February 2020 Issue

Page 1









News Briefs


Illinois becomes 11th state to legalize marijuana


Gaming Revolution: The Rise of Esports



The Cultures that Influenced our Favorite Sports

21-23 WHO WE ARE Drops of Ink is a student-written, edited and produced high school publication. Our publication functions as a service to the school and greater community of Libertyville, first and foremost delivering open-minded, informative content that is relevant to our readership. While not our primary motive, Drops of Ink also looks to provide entertainment to our audience. We aim to challenge readers to see different perspectives and gain knowledge of the world around us. 2


CONNECT JOIN US ON SOCIAL MEDIA @lhsdoi Libertyville High School Drops of Ink

@lhsdoi Visit us at lhsdoi.com

WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU Contact us at doi@lhswildcats.org Contents by Jasmine Lafita Cover illustration by Cali Lichter



Daring to be more Diverse; LHS Welcomes Equity Coordinator 11-13 ADOPTION

Adopting a New Perspective 14-15 CHINESE NEW YEAR

Aw Rats, Another New Year? 16-17 BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Beyond the Basics of Black History 26


What’s Trending: Popular Songs Around the World 27


Food Across the Country Crossword

14-15 18 COLUMN

Off-White: What it’s like being a mixed race student at LHS



The Privileged Tourist’s Dillemma 20 COLUMN





Editors in Chief


ella.marsden@lhswildcats.org claire.salemi@lhswildcats.org

Layout & Design Editor

Online Editor Managing Editor




Faculty Adviser

Features Editor



Indigenous Voices Matter

STAFF MEMBERS Pavan Acharya Sarah Bennett Sara Bogan Sayre DeBruler Jade Foo Mara Gregory Lily Hieronymus Rowan Hornsey Brooke Hutchins Natalie Isberg

Jasmine Lafita Megan Lenzi Cali Lichter Maguire Marth Anika Raina Christian Roberts Peyton Rodriguez Lillian Williams Sophia Zumwalt

Opinion Editor





Anika Raina


Charlotte Pulte

Coronavirus Coronavirus, a group of viruses that can cause disease, originated in China early this year has infected and killed more than 500 people (as of Feb.4); the virus has since spread to eight other countries and infected over 23,000 people, according to CNN. The illness primarily fluctuates the ability of the respiratory system and causes fevers, but can also resemble symptoms of the common flu. In mid-January, a Washington man caught symptoms of the virus while travelling to the city of Wuhan in China, making the United States the first country outside of Asia to be contaminated. As of Jan. 27, there are five confirmed cases of the virus in California, Arizona, Chicago and Washington State. Scientists and health officials have stated that the virus was first generated in a fish market and can be transmitted through human contact.

Brexit As of Jan. 31, the United Kingdom has departed from the European Union. This decision was originally formulated by former Prime Minister Theresa May in June of 2016, but all three of her proposals were rejected by parliament. Prime Minister Boris Johnson continued with the UK’s withdrawal and his contract was passed on Jan. 31, formly ending the UK’s involvement with the EU. The first eleven months will be a transition period for the United Kingdom, forcing them to comply with the EU’s rules. During this period, the EU and Britain will have to decide how to dispute trade relations as well as security cooperation. If the eleven month period proves to be too short, Johnson will have to either prolong the transition period or comply with the EU’s tariffs on goods.


Presidential Election

Impeachment Trial On Dec. 18, 2019, President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives and charged with the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The impeachment trial in the Senate began on Jan. 21. Most of the trial revolves around the Trump-Ukraine relationship, in which it is alleged that President Trump withheld security assistance and a meeting with Ukraine’s president so that Ukraine would start an investigation into Joe Biden, former vice president and a Democractic contender for president. Republican officials deny the allegations and rejected Democrats’ attempts to subpoena witnesses or allow documents pertaining to the Ukraine scandal to be presented in the Senate trial by a 51-49 vote. The final impeachment vote will be on Feb. 5 and will determine if President Trump will be on the ballot later this year. On Feb. 5, the Senate acquitted President Trump, meaning he will remain in office, solidifying his place on the ballot for the upcoming presidential election.

Feb. 14, 15 Romeo and Juliet in Auditorium

Upcoming @ LHS Feb. 15

Best Buddies Carnival @ 7:30 Feb. 14, 9:00 Feb. 15 in Main Gym 4


Feb. 22 Turnabout in Main Gym

The 2020 presidential election will take place later this year on Nov. 3. So far, 12 Democratic candidates are running along with three Republican candidates. According to The New York Times, the most favored Democratic presidential candidates leading the race include Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. As for the Republicans, President Trump will likely not face much of a serious challenge from the two men also seeking the nomination. Recent voting trends predict that the 2020 election will have a large voting turnout. During the Iowa Caucus earlier this month, President Trump easily won the Republican contest. As for the Democrats, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders were the leading candidates after initial results were released.



Megan Lenzi

The new law outlines that amounts will be taxed based on the percentage of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in the product. THC is the chemical in marijuana that releases dopamine into the brain, giving people the high when they use marijuana. According to ABC 7 News, recreational cannabis products containing less than 35 percent THC will be taxed at 10 percent of the price; 35 percent THC will be taxed at 20 percent; and more than 35 percent THC will be taxed at 25 percent. Individual municipalities will be able to place additional taxes on recreational marijuana, if they choose to do so. Medical marijuana will not be taxed. Representative Edly-Allen would like more of the tax money to go to mental health and substance abuse help, stating, “We need to support the people who struggle with addiction. We have very little money going towards that. Some people will say, ‘We don’t need to tax [cannabis] that much,’ but we need to take care of the people who are falling through the cracks.” This law has led to the opening of 37 recreational The Rise dispensary opened in Mundelein on Jan. 1. There are 37 recreational marijuana dispensaries that opened throughout Illinois since the new law came marijuana dispensaries across Illinois. The Chicago into effect. Tribune explained that these stores brought in more than $3.2 million on the first day they were open, n Jan. 1, following a law passed last year by the Illinois General Assembly, Illinois leading to many having to close because of the became the 11th state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana. immense demand. Dispensaries are expected to bring This law states that all adults over the age of 21, who are residents of Illinois, can in $420 million by the end of the year. purchase up to 30 grams of marijuana plant material. It also states that it is a felony In a village newsletter sent out to Libertyville to give any of the marijuana bought legally to other people. residents, there was a poll on whether or not LiberPeople in prison for possession of fewer than 30 grams of marjuana. previously a tyville should try to get a dispensary, and 75 percent crime, will be released and have their records expunged. Anything over 30 grams is of the respondents voted no. The Libertyville Village still considered a felony with a mandatory jail sentence. Board also voted not to zone a dispensary in town. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois House of Representatives passed According to Mayor Weppler, even if they voted in the law by a 66-47 vote and the State Senate passed it by a 38-17 vote. The favor of one, “There’s [a dispensary] in Mundelein, and I representative for Libertyville’s district, Mary Edly-Allen, voted “no” on the bill. don’t think another would open up that close.” “I’m totally for expunging records. I don’t think that anyone should be The new law may also increase the use of marijuana incarcerated for [less than 30 grams of] marijuana, but I think we’re about two years in teenagers. According to the National Survey on ahead of ourselves because police don’t have any way of testing in the field [for Drug Use and Health, in the other states that have DUIs],” explained Representative Edly-Allen. legalized cannabis, use among those 12 and older is 10 One of the most prevailing issues surrounding the law, as Representative percent greater than in other states. Edly-Allen referenced, is the inability to test people for cannabis on the spot. It is likely that LHS will see an upsurge in marijuana Libertyville’s mayor, Terry Weppler, said during a phone interview, “The problem is, use because of this law. According to Officer Kincaid, there’s no breathalyzer for marijuana use, and that’s why I’m against it.” “Whenever you have more of something and it’s no Officer Wayne Kincaid, Libertyville High School’s police liaison, added, “We’ll longer illegal and since it’s recreational, there’s more probably find more people driving under the influence [of marijuana]. Studies have supply, so students will have more access to it.” shown that where they’ve done this before, like in Colorado or Oregon, that DUIs LHS has not taken any specific measures to go up.” prevent marijuana use after this law was passed, but Libertyville is $180,000 short of the funds to get equipment to test Officer Kincaid explained that the school will continue whether people have ingested marijuana. Even if Libertyville were able to pay for to use drug-sniffing dogs and educate students on this, it would need to be approved by the courts before it could be used by police the dangers of marijuana. officers. Marijuana also stays in the body for much longer than alcohol does, so it would take new technology to test for that as well, according to Mayor Weppler.








