Tornado Times, February 2021

Scroll for more

Page 1

Tornado Times Pompano Beach High School

February 2021 @TornadoTimes

Vol. 12, No. 3

Sophomore Krystal Felix and senior Bailee Robinson pick up trash at Exchange Club Park in Pompano Beach on jan. 29. This cleanup was one of SGA’s first inperson events since the new risk release form has been made. PHOTO BY NICOLE TORRES

Whats in the news?

Run the risk?


Tornado Times is produced by students at: Pompano Beach High School 600 NE 13 Ave. Pompano Beach, FL 33060 Phone: (754) 322-2000

How to use social media: Spread truth to stop riots


February 2021 Volume 12, Number 3

District shouldn't force teachers back


Around the world from home: Summit connects 15 countries


Missing senior year: Pandemic leaves senior activities uncertain


Wonder Woman 1984 Review:


Show me the money


New forms required for after school events

Print issues in the 2020-21 school year are planned for October, December, February and April. For students, teachers and parents who need information on the school and events, Tornado Times is a quarterly printed magazine and a daily updated website that will report the news, lead the school and provide a public forum. Unlike social media, our product provides more insight on our school and events. By emphasizing coverage of what is happening, offering an outlet for students and providing a check and balance, we will promote dependability, responsibility, honesty, accomplishment, teamwork and success.

For the students, by the students Tornado Times is a public forum for student expression. The newspaper staff is responsible for determining what subjects are to be covered and warrant placement in the newspaper. As a public forum, Tornado Times welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must be signed and sent to The staff reserves the right to edit letters for poor taste, libel and space. Advertising rates are available at Please contact us by email or by phone if you have any questions. Advertising which promotes illegal products under Florida law, includes false statements or is written in bad taste will not be accepted. The opinions in this publication are not necessarily those of advertisers, Pompano Beach High School or Broward County Public Schools. Tornado Times is a member of the Florida Scholastic Press Association, which awarded the newspaper a bronze certificate for its 2019-2020 issues.

Our Staff Eduardo Andrade, Editor-in-Chief Matthew Shanbom, Editor-in-Chief Emma Parker, Managing Editor Keanu Silva, News Editor Alisha Durosier, Opinion Editor Kayla Gayle, Student Life Editor Javier Garcia, Sports Editor Sierra Van Dreason, Contributing Editor Ashante Anderson, Brody Berrios, Tanner Block, Isabella Castellanos Joa, Caleb Holness, Zoey Katz, Nicholas Rapalo, Brian Tang, Nicole Torres, Staff Interns Dr. Andrew Shipe, Adviser

2 | Table of Contents < February 2021 > @TornadoTimes

Don't fall for misinformation masquerading as memes

Just like students, teachers deserve to choose what's safest for them

The biennial event brings students from around the world together again... kind of

Forget about quarantines and vaccines, what's up with prom?

Sequel sinks, hooks on to cliche

Hopeful college athletes battle it out for fewer offers

Calendar February 23. Final make up day for school pictures 25. SGA Belove Creamery fundraiser 26. Univeristy of Florida Regular Decision notification March 1. Boys baseball game vs. Hollywood Hills 2. Girls softball game vs. Taravella 3. Deadline to fill out form for senior crown 9. Final day to apply for SGA class 11. Girls lacrosse game vs. Coral Springs

12. Girls lacrosse game at Archbishop McCarthy 14. Clocks move forward one hour for daylight savings 15. Boys baseball game at Boyd Anderson 17. St. Patrick's Day 19. Girls softball game at Cardinal Gibbons 22 - 26. Spring Break 27. Start of Passover April 1. University of Miami Regular Decision notification 4. Easter Sunday 13. Start of Ramadan < February 2021 > Calendar | 3

Run the risk?

New forms required for after-school, in-person events By Nicole Torres, Staff Intern

In-person events and activities are back at school, as long as parents are willing to release the district from liability if their child gets sick. The risk release form is to be signed by the parent or guardian and the student before any upcoming in-person event. “The risk release forms have been very beneficial for SGA especially. We are finally able to safely hold in person events and community service projects with these forms, for example our beach cleanup,” senior Emilee Kurdziel said. By signing, parents are agreeing not to sue Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) even if the child gets sick at a school-sponsored event where protocols are not followed. The form states, “By signing … I also voluntarily assume all risks that I and/or my child(ren) may be exposed to or infected by Covid-19 as a result of participation in the Activity, and that such exposure or infection may result in personal injury, illness, sickness, and/or death. I understand that the risk of exposure or infection may result from the actions, omissions, or negligence of myself, my child(ren), BCPS staff, volunteers or

