Issuu on Google+

graffiti December 1, 2016

Illustration by Madelaine Fischer

Illustration by Madelaine Fischer


Graffiti

•

December 1, 2016

2

Contents Features

Pg.4

External

Pg.12

Internal

Pg.18

Journalism for Human Rights

Pg.26

Arts & Culture

Pg.30

Sports

Pg.35

Opinion & Humour

Pg.39 Photo by Daanish Sayani

Graffiti Editorial Board EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Cassidy Bereskin Elizabeth Wolfenden DIGITAL EDITORS Angela Cui Caitlin Heffernan DESIGN EDITORS Charlie Littler Daanish Sayani STAFF ADVISORS Mr. Zohar Ms. Bulgutch Ms. Heron

SECTION EDITORS FEATURES Jo Faisman Anastasia Zaritovskaya EXTERNAL Charlie Littler Matthew Ferguson INTERNAL Alyssa Joynt Joshua Chong JOURNALISM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS Olivia Willows Hodman Abukar ARTS & CULTURE Parnian Hossein Pour Hana Sharifi SPORTS William Lloyd Yuchen Qian OPINION & HUMOUR Lauren Kim Chantelle Nejnec ILLUSTRATION Leia Kook-Chun Madelaine Fischer PHOTOGRAPHY Daanish Sayani Alice Liang

ADVISORS Sarah Fallah Janna Getty COPY EDITORS Genevieve Crispin-Frei Steven Lee Jazzy Chung Daanish Sayani Campbell Bolland Lujayn Mahmoud Jaquelin Hollo BUSINESS MANAGERS Caitlin Chichora Erin Fortune


Graffiti

•

December 1, 2016

3


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

4

Features

Dundas Square • photo by Anna Goodman

Modelling in high school: 5 things to know

Anonymous

Whether it be from the stern lady at the mall or the frantic man who ran a block to catch you, you have just been handed a business card from the “best” agent in Toronto. Being scouted for the first time is overwhelming, and deciding how to proceed is difficult for any teenager with little experience in the industry. Modelling and high school do not coexist well. The fact that the peak of a model’s career occurs during some of the most important years of school can lead to many situations that are hard to navigate. As a way of helping people who are going through a similar experience, I want to offer the advice that I wish I heard years ago. Please keep in mind that every situation is unique. This is all just from my personal experience and may not apply to everyone. 1. Your grades will likely slip In Grade 11, I missed about a quarter of school. I travelled, worked, studied, and thought I could do it all. I was taking a hard course load, with three sciences, two maths, and three Grade 12 courses. To say that I was spread thin is an understatement. The school workload was rigorous and very difficult to manage while regularly missing school. After a year of trying to do everything, I realized that it just wasn’t possible. My overall average dropped by about five percent and I couldn’t even focus enough on my Grade 12 courses for the marks to be useful for university. Consequently, I learned a valuable lesson. There are almost 200 school days for a reason; it literally takes 200 school days to learn the material. You can bring your chemistry textbook on set, memorize formulas at castings and do assignments on planes, but there is no substitute for actually going to school. Before you start modelling, think about how it’s going to affect your school life. If you are in a grade in which marks are crucial, consider holding off for a

Photo courtesy of writer year or two. If you feel that you can afford to have a slip in your marks and believe that modelling is worth the sacrifice, then, by all means, go ahead. Keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different. If you find that your course load is significantly less rigorous than mine was, you may have less trouble finding a balance and minimizing stress. This leads me to my next point... 2. It’s stressful I can say with confidence that—besides that one all-nighter before my physics exam—the times I struggled to balance school and modelling were the most stressful of my life. I vividly remember being on a plane and screaming at my sisters to send me a picture of a rubric for an assignment that was due when the flight landed. I would have a math test on a topic of which I missed four out of five classes. I would have two jobs in New York, working 16-hour days, and then need to stay up until 4 am to send assignments to teachers, only to repeat the process the next day. I would need to leave for casting from school and then go all the way back for a

test last period, with my only study time being on the subway. I learned that there are simply not enough hours in the day to completely focus on school and modelling. Learn to effectively manage your time (don’t leave an assignment until the last minute in case something comes up the day before), and tell your teachers why you are missing school (yes, it is a very awkward conversation, but important, nonetheless). Most teachers will be understanding if you are open and might provide you with extra help or extensions. 3. You can say no This lesson took me the longest to learn. It is important that your career goes in the direction you choose. If your agent wants to send you to Milan or Paris for two months during the year, seriously consider whether it’s even worth it. Yes, it may be an amazing experience, but you should never feel obligated to drop everything and go. If you want to focus on school, you tell your agent to keep all your school days free. Also, on set you are free to say no to demands that you are uncomfortable with.

When I was in New York, I was working for a well-known magazine with a reputable photographer. In the middle of the shoot, he asked me to take my shirt off and do it nude. After a quick run to the bathroom to call my agent, I politely refused, and the shoot continued unfazed. Whether you feel like it or not, you have a say in everything related to your career. 4. It takes a while to get on your feet Don’t expect to walk into an agency and book a thousand-dollar job the next week. It could take months to build up your book and become familiar with clients and industry professionals. Just be patient and be willing to put in the time and effort. 5. There are scams As terrible as it is, there are scams in the modelling industry. Many people look to take advantage of aspiring models and set up entire agencies to make money from unassuming teenagers. Any agency that requires you to pay before signing you is a scam (expenses should come out of earnings). If you are to take anything from this article, let it be to please do research on the agencies that you are thinking of signing with. Check reviews online, look up their models on social media, and make an educated and informed decision. There are reputable agencies in Toronto that can help you start an amazing modelling career. Modelling in high school is not easy. You will face judgment, stress, and an insanely busy schedule. There are difficult parts of the job, but there are also amazing parts for which I will forever be grateful. There’s an array of people to meet and jobs to experience, and nothing quite beats the feeling of running into yourself at the mall. You may reach a point when you have to make a choice: modelling or school. In that event, I’ll always choose school.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

5

The U.S. elections: a review Charlie Littler

Signs are raised at the Trump protest in Toronto on Saturday, November 19th • Daanish Sayani On November 8th, the first Tuesday of the month, American voters took to the polls to elect the 45th president of the United States of America. The vote—following a year long cacophony of political campaigning—was the conclusion to what will likely stand as one of the most interesting elections in American history. Regardless of political orientation, there is no doubt that this election was a grueling one, featuring the pitfalls of modern journalism, a general lack of content, and a bona fide guerilla war on Twitter. Whether you’re happy about the verdict or not, there is one thing in the world that we can all agree on: Thankfully, the election is over. The people have voted; the ball has dropped. And now, it’s time to get it rolling. For those of you that didn’t spend a good chunk of this election in the trenches of American politics, the results—and method by which the Trump victory was reached—might come as a surprise to you. It is true that while Clinton managed to get the popular vote, Trump was victorious in gaining the most electoral college votes, ensuring him the white house. Like most affairs involving some degree of democracy, the American political system rejects simplicity, but here is an effort to summarize it: The American voting system operates surprising similarly to the Canadian system. Both allow only one choice on the ballot card (a form of voting known as first-past-the-post), and both elect leaders through the division of the country into

smaller regions or ridings. From there, the major similarities fade. The U.S system elects two candidates—one from the Democratic party and one from the Republican party—who will proceed to the actual election. The voting process is divided into ridings and states, with each state having a certain number of votes in an electoral college. Each state gives all of those votes to whomever holds the majority vote in that state. A candidate is required to have 270 electoral college votes in order to win an election. In this election, while Clinton managed to win the popular vote by a few hundred thousand, she failed to win enough states to reach the 270 mark. Naturally, this has contributed immensely to

the quadrennial questioning of the electoral college system. This might be due, in part, to the rampant rise in leftist attitudes on popular Social Media platforms. It has become easier for voters to be involved in an election culture, leading to a wave of dissent for the current political system. Madeline Barberian, a student living in Indiana has been opposed to the electoral college system for a number of years. Barbarian believes that, as a result of this system, “America is a democratic republic, not a true democracy.” In a sense, political disillusionment has been a unifying factor for both parties. Regardless of policies and social views, a common trend in this election was the rise of the anti-politician.

Illustration by Jordan Ashby

While candidates like Trump and Sanders are opposites on the political scale, they are unified in their opposition to the corrupt establishment of American politics. Both candidates are evidence that government distrust reached an apex, resulting in the popularization of those who openly criticize the government. News sources, such as the Washington Post, in this case, have brought to attention the almost painful irony of the election results. After the 2012 election of democratic President Barack Obama, Trump took to twitter to communicate his outrage at the verdict by stating that “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.” However, after his victory in November, Trump’s opinions of the electoral college shifted. After winning the White House, Trump took to describing the system as a work of “genius.” The Post essentially used these tweets as a form of protest of the Trump victory. In contrast to the Post, NT student Alex Fortsas believes that election results “should be respected and accepted regardless of the outcome.” However, if anything, the U.S. election assured that the partisan divide reached atlantic proportions. The evidence suggests that politics is increasingly becoming a series of belief-based firefights, and the dual party system has gotten caught in the crossfires of the population, which is increasingly ideologically divided. Although the need for vast reforms is

evident, with divisions in every aspect of the political system, they appear to be far from attainability. The American system has become bogged down in a culture that requires a voter to choose based on their individual freedoms and their political beliefs. It’s not enough to have heated policy-based debates — the U.S. must now divide its voters on issues of abortion, gay rights and religious freedoms. North Toronto student, Razan Mersal, believes Trump’s election represents a “normalization of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia in the States”, and worries that Trump’s “exclusionary ideologies might just take America back a long way.” Mersal is not alone in these sentiments of course. There are thousands of young adults who feel that a Trump presidency would undo the hard fought progress in human rights. The U.S. could stand to benefit from de-politicizing human rights, yet as this election has pointed out, the chances of uprooting such a deeply ingrained aspect of American politics are slim. It is almost impossible to say what will come in the next few months. The impending Trump administration is sure to anger many, and excite many others. If one thing is for certain, it’s that the American political system is failing to function as it once did. Regardless of whether or not the future is bright, voters can all agree that this election will be a catalyst for change.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

6

The weight of expectations Hodman Abukar

Photo by Daanish Sayani Within the past year, activists around the world have been pushing for the acceptance of women’s various body types. Veering away from the stereotypes of the slim supermodel figure, plussize models have recently gained traction. Body positivity is a polarizing topic in the face of mainstream media. The same level of support does not seem to exist for males as it does females. It seems obvious that not all males will fit the “macho guy” standard as will girls fit

1

the “slender model” standard. However, males do not receive the super-positive nod of the head from thousands of body positivity social media accounts that girls do. Many young boys suppress some kind of emotion because they perceive it as “not manly enough.” This mindset perpetuates the harmful “macho guy” stereotype faced by many males, and pressures men to achieve the standard. These pressures stem from not only the

media and celebrities, but also by friends. A Grade 11 North Toronto student described his feelings towards the ideal body image and noted that, “You get a kind of respect that you probably wouldn’t receive if you were unfit or fat.” But males should not feel obliged to achieve the societal standard. So why hasn’t anyone spearheaded body acceptance movements for males? A place where pressures are especially put on males is at the gym. From weightlifting to protein shakes, many males take on an intense, working-out lifestyle at the gym. Attempting to make muscle gains or lose weight is a long and tiring process that takes as much mental effort as it does physical. For males, the mental aspect of working out is often disregarded. Many guys are pressured to work out for the wrong reasons. Some end up going to the gym excessively to “prove” that they work out and are therefore “manly” enough. A perfect example of this is described by the same Grade 11 student, who said that “Initially [he] started rowing because [he] thought becoming a big, muscular dude would be a lady magnet.” Of course, not all guys feel this way, nor is this an exclusively male issue, but gym pressures haven’t been acknowledged nearly as much for the male demographic as they have for women. According to the NTAA male president, Jake Bal-

lantyne, “There definitely is some insensitivity towards young males [in sports], but also, I think it may be as well that young males feel an obligation to put pressure on themselves to be fit and play sports. I think sports should be for sure about doing it for enjoyment. It can be a great side effect, but the pressure should not be so intense.” Here at North Toronto, we are lucky to have a great Faculty of Physical Education. However, with a course like the Grade 11/12 personal fitness comes more specific goals for students. With weightlifting and personalized goals for the year, selfesteem and confidence can go hand-in-hand with certain material. The Body Mass Index (BMI)—which is often scrutinized for its inaccuracy regarding case-specific circumstances—is discussed in the personal fitness course. According to Ms. Chamberlain and Mr. Tallevi, two experienced Phys Ed teachers at North Toronto, “The choice to include or not include BMI is a Department decision [made by both the] TDSB and school admin. [This however] does not influence course content. The Ministry of Education sets the curriculum expectations, which are very general. How each teacher in each school interprets them and the needs of their students will vary from school to school.” “The Women’s Physical Education Department does not do any testing for BMI but in the past has talked about BMI in the Grade 10 nutrition component of health. We feel that because BMI is something that girls/ women hear about, it is important to know what it is and the pros and cons of BMI measurements. The Men’s

Physical Education Department does do BMI calculation in the Grade 10 fitness component of the course but like the girls, the pros and cons of BMI measurements are discussed as well. BMI is not specifically taught in either of the male or female PFIT classes as it is not part of curriculum expectations. It is however, related to many topics taught and therefore may be discussed at some point during the course.” NT has been sensitive on the topic of BMI for both male and female students. Nevertheless, BMI calculations are still conducted for male students. If BMIcalculating is believed to have a profoundly negative impact on girls, why is this not the case for males? When stereotypes intrude the lives of both females and males, no one wins. The issues for both males and females often intersect. A student describes how, “While in the weight room, [his teammates] will look at somebody else’s weight and make comments like ‘isn’t so-and-so a ladies man’.” When young, hetrosexual males are led to believe that females are trophy-like awards that can be obtained when they’ve accomplished something at the gym, progress in the realm of gender equality is weakened. Social pressures for females have been widely discussed. But this is less so the case for societal pressures directed towards males. The whole idea of body image is different for both males and females. By no means does the presence of a female issue equal the presence of the same male issue. However, acknowledging both male and female issues can create a healthier environment for everyone.

Harvard University Fay Asimakopoulos

It’s incredibly difficult to reconcile Harvard, The Reigning Symbol of American Higher Education, with Harvard, the place I go to school and write midterms and occasionally say stupid things at. The first one is an unattainable myth; the second one is a living, breathing, flawed campus where all kinds of real people live side-by-side in hopes of getting an education. Most of us are on financial aid, many of us aren’t crystal clear on the concepts covered in Introductory Life Sciences lectures, and a significant number are trying to rid ourselves of our high school math or debate nerd personas in favor of something more nuanced. I applied to Harvard on a whim. I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, but I knew that I wanted to learn; I suspected that, had I gone to an Ontario university, I would have pressured myself into doing engineering or the life sciences for job security purposes. Harvard, by contrast, is a liberal arts college, which means that all students, regardless of major, are expected to take a number of courses under different ‘general education’ credits. There are no business or commerce majors here (although the absurd number of people who want to work for McKinsey is perhaps the most disappointing part of the entire experience); courses are mostly theory-based. Although Harvard offers a diverse array of opportunities for its students, most are not unique; U of T or McGill or Queen’s could offer you access to the same body of knowledge if you sought it out. It’s not a one-way ticket to a particular type of lifestyle. It is, however, one of many dynamic institutions aiming to advance knowledge. If you think intellectual exploration is your cup of tea and don’t mind living in the US, applying to Harvard, or other liberal arts schools like it, can’t hurt.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

7

The dress code status quo Cassidy Bereskin Mela Tabaku was a Grade 10 student at Forest Hill Collegiate when she became aware of a gender bias in her school’s dress code. According to Tabaku, girls get dress coded disproportionately at Forest Hill. Tabaku has been chastised for wearing a see through shirt. She has witnessed girls being shamed by hall monitors for wearing ripped jeans. But—in her three years at Forest Hill—Tabaku has never witnessed a male student get disciplined for low-riding. “You do not like the fact that my shirt reveals

Illustration by Cindy He

my bra? You are welcome to look the other way. Seriously, is a girl’s outfit choice really a class disturbance?”, says Tabaku, who believes that Forest Hill needs to address systemic gender biases and update sexist policies. Tabaku’s sentiments are not universal with students across high schools in the TDSB. “Dress codes exist for a reason”, says Malaravan Balachandran, a Grade 12 student at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate who feels that “Many people just don’t want to see parts of the body that revealing clothes display.” At Sir Wilfrid Laurier, students are required to follow the seven B’s: “No Bosom, No Boxers, No Buttocks, No Bare Thighs, No Bare Midriff, No Bare Shoulders, and No Bad Language or Ads.” According to Balachandran, “If you wear revealing clothes to work or a place of worship, you will be sent home. So why should you be allowed

to wear them at school?” In the TDSB, there is no overarching, Board-wide policy. Schools establish their own dress codes. As a result, policies fluctuate across the Board. Some schools are more lenient; others are more stringent. For a myriad of reasons—different community demands, student behaviors, school histories, and perhaps political leanings—what’s considered “appropriate” varies widely. At Forest Hill, “clothing that is excessively brief is inappropriate for a purposeful school environment.” According to the school’s official dress code policy, “excessively brief clothing” consists of that which exposes the “bare midriff, bare back, cleavage, [and] bare torso”. The policy requires students to “wear a top and bottom” that “must meet at all times.” Short shorts, short skirts, and ripped jeans are strictly prohibited. Prior to becoming the Career Studies teacher at North Toronto, Ms. Schwartz taught at Forest Hill. According to Ms. Schwartz, “Forest Hill’s policy encourages appropriateness in the classroom.” In Career Studies at North Toronto, Ms. Schwartz reminds her students that “dressing to learn” will garner them increased academic success. “Being a student is your job

and we pay in credits”, says Ms. Schwartz. At R.H King Academy, the school uniform—consisting of a pair of black shoes, grey dress pants or skirt, and navy King top—is compulsory. Teachers and hall monitors enforce the dress code policy stringently, checking every class to ensure that students are wearing the proper uniform. “Having [had] a relatively bad reputation with the neighbourhoods that surrounded the school, R.H King Collegiate rebranded in 1989”, says Talha Atta, a Grade 11 student at the school. According to Atta, “Although a lot of students publicly bash the uniforms, the majority feel that uniforms reduce stress stemming from choosing what to wear everyday.” At North Toronto, clothing is rarely the subject of contention. It’s allotted just one sentence in the 201617 agenda: “Students must dress in a manner appropriate to a school setting.” What constitutes “appropriate” is at the discretion of teachers. Charlie Littler, a Grade 12 student at North Toronto, consciously chose to attend the school because of its lenient dress code. Littler felt “It would be easier to focus on studies and not feel judged by teachers” at a high school where clothing would

not be scrutinized. Although tensions between TDSB students and staff continue to bubble over, there is a call for calm and open dialogue. At Northern Secondary School, students are invited to review the school’s dress code at an annual meeting with the Safe Schools Committee. According to Mr. Felsen, Northern Secondary School’s principal, “The are kids on the committee, there are teachers on the committee, and there are parents on the committee. In September of 2016, the dress code was reviewed. Everyone was fine with it, including the kids.” At Thistletown Collegiate, the school’s principal, Ms. MacLachlan, is striving for a dress code that has “heard the voice of students, staff, school council, and is appropriate for school, and treats both male and female students equally.” Administrators are working hard to mend fences with students. Initiatives like those of Northern and Thistletown are bridging the gap between the diverging interests of staff and students. Although discussions about dress codes continue to be mired in dissension, there’s interest in giving students a say in their policies and ensuring their voices are being heard.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