Daring To Be More Diverse

Teacher Demographics Within LHS 1.7%




White Asian Hispanic Black

Mara Gregory Brooke Hutchins Ian Cox


he majority of students at Libertyville High School are white, 80.7 percent of them to be exact, according to the Illinois School Report Card. Whether you’ve merely ventured the halls during a passing period, or you’re a student here, chances are the homogeneity of the student body is something you’ve taken note of. This pattern is also reflected among teachers and to an even greater degree — 94.6 percent of teachers at LHS are white. This is not a situation unique to LHS. In fact, according to an article from The Washington Post, the number of students of color outweigh teachers of color in almost all U.S. school districts. The teaching industry in the US is primarily dominated by white women, with 80.1 percent of teachers being white, and 76.6 percent of them being female, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2016. This is an issue, as “minority students often perform better on standardized tests, have improved attendance, and are suspended less frequently when they have at least one same-race teacher,” according to The Brookings Institution. Sarah Greenswag, who teaches social studies and identifies herself racially as white, commented on the effects that a lack of diverse representation in media and at the local level can have on students: “I think that it does send certain messages to our students about who has the authority to teach,” she said. “And so I think it can unintentionally or subconsciously promote the idea that only a certain type of person is qualified for this role.” For this story, Drops of Ink contacted multiple teachers of color, all of whom declined to comment; they expressed discomfort speaking on the topic. Senior Jada Higgins, who identifies as mixed race, stated that lack of teacher diversity is definitely something she’s noticed at LHS, and she is looking for a way to expose herself to more staff and student diversity in the future by seeking that out in her college search. “I feel like the only thing I’m missing out on in my education — and I’m not saying there’s a hole in my education, or maybe there is and I’ll



find out next year — is that different perspective,” she explained. Higgins also stated that when speaking on racially-charged topics, it can be challenging because most LHS teachers don’t possess the first-hand understanding needed to provide students with an inside perspective. “For example, I know in [English] last year, we talked about police brutality, but it’s from an outsider, saying ‘This is how it is.’ And it never goes deeper than that just because that’s the perspective they can give us.” Junior Celia McDermott-Hinman, who is white, agreed with this sentiment, saying that teachers at LHS do the best they can to teach students a wide range of perspectives, but having more diversity would help. Junior Amal Hasan, who is Muslim, also expanded upon the topic of teacher diversity, stating that every teacher she’s ever had has been white. “Having a teacher who [fully] understands that different perspective [would] develop their ethos ... [and] really help in their teaching because they’re confident in what they’re saying,” she said. LHS Principal Dr. Tom Koulentes, who is white, speaking on the topic of teacher diversity at LHS, asserted that “it’s an issue at Libertyville High School and Vernon Hills,” as well as statewide in Illinois. He said that ideally, he would have the ability to create a staff that is representative of the student and community population. He cited the application pool as a challenge, stating “It’s the lack of diverse candidates that apply. And so our task then is how do we get [them] to apply?” He also said that the fact that there are no big colleges near LHS besides Loyola and Northwestern Universities makes it difficult to draw in new applicants. Dr. Koulentes stated that bringing in diverse staff members is a definite goal for both him and the administration. “Part of our DARING mission...is being global, meaning that we seek out multiple perspectives to make decisions about the world. So in bringing in that diversity, we’re gaining this wisdom of this collective experience that helps us [make] even better decisions and create better FEBRUARY 2020



"I feel like the only thing I'm missing out on in my education - and I'm not saying there's a hole in my education, or maybe there xt year - is that different perspective. - Jada Higgins

pathways.” Hasan expressed that entering LHS as a freshman, she had some doubts about how lack of representation would affect her education. “[I saw] that all of these teachers are white, and every teacher I’ve ever had is white, and [I wondered], ‘Am I going to do well in school? Is my education going to be in jeopardy?’” In terms of feeling represented in the curriculum, Hasan said “[when conversations] about Muslims come up, obviously I’m going to feel a little [singled out], but teachers do a good job about controlling the conversation.” She expanded upon this by saying that although it’s not something that is talked about all the time, when teachers do talk about it, she noticed that they attempt to portray everything accurately.

Higgins commented that diversity in terms of curriculum is something that she’s been trying her best to seek out in the scope of LHS. Being in AP Seminar has exposed her to more global texts, and in AP Environmental Science, she works on problems that can be applied to situations outside of the United States, which she said also gives her more of an international viewpoint. Q-Z LST Counselor Ana Molina-Rojas, who just recently started working at LHS two years ago after working for six years at a high school in District 215 and another six years at a private school in Puerto Rico, actually cited one of the main things that attracted her to LHS was the DARING mission, specifically the quote that supplements it. That Maya Angelou quote on the DARING posters around campus reads “success is loving life and daring to live it.” Molina-Rojas said that to her, it showed that LHS was making an attempt to be more globally-minded. “For me, coming from a minority and diverse culture, it was [nice to see] a conscious effort being made.” Overall, Molina-Rojas also said that there is an effort being made by administration and staff to be more diverse, although actually getting candidates to apply is something that is somewhat out of their control. “[The] staff is really making a conscious effort. We want kids to be more global,” said Molina-Rojas. Dr. Koulentes expanded upon this sentiment, explaining some of the efforts that have been taken behind the scenes to become more global. “We have an equity leadership team at our school, which is a team of staff members who come together once a month to learn about identity. So they’re learning about race, sexual orientation and age, and they’re using that learning to look at our school and say, ‘Where are we doing things that are equitable, that are truly inclusive?’”

English Language Learners School- 1% District- 2% State- 12.1%

Student Demographics Within LHS 8.6%



Low Income Students School- 4.7% District- 7.3% State- 48.8%


White Asian Hispanic 80.7%

Black Other



Data from the Illinois Report Card

LHS welcomes new equity coordinator Claire Salemi


efore this year, Mrs. Anne Singleton was an English teacher with five classes a day, and on the side, she was educating herself on equity issues. Now, she has taken on the role of the LHS equity coordinator, while teaching two sophomore world literature classes. While the position of equity coordinator isn’t new to the education system, it is new to LHS and District 128. Surrounding schools, such as Evanston and Highland Park High Schools, have equity coordinators. The job itself entails supporting all students and staff members in making sure that all students are learning to their full potential and achieving success, according to Mrs. Singleton. Mrs. Singleton started learning about equity -- its definition, according to Merriam-Webster, is “justice according to natural law or right” -- at a night class provided to LHS teachers, which she first attended during the 2016-2017 school year. “I began to see more of what things that I was doing in my classroom that I could do better in order to support all my students. So


Amanda Black

as I began changing practices in my own classroom, I began thinking about other classes too and my department,” Mrs. Singleton expressed about what she took away from the class. One of these changes was helping the English Department focus on using classroom books that were not just about one race or just focused on male characters. In her new role, Mrs. Singleton has so far worked a lot on educating the staff about equity. To help accomplish this, she held meetings to learn what the LHS staff knows about equity: “I met with over 70 staff members from ESP (education support professionals) to administration to teachers to LST staff...and as a result of that, I learned a lot of things...[One thing] I learned is that we have teachers who are really interested in supporting our LGBTQ+ population.” This led to her second-semester goal, which is learning about the students. Within the first two weeks of second semester, Mrs. Singleton has worked with the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club to understand the LGBTQ+ community and has met with the gender-equality club, Advocats, to learn about a female student’s experience at LHS. Another goal of hers is to help students of a lower socioeconomic status: “There are supports in place that we have here at school, to support students of lower socioeconomic status, but [the] concern is [if] that’s being communicated clearly enough. How can we make it easier so that there’s less burden on students who are lower socioeconomic status, too?” For the future, Mrs. Singleton looks forward to “doing some of the equity work with students and just teaching our students more about [it and] helping them figure out their own identity and the different ways [to do so],“ she stated.







