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devil’s advocate stanton college preparatory school

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The

Beginning of the End? Transportation cuts, sports cuts, diminished public support. Could Stanton be headed for closure? By BRANDON GEORGE

no.1 | october 2011 devilsadvocatepaper.blogspot.com


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14 Opinions

Issue of the Issue

Students Joc’lene Scarlett and Andrew Renfro go head to head to discuss the pros and cons that Stanton is facing with the new county budget cuts.

Campus Affairs New Teachers, Same Ethics The 2011-2012 school year has brought three new Blue Devil’s to the Stanton campus. The Devil’s Advocate offers personality profiles on three of our newest teachers.

19 Student Life You May Also Like

Your favorite artists have inspired many known singers and bands. The Devil’s Advocate found unknown artists similar to the big name artists.

17 Sports

Raising the Money With the cutting of several sports in Duval County what are those sports doing to ensure they get to play? Ishmail Dowridge and Hamza Ajmal found out.

11 Cover Story

What if Stanton Closed?

photo by Sarah Roberson

The new school year brings changes; however, this year has brought sports cuts and transportation cuts. Could this be the beginning of the end for Stanton?

Please Recycle Printed at Florida Sun Printing, Callahan, Fla.

Production Staff Adviser Larry Knight Editor-In-Chief Greg Todaro Katie Raymond

Section Editors Kia’ Cooper (Campus Affairs) Jonathan Kemp (Sports) Laura Gerbec (Features) Alexandra Morgante (Opinions) Leah Quisenberry (Student Life)

Letter From the Editor Greetings Stantonians! For those of you who are new to SCP this year, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you and ask you to become an active reader of our newspaper. With 5 issues coming out this year, we plan on bringing you stories that range from important changes in school policies to school-run events, and even something funny. For those who are familiar with our paper, you may have noticed several changes. Our biggest change this year is the merging of our Arts & Entertainment and Script sections into our new Student Life section. In the Student Life section, you can find old favorites such as I Saw U and Artist Corner, and our award winning Reviews section. I hope that this year, more and more readers will begin to send us their imput. We love to hear from you, and you comments only help us inprove. Happy Reading!

Reporters Brandon George Ishmail Dowridge Hamza Ajmal Alexis Brown

Senior Photographer Sarah Roberson Reporters/Photography Team Taylor Galloway Joc’lene Scarlett Kathryn McMullen

Contributing Advocates The Devil’s Advocate is searching for contributing writers, photographers, and artists. Please submit your work via email to stantondevilsadvocate@gmail.com, or contact Greg Todaro at gregtodaro0@gmail.com, Katie Raymond at kaite.katith.raymond@gmail.com, or Mr. Knight at knightl1@duvalschools.org or room 204.

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New Teachers, Same Ethics By ALEXIS BROWN, Reporter

Stanton welcomed five new teachers at the start of the 2011-2012 school year, each of them adding to the rich diversity the school promotes. These teachers brought their unique teaching methods to the school with the hopes of enriching the student body. Here are three profiles for three of our newest teachers.

photo by Sarah Roberson

Mrs. Neraja Amura

Mrs. Neraja Amura is a native of South Hyderabod, India. As a child she often got in trouble for skipping reading, and studying to go outside and play an Indian game called Kho-Kho and cricket. Some of the things she enjoys include cooking, classical dancing, hand embroidery, and food. When Amura was in the 12th grade she was married and lived in a joint family. After high school she went on to receive a masters degree from Osmania University, and a bachelors degree in education from Central University located in India. Formerly teaching at Lee and Englewood High School, Amura greatly appreciates the effort Stanton students put into their work. “The best thing I like here is that everybody turns in their homework, and they want to know why they have that grade in my class,” says Amura. She is currently teaching Biology and AP Biology.

Dr. David Rodriguez-Reyes

Photo by Kathryn McMullen

Dr. David Rodriguez-Reyes is from Puerto Rico. Three weeks before the school year, Rodriguez-Reyes came to Jacksonville to teach at Stanton. He has always liked science, as a child he wanted to become a scientist. After graduating from high school, he received a bachelors degree in chemistry and a P.h.d in chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico. The only job he has held in life have been teaching, where his first experience was as a professor at the University of Puerto Rico. His style of teaching includes lectures, and a series of questions to see if his students understand their lesson. Rodriguez-Reyes is still adjusting to teaching teens since his only job has been teaching at universities. “It’s easier teaching adults because they pay to go to school, and they know what they want. Students at Stanton do not know what they want most of the time, but it takes some getting use to,” says Rodriguez-Reyes.

photo by Kathryn McMullen

Mrs. Elizabeth Bureau Mrs. Elizabeth Bureau entered Stanton with open arms because of her experience with teaching at magnet schools. She has previously taught at Julia Landon College Preparatory and Darnell-Cookman Middle School. “When I came here I saw many students that I taught when I was at other schools. It really made me feel welcome,” said Bureau. Her husband also teaches at Trinity Christian Academy, and she has an 11-year-old son who attends the same school. Growing up, Bureau was a part of NJHS and NHS, and the lowest grade she ever received on a report card was a C. “I always wanted to be a teacher,” said Bureau. “I would line my stuffed animals up and teach class.” After high school she attended UNF where she met her husband and received a degree in education. Her first teaching experience was an intern at Ribault High School where she taught Biology and Anatomy for five months. Bureau expects the highest respect out of her students, and hopes they want to learn. Bureau enjoys scrap-booking, her four cats, and is most thankful for God, her family, and being at Stanton.

Campus Affairs | Devil’s Advocate

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What You Didn’t Know By SARAH ROBERSON, Reporter

Sports

Buses Something that cannot go unnoticed this year at Stanton is the increased congestion when trying to leave the campus after school. However, with 1500 car riders, at least twenty minutes of congestion is inevitable. The Duval County Public School Board voted this past summer to eliminate bus programs at seven magnet schools, including Stanton and many of our feeder schools, such as Darnell-Cookman, James Weldon Johnson and LaVilla School of the Arts. According to Assistant Principal Dr. Norma Hayward, the school board “wanted to stay away from the actual classrooms” when making budget cuts, saving them a little over $3 million dollars. Even though the county is not providing busing, there are other options. For $30 a month, students can be transported by the JTA city bus services, although this creates some concern with parents about their child’s safety. Another alternative is the “pay to ride” method, aptly named by Assistant Principal Sonya Gaiter, that requires parents to pay the approximate fee of $1125 to have their child ride private buses. Stanton has nothing to do with that particular mode of transportation, nor the city buses that have also been bringing students to and from school. Despite this major cut in transportation, it has had no major effect on our student population. Dr. Hayward explained that “students are still wanting to be here, and the parents are still willing to get them to and from school everyday.”

In May 2011, a $91 million shortfall was announced by the Duval County School Board, targeting sports as an area in need of downsizing. The programs that were threatened before the final decisions were made included cross-country, lacrosse, soccer, and many others. Many students and adults alike came together over the summer to raise the $400,000 needed for the sports possibly being cut, heading events such as car washes and radio-thons. Brielle Sebold, Stanton student and member of both the swim and lacrosse teams, understood that adjustments needed to be made in order to get out of debt. However, she shared with First Coast News that “it doesn’t feel fair” to her. More than 2,000 students would have also been affected if of the possible cuts had been made. According to Coach Lisa King, Stanton’s athletic director, many of Stanton’s sports remain untouched. Football and basketball, two prevalent high school sports, were kept. This was not only due to the popularity of these sports, but can also be contributed to the fact that football offers more full-ride scholarships than any other college sport. Due to the success of the many fundraising efforts that have taken place over the past few months, tennis, golf, and cross-country were saved. The others, such as wrestling, softball, and lacrosse, are still fundraising. Those interesting in donating to these funds can contact head coaches, team captains, or Coach King.

Extended Day Program By ISHMAIL DOWRIDGE, Reporter

Students interact after school, during the Extended Day on a project.

