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November 2019

14 English Language Learners

Editor Noor Jerath takes a look at Clayton’s ELL program

17 Caught in the Crossfire The Globe examines gun violence in the City of St. Louis 30 Magnificent Markenson Senior Rachel Markenson shines on the court for the CHS volleyball squad.

Photo of Rachel Markenson by Eli Millner

globe. STAFF

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Grace Snelling and Lila Taylor



SENIOR MANAGING EDITORS Ashley Chung Katie He Noor Jerath Sara Stemmler

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from the editor She peppered her room with clumsily taped pictures of her dog, her friends, and her friends with dogs. The drawers of her nightstand overflowed with cheap-scented lip gloss she refused to part with and envelopes full of old ticket stubs and gum wrapper notes friends had passed to her in class. She kept everything. She made a point to fill her life with sound -- that of others in the form of political podcasts and electronic dance music, and that of her own in the form of her many stringed instruments. Easily befriended and befriending, she was eager to both share the products of her creativity with others and to support their own. My own obituary. While it obviously does not yet exist, a future tribute to my life may closely resemble the one above. It will be filled with trivial details of my childhood that my many family members and

close friends will fondly report while surrounded by one another in the comfort of their own homes. It will exhibit the life of a privileged girl who had many opportunities and seized as many as she could. The same cannot be said of the lives of the 16 deceased minors I spent many Sunday afternoons researching. During the fall of last year, a friend approached me with an opportunity I took for granted at the time: researching and writing obituaries for young victims of gun violence across the country that had occurred after the shooting in Parkland, Florida. An easily emotional person, I was wary of joining, but I decided to try to make a difference with my writing regardless. While the details within my future obituary will likely consume a full page, we had only 100 words to remember the life of each child. Each news site I combed through provided plenty of

information about the logistics of the shooting itself, but capturing the personalities of these young men and women proved difficult. Our job was to humanize them, but to the internet and to the rest of the world, they were just another statistic raising homicide rates. I wasn’t surprised when I encountered St. Louis several times on the list of deceased minors, 18 since May to be exact. I found myself caught in an existential void. The families of these children didn’t even have the means to share their story with the rest of the world, let alone make any substantial change for gun control. Their children were their greatest accomplishment, an embodiment of their own dreams, and they didn’t even receive the closure of goodbye. I thought of myself and my peers arriving at an age when we feel invincible, when we pack dreams into desktop backgrounds and posters on the wall, and realize the sobering reality of our own mortality. Throughout this heart-wrenching process, I found solace in the small details buried four or five links in that gave me just a small glimpse into what the internet deems their otherwise-insignificant lives. He liked to sit in on trials at his local circuit court. She had just hung a hand-painted welcome sign on the door of her first home. He dressed exclusively in formal wear. When the project was released online, it was these details that drew in feedback and publicity from readers who were finally able to sympathize with these real children. Participating in this project encouraged me to think more about my own life story. I will most likely live past 18. I hope to accomplish great things. People will share the small pleasures that fed into my identity. They will share that I was an obsessive bath-taker and an incorrigible movie-talker. They will share that I was always up for a picnic, but never for the opera. They will remember me because they loved me and because I am lucky. And that is something I will never again take for granted.


GREYHOUND GATORADE The Clayton Greyhounds’ boys varsity soccer team celebrates a 1-0 victory against rival Ladue Horton Watkins High School on Monday, Sept 23, 2019. Zach Stapleton and Rohan Tripathy prepare to douse lone goal scorer Ben Brewer with ice cold Gatorade.

Photographer ELI MILLNER



out of order

During the week of October 6th, a water pipe was hit during construction on the baseball field, prompting the shutdown of the bathrooms and water fountains in the academic wing for a part of two days. There were reportedly 10-15 minute waits to use the few operational restrooms in the Commons and the music wing.

St. Louis high school students held a rally to protest the tampon tax on National Period Day, October 19, 2019, at Aloe Plaza. CHS junior Belle Gage is one of the youth activists helping organize the rally.

city of clayton:

On September 24th, the Board of Alderman of the City of Clayton voted unanimously to pass a Diversity Working Committee as part of the Clayton Community Engagement and Reconciliation project, a response to the iHop incident which occurred last year.

2019 canada elections On October 21, 2019, Canada held federal elections to elect members of the House of Commons. Incumbent Justin Trudeau won re-election, despite his recent brownface controversy, with the Conservatives projected to win the majority of seats.

impeachment inquiry

us troops and syria On October 6th, President Trump ordered the Pentagon to withdraw over 1,000 troops from northern Syria. The withdrawal forced the Kurds to ally with the forces of President Assad of Syria’s Russian-backed government, in order to resist Turkish forces. This signals a shift in alliances that will give Russia significant influence over the region.

dominates debate The Clayton Speech and Debate team had a strong showing, placing 4th at the recent Parkway West tournament on October 11th-12th. Tournament champions include Richard Cheng and Erik Tomasson in Varsity Policy Debate, Armon Seraji and Adam Jaffe in Varsity Duo Interpretation, and Krish Sardesai in Varsity Radio Speaking and Varsity International Extemporaneous Speaking.

period day rally

diversity working committee


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump on September 24th. In a phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25th, Trump asked Zelensky to look into Joe Biden’s involvement in the firing of Ukranian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in part for failing to investigate a Ukranian natural gas company of which Hunter Biden was a board member.


clayton conversations CHS pilots new advisory program to increase community dialogue. LUKA BASSNETT | REPORTER SOFIA ERLIN | FEATURE EDITOR

CHS students during the first ever Clayton Conversations. ANNA WALSH | PHOTOGRAPHER “Not just at Clayton High School, but in the country, we have lost the ability to have respectful discourse and intelligent dialogue around important topics,” said CHS principal Dan Gutchewsky. Gutchewsky believes that students only gain this skill through practice. However, whether it is because classes don’t have the time for meaningful dialogue or because students don’t feel comfortable speaking about controversial topics on their own, the discussion of relevant issues rarely takes place at CHS. Gutchewsky sees this as a major problem. In an attempt to remedy this issue, Gutchewsky has introduced a new advisory-like program called Clayton Conversations, or C^2. The program will divide the school into several “families” containing students from each grade level. Each group will be led by teachers and administrators and will meet once a month to discuss relevant issues. “The mission was to set aside time and provide a structure where we could have building-wide conversations around topics that were important to students,” Gutchewsky said. The structure of the conversations was inspired by a staff visit to Illinois’ Naperville High School, which provides its students with thirty minutes of free time a month. Gutchewsky recognized the benefits of the Naperville plan, but introduced a few changes to tailor it to his own vision for CHS. “When I looked at Naperville … I liked the structure that they were using, but there was no sense of coherence or kind of a commonality

around it,” Gutchewsky said. “You could have a really great experience in one class and not do anything particularly meaningful in another, and so by providing a little more structure … we can make it a building-wide experience where everybody is kind of engaging in the same way.” Through both Clayton Conversations and the daily addition of “Greyhound Time”, a 15-minute break between second and third period, Gutchewsky hopes to address the student need for both discussion and free time. Students met with their family groups for the first time in late September at the first Clayton

Conversations. Initial reactions to the conversations were positive, but many feel that there is still room for improvement. “When I was a freshman I didn’t want to be in the same room as seniors,” said junior Cece Cohen. “I think [freshman] will be afraid to speak and they won’t feel comfortable.” Gutchewsky has already received ideas for future changes. “There have already been requests like, ‘Could we keep the groups the same and just add freshmen to the groups and graduate the seniors out to build a sense of coherence or community?’” Gutchewsky said. “Kind of like a homeroom, or an advisory kind of idea. That’s on the table.” Gutchewsky also plans to meet with student “facilitators” in an attempt to create more student-led discussions. “Moving forward, we will actually invite students to co-facilitate the conversations … and have them be almost student-driven,” Gutchewesky said. “It’s another way of giving students leadership opportunities.” Although the Clayton Conversations are just beginning, Gutchewsky believes that they have immense potential. “There’s the idea that we can increase a sense of student ownership and connection to the place and a sense of community… It never hurts to take a break for 30 minutes in a month and actually do something that isn’t focused on one of your classes.”

Clayton Conversations provide a safe environment for students to connect. . ANNA WALSH | PHOTOGRAPHER


stl disciplines

The Globe investigates the shocking statistics behind St. Louis schools’ disciplinary system. RACHEL LIANG | REPORTER SIDDHI NARAYAN | REVIEW SECTION EDITOR

In-School Suspension roaom in Clayton High School RYAN ROSENTHAL | PHOTOGRAPHER A good education fosters children’s creativity and heightens their chances of success in the future, but according to Alexis Duncan, a psychiatric epidemiologist working at Washington University, Saint Louis school districts tend to reverse these positive effects when assigning OSS (out of school suspensions) to students, most significantly to black male students with disabilities. Duncan co-wrote a study called “Falling Through the Cracks: St. Louis School Discipline at the Intersection of Race, Gender and Disability,” which addressed the disparities within the demographics of children receiving OSS. The study revealed results compiled of data from a total of 30 schools within the region, and the significance that a student’s race, gender and disability plays in their chance of suspension is striking. According to the study, “white girls with a disability were only 1.4 times as likely to receive an OSS than the least at-risk students (white girls with no disabilities). The most at-risk students, black boys with disabilities, were 24.6 times more likely than white girls with no disability.” To put these numbers into perspective, the

study further mentioned that “a person could smoke a pack of cigarettes every day for 30 years and face a lower risk of getting lung cancer than the risk of OSS for a black boy.” OSS, in general, is not a good concept, according to Duncan. As a parent of a child who has been through suspension on several occasions-, she knows first hand about the imminent harm on both the child and their family “There are consequences on the families,” said Duncan, “For kids to stay home from school, they miss school, schoolwork, school services. If they’re in programs, they may miss meals. Parents have to stay home if their children are suspended often. This can really affect parents’ abilities to keep their jobs.” However, the effects of OSS are not simply short term. Being suspended can have consequences that haunt children for the rest of their lives. Karishma Furtado, a doctoral student at Washington University’s Brown School’s Public Health Sciences Program, believes that consequences aren’t just missing a day of school. “There are so many ripple effects of suspend-

ing a student just once,” said Furtado. “But we know that education plugs directly into health for your entire life, we know that it is what directly affects your ability to earn a solid income, generate wealth, which contributes to the intergenerational stability of your family. By keeping students out of the classroom, we are directly eroding the quality of their education, and we’re compromising their well being, not only in that moment but for years and years to come.” These implications put people with disabilities and people of color at an immediate disadvantage later in life. In fact, this may lend a hand in current incarceration rates today. “Students who are repeatedly disciplined with suspensions are more likely to end up in our criminal justice system,” Duncan said. To make matters worse, the OSS system is especially prejudicial in Saint Louis, a reason for which Duncan, Furtado and the rest of their team decided to study this area. While OSS rates for people with disabilities across the country are consistently high, the rates of OSS for African American students are shocking in Saint Louis. “We are at the top of a list that no one should want to be at. Saint Louis’ racial disparity is particularly egregious. This is a problem.” said Furtado. If OSS is so detrimental, then why does it still exist at CHS? According to Dr. Dan Gutchewsky, principal of CHS, OSS is usually a last resort action. “You can generally count the number of instances on two hands,” Gutchewsky said. “It’s usually for fighting, being under the influence of alcohol or marijuana, and that can be reduced by an education program students can do.” There are even options for repeat offenders in CHS. Instead of continuously giving students OSS, those with behavioural issues are sent to a collaborative school that focuses on transmitting education in a beneficial way. “The core curriculum is primarily computer based and teacher assisted, it’s also a shortened day, and that’s more flexibility. For credit recovery, it’s based on completion rather than on time,” said Gutchewsky. In an ideal world, out of school suspension would cease to exist. After all, the purpose of schools is to educate, and this is hindered by suspension. To ensure that all students, no matter race, gender or disability receive the education they are entitled to, schools must remove the obstacle that they have placed, and strive to discover a new way to educate efficiently.


new admins in clayton tony arnold REESE QUINN | REPORTER

After her first year of teaching, new CHS Assistant Principal Regina Moore decided to pursue a career in school counseling instead. Recalling the assistance of her own high school counselors, she wanted to support students’ emotional wellness. She proceeded to go back to school and earned a master’s degree in counseling and student services. The Clayton School District caught Moore’s eye because of the work it has been doing on diversity and equity. “I heard that the students were very passionate about advocating for equal rights for all people,” Moore said. “I wanted to be a part of that.” Moore strives to create a learning environment that is inclusive to students of all backgrounds, and she is currently using her position as a first year administrator to connect with new

robyn weins


“In Clayton, there is a strong emphasis placed on professional learning and continuous improvement as a part of our work and culture with our staff,” said Tony Arnold, new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at Clayton said. As he was a former principal at Webster, Maplewood, Richmond Heights and Ladue, Arnold is not new to the world of administration. “I was encouraged, as a classroom teacher, to pursue an administrative role. I kept finding myself in leadership positions. I really enjoyed seeing a different perspective and how I can make an impact.” said Arnold. Arnold eventually transitioned to Hu-

students. “Students may be a little hesitant about reaching out because they are not sure how others will receive them,” Moore said. “When I meet new students, I say, ‘Look, I’m new too. And I’m asking people questions and no one has made me feel dumb.’” Something that Moore greatly emphasizes is teaching students to learn from their mistakes. “[High school] is the perfect place to make mistakes,” said Moore. “Sometimes the world doesn’t offer you second chances. It’s important to learn from your mistakes when you’re young.” Moore’s visions for the school district are bound to bring change. “I think it’s really important for me to share with students who I am,” Moore said.

