THE TIGER PRINT
New student-created community service platform launches
A Respite to Remember
Junior golfers talk high school experiences, college plans
Senior spends first semester abroad in Israel
Tigers discuss lunch-time preferences
New Things are Scary
influencers cause unsustainable habits
THE TIGER PRINT
Rhylan Stern adviser
“The Tiger Print” is an official publication of Blue Valley High School, an open forum distributed to all students six times a year. This publication may contain controversial material. Kansas law prohibits the suppression of a student publication solely because it may contain controversial matter. Blue Valley Unified School District No. 229 and its board members, officers and employees may disclaim any responsibility for the content of this publication; it is not an expression of school policy. Student authors and editors are solely responsible for the content of this publication.
Letters to the editor are encouraged for publication. “The Tiger Print” reserves the right to edit all submissions for both language and content. Letters should be submitted to Room 518, emailed to email@example.com or mailed to:
The Tiger Print Blue Valley High School 6001 W. 159th St. Overland Park, KS 66085
Student discusses benefits of stepping out of comfort zone
Close the Computer Lid
Technology in schools comes with some significant drawbacks
OPINION Cancel Consumerism Contents NEWS 7 Outreach Opportunities FEATURE 12 On the Course to Success ENTERTAINMENT Lunchtime Lore 24 29
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rief lue iews alley around
SCIENCE STUDENT HONORED
BV was recently granted $100,000 for its science department and to science teacher Dianne Dunn thanks to junior Noor Haideri who won 1st place for the Junior Breakthrough competition. Haideri was recognized at the Sweetheart assembly with a congratulatory video from James Corden — an unexpected moment for both Haideri and those who witnessed it.
“It was such a surprise when I found out at the assembly because I was not expecting it,” Haideri said. “Everyone was cheering was a really cool moment.”
A SUPER BOWL CELEBRATION
Blue Valley schools celebrated the Chief’s Superbowl win with a day off to partake in festivities — most notably the Chief’s parade on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Senior Gigi Mir was among those who attended.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I had a really good view.” Despite minor conflicts, Mir enjoyed the parade.
“It was hard to see all the players because a lot of the time they were walking, but honestly, everyone showing up and hanging around — it was pretty cool,” Mir said.
NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR CHOIR
In Daytona, Florida this February at the Barbershop Harmony Societies Midwinter Convention, BV choir members took home the Audience Favorite and Judges’ Best Choice Awards for their performances.
Junior Cole Evans, who also placed third in the country with his barbershop quartet, expressed optimism for the group’s future.
“If we won this in our first year going, I’m excited to see where we go next year,” Evans said. “I’m really happy we won.”
WORDS BY AYESHA KHAN & CHARLEY THOMAS
PHOTOSUBMITTED BY ALLIE HEIDEMANN
PHOTO BY JACKIE CHANG
| PHOTO SUBMITTED BY GIGI MIR
design by isaac hudson
isaac hudson |publication editor
Though it has been a dream of his since 2018, science teacher Kale Mann wasn’t sure if he would ever get to expand the Stanley Nature Park behind Blue Valley.
Now it’s possible, thanks to a new grant from the district. Mann originally proposed an 8x12 greenhouse, not sure if it would get approval, but the district facilities group wanted to provide extra funds for them.
“They were like, ‘Well, this is great, but it’s not big enough. We can help you get a bigger one,’” Mann said.
Before the greenhouse gets built, Mann and science teacher Ryan Bird will make additions to the prairie area behind the school that will support the greenhouse.
“We’re going to build some raised garden beds to plant community gardens so people can just come in and take what they want that we’re growing but also to demonstrate how to garden if people want to do that around here,” Mann said.
The grant will allow them to construct the building.
“The greenhouse is going to be 12x24 feet, so it’s not super big — it’s smaller than [my classroom],” Mann said. “The
Science department receives grant to expand BV’s prairie nature park
goal with the greenhouse is to grow our own plants to then put into the pollinator garden to put into the prairie to put into the community garden so instead of spending literally thousands of dollars on plants from nurseries, we’ll be able to grow them ourselves.”
The whole thing will be completed with the installation of an aquaponics system in the greenhouse.
“It’s where you basically have fish and fish tanks — we’re going to use koi because they produce waste that is essentially fertilizer,” Mann said. “What you do is you pump the water out of the fish tanks, water the plants with that, they absorb the nutrients from the water, cleaning it, and then the clean water gets pumped back to the fish tank.”
With the aquaponics as the last piece, Mann and Bird will have a self-sustaining system.
“The ultimate goal is to have a sustainable system where we can grow the fish, grow the plants [and] tie it into sustainable agricultural practices, to the water cycle, things like that, for the classroom, and then also grow things for our native area,” Mann said.
4 news march 2023
|FLOOR PLAN COURTESY OF KALE MANN
science teachers talk about retirement Re
ashling bahadursingh |staff writer
For years, Blue Valley students have been taught under science teachers
Charlena Sieve and Karen Koch. However, the end of the 2023 school year will also mark the end of these beloved teachers’ careers at Blue Valley.
Ever since the beginning of her BV experience, Sieve has felt a connection to the school.
“When I first came to Blue Valley High, it was so comfortable,” Sieve said. “I went home and I told my husband I’m going to retire from that high school.”
Sieve credits her students as her favorite part of her teaching experience.
“I’ve been very blessed to instruct students and get them excited about science and future careers,” Sieve said. “They keep you young.”
When asked what she’ll miss most about the school, Koch had an easy answer.
“Definitely the kids,” Koch said. “Kids make me laugh.”
During her retirement, Sieve intends to use her newfound freetime to do an array of things.
“I’m going to do all the things I’ve been wanting to do that I never have time to do,” Sieve said. “A lot of traveling, spend some time with my
grandkids, get back into sewing, learn a foreign language, get back to the piano.”
During her retirement, Sieve hopes Science Outreach will continue.
“I’ll miss Science Outreach and the kids that we get excited about science,” Sieve said. “They come into Blue Valley years later and they [also] want to be a part of Science Outreach.”
Students of Koch know about her longrunning box experiment, but due to her retirement she is doing it differently this year.
“I want them to try to figure it out themselves,” Koch said. “I don’t show kids until after they graduate. They can come back during finals and see the box, but now I’ll show it to all the kids who are interested in seeing it.”
Looking back, Koch acknowledges her development at Blue Valley.
“I’ve been teaching here for 10 years,” Koch said. “I grew a lot here.”
Sieve finishes her time at Blue Valley with gratitude toward her experience.
“I’ll retire after the end of 19 years here,” Sieve said. “It’s the career of a lifetime.”
19 7.892 16.865 20.392 17.293 21.301 15.1237
“[Koch] was so kind and always helped me with anything I needed. I am definitenly going to miss her.”
