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devil’s advocate stanton college preparatory school

Under the Influence Drugs and alcohol are becoming increasingly incorporated into the high school experience.

By Rohini Kumar

number 3

february 2017

devilsadvocatepaper.com


devil’s advocate

volume xxxiii

number three

Stanton College Preparatory School

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Sports

On the Rebound A profile of Stanton’s Girls’ Basketball team and the

By Bettina Huang

challenges the players have overcome.

Sports

How They Manage Stanton students speak out about their experiences

By Brandon Deda

in the vital, yet oftentimes overlooked role of team manager.

Student Life

The Sleep Issue A look into the trend of sleep deprivation at the high

By Emmett Gideon

school level and its effects on Stanton students.

Student Life

Self-Doubt An examination of students’ experiences with self-doubt

By Zahra Casado

and the facets of the Stanton experience that foster this culture.

Features

Under the Influence Substance use is becoming incorporated into the

By Rohini Kumar

high school experience.

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Photography

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Opinions

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A Student’s Best Friend A collection of photographs featuring Stanton

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students and their pets.

By Mary Allison Kane, Chloe Giroux, Maya Lee and Dani Brewer

Editorials Two editorials from the Devil’s Advocate Editorial Board and

By the Editorial Board

an editorial cartoon from Stanton artist Alivia Davis.

Opinions

Building Bridges, Not Walls Four Stanton clubs representing historically marginalized groups offer their thoughts on Trump’s election.

By Bishop Lawton, Madeleen Borjas, Ivan Claudio, Elias Joseph, Caroline Bedenbaugh and Rayyan Khan

Editor’s Letter

Lily Tehrani Editor-in-Chief

For some students, drug and alcohol use is a part of the high school experience. The Devil’s Advocate has dedicated its third issue to this pressing issue, as we consider national trends and discuss this phenomenon in relation to Stanton. Our cover story, “Under the Influence,” details why adolescent substance users have turned to these drugs in the first place, whether it be from peer pressure or pure curiosity. The cover story also provides insight into the effects of these drugs, as some

students have turned to them as a result of stress from their school work. In Sports, the story “How They Manage” profiles four of the sports managers at Stanton College Preparatory School, detailing their importance to teams both on and off the field. In “On the Rebound,” we discuss how the Stanton girls’ basketball team has worked to overcome adversity. In the Student Life section, the story “The Sleep Issue” examines a matter that impacts the lives of many Stanton students: sleep deprivation. Students

Contributing Advocates: The Devil’s Advocate is searching for contributing writers, photographers, artists and filmmakers. Contact Editor-in-Chief Lily Tehrani at lilytehrani99@gmail.com, Managing Editor Valerie Starks at vmstarks@gmail.com or Digital Media Editor Shriya Gupta at guptas2626@gmail.com. Ads and Sponsorships: The Devil’s Advocate is dependent on our advertisers and our sponsors. When you purchase an ad with us, it reaches a diverse student population that can help your business. We can also design your ads. Our prices are: $35 (1/4 page), $60 (1/2 page), $75 (insert), $100 (full page b/w) or $150 (back page color). Contact Business Manager Shruti Murali at shrutiusa99@gmail.com or our adviser, Mr. Knight, at knightl1@ duvalschools.org

february 2017

discuss their experiences with this issue, and we provide information on the adverse effects of sleep deprivation and possible solutions to this problem. In “Within a Shadow of Doubt,” we discuss another prominent issue nearly every high schooler has dealt with in their life: self-doubt. In the Opinions section, four Stanton clubs representing historically marginalized groups voice their concerns about President Donald Trump’s election. Additionally, we discuss what a grade-point average

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(GPA) means and how it affects different students. We sincerely hope you enjoy our third issue of the 33rd publication year of the Devil’s Advocate!

Adviser: Larry Knight Editor-in-Chief: Lily Tehrani Managing Editor: Valerie Starks Layout and Design Editor: Sarah Page Senior Photography Editor: Mary Allison Kane Digital Media Editor: Shriya Gupta Managing Digital Media Editor: Grace Trombley Business Manager: Shruti Murali Features Editor: Walker Miller Opinions Editor: Trystan Loustau Sports Editor: Liam Ngo Student Life Editor: Chisom Ukoha Staff Writers: Zahra Casado, Brandon Deda, Vince Duarte, Emmett Gideon, Bettina Huang, Rohini Kumar, Likhita Manchikanti Photographers: Dani Brewer, Chloe Giroux, Maya Lee

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Sports The girls on the Stanton College Preparatory School Girls’ basketball team continue to push through their many trials and tribulations as they come together in the name of basketball. By BETTINA HUANG, Staff Writer

The game starts with the sound of a buzzer and within minutes, the silence over the school is shattered with the commotion. Crowds scream and cheer, the opposing school boos and everyone is on their feet when the winning point is scored. This is the reality for other Stanton College Preparatory School sports teams, but not for the Stanton girls’ basketball team. Their reality consists of empty stands, with the exception of a few parents clapping for their children. However, the girls make up for the silence with their enthusiastic pre-game affirmations and cheers. Being a student athlete can be challenging in its own right, but the girls’ basketball team has had more challenges to overcome than most. For the past four years, trends of insufficient funding, inconsistent coaching and weak student body support have affected the team’s training, performance and team morale. Despite the constant setbacks, the girls’ basketball team continues to work hard and represent their school. The Stanton girls’ basketball program was not always in its current condition. In the 2001-2002 school year, the team was the regional runner-up with a winning 20-3 record. Led by Marla Jackson, a player who later served as coach from 2014-2016, the Stanton girls’ basketball team experienced a short-lived resurrection remembered by the players to this day. Since then, the team has taken a long

Fewer people try out for girls’ basketball because it is traditionally a masculine sport. —Courtney Dantzler, 10 fall from being on the brink of becoming the school’s most successful team to being a neglected team. In the 20152016 school year, the varsity team ended with a losing record of 1-20 and the junior varsity team with 1-14. The low scores were in part, the result of little prior training and weak morale. “When the stands are empty, it makes us feel like we’re overlooked and it lowers the team morale,” said sophomore Destiney Lee, a junior varsity basketball player. “We’re relying on parent support, and there aren’t many parents who have the time to attend.” This conflict is true for students as well. It can be difficult for students to attend games on school nights, especially with the academic obligations Stanton students have. Thus, the resulting apathy which plagues the girls’ basketball team is considered understandable by some, as