4 Campus Affairs | Devil’s Advocate

compensate for the lack of transportation. Although large portions of the student body have adapted by carpooling with their friends, there are still students who have transportation issues. The solution, officially known as the “Community Education Enrichment Program” allows students to stay after school in the Media Center until their parents pick them up. Extended Day, managed by Mrs. Edith Pietrykowski, the principal’s assistant, starts at 3 p.m. and continues until 6 p.m. in the media center. Students are advised to gather their belongings from their lockers before entering the Media Center. Students are advised to spend their time wisely, working on homework and getting ahead. Mrs. Pietrykowski said, “The majority of students are working on homework assignments. Some are just visiting while others are browsing the internet.” Likewise, freshman Kenan Tica, spends his time in Extended Day working on homework. “I try to finish it so I don’t have to do it at home,” said Tica. In order for parents to sign their children up for Extended Day, they are required to fill out paper work and pay a fee. The amount of money needed is paid month-to-month and comes to a total of $100 per month. Parents are allowed to pay the entire amount in advance and are given a refund if their child does not stay in the program the entire time.

The school administrators expect students to leave the campus by 3 p.m. unless they are enrolled in clubs, sports, or Extended Day to ensure safety for students. Stanton has created penalties for any students left on campus when Extended Day begins. The first two incidents will result in a fine of $10 and a phone call. The third incident will result in the parents having to pay the $100 dollars for the entire month. Overall, the purpose of Extended Day is keeping students safe while maintaining a peaceful environment. So far Extended Day has been a successful contribution, allowing students to continue receiving an education at Stanton.

photo by Sarah Roberson

In order to manage the new reduced school budget, Duval County Schools made significant changes. After months of dispute over busing, magnet schools will no longer provide transportation to or from school. Those schools have since figured out solutions in order to keep as many students as possible and resolve the transportation situation that has plagued them. In particular, Stanton College Preparatory School took an alternative route and adopted a program commonly known to Stanton students as “Extended Day” in order to

Students work hard on their homework for their classes during the program.


Sports


By TAYLOR GALLOWAY, Reporter

believes is because of the amount of time they all spend together practicing. “Rowing is almost like learning to walk, it doesn’t just come naturally to anyone, it takes a mountainous amount of practice, like any sport,” says Lindawan. Lawrence’s commitment has been recognized by head coach, Tess Durant, who says, his commitment and desire helps him to be a superb role model for the younger rowers, which keeps him striving to become better in order to lead by example. Lindawan says that he always has the Nike slogan “Just Do It” racing through his head when he is practicing or racing. He says that it reminds him that all the hard work will eventually pay off, you just have to push through it. As a senior, it is part of Lindawan’s roll to help with keeping the younger rowers in a positive mindset. “He’s always doing extra in order to help with whatever he can. He goes out of his way to drive me and others at crew,” says freshman and first year rower, Jonah Perrin. “He leads our warm-up and our workouts, and is always trying his hardest on the Erg and on the water. Usually when I’m doing an erg piece he’s pushing me and encouraging me to pull harder. He’s an all around great guy and a superb rower.” Crew is also known for team unity, which, according to Lindawan is very important to have with you in the boat. “If people in the boat don’t get along then someone will inevitably end up not caring enough to pull their weight in the race,” says Lindawan, “if that person is heavier than you, it feels like you’re literally dragging an anchor.” Lawrence Lindawan’s hard work and determination has showed throughout his high school rowing career. “I have known Lawrence for four years and have never heard him say anything negative. This positive attitude that he brings not only helps him to do better, but his teammates as well,” says head coach Tess Durant. Lindawan says that crew is one of the best things that has ever happened to him. It provided him with a sport that he is passionate about, taught him many valuable lessons and a source of education after high school. “I would recommend crew to anyone who wants to meet a great group of friends, meet some of the most interesting people you’ve ever come in counter with as well as getting in shape,” says Lindawan. From being on Varsity since his sophomore year, to being the third fastest person to erg in all of the Southern Region, Lindawan has earned himself a name in the rowing industry. photo from StantonRiverBankCrew.org

Rowing, which is normally given very little recognition and often called a cult, has changed the life of at least one Stanton student. Senior Lawrence Lindawan has been rowing for Stanton Riverbank Rowing since he was a freshman. After four years, Lindawan, now a senior, has become one of the top rowers for SRB, and has been on Varsity since his sophomore year. “I joined mainly because my sister was already rowing,” says Lindawan. “I was a little hesitant at first since all I had done before was run track, but I flowed in naturally.” His love for crew sparked soon after starting. He says the feeling of satisfaction he gets after a race, knowing all of his hard work payed off, is worth all of the countless hours of practice. This hard work has led to many rowing accomplishments for Lindawan. As a freshman, he placed third overall at the Southern State Erg Sprints Competition in Melbourne, Fla. He finished with an impressive time of seven minutes flat, which is what he considers to be his biggest accomplishment within rowing. “Rowing is a sport that I picked up and can’t seem to quit doing, I guess it’s just my niche,” says Lindawan. Crew has led to many opportunities for him. It has not only provided him with another level of education after high school, but also a scholarship to a high performance camp this past summer at the Penn Athletic Club Rowing Association. This gave him the opportunity to travel all over the U.S and even into Canada. He competed in three races, which included: the Independence Day Regatta, the Canadian Henley in which they won overall team points, as well as Club Nationals, in which they earned the most points for the men division. One problem that Lindawan has faced through this sport has been his height. Although six feet might be tall for the average sport, most male rowers are six foot five inches and above. Some colleges even have requirements for how tall rowers have to be in order to get a scholarship to their university. He says that this hasn’t posed a big problem for him considering he is able to beat people that are taller than him. “This should concern me, but I met a guy who broke a world record in the Olympics in 2005 and he’s an inch shorter than me,” says Lindawan. Crew is the only sport that Lindawan has been involved in at Stanton. He says that he has been approached to play football several times but feels that he needs to focus on crew. “I feel that excelling at one is a lot better than being mediocre at several,” says Lindawan. Through rowing Lindawan believes he has learned the value of commitment. “It takes a lot of dedication to be fast,” says Lindawan. “Sure you can beat somebody new to the sport but it takes a lot of commitment to actually compete.” This commitment and time that the rowers spend together has posed many people to label crew as a cult, which Lindawan

“If people in the boat don’t get along then someone will inevitably end up not caring enough to pull their weight in the race,” says Lindawan.

Plays You May Have Missed By JONATHAN KEMP, Sports Editor

My Side of the Story By LAWRENCE LINDAWAN, Contributing Writer I have to be honest that it never crossed my mind that I would be a rower in high school. I was 140 pounds, scrawny, and had never done a team sport. Now three years and thirty odd pounds later I have trouble walking in between my friends sometimes because of my shoulder width. Throughout middle school I always spent my summers running to Mandarin High and swimming for hours at a time every day. I always thought that I would end up doing one of those two sports when I went to Stanton because I had such a good base in them. My parents however thought differently. My sister was a junior in high school and somehow persuaded both our mother and father to have me try out the crew team. I was very skeptic at first but I ended up listening to my parents and at the start of freshman year I was headed to crew practice. Surprisingly enough it did not take that long for me to get the hang of it and I actually found out that I enjoyed it. The team was very friendly and helped me become more social with and without the team. I had a fantastic novice year. I won my very first race over crews that we commonly lose to in the novice four. I took third at the indoor state championships out of a field with more than seventy entries. We won the city championships on a comeback year by dominating every event we entered. And it was that year I decided to get serious after I had placed third in the state at the indoor championships for novice men. I’ve been in a boat almost nonstop ever since. If I’m not doing school work I am trying to spend as much time as possible to get better. If you ever are on the Matthews or Hart bridge at the right time of day you’ll probably see me if you look down on the river. Racing is probably the worst and best part of rowing. It’s nerve racking wondering if all the hours you spent was worth it. Then it’s a matter if the conditions are good. The water could be like glass or it could be a raging typhoon. Racing however is when you get to put it all on the line and come out on top over everybody else. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you really are the best when somebody drapes a gold medal around your neck. That’s why you’ll often here of crew teams going through the worst possible scenarios but still ending up as champions. Most people label the team as a cult but that only makes me laugh. In truth any sports team is a cult. If you play a sport than you speak the terminology associated with it and you spend the majority of your time with team members; crew kids will talk about erging, sculling, and random other boat talk. To other people it sounds about as clear as pig Latin, but then again not everybody knows what a first down is in football either. I encourage anyone to go give rowing a try.You really will surprise yourself. I may have been an active child as a kid but my official sport was pretty much chess. Now when I put a shirt on in the morning I sometimes have trouble because it’s too tight and I’ve gotten too big. The beauty of rowing is that size does not matter at all if you try.You don’t need to be 6’2, 220 pounds. Dr. Seuss sums it up, “it does not matter whether you’re big or small, measure yourself by the width of your grin and what lies within.” Rowing for me in high school these past four years has been a great roller coaster and I want it to continue. I plan to continue to row in college. Currently I am in the process of being recruited for schools up north and if everything goes right then I’ll be making snowmen next winter North of the Mason Dixon line. photo by Sarah Roberson