-keegan murray, 11 “Sieve relates to each student personally. She ensures that if you try in class you will achieve a good grade.”
news march 2023 5 design by ashling bahadursingh
-barrett bergmann, 11
design by gaby ayres
ONE AT A TIME
Tungsten Tigers compete at league match
gaby ayres & aspen gallentine| staff writers
The Robotics Club took part in a league match on Feb. 11. Junior Liam Stewart and computer science teacher TJ Slade discuss the competition and what it takes to compete. For the club, this league match was a culmination of the robotics season.
“We have about three to four meets, but we have one league meet,” Stewart said. “[Meets] give us certain points that go to our season points, and then we’ll have a league match where the points that we accumulate over the year to rank us and put us in our different seeds.”
With practices from 3 to 6 p.m. every day, the Robotics Club prepared diligently in order to secure a spot at State, and with the competitions requiring both pre-programmed and controlled robotics, there was a lot to do.
“[Robotics] provides a place for students that maybe don’t have a place to go after school — a place to feel welcomed while also exploring topics in STEM,” Slade said. “Right now we have three groups — one working on building, one working on programming and then our last
group working on our portfolio.”
The engineering portfolio is another way for the robotics students to show off their chops at the league match. The portfolio and the robotics are judged separately so teams can advance based on their portfolio alone.
“[The] majority of our members are working on the portfolio,” Slade said. “It’s an important part to wrap up the season and show everybody what we’ve done.”
This season while building and programming, students worked on making the robots faster, more efficient and more consistent. Building and rebuilding robots gives students an outlet to experiment with mechanical design and develop their problem solving skills.
“My favorite part of robotics is really being able to have a challenge and to continue working at it throughout the season and see improvement,” Stewart said. “Also just being able to hang out with really cool people.”
w 6 news
|PHOTOS BY AVA POLAND
The BVHS Robotics Team earned the award for design. Juniors Carter Hagen and Liam Stewart were reconized as Dean’s List Semi-Finalists.
Johnson County Connect
Juniors collaborate to help JoCo youth connect with companies
ava poland |staff writer
All high school students can benefit from work experience before heading to college, whether that be volunteering, working a part time job or doing a summer internship. But many students never pursue these things simply because they don’t know where to start.
Juniors Josselyn Bui and Alex Diaz recognized this issue and decided to take action by introducing Johnson County Connect.
The idea came when Diaz was searching for volunteering opportunities but wasn’t having any luck finding them.
“Basically the only way I was able to do community outreach was through friends and my friends’ parents,” he said. “So I thought why don’t we make our community a lot better by giving kids access to that stuff?”
Diaz presented this problem to Bui, who agreed and pointed out another relevant issue. Many companies in the Johnson County area have expressed a lack of young and qualified interns, and are searching for students to hire.
“We found there were a lot of youth that really wanted to connect with their community through internships, passion projects or student leadership,” Bui said. “We also saw there were a lot of companies that wanted to connect with students, bring in qualified interns and get more student involvement.”
The two realized they could create a website to serve as a connection between the two parties and solve both problems.
“We decided to be the middleman and set up a
program that could connect the companies to the kids,” Bui said.
The team is currently meeting with companies and planning on how to turn the website from an idea into a reality. So far, they have met with Archer, a risk management corporation.
“Soon we’ll recieve our first grant from Archer to actually develop this site,” Diaz said. “We need to reach out to other businesses that could be interested in providing their opportunities.”
Once the money is obtained, the two will begin developing the website and putting their plan into motion. Bui predicts the website should be up and running by summer.
“By then we should have listings of possible opportunities and resources available,” Bui said. “It won’t be until later that we’ll be able to provide specialized connection. We’re thinking by fall or around
alex diaz 11
There’s never been anything like [JCC] before and I just know so many kids are going to benefit from it.
news march 2023 7 design by ava poland
design by jackie chang
jackie chang |staff editor
All BV students who eat in the commons have had a certain man offering to collect the trash on their table near the end of the lunch period.
That’s David Briggs, the teacher of Drafting, Intro to Engineering Design and Woodworking. He also helps with lunchroom supervision because there was a need for extra assistance.
“It’s a little bit difficult to get teachers who want to [work in the cafeteria],” he said. “When I first came to the district, I was asked to help out, and I just don’t mind doing it.”
Since last school year, Briggs has been turning food that would go to waste into something impactful.
“I collect all the leftover carrots, apples and fruit [to] give to the homeless,” Briggs said. “Part of the reason I go through with the trash is [because] oftentimes [students] are going to throw it away anyway, so I just collect it then. I don’t get a lot that way but I’ve also learned doing lunchroom supervision that if I get your trash and pick it up, you won’t be sitting there wondering
what else you might want to deal with.”
Some students grab an apple or carrot bag on their way out of the cafeteria but never end up eating it. So many tend to do that, that Briggs collects a good amount of bags.
“I usually get about two and a half [grocery sized full] bags per day — [I] fill up a refrigerator every week,” Briggs said. “I have, embarrassingly to say, three refrigerators in my household, so every night I take the food home and put it in the refrigerator. On the weekends, I either deliver it to a place where they take it or there’s a lady who comes to my house and picks it up.”
Briggs started being involved with homeless organizations over three years ago when he first saw
Leftover lunchroom food helps those in need
how homeless people were living.
“[My neighbor] invited me, [so] I volunteered to do some of the cooking and fixing some of the food for them,” he said. “I went out and saw the condition. They were homeless living. It was surprising to me that many of those folks, they don’t by choice want to be there. At that point, I do what I can to help out whenever I can.”
Although Briggs donates for the purpose of extending a hand to those in need, he also hopes by doing so, he could make an impact on students.
“If I can teach kindness to people, it’s worth a lot to me,” Briggs said.
He added that if his students don’t remember the things he taught in class schoolwork-wise, he wants them to always be mindful of something even more important.
“If they remember the kindness and consideration for each other, that’s worth a fortune,” he said. “That would be the one takeaway I hope they always keep with them.”
If I can teach kindness to people, it’s worth a lot to me.
8 news march 2023
feature march 2023
THE coffee spot attracts BV students
rhylan stern|publication editor
In early 2023, a new drink spot opened up, affecting all coffee drinkers nearby. 7 Brew is a drive-thru chain with drinks ranging from coffee to smoothies and more, with new locations popping up across the U.S.
7 Brew’s team is made up of high-energy, talkative people to create a more welcoming drink stand. Part of their job consists of creating conversations with every customer who goes by. 2023 early graduate Athena Haley began working at the stand after finishing first semester.
“I am a morning person so I have most of my energy early in the day, so I thought that worked out well,” she said. “I love how happy and energetic everyone is because it helps the day go by.”
Before the grand opening occurred, days were filled with lots of promotional tactics.
“We handed out drinks [after] school, we gave free drinks to teachers [and] we did our power hours, which were all small drinks being free,” Haley said. “We gave out free drink cards to
surrounding businesses [and] gave out drinks we were training with. We wanted to have everyone try our drinks and hopefully come back for more.”
With all of the promotions, the drive-thru gained many customers.