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ADOPTING A NEW PERSPECTIVE Charlotte Pulte and Anika Raina


ver the years, popular culture has portrayed adoption or foster care in a variety of ways. There’s Annie, a little girl in the Great Depression who is swept away to an orphanage and eventually adopted by a millionaire. More recently, there was the book and movie “The Blind Side,” where Sandra Bullock’s character and her family take in a troubled football player whom they quickly embrace as one of their own. And there’s “The Jungle Book,” where a baby is abandoned in the forest and grows up among a pack of wolves and becomes a “man cub.” These media portrayals are often very different than how things happen in real life. While being placed into foster care or being adopted can be a traumatic or disruptive experience in some cases, it can also occur at such a young age that there are few or no negative memories attached to one’s adoption. “My mom and dad love my sister and I as if we were their own blood-[related] children. There’s never been a divide or an awkward gap,” explained senior Anna Meershaert, who was adopted from China, specifically the Wuhan province, and also has an adopted younger sister. “I don’t consider my family like step or half siblings. I just call my sister, my sister or my mom, my mom,” stated Meerschaert. Meerschaert explained that, in her situation, most of the negative connotation surrounding being an adopted child is actually not accurate, stating that her biological parents “wanted to give [her] so much opportunity in a different place than there was in China.” Furthermore, she expressed that people in China typically view a child as very lucky if they are adopted by American parents. She

stated that they consider the child “very fortunate or blessed.” Senior Erin Custod was 18 months old when she was adopted, but it has still affected her throughout her life. Custod was adopted through an agency near the Nanjing province in China and has an adopted sister who is six years younger than her. Like many other adoptees, Custod

Rowan Hornsey Jade Foo

doesn’t have much information from her life before she was adopted, but she does know that she was left

Erin Custod repeatedly stated how important her sister has been to her especially because her sister understands the feelings that Erin has about being adopted.




outside of a bus station in China. “My sister and I used to struggle a lot with abandonment issues, and it’s not like we remember being abandoned, but it was just kind of an internal subconscious thing,” stated Custod. “We didn’t want to feel abandoned again, so instead my sister and I just kind of leaned on each other for support.” Custod described their tendency to push people away when getting close to someone new and difficulty connecting to other people. “My sister has been kind of my rock since day one, and we just kind of get what the other is going through. It’s really nice to know that we’re both there for each other when other people might not be,” said Custod. Senior Keyda Feltner, originally from San Angelo, Texas, was placed into the foster care system as a newborn. After 28 days in the system, she moved in with the Feltner family, who adopted her three years later. Feltner has three brothers and one sister, who is also adopted. She explained how she and her adopted sister feel “closer just because we kind of have similar ideas and questions about our pasts.” “My family is crazy but it’s like a fun crazy. I love my family, [and] there is nothing in the world that I wouldn’t do for them,” Feltner explained. Along with Meerschaert, Feltner described the negative connotation upon being

Keyda Feltner is the only adoptee featured who doesn’t only have adopted siblings, but also siblings who are biologically related to her parents. She feels closest to her adopted sister, but she would do anything for any of her family members. an adoptee and stated that “people just automatically think, ‘Oh, well you were put in a bad circumstance so you got removed or taken from that situation.’” However, adoption can be the result of many different situations. “Adoption can be something like your dad and your mom not being married and your step dad decides

“My sister has been kind of my rock since day one, and we just kind of get what the other is going through. It’s really nice to know that we’re both there for each other when other people might not be,” -Erin Custod


to adopt you,” Feltner explained. Both Custod and Meerschaert described others expecting them to have a vast knowledge of the Chinese culture, even though they were both infants when adopted and have lived in the U.S. for as long as they can remember. “Sometimes I get asked, ‘Oh, you’re Chinese, say something in Chinese to me’ or I’ll get questions about Chinese culture. They expect me to act like my culture and know all these things about it, even though I wasn’t even raised there,” stated Custod. Even if they do not speak the language fluently or have a personal connection from that culture, some families celebrate where their adopted children are from. Both Meer-


schaert and Custod described the different ways that their families celebrate traditional Chinese holidays. “My parents always celebrated my Chinese background. We used to celebrate Chinese New Year, and my parents would try to incorporate whatever they could into my daily life just so that I didn’t feel like we were leaving all that behind,” stated Meerschaert. She described how she no longer feels the need to celebrate the Chinese New Year because she’s “not actively seeking out to grasp onto something from this culture.” “I think what a lot of people struggle with when they are adopted is ‘How do I hold onto my culture from where I was born but then also connect to my culture here in America?’” said Meerschaert. She explained how she “never felt like [she was] out of place.” “I think one of the biggest things that can make you feel out of place is race, but that stems from identity,” Meerschaert said. She explained that she always felt acclimated because her identity doesn’t stem from her

“I think what a lot of people struggle with when they are adopted is ‘How do I hold onto my culture from where I was born but then also connect to my culture here in America?” - Anna Meerschaert Chinese background, but rather is rooted in her life in the U.S. Some families with adoptees, like the Custods, celebrate their own holiday, called Coming-Home Day. This day symbolizes the day the children were adopted and brought home. “Me and my sister actually have the same coming home day which makes that day extra special,” said Custod. She described how on their Coming-Home Day, every July

27, the family makes a trip to their favorite Chinese restaurant, Tang’s in Grayslake. All three seniors have closed adoption cases, meaning that the adoption agency does not give any information about the child’s biological parents, if any is known at all. Once the child turns 18 years old, all documents and legal papers will be handed over to the adoptee, if any exist. Although 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year, every child has a different story when it comes to their adoption process. Some children might spend up to 2-5 years in the foster care system waiting for a family while others may be adopted from overseas, according to the Adoption Network. There are, however, 428,000 foster children in the U.S. waiting for a family and hundreds of thousands more all over the world. While not every adoption is the picture perfect kind that is portrayed in the media, the three seniors are happy and content with where they are currently.

Anna Meerschaert feels just as close to her family as she would if they were biologically related.

FEBRUARY 2020 13


Aw Rats, Another New Year? 哎呀,新年又来了? Rayna Wuh

Sara Bogan

3...2...1...Happy New Year! As the clock struck midnight, people across the country celebrated the start of the new decade. Gathered at large parties alongside friends and family, some people made resolutions looking towards a fresh start. However, for the many Asian Americans who celebrate the Lunar New Year, the main event is yet to come. This year, the first day of the lunar calendar fell on Jan. 25, which marked the start of the Year of the Rat. The rat is the first within a cycle of 12 different zodiac animals, each believed to have an influ-

Ian Cox

ence on the characteristics of people born in that respective year. People born in the Year of the Rat are said to be mild, intelligent and independent. The series of celebrations for the new year are called 春节 (chun jie) or the Spring Festival in China. The Spring Festival takes place for over two weeks and is filled with several traditions. Although most LHS students who celebrate the Lunar New Year only take part in a fraction of these activities, they each have their own ways of participating and connecting with their culture.