8

Your fifteen cents Ajantha Nadesalingam

The sweltering months of printing is “in reality, a missummer mark the sweetest demeanour, but in technicalmemories of my childhood. ity, a crime.” This is not, however, because I was curious to discover of voyages into foreign lands whether paying for printing or a rickshaw ricocheting is governed by the Simple through the streets of Sri Model of Rational Crime Lanka (which are eternally (SMORC). The theory states congested, like that of a that humans commit crimes dysfunctional nasal passage). based on a cost-benefit Nor is it because they remind analysis. The analysis considme of a mango grove in Iners three factors: The benefit dia, whose aroma of sweetgained, the probability of ness clings so heavily to the getting caught, and the exair that I can taste it. Those tent of punishment if caught. memories come later. Rather, To test whether cheating my summers were spent in the printing system is regua blissfully air-conditioned lated by SMORC, I conducted palace: the local library. If books, as Stephen King once said, “are a uniquely portable magic,” then libraries must be reservoirs of magic, straining at their seams to contain their treasures. As a child, my hunger for this food for the soul was insatiable. Fast-forward ten years. Many things have changed, but my visits to the library remain constant, like the sea tides invariably returning to the shore. Upon entering high school, I began to use the library as a place to complete my schoolwork and print assignments. To go home and print was a gamble, given the capriciousness of my Illustration by Madelaine own printer. Printing at my local library costs $0.15 per page. Operating based on an honour a survey on 55 students at code, individuals who print NT. The survey consisted of are expected to deposit a scenario with two options; their money in a box next to participants chose which of the printer. But, in applicathe two options they were tion, library patrons, myself more likely to do. The situaincluded, often treat the tion was as follows: At your required payment as a sugschool’s library, printing gested donation instead. costs $0.15 per page. There is One day, unpaid for printa sign next to the printer that ing in hand, I was caught asks you to deposit money (red-handed) by a librarian. for your printing into a small Incredulous, she asked me, bin next to the printer. “Why didn’t you pay for your The two options were as printing?” She continued, follows: A. When you print but the rest of the lecture is at your school’s library, you bleary. A scratched CD, jump- do not pay for your printing. ing hither thither through a Over four years, this amounts pivotal scene. to 100 pages. B. You are sitI can remember the liting on the computer next to brarian spitting the word the printer. You notice that “criminal” at me. My train nobody is nearby. You take of thought departed down a handful of change from a tangential rabbit hole. I the bin next to the printer began to wonder whether ne- (amounting to $1.50). glecting to pay for my printWhat would you do? If you ing was truly a crime. When I chose Option A, you chose asked Christina Wen, a Grade the same option as every 12 student, she laughed, participant who took the raising her hands in mock survey. If you chose Option surrender. “Take me away, B, congratulations: you’re a officer,” she said. Angalee statistical anomaly. ConsidNadesalingam, an alumni of ered from a solely rational NT, said that not paying for perspective, these results

are perplexing. Option A and Option B are exactly equivalent in benefit. Not paying for printing or taking money both result in a gain of exactly $1.50. In addition, the cost of being caught remains relatively similar (though not identical). If crime was dependent on SMORC, then I would have expected an approximately equal distribution of results. Considered from a humanistic view, however, these results are perfectly understandable. To demonstrate this, please do the following

to determine under what conditions people might be more inclined to pay for their printing. For reference, the scenario I first mentioned is identical to the printing setup at North Toronto. Printing costs $0.15 per page, operating on an honour code. But, before I began, I needed to determine what percentage of students typically pay for their printing at NT. At the beginning of the day, I would insert a known amount of paper into the printer. At the end of the day, I would count the number of

Fischer exercise. Imagine somebody that you love and cherish with your entire soul. Anybody. Your mother, your lover, the post carrier. Now, suppose I am an inordinately wealthy individual. I am willing to give you an indefinite—but definitely large—sum of money, in exchange for one thing. I want you to permit me to kill the person who you imagined at the beginning of this exercise. I will ensure that you are not punished for the crime. What was your reaction? Did you, disgusted, recoil at the mere prospect? Fret not. Your primal, visceral, and irrational desire to protect a person you love is precisely what makes you human. As a result, my survey found that the Simple Model of Rational Crime does not dictate the decision to pay (or not pay) for printing in public libraries. If not SMORC, what could it be? What is the key to our corrupt side? To find out, I designed an experiment

pages remaining. The difference of these two numbers indicated how many pages were printed. I repeated an identical process for the money. In this way, I was able to determine how many pages were printed, and how many pages were paid for. This could then be converted into a percentage. What did I find? I found that on average, a meager 16% of North Toronto library patrons pay for their printing. Given this dismal result, I wondered why 84% of NT students don’t pay for their printing at the school’s library. Perhaps it has more to do with emotional response. Not to be cruel, but printers, for their relatively small size, manage to be immensely uninteresting. “Seeing a printer,” says Caitlin Heffernan, a Grade 12 student at NT, “elicits about as much emotional response from me as a parking meter. Which is to say, none at all.” This is understandable. Have you ever felt even an ounce of affection towards a printer?

I tried to create an emotional connection between NT’s printer and the patrons of the library. I added a human connection: a sign. The sign featured a large photo of a girl who must rank among the world’s most endearing children. Her eyes bore forlornly into the patrons, pleading for something which eludes description in words. She is a child who was photographed in war-ravaged Syria. The sign elaborated, saying, “help support children from war-torn Syria, like her, build a new life in Canada. It’s as simple as paying for your printing.” It further stated that all proceeds from the printing payment bin would be donated to Lifeline Syria, a charity supporting Syrian refugees who had immigrated to Canada. Utilizing the same method, I determined what percentage of individuals paid for printing under this condition. If it was higher than 16%, I could conclude that the sign influenced library-goers to pay for their printing. This was precisely what I found. Under this condition, 26% of NT students paid for their printing. This finding supported my hypothesis: Humans relate to humans. By humanizing the printer, more individuals were inclined to pay for their printing. But who cares about printers? The printer represents a larger struggle. We live in a wildly narcissistic time; obsessing over everything from our image to our futures. Yet, despite our wildly overinflated egos, we seem to feel that our hands are too small to shape the world. We neglect to pay for printing because we feel that our “effect is so small that in essence, it is no effect at all, ” as Angalee Nadesalingam says. Yet, over one school year, NT’s library will bear a loss of approximately $548.00. This is not the result of a crook who swindles this amount in bulk. It is the result of a systematic loss, founded by an erroneous belief that we hold in our hearts: We do not impact the society that we live in. However, the decisions that we make, though perhaps imperceptible, will have an impact on the world. Perhaps you don’t think so, but your fifteen cents matter.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

9

Facebook: the beginning of the end

Has Facebook become the new MySpace?

Angela Cui & Leia Kook-Chun Illustration by Joe Zhang

When you think social network, you think Facebook—perhaps thanks to the movie. There was a time when kids looked forward to turning 13, the age when they would finally be (legally) allowed to sign up for the magical landscape that was Facebook. However, the culture of young people yearning for Facebook is dead and gone. Recently, Facebook has been on the decline at North Toronto with the new influx of grade nines. These students have entered North Toronto with Instagram and Snapchat, leaving Facebook to bite the dust. At some point within the last few years, the way we use Social Media has changed. Facebook has become less of a social networking service and more of a professional necessity. Forty-three percent of 63 students surveyed use Facebook Messenger as their primary tool for communication. But when the number of grade nine students is isolated, only 5% of the 20 students primarily use Facebook. For many people, school activities tend to be the main motivation behind creating a Facebook account. It’s an easy-to-access place where groups of people can discuss homework and club meetings. Out of all the students surveyed, more than 70% of people use Facebook for school—the biggest reason for going on the site. As most NT students are aware, Facebook is often used as a school communication tool. According to a survey

conducted on 116 North Toronto students, 93% believe that Facebook is important for school communication. Consequently, 75% of the same students use Facebook for school. On a larger scale, the student population has emphasized how Facebook’s group system keeps them informed about their extracurriculars. According to a Grade 10 student at North Toronto, “If I didn’t have Facebook, I would never know what was going on.” In addition, students receive help for subjects through Facebook. If you are a student in an older grade, you may have noticed the overwhelming amount of posts in your grade groups around exam time. With regards to group projects, Facebook is extremely useful. Since most students have a Facebook account, it is among the most common platforms of communication. Facebook’s easy distribution of information makes it a salient tool at NT. A Grade 11 student commented on how Facebook is a “kind of central system that can reach everyone”; however, this does not seem to be the case for this year’s grade nines. Ninth graders are choosing to opt out of signing up for a Facebook account and are instead focusing their time on Snapchat and Instagram. They see Facebook as a platform for the older generations and label it as “boring” and “irrelevant”. Newer services offer features that Facebook can’t: cool filters, a more simplistic in-

terface, and a lack of parental supervision. Snapchat is seen as “more for our generation,” “more personal”, and “more connective”. Without the use

of Facebook to receive updates on school announcements and clubs, many ninth graders are turning back to email and text messaging. One Grade 9 student claims that he “likes getting texts for school” as opposed to other forms of communication, which could explain the growing popularity of mass texting apps such as Remind. However, Facebook hasn’t completely died out just yet; many ninth graders have commented on feeling the North Toronto pressure to create an account. As one student says, “eventually I’ll have to [get Facebook]... there are certain things in school where you need Facebook.” The majority of students in grades 10, 11 and 12 urge grade nines to get a Facebook account. Amongst them, club heads express frustration in communicating with the freshmen. Student president, Minjae Kim, proclaims that he “always [has] trouble reaching the younger student body.” Another senior student explains

that “We are accustomed to [Facebook], we don’t want to change… it would be easiest if everyone adapted to the norm so that we may all remain informed about all of the awesome things that happen here at NT.” Even students who do not hold leadership positions believe the grades nines should get it. A couple of NT students recognize that “newer, more fun social media sites are being introduced” and that “newer social medias are more popular.” They observe Instagram and Snapchat “taking over” and note that Facebook is “no longer the social media for young teens.” As mentioned earlier, adults, such as parents and grandparents, use Facebook and the older grades see this as a reason why the grade nines do not have it. Although we don’t know what’s in store for the future of Facebook, one thing’s for sure: It seems like the grade nines are the beginning of the end.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

10

Bubble wrapped kids

Julia Yacoub & Annie Doane

Imagine waking up in the morning and immediately searching for an answer to this question: “What am I going to build at the playground today?” You are so excited when you arrive at the playground, because everything you love is there: saws, hammers, nails, tires, and two-by-fours galore. You have total freedom. Some call it a junkyard or a slum, but to you, a child, it is a land of possibility. Getting kids to be creative and independent at a young age is exactly what one playground on Governor’s Island in New York City is doing. The junk playground was first built in Copenhagen in 1943. This series of playgrounds is meant to help kids gain skill using tools and inspire innovation. Although concept was adopted all over Europe, North Americans initially didn’t fancy the idea. This is partially due to lack of funding, but also is due to parental fear. Parents aren’t allowed inside junk playgrounds, which are dedicated to kids 4+. Instead, there are “playworkers” inside who make sure everyone is safe and havPhoto by Vicky Ye ing a good time. The parents can only watch anxiously from the When Leticia, a mother of four kids who sidelines and hope that their kids don’t get hurt. Parents who intend to keep are all under the age of fourteen, was interviewed, her thoughts about the playtheir children invariably protected and ground in New York were quite positive. out of harm’s way are preventing their She enjoyed playing as a kid and wanted children from expressing themselves the same for her kids. “I used to go to a freely and having some free time. The playground almost everyday after school playworkers—like the guardians of the [...] It was different in that it was made of little angels—are the ideal caretakers for big wooden beams and had sand on the such ambitious kids. They only intervene ground. Most new play structures these when there is a problem that gets out days are metal and have a rubber floor of hand, and they let the creativity and base. I find both types to be just as safe”, imagination flow out of the kid; even if says Leticia. Her kids’ ideal parks are the that means letting them go home with a ones where they can play in a splash pad, few bruises and scrapes. sit down to have a bite with the family, It is hard to imagine how parents—the and swing like tarzan on a track ride; ones with the inner instinct to protect typical family fun. But stepping out of their kids—can powerlessly watch their the comfort zone can be scary, for both kids play with potentially harmful tools. parents and children.

2

When Leticia’s 8 year old was asked what he thought about the junkyard playground, he rejected the idea. He explained his reasoning for preferring the typical play structure; “I don’t have to use work and build things to play for myself ”. When given the choice, he would prefer his well-known and safe family playground rather than the exciting junk playground. On the contrary, his mother thought the playground was a wonderful idea. “I think it’s actually not good if parents just hover around their kids all the time. Because that’s not how life is going to be. They need to be around other people that [they] can trust [...] I think it’s good for the kids”. This contrast between the mother and son’s views is quite surprising.

Perhaps children get comfortable with their parents’ constant protection to the extent that they lack the desire to remove themselves from it. Many people believe the problem with overprotective parents is lack of freedom afforded to the child. The problem could stem from parents’ mistrust in their children’s capabilities to protect themselves. Abby Oulton, a playworker, advises parents to “stay aware that their kids will learn more from how they interact with them than what they say in those interactions.” Sometimes the act of a parent trusting his or her child’s judgement is a step in the right direction, leading towards inevitable independence and freedom.

Gap Year Tamar KB

I chose to defer my first year of university to spend a year working and traveling. This was due to many reasons, mostly chronic health issues, but also gut instincts. In my European background, it is more common for high school graduates to take a year or two to work and travel around the world. In my home country, Israel, young people spend 2-3 years in army service and then travel for 6 months-year before returning to Israel for school. In my head, university was never a straight path from high school. If it wasn’t travel, it would be army service. There’s no time like your youth to travel. Work hard and fund yourself. Chart your course. And have fun (and be safe, obviously). Occupy yourself, plan your time, better yourself, find a goal worth pursuing, and manifest it. If you choose this unique post-secondary path, beware and be strong. You will be your own worst bully. You’ll find yourself demanding of yourself, “What the hell are you doing with your life?” after seeing snapchat after Facebook photo of your peers in their dorms and classrooms, furthering their education, making memories, while you work 11 hours a day furthering your bank account. You’ll have to become very good at being on your own. Be your own best friend. Even if you travel in a group or with friends, this is a lonely and incredibly self-centered experience. Don’t be afraid to visit your friends at their universities. Answer honestly when their peers ask what you’re doing with your life. Live big kids.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

11

The trouble with the trades Elizabeth Wolfenden

If you were to ask North Toronto students what they want to study after high school, the responses would probably be predictable: law, medicine, business, etc. Even if you did hear a wide-range of interests, it is unlikely you would hear mention of the trades. “I want to be an electrician,” is an unfamiliar phrase in the halls of NT. There are many reasons why this is true. Firstly, NT students have developed tunnel vision, with university and academic professions being the only options in their line of sight. Since many of the people in their lives are doctors, lawyers and business people, this is understandable. To many NT students, professions in the trades are distant and unfamiliar; the trades are not an option that has entered their radar of consideration. As a result of the lack of interest, NT offers very few classes that may spark interest in the trades: Travel and Tourism, Co-op and Computer Science. Northern Secondary School, on the other hand, has many more class options that can lead to careers in the trades. Some Grade 12 courses that were offered at Northern in 2016

were: The World of Fashion, Construction Engineering Technology and Automotive Service. No one can deny that in NT circles very little prestige comes with working in the trades. If you told someone, “I want to be a plumber,” some assumptions might be made, such as “she’s not smart enough for university” or “she sets low goals for herself.” Fear of being associated with these stigmatizing assumptions is likely to deter students from pursuing these professions. But how accurate are these assumptions? Contrary to popular belief, those who decide to pursue the trades are much smarter than many of us. Although 7 in 10 trades workers have received a post secondary education, according to stats Canada, a university or college degree is not always necessary. Most skilled trades professionals start with apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are a hands-on type of post-secondary training, where the individual shadows an experienced professional and trains in their trade of choice, a much more active method of learning than sitting in a lecture hall. Apprenticeships are also much more financially

friendly than university and college degrees to begin with, but become even more so when the government is willing to pay for most of the tuition. The trades industry is desperate for good workers. As Canada’s skilled trades workforce heads towards retirement, there are not enough willing young workers to fill their place. In addition, the booming extraction and construction industries are causing an increase in demand for these workers. A study conducted by Manpower Group that surveyed 41,700 managers in Canada found that the most difficult jobs to fill in 2015 were the skilled trades positions. Michael Miller, Installation Manager for RealTerm Energy, a company that installs LED lights for municipalities across Ontario, said that the biggest issue for him is finding skilled workers. “It is impossible for me to be picky about who I’m hiring because there are so few workers to choose from. Often, the only one’s that are available do a mediocre job, the municipality gets angry, and we have to find someone to redo it. Skilled technicians are more valuable than I can put into words.”