4 | News < February 2021 > @TornadoTimes

agents, other Activity participants, or others not listed, and I acknowledge that all such risks are known to me.” The form also states that parents/guardians are responsible to pick up the student immediately if they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, regularly check their temperature before any event and confirm that the student has not been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus. “Well, we (IOC) haven't been doing any school-based events due to COVID-19, but SGA last week did a mental health week which was very successful. I know a lot of our administrative staff were pleased, as well as other students. Personally, I feel safe because we had other ideas but we knew we couldn’t do them because it was not safe and we wouldn’t get them approved. Yes, we followed all protocols, we wore our masks and even work gloves when we passed out candies and flowers. We had a clean and dirty buckets for the sharpies for the banners and hand sanitizer each day. I’m glad administration let us do something like this and hopefully we can do more,” junior Victoria Franco said.

Freshmen Olivia Anson, Zoe McMahon and Angelina Huynh kneel to pick up trash that washed on Exchange Club Park from the Intracoastal Waterway while freshman Noah Cherson works behind them. PHOTOS BY NICOLE TORRES

Uncalculated risk. Sophomore Krystal Felix, senior Emilee Kurdziel and sophomore Ally Vagelos pick up trash. Felix said she found a toothbrush in the bushes.

How many students are signed up for at-school learning?


— Lori Carlson, assistant principal DATA GATHERED FEB. 10 GRAPHIC BY KEANU SILVA In the bag. Student Government Association held a Beach Cleanup on Jan. 29 at Exchange Club Park in Pompano Beach as a community service project to help the environment. Each of the 11 members who attended had to sign a risk release form to protect the district and school from lawsuits if anyone caught COVID-19. “It was such a beautiful place with so much trash, so I was just happy to try and make a difference but so much more can be done,” sophomore SGA member Krystal Felix said. < February 2021 > News | 5

How to use social media:

Spread truth to stop riots The far-right, specifically those who fervently support and follow every word of former President Donald Trump, have heavily disrupted the way people obtain information, causing disorder, culminating with the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol, a disastrous mark on history. Such was the precise influence of false information spread online and the hypocrisy and influence of the far-right wing. The media, including platforms popular with millennials and Generation Z like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok, all spread misinformation based on fraudulent messages from the former president and his most fervent followers. Because those platforms promote posts based on emotional connections (e.g., “likes”) rather than logical thinking, unwary people were pulled into chiming along, and an angry mob was created. The Capitol riot and continued protest against fair, legal and certified election results are a heavy example of the power of misleading, unchecked online messages, posted and reposted by people with hypocritical beliefs to stir up unrest and support of a dangerous and, as of Jan. 20, illegitimate leader. The hypocrisy of their messages should be clear to anyone at a school where critical thinking is encouraged. After repeating messages like Black Lives Matter (BLM) is antifa and “I am your president of law and order,” the Jan. 6 rioters fought with police officers,

killing one. This needs to be made clear: The rioters did exactly what they condemned the BLM protesters for doing, violently protesting, despite the fact that the vast majority of BLM protesters were non-violent. But peaceful BLM protesters were tear-gassed and pushed off the street on June 1, 2020, so Donald Trump could have a photo op holding a Bible in front of a church, while the Jan. 6 rioters simply walked out of the Capitol when they had finished looting and destroying things and literally spreading their feces through the hallowed halls of democracy. To top it off, the Capitol rioters stormed the reporters and destroyed media equipment. While they had experienced

6 | Opinion < February 2021 > @TornadoTimes

dangerous events before, many said that during the riot, they were in the most danger they ever felt.

As student journalists, we have been accused on social media and in person of spreading “fake news,” and we have read and heard threats of physical violence and administrative referral for what we have printed. And for 11 years, Tornado Times staffers have accepted these accusations and threats as part of the job. As a bit of journalist folklore says,

“Journalism is what somebody doesn’t want published.” But now we’re calling on you, our fellow students, to do more. The disclaimers and suspensions that Twitter and other social media platforms have enforced on Trump will not stop all the fraudulent claims online. You can help stop it by going online and posting the correct messages and information to help. Journalists like us work hard to fact-check and spread accurate information, but every bit of truth helps prevent events like the Capitol riot — or worse. So go online, research the proper information, prove fraudulent information wrong and help us fight the lies by spreading the truth.