The Chinese New Year is celebrated at a smaller scale in Chinatown in contrast to China’s multiple weeks of elaborate decorations, dancers and parades.

Many LHS students who celebrate Chinese New Year participate in exchanging money, enclosed in special red envelopes, with relatives.

Chicago’s Chinatown holds a parade and festival along with performances of traditional music for Lunar New Year. Photo Courtesy of Shirley Ma DROPS OF INK

Oftentimes, preparations for the holiday’s main festivities can take several days. Although her family only does minimal preparations for the new year now, freshman Ellie Chen recalled the amount of work that took place when she previously lived in Taiwan. There, “everyone was making decorations and everything for weeks before...I remember [making] a lot of decorations at school,” she said. A major cleaning of the entire house is typically done prior to putting up decorations. In addition to improving the aesthetics, the cleaning is intended to clear out the old and make room for the new. New clothes are often purchased in the same spirit. Then decorations like lanterns, paper cutouts and banners adorn houses and streets. Vibrant hues of red and yellow, both considered to be lucky colors, can be seen all around. The character 福 (fu), which represents good fortune, is also often hung, but it is placed upside down to symbolize luck pouring over the occupants of a house. Some decorations are specific to families. Senior Karen Tarman’s family sets up “a tree with Sakura flowers, red lights and hanging red envelopes,” which is almost “like a Christmas tree,” she explained. Although it is not the most traditional of decorations, Tarman’s tree represents the same traditional wish for luck in the new year while incorporating an American twist on the holiday.


Touch When asking LHS students what kinds of customs they participate in for the Lunar New Year, the first answer was almost always the exchange of red envelopes, or 红包 (hong bao). The envelopes are filled with money, but it is really the red paper wrapped around it that is considered to be lucky. Red envelopes are handed out to children by their relatives as a way of sharing blessings and expressing hope for more happiness and prosperity to come. Also during the day, traditional dances like the dragon and lion dances take place. The colorful and textured costumes are held up by a coordinated team of dancers manipulating the figures in an attempt to create life-like movements. A few years ago, sophomore Shirley Ma’s father and a few of his business partners began organizing a small parade and festival for the Lunar New Year in downtown Chicago’s Chinatown. In preparation, children hand out small flyers with symbols of good luck on them, while adults build and man the parade float. Ma acknowledged that in China, “everywhere you go, there’s festivals and music,” whereas in Chicago, “it’s a much smaller magnitude of celebration.” However, the performances of several local groups are something she looks forward to as “a nice thing that happens every single year.”

Smell Between the burning of incense and fireworks, the lingering smell of smoke is also a common feature of the new year. While the noise and brightness of fireworks are believed to ward off evil spirits, the burning of incense is used to communicate with family members who have passed on. Senior Jessica Li acknowledged “I don’t think [the way my family celebrates is] that traditional at all. We’re pretty relaxed about it.” However, she and her brother still participate in some traditional customs. As a part of their celebration, Li bows to her parents and leaves offerings for ancestors whose spirits are invited to join the festivities. People pray to their ancestors in the hope that the family will continue to be looked after. Showing respect to family is a prominent aspect of Chinese culture, and New Year’s is no exception.

Tarman feels that living in an area without a large Chinese community has impacted her ability to speak the language. “I can’t speak Chinese. I can understand the basics, but like I feel like I should be able to as a Chinese-American,” she admitted. Although senior Alysa Zhang values the connections she has with her culture now, she also had similar feelings about trying to assimilate into a predominantly white areas as an Asian American: “It took me a really long time to appreciate my heritage,” she stated.

Taste Degrees of participation in New Year’s activities are different from person to person, but a family dinner is often seen as a central part of the celebration. Often taking place on the eve of the Lunar New Year, the Reunion Dinner features several dishes with symbolic meanings. Some dishes, like steamed fish, are based on homophones (words with the same pronunciation but different meanings). Because the Mandarin words for fish and surplus sound the same, people eat fish and leave leftovers with the hope that both the upcoming year and the future bring surplus. Other dishes have additional meanings based on their shapes: long noodles are representative of a long life and dumplings resemble an ancient form of Chinese currency. Depending upon the region, the dishes served and their meanings vary. However, what does not change is the sharing of food among family and sometimes friends. People like junior Richard Xiao and senior Cat Corliss, who each have family in China, make sure that they video chat with their relatives during the holiday and dinner. Xiao stated that compared to New Year’s Eve on December 31, the Lunar New Year is “a bit more festive for [his] family because the culture is more relatable.” Corliss agreed that “celebrating the Lunar New Year is more cozy, since, [she] think[s] more about [her] family and background.” While the means of celebrating the Lunar New Year are far from uniform, like their solar calendar counterparts, the emphasis remains on hoping for the best alongside loved ones as time seems to reset.

Sound The most common greeting on Chinese New Year is ‘恭喜发财 (gong xi fa cai).” The phrase wishes for the person who hears it to have a prosperous and wealthy new year. With each meeting, the air rings with the repeated phrase and the hope of good fortune in the new year. However, for some Asian Americans, living in the United States means reduced exposure to the language and other aspects of Chinese culture. Junior Lawrence Wang believes that at times, attempts to be accepted have caused people to stop “doing anything that’s completely different or really traditional to an ethnic background.”

Honoring 2020 as the Year of the Rat, buildings and homes are adorned with lanterns. “Rat people,” or those born in the Year of the Rat, are considered witty, imaginative and adaptive. FEBRUARY 2020


BEYOND THE BASICS The History of Black History Feb. 1, 1865 marked a monumental time in United States history, especially for African Americans. On this day, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the 13th Amendment, abolishing the legal institution of slavery in the United States. Fifty years later, in 1915, author, editor and historian Carter G. Woodson (known as the “Father of Black History”) began advocating for the creation of Negro History Week, which carried the message that “Blacks should be proud of their heritage and that other Americans should also understand it,” explains the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were each influential in promoting racial equality in the United States; both have birthdays that fall in February, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) explained. These days have been celebrated by the African American community before February was even deemed Black History Month; Woodson thought that celebrations should be redirected from their focus on the individual men to recognition of the achievements of the race as a whole. The NAACP explains that Woodson pushed for the creation of this celebration with certain morals in mind: “learning to accept insult, to compromise on principle, to mislead your fellow man, or to betray your people, is to lose your soul.” These principles were shared by W.E.B.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a prominent figure in the Civil Rights movement and inspired others even after his death in 1968.


Ella Marsden

Peyton Rodriguez

Maguire Marth

Du Bois, another African American activist who gave presentations at Black History Month celebrations and applauded Woodson’s work in coining the holiday. Each year’s celebration is focused around a central theme or message. This year, the theme is “African Americans and the Vote,” according to The History Channel. This was chosen because 2020 is the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment — which gave women the right to vote — and the 150-year anniversary of the 15th Amendment, which stated that it was illegal to deny suffrage to someone based on their race.