Robyn Weins came to Clayton following her position as a founding principal of a single-gender charter public school in the City of St. Louis -- the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls. According to Weins, this was the highlight of her professional career. “[Opening Hawthorn] was a big undertaking,” Wiens said. “I didn’t know what challenges to exactly expect. The project made me a stronger educator.” Serving as the principal at Hawthorn taught Weins a lot about student and family relationships, and grounded her in the importance of empowering students. “Students are capable of incredible and amazing things, you just have to give them the opportunity to really lean into that,” said Weins. Surprisingly, Weins didn’t always know that

man Resources to make a direct impact on others and to provide individual support. One of the goals at Human Resources is to provide the best staff possible for students. “It is why we are all here: for our kids,” Arnold said. Arnold believes it is important to acknowledge different perspectives, not only for himself, but for the district. Gaining input, especially from those who may have more experience in one area or another, is a key aspect of improving life at CHS. “I think that we can always push ourselves with recruitment processes and try new approaches with how we are gaining the best talent into our district,” Arnold said.

regina moore EMMA RAINE | REPORTER

she would want to be a school administrator. At first, she thought that she might want to pursue a career as a news anchor or news reporter. Later, she realized that that wasn’t the type of life she wanted to live. “When I graduated from college, if you would have told me, ‘Robyn, you’re going to be a school principal, you’re going to open up a school and then your going to become Assistant Superintendent of Student Services,’ I would have probably looked at you like you were nuts,” said Weins. While her intended career may not have panned out, it has taught her that you need to know who your audience is. “What’s relevant to parents is both similar and different to what office staff needs to know,” Weins said.


candid cannabinoids The Globe investigates the legality of CBD and the forms in which it is available. LILA TAYLOR | EDITOR IN CHIEF SARA STEMMLER | SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR Snake oil. If you were to ask the public about the benefits of cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, many people will brush you off with mutterings about snake oil, a substance with no real medicinal value sold as a remedy for a number of different ailments. True, there isn’t substantial scientific research to prove that CBD has any medicinal value besides the treatment of epilepsy. But there isn’t any substantial scientific research to prove that it does not. To draw any sort of conclusion about the effects of CBD on human health, it is necessary to understand the origins of CBD. According to, there are over 480 natural components within the Cannabis sativa plant, 66 of which are classified as “cannabinoids.” Like opiates, cannabinoids interact with specific receptors in the central nervous system. Their effects reside primarily in the limbic system. While opioids can lead to overdose because their corresponding receptors are in the brain stem and can cause a shut down when blocked, cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are absent from the brainstem and therefore cannot cause traditional “overdose.” CBD specifically is the most abundant cannabinoid, composing 40% of cannabis resin. CBD and marijuana are both subspecies of the hemp plant. However, marijuana is cultivated to


produce a set of psychoactive cannabinoids that CBD does not contain, the most common being THC. CBD is also present in marijuana, though its amount varies by plant. CBD may reduce psychoactive effects of THC, meaning a marijuana plant with less CBD may have an increased psychological impact, namely in the form of anxiety. This phenomenon serves as impetus for CBD users looking to decrease anxiety. CHS chemistry teacher Nathan Peck stressed that this idea of reduced anxiety is still just speculation following the well-supported scientific evidence that CBD helps reduce symptoms of epilepsy in children. “This whole cottage industry exploded about ‘Well, did you know that other people are taking CBD oil -- it’s now legal -- it seemed to help my arthritis. It helped with my PTSD. It helped with my anxiety -- all this stuff which has not been scientifically determined,” Peck said. The reason people are able to speculate about the effects of CBD is because its use is legal in Missouri, even recreationally. According to Peck, however, CBD is really just legal in theory -- there are many more steps that need to be taken before it can actually be grown. “Missouri laws are kind of weird. The medical part got passed [marijuana]. CBD, which is different because it’s not psychoactive, it’s legal, but in order to grow anything, you need a permit, and [Missouri law enforcement] weren’t giving any out.” Not only are Missouri lawmakers reluctant to hand out permits, but they discourage the cultivation of hemp by giving out subsidies to those who agree not to plant the seeds on grounds of environmental conservation. CBD in Missouri has therefore become increasingly expensive because there is a limited supply. Even in places like Illinois where permits are accessible, hemp seeds need to be obtained, and with so many people pressing the seeds for oil, there aren’t many seeds to come by. This has not stopped large dispensaries from spending large sums of money to obtain permits to cultivate CBD on the grounds of medical marijuana acceptions. Permits in Missouri may become more accessible once there has been substantial research on the effects of CBD, a process Peck believes will begin following recent juul-related deaths. “Wax

pods” containing THC can coat the lungs in oil, specifically CBD oil, which is believed to have contributed to the teen deaths. Besides the lack of physical research, there also exists an absence of basic information about what users are actually consuming when it comes to cannabis products. “If you buy any other sort of legal intoxicant (beer, wine, etc) you know exactly what you’re getting. It tells you exactly what the alcohol content is, how you might interact with it… There is no scale, no way to know: are there pesticides in your marijuana? What is the THC content? What should you be able to say it does? In the meantime, there’s this huge market for it, because there is a bunch of stuff it might do,” Peck said. This market is driven primarily by low regulation, which allows marketers a lot of leeway with the information they provide to the public about their products. “CBD is a drug for one thing: treating epilepsy. The rest of it is snake oil. People will buy it hoping that it will help them with their dry skin etc. It’s marketed by people who can pretty much say whatever they want. It’s not FDA approved for any kind of actual treatment besides epilepsy. You have anecdotal stories about “this has really approved the quality of life for me,’ and there are people who are willing to pay quite a bit for those things.” Although a lack of evidence causes Peck and others to remain skeptical about the benefits of CBD, many will also admit that the possibility still exists, and that CBD could be a potential alternative for more expensive medications. “If it helps with epilepsy, it’s clearly neuroactive, so maybe it’ll help with some other things,” Peck said. “The medication they’re using is probably more expensive and has bad side-effects.” All skepticism aside, CBD’s nebulous possibilities have been on the public’s mind for quite some time. Many other states have prominent growers that have created their own booming CBD-based economies. Missouri may not be far behind. “We’re the ‘Show Me State.’ We’re going to see how it works in Illinois and maybe some other states, and then we’ll say ‘oh, okay,’ and try it,” Peck said. That being said, at the Globe we refuse to wait. After purchasing several CBD products via a legal adult, two of our staff members are drawing their own conclusions.


We tried three different CBD products: a caramel edible, Hemp Rain Sodas, and Kana Brownzzz. We tried the caramel and the soda together and noticed no effect on our mood, stress, anxiety levels, or energy. We waited until the next night to take the brownie, which caused both of us to fall asleep almost instantaneously. This may have been a result of the CBD, or due to the 12 muscle relaxers in the sleep aiding product.

“I don’t use CBD on a daily basis-just when I need it. I use it for pain managment when my wrists or muscles are hurting. But mostly, I use it for my cramps. I have always had horrible cramps that normal [drugs] like ibuprofen didn’t help much. Being able to use CBD has helped me a lot.”



40% of all cannabis resin.

-Liza Anzilotti

“I have endemetriosis, which is a form of chronic pain. I’ve tried tons of drugs, and nothing has really worked. CBD saved my life. My chronic pain isn’t debilitating anymore, and I don’t have to miss a week of school once a month.” -Anonymous CHS Student

There are over

480 natural components within the Cannabis sativa plant,

66 of which are classified as Cannabinoids.


clayton’s english language learners The Globe examines the challenges that students from non-English speaking countries face at Clayton High School and their success through the English Language Program. NOOR JERATH | SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR

New history teacher Danielle DuHadway is coming to Clayton with several years of experience. GRACE SNELLING | PHOTOGRAPHER Amy Chappuis conducts class, helping kids become acclimated with the colloquial English in America. Photos by Whitney Le. Classroom 112 sits behind an unassuming brown door tucked away next to the library. This room is home to the English Language Program (ELP) and teacher Amy Chappuis. The ELP is a district-wide program designed to assist students whose native language is not English and demonstrate a need for additional support in keeping up with Clayton’s rigorous curriculum. The program focuses on four basic areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Chappuis works with around 50 students between the elementary and high schools to identify their strengths as well as areas of improvement. At the end of every school year, students in the program take a screener test mandated by the state of Missouri. Upon hitting a certain score, students begin to exit the program and take on a monitor status, where they are not fully in the program but are still closely watched and supported. One of the biggest struggles for EL students is adapting to the language-heavy classes taught at Clayton. Humanities courses aren’t the only ones

that pose this problem -- even science and math classes are taught with an emphasis on conceptual learning that requires additional knowledge and vocabulary. “There might be a question that requires some background knowledge that like if you grew up here, you know it,” Chappuis said. “For example, a couple years ago I had a student who was taking a chemistry test. And one of the options for a multiple choice question was a throwaway answer, like everyone in the class would know that wasn’t the right one. That answer was Windex. The question was all about chemicals, so anybody would read the problem and say, ‘oh, that’s not it.’ But this student said to me, ‘What’s Windex?’ And so that was the kind of thing where as soon as I explained it, he was like, ‘Oh, of course that’s not the answer.’ Like he totally knew.” Chappuis works with classroom teachers to adapt and modify the course materials to assist non-native English speakers. “Sometimes it’s just about bridging that gap between what is expected of a native speaker and

what [EL students are] coming in with; just pointing them in the right direction and saying, ‘you’re already a smart kid, but here’s what we’re asking you to do,’” Chappuis said. Students arriving at CHS who are part of the program tend to have studied English in their home country, according to Chappuis. However, these students have often been taught by native speakers of another language and will sometimes be hesitant to speak in classes at Clayton because they do not feel confident with their English. This is when they can turn to ELP classes for support. These classes are usually taken as electives in students’ schedules -- like a Learning Center. In addition to the basics of the language, Chappuis works with students on a broad variety of topics, ranging more complex aspects of English, like how to use a semicolon or utilizing supporting evidence in an analysis paper to what to wear at a pep rally. Coming from a different country with different customs and norms without a very strong grasp of the nuances of the language, students in the ELP

15 program often have a difficult time integrating. These struggles that ELP students face are ones that Chappuis directly understands. After college, she taught English in Poland for a year. “It was so isolating not knowing the language when I went there,” Chappuis said. “I felt like I was always talking about the weather or other things that you learn in a class, and I felt isolated because I felt like nobody really knew me. It wasn’t that the people weren’t welcoming to me, it was that I felt like I was at a surface level of un-

derstanding in terms of them knowing me. So it can be a very difficult time until your personality can really come out.” Saint Louis in particular is a very difficult place for anyone not from the area. Residents have often lived in the area their whole lives, and CHS students are no exception. In order to help ELP students feel like part of the community, Chappuis encourages students to join sports or other extracurriculars where they get the chance to know others with similar

senior from China

interests in a non-academic environment. In classes, Chappuis said, “they might come off as bored or aloof, but once the kids have something to talk about or they have something in common, then those barriers come down.” This makes bridging the gap all the more important. The Globe talked to several students who have graduated from the program, as well as one currently in it about the transition and their plans moving forward.

| john wang

John Wang’s first time in the United States was in 2016 when he moved to Clayton to live with his sister, then a resident at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Even smaller-scale moves have implications; Wang’s move, however, involved leaving both his parents in order to better his chances at getting into a good university. Until last year, he saw his parents only over the summer and has not been back to China to date -- though he plans to return right after graduation. After his sister moved to Boston last year, Wang’s parents have been switching off travelling to Clayton to stay with him. “It’s really hard because my parents are both doctors,” Wang said. “They have a lot of things to do, obviously, so they have to sacrifice their vacation time to be with me.” While his English was more than functional when he moved, Wang credits the ELP program with helping him transition into the Clayton community. “I think the English learning program has helped me to improve my communication skills so I can better connect with the other Clayton students. I think that’s a very powerful thing because, as English learners, it is important for us to express ourselves, and by giving us this great opportunity to improve our English, we can better connect with other students and express our ideas…. [The ELP program] gave me a sense of community,” Wang said. Taking all the opportunities he can here in Saint Louis, Wang’s days are filled with AP classes, his afternoons busy with rehearsals for the school play and his weekends spent volunteering at the Siteman Cancer Center.

sisi yang | senior from China Senior Sisi Yang and her mother moved to Clayton at the start of her freshman year mainly for educational purposes. They chose St. Louis because Yang’s father, who remains in Shanghai, has friends in the area. Although she started learning English in first grade, Yang said that the hardest part of the move was getting to meet and talk to native English speakers. “I think I am scared to talk to people at first because I’m afraid that others won’t understand me,” Yang said. During her time at CHS, however, Yang has exited the EL program, signifying a high level of proficiency in English, and she has joined clubs such as Clayton Connect and was a member of the CHS golf team. In addition to hesitancy to speak, Yang mentioned another barrier she faced in her transition. When trying to make friends, she noticed how much conversations centered around popular culture -- a topic that varies greatly between nations. “I think it’s just that people are always talking about TV shows and stuff,” said Yang. “And I’ve just never watched them.” However, she credits the community with being very welcoming and willing to help.

Antione Lamar Brown, 15 Clifford Swan III, 13 Rodney March III, 3 Sentonio Cox, 15 Jurnee Thompson, 8 Xavier Usanga, 7 Jason Eberhart, 16 Kayden Johnson, 2 Kennedi Powell, 3 Eddie Hill, 10 Charnija Keys, 11 Jaylon McKenzie, 14 Robert Dorsey, 16 Omarion Coleman, 15 Ien Coleman, 14 Kristina Curry, 16 Jashon Johnson, 16 Myiesha Cannon, 16

INTRODUCTION Only 3 in 10 household firearms are stored “in the safest manner” *According to a 2015 study by the US National Library of Medicine

By Ella Cuneo, Grace Snelling, Noor Jerath, Kaitlyn Tran, Kaia Mills-Lee, Emma Baum and Shane LaGesse On the night of Dec. 14, 2012, when parents should have been out shopping for the holidays and grabbing the week’s groceries, they instead found themselves gathered at the local firehouse, searching a crowd of faces for their children. That day at Sandy Hook Elementary school, 20 children between the ages of six and seven, as well as six staff members, were shot and killed. The atrocity of this event sparked outrage nationwide. Then-President Barack Obama wrote and delivered a televised speech hours later. There were immediate calls on Congress to pass new gun control measures. The website of advocacy group the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence crashed due to a sudden influx of donations. In the following months, some states, such as New York, Connecticut and Maryland, passed bills restricting the purchase and use of guns. However, both the assault weapons ban and the background check bill that were subsequently introduced to Congress were defeated by the Senate. Contrary to the messages being sent by those lobbying for gun restriction measures, leaders of the National Rifle Association argued that gunfree school zones would attract shooters and that armed police officers should be hired to protect schools.


