Jesuit Chronicle

Pro-Con Opinion: Should we reopen JHS?

Jesuit+High+School+is+set+to+reopen+in+February+2021.+Is+it+the+right+choice%3F

Ivan Aleksic

Jesuit High School is set to reopen in February 2021. Is it the right choice?

Opinion: We Should Not Open Up Jesuit

A few months ago, I would have agreed that school should be back in session. This opinion was not backed by any research but simply a selfish musing. School has been closed since March 2020 and we have now endured almost nine months of quarantine and isolation. While I would love to return to school to see my peers and be able to participate in typical senior year activities, I know it is not safe.

With COVID-19 spreading so rapidly, the idea of returning to school is in the far future. While masks, home room lunch periods, and health screenings are necessary precautions, they would only limit the spread.

The requirement for students to wear a mask at all times may be helpful, however, there is no guarantee that masks will in fact stay intact through the school day. Students will need to remove their masks to eat and drink and often masks are removed in restroom settings. Teachers cannot be watching students at all times and we do not have the resources to ensure that masks stay on during school hours.

However, even if students keep their masks on at all times, studies show that masks are not 100% effective. In an article published by Stephanie Pappias titled “Do face masks really reduce coronavirus spread?” the effectiveness of different kinds of mask is explained.

“CDC also does not recommend surgical masks for the general public. These masks don’t seal against the face but do include non-woven polypropylene layers that are moisture resistant. In a surgical mask, about 70% of the outside air moves through the mask and about 30% travels around the sides,” Pappias wrote. “That leaves fabric masks, which currently are recommended for general use by the CDC. Fabric masks also allow air in around the sides, but lack non-woven, moisture-repelling layers. They impede only about 2% of airflow in.”

No matter what mask is worn, there is always some airflow that is let in. As Stephanine Pappias explains, you may be at a lower risk depending on which mask you choose to wear, but the underlying fact is that masks do not work all of the time. The only method that is proven to be 100% effective is to stay at home.

Masks are to be used as an add on for safety. It is a common misconception that masks are the only precaution that people must take. Stephanie Pappias elaborates on this.

“‘Putting a face mask on does not mean that you stop the other practices’” Pappias wrote quoting Assistant Director of Public Health in the Office for Science and Technology Policy May C. Chu.  “‘It does not mean you get closer to people, it does not mean you don’t have to wash your hands as often and you can touch your face. All of that still is in place, this is just an add-on.’”

At school it will be difficult to maintain a reliable distance from every student or faculty member that you will pass through the day. As May C. Chu stated, it is not enough to just wear a mask, you must still maintain social distances.

In an ideal world, masks always work. Even so, students are still at risk once they leave school and are exposed to those who are not following CDC protocol. While you may think that you are interacting only with your “bubble,” your bubble is often larger than you think. If even one person interacts with someone without their mask who is not in your bubble, they could risk contracting and spreading the virus.

There is also a large opinion that even though we are not able to go back to school that we should be able to participate in sports. In my opinion, we should focus on getting back to school first. With constant motion (and in some cases physical contact) it is easy for masks to slip while in close proximity, not to mention athletes need to lower their mask to drink water. In the event that an athletes mask does slip while they are infected with the virus, they could spread it to their whole team, who will then likely spread it even further. This fact is evidenced by the numerous college football games that have been cancelled due to COVID-19.  While I am disappointed to potentially be missing my track season, as I am sure many other students are, it is too risky to even practice.

Of course, I realize that the greater majority of high school students are young, healthy, and will not be deeply impacted by the virus. This is not the reason to take precautions. Many students live with or frequently come in contact with those who are at high risk. I visit my grandparents often and know because they are compromised, I need to be extra careful. Even if you don’t, someone you come in contact with might so it is important to always be cautious.

The only way it is safe to return to school, sports, and all other activities is when there is an effective vaccine that is easily accessible. Without one, an airborne virus is too difficult to contain with a group of people as large as a high school. I know that everyone wants to return to school, but right now, it is not safe.

 

Sources:

Live Science

Opinion: Let’s Open Up Jesuit

With Christmas break fast approaching, Jesuit is rounding the corner on it’s ninth month of digital learning. I think it’s time to return to in-person learning.

With COVID-19 raging throughout the United States, it seems impossible for schools to remain open. In addition, Oregon has been having record high case counts recently, the most being on December 4 when over 2000 people tested positive. So why would I think that Jesuit, along with other Portland schools, should open?