The desperation for these jobs is so great that the Canadian government offers many financial incentives to support skilled trade workers. Through the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant and the Apprenticeship Completion Grant, apprentices can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay for tuition, travel, tools, and other expenses. The support of trades careers begins in high school as well. The TDSB offers programs such as the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), which “opens the door for students to explore and work in apprenticeship occupations starting in Grade 11 or Grade 12 through the Cooperative Education program.” The ultimate goal of all of these grants and programs is to encourage those pursuing the trades to get certified and become successful. If your goal is to make money, becoming a doctor or lawyer is not the only way to do so. Like a work of art, if you are rare, you are worth more. Skilled tradespeople who do quality work are rare. You will also have less debt than many students since you will be able to take advantage of grants and won’t rack up student

loans. Canadian Business Magazine found that Mining and Forestry Managers, Pilots, Construction managers, and Oil and Gas Well Operators were among the top ten highest paying jobs in Canada in 2016. Many of us never consider the work that goes into keeping the lights shining, room temperature comfortable, the floor level, and the walls sturdy. No matter what job demand exists, there will always be a need for people who are skilled at maintaining the technology we rely on every day. Our knowledge of learning styles has developed over the last three decades; however, the classic academic method of learning has persisted. NT students must realize and accept that sitting in a lecture hall does not work for everyone. If you don’t think it will work for you, there are other options. We need to shift our conversation about education and the future of Ontario’s youth to include these career opportunities. It’s time we start thinking of careers in the skilled trades and technologies as viable, admirable first-choice career options for high school students, even those at North Toronto.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

12

External

Justin Trudeau • photo by Nicholas Kamm for The Huffington Post

Foggy ways: a check in on the Liberal leader Matthew Ferguson It’s been little over a year since Trudeau’s Liberals came into power. Although politics has become extremely hectic south of the border, it may be time for Canadians to revert their eyes back home. Our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is an extraordinarily pleasant alternative to Harper’s regime for many. Despite his popularity and progressive legislation, Canadians must be cognizant of his inherent flaws and contradictions — just as we should be with any leader. On his official Facebook page, Justin Trudeau is cited as “The greatest Prime Minister to ever exist”, “Not only good looking but smart and kind”, and is even praised by Americans who take comfort in the fact that, “A great leader is close by.” Why were people so compelled to vote Liberal? Did voters believe anyone would be a better alternative to Harper? Were they voting strategically? Or were they simply voting on the basis of charisma and personality? With these questions in mind, one must consider the pros and cons of his leadership in the past year. For many, the stark contrast between Trudeau and Harper was sufficient reason to immerse themselves in the ideals of a “sunny ways” government. Over the past year,

Trudeau has assembled a gender balanced cabinet, welcomed many refugees fleeing a war torn nation, and developed and improved rights for members of the LGBT community. With these progressive policies and initiatives, Canada has managed to maintain its welcoming

“Don’t let Trudeau’s sunny ways get you in a superficial, ill-informed haze.” reputation. One major advantage of his leadership is the way his work has sustained Canada’s overwhelmingly positive image on an increasingly negative global stage. Despite all of this, it’s important to examine Trudeau’s unkept promises and contradictions. One of the key promises of Trudeau’s campaign was the legalization of marijuana. After a year in office, Trudeau has neither legalized nor decriminalized the drug, leaving many incarcerated for nonviolent drug offences. As NDP MP Murray Rankin pointed out, Canadians were under

the presumption that they would no longer develop a criminal record solely for smoking pot. In addition to his failure to legalize marijuana, Trudeau’s decision to build pipelines through traditional aboriginal territory has struck up a great deal of controversy. The Prime Minister is making decisions that are contrary to his promises; protecting aboriginal rights was a pillar of his campaign. Another thing to consider is the way Trudeau plans to enact electoral reform. The annihilation of the first-past-the-post system has valid reasons behind it. However, when Trudeau first assembled the electoral reform committee, he failed to make it reflective of the political leanings of Canadian voters. It wasn’t until the NDP realized that the Greens and BQ were being excluded from the decision-making table that the committee became somewhat reflective of the popular vote. Over the past few days, many have criticized Trudeau’s kind statement on of Fidel Castro following Castro’s death. One such individual is Eliano Rexho, a Grade 12 student at Northern who believes that Trudeau’s statement should not have ignored Castro’s poor human rights record. “When Castro fought for communism during the Cuban Revolution,

he was supposedly fighting for equality and for an end to classism. Fifty seven years after his victory, his brother, along with other political elites in Cuba, sit comfortably while the Cuban people are still being oppressed”, says Rexho. These are just a few examples of the the flaws inherent in his government, notwithstanding the copious scandals, the controversy around bill C-51, and the countless promises he’s yet to fulfill. The North Toronto student body seems to view Trudeau quite favourably. With many people following him on virtually every social media platform, it’s clear that students at NT are confident in his leadership. Being both “very socially liberal with regards to women’s rights and LGBT issues” and one whose “economic and policy standpoint[s] are more centrist in nature”, Charlie Littler, a Grade 12 student at North Toronto, says that, of all Canadian political parties, [their] political beliefs align with that of the liberals the most. Littler believes that “Trudeau’s work represents a bright future for Canada” and that despite his flaws, “[their] job as a future citizen of Canada is to be critical of any government regardless of political leanings.” By contrast, Caitlin

Heffernan, a student who affiliates most with the NDP believes, “[Trudeau’s] accomplishments stand out particularly after the U.S. election.” Despite her affiliations, she thinks “He has taken many steps to fix many of the problems people had with the previous Conservative government.” Regardless of his charisma and his progressive ideals, one things is for certain: Trudeau is not perfect. Don’t let Trudeau’s sunny ways get you in a superficial, ill-informed haze.

Illustration by Steven Kenny


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

13

How media bias influenced the U.S. election Joshua Chong

After over a year of campaigning, the marathon U.S. Presidential Election has come to a close. During this time, most American citizens and international spectators have formed an opinion on the two presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Throughout their campaigns, we saw both Trump supporters, who believe their candidate will indeed, “make America great again”, and Clinton support-

ers, who believed their candidate would make history in the oval office, and not just because she is a woman. This election was one of the most divisive elections in U.S. history. From Clinton’s email scandal to Trump’s lewd remarks about women, the election was a slugfest. Undeniably, the controversy was fueled by the great media bias that pervaded the election. Credible news sources are supposed to be factual

Illustration by Nikoo Aleyasin

and unbiased — places where viewers can be informed and then cultivate their own opinions. However, few news sources were truly objective and nonpartisan. Fox News had heavily Republican leanings, the New York Times favoured Democrats, and CNN was infamously dubbed the Clinton News Network. People’s views of the two candidates were, in large part, shaped by what they read on those news sources.

According to a Mainstreet/ Postmedia poll, Canadians would have overwhelmingly

“The more divided American media is, the more divided American citizens will be.” elected Clinton (68%) over Trump (17%). The actual election garnered very different results. Why the huge difference? A significant reason for the gap lies in the difference in media coverage. Most major Canadian newspaper and cable sources— CBC, The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail—have a progressive bias. American news sources, however, are significantly more divided. Throughout the election, many American voters also formed their opinions via media sources such as social media and satirical news. These sources are riddled

with political biases. The popular satirical news show, Saturday Night Live (SNL), has been known to drastically affect the presidential vote. During the 2008 presidential election, 10% of SNL viewers said the live sketch show influenced their decision. A large portion of these voters were swayed by the show to vote for Democrat Barack Obama, which helped him get elected to the White House. Social medias such as Facebook and Twitter tend to glue together politically like-minded people. According to Vincent Raynauld, an assistant professor Emerson College, “Even though social media allows people to be exposed to different political views, people tend to be part of environments where their political opinions are constantly reinforced.” The more divided American media is, the more divided American citizens will be. The 2016 election has shown us how much media bias can influence election results. If something is to change, news sources and media will need to recognize their roles as balanced outlets where citizens can seek unbiased information.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

14

Update: Construction around NT

Madeleine Wesely

Yonge and Eglinton has seen a great deal of change in recent years. One of the most noticeable changes has been the increase of condo buildings in the area. Although this change has generally been considered beneficial, it continues to pose a number of issues. The rising number of condos means that schools in the area won’t be able to accommodate an increasing number of students. Outside of a condo being built on Roehampton, the TDSB has

posted a sign that reads that there is no guarantee that those who live there will be able to attend local schools like North Toronto. Condos appear to be popping up everywhere around North Toronto. Right now, there is a new condo being built at Roehampton and Redpath. In addition to this new project, construction is also underway in effort to complete the new condo at Yonge and Roehampton. Another new, major building site is the condo being

Photo by Henrik Fung

3

built where the Art Shoppe used to reside. Freed Developments and CD Capital are behind the new building and are advertising it on the Art Shoppe Condos’ website as, “A fresh new spirit” and “a neighbourhood revitalized.” The building is situated at 2131 Yonge Street, only a few blocks south of North Toronto. The Art Shoppe was demolished almost a year ago in order for condos to be erected in its place. Although all of this construction may be of great inconvenience to NT students, it has proven to be quite beneficial. Earlier this year, the Yonge and Eglinton centre officially reopened following the completion of renovations. The new centre boasts a significantly more open and modern feel than its predecessor and contains many new stores. Along with the copious improvements made to its interior, the outside has been redone with the addition of a rooftop patio. Considering its popularity as a lunch spot among NT Photo by Henrik Fung students, the new interior makes it a considerably more point at Eglinton and Duplex. pleasant place to be. As of now, the second section Alongside new condos, new is still under construction. transport initiatives such The first machine, called as the Crosstown LRT are Don, is currently just beyond emerging in the area. The Eglinton and Dunfield, while Crosstown will be a light the second machine, called rail transit line which will Humber, is near the intersecrun along Eglinton between tion of Eglinton and Lillian. Mount Dennis and Kennedy, Both of them will meet at going underground between Eglinton and Holly. These inKeele and Laird. The total tersections are all within the track length will amount to North Toronto area, and the 19 kilometres. The tunnel is scale of this project means being built in two sections, that Eglinton avenue will both using two machines. constantly be crowded with The first, often referred to construction equipment. The as the Western Tunnel, has LRT is planned to be finished been completed, with an end by 2020 and once it is fin-

ished, the TTC will take over operations. The NT area is undergoing vast and seemingly perpetual change. With an increase in demand and a growing population, more condos are going up, leading to greater attempts by the city to make the area more accessible. Upon completion of the construction, the NT area will have seen a vast amount of change. Hopefully, these changes will help improve the face of things to come.

Queen’s University Jeff McPherson

To use the words of former Graffiti writer, Matthew Scace, “Queen’s is lit”. Gorenkoff would be glad to hear that Queen’s subscribes to his work hard play hard philosophy. During the weeks, Queen’s students are assigned a fair amount of readings and assignments, but lectures elaborate on the information and tutorials help students apply the newly learned material to both open and guided discussions. It’s a bit early in the year to pass judgement, but the classes are also quite enjoyable. I know few people who don’t absolutely love what they’re studying. That said, school is obviously just one part of the university experience. There’s so much to do in regards to clubs, intramurals, and teams, with everything from DECA to Varsity Football. It’s so easy to get involved, and the variety of clubs and teams offered means that you’re guaranteed to find something you love. Okay, now for the stuff you actually care about. There’s always something going on at night. The Student Ghetto is packed with “study sessions” (parties, keggers etc.) from Thursday to Sunday, most of which you can just wander into. I’m not going to go into too much detail, but trust Photo Courtesy of Jeff McPherson me, every night can be the best you’ve ever had. The next morning, not so much.


Graffiti

•

December 1, 2016

15


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

16

Bullying case unearths questions about special needs integration Anastasia Zaritovskaya

Illustration by Madelaine Fischer A lawsuit from a pair of parents with two children at John Wanless Elementary has been filed against the Toronto District School Board, claiming that two girls were not protected by the school from repeated abuse from a special-needs classmate. The parents of third grader, Olivia Warning, and her first grade sister Charlotte, declared

that their two daughters were assaulted by their specialneeds classmate for months. The two girls were allegedly subjected to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse from the student, with the school’s officials doing nothing to intervene, despite repeated pleas from Olivia and Charlotte’s parents. The situation culminated in the family suing

the school board for its failure to protect the girls, with the lawsuit being centred around the implications of the integration of special-needs students in regular program classrooms. The family’s allegations have yet to be proven in court. Although the case has garnered public attention, the TDSB has yet to officially respond to it. The TDSB argues that it’s aiming to create an accepting and inclusive environment for all students. While many are advocating for the complete integration of special needs pupils into the mainstream system, others are rooting for the opposite. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, the lawyer of the parents of the two girls stated that the issue was about “accommodating special-needs children,” but doing it “safely.” The safety of the mainstream children is balanced with the integra-

tion of the child with specialneeds, which, in this case, proves to be quite difficult. “The Toronto District School Board welcomes and supports all students with exceptionalities within well-resourced neighbourhood schools. Our District is committed to ensuring that students with special education needs will learn in a supportive and inclusive environment,” reads the statement on the TDSB website. Many of those involved are questioning whether these claims are being met. In 2014, the Toronto Star cited Marcy White, the mother of a child with special-needs as claiming that “[she believes] that the senior administrators at the TDSB are trying,” but that “there’s a disconnect between what happens there versus what actually happens in the schools.” The importance of integrating all children in the classroom successfully is not to be undermined; promoting the acceptance of all students means promoting social inclusion. Integration also promotes a positive learning space and has been shown to have a positive impact on students’ learning abilities. However, this can prove to be quite difficult for a school that lacks the proper resources or funding. Mr. Scudder, the department head of special education at North Toronto,

believes in the importance of keeping students safe from all violent students, rather than just ones with specialneeds. “The school board has to provide the staffing and the help to manage students so the others aren’t at risk.” He highlights the presence of the stigma surrounding special education for the students that require it. “Sometimes, there’s more of a stigma in elementary school, while in high school that tension lessens. Some students are embarrassed to be placed in a special ed classroom in elementary schools because of the bullying from their peers,” says Mr. Scudder. While in elementary school, a student who is currently at Northern, was reluctant to use her Individual Education Plan because she “thought that it meant [she] had something wrong with [her], and was worried people would think [she] was dumb because of it.” The hope for improvement in special-needs departments is real; the funds for special education have risen since 2013, with the government giving $2.7 billion to the province of Ontario in the hopes of improving the system. Closer to home, the TDSB has recently introduced a universal screening for Grade 3 students that aims to improve the accommodations for the diverging needs of students. The test will provide teachers with information on each of their students and indicate students who might need further support from the school. The tension between accommodating all students’ needs and maintaining a safe environment in schools is an ever-present issue. Publicity for it is increasing with the Warning lawsuit. In a case like this, it is easy to place blame — whether on the TDSB, the school administrators, or the parents themselves. Instead of looking for the culprit, increasingly more people should be devoting themselves to finding the balance that would allow for the peaceful cohabitation of all students in the school environment. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Annie Kidder, executive director of the group People for Education, said that “There is always a balance. It’s vital that kids are included, but it’s also vital that all of the necessary supports are there.”


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

17

The economics of the minimum wage increase Ernest Hung

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Wolfenden On October 1st, 2016, nearly a million minimum wage workers in Ontario received a pay raise amounting to 15 cents per hour. This was the third such annual increase in recent years and was meant to improve living conditions. Part of what makes the increase from $10.25 per hour (2010) to $11.40 (2016) per hour so significant is its continuous nature. During a spirited series of campaigns in late 2012 and early 2013, the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) called on Kathleen Wynne’s provincial government to implement an unprecedented automatic annual wage increase. Since then, the OFL has continued working with community groups to demand that the base wage be lifted above the poverty line. In Section 5 of the report submitted to the provincial government, the OFL recommends that “minimum wages should be revised annually by a percentage equal to the percent change in the Ontario Consumer Price Index”, tying the wage increases to consumer inflation, but not labour inflation. In addition, the report stated that the provisions laid out therein should be reviewed periodically in order to evaluate their effects and make changes when necessary. The beneficiaries of the plan are obvious. A million

Ontario workers earn the minimum wage or close to it, and more money in their pockets is crucial for them. The raise will especially help minimum wage workers in big cities, where the basic cost of living is creeping north of $2,000 per month. According to the OFL’s report, the government will also benefit from increased spending on the part of minimum wage workers. Increasing the wages of low income earners would typically result in more money being spent by those people, whereas high income earners would be less likely to spend, and more likely to save or invest. The immediacy of spending is attractive to the government because it bolsters commercial revenue and in turn, business income. A healthier economy with more currency circulation will eventually help raise the average income and contribute to fiscal growth. However, some oppose the minimum wage increase on the grounds of preserving economic freedom and the adverse economic effects of automatic incrementation. Their concern is that many jobs will not be worth their new hourly expenses and that these positions will have to be cut, automated, or otherwise substituted. In his book, The Politics of Rich and Poor, Kevin Phillips

argues that raising the minimum wage would “kill tens of thousands of jobs.” He contends that entry level jobs would be much harder to obtain, resulting in more youth unemployment after the raise. Experts and political commentators have expressed similar concerns over Premier Wynne’s decision to increment the Ontario minimum wage. Several have recommended the government do more to protect workers from being laid off when com-

panies attempt to maintain their payrolls and cut costs. This leads to another potential concern. By tying the minimum wage to consumer inflation, the cost of labour remains independent. In response to a hypothetical increase in wage, a company might see inflation in the price of labour and raise its prices to compensate. The leapfrogging effect between wages and consumer prices will depend on the perceived dollar depreciation over time. It will be up to Ontario’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel, going forward, to make proper forecasts on inflation percentages in order to minimize the difference between labour inflation and consumer inflation. The repercussions amongst current and future job seekers from North Toronto will be significant. Although this change will only amount to a few dollars a week for most part time workers at NT, a secure income provides much needed security to many. A part time worker in Grade 11 says she appreciates the raise, and that she feels much more secure in seeking a full-time job in the

future. The student says she does not believe that entry level positions will disappear in the wake of the continuous increments, but she does recognize the potential for increased competition. A Grade 12 student who has worked in several different part time positions believes that the idea of tying the minimum wage to inflation will lead to “workers being better off in the long term.” The economic repercussions of this relatively modest increase should produce mostly expected results, both good and bad. The provincial government may attempt to mitigate detrimental effects, but economics is often a game of balance; mixed results are to be anticipated. One cannot, however, overstate the social impact of a 15 cent increase when considering the future and the big picture. For NT students and all other young workers, the raise could mean a stabilization of income and security that will prove crucial to our development and integration into society.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

18

Internal

Red and Grey Day • photo by Daanish Sayani

The Maddie Project Chantelle Nejnec This article contains information which some readers may find difficult and upsetting. A list of resources that offer help and support can be found at the end of the article.

April 11, 2015. To some, this date might have been like any other: A birthday or anniversary, a first kiss or breakup, a test passed or failed. To the people who knew Maddie Coulter, it was the day they lost someone they loved. Madeline Grace German Coulter passed away on April 11, 2015 at the young age of 14 while silently suffering from depression. According to DoSomething.org, nearly 1 in 65,000 children between the ages of 10 to 14 commit suicide each year, with untreated depression being the number one cause of suicide. For Maddie’s community, this statistic wasn’t just a number or a faceless name on the news. It was the effect of mental illness hitting home. If anyone understands the effects of depression and what it can do to someone, it is Nicole German, Maddie’s mother. She was inspired to form The Maddie Project. “I must put the few ounces of energy I have to help try to ensure that no child or youth, parent, sibling, grandparent, friend or community has to suffer such an immense tragedy”. - Nicole German

The Maddie Project was created to support youth struggling with depression and other mental illnesses. The organization’s objective is to help open up dialogue and bring awareness to the mental health needs of children while also reducing the stigma behind adolescent depression. In recognition of the care that Maddie received at North York General Hospital, Maddie’s family is supporting North York General Foundation’s campaign. The $7 million campaign aims to

Photo by Vicky Ye

help transform the hospitalowned Phillips House estate and grounds into a facility for child and adolescent outpatient mental health care. After about one year, the Maddie Project hit the $1 million mark, which was their goal in order to develop the grounds of the Phillips House into a therapeutic garden to be named in Maddie’s honour.

This year, during NT’s charity week, all the proceeds will be going towards the The Maddie Project. With Maddie’s story hitting so close to home, it isn’t hard to imagine the effort students will put into raising money for the project. As charity week approaches, let’s make it our goal to raise money to help Maddie’s light continue to shine bright.

“The brightest of stars are those who shine for the benefit of others.”

Where to get support: If you would like support, you can speak with a family member, a counsellor, or a doctor.