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photo by Chloe Giroux

attention skews toward more popular and successful teams. “Few know about our games since we have a very small team, so we can’t reach out to a lot of people,” said senior Tiffany Espinosa, a varsity basketball player. “People don’t think of girls’ basketball as the big event and they expect that we’re going to lose. But we always try our best.” There are many causes for the team’s unsuccessful season, but perhaps the most evident is the lack of students’ interest in joining. A basketball team requires a minimum of five players on the court. In order to fulfill this requirement, the girls’ basketball tryouts cannot be selective. “We typically only get two to three newcomers each year,” said senior Selena Sanchez, co-captain of the varsity basketball team. Consequently, many players on the team do not have the background training more competitive teams require. Though the boys’ basketball team often has three times the required number of players needed, the girls’ team draws few potential athletes. “Fewer people try out for girls’ basketball because it’s a traditionally masculine sport,” said sophomore Courtney Dantzler, a junior varsity basketball player. “It’s a rough contact sport popularized by the NBA, so all the celebrities are men. Most people can name Michael Jordan, but few know of Lisa Leslie, a famous female basketball player.” Society has had an ongoing battle with gender inequality in sports. Though the creation of Title IX in 1972 has made large gains in female participation and gender equality in sports, male high school athletes still outnumber their female peers. Inequalities in salary, support and popularity continue to cause concern for athletes later on at the professional

level. Conjectures on the cause of this disparity are many and varied, but the most common is based upon the changing gender roles. In the past, women were expected to participate in low exertion sports for exercise. Now, females are gradually becoming prominent figures in strenuous sports like basketball. Their love for the game inspires younger players and is shared by the next generation. “I play basketball because I love all the girls involved in it,” said senior Dahlia Sarmiento, co-captain of the varsity basketball team. “We’ve struggled and overcome adversity together, which makes it all worth it.” The endurance of the girls’ basketball team is a product of their love for the sport. In the past few years, they have encountered numerous obstacles, with one being their changing coaches.

Through working on our confidence and continuing to build each other up, we will create a dynasty. —Coach Ashley Feagin “It’s difficult to have a new coach this year because we have to adjust to a new coaching pattern,” said sophomore Haleigh Oglesby, a varsity basketball player. “Our budget is also always low, so we have to do a lot more fundraisers, but we get through it together.” Financial struggles are another hinderance to their performance, as few people wish to support a struggling team. The cycle of low support and low performance is difficult for the team to break. However, at the root of their problems is a lack of awareness. “Enthusiasm from a school that is academically inclined has been a challenge for the girls,” said varsity girls’ basketball coach Ashley Feagin. “Through working on our confidence and continuing to build each other up, we will create a dynasty.” In spite of the challenges the girls have faced, their strength as a team remains the same. Following the traditions set by alumni, the players do their signature cheer as the game draws to a close, regardless of the final score. Their persistence and love for their team can be heard in their loud stomps after a point or their cheers announcing their arrival on the court. Regardless of the difficulties they face, the Stanton girls’ basketball team is not letting go of the passion they share and will strive to better the team for many years to come.

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HOW THEY

Though often overlooked, sports managers are an integral part of the team.

HILL

ROSENBLUM

When the champions on the field bask in the glory of success, there are other members of the team who do not get to experience the limelight. They are the managers. Their purpose is to ensure the team runs just as smoothly off the field as it does during the game. The managers provide considerable assistance to the overall efficiency of the team. While the coaches and players focus on the team’s performance on the field, the managers are tasked with organizing the team. Like a coach or a player, sports managers gain recognition through their work with the team, albeit not as much in comparison. However, coaches at Stanton College Preparatory School strive to ensure the managers are included in the team’s dynamic. “We do our best to make the managers feel more like they are a part of the team,” said Stanton Athletic Director Christopher Crider. “We know how important they are, which is why we make an effort to recognize them.” With any job, there will be a new-found sense of enjoyment. For senior Laura Hill, the best part of being a manager is socializing. Hill has been a manager of the Stanton varsity football team since her freshman year. Hill looked forward to being the sports manager when the new season of football commenced, as she enjoys the atmosphere during the game. “There’s a lot of friendship with the other managers and the

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players,” said Hill. “The development of those relationships is the part that I enjoy the most about being a manager.” While some managers revel in the social aspects that come with the job, there are those who join for service hours, such as senior Rachel Rosenblum, the manager of Stanton’s varsity boy’s lacrosse team. “I’ve enjoyed watching lacrosse since I signed up to be a manager sophomore year,” said Rosenblum. “I like being involved with the sport and getting service hours is always something that is helpful.” Additionally, being a manager has made Rosenblum more responsible; she has to attend every game and display a sense of professionalism. The role of being a manager is a serious one and those who occupy that position are expected

I do it for the love of the game. —Jonathan Martinez, 12

photo by Dani Brewer

Boys’ varsity football team manager, Laura Hill, tapes up football player Bailey Skinner.

february 2017

By BRANDON DEDA, Staff Writer

MARTINEZ

photos by Chloe Giroux

to be committed. “I have a responsibility to the team,” said Rosenblum. “I have to show up to games and have a very professional aura of sorts.” For some students, becoming a sports manager allows them to get involved with the sport they love. Junior Joy Seu has been managing the boys’ varsity soccer team since she was a freshman. Before she became a manager, she planned to play soccer. However, she was unable to do so due to a health condition, leading her to look at managing as an alternative. At the time she joined, some of her friends were on the team, so working on the soccer team became another time for Seu to socialize with her friends. “Being a manager is something that I know I’m a part of. Everyone has their thing like theater or yearbook, but soccer is my thing,” said Seu. “Now that I’m managing varsity, the team is more concerned with the competition throughout the season. But while I was on junior varsity, I felt like the team really included managers in the social aspect of the team.” While these students are official managers of Stanton’s sports teams, there are students who still help out with the teams, even though they are not managers. Senior Jonathan Martinez plays on Stanton’s boys’ varsity basketball team, but he also unofficially assists the girls’ varsity basketball team by keeping books and distributing water. “I do my best to be the energizer for the team,” said Martinez. “I’m very supportive of the team and when we’re practicing, I hype them up for the games. I focus on helping them play well on the court in order to win.” Whether managers have played a sport for a large part of their lives or they simply have a passion for it as a spectator, they feel more involved because they help out with the team. Because of his involvement in basketball as both a player and a manager, Martinez’s love for the sport has grown. “I do it for the love of the game,” said Martinez. “Helping out with the girls’ basketball team allows me to get involved with basketball and show my appreciation for the sport.” The success of a team is not only determined by the players competing on the field, but also by how well the managers execute their job on a daily basis. They provide assistance during practice sessions, motivate the team’s players, become closely involved with the sport they love and get the opportunity to become a part of Stanton’s athletic culture. They may be unsung heroes on Stanton’s sports teams, but their role is an essential component on the team’s road to success.