I think that kids should be in school not because the danger of the virus is low. The coronavirus is a very dangerous virus, and as a community we need to take it seriously by social distancing and wearing a mask. But, that does not mean we cannot go to school safely if the correct measures are put in place.

In other places, students have already returned to the classroom for in-person learning. For example, schools in New York City closed just last month after being open for almost eight weeks. Despite cases rising back up to their April highs in the state, elementary schools will return to hybrid learning on December 7. And outside of the states, as the city of Toronto, Ontario entered its second lockdown in November, schools were one of the only places to remain open, while bars and restaurants closed (New York Times).

So what does this mean? Why are all these different places reopening their school doors while Oregon has kept theirs shut? Simple, other places realized that schools are not the cause of spread; the state of Oregon has failed to see that.

I went to Washington Square Mall the other day, and it was a packed house. Although masks were being worn throughout the building (by most), I had to dodge my way through the crowd to keep my distance as much as possible from others. But, as I was doing it, I had a moment where I stopped and looked around at the mayhem and thought, “Why is this allowed to happen? Why is this mall allowed to be open at seemingly maximum capacity while our schools, who would take the necessary steps to reopen safely, are not allowed to open?”

Not only am I calling for a reopen to schools, but so are prominent health experts. The CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said during a press conference that schools need to be open because they are not what’s causing the spread.

“There is extensive data that we have…[that confirms]…K-12 schools can operate with face-to-face learning and they can do it safely and they can do it responsibly,” Redfield said (C-SPAN). “The infections that we’ve identified in schools when they’ve been evaluated were not acquired in schools. They were actually acquired in the community and in the household.”

Not only is the CDC director on my side, but even Dr. Anthony Fauci said that to slow case rates, bars and restaurants should be closed and schools should be open.

“Close the bars and keep the schools open,” Fauci said. “If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected” (Business Insider).

But what about those who are immunocompromised or who are seeing immunocompromised people? Or what about those who just don’t feel comfortable returning to school? For those who don’t feel comfortable returning to in-person learning, an option of online learning should still be available for them. This would allow each student to decide when they would like to return to in-person learning, appeasing those who are both for and against it.

Again, I would like to reiterate that I am not downplaying the severity of the virus. My family and I have been following CDC guidelines to the T, and I also have grandparents that I visit with a mask on, so I would not advocate for a return to school if I didn’t believe that we could do it safely.

While I understand concerns expressed by individuals who may not feel comfortable returning to in-person learning, national health experts have recommended that we do so, and I think we should listen to what they say.

 

Sources:

Worldometers.com

New York Times: How Toronto Plans to Keep Schools Open Amid Its Second Lockdown

New York Times: New York City to Close Public Schools Again as Virus Cases Rise

Politico

C-SPAN

Business Insider

2020 Happened – Let’s Think Positive For 2021

Image+courtesy+of+Avni+Sharma.+

Image courtesy of Avni Sharma.

Packed with an eventful and stress inducing Presidential Election, protests, an ongoing pandemic, and the sight of smoky skies in September, 2020 has been quite the rollercoaster. Though bad times come and go, the long anticipation for widespread use of the vaccine prolongs this nightmare-ish year from ending.

The end of a significant year prompts one to reflect on the high and low points. For Jesuit students, the past nine months are synonymous with isolation, stress from school related activities, and various personal struggles. 

“[2020] had a lot of ups and downs,” sophomore Gabriella Feleciano says. “It has been the shortest and longest year in a sense.”

Pushing students to their academic, mental, and emotional limits, the current arrangement of a hectic school schedule paired with extracurricular and other commitments made the year progress slowly, yet fast. Everyday occurrences—such as meeting friends, or going out to dinner—pass off as a luxury, too dangerous to be afforded. These measures have impeded students’ ability to maintain close friendships, and have deprived one’s ability to appreciate simple joys in life. 

That being said, unhealthily dwelling on the unfortunate events of the past year won’t help us heal from it; Neither will ruminating about pre-COVID life improve the current quality of life. According to an article written by Dr. Summer Allen, looking ahead with a positive outlook holds more significance in the healing process than reminiscing about how things used to be. 

“Besides helping us make decisions and reach our goals, there is evidence that prospection may improve psychological health more generally,” Dr. Allen says, “Taking time to simulate and enjoy a positive experience in advance—whether it be an upcoming meal, visit with friends, or vacation—can allow you to derive lasting benefits for the experience.” 

Many students at Jesuit have already begun to utilize Dr. Allen’s positive-thinking findings to keep their motivation and drive during this time. 

