Arlingtonian vol. 4 2021-2022

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DECEMBER 13, 2021





SSR Returns Administration gives students 20 minutes to read every day for two weeks out of the year.

Our Hour

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A discussion of how Power Hour was implemented this year.


’Tis the Season A look at different December holidays.

Forum Decorum Application-only Facebook group for UA residents features recommendations, donations and arguments.

Construction Reintroduction Construction continues on the grounds of UAHS.


The Golden Standard?



The Lion's Den


Two Trophies

Festive Feelings


ARL Athlete: Vivian Lawless

Lou’s Reviews: The Crispy Coop


Columnist reviews the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Wildlights. Fried chicken like Grandma makes it.



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aking this cover, I was inspired by my long morning walks to school from where I park my car on Westmont Boulevard.

Both boys and girls water polo teams win state championships. Senior varsity basketball player Vivian Lawless reflects on her past seasons. EDITORIAL

Breaking Tradition

I always carry a full backpack showcasing art projects, AP literature essays and statistics homework. For this cover, I



Exploring academic culture and performance at UAHS.

Columnist argues the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse is proof that it isn’t safe to protest, and that despite this threat we must dissent.


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wanted to find a way to incorporate this busy end of semester feeling, as well as the the excitement break brings.




crambling to find my calculator in the depths of my backpack for math class, I looked over at my friend Kyle who asked calmly, “How are you today?” “Frazzled!” I responded, plopping myself into my chair. She laughed. Midterms are days away, and the high school is buzzing. The LC is packed with students poring over review material; students are spending their lunch periods completing missing assignments, and the athletic wing is crowded with wrestlers and basketball players wrapping up their final practices before winter break. Busy, stressed, anxious, excited, and yes, frazzled— you name it, I see it in myself, my peers and the teachers and administrators that surround me. As my walk into the high school gets chillier and I feel compelled to blare Christmas music in my car, I see family time and hot cocoa on the horizon, but there is one thing in the forefront of my mind: midterms. If you’re like me, you’ve probably checked PowerSchool more times than you would care to admit, and you’ve calculated the percentages you need to maintain or improve your grades in every class. But this year, I’m forcing myself to pause before tapping on the alluring P representing the PowerSchool app, and instead asking myself why I’m at school in the first place. Is it to rack up points? Is it to keep my GPA above a certain number? No. It’s to learn about history and ARLINGTONIAN EDITOR IN CHIEF society, how to wield mathematical figures and the science that explains everything that surrounds us. It’s to build leadership, design thinking and interpersonal skills for current and future passion projects. It’s to teach and inspire a newsroom and a Student Innovation Team committee. It’s to make meaningful connections with my peers and experience the exuberance of adolescence. It’s to become an informed citizen of the world. So if you’re a student, I implore you to take a step back next time you check your grades and to ask yourself what you want to get out of school every day. If you’re a teacher, I hope you pause to ask yourself why you love teaching next time you type in a test score. If you’re an administrator, I ask that you think of ways we can move closer to a system that values learning over performance, and students over numbers. Read more about academic culture at UAHS on page 14.





December 13, 2021, ISSUE 4 EDITOR IN CHIEF


Matthew Doron James Underwood COPY EDITOR

Brooke Mason ARTS EDITOR




Greta Miller

Ellie Crespo



George Bernard Antonia Campbell Luke Eriksen Elena Fernandez Fia Gallicchio Gracie Helfrich Sophia Hudson Safia Malhotra Iris Mark Lucy Miller Carly Witt

Bella VanMeter



Austin Henley Hayden Kegg Lauren Leff Krish Mawalkar Alexander Wilkins Zac Yoakam


Jack Diwik Julia Molnar

Jayden Banks Héloïse Dutel Sarah McCulloch Bridget Mitchell Jack Tatham GRAPHIC ARTISTS

Daphne Bonilla Ryn Card Molly Hench Caroline Kegg Megan McKinney Ava Neville Stella Petras


Parker Badat


Lauren Buehrle Ryan Efird Elizabeth Goth Grant Overmyer Gia Stella


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EDITORIAL POLICY Arlingtonian is a studentproduced newsmagazine published by Journalism III-A students at UAHS. The publication has been established as a public forum for student expression and for the discussion of issues of concern to its audience. It will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution. Arlingtonian welcomes letters to the editor, guest columns and news releases from faculty, administrators, community residents, students and the general public. The Arlingtonian editorial

board reserves the right to withhold a letter or column and return it for more information if it determines the piece contains items of unprotected speech as defined by this policy. The Arlingtonian staff raises and pays all printing and production costs through advertising sales, donations and fundraisers. The Editor in Chief shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy. To read our full editorial policy, visit our website at

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◀ BOOK IN HAND Senior Noah Freud reads “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr during SSR.

SSR Returns

Administration gives students 20 minutes to read every day for two weeks out of the year. BY FIA GALLICCHIO, ’22. PHOTO BY BELLA VANMETER, ’22.


uring the week of Nov. 15, students spent 22 minutes at the end of fifth period reading silently. Although current students have not experienced it, SSR—sustained silent reading—is not new to UAHS. “We used to have SSR many years ago at the old high school,” language arts teacher Matt Toohey said. “Students, teachers, custodians, coaches, administrators, everyone just would sit and read.” SSR at the old high school disappeared after a consecutive series of new principals. However, the administration was recently able to bring it back. “Schedules got changed, and different


Arlingtonian staff members share their recent reads.

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principals came in with different ideas, and it just disappeared,” Toohey said. “When Mr. Theado was brought in as our principal, I asked him if we could bring back SSR, and [he] has finally said, ‘Yes, we’re doing it.’” SSR will return for another week in the fourth quarter. Research has shown there are benefits to reading regularly. “Study after study has shown that the most successful readers—I don’t mean financially successful, I mean the most even keeled, happiest people, people who enjoy life—always find time to read,” Toohey said. Some students agree that reading is beneficial.

“I noticed a personal improvement in my mental and physical health just since I started reading last summer.” senior Marin Sneed said. However, it can be difficult for students to find time to read in their free time. “Once school started again I noticed that I didn’t have as much time to just sit down and read, and so that’s why I’m really excited about SSR,” Sneed said. “I found that a lot of people like to read; a lot of people just don’t have time to read or an excuse to read.” Toohey hopes that SSR will encourage students to read more. “If we can get just a handful of students to fall in love with a book, then SSR worked.” Toohey said. While there aren’t many restrictions on what students can read during SSR, they are encouraged to read for fun rather than for class. “This time should be for stuff that’s like not an academic reading necessarily. You don’t want to sit in SSR and read your government textbook because that’s no fun.” Sneed said. Additionally, Toohey advised students against studying for other classes or getting off task during SSR. However, junior Katniss Weisberg said that was exactly what took place. “In my study hall, nobody was actually reading, and people just still kept talking,” she said. Students are unable to read on any electronic devices. “What we’re hoping for is students have a hard copy of something to read.” Toohey said. “We’re hoping for no screen time.” Students who wish to read more often outside of SSR can join Book Club. Sneed is president of Book Club, which usually meets on the last Thursday of the month in the LC3.



Callia Peterson, Editor-in-Chief

Daphne Bonilla, graphic artist


Teaching First Hand

New teacher at UAHS adjusts to a new environment. BY ANTONIA CAMPBELL, ’22. GRAPHICS BY MOLLY HENCH, ’22. PHOTO BY BELLA VANMETER, ’22.


esides crazy schedules and a new building, there is yet another new addition to UAHS: Deaf ASL teacher Wendy Sabino. Sabino began part-time teaching at UAHS this school year; she teaches at Columbus State as well. However, she did not plan to become an American Sign Language teacher at the high school. Her career is the result of various schooling and counseling opportunities. Sabino, born deaf, grew up in Michigan and New Jersey where she attended public school and didn’t learn ASL until college. “I grew up going to a public school with no accommodations except for sitting up front,” Sabino said. After high school, she attended seven colleges and was a counselor for the deaf before she began working at Columbus State. “There’s seven colleges I went to. And the reason is because of support services,” Sabino said. “I had gone to a community college, and I did okay there, but when I transferred, that’s where I went downhill. My mom told me, ‘You need to go to a college where you have more support.’” Sabino then decided to go to the Rochester Institute of Technology where she attended their National Technical Institute for the Deaf. It was her first time living in an all deaf climate.


“I had to adjust to living with all these deaf people that I had never been around my entire life. I had to learn the culture; I had to learn ASL; I had to learn how to use an interpreter because I had never had one,” Sabino said. Originally, Sabino was a social work major, and she didn’t intend on becoming an ASL teacher until later. “After getting acclimated in the deaf community and learning to sign, I was able to go back to college,” Sabino said. “I ended up being a counselor for deaf children.” She then began teaching ASL and Deaf Culture at Columbus State where she remains today. As for UAHS, she continues to acclimate to the high school environment. “I really like it [here]. It’s been an adjustment because for ten years, I taught college students, and now, I’m teaching high school students. It’s a whole different dynamic that I’m getting used to,” Sabino said. “My favorite part so far is that I see

many of my students ▲ BIG SMILE are motivated to learn Sabino smiles for the the language, and they camera with her laptop are improving, and decorated with sign watching them grow has language stickers. been great.” Sabino would like students and staff to know that she’s approachable and excited to meet new people at the high school. “I love making new friends, and I love interacting and socializing with people. I don’t want anyone to be afraid to talk to me because I can hear pretty well one-onone, and I would love to get to know a lot of people,” Sabino said.


