarazazz addressed the lingering shame and sense of inadequacy that have at times accompanied their immigrant families and the color of their skin. Senior Daniela Rosas shared the horrific, heartrending story of her mother’s deportation and its unseen ramifications. Junior Noah Lyman delivered a powerful poem on the systemic persecution of native Hawaiian people. 

In all of their talks, these students communicated present, raw anger amid their racial experience. Within that enduring sense of anger, a few students’ speeches contained a pointed reference to an experience at Jesuit that had contributed to their sense of cultural alienation. Most of these anecdotes involved routine, offhanded, unintentionally racist remarks that went seemingly unnoticed or unaddressed—except, of course, by the students of color affected by those remarks.

There is a term for these casual and unintentional instances of racism that has increasingly gained traction in conversations on race and identity: microaggressions.

Psychology Today describes microaggressions as the “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights… [that] communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” Microaggressions often assume the form of a passing comment or even subconscious behavior, but they cause pervasive and resounding discomfort for the person impacted by the microaggression. Other forms of microaggressions include racist remarks passed off as jokes or satire.

As widespread fear over the COVID-19 pandemic takes root in American culture, unfounded xenophobia and racism against Asian-Americans has become increasingly commonplace. Sophomore Jenny Duan notes that Asian-American students at Jesuit have had to contend with discomforting racist jokes and harassment due to the outbreak, on top of other offensive Asian stereotypes and jokes.

“Especially right now, with the prevalence of the Coronavirus, there are a lot of jokes about Asian people having the Coronavirus,” Duan said. “Another example for me is that in freshman history class, during our unit on ancient China, someone made their Kahoot name in Chinese characters ‘yellow people eat dogs.’ I think that in certain situations there are moments where I do feel uncomfortable. People need to understand that jokes about race, especially when they’re directed at a person, they become a personal attack rather than a joke.”

Various types of microaggressions

Deeply hurtful jokes and attributions of disease against East Asian students amid the COVID-19 outbreak represent one type of microaggression: explicit racism protected under the guise of sarcasm or comedy. Racist jokes are often portrayed as the most intentional, most problematic, and most obvious form of microaggression. 

Senior Ana Pacheco, sophomore Sara Tapia, and junior Kassandra Gomez all observe, however, that more implicit incidents, such as insensitive questions, assumptions, and double standards, represent the vast majority of microaggressions they’ve encountered at Jesuit.

“One example [of a microaggression] is people will be talking in class and they’ll try to say something in Spanish, and then they always look at me, asking ‘oh, did I do it right?’” Pacheco said.

Tapia adds that this type of interaction, while presumably innocent and lacking in racist intent, makes Hispanic students feel singled out.

“They try to justify their actions by asking us if it’s okay, and it’s awkward if we say no,” Tapia said.

Gomez also claims that when it comes to speaking Spanish, or speaking in a certain vernacular, Hispanic students are received much differently for embracing their own culture than white students who attempt to appropriate or make light of it.

“The way we speak, they want to speak like us,” Gomez said. “When we say it, it’s ‘oh she’s kinda ghetto,’ but when they say it, it’s funny.”

Pacheco and junior Amen Zelalem emphasize that white students asking questions, even ones that brush against cultural sensitivities, furthers racial discourse and isn’t necessarily a problem. However, they also observe that more often than not, students frame questions in a way that leads with racially biased assumptions.

“If they ask about a tattoo, ‘is that a gang sign?’ then that’s uncomfortable. But if they ask, ‘what does that mean to you?’ there’s a difference to that,” Pacheco said. 

Zelalem suggests that a spirit of open-mindedness in how non-minority students ask questions can help reframe how students of color receive them. 

“If you’re open minded, that’s the best way to ask,” Zelalem said. “Don’t assume ‘this means this, right?’ People have to be open to being taught and being wrong. You can’t just get all defensive when somebody tells you [microaggressions you perpetuate] are not okay.”

Even more covert than misguided questions or assumptions, subconscious behaviors among students can also make students of color feel ostracized, particularly during conversations about racism or racial atrocities.

“When people start talking about slavery in class, people either are all not looking at you or all looking at you,” Zelalem said.

Teachers can also perpetuate microaggressions 

Beyond ignorance perpetuated by students at Jesuit, certain teachers and faculty have also been culpable of perpetuating microaggressions in their instruction or in classroom conversations, say Pacheco and Zelalem. With teachers, it becomes more difficult for students who do pick up on their microaggressions to feel safe calling them out or correcting the narrative.

“Teachers will be telling a story or making a comment, and I’ll be like, ‘was that okay to say? Was that racist?’ Zelalem said. “They’re a teacher, so I’m not going to stop the class and say, ‘hold on, I don’t think that was cool.’ I feel like I don’t have the right to speak up in class because I think, ‘well, no one else is speaking up, so I’m not going to.’ And other times I worry, ‘oh, I’m just overreacting.’”

Pacheco remarks that the overall lack of students of color at Jesuit makes it all the more difficult to stand up against teachers who foster an uncomfortable or unsafe racial environment, as she doesn’t always expect support or solidarity from her classmates.

“A time when I feel a little unsafe is the first day of school when I walk into a classroom and I realize I’m one of only about two people of color,” Pacheco said. “People don’t think it makes that big of a difference, but it does, especially in classes like English if a teacher makes you [read aloud] the n-word. It’s really uncomfortable to be in that situation, to have to stand up for everyone because [my white peers] don’t realize what it’s like.”