“I’m working through everything with as positive of a mindset as I can muster,” sophomore Caitlin Thomas says. “I recognize that I am given the opportunity to still be here, to enjoy life. I hope 2021 will be a year of peace and productivity for us all.”

About the Writer
Photo of Avni Sharma
Avni Sharma, Staff Writer

Avni Sharma is a current sophomore at Jesuit High School. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, from music reviews to current politics. Though...

Opinion: Thanksgiving Side Dishes by Lucy Menendez

Opinion%3A+Thanksgiving+Side+Dishes+by+Lucy+Menendez

Peel your eyes away from the 2020 electoral college map and feast them on the greatest map of all time: every state’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish. 

In the midst of the election drama, this “Most Popular Thanksgiving Sides” map surfaced on Twitter. I took the time to deeply analyze the statistics as I am a huge Thanksgiving side dish fan. Yes, please, serve me a nice juicy piece of dark-meat turkey, but leave it to the side of the stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts and rolls! You cannot go wrong with a good Thanksgiving side. 

When I saw this map, my eyes shot to Oregon, which says its favorite side is biscuits. I love biscuits because they are extremely versatile. You could spread them with butter or jam, smother it in gravy, or make a stellar sandwich the next day. Although biscuits are warm, fluffy, and versatile, they are not my personal favorite. 

The bright yellow in the south caught my attention next. Mac and cheese proves most popular in North and South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. My family does not serve mac and cheese as a Thanksgiving side; I don’t think it is a very popular west coast dish served at Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong, I would not complain at all if it were on my table, but it has never been and probably won’t be. What makes a perfectly cooked mac and cheese for me? A combination of real cheeses, baked, creamy, light, and not too rich. If that was on my table, I would take a heaping spoonful, but only that. And that leads me to why mac and cheese is not the greatest side. Although mac and cheese is a delightful delicacy, how much mac and cheese are you really going to consume that night, and will you be consuming more mac and cheese than any other side? If so, please don’t. 

I’ve never been a huge casserole fan, but I do love a spoonful of green beans, or warm corn underneath a blanket of gravy. Indiana pulled deviled eggs out of the summer cabinet, and I am loving it. Maine went with the ever so questionable side salad and New Hampshire decided on cranberry sauce. I love jam and jelly spreads, but honestly I have never tried cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. I praise gravy so to try cranberry sauce, I would have to sacrifice a dish that would usually be smothered in gravy just to substitute it for a cranberry sauce glaze. I know my plate on Thanksgiving; it has been the same for years. If I am trying cranberry sauce this year, it will be an hour before the meal where I sneak into the kitchen and test it out. 

I was surprised at the underrepresentation of stuffing/dressing. Stuffing is a treat. You’ve got some turkey meat, bread, flavorful vegetables, seasoning, butter, garnishes, etc. Yes, the stuffing has a high chance of being dry, but again, covering it in gravy will not only fix that problem, but accentuate the entire experience. My mother has made “Grand Daddy’s Dressing” every year, and that dish is taking up half of my plate and I will be going in for seconds. 

Midwest and West Coast chose, correctly, mashed potatoes. There aren’t many things better than serving a grand scoop of creamy potatoes, creating a small hole in the center, and drowning it in gravy. Mashed potatoes are smooth, silky, light, and versatile. You could leave the skin on, season it with garlic or pepper, or even use sweet potatoes. It does not matter, because after paired with gravy, that’s all you’re going to want to eat! To me, mashed potatoes and gravy will continue to be my all-time-favorite Thanksgiving side dish. 

I hope you have widened your Thanksgiving side dish spectrum through this map. Take my advice and don’t switch up your Thanksgiving plate; you only get one plate a year, so make it count.

About the Writer
Photo of Lucy Menendez
Lucy Menendez, Staff Writer

Lucy Menendez is a senior at Jesuit High School and first time journalism student. Lucy plays basketball at Jesuit and is involved in multiple clubs. Her...

A Review of TwoSet Violin’s “Prelude”

A piece, not a song.

Image+courtesy+of+Avni+Sharma.+

Image courtesy of Avni Sharma.

Calling all musicians, Youtube comedy fanatics, and casual modern classical music listeners: TwoSet Violin has officially released their first single. 

