February 13 , 2020
Vol. 61 No. 03
The Beachcomber Beachwood High School 25100 Fairmount Boulevard Beachwood, Ohio
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Administration Addresses Mental Health
By Prerna Mukherjee Managing Editor
Staff members organized a series of mental health activities before winter break to help reduce stress during midterm exams. The events included visits from therapy dogs, a “mindful meditation” session and exercise routines with Sergeant Richard Crews of the US Army. Dr. Mariam Mandel ran the “mindful meditation” session and has worked with Beachwood before. She gave a presentation to parents about the physiology of the teenage brain last year, and she also described ways to improve one’s mental health at this year’s leadership conference. She explained the process of meditation to reduce stress. “It’s basically learning some different breathing and stress reduction techniques to use,
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especially during really highstress times like midterms or final exams,” Mandel said. “... These techniques are just so simple, and if you just take a few minutes to learn them and practice them, then when the time comes, they’ll be there.” Mandel explained other ways to help reduce stress as well. “Exercise is a great [technique, and] getting enough sleep is a great one, although I know that’s hard,” she said. “And music, dancing, anything that really gets that energy flowing [can help reduce stress].” “Any time [you feel] low energy or a feeling of hopelessness…getting out there and moving ... whether it’s through breathing or exercise [is a good way] to kind of clear it away.” Principal Paul Chase explained that these activities were organized by guidance counselor Liz Osicki and a group of students. He added that the district has set goals around mental health. “There are three major district goals that are [shared with] the staff…” Chase said. “One is improving student achievement, another is mental health and the awareness around mental health, and the other is bias awareness training.” “Mrs. Osicki will initiate different opportunities for students around mental health throughout the year, but… there’s [also] staff training,” he added. “There are some areawide initiatives that we are working on with other schools as well.”
The staff has also heard from speakers about how to address mental health in the school by providing support and resources. “If it’s a small thing, how can the teacher provide support in the classroom?” Chase asked. “If it’s a bigger thing, how do you funnel the resources for that person [who’s] struggling with mental health? ...That’s what these presenters do, they come in and they…teach the staff and- mainly teachers--different strategies to address mental health in their classrooms.” One of the speakers, Laura Serazin from Cornerstone of Hope, can help train teachers in many different areas of mental health support. “She presented to the staff back in November,” he said. “[When] she trains people… [she emphasizes that] mental health is everybody’s responsibility.” In the classroom, teachers will be starting a “circles” activity to initiate open conversations and build relationships with students. “It sounds very, very simple, but a circle is a relationship-building activity where teachers are training to ask a series of questions,” Chase said. “The questions [can be] very light, like ‘Hey how was your winter break?’” “We’re going to train a group of teachers in the ninth grade this year,” he added. “We’re going to start slow and build it out, but…we’re looking [to run circles] every block day for about 10 minutes.” Another upcoming men-
tal health initiative will be a mental health summit on March 5 that will include all 22 schools in the Chagrin Valley Conference. Athletics Director Ryan Peters, who helped organize the summit, explained what activities will take place. “[I]n recent years I’ve learned a lot more, and I feel that there are a lot of people who need to ... get a good understanding of what mental health is,” he said. “[For example,] what is anxiety? What is depression? How do they trigger? How do we help kids and how do we help [staff]?” “We have a full day prepared to help educate [ourselves on mental health],” he added. The full-day summit is geared towards school administrators, guidance counselors and school psychologists. Peters explained the plan to begin the conversation about mental health with school board members and administrators first. “If you start it at the teacher level…I don’t think the message would feel the same way,” he said. “I think if you’re going through the superintendents and the school board members, they’re going to drive it home and say ‘We have to do this, we have to do better.’” The summit will be held annually and eventually be extended to teachers and students. Peters added that the district is organizing a regional crisis team. If a tragedy occurs in the
Students enjoyed visit from therapy dogs during Dec. exams. Photo from 2018 visit by Nicole Breger. CVC, the regional crisis team will act as the response team that will go to that school and provide assistance. “It could be as simple as one of your school psychologists or a guidance counselor going,” Chase said. “I’m scared for our kids; I don’t know what’s going on in the brains of our students, and I want to know that we are doing everything in our power to not let things repeat, and I want people to understand that there are
outlets, there are people to go to, so I’ve spearheaded this,” Peters said. “The stress of what [students] have today is way higher than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime…so [I want to do what I can] as an educator and as an administrator to alleviate some of the [stress],” he added. Students are also involved in spreading awareness on the topic of mental health.
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Library Hosts Hilltop and BMS Students for ‘Hour of Code’ By Vivian Li Editor-in-Chief
Girls Who Code members from Hilltop and the middle school collaborated with BHS students during the Hour of Code on Wednesday, Dec. 11. With hundreds of millions of participants, the Hour of Code is an international coding event held during Computer Science Education Week. “[The purpose is] to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science,” the event website explains. “[Our goal was] for students and staff with varying computer science abilities to spend a fun hour coding together and to put Beachwood City Schools on the global map as a registered Hour of Code event participant,” middle school librarian Julie Ungier said. From 8:15 to 9:15 a.m., students with a wide range of coding experience worked alongside one an-
other on web-based activities accessible through a Chromebook. A large touchscreen was also provided for kids to manipulate blockly coding, a visual coding language that allows users to create codes by stacking blocks together. Participants were directed to hourofcode.com, where they could choose an hour long coding activity. Others worked on their own coding projects. “There was a good range for people of any level of experience, so even if you had never set foot in the world of coding, it was helpful and fun,” said senior Yingying Gao, a participant from Women in STEM. Elementary, middle school and high school students had the chance to work together. “Our elementary students were thrilled,” BHS librarian Angela Maxwell said. “Our middle school students were really excited because they get to work with high school students that they might not know or might not see all
the time.” Sixth grader Angelica Tall enjoyed sharing information with younger Hilltop students. “[I was] able to work with people from different ages and see what other people know,” Tall said. Math teacher John Kaminski and science teacher Lisa Bugenske brought their respective classes as well as students from Computer Security Club and Women in STEM. Maxwell was pleased with the turnout. “There were also students who were just in the library in the morning who were willing to take a chance and code,” Maxwell said. After a successful first Hour of Code, both Maxwell and Ungier look forward to creating more opportunities to raise awareness about computer science among young students in the district. “I hope this will be an annual event held during Computer Science Education Week that attracts more participants each year,” Ungier said.
Students from Hilltop in the BHS library for the Dec. 11 event. Photo courtesy of Angela Maxwell
“Since this was our first time, if we do it again next year, I have ideas for how to promote it even more,” Maxwell added. Maxwell and Ungier formed the Girls Who Code club this year to spread the message about the importance of women in STEM, particularly coding. “I joined Girls Who Code because first I wanted to learn more about coding [and] computers and second what was
the meaning behind Girls Who Code,” Tall said. “… There are many people doing different things for their projects and working with different people.” In the spring, Girls Who Code is planning to hold a showcase of different projects that students in grades 3-12 have been working on. “We all feel passionate about getting more girls involved in coding and demystifying it,” Maxwell said.
News Bus Delays Lead to Schedule Changes By Roberto DeMarchi with additional reporting by Vivian Li Starting on Jan. 13, the BHS start time has been pushed back five minutes for a start time of 8:15 instead of 8:10. As a result, academy has been shortened by five minutes. The Wednesday schedule and bus routes have remained unchanged. “Despite many attempted tweaks, traffic has been too heavy to allow all the buses to arrive 5-7 minutes before the first bell,” stated a letter sent out by the Beachwood Board of Education on Dec. 23. According to Principal
and it just didn’t work.” Chase explained that he and Asst. Principal Ryan Patti did bus counts and monitored arrival times. “[After] all that research, we figured that we had tried everything else [but changing the start time], [so that] was the best decision,” he said. During first semester, when exceptionally heavy traffic or bad weather delayed buses to the point that they arrived late to school, students were not counted as tardy. Additionally, throughout the first semester, some buses regularly failed to drop off students with sufficient time before the first bell, so that
“From the traffic patterns in Beachwood, we noticed that it’s very, very busy during that time. We tried other adjustments [such as] changing one bus route and it just didn’t work.” -Principal Paul Chase Paul Chase, the decision to delay school start time was more effective than changing bus routes. BMS Principal Tony Srithai was also involved in the decision because middle school students were arriving late as well. “From the traffic patterns in Beachwood, we noticed that it’s very, very busy during that time,” Chase said. “We tried other adjustments [such as] changing one bus route
students had to rush to their first classes. “The amount of traffic was not anticipated,” Director of Transportation Lisa Brockwell told the Beachcomber in November. “We had to revise routes to minimize the effect this has on buses.” The schedule adjustment has already shown improvements. “It’s been excellent,” Chase said. “All the buses are on time and all kids on buses are
“Making [them] into one city would help Cleveland qualify for a lot of money that would go to reconstructing East Cleveland and many different projects that would enhance the city,” Peavy said. In addition to spreading information about the benefits of a merger, Peavy’s group collected school supplies for Chapelside Cleveland Academy in East Cleveland. Senior Abby Adams’s group, including junior Tamiyah Taylor, sophomores Miranda Desatnik and Roni Avitan and seniors Sabrina Machtay and Aliza Bergman, focused on “trying to get more recycling bins in our schools.” They aimed to provide more recycling receptacles throughout the school, such as in the cafeteria. To do this, she and her group collected signatures to show support for getting more bins. Another group, consisting of sophomore Maya Velazquez, Ingrid Maier and Megan Wooley, focused on something less tangible but just as important. They aimed at decreasing the use of common phrases that belittle genuine mental health issues. These phrases include “My favorite show got cancelled. I’m so depressed.” and “I need everything organized, I must have OCD.” To encourage people to be more conscious of their word choice, Velazquez’s group had notecards and phrases
District Purchases Bus With Seatbelts Last year Beachwood third graders in Vicki Challenger’s classes lobbied City Council to pay for seat belts on new buses purchased by the district. As of this fall, according to School Bus Fleet, a magazine dedicated to covering school transportation, Beachwood has only one 72-passenger bus equipped with seat belts. Beachwood now has one
In addition to pushing back the school start times, the district has separated middle and high school bus routes. Photo from Beachcomber archives by Grant Gravagna getting here on time for class, and honestly it seems like even tardiness among kids who drive is better.” “[We’ve received positive feedback from students, parents,] and especially teachers,” he added. Another issue with busing during the fall semester was overcrowding. According to Asst. Principal Ryan Patti, overcrowding on school buses was caused by poor communication between parents and the school. At the beginning of the school year, parents are asked to sign a form stating that their child will be needing the bus for transportation. Patti explained that school bus routes are designed based on data gathered from these forms, and the size and number of bus(es) required is determined from that data. Some families who didn’t turn in forms realized after the fact that their students also needed bus transportation as
well. “So that bus, which was designed for a certain number of kids, now may have over what it was expected because of the... families not really communicating,” Patti said. To address the overcrowding, the district is now separating middle and high school bus routes. “After monitoring our afternoon ridership for several weeks, we believe separating afternoon bus routes will allow earlier departures from each building without negatively impacting drop-off times,” stated the memo from the Beachwood School Board. “Eight buses will depart from the Middle School at 3:35 pm and immediately begin their afternoon drop-offs. Three High School buses will immediately begin their routes at 3:35 pm.”