District shouldn’t force teachers back By

announcement made by the district that all district teachers must return back to school to teach students in person. A student who has a compromised immune system, whether they have a heart disease, diabetes, asthma or are recovering from cancer, would be at risk if they were forced to go back to school. That’s why they have the choice to stay at home and learn remotely, rather than be robbed of their chance of getting education or attend in person while anxiously awaiting to leave. It shouldn't matter whether it is a student or teacher, parent or principal, health should always come first. If the district’s top-priority is supposedly to ensure the safety of others, why this sudden action against the well-beings of our educators? Students are given a choice, and even so not every student can return to school yet because of certain

Ashante Anderson Staff Intern Students are clearly fundamental in the school system, and as such, their safety is a high priority, especially during unprecedented situations. However, they are not the only important piece. What about the lesson constructors and class instructors? What about the safety of the teachers? A teacher’s safety is not any less important than a student’s by any means. Unfortunately, legal action had to be taken against those who needed to be reminded of that fact. During a press conference on Jan. 7, the Broward Teachers Union announced that it was intending to file a lawsuit against Broward County Public Schools, regarding an

guidelines put into place for their safety. Students are at home learning, so why risk the teachers when they can teach from home like they did before? Teachers should have a choice that works and benefits them, not one that forces them to choose between their job and their lives. Some teachers have gone into retirement or on leave out of fear. At the time of writing the 50-member faculty includes five interim subs. It simply isn't fair and the BTU has the right to pursue any means to protect the teachers of this county. In a Jan. 7 press conference, BTU president Anna Fusco said that it isn't a matter of whether or not teachers want to teach students, because of course they do. "They don't want to not return, but they are legitimately afraid that if they return, they might contract the virus and they are at the highest risk," Fusco said.

At the end of this dispute, the two sides had to get a third party, the arbitrator, to make a final decision on the case. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the district, but with certain rules put into place. The arbitrator decided that the principals of the schools are the ones who will make the decision on whether or not their school's teachers are allowed to stay home. The school relayed this information to our teachers on Feb. 2, and English teacher Jennifer Pliske was satisfied with the results, just as I was. "I'm happy that there will be accountability and it sounded like the arbitrator's ruling was that the principals would have to, in writing, explain the operational needs and the choices that they made in terms of which teachers stay home and work remotely and which ones continue to come to school," Pliske said. Continued on

Turning cameras on respects teachers By

Matthew Shanbom Editor-in-Chief I know I’m in the minority here. Only 17% of students want cameras to be mandatory for attendance, according to a Broward Schools survey last year. This didn’t say students had to have their camera on all the time, or even just during instructional time, only for attendance. In spite of this survey, the district changed the policy, and students have been required since Dec. 2 to show presence in Teams to be counted present. Has anything changed though?

For teachers, cameras are not just a way to annoy students. Cameras allow them to see who they are talking to and whether they are comprehending the material. In the same district survey, 69% of teachers supported camera usage for attendance. Believe it or not, teachers, at least I hope, sign up to be a teacher not for the pay, but to work with students and help educate the next generation. I’m sure every student has seen their teacher beg for students to turn on their cameras and express their disdain when only a couple kids in the class follow through with their request. Teachers, of course, understand if there is some reason you can’t turn on your camera, but at least let them know. When you do, use your voice, not the chat. I’m sure teachers would appreciate that.

If you were on campus for school, guess what? You would have to show your face to other students and teachers at the school. Plus, your camera can only see your upper torso meaning you can wear whatever you want, with dress codes (mostly) being a thing of the past until you return to campus. I haven’t heard of a single student who has been dress coded virtually. Students, at least for attendance, turn on your camera and allow your teacher to get to know your face. I don’t personally keep my camera on the entire time, but I make sure to keep it on when I am talking to the teacher. Remember the survey mentioned earlier in the article, I, of course, responded yes to it, as I think everyone else should have. If you don’t have a working camera, reach out to the school, get it fixed and show respect to your teacher and students. < February 2021> Opinion | 7

