Issue One 2020-2021

Page 1

THE GALLEON Spanish River’s Award Winning, Student-Run Newspaper


October 2020 - Issue I

Teachers Implement New Technology for Virtual Learning Ana Perez News Editor

Technology is constantly present at school, whether it is teachers projecting a PowerPoint or students using Chromebooks to complete vocab cards, all forms of technology are integrated into modern education. However, during this pandemic, it has become especially abundant throughout every classroom. Teachers have had to adapt to these unforeseen circumstances and incorporate many new technologies into their classrooms. For instance, several teachers have begun using Flip Grid, Nearpod, Jam Board, and, of course, Google Meet. Flipgrid is an app and an online website where students can record short videos and submit them to the teacher. It has commonly been used for

introductions in classes since students are unable to physically meet in person. Another use of this app is for PE teachers to have students submit videos of their physical activity.

“I love it,” said yearbook advisor and English teacher, Sean Delaney. “I am a big believer that students should be encouraged to express their opinions on topics verbally, and Flipgrid is a wonderful platform for my students to participate in our daily discussions. I see Flipgrid being an extremely helpful tool and I’m just touching the surface.” Additionally, this app is the equivalent of a school-friendly Tik Tok, which does make it more appealing to

s t u d e nt s , as Tik Tok is currently one of the most used social media platforms by teens. Another new technology that teachers are utilizing is Jamboard, a website that enables teachers to mimic their typical whiteboard in class. What makes it most convenient for teachers is that it is part of the Google suite. “There are many interactive programs like Jamboard where you can put ideas up for everyone to see or even ask questions,” said freshman Kayla Hager. “It definitely isn’t easy but the new technology has definitely helped.” Jamboard allows for a more traditional classroom where students can ask questions and contribute to the lesson, rather than the teacher solely

lecturing. Furthermore, Nearpod is a website where a teacher can share a presentation that allows students to view, interact with, and answer questions on the lesson. For example, a teacher can post a multiple choice question within a presentation and then immediately view the students’ answers. “Nearpod is a g o o d form to involve the students i n y o u r lesson,” said che m i st r y teacher, Meg Leeds. “I like it because it gives you a good way to assess the students, then target those students who need help in a particular topic. It is one way to feel like you are reaching the students even though you are not with them in person. Nothing is better than in-person teaching.” While some teachers love this platform but prefer inclassroom learning, some students feel that even technologies like Nearpod are just not the same. “I don’t think that it’s a sufficient replacement for in-person learning; although, it’s good that we could actually interact with the materials during class by using the system,)” said sophomore Yennie

Park. Both students and teachers are at a consensus; while this technology is very helpful, nothing can compare to in-person learning. Google Meet is the one technology that has become universal at Spanish River. It is how students meet their teachers and have virtual classes each day. Google Meet is essentially a conference call made for teacher/ student interaction. Using Google Meet can get a bit unruly sometimes for both students and teachers. For example, when teachers ask if anyone has any questions and no one answers, they assume there are no questions, but a problem that has occurred on numerous occasions is that the unmuting of students’ microphones is too slow for students to respond. On the other hand, Google Meet enables teachers to see all of their students’ faces every day, so teachers can identify if students are learning or if they are struggling. Overall, there have been many bumps in the road, but through trial

and error, teachers and students are slowly finding out what technologies work best for them.


Spanish River Revamps Campus for 20-21 School Year The new window decor on the 8000 building is shown on the left. The new Spanish River crest is show on the windows and the courtyard wall (right).

On the left shows the current hallways marked with arrows to ensure students are traveling in one direction to classes in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The photo on the right displays the improved entrance to the main office.








River Welcomes New Teacher: Mr. Abbondondolo


First off, what classes do you teach at Spanish River and what classes have you taught in the past? I teach three sections of US History - two of those being Honors sections and the other AICE International History. In the past, I have taught Government, AP Government, AP Comparative Government, Holocaust Studies (probably my favorite class I have taught), US History, Personal Finance, Sociology, and Sports Marketing. What did you do before being a teacher and what made you want to become a teacher? I worked for the first 10 years of my professional life for Enterprise Rent-aCar. I did everything from airport operations to branch management and working at the corporate level for their Risk Management division. I even sold cars for them for a while as well. I coached high school football when I was in college and I realized then that I wanted to work with young people, but college was almost over and I didn’t want to start over. However, that passion to help young people be successful really paid off for me at Enterprise, where I was a mentor to some of our younger interns and employees, and I helped many of them receive promotions. So teaching and lifting others up has always been a passion of mine. What are some interesting facts about you, where did you go to school? I am originally from Maryland and we moved to Florida eight years ago. I am married to my lovely wife Lauren, whom I have known since I was about 10 years old, and we have a five-year-old son named Spencer. The town we grew up in, Reisterstown, MD, is a very small town. I went to college at a couple of different University of Maryland campuses, but my degree is from the University of Maryland in Baltimore County (or UMBC). Why teach at Spanish River? It represented a new challenge and a new opportunity. The community I grew up in is very similar to the Spanish River community and I was excited to have the opportunity to teach in an environment that I am familiar with. From what I can tell, over my first couple weeks here, it was an excellent choice to become a Shark!

What is it like to start teaching during a pandemic? The toughest is being at a new school and not getting to really get to know my students as well as I’d like to. I love getting to know my students and seeing them be successful - and in this virtual environment, it’s just not the same.

Do you have any advice for students taking your class, or advice in general? While getting your work done and getting through all of our standards is the basic goal, my goal is to get to know my kids as well as I can. My door is always open (theoretically because it’s locked to keep everyone safe) and I like to have fun, so as long as you get your work done, taking a class with me is definitely an experience.

Where does your name come from? Abbondandolo is Italian. My mother’s maiden name is Healy. When I first coached high school football, over 17 years ago, I combined my last name and my mother’s maiden name and came up with Abbey as a nickname for kids to call me - Abbey is much easier than Abbondandolo. That is why I go by Coach Abbey. Lastly, is there anything you would like me to know that I didn’t ask? I am serving as Spanish River’s Key Club Co-Sponsor along with ESE teacher Jayne London. Key Club is a club that focuses on making the world a better place through community service. I am the Class of 2024’s Co-Sponsor along with history teacher Caitlin Crawford. PHOTO COURTESY OF MR. ABBONDANDOLO




Should Vaccinations Be Mandatory?