Since Sandy Hook, there have been at least 2,237 mass shootings in the US. However, these statistics do not come close to accounting for the acts of gun violence that are typically less publicized and occur on a much more frequent basis. Every day, an average of 100 Americans are killed by guns. In a single year, that number reaches 36,383 deaths, along with 100,120 injuries. Fatal shootings are typically isolated events, one-third of which are gun homicides. Victims of gun homicide are 10 times more likely to be African-American than white. In some cases, the victims of these shootings are not those that were intended. This is the story of some of the 18 St. Louis children who have died by gun violence since May of 2019. According to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, many of these homicides have to do with drugs. “There’s a tremendous amount of gun violence in our city, and it is tied to drugs, almost entirely,” Krewson said. “This summer, there were six kids under 11 killed, and those kids were doing nothing wrong. Those kids were not the intended target, other folks that they were around were the target. How do we know [these shootings] are drug-related? Because there are drugs at the

scene. There are guns at the scene. There’s cash at the scene. This is all related … This year, the county has had a couple of small children, 10 and under, killed, and the city has had six: a 2-yearold, a 3-year-old, a 7-year-old, an 8-year-old and two 10-year-olds. So obviously that’s horrible.” Krewson contends that the drug industry in St. Louis is “almost self-policing” in that many shootings are retaliatory and can initiate a vicious cycle of violence. The fear that this system generates also prevents those who may have information about shootings from reporting what they know to law enforcement. “We offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone involved in [the murders of these kids] and we have not gotten tips about it,” Krewson said. “Even though there were people around the scene who know who likely did that shooting. We don’t get those tips. So you can bet that those shootings will cause more shootings.” If the pattern that Krewson described is perpetuated, children in the city of St. Louis will continue to fall victim to this cycle. Most of the minors that died by gun violence this summer were struck by stray bullets fired in conflicts they weren’t even old enough to understand. They might have been walking with friends,

sitting on their porches, playing a game outside, or even eating at their kitchen table when they were shot. Democratic Missouri Representative Alan Green, who was also a St. Louis police officer during the ‘80s and ‘90s, encountered many shootings associated with gangs throughout his time on the force. Similar to Krewson, he saw a connection between an increase in drugs traded in these groups and the number of fatal shootings in the city, and believes that the children who have been shot were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. “What I mean by that is a stray bullet,” Green said. “It might be an incident similar to the 8-year-old that got killed. He was out playing and a guy was shooting. That disturbs me. At the football game where people got shot, those were stray bullets that hit two adults, and I think two children. These are the kind of things that bother me too. Safety in the city, we’re talking about gunfire period, and those stray bullets killing kids. That is just not right. A kid should have the right and benefit to play outside without being worried about stray bullets. And parents too.” While legislators are aware of the many circumstances of gun violence in St. Louis, the people that likely have the most personal insight are those who have direct experience with victims. Lauren Sucher-O’Grady, an ER doctor, and Melissa Puffenbarger, a pediatric emergency doctor, have tended to many people caught in gunfire. “I would say that was a fairly frequent occurrence when we worked at Children’s. At least once a week we’d have a kid come in with a gunshot wound. Sometimes they were older, sometimes they were self-inflicted, sometimes they were part of gang violence or drugs. But the hardest ones were the little kids who were just kind of caught in the crossfire,” Sucher-O’Grady said. Unsecured weapons within a home environment are also a major cause of pediatric gun injuries and deaths. In many cases, parents in possession of these weapons are unaware that their children know where the guns are stored and how to gain access to them. A 2015 survey by the US National Library of Medicine found that one in three American households possess guns, regardless of the presence of children. Among those households, only three in ten firearms were stored in “the safest manner.” “When we talk about unintentional wounds, it’s not just that there was another target and the child was struck inadvertently, but it can be because they live in an unsafe environment or maybe somebody in the home is involved in some sort of criminal activity and they have unprotected loaded weapons in the house. Children explore, part of their normal behavior is to go find things and play with them, look at them, put them in their mouth. A lot of our unintended pediatric victims are finding loaded weapons in their home,” Puffenbarger said. According to Sucher-O’Grady, people who are shot once in their lifetime are at a much higher chance to be shot multiple times, likely due to gang affiliations or living in a neighborhood that puts them at a greater risk for bystander gun violence. Both Sucher-O’Grady and Puffenbarger agreed that further gun control measures and support systems could work to diminish this ongoing cycle. “We have to try to see what we can do to remove what spurs on violence,” Puffenbarger said. “Low income, desperate situations, lack of social support, ongoing violence, that’s one way to target it. But we also need legislation. We want gun control. Not gun removal, control. And it’s hard to get that through our legislation. Because depending on what state you live in, you may have political parties that feel very strongly that in no way shape or form is mandating control over guns an appropriate thing to do,

Every day, an average of 100 Americans die by gun violence*

*According to a 2019 study by Everytown for Gun Safety


1 in 3 because that’s too much of an infringement on your rights.” Green also acknowledged that a decrease in gun control has caused acts of violence to change over time. During his tenure as a police officer, he saw many instances of individual shootings in which only one or two people were injured. While these types of shootings are still very prominent today, the shootings that receive more attention are on a completely different scale. “All those assault weapons were banned back then, now assault weapons are not banned. That’s two different things… We’re not only talking about the guns or the weapons in St. Louis, we’re talking about these mass shootings that occur all over on a weekly basis. We’ve got anywhere from three to six to 12 to an even higher number of people going in and using handguns, assault rifles, anything they can to shoot numerous people. It’s not like one or two, it’s a group of people being shot today. And that is something that we have never seen before,” Green said. In January of 2017, it became legal to carry a gun in the state of Missouri without a permit. With the exception of felons, citizens can be armed with assault weapons without being questioned by the police. This legislation amplifies the sense that injury or death by gun violence is unavoidable for vulnerable populations in the city of St. Louis. “I’ve talked to parents with teenagers or people in their early 20s whose sons or daughters have gotten shot,” Sucher-O’Grady said. “The reaction is variable. But a good number of them weren’t surprised, although they were devastated and sad. They weren’t angry or surprised, they just knew this was coming. They knew that it was only a matter of time before they lost their son or daughter, because of getting into gangs or drugs or that sort of thing. They have to live knowing that [their child] is going to get shot and killed, that’s how they’re going to die and they’re going to have to bury them. That’s hard. And that’s the reality for a lot of people in this city.”


US households possess firearms

“it’s related to hope. it’s related to opportunity. it’s related to education. it’s related to poverty.” -lyda krewson

clifford swan III “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal… Love leaves a memory no one can steal,” a sign peeking out of a bouquet of wilted flowers, meant to ease the mind of mother Trina Houshmand, read. Many similar floral arrangements dotted the tables and countertops of her living room. It was a normal neighborhood -- within it a cream-painted house. Orange-shuttered, with a sea of evenly trimmed green grass surrounding it. Cars were parked in the driveway, and swaths of black-eyed susans led up to the front door, which was slightly ajar. The sound of Romeo, the family dog, barking frantically, alerted his owners that people were approaching. The hum of the two o’clock news suffused through the house as Houshmand’s youngest daughter, 6-year-old Jasmine, played on her iPad. A portrait of Tupac painted by Houshmand’s son rested on the credenza. Houshmand’s youngest son, Clifford Swan III, was a talented 13-year-old boy. As an exceptional student, Clifford would often return home upset over a B on an assignment. Through reassurances from his mom and his own work ethic, he earned straight A’s in all of his middle school courses. Clifford competed in the Special Olympics as a runner and enjoyed practicing relay races with his friends. He was fascinated with football and soccer. But he was a person of many talents. At the beginning of 2019, Clifford was signed with Nickelodeon to work alongside Ryan Kelley (from “Ben 10: Alien Swarm”). On the day of the audition, he was so nervous that he couldn’t remember his lines. Instead, in a last-ditch effort, he improvised a promotion for a water bottle and stunned the judges, earning a spot among their star-studded list of child actors. Later, the Nickelodeon logo would appear at the bottom of his obituary. Clifford’s love of acting permeated his household. After every school day, he came home excited to play with his sister and sing with his mom. “[Clifford] would come home singing and he would be like, ‘Mama, listen to this!’ And I would tell him it was time to sit down and practice

reading, but he would say, ‘Can we just sing it?’ because he loved to sing. He loved all kinds of music. He loved rock, he loved R&B, everything,” Houshmand said. It would be moments like these that Houshmand would remember. On Thursday, Sept. 12, Houshmand’s mother was supposed to move into her new apartment in the Spanish Lake area. Houshmand left Clifford with her mother, Clifford’s grandmother, while she went to unload some more boxes. This was when Clifford asked to go play with some other kids. His friend’s mother took Clifford and her

son to Schnucks. On her way back to the apartment, Houshmand received a call from her oldest daughter. She told her that there was a shooting happening. “My daughter told me [no one could find Clifford]. I said, ‘Well, I’m not worried about that, he’s ok,’ and I told her to calm down because she

was scaring me. Because I just knew he was at the store,” Houshmand said. When Houshmand arrived at the scene, she was told that Clifford was in the hospital. “I froze up behind the wheel. And I said, ‘Lord, please, just let him be maybe hurt in the arm, hurt in the leg,’ anywhere but shot in the head,” Houshmand said. At the hospital, doctors informed her that Clifford had died due to a bullet wound to the head. Since that day, Houshmand’s mother has not returned to her apartment. She cannot go into Clifford’s old bedroom. “My soul hurts,” Houshmand said. “Every day I’m thinking that my son is going to come upstairs. Every day. I don’t even like my house anymore.” Houshmand moved her family into a new neighborhood to protect her children and give them an opportunity to go to a better school district. Her sunny, private cul-de-sac represents more than just a place to live. For now, her mother will continue living with her, as well as some of her older children and her youngest daughter. 18-year-old Jabari Lowery was charged with the first degree murder of Clifford, as well as armed criminal action. On Friday, Sept. 13, he was jailed with a $500,000 bail. Houshmand had to go to court to argue against a bond reduction. “He took my son from me, who was a good kid. He wasn’t a bad kid. I asked if there could be no bond, because my son was not the intended target. So won’t he be trying to get who he intended if he gets out? He needs to stay in. Because my son can’t have a life, he’s gone now,” Houshmand said. Houshmand believes that St. Louis needs stricter gun laws, making it more challenging for people, especially children, to obtain guns. In the future, she plans to found an organization against gun violence in the memory of her son. Her main hope is that other parents will be spared the pain that this loss has inflicted on her. “I don’t ever want another mother to go through what I am going through.”


xavier usanga “He was far too good for this whole earth.” Streams of black and white cars whiz past as mother Dawn Usanga vividly recounts fond memories, sitting sideways on a bench in front of a street only two blocks away from where tragedy occurred. She waved to drivers who honked a hello of familiarity and ruffled the black and scarlett fur of a stray dog as he joyfully greeted her. Heading to Hyde Park, neighbors initiate everyday conversations with Usanga, catching up on recent events. This is an area she knows. This is her home. And yet, in this same neighborhood, her child was stolen from her. Usanga knew that Xavier was a gift from the beginning. “He was born at two-and-a half pounds. They said that he couldn’t breastfeed, that he was going to be on breathing machines for weeks, and they didn’t know how long he was going to be in the hospital. From the beginning of his life, he beat the odds. He was off the machines in five hours, he was breastfeeding in 24 [hours],” Usanga said. Xavier’s persevering attitude continued to grow with him, as he flourished into a bright little boy. “He was on my hip forever,” Usanga said. “He always smiled and he lit up people’s faces in this community. He wouldn’t talk a whole lot, but he was always smiling and always polite. Everybody was just so attracted to him. He could make anyone smile in any of the worst situations.” Despite being quiet, Xavier’s cheerful exuberance made his tricks unmistakable when it came to games. While playing hide-and-seek, he would constantly give himself away by giggling too loudly. If he thought that he’d hidden too long and scared his mom, he would laugh, give her a big hug, and say, “Sorry I scared you!” Xavier’s playful antics continued in the form of games of Uno, during which he attempted to show Usanga the strategies that he learned from his sisters. On one particular night, he sat down with her to show her the best ways to cheat.