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Student Life

Sleep deprivation remains an issue seemingly inseparable from the Stanton experience, with students constantly finding themselves sacrificing sleep for passing grades. By EMMETT GIDEON, Staff Writer Stanton College Preparatory School is an institution known for many qualities—from academic prestige and unparalleled rigor to, albeit more comically, a diverse student population of professional procrastinators. A rather common Stanton cliché is the alleged chronic fatigue that runs through the student body. Stanton students often joke about their varying degrees of sleep deprivation. In a 2013 study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found only 31.6 percent of high school students recorded an average of eight or more hours of sleep on school nights. That is about an hour less than the nine to

I’ve fallen asleep driving maybe half a dozen times this year but mainly at traffic lights. —Jeffrey Miller, 11 ten hours the CDC recommends, suggesting the trend of sleep deprivation in high school students is a nationwide issue. However, because of its highly rigorous academics, Stanton seems to present a larger problem regarding sleep.

Why aren’t Stanton students getting enough sleep? Many students cite a burdensome workload for their struggles with sleep deprivation. The value Stanton students place on test scores and grade point averages can sometimes cause them to sacrifice sleep. “I stayed up until 5:00 a.m. working on my IB physics Internal Assessment,” said senior Jason Chang. “I normally stay up until 3:00 in the a.m. I usually nap for about two hours and I procrastinate.”

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Chang’s experience is not uncommon; many Stanton spend late nights on school work despite the knowledge that each passing hour could be directed towards attempting to get a decent amount of sleep. If a student allows distractions to interfere, it can be even more difficult to avoid circumstances that prevent rest. According to a 2014 poll by the The Sleep Foundation Broadcasting Corporation, 75 percent of children ages six to 17 have at least one electronic device in their bedroom. “For me, social media and technology can be a huge distraction,” said junior Andrea Relova. “Often at home I catch myself watching TV on Netflix or scrolling through social media for hours.”

Effects of Lack of Sleep The Sleep Health Foundation, an Australian sleep advocacy group, found that looking at screens such as smartphones and computers can reduce evening levels of melatonin, the hormone which causes sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a United States based sleep research group, the absence of this hormone hinders sleep and results in lower quality rest. This, in combination with already restricted time devoted to getting rest, can lead to chronic fatigue that affects every part of a student’s life, even while at school. “I turn off the lights to show my Prezis and often students will fall asleep in about 10 to 15 minutes,” said AP Psychology teacher Mrs. Mary Krieger. “I give my students maybe 30 minutes of work at home, but what I stress is that if they pay attention in class they won’t have as much homework. But they can’t really pay attention when they’re sleeping.” If students are having trouble staying awake in their classes, it may suggest dangerous consequences on the road. In a 2013 study, the CDC found 76.3 percent of high school

students 16 and older drive. Also, according to a study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety, if a person gets six to seven hours of sleep they are twice as likely to get into a car accident than someone who got eight or more hours of sleep. With so many high school students on the road it is necessary for safety reasons that they get enough rest. As found by the CDC, less than a third of high school students get eight or more hours of sleep. This suggests the majority of the high school students who drive are at a greater risk to both themselves and others safety because they are not getting enough sleep. “The homework makes me stay up late, but I think it helps me get a better understanding of the material,” said junior Jeffrey Miller. “I’ve fallen asleep driving maybe half a dozen times this year, mainly at traffic lights.”

infographic by Chisom Ukoha

vol. xxxiii, no. 3


Potential Solutions? Members of Stanton’s student body often claim the workload they are responsible for is the cause of sleep deprivation, whether or not they approve of the homework. Some teachers are aware of the amount of homework students receive from other teachers and keep this in mind when assigning homework for their classes. “I usually give my students 20 to 30 minutes of work a night,” said chemistry teacher Aaron Herbig. “We also use class time to work and I give them longer to work on bigger projects.” Giving students more time to finish larger assignments along with the use of class time can reduce the amount of homework time students have each night. It also illustrates an awareness of students’ situation. “I’m conscious of how much work the students have, especially juniors and seniors, because they are taking the equivalent of eight college courses,” said Mr. Herbig.

I turn off the lights to show my Prezis and often students will fall asleep in about 10 to 15 minutes. —Mrs. Kelly Klinger

informational disconnect stands between the student body and administration, as students often fail to communicate their struggles with sleep deprivation. “When students actually talk about the sleep they get, we understand them, but they don’t just come up and tell us,” said Assistant Principal David Hemphill. “So unless the students have talked to a guidance counselor about it, we don’t usually find out about the lack of sleep.” Part of a school administrator’s job is behavior management and because sleep and behavior are interconnected, maintaining a healthy sleep cycle is important. Because of this, sleep is important to more than just the educational aspect of school. “When we do get an issue and we ask them how they manage their time when they get home, we usually find that they play games here and there and could manage their study time better,” said Mr. Kerr. “If students stay after school for clubs or sports they can ask the club sponsor or the sports coach for studying time before then. There’s usually a mismanagement of time but overall the students do well.” With the majority of the nation’s high school students trudging through hallways living with incessant fatigue and an even more rampant trend prevailing at Stanton, the solution to chronic sleep deprivation in students remains elusive. Despite surface details, like a relatively late start time, exceptional test scores, and low tardy and absence rates, that may overshadow the problem, Stanton has yet to break away from the cycle of a perpetually exhausted population. Many claim various facets of Stanton’s conventions to be responsible for this phenomenon, but what remains consistent is that an issue exists and is worthy of examination.

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A problem is often much more obvious for those directly involved with students on a daily basis. However, when only looking at information, like the frequency of tardies and absences, for example, a problem is not clearly visible. “Looking at our tardy situation and how few we have, we can tell that students are getting up and getting to school on time.” said Assistant Principal Michael Kerr. “Alongside, absenteeism is very low, which shows us that students are managing their time well.” In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended later school start times as a way to improve the amount of sleep students get. Stanton’s start time may also contribute to unawareness of the issue with sleep deprivation. “Stanton starts later than some of the other schools in Duval County,” said Mr. Kerr. “Being around 8:00 a.m., it’s much better for the students.” A perceived lack of of awareness between students and administration regarding sleep is present at Stanton. An

photo by Dani Brewer

The classroom environment requires a student’s full attention, whether it be for listening to lectures, engaging in group activities or even taking exams, and chronic sleep deprivation makes focusing virtually impossible.