Yes, For The Sake of Public Health

No, For The Sake of Personal Liberty

Nashki Joseph

Sofia Cosie

Associate Editor

Guest Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world to its very core. Entire economies have been crippled and billions of people have been forced to change their way of life to adapt to their new reality. As America approaches 8 million confirmed cases and surpasses 200 thousand deaths, many are looking to potential vaccines as a ray of light in an exceedingly grim situation. However, the prospect of a COVID vaccine begs an age-old question: should it be mandatory? The truth, without a single shadow of a doubt, is this: if we, as a society, want to protect human life as much as possible, then not only should a vaccine be free and accessible, it should also be mandatory. Anything else is a half-measure. And half-measures, in this day and age, kill people. For as long as vaccines have existed, so have people who oppose them. After the invention of the smallpox vaccine by British doctor Edward Jenner in 1796, early opponents thought that it wasn’t sanitary. Despite this, due to an international campaign conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), smallpox was officially declared eradicated from the face of the Earth in 1980. One of the more popular reasons for refusing to be vaccinated, or even refusing to vaccinate a child, is the belief that natural immunity is a safer measure against infectious disease. But this isn’t true at all. Take measles, for example. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 280 million 2 out of 1000 infected individuals Americans can in highly developed countries will die from the disease. The CDC also be immunized reports that 1 out of every 1 million through people injected with the MMR vaccine will have a severe reaction to it. This is a vaccination classic case of reward outweighing the risk. The same goes for virtually every other disease that has a vaccine. Some people complain that they were vaccinated but still contracted the disease that they were vaccinated for. The truth is, no vaccine is 100% effective. But WHO reports that “most routine childhood vaccines are effective for 85% to 95% of recipients.” The measles vaccine, in particular, is roughly 98% effective. It escapes rational thought to believe that one would have better chances of fending off disease through natural immunity. If 1000 people are vaccinated, then at the most (and even then, this number is a bit on the high side), 150 can be expected to contract the disease. If none of them are vaccinated, all of them are susceptible. Additionally, if the entire population of 330 million Americans was vaccinated against COVID-19, then the WHO data implies that at the least, 280 million Americans will be effectively immunized against the virus. Perhaps the most, although barely, credible argument against vaccination is the notion that since vaccines contain substances such as aluminum and mercury, they are unsafe. Of course, the risk here is greatly exaggerated. Mercury in vaccines appears due to thimerosal, a preservative that inhibits bacterial and fungal growth. Once injected, it will metabolize into ethyl mercury, a form that is less toxic and is eliminated more quickly. Today, thimerosal doesn’t even exist in most vaccines. The flu vaccine, however, contains, at most, 25 micrograms of mercury. One will consume more mercury by eating a single can of tuna. The bottom line is this: vaccines save lives. Time after time, study after study, vaccines have proved themselves to be potent protectors of human health and life. Overzealous anti-vaxxers may argue that mandatory vaccination would infringe on individual liberty and autonomy, but this argument can’t even stand up to history. The practice of sacrificing personal freedoms for societal good isn’t a new one. During both world wars, Americans were eager to adhere to strict regulations out of a sense of patriotism. I pose this question to anyone who argues the aforementioned point: is anything more American, more inherently patriotic, than protecting America’s people? There isn’t. Vaccines save lives, and in this case, mandatory vaccination policies could save millions of Americans from sickness and death. The choice is clear -- and it always has been.

The road to hell was paved with good intentions. This can apply to virtually anything meant for the greater good of humanity, but executed in a way that was ultimately more damaging than the issue it was meant to solve. Current examples include gaiter face masks, universities opening their dorms and continuing inperson classes, providing massive discounts on airfare and more. Yet, the issues with mandatory vaccinations are not as easily foreseen. It is hard to argue against legally forcing everyone to care about the health of others without coming off as selfish and uneducated. One could argue all day about religious conflicts, but those are often the exception, not the rule. They could also attempt to link vaccines to autism, but in doing so would make an argument based on the findings of a doctor that was stripped of their medical credibility for making that unfactual statement in the first place. Or, they could just do their research. Often, anti-vaxxers base their resistance to vaccines on pure emotion. They don’t understand the science behind vaccines, and simply feel unsafe putting “disease” into their child. Even taking a basic biology class will tell you that it’s a couple of dead cells, without the ability to create illness. They use this emotional appeal to garner support and spread misinformation. In doing so, the real culprit of vaccines is confused for a fantastical one. Thimerosal: a poison, neurotoxin and carcinogenic, can interrupt the immune system and the normal development of an unborn baby or a child. Thimerosal, which contains mercury, is so toxic that putting it on your skin is illegal. However, the government not only allows but also defends its injection into the population, especially pregnant women and newborn children. Big pharma testifies that this mercury level is safe, but remember that no level of a neurotoxin is safe. The Eli Lilly Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Thimerosal acknowledges that exposure to thimerosal in utero and in children can cause “mild to severe mental retardation and mild to severe gross motor impairment.” Abortion and fetal death are also listed as possible outcomes of in utero exposure to thimerosal mercury. There also have been 165 peer-reviewed studies done to link thimerosal to neurological disorders as well. Nonetheless, most seasonal and H1N1 flu shots for pregnant women and young children contain 25 micrograms of mercury in the form of thimerosal. For this exposure to be safe, a child would need to weigh more than 550 pounds. According to the CDC, 70.4% of children aged 19-35 months receive the combined 7 vaccine series. While nearly all public and private schools and daycare centers have mandated vaccination requirements, parents still have the ultimate ability to weigh the pros and cons of vaccinating their children. Continuing this legacy of autonomy for parents is of the utmost importance. Not every parent against vaccines believes that they are injecting their children with Mercury in poison. Some do not feel comfortable vaccines may with overwhelming their child’s harm unborn immune system at such a young age. Establishing mandatory vaccinations babies and eliminates a parent’s ability to have any young oversight and control over their children’s health, affording the government more power children than individual citizens in the process. Instead of making vaccinations mandatory, punishable by legal repercussions, governments can strengthen education campaigns on the benefits of vaccinations while researching a substitute for thimerosal mercury in the process. In doing so, it would avoid unnecessary anguish for parents that either cannot afford the healthcare to vaccinate their child, or simply cannot bring themself morally to do so. No parent should have to live in a dystopia with their individual autonomy stolen by an overzealous medical requirement.



THE GALLEON Septembe 2020

#FreeBritney Brayant Polonco Editor-in-Chief

Oops!...She did it again. Our favorite gym-burning pop star, Britney Spears, has returned to the spotlight after a series of events in social media alluded to her conservatorship under her father, Jamie Spears. For those who do not know what I am talking about, Britney Spears was placed on a conservatorship amidst her publicly televised mental health crisis during 2008. Being under a conservatorship means that an appointed guardian can manage all of the individual’s financial and daily activities. In more concrete terms, this means that Britney Spears is not allowed to drive a car, vote, spend her own money, leave her home, speak about the conservatorship publicly, hire her own lawyer, or even use social media without her father’s permission. Spears, in fact, has alluded to this conservatorship in many interviews all who later cut it out of the edited, televised versions - and songs, often portraying herself locked and chained in a cage. This created national headlines as fans of Britney Spears then initiated the #FreeBritney movement.


I was drawn to write about #FreeBritney among the thousands of issues affecting our world because #FreeBritney means more than just saving a celebrity who seems to be already doing decently well. #FreeBritney is a perfect example that highlights some of the inconsistencies hidden within our justice system. If Britney Spears, a globallyadored public figure who was once a judge of X-Factor and had dozens of national t o u r s , is under a corrupt conservatorship under the claims she has early onset dementia, then it begs the question of how many more corrupt conservatorships are out there of ordinary individuals who cannot speak up for themselves? Spears, along with thousands of disabled individuals who are the main target of these conservatorships, are

essentially being stripped of their civil rights as they are not offered any support or choice in the court’s decision regarding their conservatorships. As much as I love Britney Spears and her many iconic performances, it is essential to see the bigger issue a t - hand, which is that of a systematic disability rights issue. While I am in no way saying that conservatorships a r e wrong as a whole, it is scary to think that somebody’s rights can be taken away from them so readily and easily. With the matter of truth being that a conservatorship often involves emotional, financial, and physical abuse, it is harder for someone under a conservatorship to actually get out of one after being placed under it. For instance, after being placed under a conservatorship, Spears’ father placed her in several mental health institutions. What

further angered fans, however, is the claim that Jamie Spears did not do this for Britney Spears’ mental wellbeing, but rather as personal attacks against her when she spoke out about the unfair conservatorship. Spears, according to her beloved fans, has been forcibly drugged and placed in mental health institutions by her father, all which could have further diminished her mental health. Britney Spears gained some sense of control back when her father temporarily relinquished his role on the conservatorship to Jodi Montgomery, a licensed fiduciary. After her father relinquished his role, Spears quickly went to court in order for Montgomery to permanently replace her father. The #FreeBritney movement is gaining more traction every day. But as this movement rises, it is also important to consider that this situation may not relate to Britney Spears alone. Spears, rather, is serving as one of the televised examples of the inconsistencies of our justice system.