HOLIDAY FLAVORS LATKES Latkes are fried potato pancakes, often eaten during Hanukkah. Hanukkah is the celebration of oil lasting eight days, so many festivities include eating fried foods.

’Tis the Season

A look at different December holidays. BY ELLIE CRESPO, ’22. GRAPHICS BY MEGAN MCKINNEY, ’22.

PONCHE NAVIDEÑO Ponche Navideño is a traditional Mexican hot drink made with cinnamon, tamarind, prunes, apple, guava and piloncillo (sugar cane). It is enjoyed during Las Posadas. BÛCHE DE NOËL The Bûche de Noël, or Yule log, is a traditional French Christmas dessert; it’s a rolled, chocolateflavored sponge cake with frosting in the center, often topped with candied cranberries and powdered sugar.

EGG NOG Eggnog is a traditional Christmas drink made with eggs, cream, milk, nutmeg and vanilla.

JERK CHICKEN Jerk Chicken is a Jamaican dish, often eaten during Kwanzaa celebrations. It consists of chicken seasoned with scotch bonnet, allspice and thyme.

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ix years ago, elementary school students could be seen reading “The Night Before Christmas” or participating in a Secret Santa gift-exchange on the day before winter break. Now, classroom celebrations have no religious significance or affiliation. The PTO began offering elementary school room-parent orientation, following the guidelines of the Upper Arlington Board of Education Policy 8800 six years ago. According to Policy 8800, “Observance of religious holidays through devotional exercises or acts of worship [are] prohibited.” However, “Celebration activities involving nonreligious decorations and use of secular works are permitted.” This switch was intended to make students of all religious backgrounds feel included during the holiday celebrations because many different November/December holidays are celebrated in Upper Arlington. LAS POSADAS Las Posadas, which translates to “The Inns” in English, is a Mexican holiday. The holiday commemorates Joseph and María’s journey to Bethlehem and spans nine days to honor each month of María’s pregnancy with Jesus. Festivities typically begin at 8 p.m. and last well into the night. Celebrations include a family parade around the block, praying and singing. Each night, families adorned in colorful costumes representing the peregrinos–María and Joseph–parade the neighborhood. Families pass each house on their block until they reach their own, representing how María and Joseph were denied shelter in Bethlehem. The Las Posadas processions are followed by hours of praying, singing and eating.

“Where I’m from, [on] the 23th we have La Posada Grande; that’s like the big Posada that like the whole block [makes]. They close one whole street, and everyone comes outside with lights on. We have tacos. Everyone brings food, and we have pinatas, music and all that stuff,” senior Diana RodriguezNunez said. Some families have individual traditions. “In my house at the end of the night, they have

different baby [Jesuses] that you have to change. You get with a partner and you change them, and then you put them to sleep. And that’s kind of like our reunion for the family. That’s [on] the 16th and then on the 24th we wake them up… and then we change them,” senior Isabela Gallegos-Esqueda said. Other celebrations, however, are essential. “You have to sing the songs, like, if you don’t sing them it’s not a Posada,” Rodriguez-Nunez said. “Campanas de Belén, Los Peces en El Río.” Las Posadas is celebrated from Dec. 16 to 24. To join in on the Las Posadas celebrations, Rodriguez-Nunez and Gallegos-Esqueda suggest singing the traditional songs and making Ponche Navideño.

KWANZAA Kwanzaa is a holiday which honors African heritage and African American culture. The celebration was created by African American studies professor Maulana Karenga following the Watts riots of 1966 in which protesters fought against police brutality and discrimination in the education and housing systems. Karenga said that he wanted to create a holiday that gave African Americans “the opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history.” The Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” meaning “first fruits” was the basis for the name Kwanzaa. Each day of Kwanzaa honors one of seven principles: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith). Kwanzaa festivities were inspired by the FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @UAARLINGTONIAN

harvest festivals of many different Southern African cultures and tribes, such as the Zulu. Festivities on the first night start with lighting the central black candle; participants light a candle each night to represent one of the seven Kwanzaa principles. Other celebrations include singing, dancing, wearing traditional African clothing, storytelling and engaging in the harvest feast on the final day. Kwanzaa is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

YULE The pagan and Germanic holiday, Yule, is centered around the winter solstice. Every solstice, pagans and Germanic people celebrate the rebirth of the sun as they welcome back its warmth. This tradition predates the 16th century when winter in Northern Europe was filled with famine and brutal weather; the solstice brought hope and fresh meat for people in the northern hemisphere, spurring the 12-day Yule tradition of feasting and merrimaking. With the expansion of the Christian Church across Europe, many of Yule’s traditions were absorbed into Christmas in an effort to coerce Germanic peoples and pagans to join the church. These traditions include but are not limited to: the use of Mistletoe, the 12 days of Christmas, gift-giving and decorating with holly. However, many pagans and Germanic people still celebrate Yule, like senior Sam Wilson. Though Wilson’s parents don’t celebrate Yule, they have individually observed the holiday for four years thus far. Yule celebrations are individualistic, with many traditions differing from family-to-family and person-toperson. “[I like] having fires in the fireplace; making smores is something I enjoy. Making homemade apple cider with different fall stuff or like baking for my family, and feasting is very common. I guess [anything] joyous like singing, fire, lighting candles, having nice smelling stuff in the home, decorating,” Wilson said. ​​Wilson said that anyone can celebrate Yule. “As long as you’re doing it out of respect, because [you] genuinely think [Yule] actually clicks, then there isn’t really any wrong way to do it,” Wilson said. Yule starts on Dec. 21 and ends on Jan. 1. To participate in the Yule celebrations, Wilson FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @UAARLINGTONIAN

suggests decorating the home with evergreen, which symbolizes life, and holly, which symbolizes protection. Additionally, Wilson recommends creating a Yule altar the night of the winter solstice and burning a candle that represents the sun throughout the day.

CHRISTMAS Christmas is celebrated by both Christians and non-religious people alike. The holiday commemorates the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ, son of the Virgin Mary. Christmas, however, is also a cultural holiday and includes many secular traditions such as decorating the Christmas tree and anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus. “To me it’s just a time to spend quality time with my family; we luckily live close to each other but still don’t see each other that much with busy lives. So it’s just like usually two days where we get to be close and spend a lot of quality time [together],” senior Jillian Keuhn said. To Keuhn, the festivities leading up to Christmas Day are equally important. “[We decorate] the Christmas tree and the whole house; we have themed rooms like a candy room and a snowman room in our house with different decorations,” Keuhn said. “Usually me and my whole entire family go Christmas shopping together and like split up so that we can keep it a secret what we’re getting each other, but still all go together.” Christmas Eve and Day for the Keuhn family are filled with long-standing and essential traditions. “On Christmas Eve every year, my fiveperson family–my parents, my siblings and I–always go bowling like in the middle of the day. And then we go to my dad’s parents’ house, and we always eat lasagna. We're not Italian, but we always eat lasagna,” Keuhn said. “Then my grandma every year gets me, my siblings, my cousins, my mom and both of my aunts a pair of pjs to wear to sleep that night, so they’re always Christmas themed. And that’s the one gift we’re allowed to open on Christmas Eve.” Christmas Day is Dec. 25. To partake in the Christmas festivities, Keuhn recommends

adorning the house in yellowish-white LED lights and visiting Butch Bando’s Holiday Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek, a drivethrough light show.

HANUKKAH Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is an eightnight Jewish Festival of Lights. The holiday commemorates a small Jewish army, the Maccabees, defending themselves against religious persecution at the hands of the Greek empire over 2,000 years ago. Hanukkah celebrations are filled with lighting candles and eating fried food. Senior Noah Freud’s celebrations are centered around family togetherness, typically holding the largest festivities on the first night of Hanukkah. “This is more of a cultural holiday. So rather than saying prayers and having food, it’s more of just enjoying the time together, hanging out with family,” Freud said. “We usually only celebrate the first night, and then we just light candles the other eight nights. We give gifts usually the first night. We’re pretty relaxed.”

Hanukkah is typically observed anytime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, in direct alignment with Christmas celebrations, which has pushed one of Judaism's least important holidays to the forefront in America. “Back in Israel, I have a lot of Israeli family as well, people don’t celebrate Hanukkah like we do,” Freud said. “The only reason Jews recieve gifts on Hanukkah is because back when a lot of Jews were immigrating from Eastern Europe to America, a lot of the kids were just upset that they didn’t get anything on Christmas, and it just sort of became an [American] Hanukkah tradition.” This year, Hanukkah starts on the night of Nov. 28 and ends on Dec. 6. To join in on the Hanukkah festivities, Freud recommends enjoying a jelly donut.