Maya Velazquez, Ingrid Maier and Megan Wooley focused on decreasing the use of phrases that belittle mental health issues. Photo courtesy of Pam Ogilvy available for people to replace these phrases with something else. If they replaced it, they got a bracelet, a sour twist and were asked to sign their name on the group’s poster which read “Stop Sour Sayings.” On the walls of Ogilvy’s room are paintings, posters and flyers from past CTP projects. One of the most memorable projects is the “Wall of Heroes” across from the library. Seniors write names of “heroes” who made an impact on their life. The project started in 2016 and is carried on traditionally every year by the graduating class of seniors. Additionally, our school’s GSA (formerly Gay-Straight
72-passenger bus equipped with seat belts. This bus is used for field trips and sporting events involving highway travel. This bus is used for field trips or sporting events involving highway travel. However, this is only a pilot program; new school buses with seat belts may be purchased if the pilot proves successful. At the beginning of the school year, two buses were borrowed from the Bedford school district, as stand-ins for new buses that Beachwood was waiting for. Once the new buses arrived, the Bedford buses were returned, according to Beachwood Transportation Director Lisa Brockwell. One of these new buses is Number 11, the bus equipped with seat belts. The Ohio State Patrol publishes standards for school bus safety, which mandate the number of emergency exits based on number of seats, required cages around fuel tanks, the types of brakes and fuel systems permitted on school buses, flame retardant materials used for floors “Bus drivers also do checks on bus systems every morning. [We check]
Choosing to Participate Projects Teach Students to Get Involved
By Tal Rothberg & Ian Stender For the past 15 years, students in the human rights & conflict class have completed Choosing to Participate projects (CTP). Social studies teacher Pam Ogilvy, who has taught the class for the past three years, hopes her students learn that their voices matter. “So often teenagers are told ‘You don’t vote; you don’t work; you’re lazy; your face is in your phone all the time,’” she said. “But your voices do actually matter, especially because you’re going to be inheriting a lot of the problems of the generations before you.” Students in Ogilvy’s fall semester class presented their projects on Jan. 6-9. Junior Carrington Peavy focused on a proposed merger of the governments of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Peavy, along with seniors Jared Zullig and David Israelstam, made pins, a poster and an Instagram account for their cause. “The goal of the project was to improve the infrastructure of East Cleveland,” Peavy said. Peavy explained that the separation of city and county governments makes it difficult for parts of the county to access high-quality services. She also advocates merging Cleveland with East Cleveland.
Alliance, now Gender & Sexuality Alliance) was started as a CTP project by Mitzi Horrigan, who graduated in 2009. The human rights & conflict class was started by social studies teacher Andy Glickman in 1998 and was taken over in 2003 by social studies teacher Greg Deegan, who started the CTP projects in 2005, Ogilvy explained. Ogilvy began teaching human rights after Deegan left to take a job at University Circle, Inc. “People make choices and choices make history. If kids choose to get involved, they can make a significant impact,” Ogilvy said.
tires, doors, brakes, everything to make sure the bus is in good working condition before heading out.” -Bus Driver Mary Woloszyn-Trantham and seats and other parts of the bus, and much more. The standards do not mention seat belts, except for the driver. Bus 11, Beachwood’s large bus with seat belts, has nine emergency exits, more than other buses in Beachwood’s fleet, but all buses are diesel-powered, have high-back fireretardant seats, are compartmentalized (which would protect riders in event of a serious accident) and have cages around their fuel tanks. Additionally, drivers are required to hold three evacuation drills a year: a front-door, a back door, and a split-style evacuation, where students use both doors to leave the bus. “Bus drivers also do checks on bus systems every morning,” bus driver Mary WoloszynTrantham said. “[We check] tires, doors, brakes, everything to make sure the bus is in good working condition before heading out.” “The real danger to bus riders does not come from collisions, but from other drivers,” Brockwell said. “There have been cases where drivers ignore the school bus stop lights and strike students who are getting off the bus.” Cars have been observed passing Beachwood buses on several occasions at bus stops. This is part of the reason why onboard cameras have been installed: they help in identifying drivers who illegally pass school buses. They also serve to help administrators observe behavior issues on the bus itself. “Bus drivers go through several tests before they’re allowed to drive,” Brockwell said. “In fact, Ohio has the highest training standard for school bus drivers.” No amount of training, however, can help bus drivers avoid traffic. The hope is that the revised school schedules will help them drop off students on time.
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Representative Adam Schiff reads the articles of impeachment in the opening of Trump’s Senate trial on Jan. 16. Image source: Senate.gov via Wikimedia Commons
Students Weigh-In On Impeachment By Yoav Pinhsai Staff Writer On Dec. 18, 2019, President Donald J. Trump joined the likes of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton when the House of Representatives voted to impeach him on counts of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump was accused of making military aid to Ukraine contingent on their investigation of both an outlandish conspiracy theory as well as an energy company where a son of presidential contender Joe Biden served, then pressuring witnesses to disobey Congressional subpoenas. Less than a year following the release of the Mueller Report which effectively ended the Russia inquiry, Democrats once again urged Nancy Pelosi to start impeachment hearings this fall—this time successfully. With considerations like justice and partisanship, executive authority, and Election Day come November all in the balance, there’s no question this is a historic moment in American political culture. And while issues such as this often seem bigger than us, too far away to matter, or plainly out of our hands, it is worthwhile to reflect on our own ideologies to understand how they shape us and our community. In an anonymous survey sent out to the BHS student body, 53.9% of those who responded indicated they “Strongly agree” with the impeachment, while 19.1% strongly disagreed. Fewer than 4% were “Undecided and/ or unsure”. 65.2% of responders further expressed approval or strong approval for the removal of Trump from office in a potential Senate vote. 89 students responded to the survey, 16% of the 555 students currently enrolled at BHS. Asked where they heard discussion of the impeachment, nearly all students mentioned “Outside sources (news, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, social media, online, advertisements)”, while only three out of every four selected “School” and even fewer included “Home”. However, “Home” was the most frequently mentioned location (selected by 82%) for students to engage in discussion of the impeachment.
In an anonymous survey emailed to the BHS student body, 53.9% of those who responded indicated they “strongly agree” with the impeachment, while 19.1% indicated that they “strongly disagree”. One student expressed interest in attending the focus group but was afraid to. “Most teachers are liberal and most of my peers are too, so I don’t want to go,” they said. It is important to note that the survey may be somewhat unbalanced because a large majority of students did not respond—and its voluntary nature statistically favors the strongly-opinionated—but it certainly gives insight into Beachwood’s political scene nonetheless. For instance, 51.7% of students considered themselves Democrats, 11.2% Independents, and 19.1% Republicans, with 6.7% remaining undecided. A further 11.2% specified political subgroups ranging from far-left to moderate to far-right. Even with a large margin of error, the results appear to indicate a significant leftward lean in the student body. In addition to the survey, students were also invited to provide written commentary and attend a focus group. In both, many tended to agree that the impeachment was “definitely the right thing to do for both the nation and the world”, yet one which “polarized preexisting political divisions”. As one concerned student noted, the process “has shifted the government away from helping people as [politicians] are all so fixated on impeachment”. “The Democrats were looking for any little thing to impeach Trump on, but I also don’t believe this was any little thing,” remarked one student during the focus group. Another agreeingly commented in the survey, “As people begin to see that change in the executive branch is possible, they have more hope for a better political future.” Others opposed these views. “The saddest part of all of this is that most Liberals in our school have zero clue about how politics work and won’t accept the fact that Donald Trump is by far our best president since Reagan”, wrote a right-leaning responder. In the words of
Science Olympiad The team placed 4th place at the Westlake Invitational on Jan. 18 & 3rd at the Case Invitational on Jan. 25 The following students placed at the Solon Invitational on Feb. 1: Amy Chen & Yang Yu placed 7th in Sounds of Music. Chelsea Zheng, Stephanie Yen & Priyanka Shrestha placed 2nd in Protein Modeling. Bowen Zhang, Dhruv Seth, Evelyn Zhang placed 2nd in Experimental Design. Vidula Jambunath & Christian Wu placed 3rd in Wright Stuff. The team will compete at the Mentor Invitational on Feb. 22 and the Regionals Competition on Feb. 29. Model United Nations Greg Perryman and David Kuang won outstanding delegate awards at the Columbia University Model UN Conference in Jan. Amy Chen won outstanding delegate Vidula Jambanuth also won outstanding delegate There will be a conference at Michigan State in March. Beachwood band Splash Landing competed in the Tri-C High School Rock-Off on Feb. 1 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The band includes Josh Hutchins on guitar, Ethan Jeffers on drums, Jake Lawrence on bass and Ben Saul on vocals. Senior Haeun Shim won Honorable Mention at the Ileen Kelner juried art show for “Portrait With Words”. The exhibit is open to the public until March 1 at the Beachwood Community Center.
Coming Up Monday, Feb. 17--No School, Presidents’ Day
Data from Beachcomber Survey; Graphs by Claire Weaver another, ”It’s been a complete farce and the Democrats have corrupted the impeachment process.” Contentious in both the survey and focus group and was the issue of political tolerance. Exemplifying that discussion was the response from a student who, in the survey, expressed interest in attending the focus group but was afraid to because “most teachers are liberal and most of my peers are too, so I don’t want to go”, further citing the concern of “peer pressure because they will say something mean to me”. In the coming weeks, months, and years, fires left raging in the wake of Trump’s impeachment are sure to permanently scar
the whole of America, and even local discussions here in BHS seem unlikely to subside. Differences in ideology are widely debated in the school environment, and will remain so for the foreseeable future, if the survey is any indication. For now, however, all eyes are now on the Senate, which is presently holding a trial to determine whether to remove Trump from office. Despite bitter, partisan, and increasingly personal debates on the matter seizing national attention, it seems more than likely the Republican majority will ultimately acquit Trump, who will then finish his first term in office.