Twoset Violin is a popular Youtube comedy duo consisting of Brett Yang and Eddy Chen, based in Brisbane, Australia. Specializing in humorous videos about the everyday struggles of classical musicians, their content has garnered over 710 million views on Youtube, and 5 million followers on social media. Along with composer Jordon He, Yang and Chen surprised their fans by composing and recording their first single, “Prelude”. It was released Oct. 9th, and has since gotten 400 thousand views. 

The piece itself is beautiful, as if one were to imagine themself gliding through a meadow. It’s very reminiscent of Debussy’s style of music, incorporating various violin techniques such as trills, harmonics, and pizzicato. These techniques are meant to bring serenity and dimension to the piece by imitating the sounds of nature, such as the flutter of a bird’s wings or the sound of a babbling brook. Debussy, a composer of the impressionist era, often sought to find inspiration by imitating the beauty and nostalgia of his memories in his music. Composer He found inspiration for this piece the same way. 

“It has many eastern musical elements,” He wrote in a Facebook post. “It is the kind of music I grew up with.”

“Prelude” captures the peaceful and romantic essence of Zanhao’s “Butterfly Lovers Concerto” and the landscape of Massenet’s “Meditation from Thais”. In other words, it marries elements of modern French and Chinese classical music in a unique way. Yang and Chen’s violin skills enhances the piece through expressionist vibrato and varied dynamics. Chen, He, and Yang have created pure art, with “Prelude” painting a picture one can only see by hearing it. 

He recently released the sheet music on Musescore, a free website carrying thousands of free music sheets for musicians to learn. With many Jesuit students being musically inclined, Twoset Violin’s new piece could give students a new avenue to collaborate and bond during quarantine. 

About the Writer
Photo of Avni Sharma
Avni Sharma, Staff Writer

Avni Sharma is a current sophomore at Jesuit High School. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, from music reviews to current politics. Though...

Opinion: Too much screen time hinders mental health and students’ ability to learn

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pxfuel.com

A girl stares at her screen in the dark, straining her eyes as she types.

From 8 a.m. to roughly 3 p.m.—almost 7 hours—students stare mindlessly at a screen while teachers attempt desperately to connect with them through bluelight pixels, instructing and making jokes in hopes of distracting kids from the mundanity of learning from home.

For the first few weeks of school, I listened to students give feedback to teachers on how they were faring during digital learning. The responses were not varied; most students confided that their eyes and heads hurt after looking at their iPad all day.

Even teachers were struggling to adjust. One of my own teachers shared that she began having migraines during class, and was requested by her doctor not to look at screens in a dark room, which causes her to strain her eyes.

A recent poll on jesuitnews.com.com showed that in a group of 132 people, 39 percent of voters spend between eight and 10 hours a day looking at a screen, including their phone. Even more shocking, 33 percent of voters spend more than 10 hours a day on a screen. Twenty percent of voters spend between five and seven hours onscreen, and only eight percent spend two to four hours onscreen.

According to May Recreation, too much screen time can have adverse effects on students’ academic performance.

“Too much screen time can impair brain structure and function,” the May Recreation team said. “Because children’s brains undergo so much change during their formative years, this excess screen time can be even more damaging. Academic success, social skills, even career success can all be negatively affected by excessive screen time.”

Additionally, Harvard University said “the growing human brain is constantly building neural connections while pruning away less-used ones, and digital media use plays an active role in that process. Much of what happens on screen provides “impoverished” stimulation of the developing brain compared to reality. Children need a diverse menu of online and offline experiences, including the chance to let their minds wander.”

Last school year, I wrote an article about living a week without using my phone. In the article, there was a brief overview of each day. The days shared a similar theme: I had more time to do other things because of decreased phone use.

Cutting down the time one spends on their phone will benefit academic performance, as well as better sleep and less mood swings, to which teenagers are already prone. However, even if one were to give up their phone entirely, there is still the obvious question of how to cut down on screen use when it is required for school.

School screen time, whether it be for actual classes or just for homework, is approaching eight hours. Half of my teachers are now going asynchronous on Mondays, and Tuesday through Friday, many of my teachers are not filling up the entire 80-minute class period, as they recognize most students are unable to focus for that long. For teachers that like to fill the almost-hour-and-a-half of class, it is still quite a bit of screen time for teens.

Advocating for more asynchronous classes is one option, though kids lose time to connect with classmates, and they will still need to complete the required classwork online.

Taking into account Harvard University’s research that students need a “diverse menu of online and offline experiences,” one idea would be to listen to a recording of the teacher’s voice with a few activities for them to complete.

In certain classes, such as environmental science, english, and art electives, a screen is not typically needed for activities.