“Working in rushes is honestly fun because you constantly have something to do and we try to get drinks as quick as possible,” she said. “It’s fun because everyone has so much energy.”
On Jan. 28, 7 Brew held its “Swag Day” for the Overland Park location.
“The grand opening [was] so good — we did power hours leading up to our opening day,” Haley said. “We were handing out free T-shirts, and we all trained really hard to be ready for the grand opening.”
After joining the team, Haley has learned many lessons for her future.
“This job has shown me what it’s like to enjoy coming to work every day, how to make the best out of things that go wrong and how to stay happy, even in stressful situations,” she said.
“They’re always really fast and it just tastes good. It’s super sweet and I have the biggest sweet tooth ever.”
“It has good energy and all the workers are nice. There are so many good options — if I’m not in the mood for coffee, I can have other stuff.”
-kenzie campbell, 11
“I really like how nice everyone who works there is. The employees are always super energetic and kind.”
-grant kozisek, 11
-rose dersch, 10 HOLIDAY PUNCH ENERGY
ICED BLONDIE ICED BRUNETTE
design by rhylan stern
design by kylee thompson
, BV French exchange student attends school with senior
kylee thompson|staff writer
Traveling all the way from Valence, France, 16-year-old Lou Cissa joined the BV community for three weeks in January and February. Staying with senior Sophia Bade, she hoped to experience American culture and increase her English skills.
The process for Bade began in mid-December after offered the opportunity through her French class.
“[I had to] go into the website and fill out a whole application — I sent information and pictures about my family,” Bade said. “Then [French teacher Carol Bar] came to my house to make sure everything was fine and to interview me.”
Bade has been taking French classes at BV since her sophomore year; however, she didn’t use it around Cissa.
“I was told I am not supposed to, she’s really here to improve her English,” Bade said. “But obviously she can speak French in my French class.”
Because Cissa was only here for three weeks, she shadowed Bade in all of her
classes and had the ability to choose other students to shadow for a week if she wanted to experience a different schedule.
“She doesn’t have to do any schoolwork,” Bade said. “She is just here to observe.”
Bade and her family prepared for this opportunity in many ways.
“We had to get her room ready and schedule some things,” Bade said. “I wanted to take her to get some barbecue and go painting,” she said. “We went ice skating, to a Chiefs game, drank Boba, went to Scheels — which she thought was really cool — and the Sweetheart dance and the Cheesecake Factory.”
At the end of their journey, Bade and Cissa described how much their friendship grew and everything they experienced together.
“We became best friends,” Bade said. “I am going to miss her sassiness and being with her 24/7 and all the random stuff we get to do together.”
Cissa felt the same way expressing how much she loves America, but more importantly her new friendship.
“[My favorite part is] being with Sophia all the time and sharing every moment of my day with her and her family,” Cissa said. transition
“I feel like we have learned a lot from each other,” Bade said. “Like I learned a little French, and she learned a lot more English.”
Cissa said she also
BY SOPHIA BADE
gained some valuable life skills.
“I learned how to be more independent and made a lot more friends,” Cissa said.
Hoping to see each other again, Cissa invited Bade to visit her in France this summer to continue their journey together.
“[I came] here because America is a really good country. I wanted to discover another country and another life,” Cissa said. “[Sophia and I] became best friends — I am going to miss her.”
10 feature march 2023
ON THE MAT ON THE MAT Student discusses
ella lim |staff writer
For many students, the 2:45 p.m. release bell marks not only the end of school but also the imminent start of the work day. For sophomore Nikoo Tahmasebi, it marks her transition from student to teacher as she steps into the role of teaching children the martial art, taekwondo, at Ko Martial Arts.
“I started learning taekwondo when I was 3-yearsold” Tahmasebi said. “I was a helper in the leadership program for a while. I quit when I was 13, but I start ed working as an assistant instructor August of 2022.”
Though her main reason for starting the job was college applications, she quickly changed her mind after just a few days.
“I keep teaching because I enjoy teaching these kids discipline through taekwondo and techniques,” Tahmasebi said. “For children, [taekwondo is] a good disciplinary situation to help them build courage, perseverance and other things you usually won’t find in school [settings]. Personally, I became a selfreliant person which allows me to have coordination to learn my forms and techniques.”
Spending nine hours teaching each week and putting in an extra hour on Thursdays to take an additional class for instructors, her employment comes with unique challenges that most others don’t have.
“My least favorite part is the nervousness [I feel] when the parents and my supervisors are watching me teach — I have to record my classes [in order to] get feedback from my supervisors,” she said. “I get scared that I might be doing something wrong or handling a student wrong, especially in
such a disciplinary situation. It’s a lot of hard work to get to a point where you can be comfortable leading a class.”
However, Tahamsebi believes the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
“My favorite part about teaching is having fun with the kids, which is kind of cringe,” she said “I love the change
feature march 2023 11 design by ella lim
of students are currently employed 48%
charley thomas|editor in chief
If propelling the BV Boys Golf Team to a State championship title wasn’t enough, juniors James Ackerman and Chance Rinkol travel far and wide to play in national competitions alongside some of the best athletes the sport has to offer. From tournament victories to college commitments, the two golfers have achieved commendable success in the decade since they first picked up their clubs.
“I was 3 years old [when I first golfed],” Rinkol said. “I was playing with my grandma in Marshalltown, Iowa, and I just fell in love with the game there. I played 20-some holes that day, and that’s how I started.”
In their two seasons with Blue Valley, Ackerman and Rinkol have gained experiences much deeper than their marquee win.
“It’s very unique, and you get the opportunity to play as a team,” Rinkol said. “Practices are always super fun; we’re challenging each other during drills, and we get to add a few side bits here and there. We always seem to push each other, and it just makes it a blast.”
The mutual growth fostered during the school season not only makes the training worthwhile, but it also prepares athletes like Ackerman and Rinkol to step up under pressure.
“The first few years have been extraordinary,” Ackerman said. “Last year was really fun because it was more competitive. We ended up going into a playoff for the State championship, and we won it.”
Contrary to the team environment at Blue Valley, golf outside of school takes on a more personal path for both athletes.
“Golf is an individual sport, so it’s your own schedule and basic practices on whatever you’re feeling,” Ackerman said. “There’s no real pressure from your coaches or anything because it’s just you and the course.”
Juniors look forward to remaining high school golf seasons, collegiate
Competing at a high level of golf, like any other sport, demands dedication both on the road and at home.
“I play in a lot of tournaments across the country — I’m pretty fortunate to be able to do that,” Rinkol said. “I usually fit some practice in every single day to keep improving and working on my craft, and it’s definitely very time-consuming.”
Nationwide competitions can last the better part of a week for golfers like Ackerman and Rinkol, as much more goes into the events than the hours on the green.
“It’s typically Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so I usually travel on Saturday, then play the practice round on Sunday,” Ackerman said. “Then I play a three-day, 54-hole tournament with some of the best juniors in the country.”