Our school Guidance department and social worker can be a great first contact to help you find support. No appointment is necessary if you feel you need to talk to someone right away. If you need someone to talk to 24/7, call: Toronto Distress Centre at 416-408-HELP(4357) Kids Help Phone at 1-800668-6868. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please go to a hospital or call 9-1-1.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

19

The TDSB’s Aboriginal reconciliation Meagan Leider & Joshua Chong

Illustration by Madelaine Fischer “I would like to acknowledge that this school is situated upon traditional territories. The territories include the Wendat, Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, and the Métis Nation. The treaty that was signed for this particular parcel of land is collectively referred to as the Toronto Purchase and applies to lands east of Brown’s Line to Woodbine Avenue and north towards Newmarket. I also recognize the enduring presence of Aboriginal peoples on this land.” We have heard these three lines on Hot Air for almost three months now. For some of the 250,000 TDSB stu-

4

dents who have listened to this statement day-after-day, it has become just another routine. Nevertheless, these three sentences have signified a major milestone for the TDSB in its journey to reconcile with the First Nations community of Toronto. On June 8th, 2016, TDSB trustees voted in favour of a new policy that requires all 588 schools to acknowledge the ancestral lands that their schools were built on and recommended that students be taught the history of First Nations, Métis, and Inuits at the beginning of each school day. The policy came into effect on September 12th, 2016. Grade 12 student, Renee Corbiere, is of First Nations

descent and is the head of North Toronto’s First Nations Club. That September morning, she made the inaugural announcement at North Toronto. “I am very excited that this is something the TDSB is starting to do,” said Corbiere. “Recognizing the land that you are on is very important to Indigenous people and the new TDSB policy is a greatly appreciated sign of respect towards Indigenous people and their culture.” A key activist who pushed for the new acknowledgement is Aboriginal community elder, Duke Redbird. Redbird is best known for his efforts in incorporating First Nations literature into Canadian education. He is also a part of the TDSB’s Aboriginal Community Advisory Committee, which recommended the new acknowledgement. He has worked with several TDSB leaders to approve the new tribute in Toronto schools. “From a time when I was in school, when I was growing up and denied any access to my own culture, language, traditions and so on,” said Redbird in an in-

terview with CBC earlier this year, “70 years later, to see it being introduced and little ones so proud of their heritage… It’s full circle.” The tribute is just one of several new TDSB policies that aims to strengthen relations with the Indigenous community. The move comes in the wake of a report released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada after six years of research that culminated in 2015. The report has 94 recommendations; four of which pertain to Canada’s education system. One of the recommendations highlights the importance of “necessary funding to Aboriginal schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms.” There are programs for Aboriginal students in the TDSB. These are child-centered and culturally relevant, providing a means for First Nation families in Toronto to learn about their traditions in a safe environment. The current program does not offer a traditions-based curriculum from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12. As it currently stands, the TDSB only offers a native language course for Aboriginal students. In response to the recommendations, TDSB trustees voted unanimously to relocate the First Nations School of Toronto to a building that once housed Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute. The school will be the only one in the TDSB to offer an Indigenous traditions-based curriculum. Enrollment in First Nations School of Toronto is not exclusive to Indigenous students. It is

open to all students who wish to have an Aboriginalfocused education. Originally founded in 1977, the school has outgrown its current location at Dundas Street and Broadview Avenue. The relocation will allow the program to run from Kindergarten to Grade 12, helping to make Indigenous education more accessible. According to Etobicoke-Lakeshore trustee Pamela Gough, “This [the relocation] is the first time that the needs of urban Indigenous people in Ontario have been recognized in giving them a full Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 school.” Although steps are being taken on the Board level to address the lack of Aboriginal education, Grade 11 student, Leia Kook-Chun, claims that North Toronto does not offer enough Aboriginal education. Although Kook-Chun believes that students will become more aware about “[Canada’s First Nations] through the Grade 9 geography and Grade 10 history courses”, she’s not sure whether “the curriculum covers all the important details.” Nevertheless, progress has been made to acknowledge and foster a sense of mutual respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities Canada. The new TDSB policy has already inspired several other school boards such as the Peel District School Board to adopt a similar stance. Even though this is a huge success for the TDSB, we must not stop working towards a harmonious relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students.

University of Toronto Mike Chan

University of Toronto, possibly the last university you see yourself going to, has a lot more to offer than you think. Walking around downtown campus’ King’s College Circle, I am surrounded by a collection of Romanesque and Gothic buildings. U of T’s St. George campus is in the heart of Toronto, with pretty much anything in your reach. In addition to being wellknown for its academics, U of T’s own athletic team, the Varsity Blues, offer a wide variety of sports including the usual ones: basketball, field hockey, football, fencing, figure skating, and water polo. Academically, U of T is ranked as the #1 Canadian university. I’m studying Computer Science, which is arguably one of the hardest programs. NT has prepared me very well for the program. Cherish the years you spend at NT. Live it while you can. Be daring. Stay hungry. Oh and don’t forget: Work Hard, Play Hard.

Photo Courtesy of Mike Chan


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

20

Music Retreat 2016 Alison McCreary

Music Retreat activities • Photo by Genevieve Crispin-Frei From November 2nd to 4th, approximately 270 North Toronto music students attended Music Retreat at Geneva Park on Lake Couchiching. While music retreats are a long-standing tradition at NT, this was the first time that the band, strings, and vocals programs went together. In past years, each

music program would have a separate retreat—one for band, one for strings and one for vocals. Each retreat had their own traditions and ways of doing things, and they were highlights of the year for many students. The retreat started out a little rocky when five buses showed up instead of the

expected six. After trying to “compress” all of the students and the instruments into five buses, the sixth bus finally came and everyone was on their way. As soon as everyone arrived, rehearsals started, followed by a few minutes to settle in, and then dinner. There were more rehearsals after

dinner, and then the Geneva Park Staff held an evening campfire. The current Music Council President, Yael Morris’s favourite memory was the campfire on the first night. “It was a highlight to see everyone smiling and enjoying themselves in such a relaxed environment”, says Morris. It was a great first day that foreshadowed the fun to come. Thursday was a busy day, with up to six hours of rehearsals, three hours of outdoor activities, and a three hour talent show. It was incredible to see the talents within our music department shine. Congratulations goes to the winner, Brayden, for his hilarious improv skills. Friday was just as busy. The day began with a vocal warm up, which was a fun and unusual for the strings and band students. This was followed by more music rehearsals and outdoor activities. The day finished with a mini concert. Choir performed a beautiful piece,

Senior Strings played Little Suite for Strings, Junior Strings rocked their Argentine Tango, and Beginner Strings did a great job with their multi-part piece. For the band’s concert, each instrument section played a piece. According to Kaizen Liu, a Grade 11 percussionist, “The clarinets and flutes were fabulous, the brass players were on point ten out of ten, the woodwinds were charming, the percussion ensemble were strong on their game. A bit bias in my opinion, and the conducting done by Mr. Reed and Mr. Varahidis was the best of all!” Next year, the programs will be allotted different meal times, different practice spaces, and different times for outdoor activities. This way, ensembles will get an opportunity connect more with the members in their programs and be more cohesive when playing together.

NT’s own Dragon’s Den Caroline Conacher

As part of its mission to support current students through scholarships and grants, the North Toronto Foundation recently invited students from interested clubs, teams and initiatives to apply for funds from the Foundation. Dubbed the Dragon’s Den by Foundation members, this event gave alumni board members a chance to meet with current students and get a better sense of what it is that NT students are doing when they aren’t in the classroom. After the evening, Foundation members were left with a sense of amazement and pride, not only at these students’ accomplishments, but also at the legacy they continue to uphold. Using donations from alumni, the Foundation was able to grant each group all or part of their requested amount. Old familiars, such as Graffiti and the Remembrance Day Assembly Committee, were given

money—the former for such things as printing fees and the latter for guest presenter fees and refreshments for visiting veterans. The boys’ hockey team was supported with a grant that is going towards the cost of practice jerseys. As they help a great number of students every year, PAL’s, the group of NT students that help incoming grade nines transition into high

school, also received support from the Foundation. The Foundation was also excited to learn about some of the newer initiatives happening at the school, including TEDxYouth@NTCI. TEDx is an international community that organizes TED-style events anywhere and everywhere, celebrating locally driven ideas and elevating them

to a global stage. In this case, the stage was NT. An Aerospace and Rocketry Club has also been launched, demonstrating the school’s propensity to be a leader in the area of science and technology. In the end, a total of $3,500 was given out to the various groups. The Foundation recognizes that these groups continue to promote the kind of well-rounded,

balanced school that NT has always been, and it is thrilled to be able to support them financially. In addition, it is important to recognize that this support would not be possible without a strong and supportive alumni. Perhaps more student groups and initiatives will consider pitching to the generous dragons and apply for grants in the future.

The Dragon’s Den participants • Photo by Mr. Gorenkoff


Graffiti

•

December 1, 2016

21


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

22

Student profile: Kehkashan Basu Interview by Cassidy Bereskin and Josh Chong

Photo by Daanish Sayani Every issue, Graffiti interviews a student that brings noteworthy qualities and experiences to North Toronto. This issue, that student is Kehkashan Basu. Since the age of eight, Kehkashan has been at the forefront of environmental activism. She became the youngest international delegate at Rio +20 to speak at a press conference, launched the first Plant-for-the-Planet event in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), serves as the youth ambassador for the World Future Council, and represented her country as an active member of the UN Major Groups for Children & Youth. Kehkashan is involved with her youth environmental organization, Green Hope, which she established in 2012. Shortly thereafter, Kehkashan was elected as the global coordinator for the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). In the summer of 2016, Kehkashan relocated to Toronto. Although she is a new student at North Toronto, she has already made positive impressions. In addition to writing for The Huffington Post, Kehkashan contributes to Graffiti. Students and staff may have seen her performing at the Red and Grey Day assembly on behalf of NEAT, where she holds an executive position. Graffiti took some time to sit down and interview Kehkashan and unearth the secrets behind her success. 1. Why did you choose to attend North Toronto? I was familiar with NT’s great online reviews. When I visited the school last year, I got a very positive feeling. After finding out that Keanu Reeves (from the Matrix) studied at North Toronto, my mind was made. 2. Why did you choose to come to Toronto? In the last three years, I have been travelling to Toronto. I visited the University of Toronto campus two years back and now hope to do my undergrad in sustainability management there. My family and I realized that transitioning from North Toronto to University of Toronto would be easier than entering as an international student. In addition, I plan to set up a Green Hope chapter here. On the 8th of October, NEAT and Green Hope participated in a Canadian Shoreline clean-up, which was conducted at David A. Balfour Park. That was Green Hope’s first initiative in Canada. Green Hope conducted its first conference in November. It was held in Mississauga and attracted 500 youth delegates. Hopefully, Green Hope will hold more conferences here in the future, including one at NT. We hope to involve Toronto youth in the work we do. 3. What inspired you to start Green Hope? In June 2012, I was the youngest international participating delegate at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. Since I didn’t want to be the youngest person at these events anymore, I decided to start Green Hope and involve other young leaders around the world. Green Hope continues to be youth-led. My main goal is to mobilize as many students as possible and give them a chance to fight for a sustainable future. 4. What are your future goals for Green Hope? As of now, Green Hope chapters have been established in 10 countries. We hope to reach out to 100 countries within the next five years.

5. Who inspires you the most? One of my main inspirations is Mr. Achim Steiner, the former Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Program. It was during his tenure that I got elected as the global coordinator. He continues to be extremely supportive of young people. 6. In 2013, at the age of 12, you were elected for a two-year term on the UNEP. How did that opportunity arise? At the age of 11, I was invited to represent the UAE at UNEP’S Children and Youth conference in Bandung, Indonesia, where I spoke on a panel and shared my work. This was my first entry into the international arena. Since then, I have been involved in the Earth Summit or RIO+20, where I spoke at a press conference about the role of youth in achieving the future we want. The UN follows the work that is being done by youth in different parts of the world. There are several UNEP accredited organizations and I was nominated to be a candidate at this election by one such organisation. There was a voting process by the accredited organisations of UNEP Major Groups. I won the election. It was a difficult process, but it was extremely encouraging for a 12 year old to get elected for this position. 7. Do you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle for the environment? No, I don’t think I’m fighting a losing battle. A lot of people say that there’s no hope left, but there has been a lot of progress in convincing people to do good for the environment. There are a lot of obstacles, but if we continue to work hard for the cause, I think that, in the end, we can achieve a somewhat sustainable world. 8. What was it like speaking at the EU during the European week for action for girls? It was pretty awesome. You never expect to visit the EU, let alone speak there. At the conference, I got to see how the EU functioned. I was honoured to be able to project my views and explain why gender equality is important. 9. What is your dream job? Be the UN Secretary-General. 10. Who are some interesting people whom you have met? I have met Malala, Michael Douglas, Ban Ki-Moon, the soccer player, Kaka as well as his excellency Francois Hollande. I met Giselle Bundchen in Rio. Leonardo DiCaprio signed a certificate for our work on sustainable transport. 11. If you could make a 30 second speech to the entire world, what would you say? Time is not on our side, so, we the young people, should mould our future the way we want it. The time to act is now. If we fail to do so, we may soon see polar bears under palm trees.…We MUST stop this ecocide.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

23

A new student reviews NT William Lloyd Co-ed: Another major adjustment was the switch to a co-ed school. On my first day, seeing a girl at school for the first time since Grade 6 was quite an abrupt transition. I also find it much harder to go to the bathroom. At NT, every time I head to the bathroom, I am forced to make sure that I am entering the right one.

Photo by Daanish Sayani Entering North Toronto in Grade 11, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I had watched Mean Girls the night before the first day of school in a feeble attempt to prepare, but happily, that wasn’t an accurate portrayal of NT. So far, I can confidently say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at NT, and I am happy with my decision to come here. There

5

are many factors that have influenced my opinion of NT to date, some of which are briefly outlined below. Water Fountains: At North Toronto, I was pleased to find out that the water fountains were conveniently located close to the washrooms, killing two birds with one stone. If there is

one thing that I can’t stand, it’s a water fountain placed on the opposite side of a school from the washrooms. Although higher water pressure wouldn’t hurt. Locker Rooms: At my previous school, Upper Canada College, lockers for Grade 9-12 students were located in the change rooms,

serving as a storage space for clothes, in addition to backpacks and textbooks. This change has caused me to—on an embarrassing number of occasions—come very close to changing into my gym clothes outside of my first floor locker. I am a fan of the NT locker setup though, as it usually buys me enough time to stop at Tim Hortons on the way to school.

Wilfred Laurier University Sam Spodek

When I first came to Laurier, I expected to find my- Photo courtesy of Sam Spodek self immersed in a small, welcoming community, having friends and family who were already students here. This expectation was not just correct, but overwhelmingly met. The community at Laurier is extremely welcoming, and its small size makes it easy to meet new people. Like the student body, the campus is relatively small, meaning that by your third week at the school, you cannot walk from one class to another without bumping into six people you know. High school was a great place for me to learn, but it can be tough to ever feel like you can truly belong there. Maybe it’s because I live here, but from early on Laurier, has felt like home. The social scene is massive, especially during special weekends like Homecoming, and Halloween. The school does a great job by easing you into the swing of things before it tries to scare you out of the program (I am only joking of course). It has been quite the experience being in a very large program at such a small school. Laurier’s business administration program has developed its high reputation, and has tough entry requirements for a reason. I cannot overstate how tough the business program at Laurier can be at times, but similarly I cannot overstate how rewarding and enjoyable of an experience it has been so far. It is truly great to be a Laurier Golden Hawk.

On a more serious note, my first impression of NT has been an extremely positive one. The students have all been outgoing, friendly, and helpful. The teachers and staff have also been awesome, not only in an academic sense, but also on a more personal level; they have helped me make a smooth transition. The simple smiles, “hi’s,” and “how are you doing’s?” that I have received from teachers while navigating the halls are just one example of this. I am fortunate to have teachers who are passionate about their courses and work hard to instill the same sort of passion in their students. Around a week ago, my neighbour asked me how NT is so far. This gave me a chance to reflect. I told him that I have been enjoying it, and that it has been a great start to the school year.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

24

Some of NT’s newcomers Ms. Stricker Oolop By: Alyssa Joynt

Photo by Daanish Sayani

Ms. Stricker Oolup is the latest member of Guidance at NT. Ms. Stricker Oolup has worked at NT in the past, in the original building, and is returning to us from the board office. So far she loves how “Everyone is so positive and pleasant”, and she “…really like[s] the atmosphere”. If she wasn’t a teacher, Ms. Stricker Oolup would be a forest ranger, which makes sense as one of her favourite hobbies is hiking. In fact, when asked to give an example of something on her bucket list, her immediate response was hiking the Grand Canyon. Ms. Stricker Oolup’s favourite animal is an owl. If she could be any animal, though, she would be a dog. Dogs live in the present; they are happy when they see a squirrel or a ball and don’t think about anything except what’s right in front of them. In addition to hiking, Ms. Stricker Oolup also enjoys volleyball. Welcome back to North Toronto, Ms. Stricker Oolup!

Ms. Chan

By: Lauren Kim

Photo by Daanish Sayani

Though she arrived a little late in the year, Ms. Chan is a new and warmly welcomed addition to the NT math department. She became a teacher because she is a very interpersonal individual who loves helping others succeed. If she were to choose any other career, however, she would become a writer in Hollywood due to her love for the silver screen. Her spirit animal is the unicorn and her hidden talent is being able to whistle and sing off key. In her spare time, Ms. Chan enjoys visiting different restaurants to add to her list of hidden gems in Toronto. She is also a worldly individual who has travelled to Asia and Europe, and her goal for the future is to visit all 7 continents of the world. Ms. Chan is looking forward to the rest of the year as NT’s school spirit is unlike any other school she has been to before!

Mr. Varahidis By: Jessie Li

Photo by Alice Liang

When a student walks into Mr. Varahidis’s band room, they are excited to see the theatrics and passion he brings to each class. As an outgoing and ambitious teacher that graduated from the University of Toronto, his life motto is “Don’t worry until you have to worry”, which gets him through stressful times. Before joining NT in the Music and English department, he taught at the residential music camp, Music By The Lake, where he first met his friend, Ms. Pady. In high school, he wanted to play the clarinet. However, because he missed the instrument sign up day due to a soccer game, he ended up playing the euphonium. Regardless, Mr.Varahidis does not regret playing the euphonium and can now play almost all of the brass instruments that exist. Apart from playing music, he enjoys going to the gym, watching Game of Thrones, and chowing down on some gyros at Messini - however, “The one on Danforth is way better.”

Ms. Dunkley

By: Hana Sharifi

Photo by Daanish Sayani

Allow me to introduce Ms. Dunkley, who teaches History, Civics, SAP (sociology, anthropology, and psychology), and English here at NT. You may have heard her speaking passionately as you walk down the hall, as history is her absolute favourite subject. Along with teaching, Ms. Dunkley likes to read, travel, take photos, and explore different cultures. At the moment, she’s reading a book about the Middle East. In fact, Ms. Dunkley loves reading so much that the pages of books have become her favourite place in the world. “In a book, you can go anywhere,” she says. It’s not surprising then, that if money wasn’t an issue she would love to travel. The main thing on her bucket list, she says, “is to travel to as many countries and continents as possible and collect memories.” When asked what advice she would give to a struggling student, she suggests to “take it one day at a time - it’s a slow journey, not a race.”


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

25

Ms. Hayhurst

By: Diana Kagan

Photo by Alice Liang

After being at North Toronto for just a few months, Ms Hayhurst can already sense the spirit at our school. This makes her feel very welcomed and appreciated in our community. When asked to describe herself, Ms. Hayhurst said that she is very easy going, friendly, and a good communicator, which is why she enjoys interacting with others. Ms. Hayhurst also mentions that her favorite season of the year is fall, “I just love all of the nice Halloween decorations, the colours of the leaves, and the weather during autumn.” Ms. Hayhurst likes spending time with her three daughters and collecting new memories with a scrapbook. She also likes visiting cheerleading competitions, choir recitals and horse riding races, that her daughters participate in. Ms. Hayhurst wants to go white water rafting and skydiving some day. She also hopes to travel around the world and learn about new interesting cultures. Just remember if you are in search for a great lunch or someone to talk to, our new cafeteria chef, Ms. Hayhurst is the person to see.