Rowing to Victory

On Jan. 7, 2011 the Stanton basketball team was playing Paxon when arguably the best play in Stanton history occurred. We were down by three with only a few seconds left when Luke “The Savior” Humphreys made a three pointer to send the game into double overtime; where we went on to win 102-97.

To see a video of the play, go to YouTube and search “Luke the Savior.” Sports | Devil’s Advocate

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Raising the Money By ISHMAIL DOWRIDGE and HAMZA AJMAL, Reporters

several cut sports took part in a car wash and radio-thon sponsored by 1010XL Radio Station. Other fund raising opportunities have been considered as well. The tennis team raised the needed $70,000 through fundraisers and donations; they were able to raise the money by selling Papa Murphy’s Pizzas and holding exhibition matches by tennis pros Todd Martin, Brian Gottfired, Malavai Washington, and Amir Delic at the San Jose Country Club. This allowed the tennis team to reach their goal and remain eligible to play in Duval County for the 2011-2012 school year. Golf held a similar exhibition match and succeeded in their goal as well. Cross-country held a 5K Stadium Run, where individuals could pledge any amount of money for runners as they completed the distance. Stanton’s Athletic Director Lisa King said, “Students should get tighter with their school teams and work to raise the money.” With that, there are several fundraisers and promotions in the upcoming

months. Lacrosse will be holding a dinner at the Fire Fighter Hall sponsored by all My Sons Moving and Storage on Oct. 7; a silent auction will commence as well. Currently, slow-pitched softball is selling coupon books for $10. Wrestling will also be holding some fundraisers as well; a motorcycle ride, a wrestling tournament at Terry Parker, a Chicago Pizza Promotion, and a golf tournament are some the planned events. The first event, the Chicago Pizza Promotion, takes place all throughout October and team members are collecting $4 donations with the purchase of a pizza. In order to find out the specific dates and times, students are encouraged to talk to their head coaches and administrators. According to Coach King, student participation in the fundraising will significantly reduce the amount needed to fund all three sports. One major effect soon to be felt by area students is the number of scholarships offered. This year the number of scholarships given under the sports in

question is in danger of being suspended. Last year, Duval County had $2 million in scholarships, now they are unsure if they are even close to that number. While golf, tennis, and crosscountry have met their goals, there are those ‘less fortunate’ sports such as slow-pitched softball, wrestling and lacrosse, which need the support of the students and parents of Duval County to come together and donate.

photo by Kathryn McMullen

The Duval County School Board continues to battle a $90.9 million debt as a result of budget cuts; last year approximately $445,298 was cut from high school sports alone. As a result of these cuts, Stanton College Preparatory School and several other magnet schools in the county had to drop a handful sports. Schools and boosters of the cut sports were then required to raise roughly $70,000 by time their respective seasons start. Now that the 2011-2012 school year is underway, sports such as slow-pitch softball, lacrosse, and wrestling remain in danger of being permanently cut from the Duval County sports program. Whether or not these and other individual sports departments raise the necessary funds depends on the participation of both students and parents. In contrast, the cross-country, tennis, and golf teams were also on the list of sports to cut; however, boosters and teams across the county were able to salvage the estimated amount of funds needed to keep the sports running. Over the summer, boosters of

Coach of the Issue: Robert Fleming By TAYLOR GALLOWAY, Reporter

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Devil’s Advocate | Sports

“You should always try to give five percent more effort than everyone else,” says Coach Bob Fleming. to resign. When he came back, Stanton needed a softball coach and Fleming once again was asked to coach. “I ended up loving it; girls in my opinion are easier to coach,” he said. “The only difference is the ball is a little bigger, but you still have to hit, catch, and throw.” As a coach, Fleming is known for emphasizing the belief that “practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect,” and, “You should always try to give five percent more effort than everyone else, if you want to be successful.” He believes that by being a good role model, practicing what he preaches, and doing what he loves to do, will help not only his students and players to respect him, but his children as well. “When my sons were younger we were always outside together; from coaching their sports, to surfing, and always playing in the back yard,” said Fleming. “I believe that my love for the outdoors was passed on to them because of this, and that’s why they are where they are today.” His oldest son, Bobby, got a two year scholarship to the University of South Florida, and is graduating in December of this year with an

environmental degree. His middle son, Brandon, got a full-ride athletic scholarship to Tallahassee Community College as a pitcher. After 26 years as a coach, there is one person he will never forget, Kevin Paige. He played baseball at Stanton while Fleming was coaching, and his parents kicked him out of their house when he was in 9th grade and he was living with his best friend. Most kids would just give up, not only in school but in sports as well, but this kid ended up going to college and is now a forest ranger in Alaska. “He had a hard life but he didn’t let that stop him, and I respected him for that,” says Fleming. Coach Bob Fleming is dedicated to health and wellness, sports, and Stanton as a whole. He has been a great motivator and role model for all of his athletes and students for over 20 years, and continues to be.

photo by Kathryn McMullen

photo by Kathryn McMullen

Every Stanton athlete knows him, whether it is baseball, softball, soccer, swim or even HOPE class. He’s known for his passion for sports, In high school, Coach Bob Fleming played free-safety and wide receiver for Bishop Kenny’s football team, as well as center field for their baseball team. After graduating, he worked at UPS, and soon realized how much he missed athletics, so decided to turn to teaching. “This job not only paid well, but it also gave me a chance to be involved in sports again, which has always been my When he first started working at Stanton in 1985 as a 7th grade P.E teacher there were no sports at Stanton. A year later, Fleming was asked to start a swimming program and has been the coach ever since. The principal at the time, also asked him to coach baseball, which he has done for a total of nine years, until a family emergency came up and he had

Coach Fleming helping his HOPE students stretch out


A A

mos ce

Mobiling Detailing (904)-537-2756

5145 Glen Alan Ct N Jacksonville, FL 32210


STANTON

?

From the very beginning, Stanton College Preparatory School has been dedicated to student excellence. However, recent budget cuts have sparked new fears that Stanton’s magnet school program could be headed for elimination. By BRANDON GEORGE, Reporter

“We want parents and students to have two great choices- in their neighborhoods or in a magnet program,” said Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals.