Around the world from home

Summit connects 15 countries By Eduardo Andrade, Editor-in-Chief

This year’s biennial International Summit, held virtually Feb. 1-5, was the largest in school history, with 15 countries and 139 international students participating in the event. However, the magnitude of this event struggled to get through to students despite its historic nature. “When you’re live, even 150 people can make it feel like the school size doubled, but on Teams, even though we had significantly more people it just shows up as a little number 200 or whatever, and you really don’t get the sense of, ‘there’s a lot of people here,’” senior Jeffrey Drew said. Drew served as both country leader, an intermediary between country ambassadors and administration, and as a co-leader with Cadre #9. “So I guess yeah, more people, more representation, but it felt a little bit downsized.” While the summit did feel smaller, this helped some students recover part of the personal connection lost over virtual meetings. “It was completely different since we couldn’t connect as well with the students; however, I learned a lot from them and I hope they feel the same way,” junior Ashley Oliveira Andrade said. Andrade was a country ambassador for Zimbabwe. “Just like last time, I made a lot of friends from all over the world and I’m very glad we had the summit this year. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to create new friendships, which wasn’t the case.” This sentiment was largely reflected by the international guests, with 61% of international students reporting that the cadre groups were their favorite event, according to a survey conducted by administration Feb. 5-6 “I will never forget-- the Cadre meeting,” Princess Narh said. “I got to meet new people and learn about their backgrounds and also change some contacts if we wanted to stay in touch.” By meeting with the same group every day during the summit, participants found it easier to connect with each other, as

8 | Feature< February 2021 > @TornadoTimes

Fifteen students meet on Teams for their daily cadre meeting, where they had time to talk to students from almost every country participating. The biennial International Summit was held virtually from Feb. 1-5 as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected schools around the world. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANN WAYLAND COOK


opposed to in-person summits where it can be easy to meet new people but difficult to stay in touch with them. “The first day (the conversation) was scripted, so it was quite fake on the whole,” Drew said. “Afterwards it became more natural. Some of the kids were much more willing and much more comfortable speaking and chiming in during group discussions.” Perhaps the biggest thing that the virtual summit could not compensate for was the loss of unstructured time where students who were not country ambassadors or cadre leaders could meet and talk to the international guests. “The videos were cool, but ... I didn’t have that many opportunities to interact,” senior James Hurst said. “I felt like I couldn’t just be like, ‘Hey, you over there in the bottom right of my screen, what’s your deal?’ I just wasn’t able to seriously talk to them like I would if I was in person.”

Last-minute planning After initially announcing in June that the summit would be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school decided in August to host the summit virtually, and by early September it had sent out invitations to participating schools. “If we were to just cancel, then we’re like, ‘Okay, well, we don’t know what it’s going to be like next year, we don’t know if we’re going to be able to postpone the following year,’” assistant principal Jill Samaroo said. “And then what? Then it’s how many years before, since we’ve had one. We don’t want to lose those relationships that we’ve already formed, we don’t want to lose (students) even knowing what a summit is because if we don’t have host families then we don’t have a summit... We didn’t want to lose momentum and not have something.” While hosting the summit virtually did ease much of the challenges associated with planning the event, producing such a quick turnaround for something usually planned over the course of a year introduced a number of complications. “I think the biggest challenge was the unknown, because we’d never done something like this,” Samaroo said. “All the past summits we’ve grown in size, but our processes and procedures have been the same. We didn’t know what we didn’t know until we were in it. There’s so much that we were coming up to the day of, and we’re like, ‘Ugh, we didn’t think of that,’ or we’re in it and we’re like, ‘Oh, man, we didn’t think of that,’ because we didn’t know to think of that.” These issues led to a last minute change of plans for the closing ceremonies, including the decision to scrap a montage of the week and the addition of a live performance of “We are the World” by Drew and two Swiss students. The change was made the night before the ceremonies, giving the Swiss students four hours between finding out and performing. “We collaborated, we practiced a little bit for this little song, and, yeah, we were able to kind of pull something through Microsoft Teams,” Drew said. “So being able to play any kind of a song was fun.”

GRAPHIC BY EMMA PARKER < Februrary 2021 > Feature | 9

Missing senior year: Pandemic leaves senior activities uncertain By Isabella Castellanos Joa, Staff Intern

At first, they thought lockdown would just be for a month. Then spring sports were canceled. Then graduation. Then the first day of senior year was remote. Fall sports were postponed. Homecoming was canceled. The state forced schools to open in October, but about 90% of seniors stayed home. “Because of COVID, I’m more comfortable at home,” senior Sierra VanDreason said. COVID-19 cases spiked in November and December, ruling out a full face-to-face return for the start of the second semester. Forty-five out of 279 seniors signed up for at-school learning for the second semester, but never have that many shown up. Only 19 seniors were present at the start of third quarter on Feb.11. Grad Bash, prom, a senior send-off pep rally and graduation all seem likely to be canceled, and senior year, with its great expectation as a rite of passage, will be over like a mouse click on the “Leave” button. “I’m sitting in my bedroom for eight hours a day on my computer looking at my teachers through a screen... it’s not ideal,” senior Bria Kuntz said. “I’m just another Microsoft Teams bubble in the meeting.” After years of perceiving past classes’ graduations and celebrations, a void is waiting to be filled. “Looking at my freshman and sophomore years and