infographic by Chisom Ukoha

february 2017

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Student Life

Within a Shadow of Doubt

Life as a Stanton student is defined by academic rigor and constant competition. This environment can often create feelings of doubt within students regarding their abilities to succeed. By ZAHRA CASADO, Staff Writer iiiiiWhen an individual begins to lose faith in his or her own abilities, feelings of inadequacy often arise. This sense of incompetence can be worsened in an environment filled with peers who are actively excelling. This can be seen anywhere: in the workplace, in the home and in school, with a prime example being Stanton College Preparatory School. Nationally recognized for its rigorous academia and high achieving students, many individuals tend to view Stanton students as academically motivated and talented. But, generally overlooked is the pressure Stanton students face as they try to live up to the school’s reputation. iiiiiStanton is seen as prestigious by many, but with prestige comes high expectations. Many students feel the need to be perfect, and if they fail to accomplish this goal, they tend to doubt their ability to succeed in school and life, this doubt in their own abilities to grow. iiiii“At Stanton, it is so easy to slip up and cause your grades to fall,” said junior Jordyn Bowen. “It just makes you think that you will never amount to anything.” iiiiiStanton students often commit to demanding courses under the rigorous standards of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and honors classes. The courses usually require a student’s full attention to achieve

At Stanton, you are constantly surrounded by students who are better than you. —Courtney Sanders, 12 and maintain an exceptional grade. With eight classes to balance at once, students may not be able to distribute their time evenly between every course, causing them to doubt their ability to excel at Stanton. When important deadlines approach, some go to extreme measures to complete the assignment, sometimes with severe consequences. iiiii“The night before my IB English oral exam, I came straight home from school and drank as much coffee as my body could handle,” said senior Allie Robertson. “I stayed up studying and didn’t sleep at all that night. When I went to school the next day, I was completely exhausted both physically and mentally. If I had less self-doubt and more self-confidence in regards to the exam, I think the oral would have taken much less of a toll on my body and mind.” iiiiiThe effects self-doubt has on students are severe, with students experiencing mental exhaustion to a high degree. The academic workload can seem even more daunting when students doubt their abilities to keep up with it, and even more so when students view their classmates as competitors. iiiii“Stanton, being on such a high level academically speaking, has unintentionally developed competition among

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improve their academic achievements. iiiii“Being compared to your peers forces you to reflect on yourself because you want to do your best,” said sophomore Sage Douglas. “I feel like it‘s a competition so I want to do better than other students, because if I don’t do better than them, I feel incompetent.”iiiii iiiiiThough classmates can play a big role in making an individual feel as though they will never be “good enough,” parents can be another source of this problem. iiiii“Parents make you feel like you’re doing bad, but they never attended Stanton, so they don’t know what the pressure is like here,” said junior Abby Farah. “With all the pressure that we feel all the time, parents can make your efforts feel trivial, even though you’re doing your best.” iiiiiParents usually want the best for their child and will do what they can to encourage them to reach an exceptional level of academic achievement. However, parents often do not fully understand exactly what their children are going through and can unintentionally plant the seed of insecurity in their child. Stanton is a diverse school with students from all around the world, culture also plays a role in the pressure from parents for their kids to succeed. iiiiiStudents from families that

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all students,” said senior Bryce Diaz. “They work hard to do the best that they can compared to students at other, more traditional high schools.” iiiiiStanton is a difficult and competitive school. The class rank system compares students to each other based on their grade point average at the end of each semester. This comparison can cause tension among peers. iiiii“Colleges may compare the class as a whole, but they do look at the individual,” said guidance counselor Ms. Misayo Watanabe. “Success is measured in many different ways concerning each individual.” iiiiiA place in the top 10 percent is what many students strive for, but with only a certain number of slots available, not everyone can be as high on the ranking list as they may like. When some fall short, feelings of inadequacy are created, as many compare their own successes and failures to those of their classmates. iiiii“At Stanton, you become part of a hierarchy of academic performance,” said senior Courtney Sanders. “You experience the pressures put on you when other students get perfect scores on their SAT and ACT because you want to get the same for yourself.” iiiiiSome students may experience feelings of incompetence when they compare themselves to a peer who received a higher grade or who has a higher class rank. It is not uncommon for students to aspire to obtain the top student’s position or ranking, and following these ambitions to be the best is what some students use to motivate themselves to

Being compared to your peers forces you to reflect on yourself because you want to do your best. —Sage Douglas, 10 immigrated from other countries, for example, may bear the weight of being the first in their family to have the opportunity to receive a higher education. With this responsibility, selfdoubt can take effect. Parents of these students may feel that their efforts in providing opportunities for their children should be met with academic excellence. iiiii“My parents came to America to give me a better education than they had,” said sophomore Munaa Ahmed. “It’s overwhelming at times because I feel self-doubt from the pressure of living up to their expectations and trying to make them proud.” iiiiiThe Stanton experience, with the addition of competition amongst peers, parental pressure, and cultural expectations, at times causes students to obtain self-doubt. The lack of faith in one’s abilities causes students to take extreme measures to ensure academic achievement. When students feel pressed with the need to excel, they may crack due to immense amounts of incompetence. Self-doubt has been overcome by many students before allowing them to earn success without the feeling of inadequacy.

vol. xxxiii, no. 3


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Under the Influence Drugs and alcohol are increasingly becoming incorporated into the high school experience.

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By ROHINI KUMAR, Staff Writer Disclaimer: Due to the sensitive nature of the story, the names of certain sources have been changed in order to protect their privacy.

enerations of high school students have dealt with the pressures of adolescence, shifting atmospheres and everything else the typical teenage experience entails. The transition from childhood to adulthood is by no means a simple process, as the teenage years are full of changes and experiences that shape people into who they will become. Most adolescents also find themselves entrusted with a greater level of freedom, more responsibilities and a newly developed sense of self. A common byproduct of this relatively rapid change is the pursuit of an accessible stress outlet. For a select few students, this outlet turns out to be substance use. The ubiquity of drugs and alcohol among high school students is not a new phenomenon. The social environment of high school provides the circumstances and incentives necessary to become a marketplace for illicit substances. For tired and overworked students who seek a break from the stress, drugs and alcohol are an attainable distraction.

Additionally, the negative, taboo-like perception of drugs and alcohol which is forced upon students from a young age stigmatizes the already sensitive subject, potentially making it more appealing. Substance use amongst Stanton College Preparatory School students seems to exist on a much smaller scale than in schools nationwide. An online survey conducted by the Devil’s Advocate revealed that 50 percent of respondents had tried alcohol and 25 percent had used illegal drugs. Statistics from the National Institutes of Health, on the other hand, showed that by their senior year, 72 percent of American high school students have tried alcohol and 49 percent have used illegal drugs. There have also been few incidents specifically at Stanton—according to school administrators, in the past five years, only one student has been caught using drugs or alcohol on campus. However, these low numbers do not apply to every school, and in an effort to explain higher rates, teenage substance use has been attributed to peer pressure, excess stress from school and mental illness. Honest photo by Mary Allison Kane

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Under the Drugs and alcohol are increasingly becoming incorporated into the high school experience.