The MAC Scholars will be hosting a Black History Month assembly on Feb. 21 Friday, Feb. 21--the Beachwood Federation of Teachers and the Beachwood Boosters will host Family Fun Night at BHS from 5:00 to 7:00. This free event includes inflatables, games, arts & crafts, and more. Sunday, Feb. 23 from 12:00 to 4:00 The Beachwood Schools Foundation will hold a fundraiser called Building Our Foundation to celebrate the Arthur Gugick Memorial Scholarship. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids & BHS alums.
Features By Hiba Ali Staff Writer
Even in a Diverse School, Assimilation is a Formidable Force
Beachwood takes pride in its diversity and acceptance; however, some students still feel the pressure to assimilate. Assimilation is the act of changing aspects of one’s identity, including cultural identity, to fit societal standards. Even in Beachwood, some students feel pressure to hide certain parts of their cultural identity to be more like the people around them. This pressure can come from many sources. It can come from people who make you feel different, the lack of people around who are of the same cultural background or even from your own wish to fit in. “Assimilation is when you get rid of what makes you unique, different and special to fit in with the majority norm,” social studies teacher Kathryn-Anne Barney said. “It could be language, religion, culture or skin tone.” Students from minority cultures might stop wearing traditional clothes, eating the way they do at home or speaking their mother-tongue. Some students assimilate to feel accepted, only to find that they have given up an essential part of themselves by eliminating their difference from the majority group. “People don’t always feel like they can be themselves,” senior Prerna Mukherjee said. This tendency is not only found in high school; it happens everywhere. This mindset to change is caused by pressures to conform to the majority. Pressures from society bring forth a sense of shame regarding differences, causing minorities to feel a need to hide them. Historically, assimilation has wiped out entire cultures and their traditions. But there can be a positive side to assimilation as well. “[Assimilation is] destructive when it encourages [people] to abandon identity,” sophomore Greg Perryman said. “[It can be] constructive when [we] assimilate [our] identity into a larger group [in a way that is] inclusive, welcoming and positive.” Assimilation in Beachwood People do not always feel like they can be themselves. “It’s going to vary from student to student,” Principal Paul Chase said. “I’m sure there are people who will want to assimilate. Everyone [should] know they have a right to always maintain their culture and identify.” Other district staff members echo this view. “I think there are situations in which people do assimilate to try to fit in, but also more students in Beachwood, in my ten years here, feel comfortable being themselves,” Director of Equity and Community Engagement Kevin Houchins said. “The more inclusive environment drew me into Beachwood.” Despite the welcoming environment, some feel that there is still pressure to assimilate. “I see kids doing it all the time, and it can be difficult because Beachwood’s so
small and [students] want to be a part of the community,” Spanish teacher Daria Cayne said. “Assimilation is an easy and rapid way to do it.” “It’s also subconscious,” she added. “There are kids who try to hold on [to their culture] and not apologize for it; they also try to educate others.” Cayne started the Bison Feast and Fest in 2016, an annual fair to celebrate the diversity of the community. Some feel that assimilation is not unique to Beachwood, and that it is part of human nature. “It is a reality everywhere,” sophomore Ilan Haas said. In spite of the efforts to celebrate diversity, some students still feel a negative sense of being different, especially when there are not many people like them. “A lot of minorities in Beachwood don’t have other people like them here,” sophomore Amelie Cotta said. “There’s a large number of [people who are] Jewish and Caucasian,” senior Priyanka Shreshta said. Cotta described the majority culture in Beachwood as negative. “White culture. Privileged culture. Toxic culture, toxic meaning ignorant culture, ignorant, selfish, cold,” she said. Cotta said that it was toxic due to the formation of cliques and people being ignorant and inconsiderate to others’ perspectives and points of views. She said that some people lack manners and are judgemental. “I want to be very specific and clear,” Perryman said. “I believe that in Beachwood, if we are to continue to be very inclusive and welcoming in a positive force of assimilation, we cannot hold people to unrealistic standards of whiteness.” Perryman feels that we each have a responsibility to work against these standards. “In our interpersonal relationship we must act in a way that we don’t unfairly hold people to standards of whiteness (such as beauty, the way one speaks, other cultural norms), that can be very destructive,” he said. Some staff members have also felt pressure to assimilate. “Growing up, there was this idea of how we’re supposed to talk [and] what would make me, as an African American, beautiful,” Barney said. “However, as I grew to love myself and culture and understand it, I stopped assimilating.” Pressure to assimilate is not always caused by explicit hatred. Sometimes it is caused by microaggressions. “It’s not bullying or hate, though,” Shrestha said. “[People ask] questions not meant in a mean way, [which] hurt a little, [and there becomes a] need to assimilate.” Shrestha, who is Nepali, described a particularly memorable moment when she was in elementary school. “We eat with our hands in my culture, and I shared that with my class [at Bryden],” Shrestha said. “One little girl said ‘that’s disgusting.’” “I wouldn’t eat with my hands for some time when
I went home,” she added. “I tried to fit in… Those experiences are few and far between in Beachwood.” There are, however, positive aspects of exposure to different cultures. “I know cultural norms associated with the Jewish culture, just from being here, sort of assimilated to the cultural norms, I really do love that,” Perryman said. Junior Danielle Lan explains that assimilation is unavoidable in schools with predominantly American students. “First, we all need to speak English,” she wrote in an email. “[We] live with Americans [and we] make friends with Americans.” Lan was born in the United States, but lived in China for most of her life before returning to the United States three years ago. Assimilation usually means leaving something behind. “I’ve had a journey with assimilation,” Shrestha said. “I buy different clothes [because of assimilation], like leggings instead of traditional pants.” Students try to fit in with friends. “The things that [my peers] care about are the things that I care about,” Haas said. “For example, if my friends play a game, I play that game too.” Assimilation can also make people hesitant to speak up. “In some cases, I maybe haven’t expressed myself as openly,” Mukherjee said. Some are hesitant to show their culture through food and clothing. “I’m Russian, so a lot of the food I eat at home is not something I eat at school,” junior Alexa Zarjetskiy said. “With clothes, I sometimes see something that I’d love to wear, but I think, would I wear it at school?” Others don’t feel pressure to leave their food at home. “Most of the time my mom or I will pack a lunch [with Chinese food],” Lan said. “I think people find unfamiliar cuisines to be interesting,” senior Zyad Shehadeh said. Others suggest that assimilation is a natural process when we move from one culture to another. “Whenever I [travel], I assimilate,” senior Roberto DeMarchi said. “In a Spanish speaking culture, I speak more Spanish and I take siestas.” Combating Assimilation Some people have found the means of overcoming assimilation, whether through the people they surround themselves with, the activities they partake in or the pride they take in their cultural identity. Barney advises the Multicultural Achievement Committee (MAC) program, a holistic collaborative, educational support function of Beachwood Schools. The MAC program is designed to provide students with the necessary skills and support they need to achieve success academically, emotionally and socially as well as encourage cultural awareness and pride. “It’s for all kids. And I think it’s important to have allies from other groups. If people just want a place to vent they can do that,” Barney said.
“We have to be consistent so that kids feel it’s safe [to express their cultural identities,” Principal Paul Chase said. Image by Alisa Leskov Barney encourages students of all races to come to her room whenever they need a break from the world. She always has an open door for them and embraces the diversity of her students. On her wall she has posted pictures drawn by students as well as her name written in multiple languages. Some students make an effort to surround themselves with the right people to help stay true to themselves. “[I try to have] people around me who are open to discussion, not judging,” Mukherjee said. Other students have learned how to resist assimilation over time. “For sure, over the years, if you’re new, you assimilate a little bit until you get acceptance,” Shehadeh said. “With experience, I’ve realized it’s not worth trying to change something about my personality if I think it’s right,” he added. Others make an effort to remember their heritage. “You keep yourself from completely being absorbed into your environment and completely separated from your roots by knowing who you are,” Perryman said. Others ignore the pressure altogether. “I do what I like when I have free time, [even if it is] not popular,” Lan said. “I listen to the Chinese radio about Chinese history and current events, and what I should know, being Chinese.” School is also important in teaching kids how to resist assimilation. “There is no one right answer about how to best support newcomer students, but it is clear that schools must provide more than English language skills to help these students achieve academic success and self-sufficiency in their new country,” wrote Anne Wicks, a Director of the Education Reform Initiative in an article for the Bush Center. The Beachwood Schools offer a number of initiatives targeted at making the district a welcoming atmosphere for minorities and limiting the pressure to assimilate.
“We can’t forget about it,” Chase said. “We have to be consistent so that kids feel it’s safe [to express their cultural identities. It’s as simple as having conversations to make sure everyone feels all right. It’s our job to get out there and continue to have those conversations.” Houchins emphasizes the importance of courses such as African American literature and history to help students understand African American culture. “In addition, the district offers a variety of clubs that allow students to connect with members of their affinity group,” said Houchins. “These clubs are open to anyone who wants to participate, which provides an opportunity for any student to join and learn.” “These clubs are also encouraged to collaborate on projects where they can find shared meaning,” he added. “A big one is Many Cultures, One Bison, which celebrates our individual cultures but reminds us that we are connected in many ways.” Another new program the district plans to implement is Diversity.edu. “Diversity.edu is an online platform that will be [made accessible] to students from 6-12th grade,” Houchins said. “It’s a foundation to have a common vocabulary.” “When we have conversations about equality, inclusion and diversity, we all need to have the same vocabulary,” he added. “It will equip students and families. We need to have conversations to continuously improve our community.” Students also reflect this opinion. “The different clubs and organizations, diversity summits [and] student forums are good ways for Beachwood to combat [assimilation],” Mukherjee said. “I think Beachwood is currently on the path of combating [assimilation] by embracing all students’ diversity; it may not be fast, but change never happened overnight,” Barney said.
