RamPage The Englewood High School
Volume 52, Issue 2 March 21, 2011
Miss Englewood crowned Amanda Welch takes the 2012 title
By: Dana Johnson and Jackie Boyd Amanda Welch stood center stage like a graceful statuette, frozen as the technical team in the back scrambled to find the track for her salsa dance. A smile on her face, Welch kept her composure and finally, after a few minutes, started swinging her arms and waist in a routine that pleased the crowd. Everyone cheered and clapped. But it wasn’t only her talent that won the judges over. Her business wear was professional and classy, her dress for formal wear was stunning with sequince detailing that shimmered in the light. Her patience paid off as Welch took home the crown for the Miss Englewood title as well as Miss Photogenic. “I was overwhelmed and excited because all the hard work had paid off,” said Welch. “The stress from my shoulders was gone.”
Miss Englewood 2012 Amanda Welch Photo By Kati Hollingsworth
Some talents were different than last year. Alyssa Hill painted a picture of Marilyn Monroe in less than two minutes and Christina Mattis did a dance number to a mix of hip hop and pop songs. Mattis routine got the biggest cheer of the night with many in the audience singing and dancing along with the songs they knew. A’Dreana Gaines was awarded first runner up and academic performance. Mattis was second runner up. Welch said she is excited about taking on the role and making school a more memorable experience for everyone. “I want to get kids more involved by joining more clubs and sports and having more school spirit,” Welch said. “It makes a good high school experience. It’s supposed to be the best time of your life.”
All right students of Englewood, the F-CAT is quickly approaching, and we have to do good as a school. Now is the time to get that eight hours of sleep, and have a big filling breakfast, and look over your books and notes.
Turning away from abuse By: Jason Foster After 13 months of so-called love, it came to the breaking point. In the middle of the road he picked her up in a stranglehold, her feet dangling as she suffocated, her face cherry red. An hour earlier, the two had gotten into an argument over jealousy and she stormed out, telling him she didn’t want to have anything to do with him ever again. He wasn’t having it. As she was walking home, in the middle of the road, he didn’t stop her to talk. He just started choking her while calling her dirty names. “After he let go, I just dropped to the ground and felt lifeless,” she said. He screamed for her to stand up, but she said she was too weak and the sensation of his arm still crushing her throat paralyzed her. “He put all of his strength into a leg and kicked me in my ribs,” she said. “He left me alone, in the rain with nothing but the clothes on my back.”
This Englewood junior, who asked her name not be revealed, said she admits she saw this day coming. And though she is disgusted with herself, this incident still was not enough for her to leave him. She stayed with him because she was afraid that if she left, it would be worse. And it got worse. “There was a lot of jealousy and verbal abuse,” she said. “There was never any talking. It was always snapping, cussing, and pushing all the time. Sometimes he would squeeze my arms so hard my fingers would tingle.” He continued to insult, smack her and make her feel like she was nothing but a punching bag to calm his aggression. “I was done being his ragdoll,” she said. So she stood up to him one last time and told him she wasn’t going to accept the abuse anymore. Continued on page 3 “ABUSE”
Learning to let go
By: Anonymous The cold water hit my body like knives. I was trembling. My fingers were shriveled and wrinkly from sitting alone in the shower for two hours. I couldn’t even breathe. Though I tried, nothing could wash away the pain and humiliation of that day. I stood in the shower trying to process what happened and why it happened to me.I felt dead. I wanted to be dead. So much had happened in the months that led to that moment. Failing at school, getting kicked out of home, trying to fit in with new friends in a city I didn’t know. I thought about this and how I allowed myself to be taken advantage of. When I finally got out of the shower, I dried off, laid down in bed and found out that although I was still trembling, there was a way to comfort my mind. I discovered cutting. As the blood trickled from my wrist, I found for the first time in months,
I felt no pain.
The fall Three weeks earlier, my parents gave me exactly one hour to pack my bags and get out of the house. I’d just been kicked out of my school and my parents were sending me to Poinciana, near Orlando, to live with my aunt and uncle to get my act together. There was no time for goodbyes to my brother or my friends. I was alone. Then began what I thought would be the worst day of my life. The first day at my new school, I remember looking out at all the people. No one noticed me. The students already had their cliques and after the first week, it didn’t seem like there was room for me anywhere. No room except for with one boy who seemed to be very sweet. He was tall, dark and handsome: most any girls’ dream. Continued on page 4 “CUTTING”
For complete coverage of abuse and bullying, please turn to pages 3 and 4
Fleeing Bosnia - Englewood freshman finds his roots By: Adian Suvic “Children crying, gunshots echoed from the hills, and homes burning. This is all I heard and saw as I leave my home.” - my sister, Naida, telling me what life was like in the hours before I was born. Bombs hit the streets and marketplaces. Thick smoke covered the air while shells killed Muslims fleeing for their lives. Thousands of corpses lying along the roads, and in the middle was my mother, running a mile with my dad and sister to escape their murder. I would be born within the hour, in the airplane headed to take us away from the ethnic cleansing from an invading army. My people were being killed because of who they were and where they came from. Though I had not yet taken my first breath, I was almost killed for the same reasons. The murderer Slobodan Milosevic would kill more than 100,000 of my own in his attempt to eliminate us from the world. Six months before I was born, in July 1995, his ethnic cleansing took the lives of 8,000 Bosnian men and boys and as many as 30,000 refugees. Milosevic’s assault began in the early 1990s, during the Bosnian-Serbian War.
Pregnancy changes teens’ lives By: Roderica Johnson It was mid February, but a warm breeze brought pleasant change from the chilly temperatures a few weeks earlier. With the sun shining, hundreds of kids started playing -- a group of girls on the tennis court started playing tag and attempting flips. They laughed each time they would fall over trying to do backbends. The place was bustling with en-
ergy and laughter. Except on the sideline, where a girl was sitting all alone. She wore a baggy jacket and her eyes were distant, her mind obviously somewhere else. games. She just stared off into space, alone. Continued on page 6 “PREGNANCY”
Milosevic was the president of Serbia Republic, and when he invaded, called for all Bosnian-Muslims to be executed on sight. My mother staggered into the airport and boarded the plane that would take us to America. As the crew was getting the plane ready to leave, my mother gave birth to me. She screamed and cried with my dad and sister. Some friends and neighbors were also beside us, trying to escape. My family and I didn’t stay on the plane. They kicked us off. Though my family was struggling to escape, my birth dragged them back into the war. We traveled to a refugee camp in Croatia, where we lived for seven months. My dad described the camp as families sharing ripped tents as the cold winter air breezed through. There was little water and less food. Continued on page 5 “BOSNIA”
By: Roderica Johnson The media preys on the public’s emotions and insecurities. Isn’t that what child molesters and tyrannical monsters do to calm and kill their prey? Innocent teenage girl, state your case. The world is your jury. To put it simply, the media has stopped portraying the average women to America. Physical flaws don’t exist in this realm. The woman has to be thin, statisti-
cally beautiful, with some skin exposed to make the front page. This blitz is turning my generation into an army of shameless bimbos saran wrapping their personalities to meet a bottom line. Continued on page 6 “MEDIA TRIAL” For more coverage on pregnancy, teen sex issues and sexually transmitted diseases, turn to pages 6 and 7.