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By ROHINI KUMAR, Disclaimer: Due to the sensitive nature of the story, the names of certain sources have been changed in order to protect their privacy.

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Features Disclaimer: Due to the sensitive nature of the story, the names of certain sources have been changed in order to protect their privacy. curious and will do things we should not—it’s human nature.” However, not everyone agrees with Steven’s point of view. Many students reject this view of “human nature,” perhaps providing a look into the academically focused culture prevalent at Stanton. Junior Sydney Lewis’ decision to abstain from substance use was related to her personal ambitions for adolescence.

photo by Mary Allison Kane

verification of these potential motives can only come from users themselves. Many times, drug and alcohol users are often criticized without any consideration for their circumstances or reasoning. Developing an understanding of individual users can facilitate the formation of a clearer perception of drug and alcohol traditions within the high school environment.

“WE ALL WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE” Although attempting to understand each student’s reasons for drug and alcohol use can be a valuable undertaking, the inherent singularity of each person’s circumstances results in an abundance of different motives. In rigorous and demanding educational programs, such as the ones at Stanton, student substance use may indicate the presence of escapist inclinations. Drugs and alcohol are

I was in a really bad part of my life and I needed something that would let me leave the madness of my mind. Marijuana helped me remove myself from places I didn’t want to be. —John, 12 one way teens try to distract themselves from the throes of immediate reality—for anonymous Stanton senior John, this need for a diversion was what initially pushed him to try smoking marijuana.

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My main motivation was curiosity, not to fit in or feel cool. We as teenagers are naturally curious and will do things we should not—it’s human nature.

“I was in a really bad part of my life and I needed something that would let me leave the madness of my mind,” said John. “Marijuana helped me remove myself from places I didn’t want to be.” John’s situation may resonate with other students, as stress and pressure are two omnipresent components “Teen drug and alcohol use is unfortunate,” said Lewis. of adolescence for many people throughout the United “Teenagers have a lot of potential, and adolescence is the States. When the weight of such a crisis exceeds personal time for realizing this potential and setting new goals. Turning limits, substances may appear to be the easiest, most to drugs and alcohol is never a good option.” immediately effective path to relief. However, the need Though some students take a firm stance against to escape was not the only factor pushing John to try substance use, they do not reflect the views of all adolescents. substances—natural curiosity played a role as well. Others teens who have chosen to abstain from drugs and “I have always been fascinated by drug culture and alcohol have a different view of the situation. the world it encompasses. We all want to know what it “It’s not my business whether or not the people around feels like,” said John. “I wanted to try LSD because I read me are smoking or drinking because it’s something they have all of Timothy Leary’s books on psychedelics and was decided to do,” said Veronica, an anonymous senior. “I don’t fascinated by the experiences he wrote about.” use drugs or drink alcohol because it’s just not worth wasting The desire to try what society has deemed off-limits my money on and they can seriously mess you up.” introduces another source of motivation for students who Both Lewis’ and Veronica’s beliefs provide an example take part in substance use. Despite the myriad of claims alleging peer pressure and mental discontent as reasons for drug and alcohol use, many people are more interested in trying something new. The yearning for novel and intriguing experiences may overcome any existing fears of potential risks, especially because of the societal emphasis placed on the cognitive distortions caused by drugs and alcohol. “My main motivation was curiosity, not to fit in or feel cool,” said Steven, an anonymous junior. “I do agree substances will impair health with consistent use, as do my peers. But if you believe the teenage years are meant to be pure, The presence of teenage drug and alcohol use in popular culture (such as the above I disagree. We, as books and movies) has normalized illicit substances in the eyes of some teenagers. teenagers, are naturally

—Steven, 11

photo by Mary Allison Kane

vol. xxxiii, no. 3


of how the personal aims and values rooted in one’s culture can impact one’s choices regarding substance use. The role that the surrounding environment plays in adolescents’ decision making processes has long been a subject of debate, especially when the decisions in question involve drugs and alcohol. Considering the role social relationships play in the use and circulation of illegal substances, it is important to understand the nature of these connections. For anonymous senior Matthew, his first time using drugs was prompted by the need to create a particular image for himself. “In seventh grade, I smoked pot for the first time,” said Matthew. “I didn’t like it, but I tried it again in ninth grade, and still didn’t like it. I wanted to try it just to say I did it.” Though Matthew’s reasons for substance use later changed to involve cultural and medical factors, his initial motives demonstrate the potential impressionability of growing minds. While there are plenty of teenagers who use drugs and alcohol for their own personal reasons, some students’ decisions are influenced by social interactions rather than intrinsic motivation. While this means one thing for students, the link between substance use and the social setting carries heavy significance for school administration. “In order to make sure that one student’s actions don’t harm other students’ well being, we have safety measures in place,” said Stanton Assistant Principal Mr. David Hemphill. “We have security staff, random searches and sweeps. Every adult is vigilant about looking out for problems.” For years, peer pressure has received considerable

blame in the debate over which social circumstances result in substance use. Quite conflictingly, the results of the Devil’s Advocate online survey revealed peer pressure only played a role in the decisions of four percent of students who drink and eight percent of students who use illegal drugs. While overt peer pressure may not be a huge factor in student substance use, drugs and alcohol still carry a distinct social weight among the teenage population. “Drugs and alcohol play a huge role in high school tradition— it’s almost as if they serve as validation,” said Matthew. “Some people may use them for personal reasons, like me. But others use them for the public eye.”

“I CAN LET LOOSE” The effects of drugs and alcohol are difficult to categorize, as their implications vary from person to person. Many adolescents extol the immediate gratification of drug and alcohol use, whereas others concern themselves with the accompanying consequences. For instance, many teens remain cautious of substances’ potential to detract from academic performance. Though Steven first tried substances his freshman year, he kept them separate from his work to ensure his educational progress would not be affected. “Substances might be good for heavily social situations like parties, but for studying and everyday student life, being sober is best,” said Steven. “It’s the state of mind that is most suitable for success.”