seeing what the seniors got to do and how they were feeling and reacting to certain things made me feel like, ‘I want to know what that’s like,’” Kuntz said. “This year has taken that away from us … It’s like I just want to graduate and get this over with.” As many seniors define them, these traditions are a rite of passage that make the last year of high school a memorable moment. “We are celebrating us, and to have that taken away it’s like ‘Well, I have a diploma, but I don’t have any memories,’"senior Amniche Guerrin said. The remote experience could have effects long after the pandemic is beaten. In past years, being on campus gave seniors the advantage to get quick answers about college and applications from counselors and advisers. “It’s impacted the rapidity that students can access quality information,” school counselor Kathleen Fish said. “Communication and time for overturn has definitely lengthened.” Despite every ounce of difficulty, seniors have sought ways to stay involved with the school. “The pandemic not allowing me to participate in normal senior activities is sad,” senior Diego Orellana said. “But football Senior Night and all those sports activities have helped to make up for what we have lost.” Seniors have tried to look forward and learn from what the year had to offer. “It’s a new challenge that has been presented to us,” Guerin

10 | Student Life < February 2021 > @TornadoTimes

Homecoming King & Queen. Meldrina Jeantinor and Hilton Etienne stand together for a picture after becoming the 2019 homecoming king and queen. PHOTO BY ROMY GARRAUD

Holding onto memories. David Dos Santos holds Ryan Pszanka at Homecoming 2019. PHOTO BY SOPHIA RAPP Staying inside the lines. Tobias Burrowes paints his parking spot in the senior lot in October 2019. PHOTO BY SANAA BRYANT said. “New obstacles, things to overcome, and new ways to live that have been shown to us throughout this year.”

We got this. Seniors Matthew Shanbom, Jordan Greene and Eduardo Andrade exult in the team's performance on School Duel, an academic quiz school produced by Broward Educational Communications Network. The seniors' knowledge helped them reach the final of the Broward National Honor Society Brain Brawl on Feb. 17, which they lost. PHOTO COURTESY OF SANDY MELILLO

Clash of Brains: Brawlers chart path to wins By Alisha Durosier, Opinion Editor

The Brain Brawl team remains undefeated this year. As it approaches the finals, the six member team, sponsored by English teacher Sandra Melillo, is pleased with how far it has gotten in the competition, especially after last year's early defeat. Made up of National Honor Society members, the Brain Brawl team participates with 17 other schools’ teams in a 4v4 double elimination tournament run by the Broward NHS. Each game features 20 questions on topics ranging from the arts to mathematics and science. The game is split in two halves, which allows teams larger than four to participate. “I don’t know what questions are going to come up in each half, but I try and figure out who needs to be in all the time and who should be in together, and who needs to be playing at certain times so we could cover as many subjects as we can,” said senior Matthew Shanbom, the captain of the team. Shanbom’s role as captain is to recognize the individual strengths and weaknesses of his teammates and strategize accordingly. To prepare, members of the team hold one practice in between competitions where they review and study past questions. “As a brain brawl competitor, I was able to experience the adrenaline of sitting behind a buzzer and the excitement of scoring points on trivia even we didn’t know we knew,” senior Jeffrey Drew said. However, in the wake of the pandemic, Brain Brawl tournaments were moved completely online. “At the end of the day, it's just our team, the buzzer, and the question,” Drew said. “I would say that COVID has not in any way diminished the strength of our team.” While last year’s team lost early to Blanche Ely and Marjory

Stoneman Douglas, this year’s team has advanced to the finals. “This year we haven't lost a single game yet, and we are very happy about that,” Shanbom said Members of the team look forward to going against Western High School “I'm very excited to go to finals,” said junior Dilan Gobea, who is new to the team this year. Three out of the six members of the Brain Brawl team, including Shanbom, also participated in BECON TV’s annual broadcast game show, School Duel, where teams of three from various Broward schools compete to win $1,000 and Chick-Fil-A for a year. The team’s first-round match-up airs on May 6. The experience gives the team confidence going into the final round. “Going into the final matchup I feel refreshed from the comfortable win last round and well-prepared by our studying,” Drew says. Four out of the six members of the team are seniors, leaving the roles they fulfilled open. “I hope to be the captain next year,” says Gobea. “But any role next year sounds great to me.” Drew credited Melillo’s leadership as important to the team’s success. “Without her dedication, energy, and practice materials, we wouldn’t be in the same pursuit of academic excellence,” Drew said. “Brain Brawl is one of the rare opportunities where reading, extensive knowledge in niche fields, and academic study is directly rewarded in a competition format,” Drew says. “Over the many matches we played, there is one notion which has been emphasized: knowledge is power.” <February 2021 > Student Life | 11