“He said ‘Okay, mom. You know the rules, you know how to play, right?’ I said ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Okay, well, this is how Angel cheats and this is how Trinity cheats, and this is how I cheat.’ So we started playing and he told me that he takes cards sometimes and sticks them under his leg or sticks them behind him. So I would catch him and he said ‘I knew you’d catch me.’ He would be so funny,” Usanga said. The following day, his life would end. August 12th will be eternally ingrained in the mind of the Usanga family. Dawn Usanga was out buying groceries at the store around the corner. Xavier and his two sisters, Angel and Trinity, were together playing games at their neighbors’ house. “It was really strange,” Usanga said. “I was sitting at the corner store and I saw this guy walking out to the store with a bulletproof vest on. He looked at me as he walked down the street and I was sitting in the truck. I asked [my friend] ‘Is that really a bulletproof vest? What is he doing walking around with that?’” Minutes later, Usanga heard the rapid ringing of shots echoing down her street. “I was like, ‘Thank God that my kids are at the neighbor’s house and they’re inside and they’re safe.’ And so we pulled around the block and went back to the house and that’s when people were flagging me down and screaming that: ‘the boy had been shot,’” Usanga said. Xavier, Angel and Trinity were walking back to their home, intending to grab an item they had forgotten, when they heard the bullets being fired. “They were crossing over the alley into our backyard when they just got flooded with bullets. They all hit the ground when they heard them go off and when the girls got back up to run, they looked back up and they saw that Xavier wasn’t getting up. Trinity had grabbed him and reached around, and she was trying to stop the bleeding that was coming from his throat. She has a very vivid recollection of it. His eyes were fluttering and she was holding him, and she thought that he

was trying to talk, and she was trying to help him [with] breathing. My other daughter was trying to perform CPR on him and that’s when our neighbors ran out to the yard and grabbed him and took him in,” Usanga said. Xavier passed away shortly after. Guilt now plagues Usanga’s daughters, as they try to figure out how they could have prevented this from happening, or wish that they had been hit instead. Angel, who believes that Xavier was her responsibility, cannot let go of the thought that she should’ve protected him. Weeks after the shooting, disbelief over this tragic event lingers in Usanga’s family and in the community. “Personally I came to terms with the fact that he never had anything bad in his life ever happen to him and that he was okay, but at the same time, all of us who grew to love this little boy are faced with turmoil and questions of why he had to go so early, why his life was taken,” Usanga said. “There’s a whole community of people with emptiness in our hearts and in our minds.” In dedication to Xavier’s memory, there will be a garden planted, commemorating the joy of his life while drawing parallels between his contagious happiness and the blooming of flowers. “I always told Xavier that he was the perfect little boy and that I never wanted him to grow up, that he could be like Peter Pan or even one of the Lost Boys, that he could always be perfect and never be faced with any of the possible things that were out in the world. I kept him so sheltered. He was just so great.” According to Usanga, Xavier’s gentle spirit and kindness will live on through those that knew him. “He was never upset. He was always was the sunrise in the morning and the rainbow at the end of the day for everybody he came across.”

donate to xavier’s gofundme:


Trevon Russell used to go to the park while his parents were at work. His father would drop him at his grandparents’ house, about a block and a half from Mount Pleasant Park. A popular hangout spot for neighborhood kids, it had been an integral part of his life since he was a young child. According to father Jermar Russell, the 16-year-old, who was living with autism, also enjoyed reading books about different presidents and sketching portraits of them in his free time. After attending Roosevelt High School for his freshman year, Trevon transferred to Nottingham Community Access and Job Training School. A couple weeks before he was supposed to return to playing basketball after school and griping about homework, Trevon was rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds. He died later that same day. Trevon was killed on August 2, 2018, while sitting on his favorite red swing. Jermar was at work when he heard about what happened from his own father, Trevon’s grandfather. Also a native of Saint Louis, Jermar commented on the difference between his generation’s experiences and his son’s. “You’ve got kids scared for their life. When I was growing up, I never felt like that. All we did in the summertime was have fun,” Jermar said. Trevon’s death remains an unresolved case. Police identified a person of interest; however, no arrests have been made to date. According to Jermar, while the detective believed he had acquired some solid leads, there was insufficient evidence to pursue them. Jermar, frustrated with the lack of community response to not only his son’s death, but also the numerous other shootings in Saint Louis, said, “People are still wrapped in this mindset that telling what they see makes them weak, makes them a target. If I see someone in front of me kill a kid, I’m snitching. I’m telling. I’m telling on you and you’re going to jail.” Jermar believes the problem is rooted in irresponsible ownership of the weapons. When they are stolen and end up in the hands of youth, Jermar believes, is when trouble begins. “It ain’t like no people out here my age killing these kids-it’s their peers. People under 20 killing the other youth. There are a lot of theories you can come up with, but the youth are out of control,” Jermar said. At the end of the day, Jermar refuses to blame the problem on causes like video games. He attributes the epidemic to parenting. As a parent, he says that he often feels like he should have put his son in a summer camp or another structured and supervised environment; however, this expectation is so contrasted to his own childhood. “When I was growing up, summertime was our break. I was just trying to let [Trevon] be a kid.”

trevon russell

dr. damaris white Students at Pierre Laclede Junior Career Academy can sometimes hear gunshots from their classrooms. “It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen,” said Dr. DaMaris White, who is currently in her fifth year as principal at Laclede. “Some of our students are desensitized by that just because they live in an area where they hear a lot of gun violence and they’re exposed to that, so for some it’s not alarming. Sometimes it’s more alarming for the adults than it is for the children.¨ Located on the edge of what some call the ‘Hayden Triangle,’ an area designated by the Saint Louis police chief as the highest crime neighborhood in St. Louis, and just two and a half miles from Natural Bridge Avenue, which was named 2015’s Most Dangerous Street in America by The Guardian, Laclede has become a safe haven for its scholars. “I call them glows and grows. [Reading and math] are our glows and our grows are simply our children, what happens outside of the classroom, outside the school that has nothing to actually do with the child,” White said. Along with fellow educators and staff members at Laclede, White is working to make Laclede a place where all children feel safe. She uses empowerment as a tool to give her students a space to talk about what it feels like to be them. Several afternoons a week, Laclede partners with Washington University in St.Louis to bring in a therapist. Students are given a chance to talk with the therapist about anything on their mind. White noted that the subject of the conversation doesn’t have to be trauma. “We don’t look at all our children and always think, ‘Oh, it’s just a traumatic environment,’” White said. “Not all of our children experience trauma.” To assist students who are coming to school with trauma, White believes in the importance of relationships between educators and students. This involves making sure every student knows they are loved and supported at school. White also implements an open door policy to help build relationships. While White and her colleagues at Laclede strive to shelter their students from the violence, they are not able to control what the students experience outside of school; however, they still take measures to keep their students safe after school. “We’re going to trunk or treat. So, hopefully, that will derail the students from going out trick or treating, just to keep them safe,” White said. White also discussed the Open Court basketball program at Laclede. Near the end of the school day, older students are given the chance to play basketball in the gym. This program isn’t just a way for students to shoot the ball around or run out some energy, though. It is also an effort to keep them out of parks after school. As an educator who gets to interact with the children who attend Laclede, White said that people need to remember that the children exist. In fact, she wishes that we all would talk about healing more. “When we don’t heal as a people, be it black or white, violence continues. Hate continues when we don’t heal as a people”.


Jaylon McKenzie:

Rodney March III, 3


Kayden Johnson, 2

Charnija Keys, 11

Eddie Hill IV, 10

Sentonio Cox, 15

Antoine Lamar Brown, 15

Kristina Curry, 16

Jason Eberhart Jr., 16

Jashon Johnson, 16

Rodney March III; Keys: Jurnee Thompson:

Jason Eberhart Jr.: Kennedi Powell:

Omarion Coleman, 15

Kennedi Powell, 3

Ien Coleman, 14

Xavier Usanga, 7

Myiesha Cannon, 15

Clifford Swan III, 13

Robert “RJ” Dorsey, 16

Jaylon McKenzie, 14

Jurnee Thompson, 8

Myiesha Cannon: Ien Coleman: Robert Dorsey:


“I would definitely say I probably have a natural predisposition towards a pessimistic outlook on life. I think that’s just been confirmed with my job. I’ve seen horrible violence. And just the things people do to each other, that you never think about, that maybe you saw in an episode of Law and Order Special Victims Unit one time, you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s terrible’. And then you see it in the real world, and it’s 10 times worse. That’s the kind of trauma that we go through as individuals who have to see that level of violence,” Lauren Sucher-O’Grady said. Both Sucher-O’Grady and Melissa Puffenbarger have seen and treated countless injuries due to gun violence. Puffenbarger, as a pediatric doctor, began her career in Cleveland and later moved to St. Louis. In just her first week at a new hospital, she was surprised to encounter a child gunshot victim. “I think that struck me when I moved from Cleveland to St. Louis, which, in general, are very similar cities,” Puffenbarger said. “But St. Louis, unfortunately, is winning the gold medal right now in pediatric on violence and has been for several years. [. . .] I didn’t really feel that presence in Cleveland. I’m sure it was there, but it just wasn’t as present. And I think it seems to be, with regards to pediatric gun violence, a problem of the inner city where we see a lot more violence, a lot more crime.” Sucher-O’Grady used to witness gunshot victims on a near-daily basis during her residency at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Due to her specialization in the ER, many of her patients have just experienced major bodily trauma. These conditions leave memories that are difficult to shake. “I had this one kid who was eight. I think she was on her mom’s bed doing her homework, and the bullet came through her window, shot her through the head and went into her mom’s leg. And she died in the ER, we had to tell her parents. It was really hard,” Sucher-O’Grady said. This wasn’t Sucher-O’Grady’s first time

informing parents that their child had died due to a bullet wound, nor will it be the last. The small details stand out to her; a young girl’s pink barrettes, or her tiny braids. For these reasons, Sucher-O’Grady cautions others against becoming ER doctors unless they are prepared to “show up for work every day and have it be the worst day of everyone else’s life”. Depending on the type of gun and distance-

procedure was in place solely to ensure the safety of children in the home. Sucher-O’Grady and Puffenbarger often see kids who have been exposed to gun violence multiple times before they’re even old enough to understand it. This can lead to PTSD, fearfulness and a variety of other emotional problems. In one instance, a 2-year-old boy came into the ER with a bullet wound in his hand. His mother claimed that she had no idea where the gun came from. Later, law enforcement found that the injury was a result of her unsecured weapon, which he had discovered in their home. “Every time I walked past this 2-year-old’s room, he held up his hand and was like, ‘I got shot! I got shot!’ Not crying, or distressed,” Puffenbarger said. “2-year-olds don’t have a lot of words. It bothered me that he could string together these three words… and seemed pleased about it. This is part of his world. He’s seen this before, this was not new to him. That was just the first time he got hit. That’s what bothers me.” In St. Louis specifically, the types of injuries encountered change depending on location. Sucher-O’Grady and Puffenbargar have both worked in different county and city hospitals, and have noticed these differences. “[In the county] it’s more self-inflicted, I’ve noticed, either accidentally or purposefully. I’ve seen one BB gun accident that was between a father and a son, that was a true accident, but the BB gun kind of lodged in the soft tissue of his neck,” Sucher-O’Grady said. In the city, fewer gun violence injuries are self-inflicted. “Most of the time it’s, ‘I was sitting on a couch or sitting on the bed, something came through my window or through the wall,’” Puffenbarger said. “Or, ‘I was outside playing, minding my own business’. Maybe 5-years-old, 7-years-old, sometimes younger, and who knows who the target was, but the child was in the way, unfortunately.”

“I had this one kid who was 8. I think she was on her mom’s bed doing her homework and the bullet came through her window, shot her through the head and went into her mom’s leg.” - lauren sucher-o’grady from the shooter, trauma from impact differs greatly. Especially in children, a bullet can enter a small part of the body and cause massive internal damage. Due to this risk, an element of pediatric medicine is preventing potential threats for children. “We would ask about wearing helmets when you ride your bike. And, are you wearing seatbelts? In Cleveland, we would ask, ‘Are there guns in your home? And how have you made them safe?’” Puffenbarger said. Many Cleveland citizens were opposed to doctors asking about firearms in the household, because they viewed it as a violation of 2nd Amendment rights. However, doctors retained this ability as, according to Puffenbarger, the

melissa puffenbarger & lauren sucher-o’grady 26


st. louis violence prevention commission “The problem being, there are people with very good intentions who want to do something, but they don’t necessarily know all of the agencies and coalitions that are already out there doing the work. And so people tend to start new things rather than trying to figure out what’s already going on,” said Jessica Meyers, coordinator for the Saint Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission. The Saint Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission, or STL VPC, is a group dedicated to connecting and organizing other organizations addressing the problem of gun violence in the St. Louis area. The group works with over 100 organizations, all targeting different aspects of gun violence in St. Louis. “We are not a direct service organization, we’re more of an umbrella organization that aligns and convenes all the agencies that are working on violence prevention in the St. Louis region,” Meyers said. STL VPC’s website states that the organization envisions a St. Louis region where communities enjoy quiet nights and the sounds of children playing during the day. “We really want to focus on what the risk factors are for being a victim of violence or the perpetrator of violence, and what the protective factors are,” Meyers said. “We have groups that are working to decrease poverty, and that’s part of violence prevention. We have groups that are working to green vacant properties in St. Louis city, and that’s violence prevention.”