How Black History is Recognized at LHS In past years at Libertyville High School, students and staff have recognized Diversity Week during February. Aside from this week, however, LHS has no traditions to recognize Black History Month. Mrs. Anne Singleton, an English teacher and newly appointed Equity Coordinator (see page 9 for a feature on her position), has plans to change this for 2020, though. She’s worked with the Principal’s Advisory Board to come up with a list of possible school-wide events to recognize black history. One event that has been implemented is a trivia contest in the library about prominent people in black history. This trivia will include facts about well-known activists as well as not-so-well-known influencers of various racially-charged movements. In the classroom, recognition of Black History Month is on a class-by-class basis, so depending on the nature of the course, different classes offer different lessons about black history. U.S. History teacher Mrs. Kristi Robertson explained how she and the other U.S. History teachers talk about it, stating that because African American history is such an integral part of American history, it is inevitably taught throughout the year, not just in February. In Spanish classes, black history is recognized differently. Spanish teacher Mrs. Sarai Nieto has plans to recognize Black History Month in her Spanish III Honors classes: her classes will look specifically into influential members of the Afro-Latino community. In addition to studying Roberto Clemente and his influence, she plans ~ This comic to teach her students about “La Borinquena.” features an Afro-Latina superhero from Puerto Rico in her journey to help recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. While certain teachers are covering black history in their classes, senior Drew Hopkins, who is white and


OF BLACK HISTORY their classes, senior Drew Hopkins, who is white and the president of History Club, worries that since not all students take the same classes, not all students will have sufficient knowledge of black history. He said that it’s important for all classes to cover it in some capacity, emphasizing that the only reason he’s even aware that February is Black History Month is from his own research outside of school. Mrs. Singleton recognizes this issue and hopes to initiate classroom conversations about black history: “As a white woman, it’s important for me to know the story of all people of color and to learn more about their experiences and learn more about [black history] beyond Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and maybe Frederick Douglass,” Mrs. Singleton explained. She continued by describing that in her own personal experience learning about African American history as a student, she wasn’t taught much more than the basics. Mrs. Singleton hopes to initiate change in education surrounding black history for the current generation of students. In the 1970s and 1980s, history textbooks began to include more about black history than they previously had, but in the beginning of this reform, it tended to be a superficial add-on. The textbook writers would add a paragraph toward the end of a chapter to describe the happenings of African Americans during this time period, Mrs. Robertson said. She believes that the coverage of black history spread throughout her class’s curriculum is sufficient and doesn’t want to return to the ineffective ways of the past: “For me to have a lesson specifically in February about African American history, that would almost be going back to that 1970s, 1980s tacky, superficial [approach].” Hopkins agrees that while black history should be especially emphasized in February, that shouldn’t be where its education ends: “It does seem almost sort of like a token or participation trophy that one month a year you get to learn about black history but then the other 11, we learn white people history,” Hopkins said. Mrs. Nieto agrees that black history should be a topic that is covered throughout the year, not solely in February. The first step to building black history into her curriculum, she explained, is for her to learn it: “It’s our job as teachers to do the research to inform ourselves of what contributions have been made that we’re not aware of that we need to become aware of, so that we then translate that message to our students.” Junior Breana Jordan mentioned that during Febru-

ary, teachers could begin each class with an anecdote or recognition of a prominent black historical figure related to the course’s focus. Before moving to Libertyville in the middle of fifth grade, Jordan lived in Dallas. This idea of recognizing different influencers of black history came from her school in Dallas; bringing it to LHS, she explained, could be as easy as sharing daily facts on the announcements. As one of the few black students at LHS, Jordan often feels a pressure to blend in with those around her: “I’ve had to sometimes refrain from reacting to things that I hear in the hallway because there is the stereotype of being the angry black woman...being one of the only few black people, it’s like once you’re labeled, then it’s kind of like, I don’t want to mess it up for everybody, so I kind of dim my light a little bit.” When considering LHS’s predominantly white demographics, there’s not one answer as to whether or not it should influence the way black history is taught. Hopkins, for one, thinks that it’s even more important to emphasize black history at LHS: In not being a member of the black community, “you don’t get that experience at home, you don’t get that in your surroundings, so you need school as the place to teach you about that,” he explained. On the other hand, Jordan thinks that everyone should receive the same education: “History is history and people are people no matter what,” she said. To her, what’s important is that no one is left ignorant of such a large part of history.

In 1983, Harold Washington was elected as the first African American Mayor of Chicago. Washington’s exhibit is located at the DuSable Museum of African American History.




Off-White: What it’s like being a mixed-Race student at LHS I

Lilly Williams

Amanda Black

Jade Foo

t doesn’t take long for anyone to realize because it makes me stand out for having minor identity crisis as I grew up, and I don’t that a majority of the student body at LHS such a unique look. Yet looking so “exotic,” think that this experience is very different is, well, not a minority. While I am extremely as a peer once described me, comes with from other mixed kids. lucky to be able to attend LHS and to be having some differences that are not always With the lack of a large black populaa part of this tight-knit community, the favorable. tion in Libertyville—the school’s student predominantly white population creates a Not surprisingly, being two or more races and teacher population is a combined 91.7 fish-out-of-water situation for most is less common than being any one race, percent white, I have little to no exposure people of color (POC) who attend this according to Data USA. Even though we to the whole African-American part of my school, including me. I don’t speak for all POC make up such a small demographic, I know ethnicity. I haven’t been properly immersed when I say this, but it can get tough day afa few other mixed-race students at the in much black culture, and instead, I’ve ter day, being the assimilated into only non-white this mainly white student in a given community; I’m room. For me in missing out on an particular, being entire half of my both black and identity. I feel like I’m white, it’s given no more connected me a very atypical to my black culture perspective, as than any of my white well as a pretty peers. For examuncommon high ple, I learned only a school experience, few weeks ago in especially class about “Junecompared to teenth,” a holiday most students that commemorates here. the abolition of One of my slavery throughout biggest strugAmerica. My teacher gles of growing told the class that up in Libertyville, Juneteenth is a believe it or not, major holiday and is my hair. My hair a very important Growing up a person of color in a predominantly white high school, Lilly has a very unique, tradition for the Williams has faced numerous obstacles. The school’s population has contributed to multi-cultural African American her unique struggles, especially when trying to find her racial identity. texture (meaning community. I am still the texture is a combination of more than school, and there’s one common dilemma disappointed about this because this great one ethnicity), so I don’t exactly have access we often share — where do we fit? I have holiday is apparently a significant part of my to a network of people who are familiar with a great group of friends, all of whom are culture, and I had never even heard of it. That hair like mine. While this seems minor, you’d white, and it can be hard not to be identiwas when it hit me that if I want to become be surprised by how many daily fied as the “black friend.” Sometimes I feel more involved in black culture, I was going conversations of mine involve either my like a spokesperson representing the entire to need to take matters into my own hands. hair routine, how often I brush it, pulling and black community, being one of, if not the I’ve gradually become more and more aware petting of my hair or all of the above. This only, colored friend they have, which can be of the gaps in my knowledge of my black is all with good intent, but it can really get a heavy weight to carry. On the other hand, culture and how to fill those gaps. I am findexhausting having such an attentionwhenever I find myself in a group of mainly ing every day that growing up colored in a drawing feature attached to me at all times. African Americans, I’m the “white girl.” My white setting presents its personal and social Not to mention, having such a light very light skin tone, as well as some of my obstacles. As I adapt to those obstacles, I’m complexion for a black girl makes my hair mannerisms, make me stand out in the black learning that the less I focus on fitting into a one of the only things that makes me look community as well. I’ve been told by some certain group, the more accepted I will feel ambiguous, or at least distinctively nonof my black peers that my voice, dialect and in any demographic. white. I’m neither fully black nor white, style reflect those of any other white girl. I’d and it shows. To me, this is a good thing, be lying if I said this dynamic hasn’t caused a


The Privileged Tourist’s Dilemma Cali Lichter




Molly Boufford

Costa Rica




El Salvador

Even though posting about service trips on social media spreads awareness, it doesn’t make substantial change and comes off as self-centered.