'Wonder Woman 1984':

Sequel sinks, hooks on to cliche By Keanu Silva, News Editor

Warner Brothers brings a brand new look at Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince with the first sequel in the DC extended universe in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Patty Jenkins (Director) focuses on Prince’s ’80s lifestyle while still grieving from her past adventures and trying to stay under the radar. This time, the studio decided to adapt the story and characters to the decade’s trends and appearances, from parachute pants to absurd impersonations of the generation’s habits, and as a result, the action-superhero side of the movie is almost forgotten throughout the entire run of the film. Gadot’s acting is still on point, but with a few absurd takes on the idea of being in the ’80s, living life and still trying to embody the decade’s TV acting performances. Since the plot is based around the basic, overused theme of “I will make your dreams come true, and I will take something from you,” the audience already knows what is supposed to occur later in the movie. In spite of the foolish plot, Pedro Pascal’s performance as the power-hungry infomercial tycoon Maxwell Lord is, without a doubt, the best part of the movie. He was able to combine the role of the luxurious overlord with the almost broke dad that wants nothing but a happy life for his child masterfully. The movie takes the advantage of Wonder Woman being a powerful goddess to the point where nothing seems to align with what is happening with the story. One scene shows Diana hook to a plane thousands of feet above the ground, and suddenly the character is able to fly as if the air suddenly turned to water. Kristen Wiig's performance as Cheetah was not so bad, but the studio tries to once again bring to the screen the overused, cliche, nerdy character with extreme jealousy going to extremes to be accepted. And once again, it fails: Wiig’s envious take on the villain is

Poster for "Wonder Woman 1984" featuring Gal Gadot as Diana Prince. "WW84" was released virtually on DCFanDome on Dec. 15 and its U.S. theatrical debut was on Dec. 25 PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS PICTURES often poor and the once-powerful character is suddenly defeated after nothing. Another thing that makes the film ridiculous is the need for a romantic partner. So much for having Wonder Woman demonstrate strength on her own. Lastly, Warner Brothers took the concept of the ’80s too far. The movie becomes foolish, and there is no more superhero left in the character. The one action

12 | Entertainment < February 2021 > @TornadoTimes

sequence with the tanks brings a small balance to the table, but it doesn’t give any more reasons for the silliness to even exist. Pascal’s performance is the highlight, and the post-credits scene cameo gives the audience hope that the character still has more to explore, but the movie looks like it needed some more work to be more acceptable instead of looking like an unplanned cash-grab.

‘Palmer’: Inspirational story of acceptance By Aaliyah Evertz, Staff Intern

Justin Timberlake’s latest movie “Palmer,” released on Apple TV on Jan. 29, is a sweet, sad and subtly funny film about learning to accept yourself. Playing alongside newcomer Ryder Allen and Shadowhunters star Alisha Wainwright, Timberlake’s por-

trayal of the dark and brooding Eddie Palmer makes the drama an enjoyable watch. Set in the small town of Sylvain, Louisiana, the movie opens with a now formerly incarcerated Eddie Palmer making his way back to his childhood home, where he was raised by his grandmother Vivian Palmer (played by June Squibb). Palmer soon gets reacclimat-

Eddie Palmer (Justin Timberlake) mentors his neighbor Sam (Ryder Allen) in the movie "Palmer," released on Apple TV+ on Jan. 29. PHOTO COURTESY OF APPLETV+

ed to life in Sylvain – with a grandmother who makes sure he goes to church every Sunday and a parole officer who keeps him on his toes about finding a job. He soon meets his neighbor Shelly (Juno Temple) and her son Sam (Ryder Allen), who stays with Vivian whenever his mom – an addict who comes and goes for weeks at a time – bails. Sam is a boy who doesn’t adhere to society’s ideals of what boys and girls should act and dress like. He plays with dolls, wears tutus, has tea parties and routinely watches a show called “Penelope’s Flying Princess Club.” Though Sam is seemingly content with who he is, the people of Sylvain are not. He’s bullied by kids at school and gets picked on by adults. A good move on screenwriter Cheryl Guerriero’s part was making sure to give Palmer that