For classes that would need a screen for research and further learning, such as history, core science, and math classes, short, 15-minute activities could be intermixed with 10-minute breaks, so students can rest their eyes, reducing their chance of contracting migraines.

There are ways in which teachers can adjust their curriculum to fit the needs of their students. There are also ways students can advocate for less screen time, as most teachers are open to suggestions and care about their students’ health.

About the Writer
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Microaggressions Impact Student Learning and Classroom Dynamic

Microaggressions+come+in+various+forms+and+can+amass+into+a+detrimental+impact

Turner Consulting Group

Microaggressions come in various forms and can amass into a detrimental impact

Microaggressions have become troublingly normalized in modern society. Schools, as microcosms of society, are not exempt from this issue; underrepresented students battle not only microaggressions, but also the implications they cause to a learning environment.  

The Merriam-Webster defines a microaggression as a comment or action that subtly expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group, such as a racial minority.

While junior Jenny Duan accepts this definition, she recognizes the need for further details. 

“Microaggressions can either be implicit or explicit,” Duan said. “Oftentimes, the aggressor doesn’t realize that what they’re saying is hurtful and is usually based on stereotypes or false perceptions of people.”

Duan, a Chinese American daughter of immigrant parents, recognizes the harm that microaggressions can cause. She agrees that microaggressions have become alarmingly normalized in everyday life, especially in colloquial conversations. 

Senior Aliyah Ramirez contends that microaggressions are especially prevalent in the classroom. She has personally experienced microaggressions unjustly correlating her Latin American heritage with her intelligence. These comments have degraded Ramirez’s confidence in her academic abilities, impacting her learning. 

“I think [these microaggressions] definitely make you question your intelligence,” Ramirez said. “I know that I’ve had to work extra hard just to prove my intelligence when it’s being insulted because of my ethnicity or my skin color.”

Senior Amen Zelalem has also faced microaggressions in the classroom which impacted her learning. In her case, the microaggression was committed by a teacher who used a derogatory Asian slur. While the action did not personally affect Zelalem, who is of Ethiopian descent, she still felt discomfort in the instance. 

For the rest of the class, Zelalem’s attention was solely focused on the microaggression, distracting her from the day’s lesson. She was torn as to whether she should speak up about the microaggression or remain silent since it was not directed towards her culture. 

“It’s hard to be in a class where the teacher is supposed to be teaching you, but you feel like you need to teach the teacher,” Zelalem said. “It feels like too much to be trying to make both the students and teachers less ignorant about their microaggressions on a daily basis.” 

The issue with microaggressions is how subtle they are; they usually fly under the radar except for the people that they affect. Microaggressions affecting students in schools are especially problematic as children are so vulnerable. Continually dealing with microaggressions in a school environment negatively affects student learning, especially for underrepresented communities. 

Diving deeper into this issue, Mia Simmons embarked on a research journey to explore the impact of racial microaggressions on students. Simmons, a recent graduate of the class of 2020, culminated her high school career with this project. Her main impetus for this journey was recognizing the need for a more inclusive race and culture-based education. 

“I wanted to have sufficient research to be able to educate people on microaggressions,” Simmons said. “I think this is a problem that some students have to face while others have the privilege of not even knowing what it is.”

Simmons’s research journey solidified the notion that microaggressions do impact student learning. In particular, she cited a 2007 study by Columbia University about the implications of microaggressions on student learning. 

“Microaggressions are detrimental to persons of color because they impair performance in a multitude of settings by sapping the psychical and spiritual energy of recipients and by creating inequities… Experience with microaggressions results in a negative racial climate and emotions of self-doubt, frustration, and isolation on the part of victims,” according to the study. “These feelings of self doubt can make it difficult for a student to feel like they belong in a class,” Simmons added. 

These adverse effects of microaggressions will continue to affect students unless teachers and students have adequate racial literacy training, according to Simmons. Expecting students of color to be responsible for handling microaggressions adds unnecessary—and quite frankly unfair—stress. 

“I think teachers and school administrators have a lot of responsibility,” Simmons said. “The culture of how students treat each other is set by teachers. If teachers have sufficient training to set an environment where microaggressions are unacceptable, that’s a big step to preventing the harmful impacts microaggressions can cause.”

Simmons stresses that teachers and administrators have a duty to incorporate racial literacy education to foster an inclusive learning environment. Conversely, students have a duty to engage with that education to develop their racial literacy. The burden for racial literacy does not lie solely on teachers; students must do their part as well.  