Ms. McKendrick By: Mia Petrovic

Photo by Alice Liang

One of the new teachers at North Toronto this year is English and History teacher, Ms. McKendrick. Ms. McKendrick is artistic, creative, friendly, and relatable, so students can expect to have fun lessons and a good time in her class. Some good news for all the dog lovers out there, Ms. Mckendrick is on your team. She has a 9-year-old shih-tzu poodle named Sadie. Ms. McKendrick loves to read and travel and aims to go on at least one trip each year. This summer was Spain, last summer was Greece. Australia and New Zealand are still on the top of her list. “Traveling and exploring new areas is one of my favourite things to do”, says McKendrick. If she wasn’t a teacher, Ms. McKendrick would “probably work in a creative field such as interior design or the fashion industry.” Ms. Mckendrick has worked at many different schools, so she knows what makes North Toronto unique saying, “The school spirit is unbelievable. I’ve worked at 10 schools and have never seen what I saw at Red and Grey Day.” Welcome to NT Ms. McKendrick!

Ms. McDowell

By: Joshua Chong

Photo by Alice Liang

Ms. McDowell is North Toronto’s newest Civics and History teacher. She is at NT on days 2/4, as she alternates her time between NT and Richview Collegiate Institute. Ms. McDowell has described her time at NT as wonderful, especially the teachers, “who have been helpful and welcoming from the beginning”. If she was not a teacher, Ms. McDowell would have stayed in the realm of history and become a librarian or museum curator. Her favourite interests and hobbies include travelling, watching movies, reading, and listening to music. After a short conversation with Ms. McDowell, you can probably tell that she is a historian at heart. Need more proof? Well...her favourite movie is The Goons (1985), and her favourite book is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813). If you want to strike up a conversation with Ms. McDowell, try movies as a subject of conversation. Her not-so-secret secret talent is being amazing at movie trivia, including identifying movies just by looking at the actor.

Mr. Filler

By: Caitlin Heffernan Mr. Filler is NT’s new social worker and he can be found in the office beside guidance every Tuesday. His favourite thing about NT so far is that the students and staff are very welcoming and the guidance department has been quite helpful. Mr. Filler describes himself as energetic, optimistic and interested in people. If he weren’t a social worker, he would probably work in sales or be a coach. He has a passion for fitness and one thing on his bucket list is to travel to remote parts of the world to lead exercise groups for young people, since this is something that transcends language barriers. He enjoys travelling in general, and his favourite cuisine of the world is Indian. If you didn’t find all that relatable enough, his favourite animals are dogs. Welcome to NT, Mr. Filler!

Photo by Alice Liang

Darwin the Turtle By: Alyssa Joynt

Photo by Alice Liang

This year, the biology club’s newest member is Darwin the Turtle. After the tragic death of Mr. Roche’s remaining fish over the summer, NT needed a new biology pet, and Darwin was the answer. In an exclusive interview, Darwin’s spokesperson (aka Mr. Roche) revealed that Darwin is a feisty turtle who seems to have one goal in life: getting out of the tank. She is also an introvert, often tucking her head inside her shell. She is a good climber and an exceedingly good sitter, and Mr. Roche has also revealed that Darwin is an aspiring surfer. Aside from sitting, climbing, swimming, and surfing, Darwin’s favourite pastimes include ducking her head inside her shell, learning about genetics, and completing Punnett Squares in search of more information on her genetic background. Despite the obvious limitations, Darwin has big dreams. She wants to study wildlife biology in university and then return to North Toronto as a biology teacher. In the meantime, she is serving as an assistant teacher in Mr. Roche’s classroom and is happy to receive guests. Drop by Mr. Roche’s room to meet Darwin, the feisty, studious, introverted, surfing turtle.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

26

Journalism for Human Rights

Photo by Daanish Sayani

Threats to LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S. Olivia Willows Within the past few years, numerous nations have legalized same-sex marriage, and many more are close to doing so. The U.S became one of these countries when marriage equality was achieved in June 2015, following a historic Supreme Court ruling. Despite this progress, many American states have recently passed laws that actively discriminate against LGBTQ people, and Donald Trump’s recent presidential victory has many Americans fearing for their rights. Located on the east coast of the socially conservative bible belt, North Carolina has a long history of failing to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, harassment, and hate crimes. Same sex sexual relations remained illegal until 2003, and in 2011, the state passed a constitutional amendment to ban same sex unions. More recently, however, the state has come under fire for a new law that requires people to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate, which means transgender individuals will not be able to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. The law, bill HB2, also negates a number of local anti-discrimination measures protecting LGBTQ residents. This new law puts the safety and comfort of transgender individuals at risk. Supporters say the law’s intention is to protect people’s privacy, and women and children from molesters. Those who oppose it, however, believe that this danger is imaginary, and that the law discriminates against

innocent Americans. This equation of transgender individuals with predators and molesters is not only factually incorrect, but feeds into a harmful, false notion about transgender people. Legally speaking, the bill violates a number of federal laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of gender identity

viduals if doing so is not in accord with their religious beliefs. This means that a catering service with a religious affiliation can refuse to cater a same-sex wedding, or a restaurant can refuse to serve a gay couple. While this law has been justified under the pretense of protecting religious freedom, in reality, the only people it

and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. LGBT travellers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi.” The impending Trump presidency has many worried that these discriminatory laws will soon go into effect. While Trump attempted to

is protecting are bigots and homophobes who wish to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. A number of neighbouring states are also in the process of passing similar bills. In late April, the United Kingdom issued a travel warning to British tourists visiting the southern parts of the United States, particularly North Carolina and Mississippi. The statement warned LGBTQ travellers and stated, “The US is an extremely diverse society

put on a progressive persona regarding many LGBTQ issues during the campaign, he has also promised to “cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum, and order issued by President Obama.” Doing so would mean that numerous crucial protections for LGBTQ workers would be nullified. Vice president elect Mike Pence has a scarier track record on LGBTQ rights. Stating once that gay couples signaled “societal

Photo by Daanish Sayani and sexuality. As such, The U.S Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the state, deeming HB2 “state sponsored discrimination.” If the justice department wins the lawsuit, it would expand protection to transgender people under the Civil Rights Act. Mississippi, North Carolina’s equally socially conservative cousin, passed legislation in early April that allows individuals and organizations to deny goods and services to LGBTQ indi-

collapse,” during his tenure in the House of Representatives, Pence voted twice for a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as solely a union between one man and one woman. In addition, he also opposed a law that would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workforce. He also supported, “Don’t ask, Don’t tell,” a law that prohibited qualified gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the armed forces. What’s most terrifying is his belief that homosexuality is a sin, and by extension, his support for conversion therapy. While running for congress in 2000, Pence advocated that funding for HIV treatment research instead be put to services “which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” Conversion therapy is a harmful practice that tries to “cure” LGBTQ people of their “sexual immorality.” The practice has been condemned by the American Psychological Association for historically driving participants to commit suicide and causing irreversible psychological damage. It is possible that under President Trump, LGBTQ people in the U.S may soon see their rights limited. Recent laws in conservative states and the Trump presidential victory cast a gloomy shadow over the strides that the U.S has made in the realm of LGBTQ rights.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

27

We have a nude problem Janna Getty

Illustration by Nikoo Aleyasin According to the 2011 census, about 50% of the Toronto population is white. Why is it that most Toronto drugstore makeup is catered towards only half of the population? Applying makeup well is hard. Between knowing what kind of brush to use and what order products should be applied, achieving a good look is no easy task. But for so many people, the most difficult part of the entire process starts before the product is even taken out of its packaging.

Regardless of whether I walk into Sephora or Shoppers, as a white female, my main focus lies in finding a product that matches not only the colour of my skin, but also the undertone and the skin type. But for so many visible minorities, Shoppers Drug Mart isn’t even an option. Rachel Otchere-Gyan, a Grade 12 student at North Toronto, said that the selection at Shoppers is “terrible” for her. Since she isn’t prepared to fork over upwards of $50 at Sephora

for something as simple as liquid foundation, OtchereGyan opts to go without it. Even a staple drugstore brand such as Covergirl has hardly any selection for anyone darker than what they call “tawny”. Not only is tawny a breed of owl, it’s a colour defined as “orangey-brown.” A bad fake-tan is the darkest a Covergirl face-product will be. On covergirl.com, the company advertises a line of makeup called “Queen”, which claims to cater to men and women with

darker skin tones. Not only is “Queen” one of Covergirl’s most expensive lines of makeup, it is unavailable in Canada. When emailed about the issue, P&G simply stated it was dedicated to supporting diversity and apologized for the disappointment. The lack of diversity in mainstream makeup brand selection isn’t just a problem for drugstore brands. Even finding the proper shade at Sephora can be a difficult task. Although a NARS foundation has 17 options for white or “beige” skin tones, it has only two for darker skin. Because skin tone varies drastically from person to person, it only makes sense for these companies to offer a wider range of undertones. For white people, there are an array of undertone options: blue, green, red, orange, and pink. However, beauty brands seem to forget the fact that darker skin types vary just as much.

Racist Snapchat filters Sofia Platnick Most teens have the popular app, Snapchat. It’s a great way to stay connected without a lot of commitment, all while having fun with ever-changing filters. From the dog filter to the flower crown, everyone loves to play around with the different face-changers. But some filters are not quite as innocent as others. Many people have complained about various filters that have been featured. There are a few students from North Toronto who have been disgruntled by these filters. Marina, a student in Grade 9, expressed confusion on the matter. “I don’t know why there’s so many filters to lighten and even out your skin, but not to darken it or even keep it your own [skin] colour”, says Marina. One especially disrespectful filter featured was meant to be a harmless anime character. Instead, Snapchat was called out for portraying a stereotypical caricature

of Asians. This specific filter completely contorts the face, and gives the user a more pointed chin, narrower eyes, larger lips, and yellowtinted skin. This wasn’t the only filter that has been seen as problematic. Many people thought that the Bob Marley look-alike filter was “nothing more than a weed mascot,” according to an article written by the BBC news. Others believe the filter was offensive because it encouraged blackface, which is a deepseated racial issue. Many users were outraged by how Bob Marley was only remembered on 4/20 or “weed day”, and con-

Illustration by Juling Hancock and Angela Wang

sidered Snapchat “pathetic” and “disrespectful” as a result. There are other offensive filters that remain on Snapchat. All of them have one thing in common: They lighten the skin tone of users. By adding seemingly harmless filters to lighten skin, Snapchat indirectly associates darker skin tones with undesirability. By reinforcing the notion that whiteness is the highest form of beauty, minorities may feel more insecure. In society, self-love is a hardship, and the process isn’t made any easier when the apps we use every day are telling us we aren’t perfect. Even though

Is there a less saturated market for darker-toned makeup? Recent stats would say otherwise: African-Americans spend an average of 7.5 billion annually on beauty products. This problem isn’t unique to the cosmetic industry. The more you look into it, the more you realize that the overarching beauty and fashion industry has a nude problem. Up to last year, the Merriam Webster dictionary defined “nude” as “being the colour of a white person’s skin”. As a result, when a product is “nude” coloured, it’s really “caucasian” coloured. And this includes everything from band-aids, to bras, to underwear, to tights. Those at P&G aren’t blatantly racist. However, they are throwing minorities to the wayside by ignoring their needs. They are choosing to ignore the massive market that is sitting right at their feet; they are choosing not branch out to people who simply want the options that white people have.

Snapchat has over 900 employees, it has yet to release statistics on its racial and gender breakdown. The company has turned down the request to release these numbers on more than one occasion. Snapchat could avoid similar mishaps in the future by hiring a more diverse executive team. While playing around with Snapchat filters may be a fun way to pass the time, these filters are less innocent than one may think. It is important to recognize that some of these filters are blatantly offensive and racist. Next time you’re using a filter that slims your nose and lightens your skin tone, remember that it may not offend you, but it sure will offend someone else.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

28

An interview with Syrian refugees

Dana Aronowitz Thirty-one thousand, nine hundred nineteen Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada since November 4th, 2015. Over a third of them are privately sponsored refugees. This means that private organizations such as schools and churches are providing for them. I had the opportunity to interview two members of a Syrian refugee family. Their family members joined them in Toronto this past September. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. Why was it important for you to bring your Syrian family members to Canada? We only decided to bring our Syrian family to Canada after ISIS had killed several members of our family in March, 2015. They killed all of the men and kidnapped the

mother and daughter of the family (last we have heard the mother and daughter were sold off in Iraq). After this attack on our family, we urged our siblings that were in Syria to leave as fast as they could. What were your expectations coming into Canada? There is safety here and there is no war. There is no fear of religious persecution. There was this pressure in Turkey. We couldn’t be ourselves there. Have your expectations been met? Did your expectations change? Yes, beyond what we believed. This is a beautiful country and the people are very nice. I can’t believe that I am here.

Is Canada a welcoming country? Yes. The people from the organization that sponsored us are very nice. They welcome us and help us a lot. How do you feel about now living in Canada? We feel safe and that we are Canadians. It is a very beautiful country. I can’t wait to complete my dreams. What do you miss about life in Syria? I miss my friends a lot. I worry about them. Sometimes when I am texting them, they have to run and protect themselves. That has become a normal part of life there. I miss my cousins and family who are still there.

What would you like to change about life in Canada? Nothing so far — it’s been really good. I hope to improve my English. I look forward to making new friends.

diverse nation with more to offer culturally than anywhere else. If you are in America, you are an American living the American dream. You become everything American. Here in Canada, you are allowed to keep your culture for generations to How do you think havcome. Canada has proven ing refugees in Canada that you can be from anyhas affected our sociwhere around the world ety? and still succeed and be If you look at Toronto, it’s accepted. a melting pot of different cultures. These cultures were built by immigrants; Amidst the refugee most of Canada is made controversy, it is imporup of immigrants. I can tant to acknowledge that assure you that there are welcoming refugees into a lot of people who came Canada is the right thing in as refugees, and now to do. Coming to Canada are giving back to Canahas changed the lives of dian society. These peoSyrian refugees for the ple worked hard to make better, allowing them to a better life for themlive in a society where selves and their kids are they feel safe and acnow engineers, doctors, cepted. and nurses and give back to society. It has allowed Canada to be a more

Liberating women from oppression or Islam?

Hodman Abukar

Illustration by Joe Zhang France established nude beaches along its shores during the 1950’s, becoming one of the first countries to do so. At the time, sexism was heightened, and the rest of the world believed that a woman was not respectable if she was not covered. France decided to fight these restrictions, incorporating both sexual and non-sexual nudity into its art and culture. This allowed French women to be as revealing as they pleased.

Despite its leniency towards revealing garments today, France does have clothing laws that citizens must abide by. For example, the chest and genitalia must be covered. Compared to intensely restrictive Sharia laws, for example, who wouldn’t want to embrace France’s modern clothing laws? France is a secular country. As a result, its government has banned displays of religion—headscarves,

burkas, kippahs, and large crosses—in the workplace and schools. From this sprouted the prohibition of ‘burkinis’ on beaches in various cities. Burkinis, derived from combining the words, ‘burka’ and ‘bikini’, are wetsuit-like pieces that cover both the body and head. Designed by Australian Aheda Zanetti, ‘burkinis’ are worn not only by many Muslim women around the world, but also by women who are simply looking for a modest swimsuit. In August 2009, a woman in France was stopped from swimming in a public pool because she was wearing a burkini. This was justified by the law that forbade citizens from swimming in street clothes. France was gripped in controversy about Islamic dress and blatant islamopho-

bia was being swept under the rug. More recently, last August, the mayor of Cannes banned the swimsuit altogether, citing a potential link to Islamic extremism. Around 20 other French towns, including Nice, have joined the ban. As a result, dozens of women have issued fines. According to the mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, ‘burkinis’ are “the uniform of extremist Islamism.” It is unclear how a woman who chooses to wear a swimsuit that doesn’t expose all of her skin is propagating “extremist Islamism.” It is also unclear why it is a male politician who gets to decide what is too extreme for women. The French government has received immense backlash for banning something so benign. Outside of the French embassy in London last August, pro-burkini protesters threw a “beach party”, complete with fake sand and beach balls. Participators sported all types of attire, emphasizing the need for freedom of choice. Alongside trending images, the hashtag, “#WearWhatY-

ouWant,” gained popularity on social media. By allowing people to wear what they want, France would be giving people the freedom to wear whatever makes them feel safe and comfortable. The French have generally held liberal ideologies, with feminism being popular among the public. Women were granted the ability to wear revealing clothing on beaches nearly 60 years ago. However, in 2016, the country has taken a step backwards. If the French government believes it is liberating Muslim women by forcing them to take off their swimsuits, then it has gender equality all wrong. Feminism is giving women a choice and respecting their decisions. Countries across the world continue to ignore this. Banning a swimsuit is just as oppressive as forcing women to cover up completely. The French government may think it is liberating women from Islamic extremism and oppression, but it seems like another way to “liberate” women from Islam itself.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

29

Sweatshop labour in the 21st century

Joshua Chong

In the age of information, many of us seem to remain unaware of the unethical labour behind most of the products we buy. Before purchasing a new product, we often consider its price, quality and appearance. However, we often neglect to assess the ways in which the merchandise was produced. Sweatshop labour is defined as work accomplished by manual labourers in unethical working conditions. The practice can be traced to the start of the industrial revolution, when women and children were forced to work in low-paying jobs under harsh conditions. According to the Fair Labor Association, sweatshop labour exists in at least 18 countries, including China, India, and the U.S. Since many are undocumented, it is difficult to estimate the number of sweatshop labourers there are. However, as reported by the International Labour Organization, about 250 million of these labourers are children. These workers are subject to unsafe working conditions and minimal to no financial compensation. If sweatshop labour is commonplace, why do we fail to consider it when we go shopping? According to a Grade 10 student and fashion

designer, Olivia McLeod, the problem is not that consumers don’t know what sweatshop labour is, but rather, that they fail to realize that manual labour is still com-

“If sweatshop labour is commonplace, why do we fail to consider it when we go shopping?” mon in the fashion industry. “We often forget that most of the clothing we buy is still handmade,” says McLeod. “Most consumers believe that if the brand they are buying is somewhat expensive, they will obviously have machines doing the work. However, that is not the case.” In an era where shopping at big-box-stores is the norm, it is difficult to sift out ethically sourced products from ones that are made via sweatshop labour. It is even more daunting to do so when we’re on a budget, as

the most unethical clothing is often the cheapest. Major brick and mortar companies such as Costco and Walmart are notorious for their poor environmental product standards. Even amidst cries from human rights activists, these mega-corporations fail to address the issue. By turning a blind eye to sweatshop labour, these companies can keep their prices down while attaining a high profit margin. Clothing companies that are notorious for violating labour rights include H&M, Adidas, Gap and Zara. The biggest problem with sweatshop labour lies in figuring out how to solve it. Contrary to popular belief, boycotting these brands can do more harm than good. The world saw this firsthand after hundreds of workers lost their jobs following the collapse of the Rana Plaza in 2013. Although these workers earn little

compensation for their work, the small sum of money remains an important source of income for them. Boycotting these companies puts many workers out of work and in a far worse situations. Consumers should know how their products are being made. Greater transparency between brands and consum-

ers is necessary as it will lay the groundwork for better oversight and increased labour rights for workers. Although small steps have been taken, sweatshop labour will continue to exist until we come up with concrete ways to get rid of it.