In seventh grade, I smoked pot for the first time. I wanted to try it just to say that I did. —Matthew, 12

photos by Mary Allison Kane

february 2017

However, Steven later ended up facing punitive repercussions as a result of his usage. At high schools like Stanton which employ challenging and weighty curricula, students are perpetually working amidst high stakes. The ramifications of drug and alcohol use may be especially daunting to these students, as they have the capability to drastically alter the course of their futures. This possibility is not only concerning to students, but school administration as well. “Most student substance use happens at home, where we don’t have jurisdiction,” said Stanton Assistant Principal Mr. Michael Kerr. “As administrators, we can’t control what happens at home, but we still try to help. We don’t want our students to have to deal with law enforcement or disciplinary records when it’s time for college applications.” Substances’ influence on educational performance is just one part of the many effects they can have on users’ mental states. Depending on the type of drug or dosage consumed, the magnitude of these effects in the short-term

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infographic by Walker Miller

may range from minimal to extreme. Kate, an anonymous junior, first tried drinking when she was 15, and experienced a response on a less intense scale than she expected. “I didn’t really have a reaction to alcohol—I just laughed at everything and became more bold than I already was,” said Kate. “I can let loose, and it takes my mind off of things for the time being.” Kate’s experience highlights the more subtle, socially prevalent effects of drugs and alcohol. But, it is also important to address the nature of drug-induced highs, which present the greatest potential to warp judgment and cognition. In a culture that emphasizes the correlation between self-control and success, the prospect of a temporarily compromised mental state is subject to heavy consideration and stigmatization. Adolescent drug and alcohol use is often made out to be a typical characteristic of high school culture. In reality, it is not the ubiquitous phenomenon it is made out to be. Though some students choose to partake in substance use, many others do not, and the stereotyping of such a large group of students can result in deeper rifts between those who disapprove of drugs and alcohol and those who actually use them. Developing an understanding of every aspect of substance use can help one achieve a greater understanding of the teenage mind and population, for adolescents and adults alike.

devil’s advocate | 13


A Student’s Best Friend Photography by Mary Allison Kane, Chloe Giroux, Maya Lee and Dani Brewer

Abby Parillon, 11 and Louie, poodle-mix

Maria Dawson, 12 and Rambo, cat photo by Dani Brewer

Laura Hill, 12, Eenie, cat and Whinie, cat

photo by Maya Lee

Isabelle Oh-Criner, 12 and Elvis, cat

Justin McNeely, 11 and Cubby, Chihuahua-mix photo by Maya Lee

photo by Dani Brewer

photo by Maya Lee

Andrea Relova, 11 and Penny, Cairn terrier

Hannah Moody, 11 and Emma, bunny photo by Chloe Giroux

photo by Mary Allison Kane


United We Must Stand iiiiiOn Jan. 20, 2017, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. His election signaled the end to one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in recent history. Shockwaves were sent across the country as thousands of Americans protested—both physically and verbally—the election of a man touted for what could be perceived as dangerous rhetoric targeting ethnic and racial minorities, Muslims, women and the LGBTQ+ community. iiiiiAs the mantle of leadership is passed from former President Barack Obama to President Trump, Americans are faced with the challenge of working together to bridge the cracks and divides exploited and magnified over the course of the 2016 presidential campaigns. Considering the nature of President Trump’s rhetoric, the type of campaign he ran and his Cabinet picks, there are those with legitimate concerns about how his administration’s policies will affect the people of the United States. iiiiiThrough his actions as a political leader and public figure, President Trump will, for better or worse, set an example for the nation and the world. Whatever happens, the American people must stand united and commit themselves to protecting the progress this nation has made in terms of its inclusiveness, protection of human rights and expansion of civil liberties. In an ever-changing world where the fabric of American society is becoming increasingly diverse, this nation cannot afford to revert back to the policies and practices of past eras. iiiiiAmerica has come a long way since 1776. Generations of citizens have fought to mold a society in which all people—not just those who are rich, white and male—are recognized as equals and enjoy the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” However, progress still needs to be made in order to secure tolerance and equality for all. The most recent election cycle merely highlighted the extent to which the American people are still divided, as issues such as racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and homophobia neither started nor ended in 2016. iiiiiMoving forward, Americans must look within themselves and their communities as they tear down the walls dividing people along the lines of race, class, religion, gender and sexuality. One of the first steps toward such progress is engaging in critical conversations with people of different races, religions, social classes, sexual orientations and gender identities about their experiences and beliefs. This means rising above partisanship and reaching across the aisle; learning about the history and culture of people whose skin tone is whiter, tanner or browner; and reading about other faiths. Most importantly, people must recognize the humanity in others while understanding how perspective is the product of experience. iiiiiNow more than ever, the American people are also tasked with the responsibility of holding leaders accountable for the safeguarding of rights secured for historically marginalized groups over the course of the past three centuries. The people, especially young people on the cusp of adulthood, must retain a sense of political awareness and actively challenge those who fail to live up to their duties as public servants. iiiiiPay attention to the actions of legislators at all levels of government. Join sociopolitical activist organizations. Protest. Petition. Fight back when tyranny threatens democracy. President Trump and other officials elected at the local, state and federal level are faced with the great task of defining foreign and domestic policy while setting examples for the national and international communities. Whatever happens, the American people must stand united and remain vigilant as they keep a check on governmental power.

devil’s advocate established 1983 I Stanton College Preparatory School

2016-2017 Editorial Staff Lily Tehrani Valerie Starks Sarah Page Shriya Gupta Mary Allison Kane Shruti Murali

Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Layout and Design Editor Digital Media Editor Senior Photo Editor Business Manager

The Devil’s Advocate serves as the official newspaper of Stanton College Preparatory School. It is produced monthly by members of the Journalism class. The editors reserve the right to edit any material submitted to the paper for content, grammar, length, and accuracy. The Devil’s Advocate is a public forum for student expression, which encourages free exchanges of opinions concerning controversial and non-controversial community and school related issues. The ideas and advertisements expressed within the newspaper are not necessarily those of the newspaper adviser, school administration, or the Duval County Public School Board. The Devil’s Advocate accepts advertisements from all businesses in the Stanton community. The ad format can be given to the staff or the adviser, Mr. Larry Knight. Students, faculty, and parents may contact the staff and adviser at (904) 630-6760 ext. 143 or at knightl1@duvalschools.org.

february 2017

The “Stanton Plague” Surrounded by an environment characterized by intense academic competition and burdensome workloads, Stanton College Preparatory School students recognize the importance of school. Even when suffering from raging fevers or nausea, these students make it a top priority to be here. This unhealthy trend often results in the worsening of their sickness or its spread across campus. Although staying home from school to recover from an illness may sound unappealing because it can result in a large pile of missed work, the possible consequences of not attending are not worth risking. Forcing oneself to work when sick not only can result in others getting sick, but can also prolong one’s recovery time. Often, the illnesses students suffer from are extremely contagious and, therein, can spread easily through a simple cough or physical contact. At the same time, students’ productivity levels can also decline as a result of poor health.