Though each competition weekend has its highlights, one stood out to Ackerman for its tie to a popular pro event.
“The biggest [tournament] I played in was the U.S. Junior Am — it’s like the U.S. Open for juniors,” Ackerman said. “That was at Bandon Dunes in Oregon right off the coast, and it was really cool. The weather was great, there were lots of picturesque views and it was televised, so I got to watch it on TV.”
Rinkol has likewise participated in major events, such as the Drive Chip and Putt National Finals, and he attributes much of his progress to mentors within the sport.
“My trainer Kevin Ward helps a lot with the body
|PHOTO SUBMITTED BY JAMES ACKERMAN
|PHOTO SUBMITTED BY CHANCE RINKOL
movements and weight transfers of my golf swing,” Rinkol said. “My golf coach Skip Maiwald goes to Iron Horse, which is my home course, and I go see him whenever I feel like something’s off. They’re both really good role models and definitely people that helped me get to where I am today.”
Technique and training, as Ackerman explained, are key elements of success in the sport of golf, but their mentality counterpart is equally essential.
“A lot of people lose strokes throughout the round because they get frustrated with their previous shot,” Ackerman said. “The ability to just let go of your shots is really what separates the good players.”
After years of competing across the country, both juniors earned opportunities to pursue the sport at the collegiate level. In the fall of 2024, Ackerman and Rinkol will join the Nebraska and Iowa golf teams, respectively.
“My mom’s Alma Mater is there, so that definitely influenced it a little bit, but mainly I really liked the coaches,” Rinkol said.
“We had a strong connection every single time I had a
phone call with them, and I really like some of the players in the ‘23 class and on the team currently. It just feels like home.”
Ackerman echoed a desire for a tight-knit team atmosphere, among other factors in his decision.
“They just sold the product really well — Nebraska — and I fell in love with it,” Ackerman said. “The workout area is really nice, there are lots of good golf courses and it’s Big 10, so it’s a really good strength of schedule. It felt like a family environment.”
As the two prepare to compete as high school teammates before transitioning to college rivals, both golfers expressed lofty expectations for the next couple seasons.
“I want to win State all four years as a team, and making it to the NCAA tournament with Nebraska would be really cool,” Ackerman said. “After college, PGA Tours are my ultimate dream goal, so we’ll see how things pan out.”
Ackerman and Rinkol, though they have many collegiate and potentially professional experiences to look forward to, remain focused on the present to ensure a future of possibility.
“The main goal is to go pro ultimately, but I know it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices,” Rinkol said. “I’m just trying to set myself up for the best opportunity.”
|PHOTO SUBMITTED BY JAMES ACKERMAN
|PHOTO SUBMITTED BY CHANCE RINKOL feature march 2023 13 design by charley thomas
Typingthe words “Blue Valley High School” into a search bar doesn’t bring up news articles about sports games or student achievements but rather contains headlines detailing the recent vandalism case.
Following the hateful actions displayed on the press box, many minority students felt personally attacked, including senior Natalie Goldman, junior Aliyah Haq and sophomore Hannah Gold, for whom the incident didn’t come as much of a surprise.
“[My first reaction] wasn’t about how the school got vandalized, it was just ‘Oh, it’s another one,’” Gold said. “That shouldn’t be the first thing we think of, but it was the first thing that I thought of.”
Goldman believes only a small
percentage of people have such extreme opinions. “I just can’t believe people in our community actually have those thoughts,” Goldman said. “I know it’s a minority of people who believe those things, but it did lower the image in my head of BV.”
Though her initial reaction wasn’t one of shock, it did have a detrimental effect on Gold and many others.
“It definitely hurt me,” she said. “I thought, ‘How can I go to this school that I’m supposed to feel accepted and safe at for something that I can’t control and then hear and see the things that were all over the vandalism?’”
Haq didn’t realize the severity until later, but the initial reaction it instilled in her was severe. She described the district’s response to hate as “minimalistic” and “brushed under the rug.”
“I felt really on edge — I was very unsteady about it and con-
WRITTEN BY: GABY AYreS,
FOLLOWING THE derogatory VANDALISM OF SCHOOL PROPERTY, STUDENTS, STAFF & ADMINISTRATION REFLECT ON THE INCIDENT and HATE IN SCHOOLS.
cerned for my own safety, as well as my friends’,” she said. “It was really a shock.”
Gold has seen this event substantially affect the people around her as it became the central topic of many discussions.
“We all pretty much had the same unsurprised reaction,” Gold said. “It was definitely a big fear to go back to school, but after we talked through JSU, youth groups and one-on-one meetings, we realized that instead of letting them take control, we needed to fix this by standing up for ourselves.”
Gold has already taken initiative to do so with the school.
“We had a conversation with some of the administrators, and we worked out why we think that having an antisemitism program to help limit it was a great idea,” she said. “We tried to figure out how we fix antisemitism and help spread awareness without spreading it to the wrong group.”
ISAAC HUDSON, AYESHA KHAN, ELLA LIM, AVA MCGUIRE & KYLEE THOMPSON
Despite the slow but steady increase of inclusivity at Blue Valley, many people still feel an underlying sense of hatred at this school. As shown by the recent vandalism of the BV football stadium’s press box, even our own school is not safe from hateful speech and imagery of all kinds. Unfortunately, this hatred goes beyond speech and images. It affects Blue Valley students, especially those who were targeted by the vandalism. Read on to learn about the reactions to the vandalism and the BV community’s experience with other acts of hatred and bigotry.
on the cover march 2023
design by ayesha khan
Gold emphasized this has not only had a large impact on the Jewish community but on other groups as well.
“I reached out to as many people as possible to try and make sure they were OK even if they didn’t go here because I knew this is something we all fear, whether or not you’re Jewish,” she said. “If you’re in a minority, it’s always a fear that you can get attacked or somebody can attack you.”
With the profound consequences the vandalism had, Gold believes the charges brought against perpetrators weren’t enough.
“They weren’t charged with a hate crime, but personally, [I believe] they should have been,” Gold said. “They were joking about it, and it’s like they looked at a clipboard and asked themselves,
‘Did we get every slur possible? Did we affect every minority we could?’”
Gold said taking measures to prevent hate in schools is something that needs to happen.
“Instead of letting this affect us, we need to [take action] in order to fix it without making it yet another event with antisemitism,” Gold said.
With hate in schools being such a prevalent issue, Goldman believes more actions need to be taken to prevent hatred.
“I feel like people who the vandalism affected are really good at [being] resilient,” Goldman said. “It’s very important to educate people and talk about [what happened].”
Moving forward, Goldman would like to see a few things done differently to bring awareness to hate in schools.
“It would be nice to have as-
semblies to educate [people] about different cultures,” she said. “There [was] an assembly about Black History Month, and I would love to see one for Jewish American Heritage Month.”
Haq feels more could have been done to support students during the time of unrest and hatred in the school.