same “traditional” mindset as everyone else in Sylvain. When Vivian unexpectedly passes away in her sleep, Palmer finds himself as the only person left to take care of Sam. He soon gets over his reservations about the young boy’s not-so-normal habits and becomes a surrogate father to him. Palmer learns to become a parent, with the help of Sam’s teacher Maggie Hayes (Alisha Wainwright), otherwise known as “Ms. Maggie.” Sam and Palmer are almost one in the same. Sam is an outsider because of his nonbinary ways and Palmer is an outsider because he’s an ex-convict. Their unconventional father-son relationship is the most endearing part of the movie. Together, Palmer and Sam teach each other to accept themselves for who they are and to not take anything from anybody for it.

Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) – two side characters in the Avengers movies – as a newlywed couple within the universe of a ‘50s sitcom. Wanda and Vision are aware that she is a witch, and he is a machine, but they can’t seem to remember any details about their lives, or even their relationship, before they moved to the town of Westview. As their perfect suburban life begins to glitch, so to speak, they start to realize that not all is as it seems. It’s clear from the end of the pilot that Westview is not reality, it’s an alternate universe. As each episode airs, a new decade takes place: The pilot starts in the ’50s, the next episode goes to the ’60s, and so on. Almost as if in reference to how much time has seemingly passed, each episode presents a new

milestone in their marriage. The alternation of time periods brings a sense of nostalgia to viewers, with the “Bewitched” and “The Brady Bunch” styled intros and camerawork. It brings together Marvel fans by keeping the same concepts and characters but adds an old school sitcom twist that makes it an enjoyable watch for the whole family. Olsen’s performance as Wanda makes the show so oddly comforting. She is able to portray the witch as both a stereotypical, eccentric housewife and troubled young woman. Viewers’ attraction to the show mostly comes from the mysterious plotline. Who is behind this? Is it all Wanda’s imagination, or Hydra, a longtime Marvel antagonist that aims for world domination? Every week, old questions are answered and new ones arise.

‘WandaVision’ attracts fans with mystery plot By Aaliyah Evertz, Staff Intern

Marvel’s “WandaVision” is a major success. As the first Marvel Cinematic Universe project

following “Avengers: Endgame” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (both released in 2019), the show had a reputation to uphold. The opening of the first episode, “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience,” introduces

Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) dance in a scence from the first episode of the series WandaVision. WandaVision started streaming on Disney+ on Jan. 15. PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY STUDIOS < February 2021 > Entertainment | 13

Show me the money

College hopefuls battle for fewer offers By Zoey Katz, Staff Intern

Earning a scholarship to play sports in college was already tough, with only only 2% of high school athletes doing so, acording to CBS News. Now, due to the coronavirus, student-athletes have found that the usual scholarship process is even harder. After playing lacrosse at a high level for six years, junior attackman and midfielder Matt Hicks said that over the summer, COVID-19 definitely affected scouting. During the summer, lacrosse players usually seek national showcase tournaments, where scouts come out to see the young talent. But in 2020, there were about 50% fewer lacrosse showcases than usual because of travel restrictions. Hicks has been asked to tour several nondisclosed schools but has yet to be offered a scholarship directly. “I don’t like what COVID has done to me and the sport of lacrosse because it has made it so much more difficult to compete and get a chance to show your talent to coaches and scouts,” Hicks said. Senior football and lacrosse player Davine Martinez also struggled through the canceled 7-on-7 tournaments, spring games and workouts. COVID-19 more specifically affected the football off-season, forcing players to take on intense workouts and practices to stay competitive. “It definitely makes it harder, but honestly I think it will be okay because now as a country we have gone through a full season in multiple sports with COVID,” Martinez said. Martinez was offered to play football at Judson University and is committed to Elmhurst University in Illinois. Signing early gave senior lacrosse player


14 | Sports < February 2021 > @TornadoTimes

Erin Wheaton a different experience. Wheaton committed to North Greenville University in South Carolina as a junior in January 2020, shortly before COVID-19 restrictions went into place, and the process was tough prior to the pandemic too. “It takes a lot of time and effort, especially in the beginning,” Wheaton said. During her sophomore and junior years, Wheaton sent out many emails to coaches and took trips to a lot of colleges. “The biggest thing for me was comparing D1, D2, and D3 options and what was best for me,” Wheaton said, “After a lot of going back and forth... I narrowed it down to two schools, and in the end loved NGU the most.” COVID-19 is also affecting coaches’ ability to evaluate players and offer aid. Ac-

cording to the National Strength and Condition Association, 16% of college coaches expect losing a few scholarships, and 4% expect to lose the majority of them. The survey also said that coaches expected this trend to extend to following years. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, has also extended eligibility for athletes in most sports across divisions, which might leave fewer spots available for this year’s class, along with less money, already offered only at the D1 and D2 levels. (See chart below). “I’ve been focused on training and working really hard... I’m super optimistic about this season because of the opportunities we’re getting and I think our team is prepared to compete and hopefully win,” Wheaton said.