Tik Tok is Underrated Julia Horn

Editor-in-Chief TikTok is life-changing. Yes, you read that right -- life-changing. Well, not for me specifically, but for those who have rapidly gained a following within the past year. This platform has changed the lives of thousands of creators and helped them develop a career as an influencer. If a few years ago, someone had asked me who Charli D’amelio was, I would be at a loss. The name would not have even sounded familiar. The same goes for other new influencers like Addison Rae, Noah Beck, Chase Hudson (Lil Huddy), Daisy Keech, and many, many more. If I was asked the same question today, I could probably list off facts about each of them and tell you how many TikTok followers they have. This idea of being “TikTok famous” has transformed the way our current generation builds fame. TikTok serves as a platform for absolutely anyone to share a video about absolutely anything. Most of the extremely popular TikTok celebrities create comedy or dance videos, but there are endless possibilities for content. I have seen artists show their best pieces, doctors spread knowledge about all things medical, parents share their parenting techniques, singers perform, and even athletes show clips

of themselves playing their sport. What makes TikTok unique is that people share whatever they want in just a short video without the stigma to demonstrate a “perfect” life as there has been on other social media platforms. That is part of what made these previously average teens that are now the face of every brand and magazine, “go viral.” It was their authenticity that people were captivated by. For instance, C h a r l i D ’a m e l i o gained her fame by dancing to whatever songs were trending and showing her authentic self. Previously, other apps have been the craze, including Instagram and Vine. However Instagram has evolved to be more of a place where members of the younger generations post not just any photo, but their BEST photo. Vine, which contributed to a generation of YouTube stars, was discontinued by the parent company, Twitter. TikTok suddenly became the craze a little over a year ago

in mid-2019. During this time, TikTok was mainly used by teens, but it was not until COVID-19 hit the United States that its popularity exploded. There was no app like it. Instagram did not have the same features and Vine was no longer in use. While coronavirus spread across the globe, TikTok spread across our phones. Suddenly, my parents had TikTok and even the kids I babysat knew more trending dances than me. During a time of uncertainty for everyone, this app was certainly needed as a creative outlet. The months of quarantine have been a momentous time for popular creators. In the past six months, Charli and Dixie D’amelio have created a nail polish collection with Orosa beauty, become ambassadors for countless brands, including Invisalign, made millions from sponsored posts on TikTok, become the new faces of Holister, and more. Dixie D’amelio has released her first single, “Be Happy,” and starred in a TV series called

Attaway General, while Charli has been a part of a television special called The Disney Family Singalong, had a Dunkin’ Donuts drink named after her, and was the youngest person to make the Fortune 40 under 40 list. These sisters are not the only TikTok celebrities venturing outside of TikTok success. Creators like Addison Rae have used their fame to their advantage as well. Recently, she launched her own beauty company called Item Beauty, became the face of American Eagle, and earned a role as the female star of upcoming film, He’s All That, a remake of the hit 90’s movie, She’s All That. In less than a year these social media stars have become worldwide sensations. Their success is so great, I expect that their influence will continue for years to come. With rumors circulating about TikTok being banned in the United States, there is great uncertainty concerning the future for TikTok creators. Whether or not it is banned from our country, I am hoping that these new influencers as well as smaller accounts on TikTok will find a way to continue sharing their content with the world.



THE GALLEON October 2020

Tribute to the Notorious RBG Brianna Levine Editor-in-Chief

Ruth Bader Ginsburg - otherwise known as the Notorious RBG, was, and will continue to be, an icon everyone can look up to. Diligently working in law and politics throughout most of her life, Ginsburg obtained a seat as a Justice on the Supreme Court. Ginsburg’s parents influenced her to be an independent woman, something very uncommon during those times. Ginsburg was among the few women to attend Cornell University, Harvard Law School, and Columbia Law School during her time, often succeeding and excelling over her male classmates. This hard work landed her in the Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review, journals that focus on law-related issues -- which serves as an impressive achievement of her academic success. After she completed school, Ginsburg encountered difficulty finding employment due to a widespread disinterest in hiring women, especially in law firms. She later found work as one of the first female law professors at Rutgers and Columbia Law Schools. RBG devoted her career to the fight against gender discrimination, specifically, women’s civil rights and equality. Even after numerous men doubted her, Ginsburg showed what she was capable of when she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993. “Quite simply, what’s in her [Ginsburg’s] record speaks volumes about what is in her heart,” Clinton said during his nomination of Ginsburg. “Throughout her life, she has repeatedly stood for the individual, the person less well-off, the outsider in society, and has given those people greater hope by telling them that they have a place in our legal system, by giving them a

sense that the constitution and the laws protect all the American people, not simply the powerful”. After serving as the first Jewish woman on the Supreme Court for more than 27 years, Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87 on September 18, 2020, from pancreatic cancer complications. Upon hearing this news, my heart dropped. It wasn’t until researching her achievements for this editorial that I broke out in tears. She was an honest trailblazer, a symbol for women’s rights, and an overall amazing woman. Her accomplishments and efforts have

the admittance of women into the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), claiming it was unconstitutional to refuse the admission of women into the renowned military academy - and the military in general. Ginsburg also fought against pregnancy discrimination and unequal pay for women in the workplace, unfair insurance rates for women when compared to men, inadequate access to education, the denying of a woman’s right to abortion, and limited rights for the LGBTQ community. All of these examples are only a few of her


How was she deemed the Notorious RBG? This nickname, inspired by American rapper The Notorious B.I.G’s stage name, embodies her relation to pop culture and her impact on my generation. Other than gender equality, Ginsburg was very devoted to her family (some of whom referred to her as Kiki). She was married to her husband Martin D. Ginsburg for almost 60 years and they had two children, Jane C. Ginsburg and James S. Ginsburg, before her husband passed away in 2010 (having Jane while still attending college gave her insight on discrimination towards pregnant women). RBG credits her spouse with being one of the greatest influences in her life and career. After the election of George W. Bush entered office in 2000, Ginsburg briefly wrote a statement at the end of acknowledgment of the 2000 elections, “I dissent”, rather than saying I respectfully dissent. Ginsburg also brought comical remarks about selfies into her speeches, introduced the decorative collar to her judge robe to add a feminine touch, and shared her intense workout routine, which added to her relatability. I would like to say thank you, Ruth Ginsburg, for you have undeniably lived up to the Notorious RBG name, for you have changed the way women walk among men, for you have become a role model for people of all backgrounds and identities. May she rest in peace and if her legacy is disregarded, I dissent.

“I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability” - Ruth Bader Ginsburg paved the way for women throughout America and have directly impacted me and my generation. Ginsburg was acting as the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she was able to fight for gender equality in the continuously

many contributions to civil rights in America. Growing up in the twenty-first century, I was not very aware of gender discrimination. I can contribute this mainly to Ginsburg. I believe I can get accepted into my prospective college; I believe I can obtain a respectable

“A gender line...helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage” - Ginsburg running union. Not only did she fight for women, but she also fought for men under the notion of gender equality for all-claiming the law was genderblind. Ginsburg was known as one who did not get angry during a case but, instead, remained composed - what she deemed an admirable tactic. One example of this was her opposition to a portion of the Social Security Act, which granted financial benefits to women who lost their husbands but not to men who lost their wives. One of the most notable Supreme Court decisions that Ginsburg fought for was

job; I believe that I am not looked down upon, and I believe that I am not alone. It is reassuring that one day I may be able to live in a country free of discrimination against pregnant women, women in the military, people of any sexuality, and people of all colors and cultures. I have girl friends who are participating in military training, I have acquaintances who are minorities in top-notch Ivy League universities, and I have a Jewish family that has empowered themselves without being held back.



THE GALLEON October 2020

Arts and Entertainment

A Spooky Play in Time for the Holiday

In these times of uncertainty, the Theatre department lives up to the phrase “the show must go on”. They have resorted to developing a play virtually, where students each film their individual parts, do their own makeup and costumes, and utilize a green screen. President of Thespian Troupe 3963 senior Leah Davidowitz, and Vice President of Trope 3963 senior Morgan Rotman, put together the unique script for Ghouls Night Out, which resembles a musical revue with songs Check out Tales From the Green Room, from other theatrical works. Synopsis: The premise of Ghouls Night Out is a modern-day setting where we have seven teenage girls preparing for a fun Halloween evening. But what would Halloween be without a little bit of mischief? Their night is interrupted by an otherworldly evil queen and her band of creatures and misfits who wish to turn the girls over to their side. In this dark comedy, the audience gets to watch as we see who is loyal to the Queen, who is not, and the consequences they will face.