Growing up in privileged

areas all my life, I have been taught to use my resources in order to help others in less fortunate areas. We were always shown photos of starving children in Africa or people displaced by wars in the Middle East and have been told to donate pocket change for them since the time we could collect allowances. I distinctly remember collecting change for a missionary school in Zimbabwe when I was in pre-K. As a naive child, I saw no underlying issues with my donations and my thoughts and my prayers for these people in these foreign countries. Throughout my teenage years, I have been urged by several different organizations and outlets to go to these countries to do good as a “way to experience the world.” Now I am faced with a moral dilemma: Am I going abroad to volunteer to help those in need, or am I doing it out of my own selfish desire to travel the world? Looking back on my days of youth volunteering, the memories are now shrouded in the toxic mentality dubbed “White Knight Syndrome.” This term is commonly used with those in the volunteering community in reference to people and organizations who see it as their duty to raise the standards of living in certain impoverished areas in order to “save” the people there. This outlook puts people on a pedestal and suggests that we were “saving the poor children” in “country XYZ.” The white knight volunteering mentality - which gained traction in the early 2000s with celebrities who would go on service trips to boost their media image - has given way to a new trend in the 2010s which is called voluntourism. By definition, voluntourism is exactly what it sounds like: “the act or practice of doing volunteer work as needed in the community where one is vacationing,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. In the age of staying woke, privileged people feel guilty going on lavish vacations at fancy resorts while people are on the next street over begging for food. But, there’s one thing that voluntourism doesn’t have that an

impactful service trip does: intention. I have seen so many voluntourist trips in our community. These trips will go into some developing country where they will construct a project that seems perfect on the outside but has trouble being maintained. For example, you can build a schoolhouse for children in Kenya, but did your organization also provide adequate teachers to teach and grow the school? Voluntourism is volunteering but for show. It’s one of those things that makes you feel less guilty for going on a five-star vacation because you’re “helping the less fortunate.” And the main thing with voluntourists and white knights is that they just need to show everyone that they’re doing good. I see voluntourists in our community on social media. Selfies with children in a third world country with the caption “they own my heart” only goes so far when you openly say how ‘dirty’ and ‘impoverished’ these children are when you return home. That’s an extreme example but it’s one I see too often in our community. Yes, the people you’re helping on a service trip are different than you. Yes, they live in different circumstances than you. But, by commenting on their conditions in a negative light and saying how you “raised their standard of living” negates everything you just did on the trip. What is there to do about it? Honestly? Not a lot. See, as volunteers, we’re put into the mindset that we are there to help those who are less fortunate, so of course we comment on how our service makes us feel “good inside.” A tip that I find helpful is to break down the barrier between the volunteers and the people receiving the service. By treating these people like actual human beings and not just a prop for your Instagram post, you’re already moving in the right direction.

FEBRUARY 2020 19


Indigenous voices matter Drew Benoit Over 383,000 gallons of oil have gushed from the Keystone Pipeline, covering and harming an estimated half an acre of native wetlands, according to North Dakota state environmental regulators. This was the second major oil spill involving the Keystone Pipeline in the last two years. The native populations protesting the pipeline had warned of such dangers, but greedy businessmen and government officials ignored them. The Keystone Pipeline system runs from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in southern Illinois and Texas. The Keystone XL portion of the system, which President Trump gave approval for construction in 2017 and re-affirmed in 2019, has long been subject to protest, largely from indigenous communities and their allies, dubbed the Standing Rock protests. Its construction not only posed a threat to the water supply of the area but also to ancient sacred burial grounds. Indigenous people from all over the world came together to protect the site, and the movement grew into something larger than a protest against the pipeline. Indigenous communities warned of the potential harm it could inflict, and they were right. The underlying truth of the Standing Rock protesters cannot be ignored. Indigenous people around the world understand the desperate realities in the struggle against climate change and because of this deep and oftentimes personal understanding, they should lead the movement to combat it. Despite their traditional connection with their lands, across the globe native communities have been forced out of their homeland so that nations and corporations could exploit and destroy their homes. Violence against indigenous people continues to rise as they remain some of the world’s staunchest defenders of the climate and the earth. Groups like the Wet’suwet’en nation, a sovereign region within the borders of Canada, and the tribes defending Standing Rock, have been targeted by governments. Indigenous defenders of the Amazonia come under attack from malicious corporations looking to exploit the natural resources of the region. Companies and governments burn large swaths of the forest, their ancestral homelands, in order to continue to profit. The communities most often at threat from the changing climate are the indigenous peoples of the globe. People in the Arctic, like the Sami, live through the disappearing ice. People from the Amazon, like the Quechua, are under threat from the destruction of their home for profit. Aboriginal people from Australia can only watch as their home burns around them, erasing their sacred sites and their cultural heritage. Indigenous people, while making up only 5 percent of the world’s population, inhabit around 25 percent of land and support and maintain around 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, according to the World Bank. Listening to indigenous voices forces us to come to grips with a different worldview. Not a different worldview politically but a different understanding of the fundamental machinations of the world. For people who exist in the western, urban societies, whose way of life is focused on the commodification, consumption and exploitation of resources, the indigenous understanding of the world is foreign. Many indigenous communities understand the earth as a separate entity, one that provides a great deal of wealth, but one that requires care and nurture. Often, indigenous communities act as guardians of ancestral knowledge for guarding and living with the environment. In Australia, the


Molly Boufford aboriginal community is known for its impressive land management via the use of fire. Fire holds a spiritual, often sacred, position in the aboriginal communities. Called “cultural burns” or “cool burns,” these low-temperature, knee-high fires are meant to burn continuously throughout the landscape and have been used by aboriginal communities since long before Europeans invaded. The current techniques used by the Australian government to prevent fire focus too much on protecting property and not on taking care of the land. According to the BBC, cultural burns focus on protecting the entire environment for its continued survival. Cool burning replenishes the earth and creates extremely beneficial micro-climates. It can even help encourage rain. Of course, their effectiveness is limited by global climate change and the vast change that colonization has brought to the environment of Australia. For some time, many aboriginal leaders raised concerns over the overgrown bush and increasing amounts of dry kindling, yet the Australian government denied permission to engage in cultural burns, the BBC reported. Instead, informed by the Western views of fire management, the Australian government has forged ahead with destructive practices. The fires in Australia, just like the fires in the Amazon, are the result of ongoing colonization. Around the world, indigenous people have lived and understood their native lands for thousands of years, and have cared for and nurtured them. They protect water, they protect forests and they protect the earth. It’s time to realize the original stewards of the land should be the ones leading the charge against the existential

threat the globe faces.

In San Francisco, a crowd protested for the safety of their water while also protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-SA 4.0.

G N I M A G N O I T U L O V E R Sara Bogan

Peyton Rodriguez Ian Cox

Brightly colored lights illuminated the massive arena, as kids, teenagers and adults alike watched the games commence. Echoing with hollering sounds, the venue was filled with fans cheering for their favorite team. An astonishing 100 million people from across the globe streamed the live competition online. This popular event was not the Super Bowl, the World Series nor the NBA Finals: welcome to the world of esports.

E-ATHLETES ON THE WORLD STAGE Believe it or not, this competition was none other than the 2018 League of Legends Championship in Seoul, South Korea. Esports are organized competitions in which teams face off in popular video games, such as “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty,” “Counterstrike,” “Madden NFL” and more. Generally, esports refers to professional teams competing for millions of dollars in well-known venues such as the Staples Center in Los Angeles or Madison Square Garden in New York City. Senior Ben Leonard explained the two different types of esports events. “Land events” are large championships played in person, where players compete in an arena and utilize a company’s consoles. In contrast, “online” events are when teams compete on the internet, sometimes to qualify for a future land event. Video gaming has transitioned from a dream occupation into a viable career option for professional esports teams around the world. According to USA Today, esports players at the highest level have an average salary of $320,000, more than most surgeons and lawyers. Some professional teams choose the “grind” culture, completing repetitive actions in a video game in order to gain experience, as their practice method. Living under the same roof, the teams work

intensely for 12-14 hours almost every day of the week, while only sleeping four hours each night, as reported by CBS News. Other high-ranked teams prioritize sleep and hire performance experts to keep the e-athletes mentally sharp and prepared for competition. As stated by The New York Times, these professional services can include massage therapy, sports psychology, nutrition advice and physical therapy. The performance team provides specific gameplay enhancing exercises and methods for dealing with the pressure of being under the spotlight. More teams are choosing the health-driven option to avoid “burnout”: a physical or mental breakdown caused by overwork or stress from their rigorous schedules. Since competitive video game players usually retire in their mid-to-late-20s, they need to maintain their physical and mental acuity for as long as possible. Many professional esports players develop their fan base through Twitch, a live video game streaming service, in which players record themselves along with play-by-play commentary. Not only do players earn money from sponsorships, subscribers and brand deals on Twitch, they also have the potential to win millions of dollars from prize pools at major tournaments.