The organization’s guiding principles include focuses on respect, integrity, community engagement and racial equity. “One of our objectives is to improve police-community relationships. Unsurprisingly, post-Ferguson and even prior to the death of Michael Brown, there was a lack of trust between communities, especially communities of color, and gay and trans and queer communities with law enforcement,” Meyers said. STL VPC has created an anonymous online survey and held events, which gave people an opportunity to discuss what is working and what isn’t in the St. Louis policing system, a factor tied closely to gun violence in the St. Louis area. The Youth Violence Prevention Partnership (YVPP) works closely with STL VPC. This group shares many of the same focuses and is especially specialized in the safety of youth in the St. Louis area. The two organizations are closely linked, and both are working for a safer St. Louis. To get involved with STL VPC, the group has created four levels of engagement: promotion, universal prevention, selective prevention and intervention. Promotion involves spreading the word about STL VPC, universal prevention focuses on prevention programs benefiting groups or communities, while selective prevention includes programs focused on individuals at high risk for being involved in violence as either the perpetrator or the victim. Finally, intervention involves serving individuals who have been directly or indirectly affected by violence in their community.


the trace The Trace is a single-issue nonprofit newsroom which focuses on gun violence. As an organization, it works to educate Americans on the statistics and conversation surrounding this issue. Thousands die yearly due to gun violence, and often information pertaining to each individual incident can be sparse. The Trace works to shine light on not only large-scale statistics, but also individual people and events. It publicizes data which is not visible to the public and additionally gathers data to create new statistics. A major facet of Trace reporting is the search for tangible solutions to the prevalence of gun violence. The use of graphics is employed to convey information in a straightforward and visual manner; often to outline potential plans. “I was a little skeptical of this idea of a newsroom that just covered one thing, but that soon vanished,” said Beatrice Motamedi, who worked with The Trace on the Since Parkland Project, a

collection of obituaries for the 1,200 children who have died by gun violence since February, 2018. Motamedi is the executive director of Global Student Square and co-director of Newsroom by the Bay. She has developed many student-run publications and travels to teach about journalism. “Gun violence and gun control and gun rights, all of that is an exceptionally complex topic. And it involves so many parts of American politics, American society, American culture. And I’m glad that there’s a newsroom that focuses on that and has built the expertise to really understand, you know, everything from how statistics get generated to the financing of organizations such as the NRA.” The Trace continues to report on a topic often shrouded in chaos and uncertainty, hoping to elucidate present tragedies and prevent them going forward.

since parkland For one year following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, over 200 teen reporters created profiles for every child, age 0 to 18, who was killed due to gun violence. Since Parkland, the culmination of these reporters’ work, stemmed from The Trace, along with the Gun Violence Archive and several other organizations. The project covered the stories of 1,200 American children killed by gun violence over a 12 month period. Each story is roughly 100 words; a brief synopsis of an entire life. “It’s not like the ordinary, you know. You’re not always working on projects like these… they’re so excruciatingly hard but then you’re also


just so very grateful to be doing good work,” said Beatrice Motamedi, Senior Project Editor and Curriculum Designer on Since Parkland. Reporting for the project often occurred through the use of social media. Students would contact various people connected to the individual they were reporting on to understand what they were like before they passed away. “The students did a really good job, they used a lot of social media to try and reach out. We had one story where the student contacted the grandmother, and texted back and forth with them about what her grandchild was like,” Mohamati said. CHS student Lila Taylor participated in the

project as a Teen Outreach Editor. “The project opened my eyes to gun violence outside of the St. Louis area. I knew gun violence was a problem here; protests were held minutes from my house and trials were held blocks from my school,” Taylor said. “Working on Since Parkland created a national connection that I had been lacking. Working with the other Teen Outreach Editors made me realize how passionate people were about this project and this issue.” The project aimed to not only report on the child deaths across the nation, but to humanize the statistics. Each story gives insight on those often only seen as another point in a sea of data.

moms demand action


he day of the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, mother of five Shannon Watts created a Facebook group spreading the message for Americans to take action against gun violence. What began as a small Facebook group quickly grew to an organization with over six million supporters. The group has individual chapters in each of the 50 states, as well as Washington D.C. Moms Demand Action focuses on the creation and ratification of legislation which can strengthen gun restriction laws in order to increase gun safety state and nationwide. Each chapter specializes in creating change in their respective state, with groups spanning cities. Gun violence prevention activist and spokesperson for the St. Louis Chapter of Moms Demand Action, Kim Westerman, explained that Moms Demand Action is heavily focused on the mission of keeping individuals safe, rather than pressuring partisan issues. “[Guns] have become an issue that is partisan, but it really shouldn’t be because all of us want to keep our families safe,” Westerman said. To achieve their objectives, Moms Demand Action’s efforts have a strong focus on advocacy. “On the local, state, and federal level we’re working to get stronger gun laws in place. We also do a lot of education work to help educate adults mainly on how to properly store guns and recognize suicide risk signs to keep kids safe from gun violence,” Westerman said. “The other thing we do is support survivors of gun violence. Not just people who survived a gunshot, but family members who lost someone to gun violence. It can tear a family apart, and it’s really upsetting, so we support them to elevate their voices.”

On Saturday, August 17, Moms Demand Action organized a rally on the Arch grounds to demand stricter gun legislation be passed in response to the recent El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio mass shootings. Many of those who attended donned red Moms Demand T-shirts. The rally was one of over 100 taking place across all 50 states.

“we know that gun violence is

federal legislature to ensure that guns have regulations and checks. Westerman mentioned the 2007 repeal of the law requiring Missourians to obtain a sheriff ’s permit before purchasing a concealable gun, as well as the removal of any training or permit requirements to concealed carry. “They’ve been trying to get guns everywhere…that would allow guns in places like daycares, hospitals, churches, so we’ve been really fighting these bills,” Westerman said. In addition, Westerman explained that Moms Demand Action is pushing for the passing of bill H.R. 8: The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 in the Senate, which would require a background check on every gun sale or transfer. “Federal law requires a background check for every gun sale, but not if you buy it from companies or if it was from a private seller,” Westerman said. “This bill will require that the unlicensed seller and the buyer need to have a license to maintain gun shops. That passed the House in February... it is not scheduled for a vote [in the Senate] yet, so we’ve been pushing people to call their Senators every day and demand that they pass this bill.” Moms Demand Action meets the first Thursday of every month, and also has a youth partner group, Students Demand Action. These organizations both encourage action on the part of youth and adults in promoting gun safety advocacy and supporting safer gun legislature. “Right now the majority is speaking out and it’s going to make our legislators change things. I’m hopeful that people will continue to speak out,” Westerman said. “I really hope that young people especially make their voices heard. We’re making a change.”

preventable, and we’re

committed to doing what it takes to keep families safe.”

-moms demand action website

Westerman feels as though gun safety measures in Missouri are only declining. “We’ve been playing defense for a while and in Missouri the NRA have a real foothold in their state legislature, and they’ve been pushing for more on the laws that weaken gun safety measures,” Westerman said. The immediate goals that Moms Demand Action is looking towards involve changing state and



magnificent markenson

Through hard work, Rachel Markenson has become a standout on the girls’ Varsity volleyball team.

CECE COHEN | BREAKING NEWS / DIGITAL ABBY SUCHER | REPORTER “Rachel is very good. She’s a powerhouse,” said junior Grace Homann about senior CHS Varsity volleyball teammate Rachel Markenson. However, according to Markenson, the sport hasn’t always come easily. “My freshman year I was awful. I could not serve the ball over the net. I was the third setter on the freshman team,” Markenson said. Markenson had never played volleyball before her freshman year. Once she arrived at CHS, she wanted to give it a try because she thought it looked fun. She immediately loved it and was excited to continue. “After freshman season, I did a winter developmental volleyball team and I had an amazing coach,” said Markenson. “Although I am short for a volleyball player, she decided to train me as an outside hitter. I immediately fell in love with the sport.” Her progress soon became apparent. By her sophomore season at CHS, Markenson was on varsity. She had made improvements, but she still wasn’t where she wanted to be. During her junior year, her skills made a drastic leap. “In the winter I played for Team Momentum. Momentum was a club team I always strived to play for but I never thought I would actually be good enough. Luckily, the coach saw potential in

me,” Markenson said. “My coach was amazing and my gameplay improved greatly. She not only taught me new skills but how to have mental toughness and be loud on the court which are really the most important aspects of the sport.” Markenson began to see the team’s progress in her first matches of her senior season. “Last year we won none of our games in our first tournament of the season. This year we won three out of five of our games in the fisrt tournament of the season. The two games we lost were incredibly close and we 100 percent could have won,” Markenson said. “I was also named to the all tournament team for the tournament, which was an amazing accomplishment for me.” Markenson’s work ethic has been greatly admired by her teammates. However, that is not the only thing that helps her to encourage other players. “Her confidence and enthusiasm makes me excited to come to practice everyday. She is all around such a fun person. I am so glad that I get to play with her everyday,” sophomore Sarah Taylor said. Markenson attributes her driving force to work harder to her love for the sport. “I love everything about volleyball. Volleyball is a sport that is all about technique. Therefore,

Rachel Markenson waits for the ball in a game against Seckman High School. ELI MILLNER | PHOTOGRAPHER

the harder you work the better you will be. It is difficult to be naturally good at volleyball, so dedication really shows when you play on the court,” Markenson said. “Every time I make a good play or a good pass, all I want to do is make the next one better. It is the progress that really drives me to improve. That feeling you get when you get an awesome dig or kill is incomparable to anything else.” Through her years playing volleyball at CHS, Markenson has learned a lot about the sport. “I have learned that it is very important to re-

“Every time I make a good play or a good pass, all I want to do is make the next one better. It is the progress that really drives me to improve. That feeling when you get an awsome dig or kill is incomparable to anything else.” main calm when on the court. Being able to calm yourself down during a match is an immensely important skill, and it can make all the difference when playing during a stressful match,” Markenson said. Volleyball has not only caused Markenson to change as a player, but to change as a person also. “Volleyball has forced me to come out of my shell and be loud when I have to be,” Markenson said. Although her time playing volleyball at CHS is almost up, Markenson plans to continue playing volleyball in college for her school club team. “[While] academics are extremely important to me, volleyball is an amazing outlet for stress and allows me to make connections with people that I would never connect with otherwise. I couldn’t imagine giving up this sport,” Markenson said.


gelzer going all the way Boys’ cross country captain George Gelzer gears up for the rest of the running season ahead. JIMMY MALONE | SPORTS SECTION EDITOR “During a race, all I think about is how I can get out of running,” said senior cross country captain George Gelzer. “But then I see my coaches and teammates cheering for me and I push myself to finish.” As the boys’ cross country captain, Gelzer leads the varsity team on runs of up to 11 miles during practice in preparation for races. Every cross country meet consists of a 5k race between the top seven runners from schools across the region. “As a freshman on varsity I ran around a 19 minute 5k,” said Gelzer. “Now I run more like 16 minutes. Before a race, I’ll drink two Gatorades and not eat anything, that’s all I do.” Gelzer has established himself as one of the fastest runners in the state, earning all-state honors as a junior. “The state race last year was a really hard race because it was raining and really muddy,” said Gelzer. “At the finish, I was right next to a runner from Burroughs. I elbowed him out of the way and finished in 25th, which was the all-state cutoff.” Gelzer attributes much of his success to those around him. His sister, Mary Kate Gelzer, was the girls’ cross country captain when George was a freshman. “My sister made me join the team freshman year because I wasn’t doing a fall sport,” said Gelzer. “I didn’t give that much effort in freshman year, but I found out I actually liked doing it and started really trying as a sophomore.” Like her younger brother, Mary Kate was also a varsity runner for all four years of her cross country career. She values the time that she and George spent as

George Gelzer racing in the Lutheran North Invitational. ANNIKA SANDQUIST | PHOTOGRAPHER

teammates, and continues to keep track of George’s progress as a runner, even after graduating. “Our interest in running was something we always had in common,” said Mary Kate. “Even though I am away at school, my Dad sends updates and action shots after every race. It has been great to see how over the past couple years he has continued to get faster and become a true team leader on the team.” Similar to his sister, Gelzer’s parents have supported him throughout his journey as a runner. “My parents are always there to cheer me on,” said Gelzer. “No matter what sport I play, they are always there to watch me.” Cross country coach James Crowe is another one of Gelzer’s biggest motivators. “Coach Crowe has trained me for the last four years,” said Gelzer. “He tells me how to run. He’s really knowledgeable and knows all there is about running.” In addition to cross country, Gelzer is also the captain of the track and field team. He has received interest from colleges to continue his career as a cross country runner, however, he has not made any commitments yet. No matter what Gelzer decides to do, he sees running as a major part of his life. “If I don’t run in college, I’ll probably run on a club team.” said Gelzer. “But I think I’ll keep running no matter what, just to stay in shape.” After winning the team’s most recent race, Gelzer became the conference champion. As Gelzer finishes his final year on the cross country team, he hopes to win the state race in his class.


greyhound time: a podcast A new podcast created by CHS seniors Jimmy Malone and Armon Seraji hopes to bring more excitment to Clayton athletics. RUTHIE PIERSON | PAGE EDITOR DISHA CHATTERJEE | FEATURE SECTION EDITOR

Malone and Seraji recording an episode of Greyhound Time. SAM WILSON | PHOTOGRAPHER If you’ve ever been to a Clayton sports game, you may have noticed empty rows on the bleachers or a relatively sparse turnout. Undeniably, Clayton has often lacked in the athletic enthusiasm department, and it’s a problem administrators, especially new athletic director Steve Hutson, are seeking to remedy this year with efforts such as an app incentivizing attendance at events and recruiting members of existing clubs for a devoted student section. However, seniors Jimmy Malone and Armon Seraji may have discovered an additional solution-- a promising new podcast dedicated to all things Clayton athletics. The two were inspired to create the podcast for a Catalyst class project. They realized it would be an effective way for them to do something they enjoyed, talk about sports, as well as work with Coach Hutson to help ramp up schoolwide excitement. “We realized people weren’t that excited about [sports] in the first place because they didn’t always know when things were happening and when games were happening,” Seraji said.

After the pair received the money they needed through an investment, they bought a podcast recording set. They use their microphones to record and GarageBand to edit. The finished version is then posted to various platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Creating each episode requires time and effort. The average time to record an episode is around forty-five minutes, but when multiple guests are featured, they usually span it out over a few days, since they have to work with athletes’ schedules to fit them in whenever they can. “If it’s just us two, it’ll usually take thirty or forty-five minutes just for us to talk, but a little bit longer when we have a guest,” Malone said. Despite only recently starting, they’ve already featured several athletes on the podcast, all seniors with the exception of junior football player Ozzie Keil. However, they hope to expand the guest list far beyond simply senior athletes. “We actually have an interview with Mr. Hutson, different administrators and coaches throughout Clayton, and then even more, so we really want to try and focus on certain alumni,”

Seraji said. As Greyhound Time is rapidly gaining more presence, the duo hopes to continue growing the podcast. One strategy they’ve already started to use is pushing out more content per week. “We actually met with someone who gave us a little bit of advice on how we could expand it and make it grow more. One of the things they suggested and we’re starting to do this week was recording two episodes a week, so we’re going to be doing two episodes a week, we’re going to be posting more on the Instagram, doing different kinds of events at different athletic events... honestly, I think it’s just a matter of doing more and doing everything we’re doing now but at a larger scale,” Seraji said. Aside from the actual episodes, Greyhound Time has an Instagram account where they regularly post updates about upcoming episodes and brief interviews, usually after soccer games. One humorous video on their page that gained over five hundred views was an interview after the Clayton-Ladue soccer game, featuring interviewee and goal scorer Ben Brewer narrowly avoiding

33 an ice shower from his fellow teammates. As Seraji and Malone plan to expand Greyhound Time’s Instagram as well, they want to do the interviews usually done after soccer games at different sports, and feature different athletic events. They’ve also started brainstorming different methods of expansion, like selling merchandise. “We want to eventually expand out of just doing the podcast, so that could be merch for Clayton sports, [content] on the Instagram like different kinds of videos,” Malone said. The only issue facing the bright future of the podcast is the question of who will be hosting it next year. Malone and Seraji are both seniors, so before they graduate, they hope to task someone with the responsibility of keeping Greyhound Time alive after they leave. “We kind of realized that this is a one-year thing for us, so we want to make sure that we put the podcast in some good hands for the next school year. Hopefully we continue this tradition on and hopefully make it even better than we could ever do it,” Seraji said.