Will be made available at 3:00 PM on November 1, 2020, on YouTube. Scan the code below.

a podcast made by students of Spanish River’s own Thespian Troupe 3963. The podcast began as a way to connect students during these times of uncertainty. You can listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Hear from a special guest every week, whether it be a current troupe member or alumni, and learn about their memories, stories, and current happenings within the Theatre department.


To Watch or Not To Watch: Elle Borstelmann

Arts and Entertainment Editor One of the most highly anticipated movies of the year was Mulan, the most recent Disney live action remake. Mulan struck controversy as soon as the film was released on September 4, because the movie was only made available to Disney Plus subscribers for a steep price of thirty dollars. The film retells the story of the beloved 1993 original animation about the tale of Hua Mulan, a girl who is meant to bring honor to her family by learning her place as a woman in Imperial China but takes a drastic turn by enrolling in the army and saving China. To give credit to the original legend, Mulan’s surname was changed back from Fa to Hua in the new film. Disney’s focus was to remain true to the legend and, therefore, many changes from the original film were made to remove westernization from the story as well as romance. The dragon Mushu, who brought comedic relief and laughter to viewers of the original film, is now a phoenix that does not speak a word and vaguely shows up to guide Mulan once in a while. Mulan’s love interest Li Shang did not make an appearance at all because their relationship was considered

inappropriate. The concentration on the new villain, the witch Xian Lang, took away from the original villain of the story, giving a sense of being unnecessary because there was no balance between the antagonists. The lack of character favorites turned the vibrant, lively animation into a new unusual darker tone that feels uncomfortable for a Disney princess movie. The removal of two beloved characters and addition of a new villain was a major disappointment to fans who treasured the original Mulan characters. The film also focuses on three big themes: devotion to family, empowerment to females, and non conform to societal exp ec t ations. Disney movies are for our entertainment but each have lessons to be learned from watching them, and Mulan did an excellent job portraying these lessons. Watching Mulan take a risk for her father by going to war for him teaches us about her strong devotion to her family. In Chinese culture, family

comes first and is one of the biggest themes throughout the movie. Female empowerment and not complying with society’s standards are meant to showcase the individuality of Mulan. The live action displays the bravery and courage of Mulan, who was a woman that excelled in a man’s task. If there weren’t so many plot holes this would be a fantastic woman empowerment movie. The actress who played Mulan, Liu Yifei, received backlash when she sided with the Hong Kong police who are well known for their police brutality during the protests in Hong Kong. “I support the Hong Kong police,” Yifei stated on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. “You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.” News rapidly spread and the #BoycottMulan movement had begun, w i t h the main goal of

protesting the movie. Even though many people refused to watch the movie, Disney still made a huge profit of their revenue accumulating an estimate of 33.5 million dollars. The final verdict would be to skip the live action adaptation and rewatch the original Mulan. The price was not welcoming to fans who were excited to see the new film and was not worth the watch. The film completely eradicated the element of charm and humour that was given in the animation. Characters that were fan favorites were kicked to the curb and the omission of key elements that were crucial to the development of the story left confusion in the viewer to fill in the blanks with their previous knowledge of the 1990’s animation. It was clear that the live action intended to go with a realistic approach but lost its viewers through the changes and plot holes. Sometimes change is good, but not in this case where Mulan was a disappointment to everyone who loved the animation and had high expectations for the film.




Sharks Swim On the Open Road


people will travel regardless, so it is “It was a great experience,” said with her family. advised that those who travel should Geller. “It gave me the opportunity to “It was really nice to get out of News Editor quarantine for 14 days both before and put my phone down and focus on South Caroli town for a while and embrace na , after the trip to prevent further spread. the important things like my eowee a new environment,” said K Many of the Florida residents family, friends, and nature. e Robbins. “I got the As a result of the current on the East Coast tend to take in-state It was honestly nice chance to see my nana, global pandemic, students’ summer spend time with my plans were put to a halt, leaving them road trips to places like Orlando and to be distracted from sisters who I hadn’t with minimal options to enjoy their Naples. It is also common for people technology for a while.” to visit neighboring states such as As a result of seen for a couple of anticipated time. Some students who , Florida s g n i the precautions months, go paddle attend sleep away camps or journey North Carolina and South Spr ta people have boarding, shopping, ni on out-of-country trips were forced Carolina. Sophomore taken to jet skiing, hiking, to cancel. Several students have never Ava Geller got the s e p a r a t e and so much more. It experienced an entire summer at themselves was super fun, and I also home. However, this dilemma did not opportunity to take from the virus, got some really cool photos.” stop students, their families, and their a trip with her family students have been Road trips seemed to be the friends from finding ways rth Carolina and close friends o N , this summer becoming closer to perfect solution for those who were to have an exciting and ille nv to Lake their families . bored at home in quarantine this productive summer. Glenville, Another student, summer. While Coronavirus exposure One way N o r t h sophomore Jake Talshahar, is currently a risk when leaving the students were able Carolina. The took a summer road trip as well. house, it seems as though many to make the most drive from He traveled from Boca Raton to Bonita students were able to find enjoyment of their summer Boca Raton to Springs, Florida, which was in their summer while road tripping, was by taking Lake Glenville only a two hour drive. “ I spending quality time with friends and road trips, while took a lengthy got to spend time with my family, and returning home safe and of course practicing 11 hours. brothers, go swimming in sound. social distancing During her the pool, ride on a boat, and taking necessary stay, she spent and build a bonfire safety precautions, such as time outdoors with my family,” said washing hands and wearing masks. Talshahar. While these protocols are somewhat participating Sophomore effective, the CDC suggests that the in activities such as Olivia Robbins best way to prevent yourself and others ART COURTESY OF MARIA VILORIA GARIA h i k i n g , ventured to Lake from getting the virus is to stay home AND GOOGLE IMAGES Keowee, South PHOTO COURTESY OF AVA GELLER, OLIVIA and refrain from travel completely. swimming, ROBBINS, AND GOOGLE IMAGES Carolina on a road trip Although, they are aware that some and tanning. Gl e




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Nix and Scott Wolfe, differ from this opinion as they suggest that defunding the police without thinking about its long-term effects could potentially lead to more consequences rather than solutions. Another issue the movement has started to combat would be inadequate police training. With police training taking 13 to 19 weeks on average, many activists believe that it should be a more rigorous process due to the large number of situations police officers deal with daily. Inadequate police training is a strong pre-indicator for police brutality. Police officers who are inadequately trained in de-escalation are more likely to use their guns to resolve conflicts than those who are trained. In fact, according to Dr. Elite Scott, inadequate training can “have a negative impact on the delivery of services, officer safety, police resources, and the ability of police executives to lead their agencies.” Although the Black Lives Matter movement has moved on to address issues of police brutality and ways to combat it, it still has set goals to combat white supremacy, fight systematic racism, and help marginalized African Americans. “We’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.” (


“Defund the Police” is one of the newest phrases popularized by the Black Lives Matter movement during 2020. Essentially, it means that funds should be relocated to different social service departments rather than just the police. For instance, activists explain that rather than sending the police in to arrest an individual having a mental health episode, it is better to send a psychiatrist or equivalent professional to alleviate the situation. Black Lives Matter activists believe that having police officers with so many responsibilities does not make for the best conflict resolution in certain cases. Distributing these responsibilities among separate and specific departments could result in less police brutality and violence throughout impoverished, African American communities. While there are varying degrees at which activists want to enforce defunding the police, one opinion all activists can agree on is that relocating funds towards social service departments could address and potentially alleviate issues such as community health, poverty, education, mass incarcerations, homelessness, mental disorders, and much more. With different community organizations being created from the defunding of the police, certain experts and activists also believe it could potentially lead to reduced crime rates. Other experts, however, such as criminologists Justin

- Senior Abigail Merzel



justice and the horrendous history of opress minial justice system in America is still clute systematic oppression and institutionalized r so it is important that we bring awareness t this crisis affecting the African American community. The unjust killings of George Floyd and many other innocent black lives is an indicator that something is wrong in our system, and we need change.


on the other hand, was killed when police officers put him under a prohibited chokehold and eventually asphyxiated Garner. These two events caused national uproars and riots in the cities where they occurred. The riots called for an end to the abuse of power by the police and to demand accountability for their actions. During 2020, Black Lives Matter returned to the spotlight after the killing of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin through a prohibited chokehold. The movement then advocated for the defunding of the police after experiencing the mishandling of George Floyd’s arrest. Mass protests soon emerged throughout the entire nation with support towards the Black Lives Matter movement. Although, since then, some protests and the movement have died down, there are still smaller ongoing protests that are not being televised.