“I myself have had physical encounters because of my race or my religion,” she said. “Even though the school is like ‘Hey, we’re here for you,’ I feel like they didn’t really do as much as they could reaching out to us.”
Goldman believes it is important to not only familiarize students with different cultures but to have challenging conversations with friends and family.
“Just keeping your friends in check — if your friend says something that doesn’t sit right with you, say something,” she said. “Think about something before you say it.”
Theresponsibility of addressing circumstances like that of the recent vandalism weighs heavy on English teacher Amanda Durnal, being a parent of future BV attendees and avid community member.
“It’s hurtful,” Durnal said. “The things written offend some of the students I care about most. The mama bear in me wants to protect my students like I would my own children, so when things happen and I’m reminded that I can’t protect them from those outside forces, it’s unnerving — it makes me upset.”
When addressing these topics in a classroom, Durnal feels limited in what she is able to discuss.
“The teaching environment right now is a little heated,” she said. “There are people that aren’t in education that want to over-regulate how we teach [and] what we teach and put limits on conversations we can
have in classrooms. It’s happening in our building, it’s happening in our district, and in my mind, it’s limiting our abilities to make sure these things stop happening.”
Nevertheless, Durnal strives for transparency with her classes in hopes of allowing her students to feel seen and supported.
“I did talk about it with each of my classes and I said, ‘I can’t speak for the offenders, but I personally would just apologize to you that there’s going to be people who attack your identity, race and religion,’” she said. “This is one of those situations where we are forced to be resilient, and I’m here to help them navigate.”
Durnal encourages those continuing the BV legacy to reflect on their role in bettering the community.
“[For] my underclassmen, [I give] them the challenge that they’re about to be upperclassmen and have a chance to influence a new class com-
30% of students felt personally attacked by the vandalism
ing in next year — people are going to look up to them,” Durnal said. “[To] my juniors, you’re about to run this place — what is it going to look like? What can be worked on? How can you help us be better?”
Durnal prioritizes displaying respect to all facets of her students’ individuality.
“I’m a teacher who feels obligated to honor every student’s realistic identity,” Durnal said. “It’s not my job to judge them or to have an opinion about who they are.”
How the voices of the BV community are used in times of adversity, however, are controllable.
“Vandalism is a breaking of a boundary,” she said. “It’s supposed to be a safe place — it’s supposed to be a community. Anytime I see that boundary come down and my students are at the end of it, I feel it necessary to say something and challenge them and myself to do better.”
of students believe the BV district needs to do more to combat hate in schools 70%
50% of students have experienced some form of hate at BV
Addressing the Effects: A Letter From the Principal
Everyday when I walk into the building, there is a reminder of who we want to be as a school.
Our mission statement, “Dedicated to high levels of learning for all,” is followed by several vision statements; the one of which is “a safe and welcoming community that develops positive relationships with and among students.
Following Mr. Bacon, I felt the place to start this year was with our dedication “to high levels of learning for all”; I imagined in 2024-25 we would make our way to a “safe and welcoming community that develops positive relationships with and among all students.” January’s vandalism changed that timeline.
Since January, my work has increasingly been directed toward community-building, which is central to the work going forward. Fortunately, BV is surrounded by families and community leaders willing to help us as we strengthen our focus on who we want to be, and how we want to be known as a school. In the weeks ahead, I will be meeting with students and families who represent historically marginalized groups — students of color, LGBTQ students, students from various religious communities, students with disabilities,
and more. These meetings will have two goals. Because I’m not in their shoes, I need to listen and try to better understand their experiences. In each of these meetings, I’ll be looking for students and parents to serve on a task force committed to realizing our vision of a “safe and welcoming community” for all. Regardless of our experiences and beliefs, we can — and should — hold ourselves and each other accountable to being kind.
If you’re someone whose identifiable group was targeted by any of the statements in January’s vandalism — or by what happens in our school on a daily basis — please understand you’re not alone. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us; and many of us have already committed ourselves to standing alongside you.
Where will we go next? Over the next two years, the task force will focus on transforming school culture so advocates and bystanders alike will feel empowered to join together and purposefully make it uncomfortable for those who make aggressions on each other — not to belittle or demean or humiliate anyone, but because we want everyone to grow out of harmful behaviors. That’s what we do in education.
Sadly, hate and hateful acts are still capable of manifesting themselves and having a harmful impact on our community. People talk about the “Johnson County Bubble,” but truly there is no bubble. Racism ex-
on the cover march 2023
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100 STUDENTS SURVEYED
ists, and human history is filled with oppression and marginalization. These problems are inescapable and timeless.
But we have a choice. We can go along with the current in which we float and accept things the way they are, or we can resist the notion that things are “good enough” now, that the problem is not “big enough” now.
Collectively, all of us in this school community have an opportunity to help people grow. That’s what school is about — helping people grow. On that note, one of my mentors recently reminded me of something we both picked up from Dr. Todd White, who was BVSD’s superintendent before Dr. Merrigan: “As community members we must always be looking for ‘the crisis’ that we can turn toward some good end. If we miss the opportunity to use each crisis as an opportunity to do good, then we haven’t done as much as we can.”
I’m excited about the future of Blue Valley High School.
-Charles Golden, BV Principal
80% 50% 15% 15%
verbal online written physical forms of hate experienced: Over
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M A K I N G M A K I N G M U S I C M U S I C
Wind Ensemble, Chambers Orchestra perform side-by-side concert
andrew sharber |staff writer
As the music department continues to grow, the band and orchestra held a side-by-side concert on Thursday, March 2 in the Performing Arts Center.
For band teacher Paul Bessetti and orchestra student Maxine Baker, with both the Wind Ensemble and the Chambers Orchestra having state-level musicians, the music they perform is challenging, to say the least.
While most high school level band music is between a level of three and five, the band “pretty much only plays grade fives in our Wind Ensemble.”
Likewise, the band is, “going to play one of [the] state assessment pieces, ‘Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral,’ and another one that is going to be determined based on progress,” Bessetti said.
For the orchestra, the music consisted of a mixture of “La la Land” songs and waltzes by Aram Khachaturian, Baker said.
The songs performed not only displayed the talent of the
students but what the future might look like for both departments as they continue to grow in number and talent.
But, the history of both the band and the orchestra playing together is something that has started back up since after the pandemic.
“Last year was our first time having a joint concert since before Covid,” Bessetti said.
Truthfully though, the reason that both the band and orchestra chose to have this event is for the students to grow as musicians and get the opportunity to hear others play music they also might enjoy.
So as both the band and the orchestra continue to grow in talent, it’s only reasonable that both departments can get more students and continue to accomplish great things.
“The feeling of accomplishment when you finish a piece — truthfully music can tell a story,” Baker said. “Whether it be a bold entrance that makes the audience jump or a graceful exit at the end of the piece that leaves everyone on their feet.”
design by andrew sharber
regan byrnes |web editor
Johnson County’s Art Council established the Shooting Stars Scholarship Award Program in 1997, which has been inspiring tons of teens throughout the years.