Safe Places

While microaggressions represent a daily struggle for students of color at Jesuit and come from a broad swath of people with varying degrees of authority, there remain ongoing and future opportunities to create safe spaces for students of color and to more intentionally combat microaggressions as an institution.

In particular, Pacheco, Gomez, Zelalem, and Elizarazazz all praise the Diversity Office as the place they feel safest and most supported at Jesuit.

“In the Diversity Office, we can say whatever we want, we can talk to Ms. Lowery or Mr. Kato or whatever teacher is in here,” Elizarazazz said. “It’s mainly this room, and it’s the teachers that make it safe.”

Moreover, the Awareness Assembly this year made important progress in how Jesuit approaches race. The fact that many speeches didn’t wrap up with a neat, satisfying conclusion and some students, like Rodriguez, had the latitude to call out peers who weren’t listening resulted in a more accurate representation of racial identity than assemblies past. 

“If I were to talk in front of Jesuit, I always felt that I would have to say, ‘I’ve learned to accept myself and love myself even though I’m Asian,’ but that’s not really the reality, and I know that’s not the reality for my friends of color,” senior Kaylee Jeong said. “People need to know that we’re upset and things aren’t changing and not everything is going to resolve in a happy, loving way. The battle with your race is something that happens throughout the course of your life and it’s something that’s so much deeper than ‘okay, I’ve learned to love myself now.’ It’s so much more difficult.” 

The willingness among the speakers to candidly convey the bitter parts of their experiences as people of color also helped attach a human face to common racial injustices and individualized racist behaviors. In particular, Pacheco notes that Rosas’ commentary on her mother’s deportation illustrated fears that many members of Jesuit’s Hispanic community grapple with.

“A lot of people with immigrant families, they know from a very young age what to do if mom and dad don’t come home,” Pacheco said. “They know who to call, they know who they’re going to stay with, they know where the cash is if they need it. For [Daniela] to say that, it makes a lot of people see what we go through.”

Finally, future efforts to embed race education into a four-year curriculum at Jesuit represents perhaps the most comprehensive tool to combat microaggressions. Because microaggressions are often implicit, nuanced, difficult to understand, and intermingled with more systemic racial issues, they require significant instruction for students to fully understand them. Indeed, finding a way to communicate the consequences of racial microaggressions may be Jesuit’s biggest challenge as it ponders how to become more culturally responsive.

“My big thing about my experience at Jesuit is that we say, ‘yeah, racism is bad,’ and everyone knows that, but when someone says ‘why did you get a C on that test, shouldn’t you be doing better, won’t your parents get mad because you’re Asian,’ it’s hard to say anything and it’s hard to explain why that’s racist,” Jeong said. “It’s very obvious in a larger context, with bigger, more tangible issues, but the little stuff is what piles up and really gets to you.”

About the Writer
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Shawna Muckle, Chief Editor

Shawna Muckle, 17, is a senior at Jesuit High School. She has been a member of the Chronicle staff for three years in various capacities, and she is currently...

Mock trial competes in state competition

Mock+Trial+team+competes+at+state.+Photo+courtesy+of+Lane+Laurent+

Mock Trial team competes at state. Photo courtesy of Lane Laurent

Recently the mock trial team competed in the state competition. 

 

Jesuit has a strong mock trial team consisting of almost all seniors and two juniors. Tryouts were held in November and students were placed on one of four different teams. The top team, or gold team, was confident they would have a good season. 

 

“I was confident that we would have two really strong teams that could compete well this year and that is what we had,” coach Dr. Exley said. “We had a really strong and experienced gold team and our black team, the second team, was also pretty strong and had potential to make it to state.” 

 

In a mock trial competition, each team is issued the same case and has months to prepare an argument for either side. Three witness statements are given each side and the case is supposedly written so each side has an equal chance of winning. Witnesses must memorize the information in their statements, lawyers must figure out ways to get in evidence complying with the Federal Rules of evidence, and openers and closers must memorize five minute long statements proving their argument. 

 

When competition day arrives, all teams assemble at a courthouse and are given their matchup there. Teams go head on and are scored both individually out of ten and by ballots.

 

“So how ballots work is in each trial there are 3 judges: the presiding judge, someone who judges the attorneys, and someone who judges the witnesses,” senior Grace Hershey explained. “The witness and attorney’s judges sit in the jury box. Each of the three judges have a ballot that they fill out and it’s basically a vote for one of the teams,” 

 

Ballots are given to the teams who have the best witnesses, lawyers, and overall court preparation. In the end the team with the most ballots wins the case. Individual points generally decide tiebreakers. 

 

Mock trial had a very successful regional competition taking eight ballots out of nine ballots securing their place at State. The black team just barely missed state losing by ten points in a three way tie. 

 

There was not a lot of time between regionals and state so the team put in many hours in preparation for the competition. 

 

“For the last 5 weeks of the season, we did daily doubles practices in preparation for regionals and state, and that hard work definitely paid off,” Hershey explained. “We went against some pretty tough teams, but we held our own. Overall I am really proud of how my team did this season.” 

About the Writer
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Gwynne Olson, Staff Writer and Social Media Specialist

Gwynne Olson is a junior staff writer for the Jesuit Chronicle. Gwynne is the youngest of two. Brooke, her older sister, is a recent graduate from the...

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