Black Lives Matter is a political and social movement whose mission is to eliminate white supremacy and combat systematic racism against the African American community. Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013, in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman to the shooting of 17-year-old African-American teen, Trayvon Martin. The case, which ruled that Zimmerman acted on self-defense after Martin had attacked him, quickly spread across social media, igniting conversations of racial profiling, gun control, and the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. Since then, the movement gained more traction after the shooting of Michael Brown and the killing of Eric Garner. Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer after the officer stated that Brown attacked him and grabbed him, opposing the testimonies of witnesses at the scene which said that the officer started grabbing Brown by the neck first. Eric Garner,

joined the protests because I want to use m “ Igood. As a white person, I will never unde




Brayant Polanco Co-Editor-in-Chief, Head Features &, Feature Focus Editor

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Young adults and teenagers were definitely on the front lines of this movement. Whether it may have been signing petitions, donating, or spreading awareness through social media, students made it their mission to spread the message that black lives do matter. Social media proved an essential tool to record police brutality. After all, this is how George Floyd’s death caused national uproars against injustice, racism, and police brutality throughout the United States. Having the ability to quickly share a video amongst thousands of viewers within hours has allowed our generation to be more connected and culturally aware than ever before. Teenagers and young adults have used this to their advantage, making sure to spread messages and videos regarding the deaths of African Americans such as Breonna Taylor, who was shot on her own home due to a no-knock search warrant based on drug suspicion, or even more casual racist events such as the case of Christian Cooper, who was falsely accused of attacking a white woman after he had asked her to leash her dog at Central Park. Petitions were another way students supported the Black Lives Matter movement. While many think that signing a petition has no effect, it can be essential

to voice the public’s concerns and opinions, serving as additional engagement in politics. Many petitions have accumulated massive amounts of support, such as the petition “Justice for George Floyd” with 19,655,762 signatures and rising. Donations also helped non-profit organizations fight against police brutality. Many non-profit organizations, such as Black Lives Matter itself, accept donations from the public to “end state-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever.” Other students took on a more direct approach and attended various protests right here in Boca Raton. Students from River and surrounding Palm Beach schools attended protests and voiced their concerns against police brutality and how it affected the Black community. The Black Lives Matter movement, which has received enormous amounts of support from the public, ignited thousands across the nation to gather and protest in honor of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and thousands of marginalized African American lives. The movement, through continued support and protests, has clearly carried out the message: Black Lives Do Matter.

most important message I want to spread regard“ The ing Black Lives Matter is that this is not about revenge. This is not about violence. This is about peaceful political and systematic change to make sure black people will finally get the equal treatment they deserve. Now, more than ever, is the time to stand with people of color. I knew I wanted to be a part of change. I believe it takes action for change, and by attending peaceful protests with others, we saw how racism is still alive throughout the United States.

- Senior Jeneva Dorsonne





Spanish River Student Reaches the Stars Brooke Styka

with a high school, undergraduate, or graduate program. In response to COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of students and staff, NASA had to alter their conventional internship structure. “The internship itself was supposed to be in person at first,” said Sathiyan. “But that quickly changed in March as NASA switched over to a virtual format [during 2020].”

Features Editor

Although many students found themselves bored within their homes throughout quarantine, other students decided to take action virtually. One such student, senior Nikhita Sathiyan, was granted the opportunity to take part in NASA’s SEES (Stem Enhancement in Earth Science) Program this past summer. Those selected to participate in NASA STEM Engagement work on unique missions and projects to enhance and expand the proficiency, diversity, and magnitude of our nation’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM) workforce. The fellowship ensures that interns work with an organized team dedicated to space exploration under the guidance of a mentor. All of the research and studies conducted by these interns impacts greater Senior Nikhita Sathiyan was part of NASA’s internship NASA pursuits, such as returning where she was able to design a UVC-radiation based air filtration system(above). to the moon by 2024. Although interns were not able Students with a high school to graduate level education are able to to physically be on site and interact with other interns, students like apply for an internship position Nikhita were able to work from home at NASA. The majority of while still gaining the professional internship participants are experience they desired. The interns awarded a stipend, in which collaborated with co-workers and the amount is established their mentors via FaceTime and other based on the student’s similar applications, making it easier academic extent and the length to connect with other participating of their internship. Eligibility interns from across the nation. Interns requirements for the Program at were capable of staying connected to Langley Research Center include: NASA’s projects by means of virtual being a United States citizen, lectures devised to provide possessing at least a cumulative insight regarding operations 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, being at occurring throughout the least 16 years of age and a high agency. During these lectures, guest school sophomore, obtaining speakers, such as expert scientists a virtual letter of recommendation, and engineers, spoke primarily about and having a full-time enrollment

space exploration. The interns had the opportunity to learn about specific areas of research and ask questions. The advice and guidance exhibited within these lectures were then applied to the interns’ own projects. NASA’s internship program arranged virtual events that include tours, lectures, and scheduled intern meetups to enrich their experience. In these meet-ups, Sathiyan got the chance to

cooperate with experienced mentors, scientists, and engineers, listening to their stories and applying their guidance to projects of their own. Sathiyan formed part of a group of engineering and research interns that focused on space exploration in regards to COVID-19 as their field of study. She also contributed to groundwork that pertains to improving the protection protocols for astronauts in the future. “My team and I built a prototype of a UVC-radiation based air filtration system,” said Sathiyan. “We are working to publish our research in the future later this year.” With the help of her team, she drew out a model of the air filtration system by hand, and then eventually

used Computer Aided Design(CAD) software to convert it into a 3D model. The idea behind the filter deals with air being propelled through one side of the cylindrical chamber. The UVC radiation would then be emitted through lamps, killing any bacteria or pathogens present in the air molecules. The air that is left will travel through another filter that would remove any remaining particles as it exits the system. Sathiyan describes her overall experience with NASA’s internship program as truly eye-opening and a lot of fun. “My favorite parts of the internship was meeting new like-minded high schoolers from all over the world and working together with them to create something in collaboration with NASA,” explained Sathiyan. “Engaging in that level of research is something I never imagined I would have the opportunity to do, but I’m really grateful for it.” In the future, Sathiyan hopes to study aerospace engineering in order to continue pursuing a career relating to space exploration. “I am so proud of her and her accomplishments,” said Biotechnology teacher Mary Fish. “I witnessed her amazing work and creativity as a member of the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam last year. She is great!” In a world full of possibilities, students should feel inspired to follow in Sathiyan’s footsteps toward grasping opportunities that can open up a whole new outlook on life, and provide you with the educational experience to reach the stars.