Forum Decorum

Application-only Facebook group for UA residents features recommendations, donations and arguments. BY MATTHEW DORON, ’23 AND GRACIE HELFRICH, ’23. GRAPHICS BY LUCY O’BRIEN, ’22.


rab your AR’s and head downtown. It’s open season on protestors,” one post read. “Any recs for cooking classes for a 12 year old?” another asked. Both of these comments, along with many more, have been posted on the Upper Arlington Ohio Discussion Forum. The Upper Arlington Ohio Discussion Forum began in November 2014 and has since become an application-only Facebook group for Upper Arlington residents and workers. The purpose of the forum is “to have an open forum for discussion within our great community, with the hopes that the members would feel comfortable asking questions, posting opinions, and leaning on one another for advice without fear of retribution or mockery,” according to the forum’s list of rules. These rules emphasize civility, kindness and appropriate behavior, as well as focusing on local issues and keeping topics relevant to the forum. The members of the forum typically abide by these rules, mostly posting about charities, giving 8 | ISSUE 4 | DE C EMB ER 1 3 , 2 0 2 1

recommendations to each other and using the forum as a virtual lost and found. However, alongside these innocuous posts are arguments, often with dozens of comments and targeted complaints about others, despite the forum’s rule of “Raise concerns, but don’t complain.” “There’s a lot of crazy things that happen,” senior Anna Carine said. “[There’s] a lot of accusing people’s kids of driving too fast, like I know [people on the forum were calling a student’s] car… ‘a sketchy car going too fast.’’ Some members of the forum look at these posts in a different light. In 2020, UAHS alumnus David Baghat began recording satirical readings of discussion forum posts and uploading the videos to YouTube. “I think that everyone needs to sometimes recognize the things that they say and also to laugh at your own kind of ridiculousness,” Baghat said. “[The videos are] not meant to be mean-spirited, but, yes, I would say that growing up in Upper Arlington, I do recognize some of the absurd posts because I knew people

like that and parents like that when I was going to school [in UA].” Baghat said that the lack of face-toface communication contributes to the arguments on the forum. “Social media has made it feel like people are invincible. They can hide behind a computer; they can hide behind a keyboard,” he said. “I think you also have to understand [that] what you post on social media is free rein for anyone else [to see].” HOT BUTTON DISCUSSIONS While the forum’s rules allow discussion about local political issues, members are told to “be considerate in [their] comments” and avoid “sarcasm, rants, name calling, mocking, or belittling.” The list of rules addresses how to handle political discussion: “An example of an unacceptable issue: ‘Candidate X in the presidential election is great and everyone should support this candidate.’” Despite these restrictions on what FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @UAARLINGTONIAN

political topics can be discussed, there are often targeted posts about candidates. “I know they spread a lot of rumors about candidates and stuff on [the forum] or just like people in general,” Carine said. Baghat said that as a response to these political arguments, a separate group called the Upper Arlington Political Discussion Forum was formed. “I think it’s why they’ve taken the political discussions and created the Upper Arlington Political Discussion Forum where the moderators kind of push people if they’re going to get into a political discussion. Unfortunately, we’re in a time right now when we’re making things like public health a political matter, and it shouldn’t be,” he said. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the focus of many posts on the forum with topics such as masks, the school district’s handling of distance learning and the return to in-person learning being argued over. “It wasn’t until COVID when things started getting nuts and people were going and posting things that I couldn’t imagine,” Baghat said. “Someone didn’t think ‘maybe I shouldn’t post this.” Others also believe that COVID altered the environment of the discussion forum. “Everyone was just accusing people of not being safe enough, pointing fingers [at each other]. It was definitely not helping,” Carine said. In addition to discussions about political candidates and local COVID issues, members of the forum often post their reactions to national events despite the forum’s requirement of focusing discussions on local issues. On Aug. 25, 2020, a then 17-year-old named Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot two men and wounded another in Kenosha, Wisconsin, at a protest of the death of Jacob Blake, a Black man killed by a white police officer. Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts on the afternoon


of Nov. 19. By that evening, there were already several posts, some with more than 100 comments, reacting to the verdict. “As a culture, we are over-armed and emotionally out of control,” one post read. Many of the posts discussing current political events or nationwide issues are removed or deleted by members within days of being posted. LOOKING IN THE MIRROR Some believe the discussion forum bolsters Upper Arlington’s reputation of a “bubble” that is unwelcoming and exclusive. “If the [forum] is pretty discoverable from the outside, that could definitely reinforce this perception of a bubble to

“I think that people don’t want [the forum] to be what Upper Arlington is known for.” UAHS ALUMNUS DAVID BAGHAT

outsiders,” junior Katniss Weisberg said. “If a lot of people are seeing this and seeing people acting in this way, then presumably, they’re gonna think about Upper Arlington in a more… conservative and negative light.” Baghat said he believes people are supporting his satirical videos because they want to “bring to light” the behavior on the forum and work against that perception of UA. “I think that people don’t want [the forum] to be what Upper Arlington is known for,” Baghat said. “For a long time [Upper] Arlington has had a very privileged name associated [with] it, and I think that’s why the videos took off. I

think people were like ‘Oh no, this is what we don’t want [Upper] Arlington to be like.’” “DIVIDED THE COMMUNITY” Along with possibly reinforcing the stereotype of UA’s “bubble,” some believe the discussion forum has caused divides within UA. “I think it’s bad [for the community]. I think it’s good for the [members] to talk about stuff together, but it’s gotten way too extreme, like screaming at people’s kids on there. It’s just a bit extreme,” Carine said. Others share her sentiment. “I feel like it reflects poorly on the Upper Arlington community,” Weisberg said. Baghat said he believes that the discussion forum has both failed and succeeded in its original purpose of creating a digital UA community. “It’s this idea of ‘we can be civil and we don’t have to name-call people and we don’t have to use extreme profanity.’ In theory, what [the forum] was set up for was to be able to have discussions about community,” he said. “I think that it has brought a sense of unity, that we have a right to disagree [about] things, but we have to be able to disagree in a civil manner, and that's sometimes where I think the discussion forum has kind of divided the community a little more.” Baghat said that he thinks the forum has also created echo chambers that further divide the community. “I think [the forum] started to expose people’s true thoughts. I think it caused people to leave the discussion forum and form their own discussion forums, their alternative forums,” he said. “I think that steaming off and creating these other little groups… defeats the purpose of what the discussion forum is about, which is working together as a community.”

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Our Hour

A discussion of how Power Hour was implemented this year. BY GRETA MILLER, ’23 AND ELENA FERNANDEZ, ’23. GRAPHICS BY DAPHNE BONILLA, ’22 AND LUCY O’BRIEN ’22. PHOTO BY BELLA VANMETER, ’22.


or UAHS students and staff, the start of the school year was eventful with a new school building, improvised parking and a new lunch hour program. It was nerve-wracking for many members of UAHS to develop a parking strategy given the uncertainty of spaces and navigate a new building to find their classrooms. Then came UAHS’s prototype lunch hour program— Power Hour. Power Hour challenged students to adapt to a new form of lunch where they needed to vary their choices of eating times and participate in alternative activities offered during the hour in order to open up space for others to eat. Since that first day of school, the administration worked to create new and improved versions of lunch, with staff and students having both negative and positive experiences. WHAT WAS POWER HOUR, AND WHY WAS IT IMPLEMENTED? Power Hour was originally created to give students options during a structured school day. “The concept of Power Hour is really just about providing time within students’ days. Students have relatively structured days with their classes, so Power Hour [was a] flexible

time in their day to do a number of different things. They [had] options,” principal Andrew Theado said. There were three main reasons why Power Hour was created. First, prior to the pandemic, office hours were on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons with either an early release or late arrival for students who do not attend those office hours. That time out of school equated to roughly one lost hour per week for each student that had to be reported to the Ohio Department of Education. Over the course of a year, those hours add up, and a way to solve this problem was to embed office hours into lunch, since lunch hours are not reported. Second, many students could not participate in clubs because of sports, jobs or family obligations after and before school. If the school day were to allow for club participation during such times like Power Hour, more students would be given the opportunity to get involved. Lastly, offering one universal lunch time would allow for students to eat with anyone, whereas prior to COVID-19, the lunch hour was broken into two periods, and at the beginning of each school year, students would try to change their schedules to have lunch with their friends. Power Hour was designed to help students avoid truancy reporting problems, participate in clubs and eat lunch with whomever they wanted. “Power Hour [helped] to address all of those in theory. In practice, it is a little bit more challenging because we are undoing some habits,” Theado said. POWER HOUR VERSION #1 The first version of Power Hour started at the beginning of the year when students and staff were working to get settled into the new building. At the start, many students wanted to spend their Power Hour time eating and talking with friends, but with everybody not diversifying their activities, there was a large number of students eating lunch at the same

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time. Power Hour version #1 was quickly brought to a stop due to the lack of furniture and too many students in one spot at the same time. “If I had to do it over again, we would not have started with Power Hour because the first week of school you aren’t really digging deep into academics; you’re not really necessarily seeking out the academic support that you are right now,” Theado said. Some students have voiced their opinions about Power Hour, and some students have kept their opinions to themselves. Others are indifferent and do not have an opinion regarding Power Hour at all. “I like the concept of Power Hour which gives us time to socialize or have office hours, but it’s very frustrating that there isn’t enough seating for everyone to stay in their same spot for the whole period,” junior Sanay Tufekci said. A&B SPLIT LUNCH To immediately address the Power Hour confusion and calm the situation, Theado changed the lunch hour scheduling after only four days. The change involved splitting 4th period into A and B groups based on where each 4th period class was located in the building. Group A ate during the 4a period, and Group B ate lunch during the 4b period. This approach, having halved the number of students flowing into the common areas at once, immediately allowed for students to find seating easily and remain there the entire period. While meeting the lunch time space needs of students, this method does not easily allow for clubs to gather as a whole, for students to eat with anyone or for lunch time office hours—creating the need for office hours after school and forcing the administration to report missed hours to the ODE. POWER HOUR VERSION #2 An additional solution the student body FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @UAARLINGTONIAN