Illustration by Madelaine Fischer


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

30

Arts and Culture

Cabbagetown • Photo by Daanish Sayani

Toronto by neighbourhood: Cabbagetown Daanish Sayani

neighbourhoods) together. Because of this, there’s a great deal of commercial diversity in Cabbagetown. Along Parliament you can find both ethnic restaurants and ‘alternative’ cafes, and drop by both delis and health food stores. Cabbagetown’s most dis-

Photo by Daanish Sayani By now most people in Toronto have at least a vague knowledge of Cabbagetown. Growing since the 80s, this neighbourhood has become the most prominent remnant of old Toronto. Sitting just beside Downtown between Wellesley and Gerrard, bordering the Don River to the East and Parliament Street to the West, it is currently the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in all of North America. Cabbagetown’s history began around the 1850s, when working class Irish immigrants moved to the area to be close to the lakefront factories of Corktown. The name ‘Cabbagetown’ most likely came from stories of these immigrants growing cabbage in their yards. During this time, Cabbagetown wasn’t the wealthiest of neighbourhoods, but it was still a well-built working

class community. It was only after World War I that the area became a dense slum. Like many of the neighbourhoods surrounding it, the district was almost demolished and rebuilt in the 50s and 60s. Not too long after, the neighbourhood was completely restored by young professionals who moved in and became community activists. There’s a lot of green space around the neighbourhood. Riverdale Park has baseball and soccer fields and links up with the Don River bike trail. Numerous events take place in the park during the summer, including a free outdoor movie series that runs most nights. Riverdale Farm is on the northern corner of the park. It’s open all year for visitors and houses adorable farm animals, ponds, forest area, and a few vegetable and herb gardens. As well,

“The neighbourhood is historic both in its origins and in the way it has changed over different eras.”

the Simpson house holds the Cabbagetown and Regent Park Museum on weekends. The Toronto Necropolis, one tinctive feature, however, of the city’s oldest cemeteris probably its residential ies, is just north of the park, areas. A large portion of if that’s more of your thing. The best way to get to Cab- the district is still the way it was in the late 19th and bagetown is generally the 506 Carlton Streetcar. Parliament Street is the main artery that runs through the neighbourhood. It’s also the commercial center that ties St. James Town, Cabbagetown, and Regent Park (three very Photo by Daanish Sayani different

early 20th centuries. Inner neighbourhood streets are small, bike-friendly and lined with bay-and-gable row houses, which are generally fenced and have small paved or green front yards. Most buildings are reddish brown, but some are painted bright colours. There are also a few old repurposed churches throughout the neighbourhood (back from when Toronto was godly), most of which are now used as recreational buildings. As of now, Cabbagetown is basically Toronto’s Greenwich Village: a close-knit, old part of town saved from demolition by wealthy young people and filled with businesses catering to both the most and least “lifestyle conscious” individuals. The neighbourhood is historic both in its origins and in the way it has changed over different eras. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely worth the trip.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

31

Whitewashing in Hollywood Angela Cui

The recent release of the Doctor Strange movie and the Ghost in the Shell trailer has opened up the floodgates to conversations about the issue of whitewashing. Whitewashing is defined as the casting of white actors to play roles that were originally intended to be non-white or were historically nonwhite. This is by no means a recent issue, but what’s surprising is how much of it permeates the movies of today. Doctor Strange had cast Tilda Swinton in the role of The Ancient One, best known in the comic books to be a man of Tibetan/Himalayan decent. However, the writers and producers decided that having a Tibetan character would alienate the Chinese audience and would cause them to lose too much money. As a result, they changed the character to Celtic. According to Doctor Strange co-writer C. Robert Cargill, the decision was made to re-write the character of The

Ancient One in an attempt to avoid Asian stereotyping and prevent backlash from the Chinese community since Tibet “is in a very weird political place.” While Doctor Strange tried at least a little bit to defend the casting of a white person in a non-white role, Ghost in the Shell straight up casted Scarlett Johansson in a Japanese role. Johansson is playing the role of Motoko Kusanagi, a Japanese field commander of Public Security Section 9 (a fictional lawenforcement division). The story is set in Japan and is about Japanese culture. And still, Hollywood directors and writers have got it pinned that casting Asian actors means making less at the box office, despite the multitude of movies that suggest otherwise (Pacific Rim, Rush Hour, and shows like Fresh Off the Boat). Beyond these movies, the list of wrongful casting choices are endless: Emma Stone cast as an Asian-Ha-

waiian character, Rooney Mara cast as a Native American character, Matt Damon cast as the lead to a film about the creation of The Great Wall of China and the entire Gods of Egypt movie. Whitewashing takes away opportunities from actors of Photo by colour, leading to fewer roles and less representation. Movie creators want big-name actors, and the list of high-profile multiracial actors is very short. This wall of racism doesn’t allow these actors into the Hollywood blockbuster circle of white people and it doesn’t allow these actors the room for growth and development. This problem could be solved by allowing actors of colour a chance to

Sammy Chien flourish in the industry instead of blocking them out. Movies on the big screen should reflect the viewers and the general population. Everyone, especially young people, should be able to find someone that they can relate to, someone who looks like them, and someone who inspires them. Viola Davis, award winning actress, has said, “People of colour are part of the human experi-

ence, too. Art has got to reflect life, or else it’s not art. It’s commerce. It’s filtered, watered down kind of art. What I want to see is truth.” With that said, if you care about these issues, consider not supporting these movies. Countries like Canada and the United States are getting more and more diverse. Shouldn’t the media catch up to reality?

Nancy has a pretty face, good grades, a stable fashion sense and boys crawling at her feet. She is clearly the most desirable character to identify with. However, that is simply not the reality. Nancy does not exist in the real world, but many versions of her exist on screen. Nancy is a myth and an archetype created through an evil conspiracy launched by John Hughes and Molly Ringwald. It’s a very dangerous conspiracy because everyone is still trying to be Nancy and hating who they really are: Barb. Everyone has felt like this character at a point in their lives; being the outcast of the social circle and neglected by everyone. Barb did not get the search party another character did when he went missing, or a memorial. She is disposable, fugacious, and her death was no more than a side-note. However, that

is why Barb resonates with such a large percentage of the ‘Stranger Thing’s’ audience, because her story is their story. She is the third wheel - she drives her friends in her VW, even though they will use her generosity and good heartedness as an excuse to see their boyfriends. Barb is everyone who sat at a party they were pressured to attend, miserably waiting to go back home, while secretly hoping to fit in. This quirky, out of place teenager archetype feels almost too overused in entertainment that it has lost all meaning. However, Barb’s persona does a perfect job at overthrowing the narrative, and shows just how troublesome adolescence can be for some. Given the past in entertainment, where women have been subjected to unfair sexist malevolence for appearing in scenes without revealing enough of their bodies, Barb has become a much-needed representation of all the alienated females. As the sidekicks of all sidekicks, viewers ultimately rooted for Barb as she got miserably left behind—because that’s what happens to all the Barbs in the real world.

The cult of Barb Naomi Barghiel Barb, the unlikely star of Netflix’s Stranger Things, has been the centre of attention these past few months. Saying “let’s talk about Barb” seems redundant, as Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of the chart-topping show, most likely never anticipated that one of their characters would amass a cult following. But that is exactly what is going on. The rise of this minor character, Barb, has taken many by surprise. Even Shannon Purser, the teenage actress playing the character, has said that “Barb wasn’t supposed to be a big deal.” Yet, fans have latched onto her. Stranger Things premiered on Netflix this summer, triggering a fan adoration for Barb that appears to intensify with every passing week. Fans are finding increasingly more creative and exultant ways to demonstrate their admiration for the character, creating multitudes of fan-art, wearing apparel and generating memorials for her in support. Barb (Full name: Barbara Holland) is a wallflower - a character not meant to receive extensive attention juxtaposed with her best friend and prominent character in the show, Nancy Wheeler. The main character, Eleven, received

the most interest with her identified the most, Nancy hashtag in conjunction or Barb, 55% said Barb. One with the ‘Stranger Things’ grade twelve student at NT hashtag, with 12.5K Tweets. explained her take on Barb’s Barb came in an unlikely sec- saying, “I found [her] more ond with 5.8K tweets. Barb’s relatable than other clasnumber largely exceeds sic T.V. sidekicks, and when Nancy’s tweets, comparably [they are] more relatable I lower at 4.4K. Over time, want that character to have the #JusticeForBarb tag has a happy ending in the same been used upwards of twelve million times, according to ‘Keyhole’. Barb appears on screen for a total of only six minutes and 50 seconds out of Illustration by Madelaine Fischer eight one hour-long episodes. Even so, way I want a happy endshe has struck a strong chord ing for myself in my life.” Another student added, with ‘Stranger Things’ viewers. The matter, it seems, is “Especially now being in not so much preference for high school, Barb comes a character as how much closest to the heart than any the viewer can personally other character in the show.” People on Twitter resonate identify with them. Students from NT, when asked whom with this result, proving that they preferred, Nancy or justice for Barb is justice for Barb, chose Barb’s cool best themselves. Twitter user ‘@ friend in a 64% to 36% split. minorlydiddled’, for example, However, when the students tweeted “I’ve been a Barb my were asked with whom they whole life. #WeAreAllBarb.”

Let #JusticeForBarb live on.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

32

The disposable nature of the 21st century Hana Sharifi

Illustration by Tamlyn Kook-Chun

“Snaps” being sent and received in an instant; music becoming old in mere months; consumers going through constant cycles of buying and trashing; relationships and friendships terminating online and over text. What is it about this

generation that makes it so … disposable? With the increasing availability and development of technology, it’s clear that people are starting to lose touch with the real world. Why resolve an issue faceto-face if you can hide behind your phone screen?

Why go to a coffee shop for a meeting if you can conduct that meeting online? Julia Yacoub, a Grade 11 student at North Toronto, resents this change. “I think it’s sad and unfortunate to see our world slowly get more digital and animated, and no longer be the lush, social and exciting thing it used to be. It makes me [wonder] what the world will be like in 10 years.” Maya, a Grade 10 student at NT, believes the root of the problem is social media. She believes that people are losing the patience needed to read books or even watch movies without looking at their phone. Students are losing their attention span and ability to focus in school. Sitting for an hour in class and listening to a presentation is tedious, if not impossible. Teachers have tried to implement a strict no-phone policy, but it’s impossible to know how many texts are being sent underneath the desks.

“This [issue] negatively affects youth as it discourages long dedication to one project or goal,” Maya adds. It’s difficult to sit down and focus when everything is so automatic online. If you make a mistake while typing, it takes a second to go back and fix it. But to make a mistake while writing on a Bristol board — that requires time and effort to cover up and fix. This ability to solve things quickly has even been connected to the high rates of divorce. Technology—and the instantaneous quality of it—have made us rash. We tend not to think thoroughly because we’re so used to quick fixes. This generation’s mindset is to get things done as fast as possible and never take a moment to enjoy the present. Sitting down and enjoying the present is becoming an increasingly rare phenomenon. “Of course this is not true for everyone,” Maya says, “but I have found that

this generation is so focused on what others are doing that they themselves do not appreciate what is happening in their own lives.” Admit it, how many of you have sat down to eat a delicious meal and not taken a photo? How many of you met up with a group of friends and didn’t document your hangout with a Snapchat story? Fortunately, there may be a way to solve this problem. Maya believes that promoting long-term projects could help. “Since many of us are constantly on our phones, if we see ideas for long term projects, that will promote a new kind of focus. Also, having limited hours on an app or a phone can help [fix] the issue.” So next time you feel the need to snap a pic or skip to the next song, pause for a minute. Take a breath. Think to yourself, “what’s the rush?”

Top ten cappuccinos in Toronto Kathleen Campbell, Noor Gaya & Georgia Chandler creamy. Fun fact: Named after the Portuguese coffee emperor, Francisco.

3. Gold Struck Yorkville

Beautiful industrial décor, lovely bathroom, and good amount of seating. Coffee had great foam, art design, and overall taste.

4. Himalayan Java

Yonge and Eglinton Best art design of them all, great cappuccino, and a lovely Zen atmosphere.

no was similar to Crave’s and they also have a large variety of other drink and food options.

7. Illy

Multiple Locations Delicious foam and good coffee, but art design not stellar. Best cappuccino offered at a chain café.

8. Second Cup

Multiple Locations Nothing fancy, but a good tasting cappuccino,

and also has delicious ice fudge brownies.

9. Starbucks

Multiple Locations Similar price to Second Cup but not as delectable. Too strong, and not enough milk.

10. Tim Hortons

Multiple Locations Cheapest of them all. Watered down, but you get what you pay for.

5. Crave

Photo by Kathleen Campbell

1. Sorry Coffee Co.

Yorkville (Near the Rock) A nice, modern café in Yorkville attached to the store Kit and Ace. Not a lot of seating but a great place to grab a drink, go shopping, or sit outside. Coffee was smooth and

strong.

2. Mella Palheta Coffee Roasters

Yonge and Eglinton Colourful atmosphere with pretty art, and a good amount of seating. Coffee was rich and

St Clair West Lots of indoor and outdoor seating with modern décor and free Wi-Fi. Coffee was smooth and creamy, but there was a higher milk to foam ratio than necessary.

6. La Boheme

Yonge and Eglinton A nice French ambiance, lots of seating indoors and a secluded patio at the back. Their cappucci-

Illustration by Remshah Kamal


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

33

A guide to a “green” holiday season Carleigh Pace-Tonna & Campbell Bolland

The weather is colder, the Christmas carols are louder, and the deals are hotter. There’s no denying it: The holiday season is here. December is jam-packed with holiday dinners, fragrant Christmas trees, and an abundance of presents wrapped in pretty packaging, with batteries taped on top. We tend to forget the environmental impacts of these jolly commodities. So here are some tips to a greener holiday season. It’s a wonder that even after you’ve stuffed yourself silly, there’s always more than enough food left over. In fact, 50% of household waste is organic, so the first step to a green holiday season is the disposal of all food scraps from those big family dinners in green (organic) bins. Once the organics are picked up, the city does the rest. Instead of being sent to landfills, the resulting product is converted into compost and used on parklands and gardens. This process reduces greenhouse gas production and produces renewable energy so that you can have your cake and eat it too. Literally. You should also plan on

lugging a big evergreen home for your Christmas tree this year, as real Christmas trees are more sustainable than artificial ones. Artificial trees are reusable, but they are made of synthetic plastic and eat up resources when manufactured and shipped. Real Christmas trees are a renewable resource. They also help clean the air by way of oxygen production and carbon dioxide absorption. Oftentimes, they are locally grown and sold, cutting transportation costs. After the holidays, if possible, you can take your tree outside and plant it in your yard. With proper care, your tree will last for years to come and serve as a habitat for birds. Furthermore, trees are disposable, compostable and biodegradable, meaning that they will eventually decompose, providing essential organic material. If planting trees in your backyard isn’t your thing, the city has specific collection days in January where they collect trees and send them to recycling depots. There, the trees get shredded, made into finished compost and used to replenish the soil in local landscapes, parks, and schools.

Earn your spot on the nice list this year by recycling your Christmas tree. When it comes to gift-giving, it is important to remember that it’s the thought that counts. Although some gifts need to be purchased, there are alternatives to store-bought gifts. Tickets to a show or concert, music lessons or an hour’s massage at a local spa are thoughtful and meaningful gifts. If you do plan on buying gifts, think green. Locally made gifts limit greenhouse emissions and global warming alike, reducing the impact of overseas shipping. Thrift shopping also reduces the carbon footprint and is a great way of finding something unique and cheap. While green gift options are a great alternative to explore, it would be hard to imagine the holidays without battery operated toys. Try your best to buy battery free gifts. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that the battery sales take that place during the holiday season are responsible for over 80% of all the toxic heavy metals found in landfills. Discarded batteries are hazardous, while naturally powered

toys have less of an impact on the environment. Batteries contain unsafe substances like lead, nickel, cadmium and mercury, which end up in the environment after they are improperly disposed of in landfills, possibly leaching out and polluting drinking water. There are proper ways to dispose of them. In Toronto, batteries can be disposed of in Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) depots free of charge. Later in the year, NEAT will run a battery drive. Of course, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without pretty packages, but wrapping paper isn’t the only option. There are many other creative and eco-friendly gift wrapping choices that will save trees and lower your carbon footprint. Almost everyone has newspapers and calendars lying around the house, and since calendars are only good for one year and newspapers are only good

for a day, instead of throwing them out, you can save them for present wrapping. Spare maps are a creative gift-wrapping solution and are beneficial to the environment when used as wrapping paper. Cloth and scarves are also great gift wrapping alternatives; they are textured and save trees. The re-use of ribbons and paper bags is also an option, helping you declutter your home and save trees. This holiday season, give the gift of a greener earth. Dispose of food scraps in green organic bins, use a real tree, give environmentally friendly gifts, and wrap presents in paper-alternatives. Happy holidays, and may

Illustration by Charlie Littler

Youtube: The dream career Lauren Kim

Illustration by Olivia Song “Mom, I want to be a YouTuber.” Twenty years ago, this sentence would not have been meaningful. The rise of the digital age has reinvented the world. The invention of YouTube—along with other social medias—has resulted in a society that is obsessed with screens. Forget education, the new career choice for millennials lies in mak-

ing YouTube videos. Making money off of YouTube was once seen as inconceivable. Being a successful YouTuber now seems to be more attainable than ever, as average people upload weekly videos move out of their parents’ basements to lead luxurious lifestyles that compare to that of celebrities. These YouTubers have become role models for impres-

sionable young children, who religiously follow their favourite channels. Some of these YouTube videos allow celebrities to get discovered. A prime example of this is Justin Bieber, one of the biggest celebrities in the world. Justin Bieber started off with covers of “Cry me a River” and “With You” on YouTube. Becoming a YouTuber is an especially irresistible idea;

all you have to do is “be yourself”. The people behind the screens aren’t usually extraordinarily talented. As a result, young minds run wild with dreams of making it big on YouTube. Some YouTube channels have even found popularity by using ridiculous ideas such as Edible DIY’s, where a given YouTuber will create an edible version of just about anything. Have you ever wanted an edible phone case? Well now you can with a pointless tutorial that has over 800,000 views. Another viral video that is as capable to burn just as many brain cells is the 100 layers challenge that involves putting 100 layers of any beauty product such as

nail polish, lipstick or foundation on your face. It seems as though part of a YouTuber’s underlying success stems from coming up with the most ridiculous ideas. Remember, the greater the chance of death, the higher the number of views. This success scheme seems easy enough. Just make a channel, upload videos, go viral, become famous, and dominate the world. But it’s not that simple. Since everyone wants to be a YouTuber now-a-days, the competition for views has become more fierce than ever. Since an hour of video is posted to YouTube virtually every second, it’s easy for a channel to get swallowed up in the rush of videos. At the end of the day, YouTube is a career choice that requires the combination of timing, content, originality and luck. The chances of going viral are small, but who knows, maybe one day you’ll have that million dollar idea and create the ultimate edible DIY or record that adorable cat video that throws you into the spotlight.