Bryan Alcala Designer, Editor In Chief Kathleen Hollingsworth Roderica Johnson Lead Reporter Photography/Visual Artist Addie Crosby Copy Editor Mr. Bryan Noonan Advisor
Valuable volunteers By: Winter Katterhenry I shivered in the passenger seat as we pulled up to about eight children, around 4 or 5 years old, standing on the side of the road. It was maybe 60 degrees outside, and they were in shorts and t-shirts. These were the children who never knew when their next meal was going to be, the children wearing the same clothes no matter what day of the year it was. There were callouses and cuts covering their feet, and I know the ground must’ve felt freezing, but they all stood in line smiling. I got out of the van, and opened up the back, instructing all kids to their seats, and helping them with their seat belts. I was to monitor them, so I took my seat next to a little girl. A swollen bruise mottled her left cheek, and her hair was nappy and uneven—it was apparent she had done it on her own. She grabbed a hold of my hand and said, “My name’s Raven, are you going to be my friend?” I said yes, and when she smiled a nearly toothless smile and leaned on my shoulder, I was the happiest that I had ever been. This past summer I volunteered in Raleigh, North Carolina, at a church that took in homeless children and helped them build their knowledge as well as social skills. The three summers before that, I went to Mississippi to do relief for Hurricane Katrina. Twice, I have done a program called “The Thirty Hour Famine,” where a group of us don’t eat for thirty hours, and instead go around telling people about the cause, and raising money for malnourished children in third-world countries. The first time I signed up for one of these programs, I was thinking about getting my hours for the Bright Futures Scholarship. But that first time changed everything. I was straddling the top beam of a skeleton of a roof, nailing down plywood and markers for where everything else would be placed. My attention was mainly focused on not looking down,
because I was about 20 feet above the ground, and while falling may not have meant death, it would’ve almost surely resulted in a broken bone. I was busy cursing the day that I had signed up for the job, when the owners of the house pulled up in the van they had been living in for the past two years. At the end of the day, the wife pulled each one of us into a hug, whispering her thanks. From that day on, it stopped being about the hours (75 community service hours), and became a mission to make a difference in the world. To this day, I’ve gotten 220 hours. I’ll admit, some of the jobs I’ve done aren’t the most exciting, but the finished product does give a lot of satisfaction. Let me tell you something, the secret to volunteering is finding one related to your interests. A website (Volunteerjax.org) focuses on preserving the earth, stopping poverty, and restoring schools. There are so many different opportunities on the site, ranging from bringing in plants for Green projects to dedicating yourself as a project leader. Jacksonville has soup kitchens, salvation armies, homeless shelters, and kennels. Believe it or not, there are never enough volunteers and many of these programs accept help from those under 18. If service hours are what you’re after, most programs have specific areas of service for those interested in earning their hours. Volunteering is so easy, and finding the right program for you hardly takes any time at all. On top of that, it’s a beautiful feeling putting everyone else before yourself.
PRIDE CLUB Practicing Respect, Individuality, Diversity and Equality meets every Monday at 2:45 in room A110 BE THE CHANGE! If you would like to submit any essays, poems, memoirs or other literary work, drop by X109 and talk to Mr. Noonan about the RamPage’s Literary Page scheduled for next edition.
The old and the stupid
By: Jeremy Howard Dear adults, You say the youth today is rude and inexperienced, with the brainpower of the average pigeon. Well, this may be true in some respects. We might not know every capital city in America, we might have trouble with long division, but we can figure out the answer with a couple taps of our fingers or clicks of a mouse. And you can’t. I recently watched my friend’s mom take five minutes to figure out she had just bought a $200 “touchscreen” phone, though it clearly stated it on the box. She accidentally poked it and her facial expression turned into “Huh?!” And hers is the generation calling mine dumb. Of course, adults’ hours and hours of training on those dusty old typewriters may give them the confidence to challenge the youth in writing and grammar, but do you know how to find the spell-check tab at the top of Word? Probably not, though you still think you have the right to scold us for a comma splice. What does that even mean, anyway? If I really cared to know, I would just Google it on my smartphone. Even if you were able to figure out how to work your “newfangled” phone, you still wouldn’t be anywhere close to matching our technological genius. Not to mention, your “darnflabit” new phone is actually more than a year old, and a new one with faster technology has come out to replace it. Nice attempt at catching up though. Come to think of it, a newer phone has come out to replace your phone, but you missed the headlines.
By: Abegail Canis Scene – my mom storms into my room screaming, “ Why didn’t you clean the dishes? I told you six times!” Four white lie excuses, half-truths, instantly pop into my head: A. I didn’t hear you. B. I was on my way downstairs to do it. C. I had to do my homework. D. I got a headache. So I begin crossing off my answers by process of elimination, a test-taking strategy I learned in my English class: A. CROSS IT OUT! She knows I heard her. B. CROSS IT OUT! I’m still in bed. C. CROSS IT OUT! A good answer, but I have no books to prove I was working. I can run and go get some. NOPE, she is already up the stairs, TOO LATE. D. Is the correct answer! HURRAY! I yell downstairs: “Sorry mom, I got a headache!” I should have yelled a little more meekly, since nobody who really had a headache would have spoken so loudly. My mom wasn’t buying it. “Excuses, excuses, excuses, you’ll be okay right after the dishes are done being clean,” she said.
Maybe you were more concerned with my generation’s grammar. To us, it’s not about the old rules. It’s all about the latest and greatest gadgets. We don’t need your stale, inefficient wisdom telling us obsolete nothings. So stop hovering over our shoulders every minute judging us. Why don’t you just go to the store and window shop while I stay here and check for a cheaper price on Amazon and E-Bay? With the time I save, I’ll get my work done, watch a few videos on YouTube and update my Facebook. I know when you were young, new innovating ideas like the wheel were coming out. Life was simple and so was fixing your current technology. Brute force or a simple smash of your clubs fixed most problems. But we’ve evolved, so hitting the consoles and forcing the disk in won’t fix the computer. Or if you need something to work, give me five minutes and I will get it running for you. I can give you a clear example. An older woman walked into a room with laptop in hand, complaining that her Wi-Fi was not working. With one glance, I diagnosed the problem and flipped the switch labeled, “Internet Connection On/Off.” So help me help you. But before I do, please stop calling us stupid and ignorant. At least, stop being hypocritical about the matter. I mean, I might not know the capital of Delaware offhand, but my simple response to you: “Is the computer plugged in?” Signed, The youth
What does she mean excuses, excuses, excuses? Finding a way out of responsibilities through the use of clever words is a teenager’s right. Unfortunately, they rarely work. For example, I still ended up washing the dishes anyway but teenagers couldn’t live a day without them. I mean what if excuses never existed. That’s like not having toilet paper -- they are a necessity. There are more excuses at school then teachers, students, and books combined. Statistics show 85 percent of students complain, whine and make up excuses. This will add up to more than trillions of excuses if our generation lives into its 80s. How amazing is that? Keep it up buddies. You will be lying in a coffin full of excuses soon enough. I mean we hear it all the time. Every second of the day. “My dog eats my homework?” “Cliché much?” WE DON’T understand our lives can be over in a blink of an eye. We can lose anything or someone we care for deeply at any time. We’re too busy making up reasons why we didn’t do this or accomplish that. Don’t get it twisted. Teens go through a lot. A lot of people think because we’re young that we’re supposed to be all giggly and happy 24/7. There’s always something behind an excuse. Americans don’t know about the wars the world faces everyday because most people make excuses to ignore conflicts that don’t affect them directly. Continued on page 4 “EXCUSES”
Bullying and abuse
“ABUSE” continued from the front
“He seemed to be getting more frustrated,” she said. “He got so infuriated, he took all my belongings, scattered them in the yard and stole my phone and my money. I followed him in the garage to get my phone and he slammed me against the wall and punched me in the face.” He then told her she deserved every bit of punishment she got. Then it was done. “I was better than that, and I didn’t need this kind of treatment from anybody. I was tired of being hit. I was tired of being hurt,” she said. “Getting out of the shower and noticing I wasn’t just tan anymore,” she said.
“I was tan with black and blue marks all over my body. This opened my eyes to everything. I then quit picking up his calls. I ignored his texts and I told my older brother to shoo him away whenever he came by.” After about a month of him persistently trying to win her back, he realized he lost, she said, and quit attempting to make things right. She put her foot down and finally separated herself from this monster. He was done hurting her. He was done crushing her soul. He could no longer grind her heart to dust. “I was done, once and for all. I swear to never let another person treat me the way he did. I dare another person to try. Especially a man …” The suffering was over, she said.