Online videos are utilized as a form of entertainment and to learn tips to play better. Leonard uses Twitch and YouTube to stream his favorite players competing in video games such as “League of Legends,” a competitive and strategic battle video game. He and his friends sometimes have watch parties to view major championships together. Leonard described that he belongs to a dedicated fanbase, cheering for esports teams: “It’s in a sense like how you would root for the Patriots or the Steelers or whatever: you have that feeling like, ‘My team is the best and I want my team to win’ and when they lose, you’re sad, like if some [team] lost the Super Bowl and you’re rooting for them.”

FROM COUCH TO ARENA Video gaming is the largest entertainment industry in the world, surpassing music, movies and television, as reported by Reuters. Business Insider states that the video game industry has accumulated over $120 billion in 2019. Esports has gained so much popularity that rapper Drake co-owns the esports brand 100 Ninjas. Since 2018, the NBA 2K League has drafted 102 professional esports players each year onto different NBA-sponsored competitive teams. The video games in major competitions, such as “Overwatch” and “Rainbow Six Siege,” have become popular with the millions of players who play these games at home. However, one-player video games are also extremely popular. Junior Wren Rojas enjoys video games with a storyline, such as “Portal One” or “Life is Strange.” “It’s kind of like reading a book to me. You get to explore the story, you get to see this new world with new characters, and [story-based video games] are more interesting because you get to put yourself into it, and the choices you make and the actions you do have an effect on the story,” they explained. Rojas described completing the storyline of the video game as “really fulfilling” after the hours and amount of effort put into the game.



LEAGUE Vernon Hills High School’s eSports team plays competitive games like “Rocket League” and “League of Legends.” Photo courtesy of Brandon Watters




The gaming club at Highland Park High School also spends time playing older competitive video games like Super Smash Brothers Melee.




COMING TO A HIGH SCHOOL NEAR YOU Although expanding across high schools in Illinois, esports is not officially sanctioned yet by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). According to the IHSA, at least 10 percent of high schools in Illinois need to have esports teams before they will offer a state series. Their board of directors has also not determined if esports should be categorized as an activity or as a sport. “A lot of people misunderstand esports and say it’s not a real sport, but to counter that, these [esport players] grind a lot of hours just to get up there,” Leonard said. “It’s growing just like any other sport.” Vernon Hills High School’s esports club advisor Mr. Brandon Watters believes esports should be considered a sport. He described how, despite lacking a physical component, esports requires mental capacity, teamwork, communication and dedication. The VHHS esports club was founded last year by Mr. Watters. The teams within the club are selected based on video game interest, skill level and how well they work together. Due to low funding, students must play on PCs or bring their own Nintendo Switches or other consoles. Once a week, the club meets to discuss gaming strategy, play video games and perform team-building activities. “The [players] have to get along because otherwise, if they don’t get along, one person gets mad [and] the whole team falls apart, so we do a little bit with team building. They meet with us [advisors] and see how things are going on, trying to work through the problems,” Mr. Watters explained. The club uses online platforms to compete against other high school esports teams throughout the Midwest. The VHHS esports players have participated in tournaments against students in places such as the Chicagoland area and Texas.

SCHOLARSHIPS IN THE DIGITAL AGE Esports has reached the college level as well, with Division I, II and III teams at colleges across the U.S.. Division I esports teams include those at Georgia State, Miami University of Ohio and the University of Oklahoma. High school students can actually earn scholarships to play on the teams. Mr. Watters explained that many colleges are attempting to build their esports program so they are reaching out to interested high schoolers. Through tournament platform sign-ups, VHHS esports players are asked if they would like to be approached by colleges. Many of the platforms have incentives that give out points to esports players that they cash in for scholarship money. “You have a way better chance of getting a scholarship in esports than you do in traditional sports, just by the nature of the beast,” Mr. Watters said. Tucker Rawles, a former VHHS student, was No. 1 in the power ranking of the Smash Bros. Club at the University of Whitewater, Wisconsin, in the fall of 2016. Since his childhood, Rawles has played “Super Smash Brothers Melee,” a fighting game featuring a variety of Nintendo characters, so he decided to join the club his freshman year. “There would be a bracket of six teams and then everyone would get seeded depending on how good you are and then you’d play and basically fight [by] yourself to the top spot,” Rawles explained. While mostly competing within the club, Rawles and his friends also played against other schools. Each player would contribute $5 toward the entry fee and in larger competitions, had the opportunity to win as much as $200.

LHS senior Ben Leonard

FEBRUARY 2020 23


the cultures that influenced our favorite sports Rowan Hornsey

Pavan Acharya

Competitive sports have dominated the cultural landscape of the United States since the emergence of professional leagues in the early 20th century. Sports such as lacrosse, golf, baseball, soccer and track and field have been institutionalized as “American” sports in the eyes of many. However, the origins of many of these sports are influenced by cultures from all corners of the earth.

In the early 20th century, America’s national pastime faced an identity crisis. In 1903, British journalist Henry Chadwick posted an article that claimed that baseball was actually based on the British game known as rounders. This revelation challenged the notion that baseball was a completely American invention by Abner Doubleday, a New York native. Chadwick’s claim led to the creation of a commission made by the president of the National League of Baseball. This commission met for three years to test the validity of Chadwick’s claim and eventually came to the conclusion that baseball was, in fact, invented by Abner Doubleday in 1869. Despite the results of this investigation, the similarities between baseball and the British game known as rounders are blatantly obvious. First recognized in 1744, rounders became a popular game among schoolchildren across Great Britain. In concept, both baseball and rounders are nearly the exact same games. Both sports involve nine players on each team who switched off playing offense and defense. The job of the offensive team was to hit the ball thrown by the “bowler” with a wooden stick. The batsman would then run around the four posts on the field that closely resembled the bases from baseball. Even the diamond-shaped infield of the rounders field closely resembles the playing field of a baseball game. Baseball is in fact America’s pastime, but the influences of the British on the sport cannot be denied.

Soccer: China Soccer has had a meteoric rise in popularity since its formal recognition as a sport by England in 1863. However, unbeknownst by many, soccer developed in the heart of Asia rather than on the European continent. One of the earliest games to resemble modern-day soccer was Tsu’ Chu from China. Tsu’ Chu consisted of a volleyball-sized ball being kicked in a goal propped up by bamboo sticks. The game’s golden rule was that the ball could not be touched by the player’s hand. This rule would carry into modern day soccer generations later. The influence of China’s new sport eventually carried into Japan. In the year 644 A.D., Japan developed a new sport known as kemari, which embraced most of the rules of Tsu’ Chu with one exception: in kemari it was the job of the players to not let the ball touch the ground. Yet, when Marco Polo opened up Europe to the riches of Asia, it was Tsu’ Chu, not kemari, that eventually transformed into the European form of soccer. This form of soccer, or football as it is known outside of the United States, was heavily popularized in the British Isles. This was until soccer was brought to the Americas, where it has developed into one of the globe’s most popular sports.