COMMUNITY SERVICE HELLO HYGIENICS @hellohygienicssrhs on Instagram










Senior Sharks Prepare for College Apps are as a person. “In your college application you Features Editor should include as much information about yourself to help paint the best College planning is a crucial part picture of who you are while keeping of a student’s life. With the start of in focus on the questions being addressed,” the new school said Keller. year, many Colleges students are are trying to beginning their The personal statement essay through the find students CommonApp is a requirement for most postapplications secondary institutions. who will fit and researching what they colleges. To aid There are different prompts, all of which can are looking these students, be found through the CommonApp. The for. Every Dr. Daniel personal statement is supposed to highlight college is Keller has you, your personality, and your story. Here looking for recently made are some tips to ensure that you have the best different essay possible: the switch from Just Write. The hardest step is to begin your qualities being a guidance essay, so just write about something that inin their counselor terests you and connect it to a bigger theme. s t u d e n ts, to being in - Be Yourself. Colleges are looking for someone so being the college that fits their campus, so be you! your true counseling - Proofread! Make sure that there are no careless authentic department. gramatical errors in your essay. - Edit It & Get Help. Get help from parents or a self and “One trusted teacher in editing your essay. Be weaimportant thing ry, however, the essay needs to have your about applying voice and not someone else’s! to colleges is to - Submit It! Make sure to submit your essay on pick the best time. school for YOU,” said Dr. Keller. “Do not get caught up in the hype.” Finding a college you want to go to can be a challenging step. Everyone has different opinions about which school they want to go and what school they think is the best option. This might lead to making a biased decision due to being influenced by others. “Colleges are trying to identify if you are a person who will flourish at their institution. Because of this, each school will be looking for different things,” said Dr. Keller. The deadline for the University of Florida and “The best Florida State University is November 1st. thing that you University of Central Florida has rolling admissions, can do is to be but the earlier you complete your applicaas authentic tion, the better! painting as possible. a clear picture H o p e f u l l y, Most Early Decision deadlines, which is a of who you your authentic binding commitment if you get accepted, are are is very self is what November 1st. important. they are Early Action deadlines, which is just an earlier “Have a looking for.” non-binding decision, are also during Nolist of schools Colleges vember. Restrictive Early Action is another form of that you want r e c e i v e Early Decision which is non-binding but you to apply to and millions of are not able to apply Early Action/Decision know when applications to other colleges. the deadlines every year, Regular Decision deadlines range from Decemare!” said and they have ber to January so make sure to know the Keller when to review each specific deadlines. asked for of them only some tips for to pick a few people who students to attend their institution. By making are applying to colleges. “Get started your application as unique as possible on the application early. This is not a you improve your chances of getting process you want to put together the recognized and even accepted. Your night before it is due.” Students tend to procrastinate application should be different from other peoples’ and display who you getting their assignments done. By

Duru Boranalp



getting started on the applications early you are increasing your chances of getting accepted, and not giving yourself the anxiety of doing something last minute. “There is no secret number of APs that will get you in,’” said Keller. “Colleges want to see that you have continually increased the rigor of your schedule. This may or may not include numerous amounts of AP courses.” Increasing your workload and making your schedule more advanced throughout the years shows the colleges you are working hard and improving. Applying to colleges can be a very challenging step in students’ lives. Dr. Keller, as the Spanish River High School college counselor, can help and guide you through this time with careful planning and valuable advice.

REC LETTERS - Request a recommendation letter from a teacher in your junior or senior year willing to express your most noteworthy qualities. - Make sure you are able to provide a resume to the teacher, considering it is necessary to complete the letter. - Keep in mind that colleges are interested in what makes you, you! So don’t be afraid to tell your teachers to express what makes you stand out from other applicants. - Remind teachers to discuss your strengths, both at an academic and personal level. Colleges appeal to those who exhibit depth.


Financial Aid can be offered in a multitude of ways. However, the most common ways are through filling out FAFSA and/or applying for scholarships. FAFSA Fill out your FAFSA application through fafsa., the most common mistake is students do NOT fill it out. Make sure to have a FAFSA ID and list all of your colleges. Scholarships There are many scholarships which you can apply for. Ask your counselor or go to different websites such as ScholarshipOwl, FastWeb, or Florida Bright Futures(below).

BRIGHT FUTURES The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program gives awards, or scholarships, to students attempting to pursue a postsecondary education in Florida.

1. Go to SAPBFMAIN to check your eligibility 2. Go to and submit a form 3. Make the grade, earn the score, and graduate! 4. Know your responsibilities, apply, meet the requirements before graduation and throughout college.

TRADE SCHOOLS If you are interested in vocational training or a trade school. These websites offer a lot of help and guidance in those fields. - - Talking to your guidance counselor is another great option for insight as well.





Election Looms Near After National Conventions Nashki Joseph Associate Editor

Trump’s track record in the last four years, and most went further to criticize Biden and Harris on many points. “The hard truth is … you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” said Vice President Pence. “Under President Trump, we will always stand with those who stand on the thin blue line, and we’re not going to defund the police — not now, not ever.” Recently, Democrats and Republicans have become more polarized on the

Election day, November 3, is steadily approaching. As it inches closer, the last leg of the election race has gotten more intense as both Donald Trump and Joe Biden vie for the presidency. Biden and Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nominations for the presidency and vice-presidency in an empty room during the entirely virtual Democratic N a t i o n a l Convention (DNC) on August 20. Perhaps the highlight of the night was a speech given by former President Barack Obama, in which he delivered President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the RNC. a blistering critique issue of police reform. Many more of Trump’s presidency. progressive Democrats endorse “I did hope, for the sake of our the ‘defund the police’ movement country, that Donald Trump might supported by a large number of show some interest in taking the job protestors, but Biden has repeatedly seriously; that he might come to feel denied that he himself supports the weight of the office and discover defunding the police. some reverence for the democracy Notably, Republican speakers that had been placed in his care,” said also condemned the police brutality Obama. “But he never did.” protests, many citing violence in A week after the DNC, Donald Democratic cities, while speakers at the Trump and Mike Pence accepted DNC emphasized that attention should their respective nominations at the be focused on issues of systemic racism Republican National Convention -- issues that they view as the root cause (RNC), which featured more live of the recent wave of protests. and in-person events than the DNC. Since the national conventions, both Many Republicans defended President candidates have engaged in scathing

critiques against the other. “He waved a white flag. He walked away. He didn’t do a damn thing,” said Biden in a CNN interview with Jake Tapper. “Think about it. Think about what he did not do -- it’s almost criminal.” This interview came after journalist Bob Woodard released a new book, Rage, in which 18 interviews with President Trump are detailed. In one, the president appears to admit that he knew the danger of COVID-19

never seen before... No city, no town or suburb will be safe,” said Trump concerning Biden’s potential presidency at an event in Michigan. Speaking to his supporters, he also said that their vote “will save America.” With the election winding down to a climactic close, both candidates are ramping up their campaigns in key, battleground states. Biden traveled to Florida for a Hispanic Heritage Event to try and shore up support among Hispanics, which make up roughly 26% of the state’s population. President Trump has increased campaign efforts in Minnesota, a state he lost by 1.5 percentage points in the 2016 election. According to the Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris at the DNC. majority leader of in early February but wanted to “play it the State Senate, Paul Gazelka, “bluedown” in order to avoid panic. Critics collar unions are coming to him in claim that thousands of American lives waves.” Additionally, Trump’s “lawwould have been saved if he had been and-order” rhetoric has resonated with more transparent on the issue early on. voters due to the chaos that ensued President Trump has engaged in after the death of George Floyd in several fiery critiques against both Minneapolis. Biden and Senator Harris since their It’s still too early to say who will nominations. After the release of a win the election with any certainty. CNN interview where Harris admitted After all, everything could change in that she would hesitate to take a the weeks leading up to election day vaccine that was made available before -- especially during the pandemic. But election day (if it was solely President the presidential race will most likely be Trump promoting it), he demanded an close, and one that will shape American apology from her and accused her of politics for years to come. “reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric.” “You will have crime like you’ve PHOTOS COURTESY OF: THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES (RIGHT) AND NPR (LEFT)

Trump Administration Moves to Slash the USPS Budget Lyndsey Roth Currents Editor

The United States postal system has been essential for America since its founding in 1775 by Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin. It was initially created for citizens to send mail without traveling, and for the government to receive money from sending mail to various locations across the country. With the Postal Reorganization Act of 1920, however, the United States Post Office Department was abolished and, instead, the United States Postal Service (USPS) was created. The USPS, in contrast to the United States Post Office Department, became an independent agency and provided postal service employees with compensation for their work, including: life insurance, pretax health benefits, and retirement plans such as the Thrift Savings Plan. Years later, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was put in place to ensure retirement fundings for employees in the future 75 years. This caused the USPS’ budget to be severely strained, placing them under $56 billion of debt. Combining this

debt with the 2008 recession and the arrival of electronic mail, the USPS simply found itself not able to cover its expenses, leading them to take on even more debt. With the United States Postal Service facing its near-end, lawmakers and government representatives are now

Postmaster General Louis Dejoy at Capitol Hill.

in a debate with whether or not the government should interfere in the agency’s finances. The Trump administration, for instance, along with Postmaster General Louis Dejoy, have collaborated in their efforts to make cuts to the postal services’ funds and guidelines. With the U.S. general election coming

up in November, placing a halt on funds for the USPS could prevent the mailing of mail-in-ballots and other essential mail. “The actions of Mr. DeJoy, a Republican mega donor and Trump ally, have been interpreted by many Democrats as an attempt to sabotage

the election in concert with President Trump, who has himself admitted to wanting to limit funding that could help mail-in voting,” said the New York Times. In regards to the ongoing pandemic, it is understandable that voters do not feel comfortable going in and out of public places, including voting polls.