Editorial: Mending a beaten heart when love turns to hate By: Jason Foster How can you claim you love somebody, and then flip the script and hit, beat, grab, shake, or yell and scream at your other half? How can you look someone in their caring, puppy dog eyes and hurt them physically or emotionally? It drives me insane to know my girlfriend was the victim of an abusive boyfriend. Mending a broken heart and reviving a battered soul has not been an easy job. Though I do not yell or hit, she is still very protective of her heart and her body, and doesn’t trust many. Does hurting a significant other make people feel in power? Do some men feel better about themselves after hitting a girl? I believe the men who go to prison because of domestic violence or rape should receive punishments just as severe as the punishments they put their partners through. It’s only fair, right? Anyone who abuses a woman
should get severely punished. And rapists … don’t even get me started. These punishments should be long term, because 7 in 10 arrests for domestic violence are repeat offenders, according to Hubbard House, which helps battered women. Not a one-time deal. That’s the only way the offenders will see the physical and psychological impact of relationship abuse on the human body. Some might say my point of view is harsh, but how would you feel if it was your little sister? Or mother? Movies paint the fantasy of “love” as the perfect house with the perfect white picket fence or the perfect 5-speed convertible. The idea that everything in life will run smooth and clean with no obstacles. Then you look at the national statistics on women who are beaten or emotionally scarred and you realize that this is, more often than not, a Hollywood fantasy that we buy into instead of live.
Editorial: Kicking puppies is “cool” By: Winter Katterhenry A boy or girl no one likes is walking through the hallway while you’re talking with your friends. One of your friends mumbles something rude under his breath about the kid. Your other friends start laughing. Do you laugh, too? Let’s say you do laugh, because the kid isn’t bleeding or crying, the whole sticks and stones thing, therefore you feel the kid should just get over it if he happened to hear. But how would you feel if there was no one on your side? Maybe you should be focused less on “being cool” now, and focused more on making friends who won’t shun you because you don’t like to kick a puppy. Because you’re not “big” or “tough” enough to prey on the weak. So why do we bully? In the high school hierarchy, these kids are often targeted because they don’t have many friends, they’re awkward, or they’re quirky and like to slay invisible dragons in the courtyard. Maybe the bully doesn’t like another kid’s race, religion, or sexual orientation. But no matter what, the kid is targeted because he is the weak link. He’s probably not quick with comebacks, or is too shy to speak up for himself. At the same time, he’s probably too embarrassed to tell a teacher, or doubt the teacher will listen. It makes me sick how a bully can be a “big man on campus.” People want to be around him, think he’s witty and cool. Personally, I never thought being a jerk was cool. Really, if they’re going to pick on someone, why don’t they go for someone their own size, instead of going after the kids who can’t fight back? Really, who’s the bigger pansy here? Some people say bullies have
low self-esteem or lash out because they’re insecure. But studies published on www.discovery.com show most bullies have an above-average self-esteem and have more friends. To me, this is even sicker than preying on the meek because you’re insecure. Picking on someone for no apparent motive is borderline insane. I’m scared to think about what you might do next. A common misconception of bullying is that it is violent, but the vast majority comes from insults, many of which are behind the backs of the insulted. There is also an intimidation, known as “Relational Aggression.” It’s kind of like psychological warfare that includes spreading rumors, excluding people from groups and spewing insults behind their backs. “Because I was skinny, everyone said I was anorexic,” said a student who requested not to have her name printed. “It made me feel so sad, so hurt.” Senior Addie Crosby, 18, handles bullying with a cold, indifferent shoulder. “People can say whatever they want,” says Crosby, who was the 2010-11 Miss Englewood. “Because I don’t really care. Just don’t take it out on the other people. You don’t know their life, their stories.” She thinks it’s impossible to be bullied unless a victim allows himself to care. Unfortunately, not everyone has this outlook. According to an article on kidshealth.org, people who are bullied are at a higher risk for health problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, low selfesteem, or even suicidal thoughts. So the next time you start laughing with friends when someone awkward walks by, ask yourself the question: Is it really worth it? Just to be cool? But before you answer that, please take a moment to consider this: someone we snicker at kills himself, then we have to live our lives knowing that something we said may have caused the death. We are too young to take on that kind of responsibility. We are too young to try and play with someone’s life.
The image that love lasts forever is romantic and it’s understandable why so many ache for it. Little girls start experimenting with romantic love even before they’ve experienced it – they dress up Barbie and Ken dolls with the plastic pink house and car, and are secretly planning their wedding day and future husband. So why does our ideal of love turn into hate so often? Maybe it’s because of these fake expectations of what ‘love’ is supposed to be. When they are not met, that’s when the abuse starts and people take out their physical, emotional, or sexual aggression on others. Or maybe it’s because people will just jump into any relationship, saying they can’t live alone. So they settle for something less than perfect because of their insecurities. We need to step back and think before we hop into relationships. If you are with someone who cannot satisfy you, that’s when he or she
becomes unhappy and forces you to feel how they want you to feel and make decisions for you, rather than with you. When people feel like they aren’t getting 100 percent out of their partner, they will do whatever it takes to achieve emotional and physical comfort, and many times it leads to abuse. There are rocky relationships all over. I’m 100 percent positive no one in this world has had a perfect relationship. Relationships have their ups and downs, twists and turns, but the strong partners are the ones who emotionally battle for what they really want. When the word storms and thundering punches start brewing, the incompatibility with your partner should be plain to see. Once the put downs and fighting words start stirring, that’s the key to break it off. It may be hard, but it’s the right thing. If not, then our generation will need to invest in lots of makeup to mask the bruises and black eyes.
Bullying: Warning Signs In a recent survey conducted by the RamPage, studies show about onethird of Englewood students have reported being victims of relationship abuse or have been spectators to the abuse of their friends. Of the 100 students surveyed, 50 were juniors and 50 seniors. About one-half of the seniors said they have witnessed some kind of abuse, and nearly one-third of the seniors reported they are in or know someone who’s in an abusive relationship today. By: Jason Foster It might start with a seemingly innocent remark, a slight putdown. This grows into accusations, humiliation and isolation. There are dozens of signs of physical or emotional abuse. Sadly, nearly one-third of American adults have reported being abused in their relationships, according to a 2004 study by The Commonwealth Fund, a group dedicated to finding help for battered women and children. Experts say this can be avoided if people become thoughtful about the warning signs and then leave relationships that were filled with abuse. In a recent survey, Englewood students reported to have firsthand experience with abuse. More than one-third of juniors and seniors said they are in or know someone in an abusive relationship. Psychologists have defined two types of abuse: physical and emotional. Physical means beating, tugging, grabbing, slapping, pushing, shoving, or unwanted sexual advances. This basically means any contact that causes pain or harm. For example, if he shoves you against the wall and yells, “Don’t back talk me little girl! I’m the man around this house!” Experts report this kind of abuse can lead to sheltering and hiding out. These victims feel worthless, embarrassed, and frightened during the course of the day. Outsiders can see signs of this when bruises and marks appear. Emotional abuse comes in the form of putdowns, bickering, denying, dominating, blackmail, belittling, and verbal assaults. The RamPage researched several websites to compile a list of descriptions on abuse most common in relationships and signs on what to look
out for: -Aggressing: This type of emotional abuse refers to name calling, and goes as far as accusing and threatening, sometimes ordering another around. -Constant chaos: A form of bickering when the abuser deliberately starts arguments and is usually addicted to drama. -Denying: Someone disregards his or her partner’s emotional needs with the intention of hurting, punishing, or humiliating. -Dominating: Someone who wants to control every move. If it’s not their way, they will threaten to get it. -Emotional blackmail: The abuser uses his partner’s fear against them. -Minimizing is a slightly less extreme form of denial. Statements such as “you’re too sensitive,” or “you’re not smart enough,” suggest the other person’s emotions cannot be trusted. -Verbal assaults: This type of abuse is a combination of several of the other abuses, when the abuser uses sarcasm, humiliation, threatening, criticizing, screaming, and belittling to gain power over his or her partner. This form of abuse makes the victim feel worthless and believe no one else could want to be with them. Victims of abuse struggle with feeling powerless, fearful, and angry. Emotional abuse is like brainwashing that wears down the victim’s confidence, selfworth, and trust in their own perceptions.