The Effects The idea of Stanton College Preparatory School losing its magnet program and possibly closing is a haunting image for students and parents. The closing would force 1600 students to relocate and over 100 faculty members to find jobs elsewhere. The majority of Duval County School Board members, including Becki Couch, disagree with the idea of closing magnet schools. However, she felt the program needs greater scrutiny. “I do think we need to review our magnet programs, not to dismantle them, rather to address the issue of why so many parents and students feel it is necessary to attend a magnet schools instead of their neighborhood school to receive a quality education,” said Couch. With such a strong history of success, the loss of the magnet program would be by eliminating a school with international and national recognition. The school’s success is shown in its 99 percent graduation rate for the 2010-2011 year. The effects of losing a school that brings national attention to Jacksonville would have major repercussions for our city. The entire Stanton College Preparatory community of teachers and students would experience a shock as a result of the school closing. They are accustomed to having a prestigious school they can depend on and with the closing of Stanton, students would be forced to attend a neighborhood

History of Stanton

A History of Excellence All the way back in 1860, Stanton had a vision. The school was built to educate African American children in the surrounding area, and give them a better chance of a good education.

photo by Stanton PTSA

color or ethnicity, but acceptance of one for who they are, which is what Stanton has done. Students of differing ethnicities have now become competitive to the point where they compare grades and therefore drive each other to become better and achieve even higher grades. This friendly competition formed a healthy learning environment where students strived and vied for academic superiority. The newly named Stanton College Preparatory School received its first accolade in 1987 went it was recognized as a National Model School and the first students received their International Baccalaureate diploma. This achievement set the school apart from other area high schools. In 1991, Stanton became a grades nine through twelve magnet high school collecting a number of national and international recognitions. The school’s tradition of academic excellence and integrity has also met with some criticism from opponents who felt magnet schools are attracting some of the county’s brightest students. The opposition has increased since the benefits of Stanton’s bright students have made the school distinguished. Without the magnet program, the cultural \diversity of Stanton College Preparatory School would be threatened, the school’s standards would potentially be lowered, and as a result, the school’s top five ranking would be lost.

1981, our current title is opened, allowing for grades seven through twelfth to After numerous fires, attend the magnet school, the school found its way to Stanton College Preparatory West 13th Street in 1953. School. The first graduating They began to expand class of 1984 only had 54 the idea, and reopened students, titled a National the school in 1970 as Model School in 1987, and Stanton Vocational High also had the first students to School, which means that receive an IB diploma. the school was going to specialize in preparing The school switch over students for their to a grade nine through future paths. twelfth school in 1983. From photo by Stanton College Prep

WHAT IF

A school is just a building from the outside, but when one looks at its statistics, its rankings, and most importantly, its students, that is where many schools differ from one another. Stanton is unique in that it offers a mandatory magnet program and the optional International Baccalaureate (IB) program. It also holds the designation as the fourth ranked high school in the nation, according to Newsweek magazine. On top of that, the Duval County Magnet program is one of the nation’s most successful magnet programs, according to the U.S. Department of Education. With all these accolades, Stanton seems certain to be praised for its excellence, but with state budget cuts, the Duval County School Board is resorting to eliminating sports funding to all of Duval County and transportation to six magnet schools. The decision to cut sports and transportation funding is causing many to believe that Stanton’s magnet program could be in jeopardy. The name Stanton has been around for well over a century. The school first opened in 1868 as a school for African Americans in the city of Jacksonville. Since then, Stanton has gone through several transformations and has been relocated once from Ashley Street to its present location. “From its [Stanton’s] inception, the atmosphere of students who want top learn and teachers who want to teach, has created an aura that transcends almost anything going on in any other school,” said Guidance Counselor Bob Turba. “It’s a shame it is being dismantled piece by piece through the loss of transportation, sports, and such.” When it opened as a college preparatory school in 1981, the purpose was to serve gifted students in grades seven through twelve throughout the county and as a means of desegregating public schools. Stanton offered area students what was lacking in 19 Duval County high schools: a rigorous curriculum, a strong academic community, and a group of committed teachers. According to Stanton’s mission statement the school was established “to foster academic excellence through a comprehensive curricula, rigorous standards, and challenging assessments.” Stanton teaches students and employs teachers of varying ethnicities. The cultural diversity of the school has expanded from a mostly African American student body. Now, with a strong cultural identity Stanton fits the definition of a magnet school, one that desegregates the varying ethnicities and provides a quality education to all students. The magnet school that Stanton has created is a robust community that has assisted in creating a healthy learning environment based upon friendly competitiveness. An integration of ethnicities has created a person to person education that has formed a connection between ethnicities and has branched out into cultural education. Students who are now exposed to a variety of cultures, as a result of desegregating schools, are able to learn and teach one another. The idea of desegregating was the disregard for

then on, the school has done nothing but excel. Stanton soon received rankings such as the number one IB school, and number one school for their curriculum.

2010-2011 Student Numbers by Grade Twelfth

Eleventh

315

477

341 443

Ninth

Tenth

Compared to the graph below, 2011-2012 Student Numbers, the freshman dropped by 2% after the bus cuts. Students who have the ability to drive, which are juniors and seniors, increased. The juniors increased by 6%, and seniors, by 1%. 2011-2012 Student Numbers by Grade

Twelfth

328

Eleventh

382

462

Ninth

454

Tenth

Devil’s Advocate | Features

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STANTON

?

From the very beginning, Stanton College Preparatory School has been dedicated to student excellence. However, recent budget cuts have sparked new fears that Stanton’s magnet school program could be headed for elimination. By BRANDON GEORGE, Reporter

“We want parents and students to have two great choices- in their neighborhoods or in a magnet program,” said Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals.

The Effects The idea of Stanton College Preparatory School losing its magnet program and possibly closing is a haunting image for students and parents. The closing would force 1600 students to relocate and over 100 faculty members to find jobs elsewhere. The majority of Duval County School Board members, including Becki Couch, disagree with the idea of closing magnet schools. However, she felt the program needs greater scrutiny. “I do think we need to review our magnet programs, not to dismantle them, rather to address the issue of why so many parents and students feel it is necessary to attend a magnet schools instead of their neighborhood school to receive a quality education,” said Couch. With such a strong history of success, the loss of the magnet program would be by eliminating a school with international and national recognition. The school’s success is shown in its 99 percent graduation rate for the 2010-2011 year. The effects of losing a school that brings national attention to Jacksonville would have major repercussions for our city. The entire Stanton College Preparatory community of teachers and students would experience a shock as a result of the school closing. They are accustomed to having a prestigious school they can depend on and with the closing of Stanton, students would be forced to attend a neighborhood

History of Stanton

A History of Excellence All the way back in 1860, Stanton had a vision. The school was built to educate African American children in the surrounding area, and give them a better chance of a good education.

photo by Stanton PTSA

color or ethnicity, but acceptance of one for who they are, which is what Stanton has done. Students of differing ethnicities have now become competitive to the point where they compare grades and therefore drive each other to become better and achieve even higher grades. This friendly competition formed a healthy learning environment where students strived and vied for academic superiority. The newly named Stanton College Preparatory School received its first accolade in 1987 went it was recognized as a National Model School and the first students received their International Baccalaureate diploma. This achievement set the school apart from other area high schools. In 1991, Stanton became a grades nine through twelve magnet high school collecting a number of national and international recognitions. The school’s tradition of academic excellence and integrity has also met with some criticism from opponents who felt magnet schools are attracting some of the county’s brightest students. The opposition has increased since the benefits of Stanton’s bright students have made the school distinguished. Without the magnet program, the cultural \diversity of Stanton College Preparatory School would be threatened, the school’s standards would potentially be lowered, and as a result, the school’s top five ranking would be lost.

1981, our current title is opened, allowing for grades seven through twelfth to After numerous fires, attend the magnet school, the school found its way to Stanton College Preparatory West 13th Street in 1953. School. The first graduating They began to expand class of 1984 only had 54 the idea, and reopened students, titled a National the school in 1970 as Model School in 1987, and Stanton Vocational High also had the first students to School, which means that receive an IB diploma. the school was going to specialize in preparing The school switch over students for their to a grade nine through future paths. twelfth school in 1983. From photo by Stanton College Prep