and staff experienced was a second version of Power Hour where there was a split of the lunch time into two groups based on grade level. Upperclassmen who wanted to sit and socialize were given priority to eat during the first 30 minutes of lunch, while the lowerclassmen who wanted to sit and socialize gathered in the competition gym, and vice versa during the second half of lunch. For the students who did not choose to sit and socialize, they could attend whichever half worked best for them based on what they wanted to do. “Really any student, any grade, can choose which session to eat based on what they want to do. So really when we talk about priority we are talking about the students who just want to sit and socialize, [those] who want to sit down and eat and hang out that whole time; that is when we are talking about priority,” Theado said. This scenario allowed for adequate space for students, and with all students in a free period during that time, office hours were to be implemented. The biggest negative to this approach was that students had to move halfway through the period to participate in the other activities offered whether it is office hours, lifting or talking with friends in the gym; they could not sit and eat for the whole lunch hour. ALTERATION UAHS staff and students have also experienced an alternation of lunch versions throughout one week: three days of A&B Split Lunch and two days of Power Hour version #2. This approach brought both positives and negatives to students and staff throughout a week. The three days of A&B split lunch allowed for a few days of staying in the same spot all lunch, and the two days of Power Hour allowed for office

hours within lunch—effectively solving the reporting problems, lunchtime club meetings and for students to sit with a majority of the student body. However, this scenario included mid-week schedule changes for half of students. Members of the A split lunch group would eat lunch at different times throughout the week depending on the lunch version taking place that day. It also required students to move after 30 minutes two days a week and did not allow students to eat with everyone three days a week. “I think Power Hour has potential to be good and helpful, but there are obviously things that need to be changed. I like it, but it is very busy with a lot of people. I feel like having it once a week and then having the office hours after school on Thursday is good,” sophomore Gia Stella said. FINAL DECISION Solving the three primary reasons for implementing a Power Hour concept—a need for office hours/out-of-school hour reporting requirements, opportunities for

AUGUST 23-26


UAHS students and staff experience Power Hour Version #1

A&B Split Lunch is implemented


Decision is made for Power Hour Version #1 to be stopped


▲ LUNCH TIME Students eat lunch in the Golden Bear Boulevard. club meetings and an ability for students to eat with everyone—might not be possible with one scenario. Many students have had both positive and negative experiences when it comes to UAHS’ lunch-time prototypes this year, with possibly the bad outweighing the good. With that thought in mind, it was decided in early December that Power Hour is not a fit for UAHS right now. “After much discussion and observation, we have made the decision to strictly run a split-lunch schedule beginning next week, which will include an afternoon office hour on Thursdays. This will be the base schedule for the remainder of the school year,” Theado wrote in an email to UAHS students and staff. UAHS is still in the learning process when it comes to finding the best way to approach this year filled with new experiences and struggles.

NOVEMBER 15 UAHS students and staff experience an alternation of Power Hour Version #2 and A&B Split Lunch

NOVEMBER 10 Power Hour Version #2 is implemented


The admistration decided to stop Power Hour for the rest of the year W W W . A R L ING T O NIA N. COM | 1 1


As 2021 draws to a close, young children are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and adults can get booster shots. BY GEORGE BERNARD, ’23. GRAPHIC BY DAPHNE BONILLA, ’22.


AHS Research and Design Leader Laura Moore walks her 7-yearold son into the Nationwide Children’s Hospital vaccination clinic, recently opened for 5 to 11 year olds, and he is excited to be protected. He is among the newest members of society to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after the FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be administered to 5 to 11 years olds on Oct. 29. The first vaccinations against COVID-19 were given emergency authorization roughly a year ago, and by late November, more than 70% of adults in Franklin County are vaccinated, either by one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. In April, Ohio began to roll out vaccine eligibility for 16- and 17-yearolds, and many high school students took the opportunity to get the shot. UAHS held a vaccine drive that attracted hundreds of students. “There was a drop in the number of COVID cases after the older age group was able to get vaccinated,” Gina Rancitelli, district COVID nurse coordinator, said. She expressed optimism at the potential for the newest approval to lower cases among elementary school students. “I hope to see a decline in cases amongst younger students as more students become fully vaccinated in the next couple of months,” Rancitelli said. According to Rancitelli, cases are more common with younger students, but there are still breakthrough cases. “Right now, many of the positive cases are occurring at the elementary level, but I have seen an increase in the number of fully vaccinated high school students 12 | ISSUE 4 | DEC EMB ER 1 3 , 2 0 2 1

becoming positive recently,” she said. UAHS students that are over 18 are eligible to get a booster shot to increase immunity. Senior Lucy McCabe recieved the booster in early December. “I think that this is just like an added necessity to getting vaccinated,” she said. “So I think it will cover me better.” Rancitelli estimates that 80% of UAHS students are fully vaccinated, but there is still reason to be cautious. “Cases are up this year since the Delta variant is so much more contagious than the Alpha variant was this time last year. I anticipate an increase [in cases] over the winter,” she said. Despite the new variants, many parents feel more comfortable sending their children to school now that they have received the vaccine. “I can’t even begin to articulate the relief I feel,” Moore said. “I have been so impressed with how the staff at Greensview have handled [the pandemic].” Many parents are now feeling similar relief after a vaccination drive on Nov. 22 at Tremont Elementary School vaccinated just shy of 400 students between the ages of 5-11 in a joint effort with Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Second doses will be administered on Dec. 13. As winter approaches and the Omicon variant spreads, cases will likely rise and Rancitelli reminds students to follow district mask wearing guidelines and remain vigilant to limit the spread of the virus.


Construction Reintroduction

Construction continues on the grounds of UAHS. BY GRETA MILLER, ’23. GRAPHIC BY CAROLINE KEGG, ’24.


n November 2017, the UA community approved a $230 million bond-levy for the construction of a new high school and the construction or renovation of five elementary schools. An additional $7.5 million was privately raised by the Legacy Capital Campaign, $5 million for construction costs and $2.5 million for building and grounds enhancements. These efforts have given 1,900 UA students in grades 9-12 a new 411,000 square-foot high school building that is approximately 100,000 square feet larger than the old one. With most of the building construction now completed, what is left to be done on the high school grounds? Two parking lots are expected to be completed by April 2022. The largest lot, containing roughly 240 spots, will be entered from Brandon Road—located next to the south entrance of the high school building and allocated primarily for students with a FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @UAARLINGTONIAN

small portion allocated to staff. The second lot, containing roughly 175 spots, will be entered from Mt. Holyoke Road—located south of the tennis courts—and allocated to students only. Those approximately 375 student spots will likely be allocated via a lottery that prioritizes seniors who carpool with other students, but the COVID-19 situation next spring could change that. “[In the past] we have prioritized seniors who [were] carpooling. So seniors who are driving other people are going to get priority on the lottery to get a spot,” Principal Theado said. Furthermore, parking lot passes will most likely be just that—passes that get students into the lots, with a first-come-first-serve determining which spot a student gets each day. Street parking for all students around the school building block will continue along Mt. Holyoke Road, Zollinger Boulevard and Northwest

Boulevard, providing approximately 200 lined spots. Staff parking will continue along Brandon Road, and additional neighborhood parking is yet to be determined. A baseball diamond and a softball diamond will also be constructed by the end of the 2021-2022 school year. The 375-foot baseball diamond construction has already begun at the corner of Mt. Holyoke Road and Ridgeview Road, while the 225-foot softball diamond construction is expected to begin in a few months at the north side of the baseball diamond next to the Mt. Holyoke Road parking lot. “They each have dugouts, a team clubhouse area and seating behind home plate with a little press box. And then there is a concession stand that they both share,” UA Schools Chief Operating Officer Chris Potts said Two practice fields will be constructed at the corner of Ridgeview and Brandon Road by the end of the 2021-2022 school year. While the farther west field is roughly 90 yards long, the east field will be slightly shorter at 80 yards due to the existing sidewalk cutout from the old infrastructure. Due to the shorter lengths of the fields, they will be most suited for sports like soccer, lacrosse and field hockey rather than football. There will not be any facilities such as spectator seating or press boxes included with these fields. Under the approved 2017 levy, these fields are expected to be grass, but there is a current private fundraising effort underway to explore possibly upgrading the fields to turf. “They have until probably January. And I know that they are working hard to see if they can raise about 1.2 million dollars,” Potts said. Men’s lacrosse head coach Kyle Olson is familiar with the fundraising efforts. “We want to do two turf fields, though they will be a little short of a full field but great for practices,” Olson said. By the end of this school year, students will have access to over 300 more parking spaces, two baseball/softball diamonds and two practice fields. The parking congestion and frustration should ease for students, staff and neighborhood homeowners; the baseball and softball programs will have access to state-ofthe-art fields, and the high school mens’ and women’s field sports will be able to schedule practices earlier with the opening of two new fields. The light at the end of this construction tunnel is near. W W W . A R L ING T O NIA N. COM | 1 3

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THE GOLDEN STANDARD? Exploring academic culture and performance at UAHS.



chool board elections are not known for attracting heavy public attention. However, this has changed during this year’s election season when school boards across the country saw strife and divide across various issues like masking, vaccines and approaches to teaching racial issues. While some of these issues appeared in Upper Arlington’s election, a bigger emphasis was placed on UA’s academic performance. Academics became a decisive and divisive topic in UA’s school board election and galvanized many voters while drawing the attention of some candidates. In a race of five candidates vying for two seats, Lou Sauter campaigned on a platform of returning UA to “academic excellence;” likewise, candidate Liz Easton wanted to make UA the “gold standard of academics, athletics and activities.” The dominance of this topic in the election, alongside the desire for UA to excel in its academics, speaks to community members’ differing expectations of UA’s schools and raises greater questions about UA’s academic culture. BECOMING THE BEST During the campaign season, Sauter released a multi-step plan to improve the district’s academic standing compared to other districts throughout the state. His plan includes creating a task force “with the sole goal of making Upper Arlington Schools the number one school district in the state academically by the year 2027,” according to Sauter’s website. FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @UAARLINGTONIAN