If you are victim, or know someone who is experiencing any of these forms of abuse, contact 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit the website, “thehotline.org“ for information and tips on how to cope or get out.
“CUTTING” continued from the
Jump Page was winning. I had to do something more than just cut myself, but what? That was the day it all took a final turn to what I thought would be the end. I thought about killing myself. It was deeper this time, worse than all the times before. I felt like I could actually do it. Just a little more and it would all be over. At that moment, however, I was scared to kill myself. Can I overcome this fear? I had a razorblade up against my wrist pressed down and seeping into the surface of my skin. I looked down to see the crimson stream of blood oozing down my arm. This was the best result I got. It was the sensation of pain in my arm instead of in my mind. I felt numb everywhere. Every night I watched the blood seep more and more heavily onto a t-shirt until I could fall asleep.
Spiraling down My life took another turn for the worse. I started cutting. The most awful time of day was always those last 10 minutes before bed. Crying was one problem but cutting was another. Every night I would sit on my bed looking at the beautiful disaster, the release of the painful memory at the cost of my own blood dribbling down my arm. It brought a rush of relief that
slowly turned into the reality of hurting myself once more. I would always clutch my arm wrapped in an old t-shirt and roll on my side to cry myself asleep again. Maybe the blood would disappear if I held it tight enough. It wouldn’t be the last time. Cutting became my routine every day for six months. The pain of waking up in the morning made me promise myself to start over new, stay happy and make peace with what happened. These daily wishes faded into lonely, long days and my only solace before my rest was the same razorblade. I didn’t want anybody to know what was going on with me and I didn’t want to stop. I never searched for help until one day a familiar voice called me. “What happened to you since you went down there?” my good friend Branden asked. How did he know my secret? I didn’t tell anybody. “Nothing, what are you talking about? I’m just tired,” I replied to him. He believed me. I didn’t know even my voice sounded depressed. That’s when I realized what I was doing was wrong so I reached out for help. One, two, three phone calls... Ring, ring, ring and nobody would answer. Four, five, six phone calls... Still, no answers... I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Voicemail after voicemail, my “friends” all ignored me. I was on my own completely now. No old friends and certainly no new friends. The only friend I had was my sharp, little comfort who loved spending time with me. I stopped reaching out to people. I stopped talking to people and I stopped functioning all together. Day after day, I witnessed people around me living their happy lives while I sat alone and broken. It was like watching a movie where everybody got a happy ending; everybody but me. It was me against the world but it felt like the world
By: Missy Lent She said it started as a phase, then moved into a dangerous lifestyle. At first, it satisfied her depression after hopeless days and miserable nights. It evolved into so much more than she would expect. The Englewood junior found relief in cutting herself with a razorblade because of a disorder experts say plagues many teenagers. “I tried everything but nothing ever helped,” said the EHS junior, asking her name not be revealed. “It was basically my only way out.” Her life came crashing down on her after many years of being shunned by her parents after they split up. “Once I started, I could never stop,” she said. She said cutting can become an addiction. Approximately 7 percent of middle school students and almost one third of all adolescents referred for clinical treatment have engaged in “non-suicidal self injury,” known as NSSI, according to www.psychologytoday.com. There are many different forms of NSSI but cutting appears to be the most common and the most popular among the teenagers who do harm themselves, studies show. “NSSI helps reduces feelings of negative affect or stress and is reported as a way to help produce feelings, even if the
feeling is pain,” reported Mitch Prinstein at www.psychologytoday.com. “Some report NSSI elicits a desired response from others in the social environment.” An Englewood sophomore admitted to starting to cut, not having anyone to talk to and secretly using it as a cry for help. “I had nowhere else to turn and I didn’t know how to tell my friends. All I ever did was try to hide everything,” she said, also asking to remain anonymous. “I can understand why teenagers would want to cut. Sometimes it’s the only thing making you feel. NSSI is more prevalent among girls as a way to relieve “extreme emotional distress,” according to the website. The most shocking fact, experts say, is that some adults and parents see NSSI as a phase children are going through and might brush if off, thinking it will pass. NSSI may increase an adolescents’ likelihood of suicide. All instances of self-injury must be taken seriously, experts say, because the risks are too great. If you would like more information or would like to speak to a helpline, please visit the psychology today website, a guidance counselor or contact (800) 784-2433. By: Missy Lent She said it started as a phase, then
moved into a dangerous lifestyle. At first, it satisfied her depression after hopeless days and miserable nights. It evolved into so much more than she would expect. The Englewood junior found relief in cutting herself with a razorblade because of a disorder experts say plagues many teenagers. “I tried everything but nothing ever helped,” said the EHS junior, asking her name not be revealed. “It was basically my only way out.” Her life came crashing down on her after many years of being shunned by her parents after they split up. “Once I started, I could never stop,” she said. She said cutting can become an addiction. Approximately 7 percent of middle school students and almost one third of all adolescents referred for clinical treatment have engaged in “non-suicidal self injury,” known as NSSI, according to www.psychologytoday.com. There are many different forms of NSSI but cutting appears to be the most common and the most popular among the teenagers who do harm themselves, studies show. “NSSI helps reduces feelings of negative affect or stress and is reported as a way to help produce feelings, even if the feeling is pain,” reported Mitch Prinstein at www.psychologytoday.com. “Some re-
He was a smooth talker and could play the guitar. What girl wouldn’t be interested in him? I know I was. We talked a lot and got closer. He became my only friend at my new school. After knowing him for only three weeks, we skipped class and hid out under the bleachers in the gym. My stomach filled with butterflies at his next words to me: “Will you be my girlfriend?” I finally felt like I could make myself happy out of a horrible situation, but I was wrong. Nobody was going to be home for hours that night and I had the house all to myself so I decided to invite my new boyfriend over. I was looking forward to spending the afternoon with him, talking and getting to know each other better. He, on the other hand, had a different idea of what we should do. When I told him no, that I wanted to wait until I was older, he didn’t seem to care. He wasn’t going to take no for an answer. “It’s not that bad when you think about it,” he said maliciously. I still didn’t believe him. He went on with what he wanted anyway. After he left, I staggered into the shower with the water running for hours on end. This was the moment where I figured out what betrayal was. I knew what it felt like to be dead. That was the worst day of my life. And that was when it all started. I was numb but I wanted to feel something. I wanted to feel anything.
Closure About six months after arriving in Poinciana, I was returning to Jacksonville. As I packed up my locker, I met a boy named Jamie. On the last day of school, Jamie asked me if I’d be back next year and I told him no. We exchanged numbers with the intention of keeping in touch. Day after day passed after I arrived home in Jacksonville but I was still not happy. I had no friends. I was still cutting. I still felt like I had an empty spot in me that couldn’t ever be filled. A couple months later I got a random text from Jamie. I didn’t feel like replying but I did anyway. He just wanted to talk. And I realized I did too. We talked for days just getting to know each other. I felt happy for the first time in months. I looked around me and realized this guy living far away, Jamie, was becoming my new best friend in times when I had nobody. Jamie could almost read me like a book. He knew there was always something wrong. But never forced me to
tell him what it was. “You know I’ll never judge you and I’ll always be there for you, right?” Jamie would say to me every time he thought I was sad. I wanted to tell him but I could never find the words to say. But I had to tell him. I knew I had to. The word started spilling out of my mouth uncontrollably. “I wish I would have known you earlier so I could have stopped it,” he said. “I wish I could have done something to help you. I’ll never let anybody hurt you again.” I felt as if a huge boulder was lifted off my shoulders and I could walk freely again. Better yet, I felt like I could breathe. The bittersweet ending I still have the scars on my wrists and all the painful memories that lurk throughout my mind but, there was one good thing that came from what seemed to be the end my life. Jamie. He was my best friend for only a year when I felt as if I knew him all my life. And it taught me that you never know when help might come. Not many people could look at their best friend and say, “you saved me.” I look at Jamie and see why I’m alive.
port NSSI elicits a desired response from others in the social environment.” An Englewood sophomore admitted to starting to cut, not having anyone to talk to and secretly using it as a cry for help. “I had nowhere else to turn and I didn’t know how to tell my friends. All I ever did was try to hide everything,” she said, also asking to remain anonymous. “I can understand why teenagers would want to cut. Sometimes it’s the only thing making you feel. NSSI is more prevalent among girls as a way to relieve “extreme emotional distress,” according to the website. The most shocking fact, experts say, is that some adults and parents see NSSI as a phase children are going through and might brush if off, thinking it will pass. NSSI may increase an adolescents’ likelihood of suicide. All instances of self-injury must be taken seriously, experts say, because the risks are too great. If you would like more information or would like to speak to a helpline, please visit the psychology today website, a guidance counselor or contact (800) 784-2433.