WHAT IF

A school is just a building from the outside, but when one looks at its statistics, its rankings, and most importantly, its students, that is where many schools differ from one another. Stanton is unique in that it offers a mandatory magnet program and the optional International Baccalaureate (IB) program. It also holds the designation as the fourth ranked high school in the nation, according to Newsweek magazine. On top of that, the Duval County Magnet program is one of the nation’s most successful magnet programs, according to the U.S. Department of Education. With all these accolades, Stanton seems certain to be praised for its excellence, but with state budget cuts, the Duval County School Board is resorting to eliminating sports funding to all of Duval County and transportation to six magnet schools. The decision to cut sports and transportation funding is causing many to believe that Stanton’s magnet program could be in jeopardy. The name Stanton has been around for well over a century. The school first opened in 1868 as a school for African Americans in the city of Jacksonville. Since then, Stanton has gone through several transformations and has been relocated once from Ashley Street to its present location. “From its [Stanton’s] inception, the atmosphere of students who want top learn and teachers who want to teach, has created an aura that transcends almost anything going on in any other school,” said Guidance Counselor Bob Turba. “It’s a shame it is being dismantled piece by piece through the loss of transportation, sports, and such.” When it opened as a college preparatory school in 1981, the purpose was to serve gifted students in grades seven through twelve throughout the county and as a means of desegregating public schools. Stanton offered area students what was lacking in 19 Duval County high schools: a rigorous curriculum, a strong academic community, and a group of committed teachers. According to Stanton’s mission statement the school was established “to foster academic excellence through a comprehensive curricula, rigorous standards, and challenging assessments.” Stanton teaches students and employs teachers of varying ethnicities. The cultural diversity of the school has expanded from a mostly African American student body. Now, with a strong cultural identity Stanton fits the definition of a magnet school, one that desegregates the varying ethnicities and provides a quality education to all students. The magnet school that Stanton has created is a robust community that has assisted in creating a healthy learning environment based upon friendly competitiveness. An integration of ethnicities has created a person to person education that has formed a connection between ethnicities and has branched out into cultural education. Students who are now exposed to a variety of cultures, as a result of desegregating schools, are able to learn and teach one another. The idea of desegregating was the disregard for

then on, the school has done nothing but excel. Stanton soon received rankings such as the number one IB school, and number one school for their curriculum.

2010-2011 Student Numbers by Grade Twelfth

Eleventh

315

477

341 443

Ninth

Tenth

Compared to the graph below, 2011-2012 Student Numbers, the freshman dropped by 2% after the bus cuts. Students who have the ability to drive, which are juniors and seniors, increased. The juniors increased by 6%, and seniors, by 1%. 2011-2012 Student Numbers by Grade

Twelfth

328

Eleventh

382

462

Ninth

454

Tenth

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talents.” Couch’s opinion is embodied in the spirit and values of Stanton, because the school provides a rigorous program centered on college level courses. Stanton College Preparatory School’s quality of education has made a lasting impression on most students. Students attending Stanton and those who are enrolled in the IB program are one to two years ahead of other students attending other public and private schools. The school’s education standards have attracted students from all over Jacksonville and have influenced then to make adjustments in order to stay at the school. Now they are fighting for their ability to stay at Stanton by making accommodations for rides and fundraising for sports. “With the cuts in transportation I am forced to have my dad leave work early to come pick me up and then [he] works from home for the rest of the day,” said sophomore Class President Kishan Patel. Although transportation cuts caused significant problem for students Duval County’s proposal and decision to cut sports, has created for some bigger issues of concern. Stanton’s athletics department is diverse, focusing on smaller club sports, such as crew, lacrosse, and golf, while the schools’ bigger sports, like basketball, soccer, and football tend to be outperformed by the club sports. “When we first heard that running could be cut, we were disappointed, because it would be my senior year, and I would be captain,” said senior Patrick Emami. “We started to think about funding ideas, and we do things like Stanton sponsored races, which generate revenue, and we volunteer there, and charge a small entry fee.” Another effect of losing College Preparatory School is local schools would be forced

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“They [students] need the opportunity. It is like a scholarship is being taken away,” said junior Courtney Orr.

to take in the dispersed students. Students from Stanton would be switched to their neighborhood schools and in turn, these schools would be overflowing with new students. Along with Stanton’s students, the neighborhood schools would be overflowing with the displaced students of other closed Duval County magnet schools. The closure of the school would also take away from the choices students have. Another major effect would be a shock to the community and students who attend magnet schools. The choice of a high quality education school would be narrowed down. Stanton College Preparatory School would no longer be an option for students. The choice would be further narrowed down if all magnet high schools were to be closed alongside Stanton. The loss of Stanton would cause major effects to the community and the education system in Duval County.

Current Benefits The possibility of Stanton cutting its magnet program can be attributed to the county’s monetary issues brought on by state budget cuts, according to Betty Burney, Vice Chairman of the Duval County School Board. Stanton provides a quality education to over 1600 students and both high-ranking administrators and students would hate to see Stanton lose its magnet program. Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals is in favor of continuing magnet programs as a choice option for parents and students, however due to budget constraints, the possibility of closing magnet programs came into the picture. “The main focus of the School Board and me over the last several years is to ensure that neighborhood schools have acceleration programs like our dedicated magnets,” said Pratt-Dannals. “We want parents and students to have two great choices- in their neighborhoods or in a magnet program.” The Superintendent explained the benefits of keeping Stanton College Preparatory School’s magnet program, and stated that the program provides a choice option for a high quality education for students in Duval County. However, a major reason for the possibility of Stanton’s closing is that students would go to their neighborhood schools and raise the rankings of those schools. The IB students that are enrolled at Stanton would have to leave and, as a result, Stanton’s rankings would decline rapidly. photo by Sarah Roberson

a neighborhood school that might not provide an education equal to what Stanton provides. Transportation is the current dilemma Stanton students and parents are facing. The current effect of Stanton’s transportation cuts is that some students are struggling to get rides to and from school. Some students were forced to go to their neighborhood schools because they were not able to get rides or pay for the private buses. “A lot of our kids had to change schools because they could not get a ride, but they need the opportunity,” said junior Courtney Orr. “It is like a scholarship is being taken away.” With the current busing cuts, new and returning students have to make accommodations for a ride home. In order to get a ride, students must pay $1000 for a private bus. The next option would require students to enroll School Board believes all students should be guaranteed the access to a quality education, no matter the circumstances. “All students deserve access to high quality education no matter where they attend school,” said Couch. “Magnet schools provide a choice for students and opportunities to cultivate their

“I cannot imagine that we would do anything to eliminate the success of these important programs,” said Duval County School Board Chairman W.C. Gentry


photos by Sarah Roberson

A benefit of keeping Stanton and other magnet schools is that parents associated with magnet schools want to have a choice of where they are sending their children to school. Students who wish to focus on a specific topic have the option of deciding to enroll in magnet schools which provide a wide range of choices for students to choose their desired topic of study. The reasons to close Stanton and the benefits of keeping Stanton are limited. The major reasons to close Stanton originate from the national fiscal crisis that has caused state budget cuts. Therefore, Governor Rick Scott was forced to cut spending to Duval County and other districts across Florida.

Saving Stanton Stanton College Preparatory School could be saved by an increase of school funding and fundraising by students. An idea that could be considered is a school wide fundraiser and a raise in the price of class dues. Some select members of the Duval County School Board are doing all that they can to try to promote magnet schools and avoid the loss of them. Chairman W.C. Gentry of the Duval County School Board said, “We have several extraordinary centers of excellence within our magnet school program, including Stanton, and I cannot imagine that we would do anything to eliminate or diminish the success of these important programs.” He, along with other School Board members, agree that the neighborhood school and magnet school system need to be seriously reviewed. However, because of continued expected fiscal restraints, magnet transportation will have to be reduced even further which could greatly impact the magnet program. The Duval County School Board is doing the best they can to keep magnet schools running, as they provide a quality education to all students.

“All students deserve access to high quality education, no matter where they attend school,” said School Board member Becki Couch.

The quiet environment in Stanton’s library allows for helpful group studying after school.

Chairman Gentry said that the District needs to reassess whether there may be a better way of preserving our highest performing magnet schools and modifying others to benefit the district as a whole. The Chairman, who represents the Duval County School Board, puts into focus the hard work that is being done to try to keep Stanton a magnet school. With the current fiscal crisis in Duval County, it is still uncertain whether or not magnet schools will still be around in the future, and as a result school board members were forced to cut funding of sports and magnet transportation. These budget cuts to magnet schools across the county have led to the belief and fear that magnet schools, including Stanton, could be closed. The possibility of closing Stanton College Preparatory School is leading the students, teachers, and all others connected to Stanton, to focus on keeping the magnet program prosperous. Sacrifices and changes were made, whether in schedules, modes of transportation, or financially, all in hopes of keeping the educational aim of Stanton, and other magnet schools, alive. The end of magnet schools still remains a mere threat and yet this fear has caused students, teachers, and administration to work as hard as they can in order to preserve the prestige of the magnet program and Stanton alike. Throughout the years Stanton has been commended time and time again for its performance in comparison to other schools across the nation. However magnet school programs county-wide could be facing their final days in the shadows of a national deficit.