The official Greyhound Time logo drawn by CHS senior Hunter Chesnutt Perry. HUNTER CHESNUTT PERRY | ARTIST

New history teacher Danielle DuHadway is coming to Clayton with several years of experience. GRACE SNELLING | PHOTOGRAPHER



freddy’s frozen custard and steakburgers A beloved chain around the nation has come to St. Louis to make its mark.


Wall present in all of the Freddy’s locations features the inspiration for the chain, Freddy Simon, a WWII veteran. ELLAYNA FRENCH | PHOTOGRAPHER Upon first walking in, Freddy’s Frozen Shake Shack, though, we were very pleased with father and World War II veteran, Freddy Simon. the price. Custard and Steakburgers almost resembled a The restaurant was based around the idea of Although the burger was good, the fries were modernized Steak n Shake, a midwestern staple. making home-cooked meals for everyone across our favorite part of the meal. Thin, crispy and Its vibrant red and white colors pop to give the the US. With more than 300 locations nationwide, shoestring, they set the meal apart in our minds. feel of a modern diner. The loud music hit as this chain is beloved by many, and it is easy to see soon the doors closed, why. and we were captured The combination of a by the ambiance of the rich history and beloved restaurant. customers is what disThe combination of a rich history and beloved We each ordered a tinguishes Freddy’s from customers is what distinguishes Freddy’s from meal of a steakburger and your average burger joint. fries, which cost $6.50. Learning the backstory alyour average burger joint. However, we had the most makes the restaurant option of getting a combo more compelling. Just by meal, which involves a going there, you feel like single steakburger, fries you are making a contribuand a drink. The cost was reasonable for the Fries alone cost only two dollars. tion to continuing family tradition. The only issue for us was location. If this amount of food we got. The burger itself was thin St. Louis opened its location in 2018 and it and had the perfect amount of crispiness without restaurant were in Clayton, Brentwood or Richhas quickly become a favorite of people of all mond Heights, it would be easily accessible for being too dry. ages all around the city. Freddy’s is a popular spot The food was comparable to that of many CHS students. However, this was easily a fifteen for students that go to schools like MICDS and popular fast food restaurants, even some like minute drive away, closer to twenty with traffic. Ladue, which are much closer. We would highly Shake Shack or In N’ Out Burger, a very popular Freddy’s was founded in 2002 by two brothers recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, and their friend and named after the brothers’ burger stop on the west coast. Compared to cheap bite or a great place to hang out.


eating the impossible

Impossible Foods intends to reduce the negative environmental effects of the meat industry with their new meat substitute. But how does it compare to real meat? CHLOE CREIGHTON | REPORTER

A burger made using Impossible Foods’ meat substitute. Photo from Mariah Tauger Two million years ago, humans began eating meat. We carved weapons from hunks of wood and shards of rock to hunt. We learned to harness fire to cook our kill. Even after all this time, meat has remained in our lives. Pre-cut strips of bacon sizzle on modern-day stovetops, turkey cooks in our ovens in honey-glazed convenience. But now, it is time for a new evolution in the relation between man and meat—and it may seem impossible. Founded in 2011, Impossible Foods is a company devoted to creating plant-based substitutes for meat. Their mission is to “Save meat. And Earth.” Saving meat may sound like a strange goal for a meat-substitute company, but Impossible Foods does not want to save the primitive process of killing animals, but rather the experiences that center around meat. They believe the magic of neighborhood barbeques and Thanksgiving dinner can exist without dishing out dead animals. If the same texture and flavor can be created with plants, why would we continue to eat meat? Impossible Foods aims to provide all the benefits of meat without the damage to the environment caused by livestock farming: deforestation, declines in biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. According to the company’s website, a single Impossible Burger requires 96% less land, 87% less water and 89% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a burger made from beef. Many meat-eaters fear a long list of strange

chemicals and menacing GMOs, but the recipe is simple. The burger includes potato and soy for protein and coconut and sunflower oils for fat. The meat flavor comes from heme. Heme is a basic molecule that exists in every living thing. Impossible Foods derives the molecule from genetically engineered yeast. Though genetically modified plants are used to make the burger, there is no evidence that suggests they are harmful. Critics that refuse to eat an “unnatural product” should remember that cows are pumped full of medicines and supplements before sizzling on grills. Many fast food chains have scrambled to get in on the Impossible. After performing a review process with a wide variety of consumers, Red Robin added the burger to the menu. “It was important for us to offer a new meatless option that appeals to traditional burger eaters,” said Noah Stanley-Huff, Red Robin’s Guest Relations Specialist. The addition of the Impossible Burger is not only to satisfy vegetarians, but to encourage others to eat less meat. Burger King also picked up the Impossible Burger. The company began selling the burger in St. Louis, and the test-market was so successful the burger is now offered at locations across the nation. A devoted meat-eater may claim meat is essential for getting enough protein, but a single Impossible Whopper is 630 calories with 25 g protein, closely matching the regular 660 cal, 28 g

protein of the beef Whopper. With the Impossible Whopper’s flame-grilled patty, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onion and ketchup, the difference is hardly noticeable. White Castle also introduced an Impossible slider. In a taste test of both the Impossible slider and the veggie slider, the veggie slider more closely reflected what the carnivorous fear: thin, green, with a taste and consistency similar to hash browns, not sizing up too well against the classic beef slider, though it was similar in price. The Impossible slider, on the other hand, had the same taste and a very similar consistency to beef. Meat-eaters may think that meat substitutes are all vomit-colored mush, but this isn’t the case. The Impossible Burger has the same grilled exterior of any beef burger, the same pink inside, same texture, and same flavor. Several upscale restaurants have adopted and elevated the Impossible Burger with the addition of fresh and unique ingredients. Layla, located on Manchester Avenue, was praised for its Unicorn burger in Sauce magazine. The burger is served on a pretzel bun, topped with lettuce, jalepeños, pico de gallo, and a cashew red pepper sauce. Frida’s Impossible Burger was also written up, featuring organic arugula, grilled onion, white cheddar, tomato and a buffalo mustard on a toasted ciabatta bun. Burgers are not the only food that can be made with Impossible Foods’ product. Qdoba provides a spiced version of the meat substitute as an option for bowls, tacos, and burritos. Impossible Foods’ website also lists a wide variety of recipes, including larb, skewers, gyros, meatballs, and lasagna. Anything you can do with regular beef, you can do with Impossible’s product. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting E. coli when working with raw meat. Whether you want to eat out at a nice restaurant, prepare a meal at home, or grab a burger on the go, the Impossible Burger is an excellent option. The burger has all the flavor, texture, appearance, and protein of a beef burger, but is much more environmentally friendly. Why be controlled by two-million-year-old methods? The Impossible Burger is an innovation beyond the savage practice of killing animals, beyond deforestation and pollution. Saving our planet may seem out of reach, too large a task. How could any one person make a difference? Well, next time you want to eat a burger, just remember: The Impossible awaits.


ai weiwei

Ai Weiwei, an avant-garde Chinese artist and social activist, recently opened an exhibition in St. Louis at Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. THOMAS GUSTAFSON | REPORTER JUNYI SU | PAGE EDITOR

Ai Weiwei in 2009 Photo by Andy Miah

Not many people are braver than someone who directly curses an unfair government that is not afraid to use their power violently. Such a person exists, and he visited St. Louis. And you can see his artistic work at the Kemper Art Museum in Washington University. For free. The “Bare Life” exhibition at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in Washington University. Ai Weiwei is an internationally known dissident artist and activist from China. With over 350,000 Twitter followers and 548,000 followers on Instagram, Ai Weiwei is very active on social media and is not afraid to voice his discontent. “I’m always interested in art which is interesting and challenging as art, but at the same time also voices political and social issues,” said Dr. Sabine Eckmann, Director and Chief Curator of the Kemper Art Museum, where Ai’s exhibit is installed. Ai has a long-standing history with the Chinese government. He has been arrested, beaten by police and put under surveillance. He’s even had his studio bulldozed on fabricated charges. Yet, he continues to fight the authoritarian power system in China.

the foreigners and become purely [Communist] party propaganda.” At the exhibit, there are photos of the construction of the stadium, also known as the “Bird’s Nest,” as well as much newer works of his, including a fully immersive monument titled “Through,” which consists of Qing Dynasty tables, beams and pillars that intersect and form a sculpture in which visitors can walk in and explore. “Many exhibitions of artwork you go into the

exhibition and just look at something static. This exhibition is more experiential,” Eckmann said. By taking ancient pieces of destroyed furniture and repurposing them into something new, Ai criticizes how the Chinese government destroyed traditional aspects of Chinese culture during the Cultural Revolution and continues to destroy historic villages for urbanization. “He was trying to show that the cultural traditions in China do matter and that they should not just be discarded,” Eckmann added. In a hall covered in wallpaper depicting the urbanization and demolition of old buildings in China, there is an ancient vase that Ai vandalized

Ai is always documenting his surroundings. “He has always had this awareness that he’s going to record what’s going on around him in the environment and with himself,” said CHS Chinese teacher Hongling Zhang. Perhaps Ai’s contempt for social inequality comes from his father, Ai Qing, who was an extremely well known poet in Chinese society during the time of the Cultural Revolution, when he was exiled to Northeastern China during the Anti-Rightist Movement. Now, the artist himself is exiled from China entirely. Ai’s biggest claim to fame might arise from his work in designing the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics as a collaboration with Swiss architecture firm Herzog & deMeuron; however, Ai became disillusioned with the way the Chinese government was treating the Olympics and ultimately boycotted the Olympic Games altogether. In a 2012 documentary about Ai titled “Never Sorry,” he said, “I’m not for a kind of Olympics where they’re forcing immigrants out of the city [and] tell[ing] the ordinary citizens they should not participate, but to just make a fake smile for

Ai Weiwei’s “Through” Photo by Thomas Gustafson

by painting the Coca-Cola logo on it, as well as an image of Ai dropping a Han dynasty urn. Although his own destruction of ancient objects may seem hypocritical, Ai attracts attention to the fact that although people make a big deal of him damaging priceless historical artifacts, that is what the Chinese government does every day on a large scale. Eckmann notes, “the theme of that gallery is to show that the present situation is disconnected from the past and also from the future, so that traditions have been shattered.” What could better embody this complex

Ai Weiwei’s “Coca-Cola Vase” Photo by Junyi Su

37 dichotomy than an old vase with a modern company’s logo painted on it? Ai experiments with societal boundaries. In his exhibit there are pictures of him flipping off Tiananmen Square and the White House, along

Ai Weiwei’s ‘Study of Perspective” Photo by Junyi Su

“He challenges the boundaries of your perspective... All of his artworks are very impressive. Whether you like it or not, you will remember it.” -Hongling Zhang

covering two out of four walls depicting war, protests, refugees and death. Filling the room are painted tear gas canisters, inner tube life buoys and TV screens showing Ai Weiwei’s visit to a refugee camp in Greece. Although Ai’s work sometimes seems vague or avant-garde, it always has a deeper meaning. Take his work surrounding his inquiries into the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. When the government did not release the names of over 5,000 students who died due to poorly built schools, Ai conducted a “citizens’ investigation” where he and volunteers gathered the names of the student victims. The exhibit not only includes the letters from government officials responding to Ai’s investigation, but there are caskets made of Ming and Qing dynasty huali wood which contain bent rebar salvaged from the schools that collapsed in the earthquake. With this piece, not only does Ai memorialize the children and criticize the weak government-built buildings, but he also uses ancient and rare wood which relates the catastrophic earthquake to the complex history of

Ai Weiwei’s “Bombs” Photo by Junyi Su

with a wall of middle fingers arranged in different configurations. “He is very much in your face. He challenges the boundaries of your perspective… All of his artworks are very impressive. Whether you like it or not, you will remember it,” Zhang said. Ai also denounces war and death, especially in terms of the refugee crisis. In sight upon entering the exhibit is a 1,830-square foot wallpaper mural depicting fullscale bombs, from grenades to nuclear missiles, which not only captivates the viewer, but also instills fear of the sheer destructive potential war weapons have. The second exhibit room holds a wallpaper epic drawn in an ancient Greek style

demolition and weak urbanization that plagues China. And in a time of political turmoil, with governments on trial, demonstrations in Hong Kong and a massive refugee crisis, Ai’s messages become increasingly relevant. As Eckmann said, people should see Ai because “his art is not only visualizing creativity… or artistic currents, but because it is visualizing human rights violations… Ai Weiwei is giving voice to people, and just as human beings, I think that it is very important to be aware of that and to care about other human beings who are not as lucky as we are.” “If we don’t push, there’s nothing happening,” said Ai Weiwei. Now is the time to push the system and make something happen.