Graffiti

•

December 1, 2016

34


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

35

Sports

Photo by Daanish Sayani

The rise and fall of the junior and senior teams Sara Fallah

Thirty five and 40. Those were the numbers of athletes that were on the North Toronto Senior Football team over the last few years. This year, NT’s team has a record-break-

“What happened to the endless supply of subs, anxiously waiting to see the field?” ing number: 26. The team is made up of 15 Grade 12’s and 11 Grade 11’s — a surprisingly small number of players for a walk-on team. Twenty six is barely as many players as the other high school teams in the district. Northern has had over 100 kids come out to practice. Why so few? Mr. Hood says, “[the size] comes and goes in waves.” What happened to the huge pack of football players warming up

on the field before game time? What happened to the endless supply of subs, anxiously waiting to see the field? “There seems to be a perception at North Toronto that it’s not possible to [participate in] extracurricular activities and maintain the grade point average that you need to get to the next level and into university”, says Mr. Hood. According to Mr. Hood, another factor that may be contributing to the decrease in football team size “[is] the hypersensitivity to concussions in society right now.” Mr. Hood feels that this is all just ironic because “when [he] went to university, [his] grade point average was never better than when [he] played football. [He] worked three jobs

and university football took up four to six hours a day. During the football season, [his] grades were always good because when you’re busy, you learn how to manage time.” According to Mr. Hood, if NT students participate in extracurricular activities while keeping with their studies, they will be able to manage their time efficiently and can benefit from these skills for the rest of their lives. “[The phys-ed depart-

ment and I] firmly believe that participating in athletics and [simultaneously] being in school is a life skill that’s going to take you places in life. You learn how to manage that time.” With 345 Grade 9’s entering this year, the influx of students has lead to the formation of more junior teams. By Grade 11, students should be striving for a balance between the sports, the clubs, and the grades, so that, by Grade

Illustration by Madelaine Fischer

12, all of their preparation will pay off. Many people in the world—and in the North Toronto community—find themselves afraid of mixing things. They are afraid of mixing their Cheerios with their Rice Krispies and their Phineas with their Ferb. Mixing sports with school is not something to be afraid of. As Mr. Hood says, “It can make life a lot easier.”


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

36

Sports and school: Is there a balance? Cara de Belle

Photos courtesy of Jake Ballantyne and Eleni Anastasiadis High-school, high-level sports, high expectations. Getting good grades in high school can be tough enough, but the added pressures that stem from playing sports can make student life even more demanding. Many North Toronto students continue to play competitive sports throughout high school while others have stopped playing as a result of the endless hours of homework. We’ve caught up with a few students who have made different decisions. My first interview was with Grade 12 NT student and NTAA male president, Jake Ballantyne. Ballantyne was a division one, provincial-level skier until he stopped skiing competitively to focus on his academics. His interview has been lightly edited for clarity. What challenges did you face? I had to miss every Friday in the winter. It was hard to miss so much school. What were the high points and low points? The high points included competing, having good runs, and meeting new people. The low points included having to miss every winter weekend and having bad days when I didn’t feel like training. How did this impact your grades? It didn’t really affect my grades, but if I hadn’t cut it back it would have. Do you ever think you will pick up the sport again? I think so. For me personally, I just didn’t love skiing enough to do it practically full time. I like the life where school will lead me to more. Do you have any suggestions for students in your position? If you really love the sport you play, go for it. I just didn’t love skiing enough or see myself doing it in the future. The next interviewee is NT student, Eleni Anastasiadis. Anastasiadis plays high level volleyball, and continues to do so through Grade 12. Her interview has been lightly edited for clarity. How many hours do you train in a week? I train about 8 hours a week and have full day tournaments on most weekends.

6

What are the main challenges you face when it comes to juggling school and volleyball? Two main challenges are time management and being ready to perform at practice. When you have a normal schedule, you get used to it, but volleyball really does take up a lot of my time and it’s very hard to manage it when there are a lot a tests and assignments. I also find it hard when I stay up late to do work, go to school and then go to practice the next day. It’s not very beneficial and healthy because I’m usually pretty tired from the night before and tend to lose focus easily. Do you ever think about quitting? I’ve definitely thought about quitting volleyball more than just a few times for school, but I feel like, because I’ve dedicated almost six years of my life to it and loved it for that long, I can’t just let it go because managing it gets a little difficult sometimes. What are the high points and low points? The high points include getting your mind off of school and any other drama that is occupying your time, and finding a whole new set of friends that you can share anything with. The low points include getting frustrated when you play badly and then having to deal with it when you get home. Some examples include bad practices, losses, and of course, being stressed about school and the other commitments you may have. Do you have any suggestions for students in your position? Just do what you love and enjoy yourself. Play sports, be active, but find a healthy balance between school and athletics that works for you. I feel like athletics keep you on the ball when it comes to school and they will only negatively impact your grades if you let them. I let volleyball take over a few years of my life and my grades did suffer a bit but once you find a healthy balance between the two, it’s somewhat manageable. Although Anastasiadis continues to play her sport throughout Grade 12, it sounds like both she and Ballantyne are able to manage the balance between school and sport. According to Ballantyne and Anastasiadis, sports make us feel good and drive us to do better. The lessons we learn and challenges we face throughout high school will carry with us throughout our lives and help us reach our future goals.

Centennial College & Canadian Armed Forces Max Alexeenko

College is a very different beast compared to university. There’s a common saying that goes like this, “You go to university for an education, you go to college for a career.” University degrees usually blanket large topics like “engineering” and “business.” In college, most diplomas are very niche and specific. College is for those who know exactly what they want to pursue.The two-year course program I’m in gives students the ability to become fully certified aircraft maintenance engineers. Most people are here to study and get out as fast as possible. I can only speak for my program at Centennial College, but there isn’t really a party scene. Sometimes, it can feel like nobody wants to socialize. In addition to going to college, I started serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Right now, I am in basic training. The first thing you probably envision when I say that is a big drill sergeant chewing me out, yelling and forcing me to do push ups. That’s Hollywood. In reality, yes, they will yell at you and yes you will be chewed out — but only if you deserve it. It’s the army. It’s no Call of Duty. It’s not summer camp. In the reserve, you work on a parade night with your unit once a week and one weekend a month. The things they teach you in basic will save your life or your buddy’s life. So far, it has been of the best experiences of my life. If you’re interested, contact a recruiter or send me an email at blogginsgee@gmail.com


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

37

Jose Fernandez William Lloyd

Photo Courtesy of MLB.com Jose Fernandez had a love affair with baseball — a love affair that he was willing to risk his life and move to a completely foreign country for. Fernandez attempted to defect to the U.S. three times before successfully completing the journey from his native Cuba to Texas in 2008. He was 15 at the time. While crossing the Gulf of Mexico with his mother and sister, Fernandez heroically dove into the rough waters to save his mother, Maritza, who had been thrown overboard. His mother, who

could not swim, would have undoubtedly drowned. “I thought I was going to die many times,’’ Fernandez said in a 2009 interview regarding his treacherous journey to the U.S. Each of Fernandez’s three previous attempts to defect resulted in prison time. If that wasn’t enough, on a previous attempt only a few months before his fourth and final trip, he was stranded at sea for seven days before finally returning to Cuba via an American boat. Fernandez spent his high school career playing

baseball for the competitive Alonso High baseball team in Tampa, Florida. In high school, Fernandez achieved a 3.4 GPA, a remarkable feat for a young man studying in a new language. In Cuba, Fernandez attended Villa Clara Province’s School for Sports Initiation, and had pitched in three national championship games at the ages of 10, 12 and 14. He was on his way to joining the Cuban National Team, not an easy feat in a baseball hub like Cuba. “Since I was 8, I dreamed of that,’’ Fer-

nandez said, reflecting on his dream of playing in the MLB. Sadly, realizing this dream meant fleeing Cuba. Fernandez became a U.S. citizen in Miami on April 24th, 2015. In his rookie season in 2013, Fernandez won the Rookie of the Year award, boasting a 2.18 E.R.A over 172 innings pitched. The same year, Fernandez finished third in Cy Young voting and played in the first All-Star game of his career. Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014, Fernandez continued as an elite MLB pitcher, leading the majors in strikeouts per inning with 12.5, along with a 16-8 record in 2016. Fernandez was also selected for the second All-Star game of his short lived career. Over the course of his career, Fernandez had an E.R.A of 2.58 as well as 38-17. Outside the diamond, Fernandez’s impact was felt by his family, friends, and the people who were lucky enough to have known him. Fernandez was heavily involved in the charity, Live Like Bella, which funds Pediatric Cancer research

and supports families that have been impacted by the disease. This lead Fernandez to—after winning $20,000 for winning the 2013 Rookie of the Year Award—donate the money to the charity. Jose Fernandez lost his life in a horrific boating accident on September 25th, 2016. He was just 24 years old, excitedly awaiting the arrival of a baby girl. The whole sports world mourned at the loss of one of the brightest stars in baseball. Most of us are lucky enough not to have been forced to leave our home country to pursue the game we love, risking our life in the process. “After [defecting], I’m not scared about anything else...I’ve been in jail, I’ve been shot at, I’ve been in the water…,” Fernandez said before making his MLB debut in 2013. Next time you complain about waking up at 6:00 am for an early morning practice, take a second to think about Jose Fernandez, and what he went through to follow his love, Baseball.

Fencing for Dummies Andrew Farley When people think of fencing, they think of one of two things: Either a person constructing a fence or two people hacking and slashing at each other. While both images are equally hilarious, neither is correct. Like most sports, fencing is about outwitting your opponent. You don’t win a hockey game by beating up the goalie, just as you don’t win a fencing bout by maiming your opponent. There is more to fencing than what meets the eye. The basic actions in fencing are the parry, the lunge, and the flesh. In a parry, you use your sword to block an opponent’s attack; this is the standard defensive move. In a lunge, you stab your opponent by lunging forward; this is the standard offensive move. In a flesh, you stab your opponent by charging him or her; this is the fun and entertaining move. These three simple moves can be used in a variety of ways and—along with proper form—are the three basic actions of fencing. Unfortunately, learning how to properly parry, lunge, and flesh takes an excruciating amount

of work. Fencing instructors teach goal, she must use a comYou may have watched the stance first because the bination of discipline, pafencing during the Rio perfect stance in fencing tience, and form; the tools Olympics, and found it quite equates to the fewest openwhich allow her to do so are boring. These world-class ings for attack. The Olymthe combination of parries, fencers should have been pic fencers you watch have lunges, and fleshes. Fencers swinging, stabbing, and practiced, and practiced, and commit many hours every going wild, right? But they practiced holding this one day to footwork, and even weren’t. Olympic fencing position, both while remainmore to proper form. Conconsists of movement in ing still and moving around. sistency is key in the fencing alternating directions and When they lose the position, world, much like it is in the of quick, discrete actions. they lose the point. Without real world. Simply put, these fencers are proper form, a fencer is useAlthough it takes much waiting for their opponents less. pain and suffering be good to screw up. They are testFor a fencer to reach her at fencing, it can be rewarding the waters with little prods and jabs in order to gauge their opponents’ reactions. They are waiting for the small, tell-tale sign that shows an opening for attack. This is the level of patience and discipline that separates the weak fencers from the strong ones. When you start to fence, you have many things to keep in mind; proper form is one of these things. A fencer’s stance is no mere coincidence. She is positioned to expose as little as possible. This position must be maintained throughout the entire bout and can only be learned through Courtesy of Rio 2016 Olympics countless hours of practice.

ing and highly enjoyable. It isn’t too hard to pick up the very basics of fencing — you can start fencing by the end of your first lesson. In fact, sometimes the worse you are at it, the more entertaining fencing becomes. Clubs like Sword Players offer classes, no experience necessary. Go and try fencing. It’ll be an experience that you’ll never forget.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

38

The real bloody big deal Stavros Greer

It was the biggest deal since David Beckham. Jermaine Defoe, the Tottenham Hotspur’s star striker, was coming to play for Toronto. For the first time since entering the MLS in 2007, it seemed like the team had a real chance to succeed. After signing on January 10th, 2014, Defoe scored two goals in his first game with Toronto, and it seemed like the team had struck gold. And then, disaster struck for the club. Defoe played just 19 of 34 games that season. The official report was that he was injured, but it was obvious that Defoe hated playing in Toronto. On January 16th, 2015, Defoe signed once again with a British Premier League Club, although this time with Sunderland, cutting his four-year contract with Toronto three years short and breaking the hearts of TFC fans, who were still waiting for the club to finally get a superstar. Three days after Defoe signed with Sunderland, TFC signed another elite European player. Receiving little attention compared to Defoe’s arrival the previous year, Sebastian Giovinco was signed to a five-year contract that would make him the highest payed player in the MLS at the time. Going into the 2015 season, people were unsure of what to make

of the team. Toronto FC fell into the background ) once again, as Blue Jays mania captured the city in the summer. However, despite TFC’s fall in popularity, they managed to rise to levels never before seen in Toronto, with Giovinco leading the way. He scored 22 goals along with 16 assists to win the MLS league MVP award, carrying TFC to their first ever playoff appearance in the process. Despite the effort, the team lost their first ever playoff match 3-0 to Didier Drogba and the Montreal Impact, eliminating them from the 2015 playoffs in the one game wild-card match.Despite the end result, Toronto FC had finally found the player for whom they had been searching for years: - a true Superstar. While other MLS teams had been acquiring older, well known European players who wanted to have one more shot at stardom, Toronto took the gamble on a lesser-known player in his prime and it paid off. Going into this season, the pressure on Giovinco, but Toronto FC as a whole responded. Despite playing only 28 games due to a late-season injury, Giovinco scored 17 goals, finishing 3rd in league scoring. Unlike last season, Toronto had players who could score besides

Giovinco. Jozy Altidore, who was acquired when Defoe left, spent much of 2015 and early 2016 injured, but returned mid-season and proved that he could be a force in the MLS once again. He scored 10 goals in the final 14 games of the season, providing much needed offence while Giovinco was injured, giving the team a much needed second major threat up front. Along with improved support for Giovinco upfront, the team also improved at keeping the ball out of their own net. Despite injuries to defensive midfielders Michael Bradley and Will Johnson, new additions such as defenders Drew Moor and Steven Beitashour, as well as goalkeeper Clint Irwin helped transform the Toronto defense, which allowed 58 goals in 2015, into one of the best in the MLS. The team allowed just 39 goals this season, tied for second fewest in the league. After finishing the regular season in 3rd place in the eastern conference, with a franchise-record of 53 points, Toronto FC earned the right to play their first round knockout game at home against the Philadelphia Union. In the first home playoff game in team history, Sebastian Giovinco scored the first playoff goal in team

Illustration by Juling Hancock

history, leading TFC to a 3-1 win, and to a conference semi-final match against David Villa and New York City FC. It took ten years, but Toronto FC has finally became the contender fans have

been waiting for. Primarily because of the skill and leadership of Sebastian Giovinco, he became what Defoe was supposed to be. One of, if not the best player in the MLS.

NT fall teams score big Field Hockey The girls Tier 1 Field Hockey team had an exciting season and playoffs. We beat out Lawrence Park in overtime on a penalty shot to go to the region finals. Unfortunately, in the finals the team would lose in shootout to Riverdale who would go on to win the city final and progress to OFSAA. We had a great moment born from a great opportunity, so thanks to the team and Mr. J for making this season memorable. -Jocelyn Rough & Rachel Reynolds Cross Country So proud of us all for winning silver at OFSAA! Huge thanks to all of our coaches who helped us fight through injuries, bad races, and mountains (literally) to reach our goals. Congratulations girls, next year we’ll be bringing home gold! -Annie Ballantyne Soccer Undefeated last season and full of confidence this year, we moved up divisions and became the first NT soccer team to play in division one for the past 10 years. Waking up early was no fun, but practice was the key to our success. An amazing season took us all the way to the semi finals. Thank you for your support during our home games. We will come back stronger next year, to win it all! -Kembo Kibato Girls Basketball Let’s hear it for the varsity girls basketball team. This past season was triumphant for North Toronto’s sports teams, especially for the Girl’s Varsity Basketball Team. The girls had a great season and were able to go undefeated all season. Over a two-month period, the team hustled hard in order to finish with an undefeated season of 7-0. Your city champions beat Lawrence Park in the finals and proudly claimed their title. Known for multiple nail biters, the girls showcased their talent during this year’s Red and Grey Day. Congratulations to the girls for an amazing season, and “don’t let the refs stop you from being you!” Good job girls and good luck to all the seniors leaving the team! -Caitlin Chichora & Hannah Rudin Senior Boys Football This might be the best Senior football team NT will have for a while. Going 8-0 and winning the city championships was an unreal accomplishment for a team consisting of only 26 guys. We had several close calls but our persistence and dedication got us the victory. We wouldn’t have owe so far without our coaches being there day in and day out. They put a lot of their own time aside to make this happen. We’re hoping that NT athletes and students continue to get more involved with the football team and keep the legacy going. -Aryan Abdoli


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

39

Opinion Humour Arts and & Culture

Photo by Daanish Sayani

The Trump card Razan Mersal

Illustration by Nikoo Aleyasin The U.S. presidential election has provided Canadians with a lot of laughter (and tears), but now it’s that unfortunate time when everybody has to deal with the outcome of America’s decision. The U.S. election was full of rough-and-tumbles for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, so why not take out a few minutes from your day to recap and see where each candidate did their part. To start off, the three presidential debates that were hosted by the “nonpartisan” nonprofit, Commission on Presidential Debates, were very entertaining to watch. The main topics brought up

in the debates were terrorism, sexual assault claims against Trump, and immigration. Trump’s ideologies were based on ‘Making America White Again.’ He said he would put a temporary ban on all Muslims coming into the country. He also said he would build a wall and have Mexico pay for it, even though the Mexican president said that he will “not pay for that fucking wall.” As for the lewd comments caught on tape, Trump referred to them as innocent “locker-room talk” and rendered himself a different man in 2016. On the other hand, Clinton advocated for stronger borders

and the eradication of ISIS through supply-line disruption and increased airstrikes. Regardless of the fact that Trump won, America remains a deeply divided nation; people voted for a man whose campaign rhetoric espoused racism and misogyny. As a result of the rise of ISIS, throughout the election, America was scared. Trump, in response, used America’s fear to fuel his anti-Muslim narrative. Jackson Wolfe, a Grade 10 North Toronto student, supports Trump on his main policies. “[Clinton] has killed people, Donald has said mean things,” says Wolfe. While it is

easy to undermine Hillary using one word, emails, it is just as easy to build her up. She has the experience and commitment to the job, strong policies, and is definitely not Trump. While Trump was making himself even richer, Clinton was out fighting for women’s rights. This theme became ingrained in her campaign as she continued to fight for reproductive rights, equal pay, and family leave. Unlike the president-elect who represents a threat to fundamental American democratic values, Clinton had progressive policies. If Clinton had won, America would have finally had a female president and taken a big step forward. But throughout the election, Trump used her qualifications against her, boasting his anti-Washington and antiestablishment nature. As a result, Clinton represented no real change, and Trump did, no matter how terrifying the change he represented was. To Canadians, the question that we should be asking ourselves is how we can ensure that America’s politics under Trump will not congest the highway that we want Canada and the rest of the world to drive forward on. In a survey conducted at North Toronto with about 100 students, nearly 70% of respondents said they believe that the results of the election will affect Canada. In that same survey, 60.6% of students said that, if they could, they would have voted for Clinton. A measly 13.13% said they’d vote for Donald Trump. The remainder of students either said they want Obama to stay or Bernie to win. Either way, the results

are pretty damning. Even at NT, people do not think that Trump would make a good president; he is an uninformed businessman whose demagoguery represents the worst of America’s worst. So let’s take a quick look at how Trump’s presidency may impact Canada. America is our biggest trade ally and

“ Right now, many see America’s election as a national tragedy and an international laughingstock.” Trump plans to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement. Although the nuances of the renegotiation are unclear right now, we know the impact will be negative. In addition, Trump has repeatedly said that he wanted NATO allies to pay their fair share. Canada has presented a united front with America for a while, but with Trump’s foreign policies becoming more and more intolerant, relations may get strained. Right now, many see America’s election as a national tragedy and an international laughingstock. The majority of Americans disagree with Trump’s views, and according to the popular vote, if all these people come together and ensure their voices are heard, it might just tip the scales.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

40

Fake Insta, real me Cameron Cawston Don’t lie to yourself, friend. Instagram is one of the most stressful ordeals that we face in our day-to-day lives. Finding the right time to post, picking the perfect filter and what we all dread the most: finding the perfect caption. Should I use a quote? Leave it blank? Every post we make is one more picture to be liked, one more picture to be commented on, and dreadfully, one more picture to be judged by others. At the end of the day, Instagram is a part of our identity. But now, North Toronto is being challenged by a new kind of virtual identity: a finstagram, which is an instagram account where people post pictures—usually embarrassing and downright ugly ones—that they would never post on their main accounts. I debated for a while whether or not I should create an account where zero cares are given. But what if I got no followers? What would I call myself without sounding pathetic? Later that month, after finally coming up with a name, I became the

newest part of the finsta craze, creating my spam account, which, to my surprise garnered only 13 followers (my main one having over 300 followers). After posting my very first picture, I still felt like something was missing, and then I realized that I hadn’t made it to the big 11; the blissful moment when the usernames of likers turns into the solid number 11. The feeling was completely foreign to me. After posting the picture, I immediately wanted to delete it. I tried to justify my lack of popularity by convincing myself that it just

Illustration by Leia Kook-Chun wasn’t the right time to post. But then I realized that part of having a finsta meant not caring when I didn’t get 11 flipping likes. Following my finstagram epiphany, I never felt so free. The stress of likes, filters, and comments suddenly

disappeared. The feeling was strange but extremely liberating. After a few weeks, I made it to nearly 20 followers. But to me, it didn’t make a difference. I was having fun with it, and that’s what really mattered. So to all my friends who are

wondering whether to take that step in the finsta direction, I say take it. Forget the likes and screw the comments. Don’t do it for me. Do it for you — the silly, risktaking, you. The real you.