The rigorous amount of coursework given at Stanton can be stressful at times, but no amount should ever lead a student to sacrifice their well-being. When students come to school with a cold, it can quickly spread to their friends and peers and, if it infects enough people, eventually culminates into what is commonly known as the “Stanton plague.” Nearly everyone at Stanton is sick at the same time because no one thinks they can afford taking a few days off for their own benefit. Facing pressure from teachers who berate them for missing class and daunted by the enormity of make-up work, students drag their sick bodies into their desks; health has become an afterthought. Health should always come above academics. The rigorous amount of coursework given at Stanton can be stressful at times, but no amount should ever lead a student to sacrifice their well-being.

devil’s advocate | 15


Opinions

Building Bridges, Not Walls On Dec. 5, 2016, five Stanton clubs hosted “Building Bridges, Not Walls,” an open forum for students to discuss their concerns regarding President Donald Trump’s election. Below, representatives from four of those groups have composed their thoughts.

Trump and Feminism

LGBTQ+ and Trump

By BISHOP LAWTON, Contributing Writer

By MADELEEN BORJAS and IVAN CLAUDIO, Contributing Writers

By ELIAS JOSEPH and CAROLINE BEDENBAUGH, Contributing Writers

iiiiiThe reactions to President Donald Trump’s election range from elated support to sheer terror. As a black male and the vice president of Stanton College Preparatory School’s black History Club, I view Trump’s election as a catalyst for a new wave of political consciousness, especially in the black community. Now more than ever, black people must critically examine their relationship with the national political infrastructure and develop their own solutions to the problems the government has failed to address. iiiiiSince the Civil Rights movement, the black vote has become more powerful than ever, playing a significant role in deciding who is elected. As noted by the Public Research Center for Cornell University, former President Barack Obama received only 39 percent of the white popular vote, yet received 93 percent of the black popular vote in 2012, securing his position as president for his second term. iiiiiHowever, in spite of this voting power, inferior schooling and housing of the black inner-city and the targeting of black males by the prison industrial complex, have gone unnoticed by elected officials. We vote out of tradition, putting politicians in office who cater to the interest of black people in their campaigns yet do absolutely nothing for the community once they are in office. Trump has shown no interest in the advancement of the black community.

iiiiiIt is impossible to ignore the vast amount of hate and blind judgements which have been inspired by President Donald Trump and his campaign. Trump embodies the ideals which supporters of gender equality in today’s society fear: pro-life, misogyny and impulsiveness, among others. If this is whom America voted for to represent our country, then our beliefs must, to some extent, align with his. iiiiiThrough the eyes of a feminist, a Trump presidency is very concerning. In promising to defund Planned Parenthood, he jeopardizes women’s health in limiting their access to contraceptives, sex education and safe and legal abortion procedures.

Trump Cheers, Black Tears

photo by Maya Lee

It is time for us to join together. It is time for the black hand to begin writing its own political destiny. iiiiiTherein, as members of the black community, we need to seek methods of internal improvements within the community on the basis of self-determination and selfreliance, such as community programs, group economics and education, rather than being completely dependent on politicians in order to enforce change. It is time for us to join together. It is time for the black hand to begin writing its own political destiny.

photo by Maya Lee

Through the eyes of a feminist, a Trump presidency is very concerning. iiiiiThe next four years offer little hope in strengthening the feminist movement. In fact, they seem to threaten it; now that the average woman knows that her country has voted against her, there is more reason for her to feel unsafe in walking home alone, having an abortion or aspiring toward a male-dominated career. iiiiiAccording to a 2015 Gallup poll, 45 percent of women feel unsafe walking home alone at night and the chance of a woman attempting suicide is two times greater after receiving an abortion. It is not unreasonable for the American woman to feel dismayed when her country voted for a self-described “pro-life” advocate. iiiiiWhen women are your mothers, your sisters and your daughters, we, the Stanton Feminism Club, think everyone should take women’s issues seriously. As we face Trump’s impending presidency, we should unite both men and women to combat a force which seemingly aims to move America backward rather than forward.

photo by Maya Lee

In the months following President Donald Trump’s election, the Crisis Text Line reported an increase from 1,000 to 4,000 texts per day. The word pair most commonly used during this

period was “scared” and “LGBTQ+.” iiiiiThe reasons why the LGBTQ+ community is frightened and disheartened are sadly extensive and extremely personal. Many fear we will lose gains which were achieved during former President Barack Obama’s administration, such as the increased access to appropriate hormones and treatments for gender dysphoria, made possible by Obamacare. Vice President Mike Pence’s supportive stance on conversion therapy, the use of psychological, emotional and physical abuse in an attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, also raises serious concerns. iiiiiIt is important to note that it is not just the stances of those elected into office which our community fears. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2016 was the deadliest year on record for trans- and gender-nonconforming people, with at least 26 deaths recorded in the United States, many of which were anti-transgender hate crimes. These deaths disproportionately affected trans women of color as young as 16, and they are a devastating consequence of the hate spread by Trump’s election. Our community fears the worsening effects that it might have on our rights, equality and well-being. iiiiiWe cannot even feel safe at home. Jacksonville is one of the last major cities in the country without an inclusive Human Rights Ordinance, meaning LGBTQ+ individuals in the city have no legal protections from discrimination which is solely based on gender identity or sexual orientation. We can change this, thereby furthering the LGBTQ+ movement; all it takes is a quick signature*, phone call, or testimony to let our representatives know our human rights are not up for debate. *To find out more, contact Elias Flynn Joseph at eliasflynnjoseph@outlook.com.

This Land Was Made for You and Me By RAYYAN KHAN, Contributing Writer iiiiiYes, Trump won. No, it was not a “whitelash.” No, it is not the “end of America.” No, I am not scared. However, President Donald Trump’s attacks on Islam and push for unusually strict policies against innocent patriotic Muslim-Americans such as myself are unquestionably disturbing. iiiiiTo appease the growing fear of global terrorism, especially directed toward the Islamic State group, Trump has supported numerous hard-line policies targeting the Muslim community. He has called for a ban against my cousins coming to visit, advocated the procedural registration and labeling of all Muslims and even appointed Michael Flynn, who has called my religion a “viscous cancer” which should not be protected by the First Amendment, as his national photo by Maya Lee

16 | devilsadvocatepaper.com

security adviser. The biggest concern is the effect which Trump’s rhetoric has on the Muslim community. According to the FBI, hate crimes against Muslims in the United States increased by 67 percent during his campaign in 2015. iiiiiAll things considered, I understand the fears. It is disheartening to hear about the most recent attacks the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for, and even more frightening to think the next attack might be too close to home. Yet our nation’s history has repeatedly shown us that throwing specific groups under the bus and playing the “blame game” has never done any good. iiiiiI am a Muslim, and I will never hide that fact, but I am also an extremely proud American, and nothing can trump that fact. As vice president of the Muslim Student Association, I stand to let people know that no discrimination, tweet nor man can put me down. In the end, I believe Woody Guthrie says it best: “This land was made for you and me.”