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Editorial Staff 2011-2012 Katie Raymond, Editor-in-Chief Greg Todaro, Editor-in-Chief Leah Quisenberry, Student Life Editor Alexandra Morgante, Opinions Editor Kia’ Cooper, Campus Affairs Editor Laura Gerbec, Features Editor Jonathan Kemp, Sports Editor 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) 6306760 ext. 143 or at knightl1@duvalschools.org.

Should We Be Cut? For the 2011-2012 school year, the Duval County school system cut busing to seven magnet schools, forcing many students to attend their neighborhood school. This saved the county $3 million of a $91 million budget. We feel the Duval County school system is making it more difficult for students to attend their magnet schools because of the elimination of transportation. Most of the students at Stanton are gifted and need to have specialized schools because they learn at a different pace than average kids. The county should not affect highly academic students by putting them in a less rigorous curriculum just so the school will look better in the long run. As far as money is concerned, the school gets paid by the county for each enrolled student. That money makes up a part of their budget for the year. According to Assistant Principal and Head of Curriculum Julie Dupries, gifted kids are considered ESE, or Exceptional Education, students because they are required more people to take care of them. “Each ESE student is coded in different ways. Gifted students have a matrix of 251 because they require extra services. Students with severe handicaps might have a matrix of up to 255.” This budget plan is used for all Duval County schools, not just Stanton. So no matter where the students go, the school they attend would be paid the same amount for them; therefore, the county will not save money whether the gifted kids go to a magnet school or to a neighborhood school. In addition, magnet high schools end up being more expensive than neighborhood schools. The price for Advanced Placement textbooks are the same for everyone. Neighborhood schools only offer those classes for students as an elective, as opposed to magnet schools like Stanton, who require every student to take at least one AP per year. The county pays for students to get their own copies, so a magnet school might pay more for books because we require more of them. If the county were to shut down all magnet schools, they would save money because they would not have to have a large supply of AP textbooks. The AP tests also cost the county a large sum of money, about $87 per test. Since every Stanton student takes at least one AP per year, the county will be paying 1,527 students to take an AP exam, which totals to be at least $139,849 per year. The county only pays neighborhood schools about $2,175 since they are only paying for one class (an average of about 25 students) of AP tests. The price of AP tests are most definitely worth it because in the long run, they save students more money because for every AP test they take and pass, they are not required to take the same class when they are in college. In short, students are able to eliminate one to two years for their college funds, thus saving them tens of thousands of dollars in tuition. Magnet schools should not be the target for saving the county money. There are other ways to save money, like eliminating busing and turning to online textbooks (which have already taken effect) however, online textbooks are not as prominent as physical textbooks. Magnet schools are valuable to those students who want the gifted help available as well as the AP courses that save them money on college funds and allow them to get their degrees more quickly.

Is Stanton Better?

Stanton is among the top magnet schools in the nation, ranked #4 by Newsweek magazine, and the best magnet school in all of Duval County, but that has not stopped rumors of a possible elimination of the magnet school program, and a return to the public school system. While both have their pros and their cons when it comes to educational and environmental benefits, what public schools have to offer students and what magnet schools have to offer are two very different things. We feel very strongly in our stance for the magnet school system and against the public school system because magnet schools are a better investment in students’ futures. Even though magnet schools are public, they are more selective and competitive when it comes to who gets enrolled. They look at scholastic achievements and how much work and effort one student puts forth compared to another. This process encourages an active and ambitiondriven class setting among students who have shown an eagerness to learn at a faster pace as opposed to their public school counterparts. A trademark of magnet schools has always been its renown for special programs, better facilities, and high standards for academics, usually specializing in a particular area of study such as math or science. First instituted in the 1970s, magnet schools were a way to desegregate the public school system by encouraging students to go to schools outside of their own neighborhood, creating student diversity that ranges from social standing to racial background, which remains a goal of the magnet school system. Public schools, on the other hand, must admit all students living in their district borders effectively meeting the needs or wants of one race more than another regardless of work ethic put forth from the students. They are also shown to have larger class sizes to accommodate all of the students which, studies have shown, can be detrimental to academic achievement later on in students’ secondary and post-secondary careers. Smaller class sizes, like those in a magnet school, have been shown to play an instrumental part in students graduating on time, completing advanced math and English classes, completing high school and graduating with honors. Another important distinction is funding. Public schools are financed by local, state, and federal government funds making the districts for these public schools responsible for paying for students’ transportation costs and showing preference to low-income, low-achieving students if the funds presently available are not enough for every student because they would have no other way to pay. Magnet schools, on the other hand, are financed by districts but spend, on average, $200 more for each student. Some magnet schools receive funds for state desegregation purposes as well as having federal funding from the Magnet Schools Assistance Program, which offers two-year grants to magnet programs as a way to promote desegregation in the school. For us, magnet schools are much better than public schools because they increase student achievement, motivation, and incentive, along with teacher enthusiasm and confidence, as well as parents’ contentment with the school along with being more challenging, catering to many different ethnicities, and providing a rigorous course of study that is interesting to certain students.

Halos

Pitchforks

We crown everyone at Stanton for being number four in the country according to Newsweek magazine! Blue Devils represent!

We give a pitchfork to the new lunch prices. The cost of lunch has increased by an incredible 10 cents! Ridiculous!

We crown all seniors with a halo, you guys finally made it big! Only 249 days left!

We give a pitchfork to the new after school policy.You can longer hang around school until the game begins, you have to pay $10 every day you stay after school if your not in the Community Enrichment Program

We crown Mrs. Matson, Ms. Rodam, Mrs. Bureau, Ms. Amura and Dr. RodriguezReyes for surviving their first 9 weeks at Stanton. Congratulations!

We give a pitchfork to the hall way policy, specifically the one pertaining to allowing students in the building during lunch.

Opinions | Devil’s Advocate 15


Issue of the Issue:

Is it fair that Stanton is receiving budget cuts?

By JOC’LENE SCARLETT, Reporter

To many magnet school students, the new bus policy is an example of how the budget cuts are directly harmful to the schools. Due to these judgments, many fail to realize that the budget cuts are a necessary component in the fight against the recession, and that they have been created to stop unnecessary spending in schools and to put the focus back on education. The struggling economy has become the incentive behind the shortage of education funding. So long as our national debt continues to climb (which has now peaked to over $14.7 trillion), it is likely the lack of government support will persist. To diverge from this state of economic turmoil, it is imperative to include a series of financial restrictions, which limits some of the unnecessary outflow of government money. As with any other government services like national defense, education has received a large portion of these limitations, and therefore must deal accordingly. Along the same lines as the budget cuts, the tax is also a method of decreasing the national debt. As part of the economic balance, education funding and official taxes are needed in order to lessen the load of the national debt. To weigh out the scales, both sides must take part, meaning that sacrifices are necessary. If the budget cuts were to cease, then the government would most likely compensate with an increase in state taxes, most likely income or property taxes. Due to this, it seems prudent that with the cuts in education funding would be directly harmful to many less households than extraneous taxes. For this reason, Florida lawmakers have chosen the lesser of two evils by decreasing the amount of school funding, rather than increasing state taxes further than they have already. These cuts have also signaled a shift from extracurricular activities back on the main focus, education. With many after-school activities and sports dropped or significantly reduced, many students need to find other events to keep them occupied, which has led to an increase in initiative to keep students in after-school tutoring and study groups. With this rise in academic participation, grades will hopefully improve in students involved in these programs, which therefore increase the overall standards of those schools. This also gives students a place to be after school, rather than having the students released after the bell with nowhere to go, which may create a bigger crowding issue at the school entrances and exits. Although these budget cuts are claimed to be too severe and unjustified, it must be said that every aspect of American life is undergoing some harsh form of downsizing. The sluggish economy that America is currently in demands that sacrifices are required from all government supported institutions. Hence, the public schools will continue to have these budget cuts until such a time when they will be unnecessary. This entails that the budget cuts are indeed helpful in several ways and do not deserve the harsh criticism that they regularly receive. photo by Sarah Roberson