In the end, it really does come down to education for both students and teachers. Developing a racial literacy education is crucial to handling microaggressions and the harm they cause to student learning. 

 

About the Writer
Photo of Reet Chatterjee
Reet Chatterjee, Editor

A senior at Jesuit High School, Reet Chatterjee strives to better humanity with his writing. His writing focuses include social justice, politics, reform,...

Column: Being a Teenager Submerged in Politics

Column%3A+Being+a+Teenager+Submerged+in+Politics

I was raised in a household where politics were among the list of things I was taught not to ask people about, alongside finances and religion. As I grew older though, I began to see the abundance of political conversations around me, ones that made me uncomfortable because I had never heard them. 

I attended a Catholic middle school and was taught history out of an outdated hardcover book. I learned the branches of government and read some important documents, but I do not recall learning the major differences between political parties. I would ask my parents questions, but they would return with one sided answers.

I entered Jesuit politically unaware. At Jesuit I realized that my fellow classmates were not raised similarly to me in regard to never talking about politics. Lunch table discussions were filled with sharing views on significant issues, things that I did not have a stance on. 

When I shared an opinion, it was usually verbatim my parent’s views. I learned that  parents’s views were actually what most people were arguing because, to an extent, we are all educated on politics with some form of bias. Before technology, it was easy to succumb and believe in whatever we were hearing from our parents. Our parents were most of our first sources and glimpses into the political world. New resources and views are at our fingertips due to the efficiency of technology and the mass communication of social media.

In the height of the election, protests in Portland concerning the Black Lives Matter Movement and COVID-19, I felt heavily encouraged to become politically aware. I figured it was time to formulate my own views and beliefs, even if they differed from those of my parents. I encouraged myself to closely watch the presidential candidates’ reactions and strategies to overcoming these unprecedented times. 

Today, I’m happy that I’ve become more politically aware, but I am also frustrated. 

Politics are everywhere

How could I not be involved when everyday I scroll through social media to see radical sides of both parties trying to convince everyone that they are correct? I’ll watch the news, but it feels like that’s filtered also: intaking news corporations political beliefs. It is frustrating to grow up in a generation where it is well-known which news station supported which party. 

The intense, over saturation, of politics these days makes me inclined to not take part. Because political conversations can be fruitless, I would rather not participate in them. Any other year I could have been convinced that conversations are what grow one’s outlook, but I believe that our country is so divided that conversations end up in arguments. I would open to holding political conversations in an understanding environment, one where ideas are safely expressed and not belittled. Conversations are a beautiful step towards education, but only if both parties are opened to learning and not preparing to prove they are right or the other is wrong. 

When I become frustrated, there are times I wish that everyone were raised to not discuss politics. The stakes are so high now that I worry that one “wrong” stance could potentially end a friendship or breach trust. 

Though I am aware of the importance of political views and the gravity of this election, the overwhelming feeling of politics shoved in my face everyday makes me want to recoil from the process.

About the Writer
Photo of Lucy Menendez
Lucy Menendez, Staff Writer

Lucy Menendez is a senior at Jesuit High School and first time journalism student. Lucy plays basketball at Jesuit and is involved in multiple clubs. Her...

Female Politicians: Battling Double Standards as well as an Opponent

Congresswomen+Ayanna+Pressley%2C+Alexandria+Ocasio-Cortez%2C+Rashida+Tlaib+and+Ilhan+Omar.++

Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.

It’s been a groundbreaking couple of years for women in politics, with more gender diversity in government than ever before. According to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University, the year 2018 showed the largest increase in female representation among state governments (BBC). 

As the 2020 Presidential Election grows closer every day, voters have a chance to elect the first female vice president of the U.S: Kamala Harris. But is Kamala Harris up against something more than her opponents? Many have argued that women in politics, much like women in every field of study, are subject to an implicit bias that has long impacted our expectations of what a leader can be. 

An implicit bias is at work when someone tends to hold a preference towards a certain group of people, holds a specific attitude, or associates stereotypes to a group without conscious knowledge of their actions (Perception Institute).

Women in politics are often the subject of offensive, misogynistic remarks, as they are attacked by both the public and their political opponent. Last March, a hostile interaction between Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez , D-N.Y. made headlines when Yoho was heard insulting Ocasio-Cortez, going as far to call her “crazy”, “disgusting” and a “f—ing b-tch” (MSNBC).

Although these jarring words may seem shocking at first, there is a long history of men flinging insults at their women colleagues regarding their appearance, their ambition, their opinions or other subjective factors. As women are constantly criticized for these characteristics, their accomplishments and merits are overshadowed and appear less important.