School News Presidental brothers
By: Scharrad Cartwright They’re loud. They’re opinionated. They’re brothers. If third time is a charm, then Brodrick Cyler’s in luck. This is his third class presidency. But this year is different. Now he has to share his glory of being class president with his younger brother, Ronald Cyler. Brodrick, the elder Cyler, is head of the junior class. Younger brother Ronald is president of tenth grade. Brodrick is the kid walking around campus with the Mohawk, his brother with the double hairline. It seems the brother presidents have nothing but good intentions for Englewood and are enjoying their positions. While Brodrick, 16, is an “athlete at heart” and participates in many sports,
his brother is more of a music lover. “I like dancing and playing the drums,” Ronald said. Brodrick said the reason he ran for president was to prove he could be something other than an athlete. “I hate people portraying me as something I’m not,” Brodrick said. Ronald, 15, said he ran because he felt it would help him to get more involved with high school. When asked about the current President Barack Obama, Ronald said, “He’s cool. (But some) people just don’t give him a chance. He can’t do everything in one term.” Ronald said he enjoys sharing a title with his brother, even if there’s some sibling rivalry on who is the better leader. “Both me and my brother enjoy being different,” he said.
Go green, or go home
By: Michael Adams
Some experts claim global warming is destroying the planet, yet a group of Englewood students believe no matter what it’s doing, recycling can’t hurt the situation. This group of students has banded together to help, forming the Go Green Club this year, sponsored by Mr. George McCleod. Go Green is about trying to save the planet, and McCleod said he is happy to help students in the cause. “What we are trying to do is come up with a few projects to raise awareness to other students,” McCleod said. Some of the plans to help are as small as planting a tree to as big as keeping a full garden going and traveling around Jacksonville to help clean it up. “We want to see more recycling bins and take a field trip to various vendors to see just what Jacksonville has to offer,” McCleod said. Club sponsors are given the
responsibility of setting up a plan. McCleod said he is trying to raise leadership skills. “I believe in raising responsibility in students,” he said. “They plan the field trips and projects. I say whether we should or shouldn’t do them.” Students in Go Green are happy to be doing their part for the environment as they work together to help change the world. “We are just trying to do our part. As a small group, we are trying to make a positive impact on the environment,” says student president Kimberly Trinh. Her views about helping out have been changed by Go Green as she used to think that small things didn’t help the cause. “I used to think oh yeah, it’s just recycling, but now I realize little things do count.” Trinh said. “We’re planting a tree ... picking up bottles and cans at basketball games and putting on skits to raise awareness.” McCleod believes that students have the power to shape the future for the better. “I think it’s great any time you get youths involved in world issues. Ultimately, they will be in control,” he said. “Start them young and they can change the world for their kids, their grandchildren, and their great grandchildren.”
Robot dancers, divas and guitar wooing
By: Suzana Sisljagic Groups of boys danced around like robots, girls sang like little divas and guitar players wooed the girls in the front row as ecstatic cheers filled the auditorium. This was the scene of the 2011 Englewood Talent Show on Feb. 19. “I was very excited about this because it was a new experience,” said Mr. Larousse Charlot, Englewood teacher and sponsor of the talent show. Though many complained about the steep $8 entry fee for students and $15 for adults, the cause was to raise money for the school, particularity the junior class. “I thought the price was a little high. I tried to compromise but it was out of my control,” Charlot said. Students got to show off their talent and friends and family got to fill the space with loud roars of excitement and joy. “I definitely thought it was a success, everyone was having fun and the kids were having fun and that’s what mattered to me.” The prices, however, were not nearly as high as the voices of some of the girls singing.
Senior Nichole Goldstein bravely stepped out front and center to perform Katy Perry’s chart toping song Firework as senior Brandon Thompson played guitar in the background. “Everybody was really chill,” Thompson said. “We were all relaxing and trying to focus on our acts. After the curtains closed the laidback and witty host Mel Calvert and his sidekick lady friend in a Hollywood-red-carpet outfit, didn’t fail to make the audience laugh. The robot boys danced, until the audience started clapping and cheering as they were breaking it down onstage. Moving swiftly to the music, some in the audience said it was like their eyes were playing tricks on them. With the variety of acts, the camaraderie backstage and the money raised for future fun, Englewood’s talent show was a success. “Everybody was very supportive of each other and building each other up,” Thompson said.
“BOSNIA” continued from page the front
I’m typically in my room watching television or playing videogames. It’s the evening routine for an hour or two before we all get all together at the dinner table. We talk about school, how good the food is. We laugh a lot, make fun of each other and remind each other that no matter what, we’ll be together through anything. After graduating from Englewood, I’d like to go to college, though I’m not sure what I want to study. In Bosnia, I would probably have a lot less choices. There’s a good chance I’d be a farmer or laborer. I would much rather have more choices and I’m pretty thankful for them. My mom and dad were almost murdered because of their faith. In the weeks before Milosevic struck, my parents and sister lived an average middle-class life -- my mom working in a factory packaging coffee into boxes, my dad working the farm. He told me about his days walking miles to school. He lived a poor life. He was poor but did the best he could with what he had. I was curious thinking about my heritage and it made me thankful about coming here to America. If I hadn’t left my country I would be dead or my family would. Even though I barely think about the war and coming here, it still fascinates me. Here in America, I have a lot of different career choices while in Bosnia I’d be a farmer and have less choices, less possibilities. When I did visit Bosnia I remember seeing the place where my mother’s house was. There was nothing but grass and soil. There was nothing to stir my memory but a field where I had almost been born.
We arrived in America wearing the tattered clothes from the slaughter created by Milosevic. I only really remember living in America. The refugee camp and escaping war feels like a dream or a movie and I really am in awe of all my mother and father and sister had to endure while I was an infant. We’re not really different than any American family, though our fight to get here seems to interest some people. We’re not wealthy, but we’re not starving. My mom and dad make sure I have everything I need to survive and be happy. But these gifts don’t come without high expectations – that I get the best grades I can in school, that I’m not disrespectful or don’t get into any trouble. They push me to get into a good college where I can try to figure out what career I want to pursue. They demand respect at home. They demand hard work and discipline. They demand I at least try to achieve the American Dream. My mom works at a department store as a cashier and collecting shipments for display. My dad is a truck driver at Triple Crown who used to be gone for months at a time. Now he’s down to three to five days a week on a job. They both speak English but my mom’s is still somewhat broken while my dad is fluent. On any given night, my mom is in the kitchen cooking dinner with upbeat and happy Bosnian music loudly in the background. She’s humming, sometimes singing along. My dad would be lying on the couch watching the news or a football game if it’s on. In her bedroom, my sister is on her bed, laptop open and typing on Facebook.