Assimilation in U.S. History
Assimilation has a dark history in this country. In 1819, Congress passed the Civilization Fund Act, which established off-reservation boarding schools for Native Americans. This act was an attempt to remove any semblance Native Americans had to their culture by removing young Native American children from their reservations. Their culture and language were prohibited. Captain Richard Pratt, who founded the Carlisle Indian School, described the goal of these schools: “Kill the Indian, and save the man.” Native Americans today lament the language and culture that was lost due to forced assimilation. “Education was something that was done to us, not something that was provided for us,” Native American author David Treuer told Wong. When immigration increased in the 19th century, education was used to help assimilate those immigrants deemed to be not ‘American’ enough. This mindset was largely due to nativist ideals that only white Christians are true Americans. According to a study done by Stanford University, many immigrants from Europe during the mass-migration of the early 1900s changed their names to more American-sounding ones. They found that immigrants with more Americanized names were more successful in terms of school and employment. Assimilation in Schools Throughout history, education has been a location where assimilation was used as a cultural weapon to erase cultures viewed as foreign. Carl Kaestle, emeritus professor of education at Brown University, wrote about this issue in his book, Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools and American Society, 1780-1860. Kaestle described the reaction of the New York State assembly committee to a situation in the 1850s when the majority of New York City was foreign-born, primarily Irish. “We must decompose and cleanse the impurities which rush into our midst,” the committee warned. “There is but one rectifying agent—one infallible filter—the SCHOOL.” Dr. Meridith McCoy, an assistant professor of American Studies and History at Carleton College studied this topic of assimilation in schools. In a paper titled Teaching Historical Trauma, Assimilation Policy, and Indigenous Resilience in Middle School Social Studies Classrooms, McCoy described how his great-grandfather learned to be ashamed of speaking his native language through the school’s strict English-only language policy. “This forced separation of parents and children, and the subsequent disruption of community knowledge and cohesion, is how historical trauma manifests in my family’s history,” McCoy wrote. BHS is diverse, and the school district makes an effort to combat assimilation by making an open environment for all students. Nonetheless, minority students still feel pressure to assimilate.
While students are not forced to leave their homes and families behind and are not punished for speaking their language as students were in 19th-century Indian schools, some students still feel as if they must leave behind bits of their culture.
Swim Team Faces Deteriorating Pool Conditions
By Amy Chen Online Editor-in-Chief
As the swim team prepares for the district meet, the high school pool is showing its age. A tour of the pool reveals rusting lockers, fading tiles and peeling paint. These are not new issues, however. In recent years, the swimmers have reported many concerns regarding the pool, and although the administration has attempted to make improvements, the deterioration continues to raise concerns. A few months ago, parents of swimmers initiated a meeting with coaches and administration. “We totally appreciate them stepping up and taking an active role,” Athletic Director Ryan Peters said. “They opened our eyes to certain things.” Superintendent Dr. Bob Hardis also recognizes the struggles of the Beachwood swim team. He explained that the administration is currently working on plans to repair the facility. “The Beachwood pool was opened in the early-80s, so obviously there have been many facility repairs, upgrades [and] renovations over time,” Hardis wrote in an email. However, a major renovation was not viewed as necessary until recently. “Ten years ago, when [administration was] looking at…renovating the high school, the pool wasn’t in that [bad of a] condition,” Asst. Superintendent Dr. Ken Veon said. “But now it’s starting to need some special love and care.” From the point of view of Beachwood swimmers, however, repairs have been needed for quite some time. “I have been swimming at the Beachwood natatorium since I was in kindergarten, and since then very few things have changed,” junior Alexa Zarjetskiy said. “When I was younger, there were holes developing in the bottom of the lockers, [where] people [lost] socks and goggles,” she continued. “[Since then], the corroded bottoms of some lockers have been replaced with [tiles], the wooden benches have been [refurbished and repainted] and shelves were added to the mirrors,” she added. “And yet we still have [loose floor] tiles, a water fountain that doesn’t work and a shower that is near the point of falling off of the wall.” There are holes in the bulkhead where swimmers say they’ve cut their feet. “The entire square actually collapses towards the inside when we push off, so when we do flip-turns, our feet get jammed inside,” junior Emma Joo wrote in an email. Swimmers have also raised concerns about breaks in overhead pipe insulation, cracks in locker room ceilings and breaks in floor tiles. During winter break, a toilet backflowed in the girls’ locker room and a sink clogged up in the boys’. “Basically we showed up to practice one day over winter break and one of the toilets was just filled with… fecal matter,” senior Shannon O’Neill said. “And there were stains on the floor around the toilet bowl like it had exploded,” she continued. As a result, the 11 girls on the swim team had only one bathroom stall for a month.
“Ten years ago, when [administrators were] looking at…renovating the high school, the pool wasn’t in that [bad of a] condition. But now it’s starting to need some special love and care.” -Asst. Superintendent Ken Veon As for the boys, a few of them referred to their sink water as “chicken broth” due to its unusual color and consistency. The toilet was replaced and the area surrounding it cleaned up during the week of Jan. 27. The sink drain was snaked a few weeks before that. Over the past few years, the team reported mice and ant infestations. Senior Yaya Gao shared her own experience with mice. “[When] I was in the locker room sophomore year, we found two dead mice on top of the lockers,” Gao said. “Then last year, [when] we were swimming, I saw a mouse running [on the pool deck].” Peters explained how the district has addressed the issue. “We were informed last year that there were insects [and] mice,” he said. “We routinely have exterminators come in and spray and set traps. I think we were a little more diligent after that situation.” “Some kids were leaving food in their lockers, and the lockers have [open gaps], which lead to insects and mice,” he added. “But it has been addressed, and there have been changes to our cleaning and custodial staff that have made a bigger ...impact.” In addition, during Nov. and Dec., members of the swim team were concerned about the water quality of the pool. “Sometimes we have really weird chlorine levels; sometimes we have really weird pH levels,” senior Shannon O’Neill said. Chlorine helps keep pools clean and safe, but exposure to overchlorination also poses multiple health hazards. Lapses in a pool’s water quality can therefore create safety risks. “We’ve [installed] a new Chemtrol [pool chemical] controller,” Facilities and Grounds Supervisor Brian Koss said. “With the volume of the pool…it takes quite a long time [to adjust] chemicals. You don’t want to do it really, really quick, because if you go too far one way, you [end up] trying to counteract it the other way.” “Our maintenance staff check and adjust chlorine, pH, CO2, alkalinity, water level, water temperature and air temperature on a daily basis,” Hardis wrote. “Our chemical system is automated by a Chemtrol system to maintain recommended levels.” “Approximately four times a year, levels may be off because of a variety of factors such as a spike in the number of swimmers at one time (start of swim team season for example) and when that occurs, we shut the pool down for less than 24 hours while the water adjusts back to recommended ... levels,” he added. “Our maintenance staff also backflush the sand filtration system and clean the strainer baskets on a monthly basis. [We use] a robotic vacuum to scrub/vacuum the bottom of the pool, similar to a roomba, but for a pool,” he continued. “This is done on a nightly basis.” The Ohio Dept. of Health checked water quality and recorded inspections on Oct. 30, 2019, and stated that “[all] equip-
ment [is] maintained in clean, safe and sanitary condition and in good repair.” The pool records indicate that pH and chlorine levels were normal for most of the days since Jan. 26. Joo conceded that while chlorine and pH levels have mostly returned to recommended ranges, water quality levels were certainly a problem for swimmers near the beginning of the season. For example, multiple swimmers said that they suffered irritated eyes and chlorine burns from the pool during the season. Chlorine burns take the form of itchy, red skin or hives. Both irritated eyes and chlorine burns are linked with abnormal water quality levels. Some people are more sensitive than others to chlorine, especially when they spend a considerable amount of time in the pool. In addition, Gao said that multiple students have had ongoing ear infections. As the CDC states, ear infections are most commonly caused by germs found in pool water. The appearance of these germs is linked with unbalanced disinfectant and pH levels. Above all else, the rising temperature and humidity of the pool is the most pressing issue for swimmers. “Natatorium Coordinator Brad Burget has requested that the air temperature in the natatorium be maintained at 86 degrees,” Hardis wrote. However, the temperature has fluctuated to the upper 90s during the season. “The heat and humidity have always been high in the pool,” junior Ben Lewin said. “However, this year they have become much more noticeable.” Swimmers were interviewed in Nov. and Dec. about the heat. “On average we [saw] air temperatures in the upper 80s, and earlier this year we endured temperatures over 90 degrees for several weeks straight,” he continued. “The only time temperatures were somewhat bearable [in Nov. and Dec.] was when the heater broke and we [enjoyed] temperatures in the mid-70s.” “Often during dryland, I [found] it hard to breathe and exercise to the best of my ability,” Lewin said. “It [felt] like you [were] breathing through a pillow,” senior Zoe Shook said. “It [made] it a lot harder to stay cool too. We have one fan…where we work out, but it mainly just [blew] the hot air towards us.” “We sometimes [went] outside in the 20-30 degree weather just to cool off,” Adams added. As of Jan., swimmers said staff had made efforts to address the heat and humidity, but problems still exist. “The coach told us that the humidity has risen to about 100%…so it’s very uncomfortable to be in the pool when it’s so humid,” Fan said in Nov. Joo added that the humidity stayed near 100% for several days. In Jan., swimmers con-
firmed that humidity is still a problem. Visitors who came to support the team for thei sprint meet on Jan. 31 also raised concerns about the humidity. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends a natatorium’s air temperature be below the comfort threshold of 86 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity be between 50% to 60%. According to exercise physiologists, exercise raises the body’s core temperature and can eventually lead to hyperthermia without adequate sweat evaporation. Additionally, athletes’ physiological function and performance is limited in areas with high humidity, such as the BHS pool, since sweat evaporation is limited, increasing risk of heat-related illness. To target the humidity of the pool, Hardis stated that by the “end of February, a 24-foot diameter destratification fan [will be] installed from the ceiling of the pool. This is approximately a $12,000 improvement project.” “There’s a lot of corrosion that happens in the pool,” Peters said. “[There’s] old deck tiles built-up with calcium. [The pool] does get cleaned every day, [and] we did change a couple of different cleaning methods, which hopefully makes a bigger impact.” “We look at our chlorine and pH levels, and our maintenance is continuously looking into how to maintain these at appropriate levels,” he added. “I don’t blame [the swim team] for being eager for change,” Peters said. “I wish I could snap my fingers and all of the necessary changes could happen today. However, these changes are costly.” “There are things that we’ve done, [but] a lot of it is in the boiler room, [in] the guts of it… the unseen stuff,” Veon said. “But we know we have to update the facility…and we’ve addressed things a little bit at a time…things that don’t cost hundreds of thousands of dollars [that] we have to
Above: the BHS pool, where swimmers have faced high heat, high humidity and a variety of other maintenance issues. Photo by Ben Lewin Right: Thermostat picture from Nov. 2019 (above) Photo by Ben Lewin
Bottom: loose floor tiles on the pool deck. Photo by Lisaveta Sharakova
budget for.” “Since 2014, the district has replaced the sand filter, Chemtrol system, pool robot cleaner (Dolphin), diving board, pool water boiler, and drain deck piping,” Hardis wrote. Hardis added that the district has also rebuilt the hot water boiler, repainted the locker rooms and bleachers, installed new lighting fixtures in the stands and replaced the light bulbs over the pool, locker rooms and lobby. Additionally, the district has installed more handrails at the entranceway, fob readers at the locker room doors, a new drinking fountain, and a bottle filler on the pool deck. Hardis mentioned that replacement of fixtures in the locker rooms, including toilets, faucets and paper towel dispensers are completed on a regular basis. “Using the district’s permanent improvement fund, we’re looking at renovating the roof and starting there, so that the building’s dry when we do renovations on the inside [and] we’re not getting leaks that are causing more damage,” Veon said.