As one step in this process, Sauter, who won one of the two open seats, wants the district to make use of an independent consulting firm for the purpose of investigating any academic decline of the schools and identifying solutions. “We’ve got to bring in some outside people to evaluate what’s going on here and where we have some holes,” Sauter said. “Typically, in any type of company that’s having issues, they’ll bring people in from the outside. Outside eyes look at things a little bit differently, and they might be able to point you in a direction you need to improve on. And hopefully that’s what we do.” Sauter said that at the same time, UA should review what high-performing districts are doing and incorporate their practices. “We should go and visit some of the schools that are constantly ranked in the top,” he said. “We should go there and see what they’re doing, what they’re focusing on.” RANKING KNOWLEDGE Whether UA is the “number one school district in the state academically” or not hinges on how it performs in academic rankings. The Ohio Department of Education ranks districts on a variety of metrics and compiles these rankings into a yearly report card that grades schools and districts on their performance. This report card draws from six major components: progress, gap closing, improving at-risk K-3 readers, graduation rate, preparedness W W W . A R LING T O NIA N. COM | 1 5


for success and achievement. This last benchmark, achievement, makes up 20% of a district’s overall grade and is itself based mostly on the “performance index” which is calculated on how students do on end-of-year state tests. This performance index is what many community members focused on during the election. Sauter’s campaign, for example, mailed voters a flyer displaying a chart of UA’s performance index rankings across time. Beyond Sauter, this renewed attention to rankings has also come from the UA Education Coalition. The group, whose self-described mission is “to advocate for educational excellence in the Upper Arlington Schools,” monitors and reports on UA’s academic performance. The group was started last year to advocate a return to inperson schooling. Cathy Pultz is the current

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president of the group. “Upper Arlington has excellent teachers, but the district needs to determine why our rankings have gone down so much,” Pultz said. Pultz thinks that UA’s drop in rankings reflects a problem within the district as a whole. “I do think rankings matter. When you go from 24th to 67th, that’s a red flag that something’s not up; something’s not right,” she said. Pultz said that higher rankings would also attract more prospective families to UA. “If you see a school district that’s maintained itself in the top 10 for 10 years, you’re going to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to go look over there,’ as opposed to a school district [where] the rankings are going down,” Pultz said.

Some in the community have emphasized that rankings should be considered within a broader context. Nidhi Satiani, who was elected to the school board alongside Sauter during the recent election, said that academic rankings are being made out to be a bigger issue than they actually are. “I feel like the numbers were cherry picked for political reasons, instead of it being an actual assessment of how our schools are doing or talking about how our schools are doing,” she said. Satiani supports a bigger-picture outlook on evaluating district performance. “I don’t think a single number defines the health of the school district,” she said. “You need to look at it holistically.” Satiani said that during the campaign season she spoke with families about rankings and why there was concern.



“So for families who are saying our rankings need to be the number one thing that we’re focusing on, I would love to talk more about why,” she said. “And that is one of the things that I was asking while I was campaigning. The reasons that popped up that I was hearing was one, there was a concern that we’re failing our students.” Satiani said that the focus of the school board should be on these underlying concerns and not the rankings themselves. She said another concern she had heard was home values. “If the underlying concern is home values—which is another reason that came up when I was talking to people about ‘What is it about rankings that really concerns you?’—then let’s talk about home values,” she said. “Our home values are doing just fine. But if there’s this fear of the future, then let’s talk about what are ways that we can support realtors. What are the ways that we can support people who are selling their homes to really showcase the strength of Upper Arlington Schools? Let’s make sure that they have the information to know that our students really are doing just fine.” Satiani said that this focus on rankings might not prepare students best. “Really just chasing after a number is not necessarily, I think, good teaching, and it doesn’t better prepare our students for life outside of high school.” Still, Satiani said she sees some value in rankings. “It’s a data point that you can use,” she said. “It’s something that you have to look at; you can’t ignore it. It’s important for a lot of other reasons, but it shouldn’t be the only piece of information that drives decision making.” EARNING A GRADE While UA’s rankings within the state of Ohio have drawn the focus of many community members, most students worry more about their academic performance as measured by grades. In August, students found an unexpected change to how they saw their grades: students could no longer see their GPAs in PowerSchool. The goal of this change, which was suggested to the UAHS administration by FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @UAARLINGTONIAN

the counseling center, was to alleviate the stress caused by instant access to GPAs for students. However, some students, like junior Kajul Hari, found themselves and others more stressed due to this change. “That kind of got me stressed because you’re thinking about your cumulative GPA for college and just knowing like, ‘Oh, do I have a 3.5?’ or, ‘Oh, do I have a 4.0?’” she said. Junior Luke Rockey expressed that he too preferred being able to see his GPA. “I actually didn’t like it because I felt like your GPA was a really, really good benchmark to see how you were doing in school,” Rockey said. However, Rockey did say that while he liked being able to see his GPA, it didn't necessarily help with stress. “I like having [my GPA] there, but I’m definitely more stressed,” he said. This change also drew the attention of the senior class officers, who in meetings with Principal Andrew Theado advocated that it be reversed. The officers held that despite its initial purpose, the move had backfired and made students more worried about their grades. “The [class officers’] pretty much unanimous response was, ‘Well, we’re actually kind of more stressed not seeing it because we’re so used to having it available,’” senior class president Nathan Varda said. Having grown accustomed to being able to see their GPAs and grades, Varda said, students reacted negatively to being in the dark. “We agreed that while, for example, if we had never had access to it, that might be better, but now that we have had access to it in the past, for a lot of people, it’s going to be much worse and more stressful if we can’t see it now,” he said. In response to the class officers’ input, Theado began the process of bringing GPAs back as an option for students. “We tried to get it [back] on as quick as we could,” Theado said. Varda said that the administration was receptive to the officers’ input. “[Mr. Theado] was basically like, ‘Okay, I understand your perspectives.’ And I think

because it was a unanimous agreement, it struck him especially,” Varda said. “I would say this is one of the cases where they’ve been most responsive,” Varda said. While students can see their GPAs once again, student reaction to GPAs being hidden reflects, in part, the overall mentality toward grades within UAHS. “I feel like there’s huge expectations, not even from teachers but kind of from the general environment of the school and Upper Arlington High School, that you have to be perfect, have to be top of the class, you have to take honors, AP, IB, etc.,” Rockey said. Rockey said that the emphasis on grades isn’t balanced throughout students’ academic careers. “They really don’t tell you how much grades matter as you’re going through school. Like in middle school I put a bunch of pressure on myself, but it doesn’t matter at all. And then high school I’m like ‘Oh shoot, this quarter is going to affect the next like 18 years of my life,’” he said. “It definitely makes it a lot more intense, especially as you get into sophomore year or junior year because there’s no safety net of time.” This imbalance can also lead to students taking on overlapping academic commitments that interfere with each other. “I was going to really, really prepare myself for the SATs, and then school got in the way,” Rockey said. “It is interesting; schoolwork definitely gets in the way of schoolwork.” These time conflicts and other factors can sometimes lead to a mismatch between grades and learning, according to some students. When this mismatch does occur, W W W . A R L ING T O NIA N. COM | 1 7


UA’s academic culture can mean that some students prioritize getting a desirable grade over learning the course material. This becomes especially pertinent with studying for tests. “For a lot of people, especially for myself, when it comes to crunch time and you’ve got like three tests in a week, it becomes cram and forget, cram and forget, cram and forget,” Rocky said. “You don’t actually learn the content; you just memorize it for a little bit and forget it after the test.” As such, Theado, emphasizing that his opinion was his own, said his “philosophy [is] that the grade is as closely associated to learning as possible.” When grading and learning do diverge, counselor Amy Aspengren said that the latter should be prioritized. “If you focus on the points, you’re missing the whole point,” she said. Still, prioritizing learning over grades can put some students at a disadvantage, Varda said. “It’s a system where if you care for learning, and you don’t necessarily care about grades, you’re probably going to get left behind,” he said. Many teachers have acknowledged this and are beginning to look into new teaching methods in order to be as effective as 18 | ISSUE 4 | DEC EMB ER 1 3 , 2 0 2 1

possible in the classroom and beyond. For example, Theado himself has taken this approach in the leadership workshop class he co-teaches with Research and Design Lab Leader Laura Moore. “We’re not giving a bunch of points or anything,” he said. “It’s really about, are they showing growth in approaching those learning goals?” These new ways to grade student performance come alongside the shifting landscape of high school education. For example, as the economy becomes more and more knowledge-based, the skills required of students have shifted too. According to Education Week, a newspaper covering, these skills include “collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving.” Aspengren said that these changes affect what students need to know in the 21st century. “The process of learning is the key,” she said. “Because you all carry a computer with you 24/7, you don’t need to necessarily memorize and do all that kind of stuff. You need to enjoy learning; you need to know how to learn; you need to find reliable sources for learning. That’s what you guys really, really, really need.” The most important part about school, Sauter said, is “learning how to work hard and challenge yourself and learning how to learn and think independently.” Theado said that this can also mean that learning can extend beyond the four walls of the classroom. “High school should be a time where you’re connecting what you’re doing in the classroom to real life experience,” he said. GOING TO COLLEGE Many students’ desire for good grades comes from the prospect of applying to college, another major aspect of the broader academic culture at UAHS. For many students, the pressure to get into college begins at a young age. “My whole past like seven years have just been leading up to college,” Hari said. Rockey, as well, has already begun the college admission process while only a junior. “I’ve done a little bit of research on