This program encourages students to explore their creativity in any art medium of their choice and proudly submit their hard work to be recognized on a national level.
Although only about 1,000 high school students are acknowledged at the end of the entire competition, senior Alyssa Merry made the cut. Merry was nominated for the Shooting Stars program due to her talent in threedimensional art and ceramics pieces.
“I feel like I have a very specific art style that may not be as common, especially with ceramics,” Merry said. “It’s more of a whimsical, storytelling aspect.”
To be able to participate in the Shooting Stars Program, students must be a senior, a resident of Johnson County and chosen by their art teacher. After being selected, Merry believes the piece that got her nominated was a ceramics project she made last semester.
“A particular piece of mine that stands out — I have a [ceramic] snail that doubles as a jar [and] it has little houses on the [snail] shell,” Merry said.
But soon enough, the excitement starts to wear off and is quickly replaced by life-consuming pressure knowing there will be a difficult journey ahead.
“It’s definitely been very stressful,” Merry said. “I started with none of my pieces finished [and] I had to submit five of them [before Jan. 13]. Starting from nothing and only having a couple of months to get everything done was a lot of work.”
Merry worked tirelessly on endless amounts of projects to hopefully achieve a scholarship from the Art Council’s Award Program and be featured in the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park.
“There is a scholarship included, and some of the people who make physical artwork, like painting, 2D art and photography will get a piece displayed in the Nerman Museum,” Merry said. “The scholarship is $1,400 for first place and $700 for second place with the $300 reward for the teachers that helped the first place winners.”
Merry said she is extremely appreciative of being a part of the Shooting Stars program. Even though she was hesitant about the competition, Merry is grateful for this opportunity.
Senior named finalist in state art competition
“It’s a very big honor to be a part of it — I didn’t realize how much work I would have to put into it and how much I’d have to stretch my ceramics skills,” she said. “It was definitely a learning experience.”
Despite the excessive personal time she put into this competition, it allowed her to reflect on the past and remember why expressing herself through art has always been important to her.
“I’ve always been doing art since I was little with crayons and stuff,” Merry said. “I really started going back into art last year, and that has really inspired me to think about continuing with art in my future and possibly double major or minor in college.”
|PHOTO SUBMITTED BY ALYSSA MERRY
|PHOTO SUBMITTED BY ALYSSA MERRY
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Seniors share experience of working together
ayesha khan |editor in chief
Among the numerous stores and restaurants that have recently opened along 159th Street is the popular fast food chain, Five Guys.
Given its recent opening and its proximity to BV, seniors Charlie Doherty, Jake Russell, TJ Bratton, Gunnar Thomason and Tommy Bruce decided to seize this opportunity to earn some money together, and many others at BV have followed.
“There’s a lot of people that work here, especially seniors I’m friends with,” Doherty said. “It’s a really comfortable environment with the managers. They aren’t as strict as some of the other places I’ve worked at. Also, I get free food every shift.”
Given the referral bonus they received by hiring their
friends and the nearly $20 wage when tips are included, there seemed to be virtually no downside.
“I’m pretty sure Jake started out there first, and then TJ was like, ‘Yo, we should all go work there,’” Thomason said. “Then all of us followed Jake, [and] they hired all of us. It’s fun because right after we work, we kind of screw around while we close, and I’m spending time with my friends, so how would it not be fun?”
As workers were hired, a running joke formed about the training process.
“Whenever there’s a new employee, we always talk about how they’re going to FGU — Five Guys University, [since] there’s videos we watch to be trained,” Doherty said. “[Being seniors], we always talk about how we attend FGU, so that’s pretty funny.”
Their recency of working there has had no hindrance on
20 feature march 2023
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their supply of memorable shifts.
“There was a snowstorm and my manager lived in Lee’s Summit, so I became the manager for the night,” Russell said. “We pretty much closed down the store early and got to do whatever we want.”
The five guys have also witnessed their fair share of spills that add to their work-time comedy.
“My funniest [memory] was probably when Tommy dropped two five-gallon buckets of grease on the floor,” Bratton said.
The irony in this is that cleaning was agreed upon as the most dreaded task of their job.
“Closing sucks — taking everything down and cleaning all of it is pretty boring,” Thomason said. “It drags on until it’s all done, so that’s probably the worst part.”
Nevertheless, the moments they experience while on the clock make this aspect of the job manageable.
“I see people not only that I work with, but also people who come in often like Gigi [Mir] — I see her all the time,” Doherty said. “I get to talk to them on the clock, so that’s another cool thing about it because I see people all the time.”
The customers they engage with have spanned from friends to celebrities.
“We had Andy Reid come in one time, and he ordered so that was pretty cool,” Thomason said. “We all made sure his order was perfect, of course.”
Although the perks that accompany working there are nice additions, the experience of being among friends is the most distinguishing element.
“If you’re going to work somewhere, one of the most important things is working with people you know or just being able to make friends easily at the places you work at,” Doherty said. “[Five Guys is] just very comfortable, if I had to put it in one word. Everyone’s nice, everyone’s fun — it’s a cool place.”
(SOURCE: THE GUYS)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Definitely order the crispy fries
Order ahead of time to get your food faster
The fries are overfilled, so get a smaller size to save money
Grab a cup of water — the soda station is self serving Eat as many peanuts as you want since they’re free
60% of students have been to the new Five Guys location
charlie doherty 12
If you’re going to work somewhere, one of the most important things is working with people you know.
junior plans vacation to florida over spring break
emma mcatee |staff writer
Spring Break is a time for relaxing, vacationing and catching up on all the things you can’t do during the school year. Every year, junior Mya Turner takes a trip to Englewood, Florida to do just those things.
“We are going for all of spring break,” Turner said. “We’re staying in an Airbnb, a really big beach house and a lot of my [extended] family’s going, there’s probably 10 of us. It has a pool with a very nice view of the beach right next to it.”
Turner likes to visit to see her step mom, but she also enjoys the environment.
“There’s a lot of little shops and it’s more of a small town,” Turner said. “Usually when people go to Florida, everyone’s there for the beach and it’s totally full — but where I’m going it’s more of a private and small town with lots of people that have lived there for their whole lives.”
Englewood is located close to Manasota Key.
“I really enjoy going on boat rides to see all the sea animals, especially the dolphins and manatees,” Turner said.
It’s nice to get out of Overland Park and take on new adventures when you have the chance. For Turner, this trip lets her unwind and enjoy time away from her hometown.
“It’s a trip I really look forward to every year since it’s so much different from here,” Turner said. “It’s nice to get away to a place not as many people go to.”
22 feature march 2023
|PHOTO SUBMITTED BY MYA TURNER
design by emma mcatee
Where have you been? 39% Mexico 25% Europe 85% Florida 79% Colorado 4% I have not been to these places of students are vacationing for spring break 50% Who are you traveling with? 24% friends 49% not traveling 45% family What are you doing? |100 STUDENTS SURVEYED 49% not traveling. 40% traveling within the U.S. 11% traveling internationally.
lunching tigers tigers lunching
students share what they eat for school lunch
Do you bring or buy lunch?