“We want to address the envelope of the structure first,” Koss added. “Although we don’t have a final cost at this point in time, this huge job will cost more than $500,000, but we will then have a roof that should last at least 30 years,” Hardis wrote. In addition to the new roof, Hardis wrote that the district is currently looking into a multimillion dollar pool renovation to address the heating and ventilation system and renovate the offices, locker rooms and bathrooms. The building will be ADA compliant, which will demand reconfiguring of plumbing, fixtures, walls and doorways. Deck and locker room tiles will be replaced, as well as the pool water boiler. The ceiling, beams and windows will be renovated as well. “We are hopeful this renovation will be able to take place (perhaps in phases, like the roof this coming summer) within the next two years,” Hardis’s email concludes. Natatorium Coordinator Brad Burget declined to comment for this article.
When Being Biracial Isn’t the Best of Both Worlds
By Elizabeth Metz Editor-at-Large
When I was seven years old, attending a sports camp, a white boy in my grade apparently noticed that one day a black woman picked me up, and another day, a white man. While I knew the difference between black and white, my parents never prepared me for the day that boy would call me a crossbreed, another term for a mutt– like I was something that belonged to the wild, not in human life. How could any parent ever really prepare their young child for the feelings of confusion and embarrassment that evolve once they realize they are inherently disadvantaged because of their skin color? That little boy at camp spurred an identity crisis in my brain, and from that day on I would wonder why there was no opportunity to check multiple boxes on important documents such as both “African American/black” and “caucasian/white.” For many years, because of those boxes on official forms, I mistakenly thought I had to belong to one or the other. I was too white for the Black kids, and too black for the White kids– the white kids code switched when I code switched, and around my African American peers, I was told that I “talked white.” I struggled to figure out where I belonged, since the world simply did not want me to be “mixed” in any way. I felt like I had to be 60/40 or 80/20 depending on the time and place. The more cognisant I became of the world I lived in, I found that Blacks were disproportionately targeted by police, and I wanted to side with them– because had it come down to me being in the car with a bunch of white friends, I felt that I would have most likely suffered punishment. However, I would often feel socially excluded by Black peers due to my mixed heritage, making me feel like I could not embrace that side of me. I began to feel that the only tie I had to my Blackness was my skin color. Take choir class, for example, in middle school. The Black kids took the last row of seats in the choir room every day, while students of other races took the rows closer to the instructor. Since we could sit where we wanted, one day I asked some of the Black kids if I could sit next to them. A boy in the back row quickly responded, “Just go sit with your white friends.” Since nobody disagreed with him, that statement was all I needed to feel rejected by the black students in my grade. While growing up, many people told me that I had the “best of both worlds” being mixed, Thinking I was the only one, somewhat ashamed of my identity crisis, I recently opened up to a friend about my experiences as a half-black and half-Ashkenazi Jewish female, and as it turned out, they were of the same ethnic backgrounds. There was even a name for the adolescent crisis I was having.
“It’s called a tragic mulatto,” they said– and their words have resonated with me ever since. A social disease like no other, symptoms of ‘Tragic Mulatto Syndrome’ may include but are not limited to: being awkwardly asked your ethnicity, via i.e. “What are you?”; being asked if you are adopted; being mistaken for a different ethnicity, commonly Latino, which occurs when a pedestrian walks up to you speaking Spanish. Other symptoms include feeling pressure to be one or the other, and an embarrassment to embrace both cultures in all aspects of one’s life. The word ‘mulatto’ formally describes a person of European and African lineage, or an offspring of a black and white person. The word is derived from the Spanish and Portuguese word “mulato,” which formally translates to “of mixed breed,” stemming from the root “mulo” or mules. The word ‘mulatto’ possesses a tangled history, as the first mulattos in North America were the product of rape between master and slave. According to research compiled by the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University, “The mulatto woman was depicted as a seductress whose beauty drove white men to rape her… One slaver noted, ‘There is not a likely looking girl in this State that is not the concubine of a white man.’” The beginning of mulatto culture, after all, was tragic to begin with. Although white
their shared black lineage made them savage and in all ways improper. This view was widely shared by many Americans in the 19th century, reestablished in the film Birth of a Nation in 1915. It came as no surprise to me that biracials were classified as a “degenerate” race, since mixed people of earlier centuries were commonly a product of a rape that was never considered a crime. I figure it was destined for me not to feel fully immersed into one race or the other, given the perception that any black blood made one fully black yet white blood made one too rambunctious. Despite the image of biracials as power-hungry yet savage, and even sex symbols, they rose to a prestigious position with an “artisocracy of color,” fiercely dividing the black race in early 20th century America, as described by The Colored American Magazine. The brown paper bag test and the “ruler” test were of common use in the early 1900s by blacks to discriminate against other blacks, the beginning of an era where we, African American people, turned blind eye to colorism, which had its origins in slave owners favoring fairer-skinned slaves for domestic chores while their darker-toned counterparts were stationed working brutal hours in the hot, southern sun. Recognized as people of color, black and white biracial individuals found themselves in a class between the
“Symptoms of Tragic Mulatto Syndrome may include but are not limited to: being awkwardly asked your ethnicity, i.e. “What are you?”… being asked if you are adopted, feeling pressure to be one or the other, and an embarrassment to embrace both cultures.” men found pleasure in raping Black women, they saw a problem in the result of that rape: Biracial offspring who could have a potential higher social status and blur the lines between the races. These fears were addressed by the evolving belief, codified into law, that any Black lineage made someone fully black– and to be Black meant to be a slave– thus problem “solved.” According to the Jim Crow Museum at FSU, interracial rape and White supremacist laws worked together to enforce racial hierarchies. “By prohibiting racial intermarriage, winking at interracial sex, and defining all mixed offspring as black,” purebred White superiority was achieved while simulataneously fetishizing and preying on black women. Even following the postReconstruction era, the mixed race hit another tragic wall as George M. Fredrickson described in a historical analysis entitled The Black Image in the White Mind (1982) suggesting a historical ideology believing that Mulattos were a corrupt, degenerate race because of their White lineage, which made them hungry for power and ambitious, and
wealthy whites and enslaved Blacks, as in the 17th and 18th centuries, slave owners were known to have treated their mixed offspring like children, offering them more opportunity than the slave children on plantations. In French Haiti, a French colonist, Moreau de St. Mery, produced a scale represeting nine degrees of color, indicating that the last classification closest to complete white lineage on the scale was accepted as white, but a person was not accepted as white if they had more than 1/64 African descent. The farther one was from being 100% black on his genealogical scale, the less harsh prejudice the individual was subjected to by whites, but the less solidarity one shared with other black people. I felt this when I got called an “uppity negro” by a group of black kids at a convention in Detroit, Michigan, where we were supposed to be coming together in black solidarity. The term “uppity negro,” nowadays is a full-fledged joke among many Black adolescents, but the phrase “uppity negro,” with “uppity” meaning arrogant, was ini-
“I belong to a race that has never belonged to either world; we were viewed as savage on the one hand and power-hungry on the other.” Image by Yang Yu tially directed at the mulatto race. I attribute much of the struggles that I endured as a pre-teen to the historical damage left by the legacy of the brown paper bag test. If one’s skin was darker than a brown paper bag, they were not included in a multitude of black institutions or various black communities. I find it hard to embrace my identity, for had I lived in the 19th century, all I would have been was a sex symbol, a result of a rape by a white man, not true love between two parents of different ethnicities. Rather than the best of both worlds, I have come to identify my experience with the best of three: my people are the black people, who have endured brutal racism and discriminatory violence, set in a trap created by white superiority for centuries; my people, my other people, are considered white; and my people are also the biracial people, who have their own unique history. I belong to a race that has never belonged to either world; we were viewed as savage on the one hand and power-hungry on the other. I have come to question which people really were the savages and the power-hungry monsters. The more I learn of my history, the more I understand that the true monsters were white men who controlled the law and should have been punishing rapists, but were too busy committing the act of rape themselves. I find it hard to be proud of both sides of my family tree, seeing that there are times when I feel like my own father could never
understand the struggle of being brown-skinned, and though he sympathized and was vocally opposed to discrimination of any sort, I know he will always be treated better than I will. It is hard having one parent who reaps the benefits of white privilege, though he acknowledges his privilege and uses it for the better, and having a parent who is doubly oppressed as an AfricanAmerican woman. Though my mother has taught me about the hardships black women have endured, and taught me the grit with which I must pursue my goals, and the history of the oppression of black people by whites, my takeaway from history textbooks has been that the white man has historically been the enemy of blacks in America. I have felt my perception of the world beginning to swallow my White father into the generalization of the white-male enemy, just because of his skin. My biracial experience has tested my ability to perceive people not with the gruesome racial stereotypes that they have been subjected to, but with the mentality that they are human and should be treated with kindness until they show me a reason to do otherwise. While much of my identity crisis was a result of a historical and cultural clash, there are many moments when growing up biracial has simply been awkward. As a young girl, I attended Camp Wise, a primarily White, Jewish camp near Burton, Ohio. We travelled to water parks. I walked by myself to get food, and counselors from another camp,
which brought many African American children to the park, tried to take me back with them. When I was recently on vacation with my Ashkenazi family, entering a prestigious art museum, a museum worker closed off the line after my cousins were admitted, and I was left behind. Eventually I made my way to them after convincing the guards that they were my family–– but that’s not the point. Each of these incidents were symptoms of my condition: the Tragic Mulatto Syndrome. The worst part is-and any other biracial children will understand this-that you have to find the cure on your own. As biracial people, we must learn to find peace in the histories of the different cultures we are part of. We must acknowledge that although there is cultural harmony inside the home, outside of the home the mixed child will contract their own, individualized symptoms of Tragic Mulatto Syndrome and struggle to define their identity. The internal struggle is all part of figuring it out, but each of our unique experiences will ultimately define the way we choose to embrace our identity. Not every mixed boy or girl may close their identity crisis standing 50/50, feeling half and half– given that we are bound by the ropes of White privilege and colorism– but in discovering who we are, as biracial individuals, we must first understand our history as a race and choose how to act upon the past.
