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graffiti The voice of North Toronto C.I.

STUDENT COUNCIL Meet your president: Adam Barkas

INVESTIGATION Cheating is prevalent in online courses

HOCKEY Tavares joins Leaf Nation

Internal >> Page 8

Features >> Page 18

Sports >> Page 21

Thursday, September 13, 2018

JUST FOR LAUGHS How to survive high school Humour >> Page 36

| Volume XXXVII, Issue I | Facebook: @NTCIGraffiti | Instagam: @ntcigraffiti


Premier Ford scraps 2015 sex-ed curriculum Many Ontario students, parents, and educators are speaking out following the premier’s decision. Nicolette Kemerer Editor


arlier this summer, Premier Doug Ford repealed the sex education curriculum instated by the Liberals in 2015 because, as he puts it, “[the Liberals] have introduced the sex curriculum based on ideology,” and “for too long [they] have ignored Ontario parents.” Progressive Conservative Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, plans to craft a new version of the sexual education curriculum following extensive consultation with parents. For now, students in Ontario will be taught the curriculum created in 1998. The 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum included topics such as sexting and cyberbullying, both of which were

Students, parents, and educators gathered outside Queen’s Park on 21 July, 2018 to protest. | Photo by Meagan Leider/NT Alumna

not applicable to childhood and teenage life twenty years ago. Ford claims that the Liberals created the 2015 curriculum hastily and without parental consultation. Some of these parents have more traditional views and would prefer their children not to be taught modern concepts of sexuality, such as gender identity and same sex relationships. In a debate, Mr. Ford said “parents were not consulted on sex education. I can guarantee it.” According to the Ministry of Education, the ministry surveyed 4000 parents in 2014 (one for every elementary school in the province). Principals and parent committee chairs in each school elected a parent representative to engage in the survey independently. Additionally, 2400 educators were surveyed about the new curriculum, and 700 students were addressed in face-toface regional consultation sessions. On 21 July, 2018, hundreds of teachers, parents, and students gathered at Queen’s Park to protest the removal of an educational system which they considered effective, well researched, and inclusive. SEX ED, continued on page 2



In the age of social media, anger takes precedence over constructive criticism.

trade dispute escalates

Democracy is not a zero-sum game Canada-U.S. Emily Sakaguchi Contributor


ohn Adams, the second U.S. president, warned that “democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.” While the United States has come a long way in the roughly two hundred years since his term ended, he may be correct in implying that a stable democracy is difficult to maintain. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, democracy in the U.S. is deteriorating. As of 2016, the nation no longer qualifies as a “full democracy” and is currently classified as a “flawed democracy.” One of the reasons for this, as stated in the 2016 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, is that “popular trust in government, elected representatives, and political parties has fallen to extremely low levels in the U.S. This has been a long-term trend and one that preceded the election of Mr. Trump in November 2016.” Just as trust in America has been on a downward slope, its democracy is following suit. While the Edelman Trust Barometer shows that Canadians have much more faith in their own gov-

ernment than Americans do, it is not difficult to imagine a future where doubt and distrust have a grip tight enough to strangle the life from our democracy. When examining the symptoms of a democratic failure in America, we can better identify

about the appearance of Omar Alghabra on Power and Politics to discuss the tense relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia. Alghabra, in addition to being a Liberal MP, is a parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia

signs which indicate a sickness in our own system. The way language is used on social media as a means of attacking is one of the chief reasons why a lack of faith in democracy can be seen in the U.S. Disturbingly, this type of online conduct is quite pervasive in Canada, as well. In August, Conservative senator Denise Batters caused a stir on social media when she tweeted

Freeland. Batters wrote, “another day, another Liberal MP put up by #Trudeau govt in national media simply to spout #PMOTalkingPoints & answer zero questions. #WhyNoMinister? With this MP on #pnpcbc, may have been interesting to ask him whether his birthplace being #SaudiArabia impacts this file for him.” DEMOCRACY, continued on page 32

Evelyn Mang Editor


his past May, President Trump made the controversial, and, to many, shocking decision to impose harsh tariffs on America’s northern ally, Canada. What started as steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on Canadian producers by Trump soon grew into a much larger trade conflict. The tariffs, which were imposed through an executive order signed by the president citing the need to protect “national security”, were soon met with retaliatory tariffs by the Canadian government. And in the ensuing months, as the summer heat rose, so did tensions with the two countries as Canadian and American officials exchanged increasing tariffs on a growing list of goods as well as increasingly assertive statements. While Trump infamously conducted his diplomatic duties by calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “dishonest” and “weak” via Twitter, Trudeau called the May tariffs an “affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States.” TRADE, continued on page 4