schools; I’m planning to visit some schools in winter, and I’m just kind of keeping track of emails and letters and stuff like that,” he said. The pressure to be accepted into a “desirable” college can also affect what classes students take in the first place or what they participate in outside the classroom. Some students carefully curate their extracurricular activities—from clubs to sports to committees—in the hopes that colleges will admit them. Senior Sam Ozello has observed this as president of Model UN. “I’ve had several people join it purely for college admissions or so they can put it on a resume or something,” he said. “And I know a lot of people who do sports or other clubs just for that reason.” Hari has noticed this as well. “People aren’t passionate about some stuff, but I see them doing it,” she said. “Like, some people start certain clubs just to make it an extra space on [their applications].” This may be partially due to the fact that there has also been, in recent years, a rise in schools going test-optional, meaning students do not have to submit their scores on standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. Some colleges have even shifted to a test-blind approach, meaning they do not look at test scores at all. This shift has been taking place for years, but the trend has rapidly accelerated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when students couldn’t take inperson tests. “It really changed the way we see the admission process,” UAHS college counselor Kathy Moore said. Moore said that these changes affect how students might look at applying to college and where their priorities lie. “I feel like [a test score] just doesn’t matter as much as it used to,” Moore said. “I think that yes, it is important to do well of course. But also know that things are changing and test scores aren’t the only measure of intelligence.” Moore said she has seen a similar shift in colleges’ view of GPAs. “I do think that [GPAs] are important to keep in mind, but also know that admissions are constantly changing, and it does seem FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @UAARLINGTONIAN


like we are shying away from test scores and that emphasis on GPA only,” she said. The stress of college admissions is further complicated by some students’ desire to attend top, highly selective schools. “That kind of leads up to people thinking there’s just good schools instead of what we try to emphasize, which is good fit,” Aspengren said. “That’s much more important than that ‘good school.’” LEARNING A TRADE This idea of a good fit also applies to whether students go to college in the first place. Some students within the UA community have questioned whether or not college is the path for them. Still, a majority of students in the class of 2020—92%— went on to a two- or four-year college, according to figures published in the district’s 2021 quality profile. This widespread culture of attending college is reflected in students’ experiences. “Whenever you hear someone is like, ‘No, I’m thinking about trade school,’ it’s just absolutely unheard of,” Ozello said. Rockey, likewise, said that these norms can start early. “I feel like there’s a huge expectation that, from a very young and sometimes immature age, we know exactly where we’re going to go, exactly what we’re going to do,” Rocky said. Counselor Liz Hughes said that these expectations should not apply to all students. “[College admissions] places this expectation that you have to go to college if you’re here,” Hughes said. “And that is not the case, but I think a lot of people think that.” Moore agreed. “I think it’s important for students to understand that if college isn’t for them, than that’s okay,” she said. “There are lots of other options out there for students, whether they want to go to a trade school or into the military or do a gap year, and when you’re passionate about something, that’s what’s going to make you successful.” Many of those options, Hughes said, have strong career prospects for interested students. “There are great programs at Fort FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @UAARLINGTONIAN

Hayes and downtown Career Center for juniors and seniors to attend. There are tons of different associate degree programs,” Hughes said. “There’s a shortage of tons and tons of workers in high need fields that don’t require a career or college degree.” For those students who don’t plan to attend college, Satiani said she would like to see additional pathways opened up for UA students after graduation and existing ones strengthened. “We can have our strong college prep curriculum, but we are also serving the students who will go into work, go into military, go into service after high school,” she said. Aspengren said she has already seen students beginning to look into alternative post-high school paths. “I think on a good note, students are rethinking it more these days: ‘What is a college degree? What does that mean for what I want?’ And I think that’s good.”

mental health,” Rockey said. For Rockey, part of this comes from the expectations placed on students by the school itself. “It’s almost like exceeding expectations is the expectation,” Rockey said. “You take a huge hit when you don’t get a very good grade, but when you do actually get good grades it’s kind of like, ‘Okay, I’m meeting expectations.’” This pressure to excel can also come from many other sources, from familial expectations to self-imposed motivation to succeed in the academic arena. For Hari, who is taking five AP classes, some of this pressure comes from her family

PRESSURED & STRESSED Whether or not students plan to attend college, UA’s focus on academics can worsen some students’ mental health or leave them feeling too stressed. In a survey conducted by the American Health Association, over 87% of students surveyed reported that “school was overwhelming.” In addition to this, over 85% also stated that they felt emotionally exhausted due to the pressure regarding their academics. “While my life isn’t centered around school, it definitely has a huge impact on my

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“My brothers did really well on the ACT, so my parents are expecting the same result,” she said. “They did really well with handling four, five, six AP classes at a time. So they think that’ll be the same for me.” This pressure can likewise come from students comparing themselves to each other. “I think there’s a lot of comparison, whether that’s comparison between friends and friend groups, whether that’s comparison between siblings,” Hughes said. “And so our focus is really on, this is your individual journey. What are your goals? Where do you want to go after here? And how can we help you get there? And what are you doing now to help you get there? That focus is super important.” This tendency of students to compare themselves was previously embedded within the very academic system at UA. While UAHS is today a “non-ranking” school, students in UAHS were told how their GPA ranked within their grade level prior to 2006. “We’re a non-ranking school, which I like because we’re so competitive already,” Hughes said. For many UAHS students juggling after-school jobs, sports, social activities and studying, the line between school life and home life has blurred over time, causing increased stress in students’ lives. According to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research shows that one in three high school students have struggled with feelings of both sadness and hopelessness in the 2020 school year, a 40% increase in the past decade. Given this rise, many students need a sense of balance or a means of separation between the school day and their home life. The typical high school student spends approximately 2.7 hours doing homework each night, according to a recent report from The Washington Post. As such, the UAHS counseling center has worked to improve balance within the student body. “That is something that we really, really stress: balance is so important,” Hughes said. Regarding this balance, Sauter said 20 | ISSUE 4 | D EC EMB ER 1 3 , 2 0 2 1

that academics and mental health can complement each other and that the latter can be improved alongside the former. “If you handicap a child academically at a young age, they will feel that forever, and it leads to increased anxiety and depression as they get older,” he said. This connection between grades and mental health, Satiani said, is strong. “Grades and mental health are very integrally related,” she said. “The answer is definitely not a greater focus on numbers and achievement because that increase in focus completely ignores the mental health piece of it. Healthier students do better academically. It doesn’t mean that we push our students into courses just for grades, just for numbers. It’s the exact opposite: it’s supporting our students so that they are ready to learn in the classroom.” Attaining this sense of balance can be difficult for some students, including Hari. “I try to be really efficient, but sometimes it’s just like, I’ll forget something. So I try to be really organized, but I don’t know, sometimes that’s hard.” Rockey, who alongside his academic commitments is the head drum major of the marching band as well as a student athlete and honors student, likewise finds this balance elusive. Asked how he maintains balance, he said, “In short, I don’t. The long answer is [that] I use the Calendar app to try and sort things out. That works the best.” Moore agreed that this balance can be difficult for some students. “There are students who, for sure, are very affected by school and stress,” Moore said. “I do not think this is true for all students. There are definitely those who have some healthy boundaries and are able to balance it all, but I know it’s hard.” Satiani said

that balance can also be accomplished through making sure that students are not overstretched. “And then also at the high school level, it’s conversations with counselors making sure that students aren’t taking five AP classes because that’s ridiculous,” she said. “That’s too much in order to really just have a healthy balance in life.” But while students may overexert themselves to get into college, Varda said, that isn’t without reason. For many students, the stress they undergo might be prerequisite to achieving their goals such as gaining admission to a particular college. “I think all these anxieties—while I think they’re bad—they’re all valid,” Varda said. “I think that’s where the problem lies: not that people are stressing over stuff they don’t need to, but they’re stressing over stuff that they shouldn’t need to.”



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FINAL RECORDS Field Hockey: 12-3-1, COFHL West Division Champs Girls Tennis: 3rd place in Division I state tournament Football: 14-1, Lost vs St. Edwards in Final Four Girls Soccer: 13-1-2, OCC Champs Boys Soccer: 15-1-1, OCC Champs Boys Water Polo: Regional Champs Girls Water Polo: Regional Champs Girls Volleyball: 12-12, lost in sectional round at state tournament

UPCOMING HOME GAMES 12/17: Girls Varsity Basketball 12/18: Boys Varsity Basketball 12/27: Boys Varsity Swimming 12/27: Girls Varsity Swimming 1/6: Varsity Wrestling 1/7: Girls Varsity Basketball 1/11: Boys Varsity Basketball 1/14: Boys Varsity Swimming 1/14: Girls Varsity Swimming


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Senior Nick Heath takes a shot at the three point line. In their first game in the brand new competition gym, the varsity boys basketball team beat Watkins Memorial 57-31. BY JACK DIWIK, ’22. PHOTO BY JACK TATHAM, ’22.