Opinion No Kings, No Queens, No More By Peter Soprunov Editor at Large “I bessech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” -Oliver Cromwell, 1650 Each year, BHS crowns two royal couples: one presiding over the fall Homecoming festivities, the other over the January Snoball. In years past, a Homecoming Queen was elected in a series of elimination elections, the first of which was a 12-way poll kicked off with a “Top 12” assembly. The elected Queen would choose her date to the dance as de facto Homecoming King. While the Homecoming King status was not as official as that of the Queen, candidates for Homecoming Queen were ceremonially es-corted to the Top 12 assembly by their male monarchical running mates. For the positions of Snoball King and Queen, the procedure was more or less the same, but with the genders reversed: a King was elected, and that King chose his Queen. Many have criticized the heteronormativity of this practice, though perhaps the dearth of same-sex royal couples has less to do with systemic homophobia and more to do with the fact that every person elected to such a position has chosen to crown a member of the opposite sex as consort. Of course, the fact that every crowned monarch has chosen a hetero-passing running mate (even if the royal couple are just friends) is certainly indicative of a heteronormative bias among the student body. Another, more prevalent claim, is that the Top 12 assembly may reinforce toxic ideals of popularity in high school. The 2019 Homecoming season was marked with a collective brouhaha over the election of the Queen, with some students calling for the abolition of the practice altogether. The BHS administration reached a compromise: the Top 12 would thereafter be called the “Homecoming Court”, and both King and Queen would be elected positions. Carly Petti and Antonio Roscoe were subsequently crowned. Student Activities Director Craig Alexander explained the history of the tradition of
SnoBall King at BHS. “Going back to when I just took over as Student Activities Coordinator, I was told that SnoBall was supposed to be a ‘Sadie Hawkins Dance’,” he said. “That’s never actually been so since I took over.” For the unbriefed, a “Sadie Hawkins Dance” is an event to which girls are encouraged to bring boys. This is how the tradition of having only a Snoball King began. “A few years ago there were a couple community members asking why we didn’t have a Homecoming King,” Alexander added. This year, a survey was sent out to the student body and the changes were made. I would argue that BHS has reached an important moment in its history; like the France of 1789 and the Russia of 1917, the time has come to shed our monarchy. Many will argue that comparing BHS to revolutionary France and Russia is hyperbole. It is, but there is still an analogy to be made. In the United States, our view of monarchy is monochrome—monarchs are simply unpopular despots who oppose democracy. The Homecoming and Snowball monarchs are not really monarchs, say their apologists, they are elected positions that call themselves “King” and “Queen” in the spirit of tradition. This regressive view, molded by Jeffersonianera propaganda, demonstrates a misunderstanding of what a monarch is. Kings and Queens were often populists, not tyrants, and were often elected positions for a significant time in history. Having picked apart Palmer and Coulton’s A History of the Modern World (our school-issued European history textbook), I’ve found a consistent body of evidence indicating that the role of a monarch is cultural, not administrative, and usually viewed as a reflection of a popular, national character. Kings were very often elected, and almost always more popular than the institutions they shared the spotlight with. “A lot of countries have royal families that serve a symbolic role, in terms of a country’s history, in terms of a country’s culture, in terms of a country’s traditions. In a state’s early history, Kings created some degree of focus and stability within the country as they consolidated. Sometimes,
Editor-in-Chief Vivian Li
Maintenance Issues Impact Student Learning Beachcomber Staff
“Many will argue that comparing BHS to revolutionary France and Russia is hyperbole. It is, but there is still an analogy to be made.” Image by Claire Weaver coming out of feudal times, the King was just the baddest ass on the block,” social studies teacher John Perse said. “The problem with getting rid of a King is that that King represents the country as a whole. That’s why so many countries still maintain that monarchical tradition.” The Snoball and Homecoming King and Queen don’t just appropriate the airs of monarchy, they do exactly what monarchs did for many countries—serve as an embodiment of the collective will and a projection of our power as a group. Unlike student council, the King and Queen serve no administrative purpose. The fact that these monarchs don’t pass or overturn laws or send people to the chopping block doesn’t stop them from being figures of power, endorsed by the staff of BHS, over other students, in an attempt to empower the school. This was the role of a monarch in post-medieval Europe. And yet, we, as denizens of the 21st century have the hindsight to say that though many European Kings were popular, elected, and often even just, they were Kings, and Kings are bad. Not because monarchy is inherently despotic but because the regalia of throne, altar and crown are supremacist and immoral. Telling others you are better than them, more deserving of power than them, is cruel and toxic. We are smart enough to realize this. While there is a case to be made for rewarding students for sports or academics, what can a student learn when BHS bestows a crown on the most popular couple? That they should take
steps to become more popular? High school culture is sometimes modeled on an ascending scale of popularity. This view of high school is today so ubiquitous in movies and TV that it can and should be relegated to a tired cliche. In fact, viewing high school as a simple hierarchy of popularity is pretty regressive. What about people who are only popular in certain circles? What about people who are popular among underclassmen but despised by seniors? The problem isn’t that this model is actually applicable to our BHS experience, the problem is that the election of the Homecoming and Snoball King can be easily interpreted as an endorsement of this simplistic, outdated model of human interaction. I would argue that there isn’t really a “popular crowd” at BHS, so why are we appropriating a manner of selecting one? And, of the many ways to do so, why is the method of selection tied to a heteronormative standard, with boys escorting girls to an assembly? In the past few years, BHS has initiated several projects to improve the mental health of the student body: from a new SAY Counselor, to occasional visits from therapy dogs, to military personnel brought in to exercise with us, to collective mindfulness therapy. Consider instead what BHS would do if it was instead expedient to make students more self-conscious, more anxious and more miserable. Would they not sanction a literal popularity contest, put a literal crown on the most popular students, and parade them around the school?
We believe that schoolwide maintenance issues, particularly regarding the heating systems and pool, should be more swiftly and effectively resolved. Students have noticed fluctuating temperatures across the school. Certain classrooms, such as science teacher Karla Seery’s room, are noticeably colder, while classrooms in the English hallway are significantly warmer. Sometimes temperatures in the classrooms of the English wing vary widely over the course of a day. “Each teacher has a 4º sub control of their room that they can adjust with the room’s thermostat,” Supervisor of Facilities and Grounds Brian Koss wrote. “Some teachers have asked to be warmer or cooler and we try to accommodate them, within reason. Similar to any program, we encounter glitches and bugs every now and then that we address right away.” The extreme fluctuations in temperature make it harder to concentrate during class. Both English teacher Carrie Shapiro and social studies teacher Pam Ogilvy have had mechanical problems impact their classes. In the weeks leading up to winter break, Ogilvy continuously prompted her students to bring their coats to class. Ogilvy says the heating problems have been an issue for the past two years. This year, however, has been the worst. “The building is divided into sections; whatever panel heated my section was down,” Ogilvy said. Shapiro’s classroom recently had no heat for a two-week period, forcing her to take her classes to the library. Whenever there is a problem with heating in her classroom, Ogilvy emails Koss. She says the response is always quick, but the actual correction of the problem may take time. For example, the extreme cold in Ogilvy’s room before winter break was not resolved for about three weeks. English teacher Josh Davis reports that he has emailed Koss six times this year concerning the temperature in his room being either too hot or too cold. Koss explained how the school handles these issues. “We occasionally have me-
chanical failures where pieces and parts need to be replaced in the individual units,” he wrote. “Some of these mechanical failures can be fixed right away and some take longer since we have to order parts and wait for them to come in.” “To give you an idea of scale, most homes only have one heating system, each room at the High School has a heating unit and large spaces have several,” he added. “We have over 100 units just in the High School and this doesn’t include [the] larger pieces of equipment such as the boilers, pumps, rooftop units and heat recovery units.” While the high school is larger than a family home, there are plenty of buildings even larger than BHS that seem to be able to maintain consistent temperatures. When certain classrooms are too cold or too warm, it can become distracting for students. Additionally, instructional time is shortened when students must go to their lockers to retrieve jackets and coats. Science teacher Karla Seery would also like it to be warmer in her room. “I think it’s too cold… I have a thermostat, but it doesn’t do anything,” she said. “I do think there’s too big of a difference [in temperature across classrooms],” she said. “I don’t think kids should have to bring coats [to class].” Additionally, the pool has experienced maintenance problems this season including broken tiles, extremely high temperatures and humidity. Members of the swim team feel that the high temperatures have interfered with their practices. According to administrators, the conditions of the pool do not pose any safety or health issues, and when issues do appear, they are corrected as soon as possible. There are planned improvements, but as of yet no official timeline. Though we appreciate the administration’s efforts to maintain BHS’s internal environment, there is always room for improvement. Currently, temperature inconsistencies across classrooms as well as pool maintenance issues are extreme enough to affect students’ learning and swimmers’ performance. We hope that whenever these issues appear, they can be addressed more quickly and effectively.