Juror’s Choice Award Kati Hollingsworth By: Charlotte Wright Kati Hollingsworth won the Juror’s Choice Award and Administrative Award at the Senior High Show on March 10. “I was really, really happy,” she said. “I’ve never really won an award for any of my paintings. It was a really unique experience for me. It was a good accomplishment.” The show and ceremony were held at the FSCJ South Campus Art Gallery. Hollingsworth, a senior, entered a self-portrait acrylic painting called Envy in the Eye. “I only really entered it because my art teacher, Mr. Wood, wanted me to,” she said.
One side of the face is darkened so only one side is visible. “It’s really hard to explain what it looks like,” Hollingsworth said. “Especially the emotions in the face.” The show will continue to be open until March 24. There is free admission to the public.
“MEDIA TRIAL” continued from the front If you have the audacity to stand up against what the media dictates beauty to be, you get bullied. Take the story of Tyra Banks, one of the most famous models of all time. She was ridiculed for having a single belly roll when she turned to pose for the camera at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. No wonder she retired her wings shortly after. The media has evolved into something so ugly and dominant, it turns everyone into a pop culture clone. Magazines tell us what to wear, how to do our hair, what music to listen to and most importantly, to become paranoid about what fashion others will tolerate when we present ourselves. It changes almost every day, one minute saying it’s okay to go a day without washing our hair and the next to wear so-and-so brand of eyeliner if we want to attract the boys. Portraying women as perfect in the pop-culture world makes teenage girls feel less attractive and overcompensate with flashy clothes and makeup. Natural blemishes during puberty have become unacceptable and disgusting, thanks to the flawless Hannah Montanas and Vanessa Hudgens of the world. Honestly, when was the last time you saw someone less than perfect on a billboard? When America was first founded during Puritan times, the roles of average women were to cook, clean and live by the rules of men. Women who disobeyed were thought to be witches, and consequently were either executed or excommunicated to another state. It took 400 years for America’s sexual awakening to occur in the 1950s. Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine liberated the movement, though people thought him crazy for exploiting women sexually in such a public way. Hefner is now one of the richest men in America, recently saying his empire has reached a value of about $300 million. Living in the era of perfection that was the 1950s, Hefner believed the time was ripe for sexuality to be brought to the forefront. Times have changed. A woman in an ad today is practically naked and wears a size two. This seeps into the lives of girls even before they reach their teens. Just think about the preparations teenage girls make before going out on a Friday night. They spend hours getting ready for a big event, whereas men may take as little as 15 minutes. Events like prom amplify expectations. Add up the effort teenage girls spend getting their hair done, their nails done, their toes done, their make up done and it will equal enough strength to pull an elephant. Teenage girls search website after website, store after store, spend as much as it takes to have that perfect dress for that one night. All a guy has to do is get a haircut and put on a tux. The following Monday at school, everyone is gossiping about what girl wore what dress and who looked the hottest, as if it were a red carpet review.
“PREGNANCY” continued from the front
After a while, one of the coaches blew a whistle for the girls to go inside. The girl in the baggy jacket reached out as her friends helped her up. She stood and it was then clear why she hadn’t been playful. The 16-year-old junior was pregnant. The girl took a deep breath before heading into the locker room. She couldn’t be a playful kid anymore because the consequences of running were greater than a scraped knee. She was responsible for another life. The girl is not alone at Englewood. There are about 15 pregnant girls at Englewood and untold numbers who have children at home. “Just this week I found out that three of my girls here were pregnant,” said Mrs. Sharon McMullen, a guidance counselor, said in February. “I swear there must have been an insemination party over the break.” Studies show life can be hard for teenage mothers. One study showed as many as 8 in 10 teen mothers end up having to file to get money from the government to survive. “That’s not good,” said Nicholas Stevens, 15, a freshman. “Your life just kind of started. You shouldn’t have to be dependent on welfare when you get out of high
No one will mention the penguin suit the prom king wore. Celebrities take this to more ridiculously excruciating measures by having every photo chopped and airbrushed, piling on layers of makeup and forcing themselves to go through killer workouts and diets. Then they spend hundreds of thousands on stylists to pick out their clothes and keep them manicured and looking chic. Then the average teenage girl is expected to measure up to those standards. On the surface, being absorbed with the way we look may not seem like much, but the fashion Nazis are turning teenage girls into slutty, unholy storm troopers. How far we have strayed from the Puritan days. The media crosses the line when every other page in a teenage magazine is dedicated to “how to lose weight,” fashion trends, ads for anti-acne medication and cheap beauty enhancing products such as bleaching cream. It worsens when you pass billboards that have plastic surgeons plastered on them like they’re gods, scalpel in hand, ready to turn the water that is our body into wine. It’s advertisements like these that play on the insecurities of the 62 percent of teen girls who admit to not liking what they see when they look in the mirror. This media is holding the girls in my generation hostage, forcing them into bathrooms to barf up their food so they can weigh as much as the bimbo on the cover of the next magazine. And why does a girl do it? So her crush can give her a quick, disinterested glance. Then the next day her deflated ego forces the girl to wear something skimpier. The irony of it all? Guys hate girls with insecurities and who are high maintenance. So women basically spend all their time focusing on their self image to draw in the opposite sex when it only repels them. But still, the slutty storm troopers march on, setting trends such as jeggings and jeans ripped with holes. For these crimes, moron media, you are charged and convicted of the following: Count One: Putting countless pencil-thin floozies on your front pages and baffling girls into believing they must puke up their dinner so they can maintain a weight of 110. GUILTY. Count Two: Causing more than one-third of teenage girls to admit cutting themselves in order to drown out the emotional pain they feel for not being “pretty.” GUILTY. Count Three: Causing the number of plastic surgeries to skyrocket by 457 percent since 1997. GUILTY. Count Four: Generally creating scandals and turmoil in peoples’ lives and generating insecurities in women. GUILTY. And if that’s not enough evidence for you, pop-culture jury, maybe you deserve to be duped into selling your face and body to some beauty product. Keep letting the media pimp slap you around like you owe it some money.
school.” Stevens said becoming a teen parent seems to turn the carefree life of a teenager into a life dedicated to responsibility. This is the reality for 750,000 teen mothers who get pregnant in the U.S. every year, according to livestrong.org. These are the girls staying up through the night rocking their newborns, then getting ready to catch the bus to school. They work jobs and have to set dreams aside so they can provide for their child. For some, balancing schoolwork and a baby becomes too much, so they drop out or settle for a certificate of completion. Only 4 in 10 teen mothers graduate high school, according to studies conducted by March of Dimes, which raises money for childhood diseases. College is no different. Research shows less than 2 percent of teen mothers have a college degree before the age of 30. “That’s really sad, but it’s true,” said former EHS student Falon Johnson. “A lot of my friends who I graduated with who had babies before graduation didn’t going college. (Some) are now on their second or third child.”
Social networking bullies on the rise By: Veronica Grimaldo and Kelly Pavon It’s like the Wild West, lawless and unsafe. The outlaws are children and teenagers and instead of bullets, they’re firing insults in every direction, spreading rumors, lies and threats that cannot be avoided. For anyone who logs on to a social network page, and even those who choose not to, there is no way out and no way to stop it. This is the world of cyber bullying today. “Cyber bullies are pathetic. They don’t have enough guts it say it to peoples’ faces,” said physics teacher Mr. David Neiberger. “It’s a way to hide behind a wall, but still look tough.” Everyone knows high school is a time of drama and pettiness and trying to find personal identities. Teens say this is why so many fight over money, boyfriends, girlfriends, or he said/she said rumors. It’s always been this way, but now with Facebook and other social sites, there is an endless forum where people can anonymously insult or gang up on kids with spiteful lies and gossip. Englewood kids started up a site, known as the rate page on Facebook, where some anonymous kids put photos of two girls side by side and ask friends “Who looks better?” to rate which girl is prettier. “Rate pages are embarrassing and it lowers peoples’ self esteem,” said senior Dequila Lang. “Just ignore it and whatever you do, don’t let it get to you.” The rate pages caught on, and more than 100 girls were added, then boys. The page soon evolved into students being segregated into different categories of people.