“I usually buy from the cafeteria.”
Do you eat a balanced lunch? “I buy more [of a] snack-based lunch and usually pizza.”
Favorite lunch item: “The Pizza Hut.”
Least favorite lunch item: “Probably garlic toasts — I don’t like those.”
Lunch beverage: “My water bottle. I don’t buy water.”
Do you bring or buy your lunch? “I usually bring my own lunch on even days and buy on odd days because I don’t have time [to prepare one on those] mornings.”
Do you eat a balanced lunch? “It depends on the day because sometimes I’ll make a snack based lunch but sometimes I’ll make a healthy lunch. It just depends on how I feel.”
When do you pack your lunch? “I usually pack my lunch the night before school or in the mornings.”
Favorite lunch item: “Apples and caramel. It’s my favorite snack to have.”
Least favorite lunch item: “Probably a sandwich. I eat one almost every day, so I get tired of it easily.”
Lunch beverage: “I always try to drink water for lunch because that’s usually the only drink I have with me.”
Zach Bergeman freshman
Veronica Sobolevsky junior
“I bring my lunch to school every day; I have never had school lunch.”
Do you eat a balanced lunch? “My lunch is very balanced. I eat a sandwich, fruit and crackers. I try to keep my lunch balanced because it is wrestling season, and I need to watch my weight.”
When do you pack your lunch? “My mom packs my lunch every day right before I leave for school.”
Favorite lunch item: “My favorite thing I bring for lunch is peanut butter and jelly, but I also like fruit.”
Least favorite lunch item: “My least favorite thing I bring for lunch would be crackers. I bring a variety of different crackers, but they are all low-calorie.”
Lunch Beverage: “I only drink water during lunch. I try to drink a lot of water because I know it helps speed up my metabolism, which helps with cutting weight.”
“I try to bring my own lunch, but sometimes I make it in the morning. When I wake up late, I don’t have time to bring my own lunch, so I end up having to buy.”
Do you eat a balanced lunch? “When there’s leftovers at my house, I have a balanced lunch. If there’s no leftovers, it’s mostly snacks.”
When do you pack your lunch? “In the morning before school.”
Do you ever get takeout for lunch? “No, not really, unless I have a dentist appointment or something.”
Favorite lunch item: “Probably leftover pasta.”
Least favorite lunch item: “I don’t really like sandwiches.”
Lunch beverage: “I bring a water bottle to school.”
Poll based on 100 students
33% of students bring their lunch to school
67% of students buy their lunch from school 67 33
Tamar Reem, junior
Colin Meuret, freshman
design by ava mcniel
design by katie kennedy
Is it really a rain of terror?
Name: Selma Ramirez, 10
Likes rain?: Yes.
Favorite rainy day activity: Being aesthetic by sitting at a window
Why: “It just feels really good. I’m like a rainy Girl aesthetic when I sit by my rainy window and sometimes I can pretend to be sad if I listen to sad music and put my head against the rainy window — it’s like [I’m in] a movie.”
Name: Rose Dersch, 10
Likes rain?: No.
Why: “Rain is very pretty. It’s like snow — you think it’s pretty and you think it’s a good idea but then you have to exist in it and it’s just miserable.”
26 a&e march 2023
Name: Tylar Beck, 9
Likes rain?: “The rain is my enemy”
Why: “It’s really inconvenient to walk all the way from the parking lot and to school — your bag gets wet, your stuff is wet, and you’re like, ‘That’s not [OK]’. [I normally] just cover my head and hope for the best.”
Name: Maya Muller, 9
Likes rain: “I love the rain.”
Why: “I really like playing in the rain. It’s peaceful and nice, especially if it’s warm outside and it’s raining — it feels nice outside.”
design by harris jones
The Future is in the Past
Go Thrifting for Earth Day
harris jones |staff writer
According to the Thred Up Resale Report, buying secondhand is expected to to grow by 127% by 2026. It has already had a huge surge in popularity with more people taking the environment into greater consideration.
Nearly 2 in 3 people believe their shopping habits have an impact on our planet. As Earth day approaches, consider buying apparel secondhand rather than brand new — not only to help your wallet, but to help the planet as well.
TOP CATEGORIES TO BUY SECONDHAND OCCASION WEAR CHILDREN’S WEAR
58% of students go thrifting poll of 100 students
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
readthefull thredup resalereport here
SHOES ACCESSORIES OUTER WEAR CASUAL WEAR
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do you really NEED that?
Influencer culture leads to unsustainable consumer habits
of your closet right next to the other rejected items you bought because someone online told you to.
With the increase of platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and other social media, an influx of content creators known as influencers has emerged.
This increasing influencer culture often causes blind consumerism — when audiences feel pressured to participate in material consumption.
Blind consumerism can lead to unsustainable consumption, meaning we are using resources that cannot sustain themselves at the rate we consume them. This habit can also lead to ecosystems being unable to cope with excessive resource extraction, resulting in biodiversity loss.
Although celebrity endorsement has long been popular with brands, this recent shift to e-commerce tools and influencers has led to everyday people wanting to be influenced by other “everyday people,” so these “relatable” influencers use their reputation and expertise in particular areas to engage with their followers by endorsing products.
Influencers will promote anything from makeup, clothes, music, even food. But with so many influencers overwhelming their audiences with all of these products, blind consumerism can occur.
For example, suppose you see your favorite influencer promoting a clothing brand, and he or she is showing off a nice fitting pair of jeans. So you click the link in their bio and go buy the jeans, because you want to look like that, too — you want to be trendy, too.
After receiving the jeans you paid a questionable amount for just because the influencer promoted them, you find they don’t look quite like they did on the very highly paid influencer. Shocking.
So now those jeans are sitting in the back
Furthermore, the brand the influencer was promoting was most likely a fast-fashion brand that capitalizes on influencer demand to provide for their audience by offering cheap and trendy clothing at a rapid pace.
It’s also important to note the fast fashion industry is expected to be responsible for a quarter of Earth’s carbon budget by 2050. This is what blindly consuming material items looks like.
It is unethical and unsustainable because did you really NEED those jeans? Probably not.
Did you really NEED that new makeup? Probably not.
Did you really NEED to buy those Bang Energy drinks on Amazon just because TikTok told you to? Probably not.
If you don’t believe me then take a look at the facts. With clothing in particular, we are consuming 400% more than what we were 20 years ago. This spike coincides with when influencers began to appear, and it’s understandable.
Seeing influencers never wear something twice and constantly posting hauls and promoting new products will inevitably achieve their goal: To influence.
Their audience will see the way they portray their lives on social media and envy that. Then the influencees will blindly consume things they really don’t need and contribute to the cycle of bad consumerism.
Of course not all influencers are evil, but the markets they promote can be incredibly harmful.