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Two Trophies

Both the boys and girls water polo teams win state championships. BY LUKE ERIKSEN, ’22 AND GEORGE BERNARD, ’23.


his past fall, Upper Arlington Water Polo showed why it’s one of the best programs in the state. The boys and girls’ water polo teams both brought home state championships. The boys won for the first time since 2012. Junior PJ Ray is a forward for the boys varsity team. “We were a young team…our entire lineup was juniors. We had one senior this year, our goaltender. Our coach came into this season thinking it would be a two-year project, but we took off and ran with it,” Ray said. The team got progressively better throughout the season. “In the beginning we started out slow, but by the end of the season we were experienced and ready to take on the challenge of state championships,” Ray said. He thinks that because the team will be nearly unchanged next year, they will have another great season. 24 | ISSUE 4 | DEC EMB ER 1 3 , 2 0 2 1

The dominance from the girls this season is hardly a surprise as they have won 3 state championships the past 4 years. However, the team chemistry has set them apart from teams in the past. “The team dynamic was the best it’s been in a while,” senior Caroline Ubert said. Part of the team chemistry stems from their early morning practices a few times a week. The practices start at 5:30. “You have to stay here and change [for school], and we eat breakfast as a team. It’s kind of nice to see the sunrise some days,” Ubert said. The water polo team had its struggles throughout the playoffs, winning the semi-final game against the Cincinnati Mavericks with a last minute goal. “The Mavericks actually are a club team. It's kinda the best players from all those schools come together on one team which is a little unfair when you think about it,” senior Caroline Porterfield said. “It's always been kind of like a blood bath

with them all throughout high school, but definitely through this year.” Club teams can compete against high school teams because water polo is not an OHSSA sport. Porterfield also praised the new facilities in the new school. “The pool is much bigger now. It has changed how we train based on the deep, deep pool. We used to have a shallow end and a deep end, and if you needed to take a break, you go to the shallow end. It’s harder but once we got the hang of it we started to get going. We were able to come together this season and win the state championship,” Porterfield said. CELEBRATING THE WIN — The girls water polo team jumps into the pool at the sound of the final buzzer. PHOTO BY GEOFF BLANKENSHIP FOR THE ENQUIRER




Senior varsity basketball player Vivian Lawless reflects on her past seasons. BY FIA GALLICCHIO ’22. PHOTO BY BELLA VANMETER, ’22.


hen senior Viv Lawless played in a basketball game against Dublin Coffman her freshman year, she did not expect to receive an injury that would prevent her from playing for two years. Lawless was hit in the back by a basketball and suffered a stress fracture that impacted her throughout the entirety of her freshman and sophomore years. During those two years, Lawless spent time recovering so she could eventually play again. “I had to do a lot of therapy and a lot of PT until I could get back to running and playing sports again,” Lawless said. Because of this, she struggled to get back to where she was before the injury. “It was very difficult,” Lawless said. “[I had to] like really just trust my body and know that I was going to be OK no matter what I did. Then going into junior year, I had to adjust to playing again and playing at a high level.” Her junior year also came with the added difficulty of quarantining due to COVID-19. “Junior year we were also quarantined three separate times in our season, so it was like not doing anything for two weeks, and then expecting to go back and play a full 32 minutes in a game,” Lawless said. Additionally, the girls basketball team has gone through three different coaches since Lawless’ freshman year. “Every year a new coach comes in and implements their own defense and offense and kinda has their own


expectations for the team,” Lawless said. “It’s definitely interesting and difficult those first couple weeks to adjust to them and to know what they want along with everything that they expect from you.” Even though she was not able to play for so long, Lawless was still a part of the team. She became a captain her junior year and won her team's spirit award. The team showed unyielding support for Lawless throughout her injury. “Honestly, I think the team was the most important, like was the biggest reason I tried so hard to get back. They were always there for me; they would always support me, and like still I went to everything even though I was injured and wasn’t playing, and they just always made me feel like I was part of the team,” Lawless said. Despite everything, Lawless is optimistic for the future of her team. “Our first game was Nov. 20, and so we won, which is good. We started out 1-0, which is better than last year,” Lawless said. “Last year we had a losing record, so we’re hoping to do better this year, but we have a new coach and everything, so we’re hoping that that will kind of start it, but last year we did not go very far.” Lawless does not plan to play basketball in college, but does plan to play lacrosse. This year will be her last year not only on the team but playing the sport.

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The Lion's Den

Columnist argues the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse is proof that it isn’t safe to protest, and that despite this threat we must dissent. BY MATTHEW DORON, ’23.


hen I saw the Apple News notification that an 18 year old named Kyle Rittenhouse had just been found not guilty on all counts in a trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, I cursed, sighed and put my head in my hands. To understand this case, we must look at Aug. 23, 2020, when a Black man named Jacob Blake was shot and wounded by Rusten Sheskey, a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake being shot was yet another example of the systemic violence against Black Americans by the police. The shooting sparked several days of protests, during which several businesses were looted. This prompted several white supremacist groups to coordinate on FaceBook to “protect businesses” that were being damaged during these protests. Rittenhouse, then 17, saw these groups coordinate, borrowed a friend’s assault rifle and had his mother drive him from their home in Illinois to Wisconsin. On Aug. 25, 2020, he went into downtown Kenosha, already a disorderly and tense scene, and shot three men, killing two and wounding a third.

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His trial began on Nov. 2, 2020, where the prosecution was already banned from referring to the two men killed and the third injured as victims and Rittenhouse was already the subject of intense debate over gun rights and protesting. Rittenhouse’s team made a claim of self defense and he was found not guilty on all five counts (a sixth was dismissed before the trial ended). At its core, this case is about the alarming trend of white supremacists arming themselves, calling themselves “vigilantes,” and shooting those protesting violence against Black Americans. The term “vigilantes” has long been used to justify harming dissenters, such as the KKK murdering Black activists organising for the right to vote in the 1950s. Since protests over George Floyd’s death began in May 2020, these armed “vigilantes” have been threatening and harming protestors across the country. These white men are often affiliated with white supremacist groups such as the Proud Boys and connect through social media platforms to coordinate confrontations. When discussing Rittenhouse, some have tried to justify his actions

by the fact that protestors were looting businesses. Just because protestors are acting in a disorderly manner and using looting as a form of protest does not mean “vigilantes” should be able to shoot them with assault rifles and be acquitted on all charges. Rittenhouse crossed state lines to go to an already tumultuous scene with an assault rifle then claimed self defense after shooting three demonstrators. He walked into the lion’s den then blamed the lion. These “vigilantes” are trying to scare us, threaten us into staying home. They are trying to use intimidation tactics to get us to silence our dissent, our anger towards the systemic racism and abuse by the police against Black Americans, but we will not be silent. Author and activist James Baldwin once said: “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” NOT GUILTY VERDICT — Rittenhouse was aquitted on all charges. PHOTO BY SEAN KRAJACIC FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES



Red (Antonia’s Version) Why Taylor Swift is re-recording her albums and the effect it’s had on people so far. BY ANTONIA CAMPBELL, ’22. GRAPHICS BY LUCY O’BRIEN, ’22.


or weeks, my TikTok “for you page,” or FYP, has been full of Taylor Swift songs, memes, fans and debates. If you’ve somehow avoided these insanely popular trends and are confused, let’s sum it up. On Nov. 12, Taylor Swift released her album “Red (Taylor’s Version).” This album was a re-release of her “Red” album which first came out in 2012; however, all the songs on the new album are newly re-recorded. To answer the question as to why Swift would do this, more background information is required. Throughout Swift’s entire career, she dreamt of owning the masters (original copies) of her music. This is a rarity in the music industry as most artists belong to a record label, and the label owns the masters. Swift was extremely against this policy and fought endlessly to acquire her music’s masters from her label, Big Machine Records, to no avail. This led Swift to switch over to a different record label, Universal Music Group’s Republic Records, in late 2018 where they agreed to let her own the masters of any and all music she came out with after signing with them. This meant that all of her prior music (her first six albums) still belonged to Big Machine and still do to this day. In mid 2019, Swift’s relationship with


Big Machine Records worsened when the label was sold to famous music manager Scooter Braun and his company, which in turn meant that Braun now owned all of Swift’s music that she was forced to leave in Big Machine’s possession. This infuriated Swift and prompted her to post a statement to Tumblr where she called Braun a “bully” and discussed her devastation that he now owned her masters. It has been concluded that Swift’s dislike for Braun stems from his associations with artists she’s had conflicts with, most notably Kanye West, who Braun managed while the two artists feuded in 2016. Swift, outraged, figured the only way to gain any control over her old masters was to re-record her old albums and re-release them to lessen the value of her original masters, and so her fans could listen to her first six albums without feeling guilty for benefitting Braun. Now, in 2021, Swift has released “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” in April and now “Red (Taylor’s Version),” which has sparked debate on social media. The album is rumored to be about Swift’s failed relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Swift has not confirmed nor denied this; however, her lyrics and music video imagery heavily lean towards this theory. This has led to hate being sent to Gyllenhaal by Swift fans, and in return, hate being sent to Swift by Gyllenhaal fans through social media. Although it’s debatable whether the sudden backlash Gyllenhaal has received is warranted, much of the hate Swift has received over the past few weeks mysogynistic roots, with people using the idea that they are defending Gyllenhaal to conceal their sexism. Misogyny is something Swift has dealt with her entire career because Swift is constantly expected to sit back, stay silent and let things happen to her. Whether it be Kanye West interrupting her VMA award speech in 2009 and years later writing a

misogynistic lyric about her in 2016, sexist interviewers that she’s had to stand up to or people simply hating her music purely because her lyrics discuss when a man has wronged her, it’s been seen time and time again that much of the public gets upset whenever she stands up for herself. Taylor Swift deserves more credit for being an incredible lyricist, musician and a strong feminist. She has endured so much due to the widespread misogyny within the music industry, yet she continues to create music for her fans and pursue her passions. I urge you to listen to “Red (Taylor’s Version),” and if you are a Taylor Swift hater, I urge you to take a moment to ask yourself where that hatred stems from.