A modern Pan-Indian restaurant in the Delmar Loop SONALI DAYAL | REPORTER

Chicken 65 Beluze, a chicken dish stir-fried with curry leaves, peppers and yogurt. Photo from Feast Magazine At first glance, Turmeric appears as a traditional Indian restaurant, but after walking in, the huge bar and bright colors make it appear very modern. The menu and just about everything else about the restaurant makes it different from any other traditional Indian restaurant that can be found in the St. Louis area. The new Pan-Indian restaurant, located on the Loop at 6679 Delmar Boulevard, is focused on bringing the community Indian food with a twist. Upon entering the restaurant, patrons get a sense of warmth from orange colors of the walls and dimly lit space. The walls are decorated with modern interpretations of Hindu culture, as well as four bare grey trees that jut out from the wall over the underlying booths. The trees were originally installed by and used in the previous restaurant that occupied the space, Publico. The main focus of the restaurant is the central bar which takes up about half of the total space. The bar serves as another area at which customers can order and eat their food. The vibe of Turmeric is upbeat and fun. All

of the tables and most of the bar stools were occupied by 7pm on a Thursday night. According to the restaurant’s owner, Ranjul Dayal, this was a slow evening. “Thursday, Friday, Saturday [are] busy. So, we [have been] open for just two months, and we got really good support from the community.” The single-fold menu consists of food from a variety of areas in India. While most Indian restaurants serve either North or South Indian food, Turmeric’s menu encompassess both regions. The menu was divided into small plates, mid courses, entrees, turmeric creations, breads, rice and biryani, dips and pickles and desserts. I opted to try some traditional North Indian dishes. Since my family is from there, that is what I have been exposed to. I ordered two small plates, two entrees and dessert. First, I tried out the kale and spinach chaat. This is a dish where kale and spinach were flash-fried and then covered with chickpeas, pasta quills, prosciutto, truffle butter all drizzled with a light yogurt cream, mint and tamarind chutneys. Traditionally, chaat is vegetarian and does not have spinach or kale

so this was unexpectedly delightful. The dish was beautifully presented with the cream and chutneys delicately drizzled on top. I also ordered the cocktail samosas, which was another small plate. The bite-sized-ness of these spicy potato stuffed pastries made this dish lovable. Traditionally, samosas are at least 3 inches wide but these were half the size. For the main course, I ordered chicken biryani and paneer butter masala. These dishes were made and served in a traditional style. Biryani is a rice dish in which a meat or vegetable is cooked simultaneously with the rice so the flavor is infused into both the rice and the meat/vegetable. Biryani is a comfort food for me and I was excited to see it on the menu. The flavors were a fantastic blend of spiciness and flavor which were offset by raita, a yogurt sauce with sliced cucumber and pomegranate. I could not taste the hot pepper until after each bite was swallowed, a typical characteristic of Indian food. The biryani’s taste made my tastebuds ecstatic. Paneer butter masala is a dish made of homemade pressed cottage cheese cubes marinated in a creamy tomato curry. The texture of the paneer was silky however the curry was relatively sweet, which is not my personal preference. The last part of my meal was dessert, something that I was looking forward to. I ordered the double ka meeta, which is a Indian style bread pudding flavored with saffron, pistachio and almond sauce. Whipped cream and maraschino cherries decorated its edges. It was rich in texture and was a delicate blend of almond and pistachio. In addition to the meerta, the dishes were presented in a beautiful, unconventional way modern dishes and plating techniques were used with multiple colors, shapes and textures. In the middle of my meal, I was able to ask one of the owners about the inspiration for Turmeric. ‘We want[ed] to bring Indian food with a twist, which is different from other traditional Indian restaurants,” he said. When I asked him if he had any experience in the restaurant business, he jokingly replied, “No, we have experience of eating good food.” Service, in general, was wonderful. The wait staff were attentive, welcoming, warm and efficient. Turmeric is a fantastic addition to the Delmar Loop. It is unique as it adds a twist to traditional Indian food with traditional dishes being made and presented in modern ways. For a change of pace, consider visiting Turmeric in the near future. You won’t be disappointed.


bolyard’s meat and provisions A butcher shop serving sustainable, high-quality meats


Bolyard’s Meat and Provisions in Maplewood sells delicious pasture-raised meats. ELIA RIOS | PHOTOGRAPHER Bolyard's Meat and Provisions is not your ordinary butcher shop. When you walk into the store in Maplewood, it feels trendy and inviting, yet traditional. However, that is not the only thing that is unique about Bolyard's. Bolyard’s is commited to providing meat that comes from animals who are humanely and sustainably pasture raised on local farms. They employ sustainable business practices, such as using all parts of the animal. In the age of climate change, a shop like Bolyard's is critical. Meat from the grocery store is often produced in factory farms where animals are kept in inhumane conditions. Production of meat releases massive amounts of CO2. However, at Bolyard's, this is not the case. “We make a point to visit all the farms we work with and all the processing facilities so we know what's happening every step of the way. It's important to us that all the animals spend their entire lives on pasture in the most natural setting possible. That they live as they're supposed to" said Chris Bolyard, who co-owns the store with his wife, Abbie. By using the whole animal, Bolyard's can offer far more cuts of meat than a typical butcher. Customers can call in for any custom cut, from rib

eyes to pig's feet. While it may seem they only offer expensive cuts of meat, Bolyard's is more than willing to educate customers on more economical cuts, which typically are not sold in other places, and will teach customers how to use them. "Everything comes from a local farm, everything is always fresh, and it always comes in as a whole animal" explained Bolyard. "That creates a level of sustainability. The idea is not to waste anything. It’s out of respect for the animal. Purchasing the whole animal allows us to have all these various cuts at our fingertips. It's fun for us to show people cuts they've never heard of, and sometimes they can be less expensive than cuts everyone knows about." Bolyard's sells not only high-quality meat, but also fresh sausages, deli meats, charcuterie, meatballs, broths, stocks, fermented vegetables and even soap. They make these items to use every part of the animal. As their business evolved, delicious sandwiches were added to the menu to bring in day time traffic. Customers enjoyed them so much a staff member was added to manage sandwich orders. One of their sandwiches, 'The Schwag,' is made with house-made braunschweiger, pickled

mustard seed aioli, red onion, local arugula and bread from a local bakery, Great Harvest. The 'Feisty Bull,' which contains pulled beef, spicy z' hug sauce, local cheese and Companion Bread, is another popular offering. Adding to their ready-made food menu, on Tuesday and Thursday nights, Bolyard's offers local responsibly raised prepared meals. On Tuesdays, customers can find pasture-raised oven-roasted chicken coated in lemon, garlic and herbs. On Thursday nights, they serve a ‘smoke out menu.’ Although the meat selection changes weekly, they always sell house-made buttermilk biscuits and sides of local produce. In fact, their buttermilk biscuits sold so well that now, on Saturdays, they offer biscuits and sausage gravy and breakfast biscuit sandwiches. Whether it is some of the best sandwiches in St. Louis, a delicious breakfast, a tasty prepared weeknight meal or incredible sustainably raised high-quality meat, Bolyard's has you covered. Patrons can not only enjoy delectable food but feel comfortable knowing where it came from. Bolyard's is the perfect stop for meat, provisions or even your holiday turkey.


tall girl Reporter Hannah Do reviews “Tall Girl,” a newly released Netflix original. HANNAH DO | REPORTER

Ava Michelle (Jodi) and Luke Eisner (Stig) in Tall Girl. (Scott Saltzman/Netflix) “You think your life is hard? I’m a high school junior wearing size 13 Nikes. Men’s Nikes. Beat that.” This is the opening line of “Tall Girl,” released on September 13, 2019. “Tall Girl” is a romcom film starring Ava Michelle and directed by Nzingha Stewart. Many might also recognize Angela Kinsey from ‘The Office” and Sabrina Carpenter. The film is about a teenage girl, Jodi, in her high school junior year, facing obstacles from her height: 6’1.” Jodi has always dreamt of a tall guy to show up in her life. This is when Stig, an exchange student from Sweden, appears. Most girls swoon over him, including Jodi, and she becomes willing to ditch her friends for him. While Stig starts hanging out with the popular girl Kimmy, Jodi’s friend Jack Dunkleman is jealous that Jodi chose Stig over him. As the movie continues, we see that Jodi improves as a person and learns about her true self as she experiences a love triangle between Jack and Stig. Although “Tall Girl” teaches children and adolescents about accepting themselves for who they are, the movie has several flaws. In many instances, the scenes and quotes were very predictable. The plot and turn of events were unoriginal and unrealistic. As soon as Jack Dunkleman, Jodi’s friend, says, “You think that at any moment, some taller-than-you, funny, intelligent, nice, perfect guy is just gonna walk through that

door?” Stig walks in and, of course, he fits the description perfectly. Throughout the movie, the cinematography was amateur. The film makes Jodi seem 8’1” instead of 6’1”. On the main movie poster, there is an unbelievably large height difference between Jodi and her sister Harper (played by Sabrina Carpenter). Jodi seems like she is at least two feet taller, when in reality, Sabrina Carpenter is five feet tall. In addition, the actor that plays the role of Stig, Luke Eisner, isn’t even Swedish; he was born in Wisconsin and is American. In a BUILD interview, Eisner said that he “mastered” his Swedish accent by studying Avicii, a Swedish DJ. CHS students have described the movie as “cheesy” and “too cliché” because of the classic love triangle story. The opening line of the movie, specifically, has caught everyone’s attention. Tik Toks have been made using the audio of this starting line. The initial dialogue of any movie is meant to be the hook, the attention getter. However, this film seems to be drawing a lot of negative attention. Many students feel like the film disregards more significant problems that high schoolers might face. “I think that there are way worse things. There are people impoverished, there are people suffering from way more, and the fact that Netflix is like, ‘Jodis only personality trait shown is her height. This makes her character fall flat, and made me lose interest,” said Isabella Bamnolker, a

freshman at CHS. An anonymous Twitter user posted, “As a girl who has been 6’0 tall since I was 12, I can attest to the fact that being a tall girl sucks, BUT in no way does being tall makes me a part of a minority group that is discriminated against.” The plot of the movie is understandable, however. I think that every person has at least one insecurity, and making this the focus of a teen movie is a bold move. Nevertheless, there are numerous popular movies that have similar plots. In addition, I felt as if the plot line was exaggerated at several points throughout the film, making it seem incredibly unrealistic. In one such instance, Jack Dunkleman’s family conveniently happens to be Stig’s host family. What are the chances that Stig, the perfect exchange student, starts dating the “popular” girl, wins over everyone’s hearts, and is staying with Jack, the one guy that dislikes him? None. Despite its many flaws, I would recommend the movie to middle schoolers, who are just starting to navigate their identities. The movie is PG, so it would be a movie to consider watching with family or friends for some comedy and romance to kill time. However, many will find some situations of the film, like the beginning line, offensive and ignorant. It would be ideal to choose a film more accepting and understanding of the many problems that exist in the world we live in today.


love, the globe a column VICTORIA FAN | REPORTER

Shrimp dumplings from Tim Ho Wan in Irvine on Thursday, July 26, 2019. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times) “May we live long and share the beauty of the moon together, even if we are hundreds of miles apart,” the Chinese poet Su Shi wrote during a Mid-Autumn Festival thousands of years ago. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a day for eating sweet mooncakes filled with sesame, flying Kongming lanterns covered in your wishes and appreciating the full moon with a cup of Longjing green tea. Rice balls with non-alcoholic wine accompanied honey lotus root that was always on the dinner table along with osmanthus during those festive days. Once my favorite parts of the annual celebration was picking osmanthus flower with my Grandma necessary to make those dishes. I remember my Grandma sporting her handmade straw hat, cradling a basket under her arm as she took me and my cousin out to pick osmanthus blossoms. We would race to the two osmanthus trees hidden inside the woods. Once we caught a whiff of the blossoms, we knew we were near the trees. From a distance, the trees look like any other, but when you look carefully, you could find small yellow flowers gathered together, like gold hidden in the leaves. Most of the time, our grandma would collect

the osmanthus blossoms by herself. My cousin and I were easily distracted by the chickens and ducks walking by, or even by a passing butterfly. When we got tired, we would enjoy the refreshing smell of the osmanthus and beg Grandma to tell us legends related to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Her favorite tale to tell was, “Wu Gang Chopping the Laurel Tree”. The story went like this: Long ago, there was a village called Xianning, where a third of the population died due to a plague. One day, a brave young man named Wu Gang was returning to his village for the Mid-Autumn Festival. For the past few days, he had been searching for medicine for his neighbors. Along the way, through the clouds in the moon palace where the Lord of Heaven lived, he noticed a tree with golden flowers. Impressed, Wu Gang realized that the tree was an osmanthus tree. He remembered a saying that the mixture of osmanthus flowers with water would be able to cure all illnesses. He shook the tree and the flowers fell into the river, dying it gold. As he predicted, the plague in the village was controlled. But the story doesn’t end here. When the Lord of Heaven heard of this, he

sent Wu Gang to the moon to chop down the self-healing osmanthus tree. The Lord of Heaven was not angry with him. Instead, he was pleased with what Wu Gang has done. However, he could not make any exceptions for anyone that took things from the palace without his permission. So, he honored the osmanthus blossoms that flew down from the tree, and allowed them to belong to the villagers. My cousin and I relished in my grandmother’s tale -- the osmanthus flower a shared memory of our time in China. Before I came to the United States, I could never have known that those memories of picking flowers would become so precious to me. Even the howling stray dogs at night, the quarrelsome neighbors next door and the endless line waiting to buy breakfast on Saturday mornings all became nostalgic reminiscences. Now in the US, it’s impossible for me to taste the dishes made by Grandma using osmanthus, and I can no longer pick the flowers with her. However, the memories we shared have become a strong osmanthus fragrance in my life, like the moon that connects me to my family although we are hundreds of miles apart.