Sports Editor Joe Spero
Managing Editor Prerna Mukherjee
Enterprise Editor Bridgitte Feldman
Editors-at-Large Elizabeth Metz Peter Soprunov
Online Editor-in-Chief Amy Chen
News Editor Tal Rothberg
Photographer Matthew Keyerleber
Layout Editor Claire Weaver
Opinion Editor Ian Stender
Adviser Josh Davis
Features Editor Carrington Peavy
Arts & Life Editor Joey Lewis
Issue Staff Hiba Ali, Roberto DeMarchi, Michael Karpov, Yoav Pinhsai, Carly Thomas, Noah Weiskopf & Yang Yu
The Beachcomber is a student publication subject to prior review. This newspaper is dedicated to affording an opportunity to all BHS students to express their opinions on these pages. All unsigned editorials appearing in The Beachcomber represent the opinions of the editorial board. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the student body, the staff, or the administration of Beachwood High School. The Beachcomber welcomes all letters to the editor, whether critical, complimentary, or informative. Letters deemed obscene, libelous or inflammatory will not be published. Letters should be sent to Editor-in-Chief Vivian Li vli@ beachwoodstudents.org. To contact Beachcomber adviser Josh Davis, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arts & Life
“Marriage Story” Arguably Johansson and Driver’s Best Work
By Amy Chen Online Editor-in-Chief
In mid-December, after a two-month hiatus from Netflix, I finally caved in and sat down to watch the first thing the web site’s algorithm fed me: Noah Baumbach’s latest production, Marriage Story. Completely unaware of the film’s six recent nominations for the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, I stumbled blindly into Baumbach’s heartwrenching divorce opus and into the lives of separating couple Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie Barber (Adam Driver). Of course I knew both Johansson and Driver through their respective portrayals of Black Widow and Kylo Ren, but I wasn’t familiar with the rest of their filmographies. Johansson and Driver’s performances in Marriage Story became my first impression of both leading actors outside of the action/science-fiction genre, and they certainly did not disappoint. Marriage Story begins with Nicole and Charlie each describing what they like about the other. The audience is privy to intimate snapshots of the couple’s life with each other and with their eightyear-old son, Henry. From first glance, the Barbers seem to be a loving and happy family. From the raw sincerity of both partners’ lists, it is clear that the couple was once in love, so when Nicole vehemently refuses to read her list aloud to Charlie and their divorce mediator, the audience is left to wonder what went wrong. Over the course of her marriage to Charlie, former film actress Nicole was forced to refuse many offers from directors and producers in Hollywood in order to stay with her husband and son in New York, wholly devoted to her role as a mother and as the star in her husband’s plays. However, her dreams lay in Los Angeles, and though initially proud to be the center of Charlie’s productions and of his attention, her happiness dwindles as Charlie repeatedly rejects her opinions in favor of his career (“I got smaller,” Nicole recalls to her divorce lawyer. “It would be so weird if he had turned to me and said, ‘And what do you want to do today?’”). What struck me hardest was how convincingly both leading actors played their parts. One of the scenes I loved most was Nicole’s monologue, when she recounts to her lawyer the reasons she was attracted to Charlie–his genius, his sociability and his creativity– which turned into the reasons she left: she felt as if he left her
Cont. from page 1 Senior Amanda Leizman runs the Health and Wellness Club and explained some of its goals for the year. “We’re planning a student mural in the lunchroom that will be on one of the walls in the cafeteria…” she said. “...Right now we’re thinking of [making] a tree [and]
no room to flourish. Johansson recites the speech, which runs on for several minutes, all in onego. She talks through her tears, voice breaking as she desperately defends her actions in long, rambling sentences, sometimes having to stop and backtrack through her narrative to anchor herself back in the present. The authenticity of Johansson’s performance made Nicole’s story come alive. This is the first time the audience fully understands Nicole’s pain in leaving Charlie, and also her overwhelming need to do so. To make matters worse, in Charlie’s incapacity to handle the growing distance in their marriage, he seeks solace in a one-night stand, which, though racking him with enough guilt to never go through with another, is ultimately (and understandably) the last straw for Nicole. Driver too, delivers a powerful performance as Charlie struggles with the possibility of losing custody of his son. It is obvious Driver pours all of himself into his role; his calm resolve extinguishes at the mention of losing his son, his lip quivers unsteadily when anger and frustration overpower his character. As someone in a YouTube comment puts it, “I’ve never seen an actor who doesn’t even act. It’s more like I’m watching someone’s life.” Charlie’s selfishness in wanting to stay in New York stems from his need for a stable home: a result of briefly mentioned abusive and/or neglectful parents. His desire for family is his fatal flaw, his Achilles’ heel, as he tries to hold on to both the family he’s found in his theater company and the family he’s made with Nicole and Henry. In one scene, Charlie is both tied up in a phone call with Nicole’s divorce lawyer and trying to direct his production at the same time, in the end unable to successfully handle either. This is a lovely parallel to Charlie’s larger character arc, wherein his desire to retain both of his former families causes him to lose parts of both. By the end of the film, Nicole’s and Charlie’s worlds are flipped. In the beginning, Nicole grapples with guilt and pain in divorcing Charlie as Charlie’s on top of the world, with a newly received MacArthur grant and a show moving to Broadway. In the end, Nicole is the one on top of the world, with a Grammy nomination for directing and a hot new boyfriend, as Charlie struggles with the connection he’s lost with Nicole, her family and their son. We see this dramatic change when Nicole sings “You Could Drive a Person Crazy,” from Stephen having everyone stamp something on and sign their name so everyone can contribute to it in some way.” “...[W]e want to leave a message of positivity and something that will improve inclusivity. We want to give everyone a feeling that they belong and that they’re part of the school. The club is also planning
The official movie poster for “Marriage Story,” which came to Netflix US on Dec. 6. Chart below by Amy Chen. Sondheim’s Company, with her sister and mother during a party. After the scene ends, the film pans to Charlie sitting on the edge of a table, talking with members of his theater company about his divorce. It is the same table we see at the beginning of the movie, right before Nicole leaves for Los Angeles and Charlie prepares to move his play to Broadway. He suddenly stands up as he hears a tune he recognizes, and begins to sing. The song is “Being Alive,” also from Sondheim’s Company, but it carries a completely different tone than Nicole’s song does. While “You Could Drive a Person Crazy” sounds cheery and carefree, Charlie’s performance is built on raw, unhinged emotion. His production team can only sit and watch as their director takes himself apart on stage. Not only does this scene perfectly juxtapose Nicole’s performance, it also perfectly parallels Nicole’s emotional monologue at the beginning of the movie about wanting to “come alive.” Just as Nicole felt a part of herself die during their marriage, Charlie feels a part of himself die after their divorce. Charlie was a temporary replacement Nicole ultimately did not need; Nicole was an essential constant Charlie ultimately could not replace. However beautifully acted by Johansson and Driver, each character’s development is lacking in important ways. After about the 45-minute mark, the film abandons Nicole’s point of view. The next 90-or-so minutes focus almost entirely on Charlie’s perspective (possibly because Marriage Story is modeled after the director’s own divorce), so when Nicole starts to take significant a student advisors program to help freshmen with their transition to high school. “...[I]t’s basically going to be what LINK leaders do, but it’s going to be an expanded role throughout the year where freshmen will have upperclassmen mentor them…in maybe eight to ten different meetings throughout the year,” Leizman said.
“What struck me hardest was how convincingly both leading actors played their parts. One of the scenes I loved most was Nicole’s monologue, when she recounts to her lawyer the reasons she was attracted to Charlie–his genius, his sociability and his creativity–which turned into the reasons she left: she felt as if he left her no room to flourish.” legal action against Charlie with her divorce lawyer, her behavior seems unreasonable and her character, along with her lawyer’s, becomes nearly villainous. While a third of the film centers around Charlie’s viewpoint, we never get to see his character truly develop past his love for theater and his love for Henry, which seem to be his only redeeming personality traits (as opposed to being a selfish and unfaithful husband). These traits are enough to garner sympathy, but perhaps if we got to see more of his backstory, we would be more in tune with his personal tragedy in losing a relationship he cared about.
Despite shortcomings in character development, Marriage Story still manages to evoke powerful emotional responses by utilizing various conflicting tones. In one scene, Henry excitedly asks his dad to “do the thing with the knife” in front of custody evaluator Nancy. Charlie hilariously attempts to dismiss this comment, hoping that the evaluator doesn’t see the request as proof of bad parenting. Yet later, when Charlie and Nancy are sitting alone in his living room, Charlie brings out the knife Henry mentioned to break an uncomfortable silence. “I pretend to cut myself, but I retract the blade,” Charlie
Both Peters and Chase advise students to reach out to a trusted adult when they need help. “First of all, [students] cannot hide [any problems they are coping with]. If they are going through something, they need to talk about it,” Peters said. “Talk to a trusted adult. I always hope that it’s the parent first because that’s
who they’re living with. If they don’t feel like they have a trusted adult in their house, then they need to find a trusted adult in the school.” “I’m accessible 24/7 for students,” he added. “If a student is having a tough time, send me an email. Let’s talk ...I’ve talked to many kids over the years, and sometimes a kid just needs a
explains, as he pantomimes the motion with the knife. He chuckles a little to himself before seeing the look of terror on the evaluator’s face, and follows her gaze to the gigantic gash he accidentally made on his arm. The scene then becomes a constant back-and-forth between him and the evaluator, the evaluator repeatedly asking if he’s okay and Charlie repeatedly responding yes, even as blood starts to seep through his shirt. When Nancy leaves, Charlie rushes into the kitchen and runs his arm under the faucet, then wraps his wound up with paper towels. He collapses onto the floor, seconds before his son walks in to get a glass of milk. As Henry passes him, Charlie rolls onto his side, hiding his arm. The knife scene is a fantastic example of how Marriage Story uses juxtaposition of tone to elicit reactions from its audience. It starts off light and humorous, with Charlie fumbling over his words as Henry’s absentminded comments threaten custody conditions. Within a few minutes, however, the situation turns dark and dramatic; suddenly Charlie is bleeding profusely and the evaluator is desperate to get out of the room. Suffice it to say that, while flawed, Marriage Story successfully combines a variety of different elements to create a comedy-drama masterpiece, and while opinions may differ, Johansson has never been so convincing and Driver so captivating as in this film. If discussion on individual character arcs and song theory doesn’t move you, then at least watch it for the actors. You won’t regret it. pat on the back…and I don’t think we do that enough.” “[Most importantly,] we are always here to talk,” Chase said. “...Just having someone with a different perspective to speak to can really ease the mind and calm the person down, so always seek out help…because if we know…we can help.”
Arts & Life
In Season Three, Mrs. Maisel Turns to Social Commentary By Bridgitte Feldman Enterprise Editor
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an Amazon Prime original series about Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a Jewish woman who pursues a comedy career after being left by her husband. Written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, this portrayal of an Upper West Side Jewish family in the late 1950s, early 1960s was an immediate hit. The characters are spot on. For example, Midge’s father Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub) is almost an exact carbon copy of my grandfather. The third season was released on Dec. 6, and the first couple episodes were slightly disappointing. The writing didn’t seem to be quite as fast paced as in previous seasons, and the jokes were more spread out. I was concerned that the whole season would be like this, but it picked up in the third episode, though not quite in the way I expected.