Baseball: Great Britain


Lacrosse: Native Americans

The origins of lacrosse can be traced back to the Native American tribes that dominated North America before the arrival of the Europeans. Lacrosse first developed among the Algonquin tribes of the St. Lawrence Valley — an area north of the Great Lakes region in southern Canada. Over time, the new sport would spread to the Native American tribes of the east and the Great Lakes, including the Iroquoian tribes. What began as a simple game with only one rule — to not use one’s hands — developed into a major cultural event among tribes. Games of lacrosse, or stickball, involved anywhere from 100 to 100,000 natives. The scale of the events were massive as well, with goal posts often being miles apart. Tribes of different regions also developed unique versions of the game. The Northeastern and Iroquois tribes’ version had the most influence on the game today. These tribes introduced the use of three-foot-long sticks with deeper, wider pockets to catch the ball. This style of stick is still used in modern-day lacrosse. By the time French Jesuit missionaries discovered lacrosse being played by Native Americans in the 1630s, the game had become of significant importance among the native tribes. It was not until the 1900s that lacrosse began to die out among native tribes while it was growing in popularity among American citizens.


TRACK & FIELD For thousands of years, the events of track and field have been romanticized due to the sheer grit and talent of the athletes who participate in the sport.Despite the grand scope of time that track and field events have existed, the sport itself has changed very little since its inception during Ancient Greek’s Olympic games. Track and field emerged during the Olympics of 776 B.C. as Koroibos won the first 600-foot-long race of the games. The ancient games would go on to include multiple foot races, known as stadion, diaulos and dolichos. Each race differed in length based on distance between stades (the length between two stades was often about 1 2ancient 3 4 51 2 3 4 41 2 also introduced multiple field events that 200 meters). The Olympic games are still popular today. These events included long jump, javelin and discus. Following the end of the ancient Olympic games, the popularity of track and field began to wane. This occurred until the scope of the sport began to expand following the reintroduction of track and field in the modern Olympic games of 1928. Track and field was able to make a comeback into the sports world while still retaining many of the qualities that led to its glory filled days of the ancient Olympic games.






GOLF: Ancient Rome Contrary to popular belief, the game of golf did not originate in Scotland. Although Scotland’s 14th parliament was the first to recognize the game of golf, the sport developed due to influences across the European continent. The early Roman game known as “paganica” served as the earliest sport to influence modern-day golf. The game revolved around the use of a bent stick to hit a wool or leather-stuffed ball. Paganica spread throughout Europe as the Romans nearly conquered the entire continent in the first century B.C.E. After the fall of the Romans, different games similar to modern-day golf began to develop across Europe. One example from France was chicane, which revolved around players attempting to hit a ball to a church door in the shortest amount of strokes. However, the version with the most direct influence on the game of golf emerged in the Netherlands during the 13th century. Kolf, or kolven, was a popular street game that closely resembled ice hockey and golf. The object of the game was to strike a ball towards a stake or hole using a club. Although it primarily was played on ice, kolf eventually transitioned to become a game played on open fields. Over time, kolf travelled across the English Channel to Scotland, where it developed into the game known today as golf.

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What’s Trending WHAT’S TRENDING

What’s Trending this month is focused on MUSIC! Below are lists of some countries’ top five trending songs as of Feb. 4. Some songs are repeated because they are popular in various countries. To compile this list, DOI used the “charts” category in Spotify Disclaimer: Some songs are marked explicit for inappropriate language or references to drug or alcohol use.

United States Top 5 “The Box” by Roddy Ricch (Explicit) “Life Is Good” by Future and Drake (Explicit) “Godzilla” by Eminem and Juice WRLD (Explicit) “Roxanne” by Arizona Zervas (Explicit) “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd


Jade Foo

Global Top 5

“Dance Monkey” by Tones and I “The Box” by Roddy Ricch (Explicit) “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd “Tusa” by KAROL G and Nicki Minaj “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

France Top 5 “Dans L’espace” by Gambi, Heus L’enfoiré (Explicit) “Distant” by Maes, Ninho (Explicit) “Blanche” by Maes, Booba (Explicit) “Ne reviens pas” by Gradur, Heuss L’enfoiré (Explicit) “Dybala” by Maez, Jul (Explicit)

Slovakia Top 5 “J Lo” by KintraFakt, Mirez, Dalyb, Zayo, Dokkeytino (Explicit) “Godzilla” by Eminem and Juice WRLD (Explicit) “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd “Neviditelnej” by Kontrafakt, Viktor Sheen, Calin (Explicit) “The Box” by Roddy Ricch (Explicit)

Japan Top 5

Brazil Top 5

“Liberdade Provisória” by Henrique & Juliano “Tudo Ok” by Thiaguinho MT, Mila, JS o Mão de Ouro “SENTADÃO” by Pedro Sampaio, Felipe Original, JS o Mão de Ouro “A Gente Fez Amor” by Ao Vivo by Gusttavo Lima “Dance Monkey” by the Tones and I

Sarah Bennett

South Africa Top 5

“Pretender” by Official HIGE DANdism “Hakujitsu” by King Gnu “Shukumei” by Official HIGE DANdism “Yesterday” by Official HIGE DANdism “I Love…” by Official HIGE DANdism

“The Box” by Roddy Ricch (Explicit) “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I “Life Is Good” by Future and Drake (Explicit) “Godzilla” by Eminem and Juice WRLD (Explicit) “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa





4. Missouri is known for this dish, which consists of various meats, potatoes, eggs and chili con carne, with hot sauce on the side. 7. It is heavily debated whether this North Dakota staple is a soup or a stew. 10. This type of Iowan corn can be found at fairs and is often barbeque-slathered with butter and salt. 11. It’s not hard to find this juice while in Florida, since they produce 74 percent of the country’s crop. 12. A boardwalk staple, this New Jersey staple isn’t actually made with salt water (it was named after a joke). 15. This Philadelphia classic is similar to an Italian beef sandwich, with thinly sliced meat and cheese on top. 16. This New Mexican breakfast food is made with blue corn to give it a purplish-blue hue. 17. This nut is the main ingredient in Alabama pie. 18. Named after an Island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, this fudge is a staple of this tiny town (which produces 10,000 pounds of fudge a day). 21. This chili, named after Indiana residents, substitutes regular tomato sauce for V-8 juice and adds in pasta noodles. 22. This dish can be found on almost every corner of New York and is easily recognizable by its thin, foldable crust. 23. This Kentucky pie is made with chocolate and walnuts; it is usually associated with their famous horse race. 24. This peanut butter fudge ball dipped in chocolate shares a name with the Ohio State’s mascot.

1. In Hawaii, this dish is eaten with almost every meal and is made with the underground plant stem of the taro plant. 2. Wisconsin, which is ranked the fourth-highest cheese producer globally, takes their yellow delicacy and turns it into bite-sized balls. 3. This Colorado dish is made from the meat of a commonly hunted mammal. 5. California grows 90 percent of the country’s avocados, which is the main ingredient in this dish. 6. This thick stew can be found anywhere in Louisiana and is the official state cuisine. 8. This Massachusetts seafood roll resembles a hot dog with this crustacean used as meat. 9. This Alaskan “ice cream” is made up of meat or fish, fat, sweetener and berries. 13. Known as the “Potato State,” Idahoans combine the starchy vegetable with a common dessert food. 14. A Chicago classic, this beloved pizza style has a thick crust and sauce that goes on top of the cheese. 16. Connecticut is home to the first domestic manufacturing facility for this hard candy that comes in a dispenser. 19. Georgia is known for this sweet peach dish that is best served warm with a scoop of ice cream. 20. This twist on New England clam chowder is popular in Maine and substitutes clam for this vegetable.

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