CAUGHT UP IN CLIMATE CHANGE. Protesters rally towards Moscone Center in San Francisco, where the Global Climate Action Summit was held on Sept. 13, 2018. Photo by Gina Ferazzi (Los Angeles Times/TNS) VIVIAN CHEN | PAGE EDITOR

43 Everyone looks forward to popsicle day in cross country, when our coaches lug around a huge white cooler full of thin fruit popsicles. The team devours the whole cooler in minutes as they chat and enjoy the cool-down after a sweaty and difficult practice. During this time, I regularly see my teammates slurping down the frozen dessert and proceeding to toss the stained sticks over their shoulders, not looking back to see if the stick even made it into the trash can. And very frequently, popsicle sticks are left littered on the ground as people begin to pick up their backpacks and head home. Erica Schuppan is a janitor at CHS, making her a first-hand witness of the wastefulness of CHS students. “I think they can be more attentive towards what they try to recycle, because sometimes they throw food in the recycling cans,” Schuppan said. “I notice that students also leave a lot of personal items, and [they don’t really] come back for them.” But CHS students have not been silent on the issue of climate change either. On September 20th, a group of students gathered at City Hall in downtown St. Louis to listen to speakers and march through the streets. Another strike was organized on September 27th outside of the high school. But do the majority of CHS kids really care about the environment? Every day, I use the restroom twice in school. And every single day, I witness students mindlessly pressing the paper towel dispenser again, again and again, until they’re tearing off a sheet of paper towel that is about one and a half feet long. These immense amounts of paper towels used every day are incredibly unnecessary and excessive. 51,000 trees are cut down each day to produce paper towels for North America alone. When these paper products decompose, they also produce methane gas, which is a major cause of global warming. If everyone in our school could simply cut down on the number of paper towels they used, how much waste could we prevent from going into the landfill? The people who are attempting to recycle are being undermined. Many high school students have begun joking about people trying hard to recycle or use reusable items, labeling them as “VSCO girls”. Hearing someone say “save the turtles” now makes many people think of memes about girls wearing tens of scrunchies and waving around metal straws rather than a movement to protect one of the world’s most critically endangered species. These jokes can be funny, but they’re beginning to take away the meaning and significance of actual pressing issues. So maybe it’s time to stop. Many people argue that it’s unimportant for us ordinary people to pay attention to our lifestyles since the issue mainly stems from factories and their wasteful habits. However, the EPA

Ella Ferguson speaks at CHS climate change protest. ELLA CUNEO | PHOTOGRAPHER released statistics in 2017 showing that only 22 percent of the total US greenhouse gas emissions were from industries. The other big chunks of the pie chart were from transportation (29 percent) and electricity (28 percent). While industries do contribute huge amounts to the climate change issue in our country, so do we and our lifestyles. We often get so caught up in criticizing the prominent leaders of the world that we forget to address our own problems. How many of us could begin biking to school instead of driving? How difficult would it be for us to start bringing a reusable water bottle to school instead of buying bottled water from the vending machines? Instead of worrying about how “pretty” our homework assignments and classwork look, couldn’t we start using scratch paper instead of stacks of looseleaf every year? As busy Clayton students, we frequently make our own convenience our top

priority without paying any thought to the ways our actions could harm others and the earth. In the month of January, Greta Thunberg spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. “I think it is insane that people are gathered here to talk about the climate and they arrive here in private jets,” Thunberg said. And this applies not only to big politicians, but to young people as well. It’s true that we need to focus on the big things, like the politicians leading our country denying the issues at hand and ludicrous claims of “clean coal”. These things all play big roles in the deteriorating state of our planet, and it’s inspiring to see young students taking initiative and actively pursuing change. However, we are also guilty. Protests and strikes are meaningful, but so are changes to our own lifestyles.


pro: nextdoor Nextdoor, a social networking service for neighborhoods, has gained traction in Clayton. SERAPHINA CORBO | REPORTER MAX KELLER | PAGE EDITOR Communities are essential for society. Big or small, they allow people to connect and share experiences. People have communities at work, in their school or at a local coffee shop. There has always been one community; however, that has been the most common and often the strongest community in America: the neighborhood. Neighbors can be someone’s first friends when they move to a new town. Neighborhoods Barbeques and parties solidify local friendships that can last the rest of a person’s life. However, neighborhoods and their communities are changing. The Internet and other technological advancements have allowed people to form communities around the globe, which deemphasized the need for a strong neighborhood community. But that doesn’t mean that the neighborhood is completely destroyed. These same technological advancements can provide a new platform in which a local community can now live and grow. Nextdoor is a social networking app that can allow people to create local communities online and communicate with people nearby. There is already a large Nextdoor community that has formed in Clayton. While the app has some rough patches, the ability for people to communicate online has created an excellent platform that is improving the lives of many local Clayton residents. While the Nextdoor app is a great place for people to connect with each other, it also fosters elements that can be bad for a community. Sometimes users of Nextdoor can get political, but these conversations are often more polite and

Nextdoor app logo

civilized than on sites such as Facebook, since Nextdoor is less anonymous. People are often kinder when they know that they are speaking to their neighbors or people that they know. On any form of social media there are quarrels and less than savory people, but Nextdoor is undoubtedly on the lesser end of this scale. As with any social media platform, things are sometimes said that would not be said in person. While this definitely isn’t true for everyone on the app, it’s not hard to find conversations between people where minor issues are quickly escalated into big problems. Events like circling helicopters or a strange man walking through a neighborhood can quickly spark panic and wild assumptions by users. The first thing that can be seen on the Nextdoor app is people giving advice or offering services. Residents can offer or ask for recommendations for goods and services including, but certainly not limited to: babysitting, selling or buying items, lawn mowing, jobs for teens and tutors. Nextdoor is also useful for warning residents about lost pets, burglaries, suspicious night critters and possible gunshots heard. Even seemingly strange questions that are asked on Nextdoor often receive at least several informative responses. For example, a woman asked for advice on the correct sizing and placement of bat houses and received many helpful responses from people who were knowledgeable on the subject. Now, people in need of assistance can post their question and get an answer from anyone in the community. This is not only a huge convenience for the people that are asking for help but also a great way for people to assist those in their community and strengthen local bonds between neighbors. In addition, Nextdoor is not a company that works to make a profit. Companies such as Angie’s List are becoming more corrupt, and users have been pressured into giving positive reviews on goods and services so that the seller gets high reviews and more customers. Companies have to pay to be on Angie’s List, whereas on Nextdoor residents can get completely honest, unbiased opinions on companies, whether it be for housework, or if someone needs a huge sofa lifted through a window on their attic. While people are constantly asking for service, there are some who are asking for more. Like

The Nextdoor app Photos from Apple and Annie Barco most communities, friendships can be created on the app. Users sometimes ask for someone to take a walk with them, or do some other nice activities. Not only is this great for forming strong relationships in a community, but also makes forming bonds far easier than before the Nextdoor app. Our Clayton community has been transformed into an online neighborhood where people can easily connect with one another. While Clayton, in reality, might be too big for one strong local community to form, the Nextdoor app has created a stage in which people from all over can form helpful bonds and even friendships with one another. A community is no small thing, and the Nextdoor app should be used to its fullest to grow our neighborhood.


con: nextdoor Nextdoor has drawn criticism from some residents. DANNY CHOO-KANG | OPINION SECTION EDITOR Looking for the best place to get earwax removed? Want a free door? Need a way to warn your neighbors about the suspicious people of color in your area? Try using Nextdoor. Nextdoor is a social networking service for neighborhoods. Users can post about local events, sell items, report lost and found pets, ask for recommendations of plumbers and babysitters, alert neighbors about safety concerns and more. Some local police departments, including Clayton’s, post weekly incident reports. The service is useful for residents that want to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in their communities. In addition to the practical posts, Nextdoor is also home to bizarre questions and requests. One user with allergies requested of their neighbors: “Please do not cook your food but instead opt for foods that do not require cooking (like carrot sticks and grape nut seeds). If cooking is absolutely necessary, please consider the following options: not cooking, heating food naturally.” Nextdoor has inspired numerous social media accounts that share the amusing posts, including several failed attempts at using the “poll” function. One such account, Best of Nextdoor (@ bestofnextdoor on Twitter), currently has over 280,000 followers, 247,000 more than the official Nextdoor account. Like all social media, Nextdoor has the potential to be problematic. The platform has its share of passive-aggressive posts and comment section arguments. Users are required to provide their names and addresses, but the posts on the app are still viewable for strangers once they sign up. Hundreds of Clayton residents are a part of the community on Nextdoor. On April 5, CHS student Borna Dianati, then a junior, was driving in his neighborhood when he passed a mother outside with her children. One of her kids was on the sidewalk across the street. She shouted at him to slow down, but Dianati did not engage with the woman and continued driving. He later received a text from a friend with screenshots of a Nextdoor post. The post describes Dianati as a “dark-shaggy-haired male teenager” driving at “breakneck speed.” The poster claims he almost hit her toddler and ends with a warning that she’ll “drag him out of his car and douse him with cold water from [her] garden hose.” Several others chimed in in the comments section, escalating the situation with suggestions

that poster upload a photo of him and a caution that “some of these teenagers have guns and will shoot you.” One commenter replied that she’d also had an encounter with the teenager described, Dianati, which he denies. Of all the people that commented on the post, Dianati only personally knows one: a neighbor that posted his address in the thread. Dianati and his family called the police and reported the post to the Nextdoor app several times. The post was eventually taken down. Rather than dealing with issues privately, using Nextdoor, residents broadcast their problems to the entire community. Neighbors take sides in arguments they’re not involved in against the people they live around and see regularly. The problematic aspects of Nextdoor go beyond neighborhood drama. The Crime and Safety section is known to be filled with reports of “suspicious” individuals, such as a black woman talking on her phone

while walking her dog. African American and Latinx residents especially are being suspected in their own communities. Unfortunately, one particularly common Crime and Safety post topic is about young African American men walking or biking outside. One St. Louis Nextdoor user posted about following a group around after they walked past an ice cream shop. The post ends with what may have been intended to be a reassurance or a warning: “The punks do know they are being watched.” Racial profiling is not a new concern for Nextdoor. In 2016, the service changed its post prompt to encourage users to include specific suspicious activities and items of clothing so that descriptors other than race are posted. Despite these efforts, the complaints have continued. In theory, Nextdoor is a helpful resource that can bring communities together; however, the service has a long way to go.

Police at a house Photo by Cody Boteler


the icarus test A return to democracy revitalizes the human spirit in times of a broken contract. ELIOT BLACKMOORE | OPINION SECTION EDITOR the land. Eidetically, the meaning of the presidential office is typically reduced to constitutional obligations, so the latter necessity of presidential legitimacy must be empirically determined. When elected by a popular vote, the president becomes the result of a common perception of some sort. In the American tradition, there are useful component tendencies that often define the vote: a perception of courage, liberality, magnificence, magnanimity, truthfulness and the rest of Aristotle’s virtues. (Party affiliation and political policy maintain a sway, but each of those factors is more the result of temporal, geographic, and demographic factors than the specific perception of the candidate as an individual of virtue.) It is the collection of these values that inform the full scope of democratic appreciation and thus construct the practical significance of democratic virtue as a societal determinant transcending the character of any particular individual. This is a conceptually acceptable framework for democracy, but its practical institutional function assumes that a voting populace, if ensured the certain dignities of a fair and equal election, will collectively act in a way in which “Icarus” by Henry Matisse from plate VII from maximizes a utilitarian good. Today, we are particularly concerned the illustrated book, “Jazz” (1947) with the legitimacy of an authority which assumed the reigns of office through the The presidential office of this great nation is often didirect employment of corrupted means, rectly legitimized by an executive which publicly demonand which currently executes the affairs of state strates a resolute commitment to a set of constitutional in a way most closely in accordance with the criteria and which ideologically embodies a separate and principles of Machiavelli. more abstract conception of the democratic ideals that, By some fascinating contradiction of when applied in the greater institutions of American democratic tradition, the faith of the people dominion, systematically bolster the moral framework of has become vested in an individual riding the our national organization. borrowed wings of perception, the gusts of When considering a particular executive, we favor party clamor blacking out the indignant sun. the interpretation of a populace, which, according to Some saw things fall first. In bleak impothe democratic imperative, is wiser in sum than in part. tence they disavowed the machine’s work then Thus, in the analysis of a society properly governed by not yet done, the darkest cracks of democracy legitimate democratic principles, it is impossible to assign presenting itself in the willful hearts of men. particular virtues to the essence of the highest office of But then again, the first saw the faults in con-

ception, not application. The election of the Prince was an eventuality of paste, they say. Others saw Icarus as he crashed to the ground, flaming flesh revealing crude organs in a magnificently gruesome display of death’s labors. Flailing in the air, it is Icarus who kills himself, the fall immortalized not by the descent, but by the flailing arms that grasp friends still aloft. It is a mess of hands and screaming mouths that careen down the depths of the sky. Others will Icarus later. It takes time for human bodies to be scraped from the floors of the capital, but eventually paste and feathers are removed and things are rectified in the textbooks that will hum the patient cadence of human demise. By his nature, the Prince falls in democracy. Executive machination is the grand tribunal of democratic virtue that tests the best of what we are together, and if we, so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. It is when we relinquish our grasp on what composes American democracy that we fall, not when Icarus lies dead on polished marble. And so it is determined that a truly democratic value is not one built our weakest moment: the fear of failure, loss, or isolation. It is not one built from character, creed, or position. Above all else, our value is found in an unselfish dedication to a neighbor: a belief that from many we are one and that through association, through discussion, through camaraderie, we are strong. It is our burden, that which was made communal in the signing of our social contract, to reject the executive which acts in accordance with shrouded interests that lack our reasonable appreciation and our necessary judicial reckoning. It is our duty of resplendent significance to think deliberately in the face of life, questioning things as they present themselves, seeking a glimpse of things as they are. It is our love for human goodness that makes democracy legitimate in the absence of a moral leader. It is with a return to this democracy, collective following individual, that we find again the things which fill our human core raucously vivid life.


Dr. Sue Hong, DDS, MA

Board Certified Orthodontist 1215 S. Big Bend Blvd. Richmond Heights, MO 63117 ph: 314.328.1207

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Globe Newsmagazine, November 2019, Issue 3, Vol. 91  

Globe Newsmagazine, November 2019, Issue 3, Vol. 91

Globe Newsmagazine, November 2019, Issue 3, Vol. 91  

Globe Newsmagazine, November 2019, Issue 3, Vol. 91

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