Derogatory language towards women in politics has provided a long history of unfair coverage, double standards, and bias that has limited women, women of color in particular, from positions of power and authority. The same cannot be said for male politicians.

 In a research conducted by TIMES UP, a movement against sexual harassment and was founded in response to the #MeToo movement, the Vice Presidential coverage was analyzed between Kamala Harris, her opponent Mike Pence, and 2016 Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine. The data showed that the white male candidates’ qualifications remained unquestioned, while Harris was constantly criticized for her likability, her ambition, and other opinionated commentary (NowThisNews).

It’s time to treat women in politics with the same respect and dignity that they deserve, and that their male counterparts receive. As Americans continue the fight towards equality, it’s time to stop reporting on what a female politician is wearing, and start focusing on what qualifies her as a great leader for the American people.

About the Writer
Photo of Chase Kerman
Chase Kerman, Staff Writer

Chase Kerman, a junior at Jesuit High School, is excited to explore Journalism and grow as a writer in her first year taking the class. At Jesuit, Chase...

I Asked Teenagers How They Feel About the American Flag. It Got Interesting.

The+American+flag%2C+a+traditional+symbol+of+unity+has+shifted+to+one+of+controversy.

Amy Shamblen

The American flag, a traditional symbol of unity has shifted to one of controversy.

In our country today, the American flag holds a different story depending on who you talk to: some are proudly waving the flag at parades while others are burning the flag at protests. A symbol of unity has morphed into one of controversy, leaving Americans to question what the flag really means to them. 

To address this questioning, the National Public Radio asked 1,800 adults how they feel about the American flag. As expected, opinions varied greatly, but most Americans agreed that the country lacks a sense of national unity. To get a glimpse of the youth perspective, I interviewed six high school seniors about what the flag means to them. 

Max Lavey has seen the flag as a symbol of American freedom and liberty from a very young age. He recalls being indoctrinated to take his hat and glasses off and proudly place his right hand over his heart to pay respect to the flag. Moreover, Lavey saw its true significance when seeing soldiers drape a flag over the casket of his grandfather—a Korean War veteran. 

“I think that was an extremely life-changing moment when it came to how much I respect [the American flag,]” Lavey said. 

Emma Quach sees a different perspective. Quach believes the flag itself is not the issue, but rather people displaying excessive patriotism which can lead to a sense of supremacy. 

“I don’t think the flag itself has direct connotations to anything in terms of bigotry,” Quach said. “However, I do think that the people who are parading it around right now do seem to hold those ideals.”   

On the other hand, Noah Lyman, whose heritage stems from Hawaii, sees the flag as a symbol of American imperialism. Specifically, Lyman cites the illegal annexation of Hawaii, during which the American flag was draped over Iolani Palace (the royal residence for the rulers of the Hawaiian Kingdom). Lyman argues that the flag has historically been used—and continues to be used—as a sign of dominion over indigenous peoples. 

“I would say that the American flag is used as a symbol of dominance,” Lyman said. “Hanging today in front of Iolani Palace, the American flag flies above the Hawaiian flag, which just shows who’s dominant.”

Anna Dellit contends that the flag has become so controversial because it is now a rebuttal to social activism. For example, Dellit noted the societal backlash to Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the flag and national anthem. She believes people and the media focused too much on respecting the flag, rather than addressing Kaepernick’s message of ending police brutality towards African Americans.  

From another perspective, Damon Grim was initially outraged and offended by Kaepernick’s protest. Grim is still unsure about Kaepernick’s actions, but he admits that they have raised his awareness of social injustices such as police brutality. While they disagree about Kaepernick’s actions, Grim agrees with Dellit that the flag has been used in politics to create dissonance amongst citizens. 

“What has happened in our country is that because we’re so polarized, everything has become a political symbol,” Grim said. “And sadly, our flag has become a political symbol.”

Alternatively, Ziggy Berkoff believes the flag will never represent unity in such a diverse America. 

“To me, it’s hard because when the flag means something different to every single person you talk to, it can’t really represent us all in the same way,” Berkoff said. “America is such a big country and we can’t represent everyone with one visual representation. 

The dissonance surrounding the flag is yet another example of how America is more divided than ever before. To work for progress, Emma Quach stresses the importance of meaningful dialogue, specifically with people of differing perspectives. 