Ask Crystal BB Backstabbed:

I just found out that my best friend has been saying bad things about me behind my back for months! To make things worse, she’s been saying these bad things about me to a bunch of our mutual friends including a close friend of mine from outside of school. Now that I know she’s been talking about me behind my back, I feel very uncomfortable around her and some of our mutual friends. How should I confront her? Her friendship means alot to me.

Crystal:

First of all, rude. Secondly, are you okay? Start by evaluating your relationship. Is it worth the stress she is currently causing you? If it helps, you could start off by imagining your best friend as a boyfriend/girlfriend/love interest. Would you still put up with her antics? If you’re unsure whether or not it’s a toxic relationship, ask a close friend or someone you can trust for their opinion (like an adult, trusted teacher, or a guidance counsellor). If it truly is a negative and draining relationship, consider cutting ties with her; it could save you a lot of future stress. However, if you think the relationship is positive and beneficial to you, then confront her as respectfully as you can. Personally, I would just be honest by saying something like, “hey so I saw/heard you said this about me, why would you do that?”. Or if you want to take a more delicate and sensitive route, a good friend once recommended to me to try simply asking, “did you mean it?”. That’s a pretty non-aggressive route that won’t offend anyone, and definitely won’t make matters worse. On the other hand, if you’ve evaluated the relationship and are still feeling pretty heated and ready to cut off ties permanently, “so I heard you were talking sh**”, will do just fine. XOXO, Crystal

7

McGill University Sophi Knight

If you enjoy partying working and partying hard, McGill is the university for you. In my few months at McGill, I’ve come to appreciate the campus culture. Living in Upper Residence, I get the sense of community of a university town while still being in walking distance of shopping centres and great restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised by the cafeterias here at McGill. McGill’s cafs have something to please everyone, including vegan, vegetarian, and halal options. The party scene is great for those who take NT’s unofficial motto, “work hard, play hard” seriously. On a typical weekend at McGill, you would find many first year students at many downtown clubs such as Tokyo or Apartment. While McGill does not have a homecoming, McGill’s Frosh week makes up for it. Although construction on McTavish and areas around McGill continues, McGill is a beautiful campus and is located in a beautiful city.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

41

The harsh reality of relationships Chantelle Nejnec

Illustration by Sabrina Lung Teenage relationships: a complicated, dysfunctional experience that we deal with while adults laugh at our awkwardness and immaturity. We are all hopelessly immature; we let relationships consume us. We’re so naïve. We think that we have found “true love”. Most of the time, though, we are fooled to believe that love is as romantic as it is in comedies such as A Cinderella Story, where a nerdy girl falls for the quarterback, and despite the adversities thrown in the two lovers’ paths, they overcome every boulder with the power of “love”. This leads to the cheesy scene in which they’re sloppily kissing in the rain while some depressing early 2000’s song plays in the background. Although I wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss on the rain with Chad Michael Murray while “Hear You Me” by

8

Jimmy Eat the World plays in the background, I am able to comprehend the fact that it is unrealistic. Wake up kids. Most people won’t write you 365 letters, give up their football careers, serenade you with a boom box, or give up room on a floating raft in the middle of a freezing ocean for you — so don’t expect it. In the real world, people don’t always get over heartbreaks with chocolate ice cream and a hot new neighbour that coincidently moves in right after the break up. There are times when unrequited love can’t be fixed by a simple makeover, a new attitude, and a new outlook on life. And worst of all, there are times when physical and emotional abuse, which can never be characterized as love, destroys what’s supposed to be a “loving” and “perfect” relationship. Unfortunately, in some

cases, love takes over, no matter what the voices say, leading some to ignore the boundaries between “love” and “abuse”. Control, manipulation, and jealousy are simple, albeit destructive words that are tied to abusive relationships. Dana Abou Zaki, an NT student, knows that “It’s destructive. [She understands] it in terms of entertainment. But when young people start looking up to these characters and learning from them, it has negative effects.” Of course, for young boys and girls all over the world, it is hard to imagine that mommy and daddy might be having problems. It is hard for those kids to realize that they will inevitably have a one in four chance of being raped or sexually abused in a relationship. Even with a clearly damaged relationship such as that of Harley Quinn and the Joker, movies only show the

positives. Harley’s story, although not a saint herself, is a story unavoidably tied to relationship abuse, mental illness, and addiction. But you wouldn’t be able to tell with statements such as “Harley Quinn and the Joker are such relationship goals” and “get me a man like the Joker.” All of these are absorbed by adolescents all over the world. Frankly, it makes me sick. Ladies and gentlemen, in the year 2016, movies still can’t capture a realistic portrayal of relationships. Ironically, the one publicized movie that features a somewhat realistic, damaged, and broken relationship, portrays the toxicity between the couple as “love”. Fans seem to love that Harley has this devotion to a guy who treats her poorly. Suicide Squad seems to glamorize the not-so-glamorous reality of abusive relationships. Not everyone saw it to be negative, with students such as Fletcher McLaughlin believing that “the Joker’s sociopathic nature caring for anything, let alone anyone, was the most endearing aspect of the movie”. Replace Margot Robbie and Jared Leto with Meryl Streep and Danny Devito. Still aspiring to become this couple? Most likely not. Yet the skinny silhouette, blonde hair and blue eyes that is Harley Quinn, and the fit, tall, dangerous man that is The Joker, is all that is being focused on, making young children and teenagers all over the world believe that this is the way they should treat others and be treated. With sexual assault and abuse becoming more apparent in our society, one may think that an abusive partner wouldn’t be characterized as “goals”. Yet, I can’t scroll through instagram without coming across a cheesy edit of the Joker and Harley Quinn with some

overrated EDM song playing in the background. It is hard to fathom the popularity of this relationship with the Joker stating that he’s going to “hurt [Harley]. Really, really bad,” or objectifying Harley by telling her that “she is [his] gift to this handsome honka honka! [She] belongs to [me] now.” To me, this was unmistakably abuse. To others, all that they’ve ever dreamed of? Does the magnified version of physical and emotional abuse in movies affect the way we perceive relationships? How about the movies that only focus on the good times? Should we really be looking up to these fictional movies and characters? Even though I’m just a 16 year old girl who definitely does not have the authority or enough experience to give relationship advice, what I do know is that movies should not be a place to find relationship inspiration. Suicide Squad forgot to mention that abusive relationships can not only destroy people physically, but they can also leave long-term emotional damage. It’s okay to be happier in a relationship. What’s not okay is to depend on a relationship like it’s a drug. Loyalty is not the same as dependance, and love is not the same as lust. On the other hand, our expectations for our partners can’t be as high as movies put them out to be. Life and love aren’t supposed to be perfect, so stop trying to find the next Troy Bolton. As an alternative, consider Marshall and Lily from ‘How I Met Your Mother’, or Chandler and Monica Bing from ‘Friends’, while only ever characterizing The Joker and Harley Quinn as an atrocity of a relationship.

5th Year Jordan Ashby

I am a fifth year student at North Toronto. Many ask why I’ve chosen to stay for another long, stressful year. A lot of people assume that I didn’t have enough credits to graduate. This is a big misconception. The first reason behind my decision had to do with my age. I was born 11 days before New Year’s eve. I didn’t feel like I was mature enough to handle the university environment at this time. The next reason had to do with my inability to decide what I wanted to do with my life. We all know the struggle of trying to figure out what we want to pursue. I decided to take a year to save money and prepare for my transition. Lastly, I simply wanted to do things (e.g. co-op, gym etc.) that I did not do last year as a result of having a full schedule. I hope this sheds a little light on the mysterious fifth year students who you previously could not fathom. We aren’t failures; we are trying to figure out what to do with our lives like the rest of you.


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

42

Freedom isn’t free Adam Annosantini

Illustration by Tamlyn Kook-Chun What percentage of people voted in the presidential election? Just for fun, take a guess. If you chose 54%, congratulations! You’ve either kept yourself informed, or you should really consider picking some Powerball numbers. When 46% of people don’t do something vital, it should be alarming. If 46% of people with hands didn’t wash them, shaking hands would be much more stressful than it is already. But what’s the point anyway? The point is what is at

9 10

stake, unless yours is a subscription to nihilism, where there is no point, and thus nothing at stake. And what is at stake? Democracy, freedom, the human condition, hopes and dreams — nothing too important. Nevertheless, voting does make a real difference in our (objectively meaningless) world. Voting is the fundamental principle of democracy. So when 46% of people don’t vote, they clearly are disillusioned about how democracy works or the part they play in it. In modern society, voting

is challenging. It requires time, self-reflection, and objective thought: qualities that are surprisingly absent in the narcissistic world we call our own. Democracy gives us the civil liberties we refer to under the blanket term of freedom. Freedom is important, and as such, is protected by laws and politicians. These politicians are elected by the people and create laws for the people. This is how it goes: People vote for politicians, the politicians create laws, and these laws protect

civil liberties. So by the transitive property, voting ensures our civil liberties. This is going to sound horrifically cliche, as it is on bumper stickers on pickup trucks, but “freedom isn’t free.” Our freedom has the same price as voting, so when we refuse to pay the price to vote, we make the statement that our freedom is not worth our time and thought. When 46% of a population doesn’t care enough to elect the representatives that ensure their freedom, “freedom isn’t free” is less inspiring, and more like a slap in the face. A major theme of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was the desire for change, and with the president-elect being the “first-ever” in so many categories, change is clearly on the horizon. The sad thing is, this change is unlikely to be positive and unlikely to be progressive. Trump will likely invest heavily in infrastructure, creating a building boom comparable to the one that emerged in the great depression. He might deport millions of Mexicans. He might do both. As Canadians, we have twice seen the danger of the far-right. There are still 40% of Canadians who don’t vote, and voting is much easier here than in the U.S. We are not immune to racism, which

is made frighteningly clear when a potential leader for the conservative party claims he wants to screen immigrants for “Canadian values.” The far-right moment is coming, and if we ignore our responsibility to vote, then we will pay the price for our apathy. Real progressive change will only occur when the self-absorbed and apathetic citizenry decide to vote for the candidate who will make the whole world a better place. This small piece of self-sacrifice will enable us to maintain our standard of life. This is the true price of enjoying the freedom that we forget we have. Humanity is something unique — something that should be protected by experienced and qualified people. When we vote selflessly for the greater good, we pay the price for our freedom, but we have to pay either way. We pay with one day at the ballot box and careful thought, or we pay with years ruled by a bigot with our civil liberties constricted. A democratic system gives the people their freedom. When people are unwilling to sacrifice a few days every four years to ensure that they keep their freedom, they expect freedom to be free, even when a bumper sticker on a ‘98 Dodge Durango tells them it’s not. The choice is ours.

Western University Siobhan Kidd

“The first month is the hardest” and “The workload is absurd” were words constantly being drilled into my brain. People always told me that university is a reality check. But I soon realized the true reality check: NT had prepared me well for everything university has to offer. The workload? Please, Western has nothing on NT’s projects and assignments. My biggest piece of advice goes out to all those Grade 12’s reading this: Please don’t give up. I know it’s going to feel like your life consists of working hard without any of the second half of the slogan, but it’s going to be worth it — I promise. Thanks to the work habits that NT engraved into all of us, the university workload is manageable. The course content is straightforward. Get excited and stick through the hard stuff now. Suffer now and strive later was something I told myself all through Grade 12. I’m thankful that I did because so far, all I can say is that high-school is university on steroids… at least NT is.

Acadia University Riley Scanlan

Hello there, North Toronto student. I write to you from the faraway land of Nova Scotia to offer insight into the school I’ve chosen as the institution meant to mould me into a contributing member of society: Acadia University. My first visit did not come accompanied with any rush of realization that I was walking on grounds I would soon call home. After my many other university tours, I found that I was trying to find a school better than Acadia. When that proved futile, I realized that Acadia was for me. I could not be happier with my choice. The view of the ocean from meal hall is impeccable. The professors are genuinely passionate about their fields. I love my program (environmental science – woot!) and being surrounded by peers who share my philosophies and ideologies. There is an Acadia Axemen pride felt at all school events. Former Grade 12 Riley made an amazing decision. I hope future you will feel the same about your decision, whatever and wherever it may be (although it should be Acadia).


Graffiti

December 1, 2016

43

Horoscopes

Aiyana Bradshaw, Caitie Robinson & Sarah Viola Sagittarius (Nov 22- Dec 21)

It’s your birthday month, Sagittarius, and this month is full of fresh starts for you! The Sagittarius new moon is power starting your personal new year. It’s time to take personal risks, and they will certainly pay off. As Jupiter enters your eleventh house of group activity, you will feel extra social, so get out there and don’t forget to play as hard as you have been working.

Capricorn (Dec 22- Jan 19)

All the fog is clearing and you will finally be thinking straight. Every decision which has been confusing you will finally become very clear as dreamy Neptune turns directly Pisces. Whether it’s thinking about university or deliberating whether to ask out that boy/girl you’re seriously crushing on, you’re about to be able to express your ideas and emotions better than ever.

Aquarius (Jan 20- Feb 18)

This month is all about money. Financial improvements arrive in the second half of this month. Whether you’ve been running low on lunch money, or being $10 short to buy those shoes you love, your luck is about to turn around. Foggy Neptune turns forward mid-December, so now is the time to apply for jobs, or expect to get an allowance raise.

Gemini (May 21 — June 20)

December is a month for taking action. Now is the time to initiate any plans you have been tossing around your head for the last few months. Even if things prove a little rocky at first, you will enjoy the challenge and come out the other side successful. Lucky for you your social life will be dazzling, so get out of the house and have some holiday fun.

Cancer (June 21 — July 22)

In December, big financial situations are fabulous for hard working Cancers. But don’t spend it all in one place. If you plan carefully and put that money out of sight, it will go towards a much greater use later. This month is an important time to focus on your family relationships. As far as love is concerned, December looks to be rather uneventful. This really is more of a family month for you, Cancer. If you’re still hopeful, I hear mistletoe can do the trick.

Leo (July 23 — August 22)

In December, big financial situations are fabulous for hard working Cancers. But don’t spend it all in one place. If you plan carefully and put that money out of sight, it will go towards a much greater use later. This month is an important time to focus on your family relationships. As far as love is concerned, December looks to be rather uneventful. This really is more of a family month for you, Cancer. If you’re still hopeful, I hear mistletoe can do the trick.

Virgo (August 23 — September 22)

Pisces (Feb 19- March 20)

This month, you will feel energized and motivated. With all this excitement and innovation going on, don’t forget to balance out other aspects of your life. Watch out for tension around the start of the month, when reckless Jupiter enters Libra. Here you could clash with manipulative Pluto in Capricorn, your eleventh house of friendships and socializing, and leave yourself with some major BFF drama.

Sometimes people tend to think of Virgos as a ‘lame’ sign. You’re organized, quiet, and, well, there’s the name. But guess what? Those people are wrong. Your social charm is through the roof. It’s your time to show everyone you’re life of the party. Just remember that when the party’s over, you still have 10 tests, 20 projects and an ISU due, so don’t forget about your studious organized side.

Libra (September 23 — October 22)

Aries (March 21 – April 20)

December is a month to focus on yourself and your practical goals. Your house of career will become dominant, a perfect time to dedicate your attentions to work or school. And with more than 80% of the planets moving forward for the Aries star sign, growth will be rapid in your academics. All that hard work will allow you to accomplish your goals. The end of the month is a great time for romance.

Libras, you are BUSY this month. But you’re the Sign of the Scales for a reason. As long as you find a balance, you can overcome the challenges being thrown at you. But you can’t keep your life balanced if you can’t keep yourself balanced, so sign up for a yoga class. While you’re at it, invite a new fling to the class with you — this is the prime period for you to fall head-over-heels for someone.

Scorpio (October 23 — November 22)

Taurus (April 21 – May 20)

A million opportunities are about to come your way. You will be going through some major changes, all of which are positive for your growth. December is the lucky month to take action. Your love life will get a wonderful makeover. Single Tauruses will find their gaze drawn to someone they least expect, and the result will be a fun and exciting new adventure.

Illustrations by Amy Zhu

This season, you’re practically on fire with potential. Just make sure that whoever you’re spending time with is going to help push you to new heights. Now’s not the time to stifle your spirit, so take a moment to consider the true intentions of the people around you. Resist the urge to hold a grudge if you realize someone isn’t trying to help you. You’ve got such good energy going on right now — don’t waste it finding something petty to retweet on Twitter or ‘accidentally’ ending a Snapchat streak.


44

Fun Stuff Making procrastination easy

!

Across 4. Actress who played Sonny from “Sonny with a Chance” 7. “___ in the House” (Hint: 1 down’s brother) 10. “Hey __!” 11. “___ of the Future” 13. She babysat rich children in New York 14. Main character of “The Emperor's New School” 15. Her Best Friends were Gordo and Miranda 16. Show about a sponge, a squid, and a starfish 18. Wanda and Cosmo were his fairy godparents 20. Drake and Josh’s sister

Down 1.Psychic Teenager 2. Show about the Duncan Family 3. Show about twins on a cruise ship 5. Where the Zoey 101 cast went to school (Abbreviation) 6. Show with the grim Reaper 8. T.J. Detweiler played the main character in this show 9. iCarly’s camera man 11. “104 Days of Summer Vacation” Show


December Issue