Due to the fact that Postmaster General Dejoy is an ally of Trump, people may believe Dejoy has a biased outlook towards the whole controversy. Dejoy claims these changes regarding the USPS will increase the organization and efficiency within all postal offices, although these alterations will delay all ongoing deliveries by a small percentage. In spite of this, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has hopes that the House will vote for legislation in order to cease postal service adjustments to save mail-in-ballots with regards to the pandemic. She stressed the importance of additional funding that would prevent any significant changes to the postal system’s delivery time so that all mail-in-ballots can be accounted for. All in all, the postal service has been a matter of both contention and confusion. Although it has helped many, it has also sparked many conflicts within the federal government. Trump and Dejoy’s plan to terminate all funding for U.S. postal services could potentially occur regardless of the numerous claims by the Democratic Party. PHOTO COURTEST OF USA TODAY



2020: A Year for Extreme Weather


Dominic D’Arelli Currents Editor

As if COVID-19 was not enough this year, 2020 decided to throw some extreme, record-breaking weather into the mix as well. This year will definitely be going down in history for not only a global pandemic but also a potent array of unusually extreme weather phenomena. Starting off with what is currently the most talked-about and devastating event, the wildfires. Taking place mostly in California, the fires have been sweeping through not only forests but also nearby towns, causing major devastation. 2020’s record-breaking streak started off strong in July with it being the hottest month ever recorded in U.S. history. On Sunday, September 6, the highest temperature ever in Los Angeles County was recorded: a whopping 121 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking the previous record of 119 degrees Fahrenheit, which was recorded on July 22, 2006. Phoenix, Arizona also participated in making July the hottest month ever with 35 consecutive days that were 110 degrees or hotter, which has never before been recorded. Colorado also participated, but in an unusual way. The state broke two records at once, the first being its single-day highest temperature on September 6 with a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, just three short days later, it broke another record with the earliest record of snowfall on September 9, the previous being September 19 in 1971. On September 18, Alamosa, a city in Colorado, recorded about 13.8 inches of snowfall, simultaneously breaking records for the earliest snowfall and the greatest amount of snow on the first snowfall of the year.

A firefighter watches a fire spread in Napa County, California on August 21.

A man takes photos of the waves caused by Typhoon Haishen in Sokcho, South Korea.

Aside from the heat, on September 7, Japan was slammed by a massive typhoon named Haishen; it pummeled through Japan causing millions to evacuate, 448,000 homes in Kyushu to lose power, and 52 people injured. After devastating Japan, Typhoon Haishen made its way to South Korea, leaving one dead and four people missing. As of right now, there is not much information on the impact of Haishen and it is uncertain whether or not the missing people will be located. Similar to typhoons, the 2020 hurricane season has already been one to remember; the first record was broken when a large amount of the alphabet in the World Meteorological Organization’s alphabetical naming system was used so early in the season. For the first time since 2005, which was the year the world saw Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, the Greek alphabet is being used to name hurricanes. Hurricane Beta sprung up in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in Texas, causing major rain and flooding. Hurricane Beta was the 9th hurricane to make landfall in the United States this year. This September, the record was broken for the most tropical activity in the Atlantic Ocean. The most well-known hurricane of this season has been Hurricane Laura. Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana as a category 4, causing catastrophic damage and 25 reported deaths. Texas was also struck by Hurricane Laura. Over 800,000 people lost power, and some did not regain it for up to three days. To make matters worse, a new hurricane, Sally, formed in the Atlantic on September 14; on September 16, it made landfall in Baldwin County, Alabama, as a Category 2 hurricane. CNN reported that local governments underestimated the strength of Hurricane Sally. In Pensacola, Florida, as of September 18, over 320,000 homes and businesses were still without power. It was reported that Hurricane Sally caused at least $29 million in damages. ART (BOTTOM) COURTESY OF MARIA VILORIA GARCIA PHOTOS COURTESY OF USA TODAY (RIGHT) AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN (LEFT)

Recently, in Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle, the air quality was reported to be in the top 10 worst in the world. Fires, air quality issues, and extreme heat have left many people wondering whether or not this is a product of climate change. An article published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shares a quote from Dr. Amber Soja, a biomass burning expert at the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) in Hampton, Virginia. “We already see the initial signs of climate change, and fires are part of it.,” said Soja. Many other scientists agree that the wildfires are a direct effect of climate change. President Donald Trump attended a conference on September 14 addressing the wildfires and the climate change debate. “It will start to get cooler,” Trump remarked, in response to a California fire official’s statement on how the temperatures in California have continued to rise throughout the years. During the conference both President Trump and the California fire official agreed that fires were a result of mankind. 2020 has certainly been a year to remember for devastating weather damage. With only two months left in 2020, the whole world seems to be bracing for more devastation that will occur this year.



The NBA Responds to COVID-19 Elijah Levine

Sports Reporter After three months of hard work and preparation, at the ESPN wide world of sports venue in Orlando, the stage was set to conclude the NBA season amidst the challenges presented by the global pandemic. Players and coaches from 22 teams gathered in three different hotels to prepare and practice as they resumed their chase for a title. The entire complex was referred to as a “bubble”, meaning no one was permitted to exit or enter the complex without proper verification and testing. With the precautions known, players had the choice to opt-out if they did not feel comfortable with the ongoing situation. Throughout this entire “bubble” process, the remaining players and coaches have done a fantastic job, helping to ensure the safety and security of all staff members and players. Some of the precautions announced include teams conducting daily testing, arranging bench seats on the court six feet apart, having no fans attending the games, and having all workers at the arenas wear masks. An innovative way the NBA managed to give the players fan interaction was


Phoenix Suns, they know it’s gonna be a tough matchup.” The playoffs began with a bang, featuring four games each day. Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers and the defending champion, Toronto Raptors, got off to hot starts as they each breezed through their first series. However, just as things were getting back to “normal”, the league took a pause yet again, this time due to the players’ desire to recognize the protests of the Jacob Blake shooting in Milwaukee. The timetable to return was indefinite and fans were preparing for the cancellation of the rest of the season. Players from all teams met a couple days later and announced that they would continue the season in the next coming days. Players and coaches now had two reasons to play, one, being to finish the season in these uncertain times and two, being able to make a change for racial equality by utilizing their platforms as professional athletes. Players already had the ability to make a statement on the back of their jerseys including “Vote” and “Say Her Name”, but after the shooting, players became close-knit with one another and demanded change while also playing the game they love. As players continued to show their support for the Black Lives Matter

Devin Booker, star guard for the Phoenix Suns, hits a buzzer beater to keep the suns undefeated in the bubble.

through the introduction of the virtual fan. This is a video board containing a huge screen in the arena that allows fans to watch the games via Microsoft technology. This experience is a new and interesting way to have the players feel as if they are playing in their own stadium in front of real fans. “It was a great experience,” said senior Alex Gaynor, who was fortunate enough to participate as a virtual fan. “It was a lot of fun being part of the game, especially such a huge game and it was really cool getting on TV.” The season officially resumed on July 30th, with the teams embracing the concept of this new environment, while also maintaining social distance. They played the rest of the regular season games in a span of 16 days, with each team playing eight games. Some bubble teams that excelled during the regular season games included the Phoenix Suns, who went 8-0, and the Portland Trailblazers, who went 6-2, securing a playoff spot for the seventh straight year. Unfortunately, despite the amazing run, the Suns came up short and failed to make the playoffs. “We changed how people think of us, from the NBA to the refs to different teams to everybody,” said Suns star Devin Booker. “Every time somebody plays the

movement, the playoffs got intense. Teams like the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics had something to prove as they each won their second round match-ups to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. “This is a great group. Tough group. Resilient group,” said Celtics guard Jaylen Brown. “We’ve got a lot of heart. A lot of fight for ourselves. We don’t back down from challenges. That’s what we need from each other. It’s inspiring just to be in the locker room with these guys.” As for the western conference the Lakers put on a show yet again as they bulldozed through the Denver Nuggets making their first finals appearance since 2010. Meeting the Lakers in the finals will be the Heat after beating the Celtics in six games. The championship will be a great matchup as both teams have a chip on their shoulder. The Heat went into the season as huge underdogs and have proved to the NBA that they are here to stay, while the Lakers are looking to put the city of Los Angeles back on top.