While the first two seasons were spectacular because of the constant pee-in-your-pants kind of laughter, the third season took the route of advocacy that has recently become popular in television shows. It seemed as if the third season tried to tackle every broad issue the world is experiencing right now, which is a lot to pack into eight episodes. The third season dealt with racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, capitalism and even the downfalls of gambling. While the show skillfully maneuvered these issues, packing all of these important topics into eight episodes was just too much. Especially combined with the 1960s setting, it became difficult for the show to give the right attention to these topics without being historically inaccurate. The characters are genuinely portrayed. Throughout the third season, Midge Maisel has two demons battling inside her. One demon tells her to be a strong independent woman and fight to be successful in a
predominantly male field, and the other demon tells her that she needs a new dress for every occasion to always look perfectly put together and remain appealing to men. This struggle is one that many women experience and was amazingly performed by Rachel Brosnahan. Abe and Rose Weissman, Midge’s parents, were also beautifully written characters. Tony Shalhoub was relatable to many Jewish people with a father or grandfather in their life. While he is a traditionalist, he tries to break free of this throughout the season, but always comes back to those little quirks that you suddenly realize your grandpa also has. Rose Weissman (Marin Hinkle) was a relatively static character for the first two seasons, but she experienced some character development in the third season. With the many changes to her life, she had to find ways of coping with her new lifestyle— a unique challenge for her. Interestingly, only about half of the leading actors
Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) and her father Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub) Image scource: Amazon
are Jewish. This was surprising to me because they so accurately portray Jewish traditions and lifestyles. The main writer and producer, Amy Sherman-Palladino, was raised Jewish.
Overall, the writing of this show is spot-on, the characters are spot-on, and the representation of a wide variety of issues provides a captivating story line.
I would recommend this show for people who are looking for a fast-paced, hilariously funny show, which is great to watch with family.
Elsa and Anna Confront the Past in Frozen II By Hiba Ali Staff Writer
With its rich plot, memorable characters, beautiful visuals and passionate music, Frozen II follows in the footsteps of the original, which defined the childhood of our generation. Frozen II accompanies Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and, of course, Olaf as they venture north from Arendelle and into the Enchanted Forest. Early in the film, Elsa hears a voice calling out to her that leads her and the gang to the enchanted forest, home of the elemental spirits. This is the site where Elsa and Anna’s grandfather met with the natives, called the Northuldra, after gifting them with a dam. One key element of Frozen II is the way it depicts characters confronting their history. It reveals how the gift of the dam to the Northuldra wasn’t truly a gift; rather, it was a trick from Arendelle, attempting to weaken the native people by limiting their water supply in order to get them to depend on Arendelle. The only one who was aware of the trick was King Runeard, Elsa and Anna’s grandfather. When the
“Elsa and Anna make an effort to repair the damage made and start anew by recognizing the mistakes of their ancestors.” Northuldra people started doubting the helpfulness of the gift, the King ordered an attack. Since then, the natives and the army of Arendelle were stuck in the enchanted forest with no way out due to a spell cast by the elemental spirits. This aspect of the plot is important, as it recognizes the mistakes of the past. The film seems to comment on the history of the conquest of Native American land by white settlers. Elsa and Anna make an effort to repair the damage made and start anew by recognizing the mistakes of their ancestors. More interesting, at the beginning of the movie, the people of Arendelle are shown enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner, subtly recognizing the truth behind Thanksgiving and how the natives and the settlers may have enjoyed that one day together, but the atrocities of the settlers are still something that needs to be acknowledged. Another important aspect of the film is the
music. As a sequel to Frozen, the audience had high expectations for the music. Unfortunately, many were disappointed. While none of the songs are as powerful of an earworm as Let it Go, the songs from Frozen II are deep and emotional. One example is The Next Right Thing. This song reflects the hopelessness Anna felt at a particularly low point and the strength needed to overcome it. The music strikes a chord with the audience and the lyrics reveal the emotions Anna is feeling quite well. It manages to make the audience understand exactly what she is going through, leaving viewers stunned and emotional. Another song many enjoyed was Lost in the Woods, sung by Kristoff. This song was in the form of an 80’s rock ballad, and many adults enjoyed it. It was a fun throwback, maybe a bit odd for the newer generations, but still enjoyable. Overall, the music is more diverse
One mesmerising scene is the one in which Elsa tames the water spirit, which is in the form of a horse that appears while she swims through the Dark Sea. Image source: Disney.com
than in the first film and also struck chords with the listeners. The animation is another strength of the movie. It is flawless and captivating. The movements are cohesive. One mesmerising scene is the one in which Elsa tames the water spirit, which is in the form of a horse that appears while she swims through the Dark Sea. The movement is fast paced yet fluid. With no dialogue or lyrical music, the audience is on the edge of their seats. In comparison to the original, the animation of the characters has subtly changed as they grew older. It trades brighter colors for
more earthy tones, and, at times, darker tones during suspenseful scenes. Overall, the animation is pleasant to look at as well as simply mesmerizing. One of the most interesting details of this movie is the characterization of Olaf. It shows him maturing. He begins to wonder how to deal with change. He finds solace in the fact that he’ll always have friends by his side, as Anna reminds him throughout the movie. The choice to present Olaf ’s character as a child struggling emotionally as he grows up is an amazing message to the young
audience. It helps them cope with the struggles they are going through and reminds them that some things never change. Frozen II is a beautiful movie in terms of both visuals and heart. It pulls in the audience emotionally and teaches important life lessons as these characters confront their history and discover hidden truths about their past. It is a great movie to watch with friends and family, to cry and laugh with and to care about, no matter your age. It is yet another memorable Disney movie.
Into the Blue: the Grateful Dead Revival will play at the Beachland Ballroom on Feb. 21. Tickets start at $11
Michael Buble will perform at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Friday, March 27 at 8:00. Tickets start at $105.
Winter Jam 2020 will be at 6:00 p.m. on March29 at the Wolstein Center. The event features seven Christian musicians. Tickets are $15 at the door.
Bison Beat Find out about upcoming concerts in the Cleveland area that you may want to attend. If you have any feedback, lesser-known artists you want to see featured in the next issue or any other feedback, please send me an email at 22mkarpov@ beachwoodstudents.org.
The classic rock band UFO comes to the Agora Theatre on Feb. 16, with tickets starting at $47.
The Beatles tribute band A Hard Night’s Day is coming to the Kent Stage in Kent, Ohio. The concert will be on Feb. 22, and has quite expensive tickets at $170.
Sophomore Risa Ishizaka spreads her wings at the Viking Invitational in December. Ishizaka is one of 12 swimmers and three divers who will be advancing to Districts. Photo by Matthew Keyerleber
Congratulations to Beachwood swimming and div-
ing on a strong performance at sectionals. The following athletes are advancing to districts: Amanda Leizman, Seth Warner and Noah Tannenbaum will all dive at the district dive meet this Wednesday, Feb. 12. Swimmers will compete at the district swim meet this Friday, Feb. 14. The girls swim team is advancing in the 200 medley and the
200 free relays. The girls also broke the team record in the 200 medley relay. The boys team is advancing in the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays. The following girls will be advancing: Yaya Gao in two relays, 200 free and 100 free; Emily Fan in two relays, 100 fly and 100 breast; Shannon O’Neill in two relays and 100 fly; Abby Adams
in two relays; Risa Ishizaka in 100 fly. The following boys will also be advancing: Viet Nguyen in three relays and 50 free; Sam Ornstein in one relay, 100 fly and 100 breast; Gabe Colmenares in three relays and 100 fly; Matthew Keyerleber in three relays and 100 free; Grady Bystrom in two relays and 50 free; Ben Lewin in 200 IM and 100 breast; and Lucas Yang in 100 free.
Boys Basketball Looking to Stretch Six-Game Streak By Noah Weiskopf Staff Writer
Left to right: Freshman forward Luke Bennett, junior forward Andrew Hill, junior guard Daryl Houston, junior guard Maurice Jones and junior forward Dalanti Jackson wait to be introduced as Bison starters at Dec. 6 Hawken game. At right: Houston prepares for a freethrow. Photos by Joe Spero
The Indoor Track Team competed at the Spire Showcase, an international meet on Feb. 9. The following athletes have state rankings: Ashley Perryman-current state leader in 200m dash, 2nd in 60m dash Boys 4x800m--2nd (Jack McPhillips, Greg Perryman, Fernando Duraes, Caleb Berns) Langston Gaines-Smith--3rd in 400m dash Elizabeth Metz--4th in weight throw Maddie Alexander--6th in high jump Freddie Lenix -- 7th in 60m dash Left: Christian Mayfield, ranked 9th in long jump Photo by Elizabeth Metz
The Bison are coming off a phenomenal six-game winning streak. Junior Maurice Jones described the key to their recent success. “We are playing together,” he said. “Coming together and playing as a team really helped us.” In January, Jones reflected on his major improvements from last year. “I stayed in the gym a lot more, lifted more, and probably got 1,000 shots up per day,” he said. Jones reflected on his season so far. “I feel like most of the time my shots have been falling, but it is a process,” he said. “We have to keep learning.” Jones also reflected on the struggles the Bison have had this year after several players
left the team. “We just have to stay focused and stay together,” he said. Junior forward Andrew Hill emphasized the turnover problems were a factor in costing the Bison several games earlier in the season. “[We need to trust] each other and trust in our abilities that everyone has on the court,” he said. “We just have to know that our players will knock down shots.” Jones described the team’s potential going forward. “If we play as a team, we can go pretty far in the playoffs,” he said. At publication the Bison are 13-6; 9-3 in conference games, having won the last six straight games. They play at Riverside on Saturday, Feb. 15 and face Euclid at home on Feb. 18. Their first playoff game is scheduled on Feb. 25 at home against Martin Luther King, Jr. High School.
Young Team Makes a Mark By Joe Spero & Brooklyn Blackwell There’s a lot of talented potential on the girls basketball team, consisting of seven freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and three seniors. Senior Captain Cimone Jackson is hopeful about the rest of the season. “We just have to work hard on defense and communicate on and off the court,” she said. Junior Captain Guard Madison Prince leads the team in scoring with an average of 15.5 points per game, 1.5 assists per game and 2.1 steals per game. Sophomore Center Sarah Brown leads the team in rebounds with an average of 16.1 per game and and 1.5 blocks per game. “We are coming together and have gotten closer this season,” Brown said. “We are getting better just by playing games, and playing competitive schools.” At publication, the lady Bison are are 7-13. They will play Andrews Osbourne Academy at home on Feb. 12. Far left: Sophomore center Sarah Brown recovers the ball in a scramble at the Jan. 20 game against Shaker Heights at Rocket Mortgage Field House. At right: Freshman point guard Taylor Blackwell dribbles up the court. Photos by Matthew Keyerleber
February 12th, 2019 - Volume LXI, Issue III of Beachwood High School's The Beachcomber.