122.9 million

is the number of streams Taylor Swift’s music got the day that “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was released, breaking Spotify’s record for most-streamed female artist in one day. Data courtesy Business Insider.

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Festive Feelings

Columnist reviews the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Wildlights. BY BROOKE MASON , ’22. PHOTOS BY BELLA VANMETER, ’22


esmerizing and seemingly magical, the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium attract thousands of Central Ohio residents every year. As a kid, walking through the gates of the Zoo was like walking into a winter wonderland. I revisited the Wildlights this year in search of nostalgia and the holiday spirit. The Wildlights are open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Nov. 19 to Jan. 2, 2022. I visited on opening night, yet the line to enter the Zoo was short, and the Zoo was not overly crowded. Upon entering the Zoo, I was immersed in a scene from a Hallmark Christmas movie with classic Christmas songs and a variety of colorful, twinkling lights in every tree. Sacrificing ambiance for comfort, the Wildlights has several trashcan bonfires surrounded by fences that are intended to warm guests. I thought the fires gave off minimal heat; however, it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit when I visited the Zoo, 28 | ISSUE 4 | DEC EMB ER 1 3 , 2 0 2 1

and the fires are likely more effective in colder weather. I was impressed and surprised by the variety of lights throughout the Zoo. Along with classic lights, there were lights decorating the roofs of tunnels, iciclelooking lights seemingly falling from trees and animal-shaped lights. Near most exhibits, I noticed the lights would show what is typically seen in that exhibit, such as flamingos made up of pink lights outside the flamingo exhibit. I had not visited the Wildlights since middle school and was pleasantly surprised when I realized some animal exhibits are open to the public; I loved seeing two baby Tasmanian devils, the elephants and all of the marine animals in Manatee Coast. While not all animals–such as the gorillas and polar bears—can be viewed during the Wildlights, guests can still see these animals before 4 p.m. There is a decent range of food and drinks offered at the Wildlights. I was compelled to try the hot chocolate and

admittedly, my expectations were low, but I was pleased with both the taste and price. It was fairly rich and flavorful and did not taste watered-down. Other food options included gingerbread cookies, soft pretzels and the S’mores Experience, where guests can make s’mores for $3.99 plus tax. I would not plan on eating a full meal at the Zoo; instead, I would try the specialty snacks exclusive to the Wildlights. When I was leaving the Wildlights, an employee asked me if I had seen the grand Christmas tree; I had not. Likely overlooked due to its separation from the main area of the Zoo, there is a Christmas tree with lights synchronized to Christmas classics. I loved the tree, and it was magical watching portions light up in sync with the music. All in all, I had a wonderful time at the Wildlights and would encourage you to visit with family or friends. I have two recommendations: bundle up and find the photo booth near Asia Quest for a one-ofa-kind souvenir. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @UAARLINGTONIAN

THE CRISPY COOP Fried chicken like Grandma makes it.



here’s nothing like tender homemade fried chicken with a side of creamy mac and cheese. The Crispy Coop prepares their chicken three different ways: traditional, Tennessee Mild and Nashville Hot. The traditional is good, old-fashioned fried chicken. Tennessee Mild provides a hint of spice for those who cannot handle the Nashville heat. The Nashville has a sweet and spicy heat. The Crispy Coop gives the vibe of a home-cooked southern meal. The menu is small but offers everything you could ask for in a fried chicken restaurant, and the meal is packaged in black styrofoam trays. The Nashville Hot chicken sandwich was topped with a kale-based coleslaw. The Nashville hot chicken was sweet,

spicy and crunchy, and the creamy coleslaw on top cooled the heat from the chicken. The coleslaw was a nearperfect complement to the spice. There aren’t too many other chicken sandwiches in the area like the Crispy Coop’s. Another plus for this sandwich is the toasted bun, which ensured my order was hot when I arrived to pick it up. Each meal includes two sides. The mac and cheese was my favorite. The mashed potatoes and gravy were merely average. The portion size was adaquate but there was nothing unique about the side. However, the mac and cheese was delicious. The mac was thick and smooth; the cheese dripped down off my fork. The blocky and dry cornbread is not a side I would order again. Perhaps

I’m spoiled with my mom’s delicious homemade cornbread; nonetheless, I recommend staying away from the cornbread. Lastly, I ordered a chicken thigh priced at $2 and prepared traditionally. The thigh was extremely juicy and tender; the meat nearly fell off the bone. I will be sure to order another thigh next time. Crispy Coop is a low-priced but highquality fried chicken restaurant, and I would certainly recommend it. Through and through, the Crispy Coop is Lou approved. The Crispy Chicken Coop is located on 1717 Northwest Blvd.

◀ ORDER UP Pictured are the Tenesee mild Chicken Sandwich, a side of mashed potatoes and a side of mac and cheese.


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By the Numbers

Explore this issue through statistics. COMPILED BY MATTHEW DORON, ’23. GRAPHIC BY MOLLY HENCH, ’23.


or so students aged 5-11 were vaccinated at the vaccine drive at Tremont Elementary School. The vaccine drive is part of a collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital.


LED lights are used to create the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo. The Wildlights run from Nov. 19 until Jan. 2, 2022.


years ago, the UA Schools PTO began parent trainings to create more inclusive elementary holiday celebrations.



parking spots will be available in the largest parking lot by April 2022. There will also be another 175 spots in a second lot. A total of 375 spots will be for student parking.

goals were scored by the UA girls water polo team to win the state championship. The boys water polo team also won the state championship.

ARL Wrapped

Staff members share their favorite songs from this year. COMPILED BY ELLIE CRESPO, ’22.

Lucy O’brien ‘22





— Lucy O'Brien, Arts Editor

— Luke Eriksen, Staff Writer

— Matthew Doron, Managing Editor

— Safia Malhotra, Staff Writer

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BREAKING TRADITION How we can make UAHS work for everyone.



t’s not possible or healthy to live a stress-free life. But given the ballooning levels of stress among teens today, it’s clear that for many students at UAHS and elsewhere, the pressure to perform well academically—which for many means maintaining top-notch grades or earning stellar test scores—can be so overwhelming that it can get in the way of actual learning. And as UA’s academic culture works against many students’ mental health, it also paves them a life path that might not be individualized to them. UA’s academic culture is in part sculpted by the established academic system of grades, tests and stone-set curricula, but it ultimately belongs to us as students. It is ultimately we who decide how we approach grades. And we can decide to create an environment that values balance and individuality alongside a traditional understanding of achievement. We can decide to create a school in which students are set up to succeed, no matter what path they want to take. These challenges of considering mental health and supporting non-college pathways deserve focus and attention from everyone involved with UAHS. But before we can meaningfully address these challenges, we—students, educators, administrators and leaders alike—must also confront and consider what we are teaching and learning in the first place, and how. For decades, the approach to education was straightforward: students came to class, they listened to a lecture, they assessed, they earned points. While this model may have prepared students well decades ago, it feels outdated in today’s global knowledgebased economy. As we change how we live and work, we must also change how and what we learn. So what should we learn? The education system needs to foster and cultivate 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, discussion, exploration and media and information literacy. And learning should at the same time come with real-world practice.


As student journalists, we’ve experienced the value of this approach firsthand. In making an issue, we brainstorm together; then, we work. Those of us who opt to take on higher positions can learn how to be more effective leaders. And as we are learning and developing, we are also producing work that sparks real-world discussion within the UAHS community. While our in-class staff members do get a grade for timeliness, Arlingtonian is ultimately not a grade-based course. And if we did it any other way—if we came to class and sat silently in rows, if we were lectured at, if we tested and graded—then you probably wouldn’t be reading this editorial right now. Experiences like this aren’t isolated to Arlingtonian. From Kickin’ It Live to UA Rise, students can learn and practice skills that aren’t present in the typical classroom. Of course, not every class can be like these classes. The 21st century skills cultivated and rewarded in an environment like Arlingtonian can only take students so far before they need to be told, top-down, that mitochondria are the powerhouses of a cell. And, after all, Arlingtonian writers and editors themselves are required to take the semester-long courses Journalism I and II before joining staff. A more baseline education, in other words, is needed before and as students apply the day’s lessons and lectures to the real world. Subjects and skills like the famous three R’s—reading, writing and arithmetic—make up the soil in which we should plant the seeds of higher level learning. Schools are charged with helping their students cultivate their own garden of learning—and a rich, lush garden relies on healthy soil. In practice, this means that you have to know your multiplication tables before you can prove the fundamental theorem of calculus, and you have to know the difference between a phrase and a clause before you can write your long-awaited novel. What is important, then, isn’t so much whether we improve our academics, but rather how. We must work to advance academics within a broader framework that recognizes and embraces 21st century skills that complement traditional, fact-based learning. At the same time, students, teachers and community stakeholders must foster an academic culture that works with, not against, students’ mental health. And given UA’s hefty responsibility to prepare its students for life after graduation—however that looks for each student—the stakes are too high to avoid these conversations. As students of UAHS, we are fortunate to get a superb education with the help of caring teachers who work tirelessly to support their students. We are fortunate to have opportunities not available to so many others. And it is only out of our continuous commitment to and love for the UA Schools education that we build a new, more complete, more balanced, academic culture. W W W . A R L ING T O NIA N. COM | 31

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