We need to work against blind consumerism and toward being “de-influenced” from unnecessary products.
Influencers need to start promoting sustainable shopping habits and industries, especially working toward dismantling fast fashion’s impact on society and the environment.
It is unethical and unsustainable, because did you really NEED those jeans? Probably not.
ava mcguire |publication editor
opinionmarch 2023 29
design by harris jones
are you actually willing to do anything about it? hate has no place in school
Over the past couple of years schools, especially public schools, have been in the news time and time again for acts of bigotry — violent or not.
Most incidents happen at the secondary level of schooling, middle and high school. Elementary schools put an emphasis on getting along that seems to get lost in translation as people find themselves getting older and discover more hateful influences at a time when their identities are really beginning to be formed.
Looking for approval from anywhere you can get it, it is far easier to fall into cesspools of hate.
The Southern Poverty Law Center conducted a study released in 2019 cataloging biases seen by teachers in schools. According to their study, racial and ethnic bias was most common, followed by prejudice against the LGBTQ community, immigrants, Jewish people, Muslim people and the category “other.”
Racial and ethnic bias make up 33% of what was reported by educators and 63% of what is reported in the news. More specifically, African American students make up an overwhelming majority of this section, followed by Asian American students.
Administrators are reportedly more likely to take incidents involving racism seriously, with 59% of incidents having someone disciplined, which still leaves a distinct 41% of incidents where people aren’t facing consequences.
Racial bias is the most reported in schools, and it still leaves a large margin of unspoken hatred, so what happens to those who experience other forms of bias?
On top of that, incidents reported usually mean very clear forms of bigotry and aggression, so microaggressions frequently go unnoticed and undisciplined in schools.
It is imperative we as people choose to educate ourselves
on people not like ourselves, whether they be a different race, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity so we may have basic human empathy for others and their situations that may not be the same as ours.
It is also important that we acknowledge the Blue Valley School District, and more specifically Blue Valley High School, are not immune to the hatred that runs rampant in schools either.
I don’t think I can count on my hand the number of slurs or derogatory remarks I hear in the hallway weekly, directed at me or not. As we all know, we had an incident earlier this year with vandals painting horrendous and derogatory symbols and statements in our own press box.
I will not list what these statements and symbols were because I’m sure many of you have seen them, and more importantly because I refuse to give anything of that sort any more of a platform than it has already, unfortunately, been given.
To those of you affected by these biases in your daily life, everyone will tell you you’re not alone, and while that is absolutely correct, that does not change the way people’s words and actions can make you feel.
So to those of you affected by these things, I offer my condolences and a hand if you ever may find yourself needing one, and my hope for a brighter future.
The truth is, we all know this isn’t all right, but the bigger question lies within yourself — are you actually willing to do anything about it?
THE FULL SPLC STUDY HERE 30 opinion march 2023
design by brynn friesen
War on Word
Stanford’s recommendation to eliminate harmful language backfires
Karens — we know them as the privileged adults who disrespect employees, belittle others and are high maintenance. We also know them as something to harmlessly joke about.
According to Stanford University, though, this term is derogatory and should never be used. Instead, they suggest using “entitled woman” or “demanding woman” because this nickname “ridicules” disrespectful privileged women.
What does not make sense with this is how saying they are entitled is any better than using the nickname assigned for a person acting in a derogatory way toward others.
While the Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative provides various words that should never be used in any instance, there is an astounding amount of terms that should not be considered harmful.
In addition, the list failed to mention so many disparaging terms commonly misused by people, including homophobic insults.
By placing the term “karen” on the list — a nickname for entitled white women — thus deeming it harmful, it disregards any actually derogatory phrases not listed in the statement.
While many people would love to be educated about what they should and should not say, with society finally making more of an effort to get rid of certain words or phrases, this list does not do so in an effective or proper way.
Carleton College professor Deanna Haunsperger has a physical disability, and she believed the list left out multiple ableist terms commonly used historically and currently by people across communities.
And, while she found that many of these listed terms were
offensive, she recognized it excluded multiple sayings that are actually harmful.
Additionally, there are multiple words and phrases used as a saying or to describe something, such as “have the balls to,” “abort” and “take a shot at.”
They say “give it a go” instead of “take a shot at” because it is too violent. Say “cancel” instead of “abort” because it apparently always relates back to the act of abortion. Say “bold” instead of “have the balls to” because it relates back to masculine anatomy.
Each of these phrases is commonly used as a harmless way to describe something and should never have been listed in a directory of damaging terms.
Instead of the multiple listed, Stanford should have introduced their students, faculty and the online community to actual slurs and offensive phrases to avoid.
This list does nothing to effectively educate society on what they can and cannot say, failing to educate its intended audience on the importance of omitting certain words from daily vocabulary.
The involvement of some of the words overshadows the terms that are valid in the reasoning of why it should either never be used or be substituted for a better version. If statements such as the Stanford List continue to be released, society will never fully learn and understand what it truly should be avoiding and what might be offensive to others.
Stanford, already having taken the list down, should now release an improved, less transparent version of what phrases to exclude. This way, people would actually be able to learn what is acceptable and what is not.
It is time to abort — sorry, cancel — the mission of trying to find any and everything offensive and take a deeper look into what should actually be done away with in society today. If this is not done, how can the derogatory language we hear ever be truly eliminated?
brynn friesen |web editor
opinionmarch 2023 31
CARTOON BY KATIE KENNEDY
Hate has been a long-standing issue within Blue Valley but recently has been re-highlighted due to the harsh vandalism to the stadium press box, which catapulted BV into the public eye.
Prior to recent events, the subtle microaggressions students did toward one another were quickly swept under the rug, attempting to keep up the reputation of BV as the “best school in the country.”
But as time went on, these acts of aggression have gotten more prominent and vile and can no longer be dismissed.
Though it’s saddening that it has taken such extreme measures to finally rein in this behavior, the administration should not be shocked because of several warning signs from previous years.
While it’s easy to say “remove hate in BV” and or “hatred doesn’t belong in Blue Valley,” at the end of the day, these are just words on a piece of paper and statements that go through one ear and come out the other.
What truly matters is people who are willing to take action and prevent these events from occurring again because, yes, the administration is a part of the problem by not responding to the constant bullying — but this issue also falls onto the students and staff.
All students and staff should be forced to take responsibility for their actions and need to hold their peers accountable as well.
If you are still friends with someone who is proudly racist, homophobic,
sexist, anti-semitic, or otherwise prejudiced, you are still a part of the problem if you voluntarily choose to hang out with them.
Moreover, there is not one singular person or party to blame regarding how hate has poisoned our community — there are only so many speeches and articles that can be presented.
What needs to be done is people coming together to form a more inclusive culture — no one should be scared to come to school because of the whispers they hear in the hallway or the gestures made in front of their faces while walking to class.
Actions will always speak louder than words, and it’s high time for this horrid bigotry to be eliminated.
This staff editorial
should strive for a more inclusive community
representation of the opinion of