photos by Sarah Roberson

Governor Rick Scott made it clear that in order to cut the state’s spending from $70.3 billion to $65.9 billion in 2011-2012 and then down to $63.3 billion in 2012-2013, major cuts had to be made in almost all areas, ranging from government spending to tax cuts for property owners and businesses. The only area that was not intended to receive cuts was education. The cuts in education go from $3.3 billion to $4.8 billion and a 10 percent per-student fund decrease is expected as part of the budget cuts. Contributions of three percent from teachers’ retirement funds and temporary federal education dollars would offset the loss, but not by much since per-student funding has shrunk with the approval of Scott’s budget. The cuts are unfortunate because they are reducing teachers’ salaries, forcing them to pay part of their own health benefits, and taking away from student participation in certain after-school sports and acquiring the materials needed to have a productive learning environment, like new textbooks. Scott originally said he would cut the local school property taxes, which would not affect education funding, by reducing the state government as a way of gaining revenue so schools would not have to be a part of the cuts. A plan like this, on paper at least, showed great concern for education and an effort to make sure that it remained intact for students and teachers at all costs. However, total school funding comes from a combination of sources so if one area of that funding is reduced while the other areas of funding remain the same, then there is less money for schools overall. Duval County schools had to make $60 million in cuts for the 2011-2012 school year alone, following a Florida Legislature reduction in public education spending by $1.35 billion, a representation of a $572 reduction in per-student funding. Originally, Duval County schools had a $900 million budget but both the cuts in state funds and the loss of federal money from the one-time stimulus funds is taking about $75 to 89 million from that budget. Funding for school districts from local property taxes and state’s tax collections fell through when both forms of taxes went down. The reduction in school property taxes was supposed to be offset by a mix of a larger share of sales taxes and other general revenue, according to Scott during the primary elections. At no time did he offer a distinctive funding formula when questioned on multiple occasions about his education plan, he only spoke of general revenue funding. The expectations from parents, students, and teachers that funding would still be around for the new school year were greatly diminished with the release of the new budget plan that not only cut education funding but also ended up having a slight cut to general revenue, $155 million from a proposed $12.3 billion, which Scott promised he would not make any cuts to. It is very unsettling to think that hopes for improved education can be snuffed out so easily after Scott’s rhetoric had a major influence on how the 2011-2012 school year was going to happen for everyone. The new state budget has caught most people off guard and has left the individual school counties to raise the necessary funds to retain what they had in previous years.

By ANDREW RENFRO, Contributing Writer

Students Speak “Because we work hard, and if we want to make our county look better, we need the money.” Lizzy Beattie,10th

“Some people don’t have the opportunity to come to Stanton because they don’t have the transportation.” Trevor Starling,10th

“No, because Stanton is rated top 4 and it will hurt the population of our school.” Kaitlyn Blume, 11th

“It makes sense because we are having money issues but the future is getting hurt because of it.” Olivia Onate,10th

“Everyone should have a right to play the sports they want. We can afford computers, but we can’t afford sports that motivate us.” Rami Hirezi, 12th

“We are given a higher education and the majority of the people don’t livenear the school so it gives us a chance to achieve our goals.” Inna Savich, 10

16 Devil’s Advocate | Opinions


The Pep Rally: Modern Day Segregation

Today’s teenager would be lying if they said they have not, or do not, curse or say crude things. If you sit in on a lunchtime conversation, half of the things said would be sexual jokes, but that is normal now, isn’t it? Even at a prestigious school such as Stanton, the students still make use of the ill-flavored language. As a teenager myself, it is not rare for me, or my peers, to see or hear inappropriate things. In fact, it is so common that we tend to not really notice them. We are exposed to many different things, including sexual references and cursing, that it has become a social normality to be around them. Even I am offended by shows like “American Dad,” which is played on Cartoon Network, a children’s channel, during the adult-programming session called ‘Adult Swim.’ The show is for adults, and blandly makes sexual jokes and gestures, curses, and displays acts of wrong-doing as funny and acceptable. Even as the media becomes more and more intoxicated with obscenities, I would never want young children to be exposed to such things. Watching a television show, movie, or even someone on the street gives the child the idea that what is happening on screen, or real life, should be copied, and it is okay to do it. Recently, I saw a child no older than five stick up his middle finger to a man on the side of the road. If a teenager or adult also made that gesture, it becomes such a common thing in society that most people aren’t offended anymore. Originally, the gesture of raising your middle finger was meant to tell the person receiving it some form of a rude saying, but now, it is jokingly used by teenagers as a way to greet one another. Along those lines are also the omnipresent curse words, which are used by youth in common conversation. While at work one evening, I watched a child begin to throw a tantrum, hit their parent, and cry. When the child did not receive the piece of candy that they wanted, the child, no older than six years, began to hit harder and yell curse words at their parents. Instead of inflicting a form of punishment, they quickly grabbed the candy bar, and stuffed it into the child’s hands. Instantly, they got quiet, and acted sweet. It is sad just how formal the use of a once rude and completely wrong gesture has become. The mother later paid for the candy bar, and handed it back to the child, in hope of keeping him from his temper and language for at least the car ride home. A curse word used to be a truly rude thing. The meanings and uses of each curse word have multiplied beyond belief. The worst part is that society seems to care little about the exposure the children are getting. If continuously exposed, their generation will be just as crude, if not more, than ours today. If society took a look at just how rude we have become, it would be shocking to them, but they don’t. It is almost a habit to curse. Sadly, most people cannot control the words coming out of their mouth, or the flinging of a middle finger. Asking society to stop their habits is just as rough as it is to talk to smokers about quitting, without the changes of cancer in our argument. Asking the students of Stanton to stop would be a slightly easier project. If the society of Stanton took a look at how many times they used a curse word in one day, or if they counted how many times they happen to flick their middle finger at a friend in a gesture of hello, slowly we all would start to realize how intoxicated we have become. Stanton is not a school for intoxication, it is a school all others look up to, younger children wish to get into, and current students idolize. Shouldn’t we use that authority to better the community, even if it is just one school at a time?

If you have been paying attention in any of your history classes while at Stanton, you may know that segregation dates all the way back to the Jim Crow era when people were judged by color, race, and religion. Fast-forward to the 21st century where people still practice segregation, but do not even realize it. Even more drastic is that it is practiced at Stanton at least three times a year. The pep rally can be described as a loud and exciting time for most students at Stanton. Some people wear crazy hairstyles, wear crazy socks,wear class shirts, and some wear crazy costumes. The step team, dance team, Stanton’s band, and team captain announcements are some of the highlights of the event. One of the things some students and teachers worry about is the segregation aspect of the pep rally. Before the last pep rally on Sept. 2, 2011 the sophomore class tagged their red paint on everyone in sight. After this incident they were disqualified and the sophomores had an assembly before the pep rally in which they were scolded by our principal, Mrs. MajovaSeane, for their actions. Hopefully this group learned their lesson and will not pull this consequential act again. Even though the stereotype that everybody hates freshman exists, why do the other classes hate each other? Rivalries are acceptable, but as I see it, segregation is not. The tradition of this classless act may date back to one of the first sports pep rally in 2002 (previous pep rallies were for Brain Bowl). The stereotypes that students did not like freshmen may have started the controversy with the classes. As a result, the freshmen always were the underdogs while the sophomores picked on them because they use to be in that same position. The hurt of your fellow classmates not respecting you may cause hatred and even rage. The spirit stick seems to be one symbol that can bring the classes together, however, some freshmen do not even know what it means. The spirit stick may represent the unity and spirit of the school as a chance to come together. More importantly, we should think of ways to help the event. Stanton can come together by wearing the same color on pep rally days and follow the same theme.Yes, the individuality is creative and fun, but it does not help our classes gain respect for others. Since Stanton is unique by currently being ranked number four in the nation in academics, why not be unique with our pep rallies? The classes should come together as one to celebrate homecoming and our first game, and not make this a place of hatred. Even if Stanton pep rallies never get unified, we should at least respect each other. The class rivalry has gotten ridiculous, and it is not acceptable. The administration detests even thinking about cutting the pep rallies, but it has been considered. At the end of the day, no one wants to come to a school full of tension and hate. Students should come to school with love in their hearts for our school.