“I definitely think we need more discussion among people of different opinions,” Quach said. “Especially, with social media now, we can completely isolate ourselves in a bubble of people who have the same ideas that we do.”

Quach refers to the current era of social media news, during which news is personalized to individual social media users. However, people can become trapped in a “bubble” of one-sided news that fits their own narrative, as algorithms tailor social media feeds to a user’s interests. A recent study from the Pew Research Center showed that Americans are aware of the issues surrounding the intersection of social media and news, yet there is no clear solution in sight.    

While all six interviewees hold different opinions regarding the flag, they echo Quach’s call for more listening and less arguing.

About the Writer
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Reet Chatterjee, Editor

A senior at Jesuit High School, Reet Chatterjee strives to better humanity with his writing. His writing focuses include social justice, politics, reform,...

Please, stop buying toilet paper.

As+the+panic+surrounding+the+COVID-19+virus+grows%2C+people+are+panicking+and+buying+up+important%2C+life-saving+supplies

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As the panic surrounding the COVID-19 virus grows, people are panicking and buying up important, life-saving supplies

We have all heard the stories. We have all seen the pictures. We have all gone to the stores. Walls of empty shelves where life necessities like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and face masks once sat. People, staring at the face of a global crisis, ran to the stores to buy as much of these as they possibly could. Many people bought out these items to resell online at a higher price, but most simply wanted to prep for the future, stockpiling on goods they heard were selling out fast.

If you have paid attention, you likely will have seen listings online for these products selling at crazy prices. People selling toilet paper by the square, selling doomsday prepping kits, or $1 bottles of hand sanitizer at $20. This practice is referred to commonly as price-gouging. It is common whenever a high-demand item comes out. Concert tickets, limited-edition collectibles, and other items have all combated this practice for years, but the hygiene industry did not prepare for this. There’s no way they could have.

In an urgent effort to reduce this practice, eBay has banned the sale of these items, and Amazon is taking down any sellers listing these products for extreme prices. This has resulted in many of these sellers simply stockpiling these products in their homes, unsure of what to do. They want to make a profit, but no one will let them sell for the prices they want. A New York Times article details one such seller who has tens of thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, face masks, and other hygiene products stacked up in his home (New York Times).

Many user comments on the article criticize the seller, pointing he could easily get rid of these items by either giving them to a local hospital or simply selling them for a fair price, and he did donate the supplies on Sunday, a day after the article was published, and people can see the ethical issues with price-gouging, especially for items that could potentially save people’s lives, but the broader issue here is not necessarily the price-gouging.

As mentioned before, many people—-normal, average people—-have gone to stores to buy large quantities of these items for their own personal stock, afraid they may not be able to get them in the future. Hoarding like this presents the real problem. Buying huge quantities like this is practically completely unnecessary. COVID-19 is not going to close all stores, it’s not going to shut down the roads, and it’s not going to cancel all hygiene product production.

Instead, when you buy out local supplies of hygiene products, you make it drastically harder for people who actually need these supplies to get them. Not everyone can afford to buy bulk orders of toilet paper, and not everyone can afford to pay the gouged prices online. Not everyone has the time to travel the city in search of basic necessities, so buying out these items only puts more people at risk.

You also make it harder for medical professionals to care for people actually infected with COVID-19 and people at higher risk of getting it. Only a couple of weeks ago the United States Surgeon General urged people on twitter to stop buying face masks (New York Times). He pointed out that across the country, stores had sold out of face masks, making them incredibly difficult for hospitals to find. Most normal people do not need face masks, and buying them is typically pointless, so buying large quantities only made it harder for hospitals to do the job we need them to. Right now, nothing is more important than ensuring that the healthcare system can operate at its maximum efficiency to fight COVID-19, and buying essential healthcare supplies prevents hospitals from doing this.

The best thing we can do right now is to spend like we normally do and not put any more stress on the retail system. Stores and suppliers are only equipped to handle a certain amount of demand and rapidly increasing the demand could put the entire system at risk. Doomsday prepping will only put us closer to an actual doomsday where stores will not have the items people need to live.

We are currently living in the middle of a global health crisis and it is easy to start thinking about doomsday, and what you might need to survive, but a global crisis is not the time to start selfishly thinking about what you might need in eight months. It is the time to start thinking about how your actions will affect the other people in your society and what other people need right now, especially those who cannot afford to spend as wantonly as you can.

About the Contributor
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James Martini, Alumni 2019-2020

James Martini’s interest in writing began as early as the second grade, and he has written ever since. As a senior, he began his career at the Jesuit...

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