infographic by Trystan Loustau

vol. xxxiii, no. 3


An Overlooked Treasure By AMRA KAJDIC, Contributing Writer iiiiiEveryone was on the edge of their seats in the Creekside High School auditorium when members from the Stanton College Preparatory School drama club finished performing a chilling song from the musical “35mm” as a part of the Florida District 2 Thespian Festival on Nov. 19, 2016. The group was awarded a “Superior” ranking and received second place in Critic’s Choice for the performance, yet it did not receive its duly deserved recognition, demonstrating a much larger problem affecting American school systems: the neglection of the arts. iiiiiThe major driving force of this trend is a lack of funding. Compared to the amount of money the American government spends on other industries, it spends close to nothing on the arts. While the National Science Foundation receives an annual budget of around $7 billion, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) receives only around $146 million. iiiiiThis deficiency in financing not only puts a strain on art production, but also makes it harder for the general public to consume art. For theatre companies which the NEA is unable to provide funding for, tight budgets result in an increase in ticket prices, limiting their accessibility. This shows how, as Congress continues to cut funding for the arts in favor of fields such as science and technology, the artistic culture of our nation is consequently struggling. photo by Maya Lee

infographic by Trystan Loustau

iiiiiIn an effort to combat these struggles, there are both national and local forces, such as club boosters, which work to generate funds for strained art programs. At Stanton, support for the drama club is demonstrated by students, teachers and faculty alike, each of whom were among those who purchased tickets for the club’s sold-out musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” iiiiiStill, there are other forces in the community which pose a threat to the arts in local schools. News broadcasters, such as News 4 Jax, make it their mission to report on high school football games every Friday night during the football season, but those cameras were nowhere to be found at the District Thespian Festival. Neither can they be spotted at chorus or band competitions. iiiiiThe bottom line is, art is alive, but it is struggling to stay that way. If left unchecked, the overall continuing neglect of the arts could diminish the vibrancy of the diverse American culture. Only when we succeed in obtaining both local and national support for the arts can we secure a colorful future rather than one which is artless and dull. iiiiiUndoubtedly, the personal and psychological connections which we can make with art provide our lives with greater fulfillment. It can move us to tears, imbue us with delight and silence us in reflection. For this reason, we must stop taking it for granted. We must realize its importance before it is too late. Art is a sacrifice which, as a society, we simply cannot afford to make.

Keep it Up By LIKHITA MANCHIKANTI, Staff Writer iiiiiSometimes it seems as if no matter how many cups of coffee I consume in order to pull a dreaded all-nighter, I am no match for the waves of homework threatening to drown me in a sea of despair. Like many other students, I find it difficult to manage my workload, but striving for a high grade-point average (GPA) at Stanton College Preparatory School is nonetheless beneficial because it compels my peers and I to have faith in our academic abilities and confidence in ourselves. iiiiiAccording to U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of public high schools, Stanton is ranked No. 31 nationwide and No. 5 statewide. The Stanton label, which such statistics make evident, inspires students to live up to the school’s reputation. Those who succeed in achieving a high GPA obtain acclamation and pride which supersedes even this prestige. iiiiiThis phenomenon portrays the uniqueness of Stanton’s culture, which is comprised of a hierarchy based on grades rather than economic background or appearance. This atmosphere encourages Stanton students to secure “respectable” grades in order to achieve a high social standing. In this realm of academic communion, students are united in their pursuit of common goals: high grades and GPAs. iiiiiWhen I see high grades on my report cards, I am convinced every hour of sleep I sacrifice in order to study is worth the sense of accomplishment I feel. My high GPA enforces the idea that I understand the challenging material I am being taught, strengthening the faith I have in both my education and myself. This self-confidence is an effective shield against feelings of self-doubt which are so prevalent within Stanton’s student body. iiiiiEven a modest amount of pride goes a long way. Students with self-worth possess a sense of belonging at Stanton. Rather than feeling threatened by their competitive peers, students are driven by this friendly rivalry to excel in the race to greatness. Earning a high GPA is one step of this journey, imbuing students with the confidence and support necessary to reach their destination. photo by Dani Brewer

february 2017

infographic by Trystan Loustau

Life is More Than a Number By VINCE DURANTE, Staff Writer iiiiiIt consumes the academic lives of hundreds of Stanton College Preparatory School students. It is a parasite which infiltrates and infects the minds of high school students. This meaningless and ineffective system of superficial numbers and letters used to grade student performance is called grade-point average (GPA). With the first semester over, many students at Stanton have struggled under the pressure to maximize their grades. Instead of spending high school exhausted in their efforts to obtain a high GPA, students should become more responsible and invest in their futures. iiiiiFacing pressures from competitive college admissions boards, some students have pursued activities alongside their academics to achieve a more appealing, well-rounded application to stand out against the masses of college applicants. For example, admissions officers at West Point Military Academy, which had an acceptance rate of 9.5 percent in 2015, emphasized the importance of qualities other than intelligence, desiring applicants who are also photo by Dani Brewer

“physically fit and of outstanding character.” iiiiiBy challenging students to find a balance, high school can be a place to develop skills for the future. It prepares students for the workforce by teaching them the importance of skills such as organization and responsibility. However, it also inadvertently teaches students to approach their education like economists rather than learners. The overemphasis on GPA at Stanton and other schools is reflective of an environment in which the enriching aspects of education are undermined by the standardized systems which are used to measure them. Therefore, it is more important to focus on how high school will be beneficial in the future. iiiiiHigh school is the beginning of one’s development into a better student and person. In order to become successful, students should strive to establish themselves as complete, well-rounded individuals. The significance of GPA in schools has added pressure to student learning by making it more important than the information itself. In order to gain a better understanding of education, students and teachers should focus on the substance of information rather than how it is measured.

devil’s advocate | 17


photo by Dani Brewer

photo by Mary Allison Kane

photo by Mary Allison Kane

photo by Mary Allison Kane

photo by Chloe Giroux

photo by Chloe Giroux

photo by Dani Brewer

Macro New Year’s

A collection of macro photography featuring various objects associated with the New Year’s holiday.

photo by Chloe Giroux

photography by

Dani Brewer, Maya Lee, Mary Allison Kane and Chloe Giroux


Devil's Advocate (Vol. 33, Issue 3, February 2017)  

Stanton College Preparatory School's award-winning newspaper, Devil's Advocate, is published by student journalists in Jacksonville, Fla. In...

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