For example, about seven rate pages were created, including categories for “the most stuck up,” and “the biggest wannabes.” Pretty soon dozens of comments started being added to photos, judging the girls on their looks, while downgrading the loser. It became a competition. Best friends were being compared with each other. A couple were being compared to animals. Despite feelings being hurt, some people who made the page at least pretended to find it entertaining. “I felt popular,” said one senior boy who won on a picture rating. “I felt cute when I won and I didn’t care when I lost.” A sophomore girl who was rated and lost was not so fond of the page. “If I ever meet the person who created the page I wouldn’t even try and talk to them. I would just walk up and punch them,” she said.
Dad’s don’t stay around By: Roderica Johnson Practically everyone can name a teen mother they know, but honestly, do you know ONE teen father out there? Not a dad who may come visit his baby once a year. Instead, a REAL dad who takes care of his baby year round. The type of father who is there even when there’s no personal benefit, other than taking care of his child. These types of fathers barely exist among the 80 percent of teen mothers who are single parents, according to Planned Parenthood, an organization that helps young mothers plan their pregnancies. “They always leave and do the same thing with some other girl,” said Englewood junior Stephanie Ramos, a 16-year-old teen mother. The father of her baby beats out all odds because he is there for her and their baby. “He’s different. He’s not the type of guys who just leaves,” Ramos said. “He’s been there since the beginning. When I had her, he was in the room.” She said he got a job at McDonald’s on top of going to school to help cover the $75 or more needed every month for clothes. “He’s always provided for her,” Ramos said. “He’s always been there for us. He’s a really good guy.” Their baby, Ninoshka, was born last May and life for Ramos has been difficult since, balancing schoolwork and a child. She wakes up every morning around 6 a.m. and dresses her baby before she does herself. Afterward, she prepares everything her baby needs for daycare. She tries her best to be speedy but she usually finds herself late
to school. “It’s difficult getting to class on time some days,” she said, “I have a lot of tardies.” Ramos works hard in her classes, including intensive reading so she can pass the FCAT. At 1:45 p.m., when school ends, Ramos either gets a ride home or goes over to McDonald’s with her baby’s dad until someone can make it over to pick them up. When she arrives home, she showers, then gets straight to homework while trying to monitor her baby, who is learning to crawl at the same time. She follows this routine everyday robotically, determined to make something of herself despite having a child so young. “I want to be somebody.” Because of the help Ramos receives from the father of her baby, she is still able to go to school without having to work. “It would be difficult,” Ramos said. “I need his help. He gives me money for the baby and money for me even though he has a whole bunch of (other bills) to pay.”
Want legions of puss to ruin your day? By: Roderica Johnson They come in lumpy puss-filled legions that spread. They bring a burning, itching sensation during the most inconvenient moments. Others bring more than discomfort. They bring death. These are a few of the countless reasons for teenagers to fear having sex, let alone without protection. “Today you have to worry about AIDS and herpies,” said Mrs. Kinta Flemming, who grew up in the 1960s and said there were not as many STDs. “Back then all you had to worry about was not getting pregnant,” Flemming said. Adolescents have one of the fastest increasing rates of HIV infection. Nearly half of all the cases of HIV occur in teenagers, according to Family First Aid, an organization which deals with teen issues. Rates for teens with sexually transmitted diseases and infections are rapidly jumping as well in recent years. But for what? With all the contraceptives, and prevention methods available, things like this should not happen, experts say. According to Family First Aid, the reason for the recent climb in the number of teens infected with an STD is because teens aren’t being educated on the matter. Ab-
Editorial: Steriods tarnish baseball By: Blake Wright Would you Where were you when Mark like a needle McGwire and Sammy Sosa raced for the with that? home run record? Or when Barry Bonds The top-sallaunched 73 home runs to rewrite that aried players record? obviously But these moments are tainted did. Seven and it’s sad so many of baseball’s cherof the 36 top-paid players were either ished moments will have to be rememaccused or bered with an proven to asterisk, thanks “It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to have used to the Steroid read the ingredients on the back of a steroids. Era. The Do protein shake.” list includes these guys so-called deserve to be in legends like Alex Rodriguez, Manny the Baseball Hall of Fame? Ramirez, Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Giambi, There are many examples of the Sosa, and Roger Clemens. Steroid Era from McGwire to Sosa to We may never know the full Bonds to Jason Giambi. The list goes on implications of this era until these playto include dozens of others. ers ride off into the sunset and evade the What drove these guys to start bulking up? More than likely it was greed. discipline of Major League Baseball. But until there is proof players are clean, there Just look at the numbers. The year after Bonds hit 73 home will always be speculation that guys are sitting around the locker room shooting runs, he re-signed with the San Francisco up. Giants for a 5-year, $90-million contract, But maybe we should celebrate or about $18 million per year. Sosa signed the select few who were stayed pure. a 4-year, $42-million contract in 1997, These are the true faces of Major League which averages to $10.5 million a year. Baseball: Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr., In 1997, around the time when analysts say steroids hit its peak, the aver- Chipper Jones, and Curt Schilling. Their stats might not be as eyeage player salary was around $1.3 million popping, but these are the guys who are a year. In 2002, the average salary was worthy of still calling this great game $2.5 million a year. Bonds made close to America’s pastime rather than Steroid nine times that. Ball. The steroids were paying off. So while there have been many Yet, players pleaded that they didn’t know players that will forever be remembered the supplements they were putting into with an asterisk, remember the one’s who their body were illegal? Please. I may not be a millionaire athlete, but it doesn’t take didn’t and honor them. a brain surgeon to read the ingredients on the back of a “protein shake.”
stinence-only education is unrealistic for teens with 10.1 percent admitting they had sex before age 13 and two-thirds admitting to have had sex by senior year. Teens have been duped into believing if they remain “technically virgins,” by only engaging in other sexual activities than intercourse, they are safe from receiving any form of infection. This false rumor spreads to friends and those who buy into it spread STDs. Teachers quiver at the thought of talking to student about sex and the rumors continue because nobody is talking about it. The American Social Health Association reported that less than half of teens have actually had discussions about sexual health in school. “We keep saying they’re too young to talk about it, but by the time we do, it’s too late,” Flemming said.
Editorial: Watch what you say! By: Charlotte Wright It was about a year ago and I was having a great day. I aced all the tests I’d been worrying about and felt relieved. My day couldn’t get any better until I heard two girls say: “You know that girl over there is anorexic, right?” I looked over and saw two girls staring right at me. My stomach dropped when I realized they were talking about me. People don’t realize how hurtful they are when they talk about others’ weight. No matter what they are saying, it impacts the person. And though I didn’t have a disorder, my friends would soon push me over the edge into one. My friends would call me anorexic and bulimic and even an extreme dieter. They were joking, and I realize it now, but back then I took it much more seriously. I would plaster a smile on my face, pretending it didn’t bother me. I didn’t want to be known as the girl with an eating disorder. Not only because it was embarrassing but because it wasn’t true. But the joking and mocking pushed me over the edge into the world of weight vs. food. I started tormenting myself about going places without my friends or another group of people. I was insecure about everything – if I got up to go to the bathroom, would they be joking that I was in there, forcing myself to throw up? I made a big deal over eating all of my lunch and bringing a lot to show them that I wasn’t starving myself. It didn’t start to affect me when the jokes first started. At first I just got mad. Then the taunts started making me depressed. I became tired and sluggish, not really wanting to do anything. My
head was always hurting and I wasn’t able to concentrate. I blame my mood and lack of caring on my diet. I was eating junk – candy, ice cream and cookies. I wouldn’t exercise because I feared it would make me slim down more. I was scared that if I did lose weight, my friends would notice and that would prove their point more. I only kept in touch with a few of my closest friends while I tried to fatten myself up. I was hiding and hated myself for it. I knew I had a problem and needed to fix it. I wanted people to stop knowing me as the eating-disorder girl because that wasn’t who I was. Ironically, I became one since all I thought about was gaining weight. I broke down piece by piece. My best friend pleaded with me one day, telling me what I was doing to myself was wrong and I needed to stop. I went home and did nothing but stare at a picture of the two of us as little girls. I realized how bad I was hurting everyone around me. I needed to stop. I started being myself again. I started talking to people again, my sense of humor returned, I would goof off and act like a fool, caring less about what other people thought. I was free. All of that is behind me, and in a way I’m grateful that it happened because it helped me brush off comments from others, ignore their teasing and be confident in myself. Even now, if my friends jokingly let it slip, it still hurts that they would view me that way, but I don’t let it get to me. Everyone goes through something like that and I know, now, what it feels like.