Senior Erin Wheaton prepares to pass the ball to a teamate from behind the goal. The girls lacrosse team beat Ft. Lauderdale 16-10 in its first game of the year on Feb. 17. PHOTO BY NICOLE TORRES

Sophomore McKenzie Jewell (#12) and junior Kobie Jay (#40) celebrate their win against J. P. Taravella on Jan. 8. The team won the game 46-40, marking their first win in three years. PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT GERBER PHOTOGRAPHY

Small turn out, big win Girls hoopsters beat JPT By Nicholas Rapalo, Staff Intern

Senior Tamya Jefferson dribbles past her opponent in a game against Piper High on Jan. 14. The team lost the game 52-29. PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT GERBER PHOTOGRAPHY

With a short season, a small team and little practice, the girls basketball team managed to have one of its best seasons, finishing 1-7, winning its first game in three years, beating Taravella 46-40 on Jan. 8, and being competitive in the others. Due to COVID-19, the team had a short season and fewer players. The season should have started around November but didn’t start until the end of December. “We didn’t have much time to practice for the games,” senior Brielle Flanagin said. The team was only able to play eight games, due to other schools canceling. “Many schools are canceling games

when there is a break-out,” coach Alex Jenkins said. “We have managed to navigate our way through with no confirmed cases.” Unlike previous years, the team was not able to be together outside of practices. “We could have had more team bonding, which would make us play better during games,” Flanagin said. “But I’m pretty happy with how the season turned out for my last year here.” The team had been improving over the past few years. “This is the first time we won a game since my freshman year,” Flanagin said. “Coach is still developing the team so there’s only improvement from here.” < February 2021 > Sports | 15

The boys lacrosse team's first game was on Feb. 23. Many players began practicing on their own before the season began. “The team turnout this year has been better than previous years,” senior midfielder Tajh Reed said. “Our roster is more experienced and athletic than any other year in the program’s history.” The boys soccer team’s season ended with a 2-0 loss to Cardinal Gibbons in the district playoffs on Feb. 4. “I’m feeling like it’s going to be a tough game,” sophomore Jonah Bennett said before the game. Gibbons eliminated the team from the semi-finals last year with a 7-1 victory. The loss spurred the boys to train hard as districts neared in hopes to make it to the semi-finals again. “As the season progressed we’ve gotten a lot better,” Bennett said. Junior Dilan Gobea said that the players

overcame their obstacles by playing as a team and trying to take lots of shots. “Every player is important,” Gobea said. The girls flag football team had tryouts on Feb. 8 and have been practicing for its first game, at home against SLAM! Charter School on March 3. Last season the group went 4-0 and was first place in the district before the season was cut short due to COVID-19. Coach Jonathan Firth said this year is a chance to start back up once again, hopefully right where they left off. The junior varsity boys basketball team finished with an 0-7 record. Despite the results, the group is still optimistic. “We played the best we had played all year,” freshman point guard Kerrick Wiggins said. “We played with a lot more energy and we actually felt comfortable playing basketball.” Both boys and girls track placed second

in their first track meet of the year at Monarch on Feb. 17, gearing up for their next series of meets Feb. 24 and 27. “COVID changed the structure of the meets,” senior Vincent Saintilus said. “I believe it's definitely going to be more competitive.” After months of practice, senior Medjina Dareus said the team’s goal was to “just have the most normal season possible and maybe get some new personal records.” The girls lacrosse team started the season 2-0 under its new head coach Xavier Johnson, who is also coaching boys lacrosse for the third year. Three girls are playing lacrosse for the first time, including freshman Zoey Katz. “Lax not only moves fast, but also has a lot of rules that are confusing, but the first game definitely helped clear a lot of rules up," Katz said after the season opener, a 16-10 win over Ft. Lauderdale Feb. 17.

Sophomore Krystal Felix runs with the ball while freshman Zoey Katz follows in support. The girls lacrosse team defeated Ft. Lauderdale 16-10 on Feb. 17. PHOTO BY NICOLE TORRES