By LAURA GERBEC, Features Editor

By KATIE RAYMOND, Editor-in-Chief

photos by Sarah Roberson

What Have We Become?

By ALEXIS BROWN, Reporter

Getting to School Since day one of school you may have noticed that morning and afternoon pickup has been a little hectic to say the least. Some believe that if it is really that important for your child to attend the best school in Jacksonville then driving them to and from school everyday is a small sacrifice.Yet it seems that even after days and days of the same routine the never ending lines are still just not dying down. If anything, the impatience of parents, students, and teachers alike is growing. Although the complications are not entirely Stanton’s fault, the way of handling it has not exactly been thought through. Since the change of busing policy in Duval County, thousands of families have been affected in several ways. The first major repercussion of losing transportation for the masses is the financial sacrifices families are being forced to make. A large deficit in the pockets of magnet school parents is busing fees implemented during the 2011-2012 school year. First Student, the primary busing company of Duval County, quoted the average price of busing at $1225 for each student. Last time I looked at my parents bank account there was no spaced labeled “Lots of Extra Money.” Almost every family is having a hard time making it through because of the ongoing recession; therefore, the only other options are to 1) pick your child up daily, 2) buy your child a car, or 3) allow your child to carpool with other parents or with other teenagers. All three options have their pros and cons yet some just seem hard to reach. Picking your child up may seem the best way to go about this transportation dilemma.Yet the gas consumed daily for the families that live no where near Stanton adds up quickly. As a magnet school, Stanton students are pulled from every section of the city and this expands our mileage tenfold. The two trips parents are required to make each day can quickly drain your gas tank to “E.” Another note regarding the car lanes is the hassle of early release days. For those parents who have to pick their children up taking time off of work in the middle of the day may prove to be an obstacle. If the workplace is not flexible enough to allow time away at 1:25 in the afternoon the other options start to seem a little better. Buying a car for a student can be a costly expense. Somewhere between needing a car and insurance coverage, these monthly expenses can get outrageous. Adding one teenager to the car insurance bill can raise rates almost 10 percent. The only things that do help are “good student” discounts which can save quite a bit and programs like “Teen Smart” which can knock a few more dollars off the tab if completed. Even then the worry of a parent alone can far out weigh any amount of money they could possibly spend. For those who wish to pick up their child in hopes of saving money, fines are lurking elsewhere. A $164 ticket will be issued to parents by the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office for “impeding traffic.” In addition, if a student not picked up by 3 p.m. an extended day fee of $10 is issued. So where does the punishment end? For something that we never asked for to begin with we are being fined left and right for factors that our out of our control.

Opinions | Devil’s Advocate 17


For me, there is little that is more satisfying than taking a flight of fancy and putting it on paper. My art has never been about skill or technique but I think it has more to do with extending my imagination and making it visually evoking and motivating. I want people to look beyond what they see (whether it be “pretty,” “crazy,” or even “creepy”) and reflect on art in their own way. I love

photo by Sarah Roberson

The Artist’s Corner

About the Artist: Tisha Antique

getting feedback for a piece when I’m done because I like to pick people’s brains and find out how their imagination works. Through that active process, I usually find more and more inspiring things to paint, draw and write about from other people. For example, an album cover artist and his surrealist paintings inspired the eight-armed spider lady; the loose lines and colors in the portrait of Janis Joplin was influenced by 1960s hippie music and its vibrant and free emotion; and the highly detailed animal-inspired piece was in the style of an artist who drew only in ballpoint pen. I enjoy the challenge of thinking outside of the box and in someone else’s shoes in terms of media and subject matter because that kind of perspective only makes inspiration in art more interactive between the artist and the viewer. I believe art is really all around us in everyday objects and places and it really doesn’t take an art-trained eye to recognize it. This is why I love photography. As a photographer, you have the power to draw attention to the beauty of everyday life which you would, in any other case, walk right by. I’m not one for staging photographs either; I like to go out and see what is really out there in the world because the colors, the contrast and the composition are already there for you.

Viva: A Taste of Mexico in Every Bite By TAYLOR GALLOWAY, Reporter

photo by Taylor Galloway

The moment you walk into Viva you are suddenly transported to Mexico; Mariachi music plays, sombreros, blankets and piñatas hang from the walls, and the aroma of freshly cut tomatoes, onions, and cilantro are unmistakable.Viva, an authentic Mexican Restaurant on the Northside, makes you feel as if you have been carried away to another place and time. Viva opened its doors for business just shy of four years ago in October 2007. Since then they have become a mainstay in Oceanway as well as being named the number one business in all of Jacksonville, Fla. by Eco Latino in 2010.

Even though it’s always packed with people, the staff somehow manages to stay consistent. As soon as you walk in you are

18 Devil’s Advocate | Student Life 19

treated to salty chips and fresh salsa. And you get your entrees within the first ten to 15 minutes of entering. You will not find frozen food at Viva. From making their chips and salsa twice daily, all the way to tearing their lettuce by hand instead of buying it pre-shredded, Viva makes it their goal to have the freshest food possible. “Having fresh food and large portions makes my costumers happy, which is my number one goal,” says owner Samuel “Sammy” Lopez. The menu is made up of authentic Mexican food; you can choose from a list of 23 different combinations, specialty items and more. This includes mainly burritos, enchiladas, chipotles, tamales, fajitas and tacos. One of their most popular items, the Burrito Supreme, is an absolute must have. Lopez says they prepare and serve around 250 a week. It is big enough for more than one person and is relatively inexpensive. It comes on a tortilla stuffed with your choice of chicken, pork or steak, beans, rice, sour cream, and lettuce as well as nacho cheese sauce glazed over the tortilla. As soon as you take a bite you feel like you’re in Cozumel or Cancun. For dessert, diners have a choice of

three: sopapillas, fried ice cream and flan. Sopapillas are fried flour tortillas with honey and butter, fried ice cream is a lightly breaded scoop of ice cream that is then fried. Flan, the most popular, is a rich custard dessert covered with a delicious, flavorful sauce. In order to keep costumers coming back for more and to keep things interesting, they often try to add things to the menu. Lopez says that they have added around 20 items to their menu since they opened. Feeling competitive? Then make your way to Viva every Wednesday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to try your luck at their Trivia Night. Feeling crunched for time? That is no problem, just give Lopez and his loyal staff a call and they will prepare your takeout order any day of the week. These are two of the many reasons why Viva is known for their family oriented atmosphere as well as making sure that they make things as easy as possible for their customers. Viva is not only visually inviting, but the staff also makes an effort to make you feel very welcomed. “This is the Viva family, we try to get to know every single one of our

customers,” says Lopez. They treat you more like a good friend rather than a customer; they are always willing to help you, whether you need clarification on what specific item is on the menu or you simply need a refill. “This restaurant is my American dream,” says Lopez. “Having good customer service, keeping the place clean, being consistent and having inexpensive prices is my goal.” From the atmosphere and exquisite food to affordable prices,Viva is a very inviting eatery. Rating:  Price: ‘ Location: 2467 Faye Rd. Suite 10 Jacksonville, FL 32226 Telephone: (904) 527-1261



   ‘ ‘‘ ‘‘‘

- Stay Away! - Barely Edible - Okay - Great - Exceptional - Inexpensive - Moderately pricey - Costly


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Student Life | Devil’s Advocate 19


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Devil's Advocate Issue 1 (2011-2012)  

The Devil's Advocate is the award-winning newspaper published by student journalists attending Stanton College Preparatory School in Jackson...