US Open Persists Despite the Pandemic Murray Litman Sports Reporter

This year came as a shock to the sports world, with many professional sports leagues’ seasons for being postponed due to COVID-19. The 2020 US Open was one of the few annual sporting classics that luckily had the chance to go on.

his opponent, Pablo Carreño Busta, from Spain advanced. An article from USA Today reported that Djokovic said “I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being.” With Djokovic out of the tournament, the gate has opened for next-generation

Naomi Osaka walks onto Ashe for her match.

Because fans were not in attendance this year and the energy on Arthur Ashe Stadium was not the same, this year’s US Open was far from ordinary and filled with surprises. Many players on both the men’s and women’s tours did not compete in this year’s tournament. Some of these players included Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Ash Barty, Nick Kyrgios, and Simona Halep among others. Despite the loss of this group, this year’s Open featured some of the best talents in the World from Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, to Sascha Zverev on the men’s side. It also featured Coco Gauff, a local Delray celebrity, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, and Karolina Pliskova on the women’s side. Osaka, who is from Japan, made the spotlight two years ago at the US Open after beating Serena Williams. With the many incidents of police brutality in the past few months, Osaka decided to use her platform to show her support. In her first-round match, she wore a mask with Breonna Taylor’s name. She won her match and gave a heartfelt post-match interview by ESPN. “I have seven…,” Osaka said. “It’s quite sad that seven masks aren’t enough for the amount of names, so hopefully I’ll get

superstars like Shapovalov, Thiem, Medvedev, and Zverev to pick up their first major title. For the first time in the history of men’s tennis, there will be a grand slam champion born in the 1990s. In the men’s semifinals, Zverev completed arguably the biggest comeback of his career, beating Carreño Busta after trailing 0-2 in sets. This is Zverev’s first major final appearance and the first German to make a major final appearance since Boris Becker. The second semi-final was contested between last year’s finalist, Medvedev from Russia, and Thiem from Austria. Zverev and Thiem have both been hovering around the top five in the world for a couple of years and now have a shot to claim the title. In the fifth set, Thiem came back from trailing 0-2 to even the match. Despite his chances Thiem battled back again to tie the set at 5-5. They split the next two games and found themselves at 6-6. A seven-point tiebreaker decided the winner. Zverev hit a backhand wide and won the match. “Both Zverev and Thiem played their hearts out until they could barely run,” said junior Jonah Sacher. “It was an amazing tennis match to witness.” Thiem made history becoming the

The empty Arthur Ashe Stadium during the 2020 US Open.

to the finals and you can see all of them.” Tennis fans around the world saw all of her masks, which also honored Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Travyon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Tamir Rice in order. One of the biggest surprises of this year was Djokovic’s round of 16 exits after unintentionally hitting a linesperson with a tennis ball. By default,

first-ever to come back from 2-0 in a US Open final. After this men’s final ended the 2020 US Open with a bang, it’s safe to say that this tournament was far from average. With the commencement of the French Open, tennis fans are on the edge of their seats wondering if Rafa Djokovic will reign victorious or be overtaken by the next generation. PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOGLE IMAGES



River Seniors Commit to College Teams Kylie Brooks Sports Editor

Sloane Young, a Spanish River senior, has committed to the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fl for soccer. Young currently plays for Weston FC, a youth soccer club located in Weston, Fl. She committed to USF because it will provide her with the best environment on and off the field. Her favorite thing about the University of South Florida’s campus was the amazing sports facilities and the beautiful soccer field. “I am so excited for new beginnings and experiences as a USF Bull,” Young said. Young is super excited to play Division I soccer at the University of South Florida. She is also very excited to meet all of her new teammates and compete at a Division I level, especially when playing teams in her conference. Sloane is undecided on her major right now, but the University of South Florida has many majors for her to choose from. Mikey Ciaccio, a current Spanish River Senior, is committed to Colby University in Waterville, Maine for baseball. Ciaccio plays travel baseball for the Boca

Raton Thunder. have

“I always

dreamed of being able to continue my baseball career into college, and I am tremendously excited to do so,” Ciaccio said. He chose Colby University because he believes it has the perfect mix of academics and athletics for him. His favorite thing about campus is that the athletic facilities were very nice and clean because of their brand new and expensive physique. He is most excited about beginning the college studentathlete experience. Ciaccio is also really excited about studying a subject in the Pre-medical field. River senior Jeremiah Martin has an oppor tunity to play

basketball f o r Ho u g ht o n College, located


Houghton, New York. Martin is also talking with Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York,

Clarkson College Omaha, Nebraska, which is where the Division I College Baseball Wo r l d Series is, and Luther


College i n Decorah, I o w a . Martin plays travel basketball for the South

Florida Sonics. Wherever Martin ends up for basketball he is going to excel at it. “I am looking for a school that will help me grow in all aspects of life,” Martin said. Besides pursuing basketball, Martin is excited to study subjects in either the Chemistry or Medical fields. Rylie Brashears has recently committed to Seminole State College in Sandford, Florida. She plays for the Florida Power Black 18u Kaser, which she recently joined at the beginning of this summer. “I am looking for a school that has what I want to study, a campus I find nice, and a smaller student population because I like the smaller size classes,” Brashears said.


Rylie enjoyed the great atmosphere and the location of Seminole State College, especially since it is in close proximity

to North Orlando. Brashears also believes that Seminole States education has amazing bachelor programs and their softball program is always ranked top 5 for the National Junior College Athletic Association(NJCAA). The addition of new athletic facilities is another plus. Brashears is excited about going to college and starting her college student-athlete journey and starting her pursuit in studying Political Science and Psychology. All of these athletes have worked extremely hard to get this opportunity. Choosing a college is a very difficult choice. It is a new and different experience for everyone. With that being said all of these athletes should make the right choice for themselves and not just to please others.


Upcoming Football & Girls Volleyball Games October 26 - Varsity Girls Volleyball @ home VS. Olympic Heights October 28 - Varsity Girls Volleyball away VS. Olympic Heights October 29 - JV & Freshmen Girls Volleyball away VS. Olympic Heights October 31 - Varsity Football @ home VS. Olympic Heights (senior night) November 2 - Varsity Girls Volleyball away VS. West Boca November 4 - JV & Freshmen Girls Volleyball away VS. West Boca November 4 - Varsity Girls Volleyball @ home VS. West Boca November 7 - Varsity Football away VS. Atlantic November 9 - JV & Freshmen Girls Volleyball @ home VS. Atlantic November 10 - Varsity Girls Volleyball away VS. Atlantic November 11 - Varsity Girls Volleyball @ home VS. Atlantic November 13 - Varsity Football away VS. Boca High November 16 - Varsity Girls Volleyball away VS. Park Vista November 18 - JV & Freshmen Girls Volleyball @ home VS. Park Vista November 19 - Varsity Girls Volleyball @ home VS. Park Vista November 21 - Varstiy Football @ home VS. West Boca


We are so excited for another great year at Spanish River!

Welcome back Sharks!

THE GALLEON October 2020 Volume XXXVII Issue I

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