Class of 2012 seniors
What should you be voted for in the yearbook superlatives ? 1.
Principal Wright has put together an assembly for upper classmen students on what they should be doing to prepare for college, however students get quickly out of hand, what are you doing? a.
Throwing a ball around with friends preparing for the next game
Quietly sitting in your own row finishing some class work and studying, patiently waiting for the principal to start and finish
Sitting in your seat chatting with friends about this weekend’s party and the one from last weekend
Roaming from group to group and person to person, cracking jokes, telling stories and looking for entertainment
Pep rally! Hoping this will be the best one yet, you eagerly agree to help set up the last one of the year. What is your role? a.
Making sure everyone is hyped enough to attend the game that night.
Planning the whole schedule and event beginning to end
Coming up with ideas with group members on what to do
Elaborating hard on freshman pranks!
Due to a glitch in the system, you are scheduled for too many core classes this year and the office wants you to choose an elective to replace those classes, what elective do you choose? a.
By: Bryanna Cooper So far we’ve accomplished greatness – we’re the most talented, most athletic, and most academically intelligent class. By far. So listen up! In a few months we’ll be able to officially call ourselves seniors. So next year, let’s make the best of our time academically and socially. As the saying goes, we can’t go forward and be successful without making sure our present is equally successful. It’s time to organize our priorities, take care of responsibilities and make the most of the short time we have left in these halls. Let’s be responsible young adults because “barely getting by” in our classes just isn’t cutting it anymore. This is our LAST SEMESTER to get our GPA’s where they need to be. If you’re serious about college, which you should be, how about aiming and getting HIGHER than the minimum 2.7 GPA? If you’re not even considering college, let’s focus on GETTING TO the 12th grade and GRADUATING. Make sure you have everything you need done to ensure a smooth, welcoming transition into the 12thgrade. First up, pass the science FCAT. I’m pretty sure most of you don’t want to be labeled “Super Junior” next year
because that would be undeniably embarrassing. You’re more like the genetically mutant offspring of a senior. I’m absolutely positive that next year, OUR SENIOR YEAR, is going to be our year! My hope is that we have the highest percentage of graduates and the most students getting accepted into college of any other graduating class in the last decade. While I’m near the subject, let’s chat about this schools HORRBLY low school spirit. It is NOT the football team’s fault! It’s OUR FAULT. How do you expect our team to win a game when all we do is boo them at the pep rallies and NEVER attend the games? What do you think they are feeling when they look at the opponent’s side of the stands (filled to the brim) while our side is only half full. It’s not right. As juniors, it’s up to us to change that! Stop blaming it on other classes or the coaches or the players. Let’s take charge and participate. No one ever said your opinions or what you want done doesn’t count or won’t be done. But there’s no one pushing it. However, I know the C/O 2012 CAN! Let’s not strive to be the senior complainers. Let’s voice what we need, want and deserve!
Some of you may be a little clueless so I’ve prepared a checklist below to get to 12 grade and then college (or other post high school alternatives):
What after school activity are you apart of? a.
Depends on what season it is, whether its track, football, or basketball
National Honors Society or Brain Brawl
Interact! Let’s help and have fun!
Anything or everything I can join!
Before you start applying for scholarships and college, you need community service. How do you earn it? a.
Work the concession stands during seasons at games you don’t play
Helping some of the teachers after school
Volunteering with the interact club
Volunteer to help plan the next school event
o Check your credits. Visit your guidance counselor to make sure you’re on the right track to getting ALL your credits so next year there will be no confusion. o Track your grades. Stay on them like white on rice with daily visits on dcps. mygradeportal.com. Don’t know your login? Instead of telling your teacher you’re going to the bathroom but ending up just walking around school, how about dropping by guidance to get your grade portal login? o Study for and take your ACT and SAT. The last dates to take the ACT are April 9 and June 11. The SAT’s last test dates are in early June. And don’t get cocky and think you can walk into the testing sites and ace the test because without studying, you won’t. For more info on testing information visit wwww.collegeboard.com and www. actstudent.org. o Start Scholarship searching. Anyone can get a scholarship. Seriously, ANYONE. You don’t have to be a great athlete or valedictorian of your class to get a scholarship. You don’t even need to write essays for most of them. Here are a couple of sites to visit, fastweb.com, scholarshipexperts.org, scholarships. com or you can also visit the dean’s office. No computer? USE YOUR RESOURCES! There are plenty of adults around to refer you or recommend you for scholarships!
Funniest YouTube videos
What did you get? Here are the answers: Mostly A’s Most Athletic: You should be voted most athletic! You’ve most likely been involved in about every sport known to man, or at least you wouldn’t mind to become involved in them and playing sports is one of your favorite things to do. Mostly B’s Most Likely To Succeed: Results show that you should be nominated for most likely to succeed and win! You’re always on top of your game especially when it comes to academics and know what you want out of life. Mostly C’s Friendliest: What you should be nominated for in this yearbook? Most friendliest! You attract others towards you with your outstanding personality and unselfish ways. You’re a shoo-in for this category. Mostly D’s Class Clown: Undoubtedly you should be nominated for the Class Clown status due to your comical and friendly nature. Others love to hang around you because you know how to give a good laugh and keep others entertained!
By: Staff Laugh after laugh, these YouTube videos ranked up millions of views around the world. For different reasons people cannot get enough of what they see. Some people may say some of the videos are stupid but others find them to be a nonstop tickle for their sense of humor. Charlie bit my finger- Two little boys with the most irresistible British accents ever were caught on tape being typical children. The different phrases including, “ow Charlie bit my finger,” are all repeated by the young boy as his younger brother chomps down on his finger. The funny joke just for the camera starts out innocent until Charlie bites harder and the whining begins. In the end Charlie is laughing but it isn’t too funny for his older brother. Apparently, “Charlie bit me and that
really hurt,” is a catch phrase that many of people could relate to from when they were that age themselves. Sneezing baby panda- Mothers are always protective when it comes to their children, even when it comes to animals. In this extremely short video a baby panda, smaller than its mother’s head, appears to be sleeping while the mother is chomping away at bamboo when the baby lets out the highest pitched sneeze, the mother then spazzes out at what’s happening. Her whole body jolted and wiggled and because of a sneeze. The quick movement and shaking of the mother panda leaves the YouTube surfers with endless giggles and laughter. Numa Numa- This video is about an over weight man dancing his heart and soul out to “Dragostea din tei” performed by O-Zone. The man in the video, Gary Brolsma, lip syncs to the music with his head phones in and throws his hands in the air energetically and swings his head back and forth to the music.
The everyday life of a/an (adjective)_______ teenager is quite the journey. Waking up early in the morning getting (adjective) ______for (noun)_______. Listening to (adjective)_______ teachers all day and cramming (noun)_____into your brain. Oh yeah, the constant Fcat (verb)______. The (liquid)_____lunch food they serve in the (adjective)_______cafeterian doesn’t make it any better. After school activities like (noun)_____and (noun)______ keep you (adjective)_______. Then you can’t wait to get (noun-place)________ to get a good (verb)______ in and (verb)______ done before you go out to hang with (noun-person)______. Eventually your (noun)_____ is over and your back at (noun)_____to get a good (noun)_____rest.