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | External



Protesters rally against government’s changes to sex-ed curriculum SEX ED, continued from cover A variety of speakers, representing students, the LGBTQ2 community, and the Indigenous community, were present. Indigenous people have also been affected by the Premier’s recent decision to cancel a project which would update the curriculum to include indepth Indigenous content. Glenn Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parson and an advocate for victims of sexual assault, shared the story of his daughter’s suicide as a result of cyberbullying. He couldn’t seem to fathom the repeal of a curriculum that would protect kids like Rehtaeh, who are victimized at such a vulnerable time in their lives. NDP leader Andrea Horwath spoke of her disdain for Ford’s irrational decisions, criticizing the 1998 curriculum for failing to teach kids about consent, and for being “a painful barrier to queer youth when it comes to being themselves and being valued and supported for the amazing people that they are.” Horwath doesn’t believe that Doug Ford is actually concerned about consulting Ontario parents, rather that “[he] cares more about keeping favours to social conservatives than he does about keeping young people safe.” Frank Hong, co-organizer of The March For Our Education, feels strongly about the repeal of the 2015 sex-ed curriculum because it contained numerous current issues such as consent, same sex marriage, gender identity, and online bullying which are “vital to our current society and daily lives of many students across Ontario.” He believes that the

Graphic by Joshua Chong

EDITORIAL BOARD EDITORS IN CHIEF Joshua Chong Hana Sharifi SUMMER EDITORS Connor Colwill Annie Doane Diana Kagan Nicolette Kemerer Evelyn Mang Subin Park LAYOUT DESIGNERS Joshua Chong Subin Park Hana Sharifi Kiana Sharifi BUSINESS MANAGERS Olivia Gottschalk Mia Petrovic STAFF ADVISORS Baruch Zohar Jessica Bulgutch

DIGITAL BOARD ONLINE EDITORS Danielle Depencier Jake Rudin STAFF ADVISOR Jessica Bulgutch


Frank Hong, co-organizer of The March For Our Education, greets NDP leader Andrea Horwath | Photo by Meagan Leider/NT Alumna

most important aspect of the curriculum is consent, since it is “something that every student must know and understand.” One of his biggest concerns about teaching students the 1998 information this upcom-

ing school year is that rather than receiving accurate information from their teachers, students may possibly take matters into their own hands and “receive false information on the internet and perceive it as fact.” Hong and co-founder Rayne Fisher-Quann founded the movement because they saw that so many of their young peers took issue with the repeal of their education, yet no one had organized a protest. “We hoped to mobilize as many students, teachers, parents and concerned citizens as possible to show the Ford government that we have a voice and we are not afraid to use it to oppose his dangerous policies,” said Hong. “Our ultimate goal would be for the full reinstatement of the 2015 sex ed curriculum and the restart of the Indigenous curriculum rewrite.” At least six Ontario families have launched a human rights case against the repeal of the new curriculum. All are parents of LGBTQ2 children. In addition, Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, “strongly denounces” Doug Ford’s decision and says that teachers who choose to teach the same material as last year will be supported and defended. According to Hong, the most important thing about The March For Our Education is that “it was started by youth, two 16 year olds in fact. If youth are passionate about a certain issue and want to create change, they can do it. We all can.”

Graffiti is North Toronto C.I.’s awardwinning, student-led newspaper. Graffiti aims to amplify and represent the voice of the student body at North Toronto CI. by creating a unified communications platform that allows students to develop their skills in language, design, art, teamwork, and leadership. With every publication, Graffiti strives to maintain the highest integrity and provide readers with honest, relevant journalism that is grounded in truth.

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External Internal Features Sports Arts & Culture Opinion Humour & Games Comics

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Photo Credits Student Council (Cover): Adam Barkas Hockey (Cover): Getty Images Investigation (Cover): Joshua Chong Just for Laughs (Cover): Danielle Depencier

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | External


Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | External


Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | External



Toronto homicide rate skyrockets

While statistics indicate that it is only temporary, Torontonians are worried that the spike is indicative of more systemic issues. Jessica Hungate Contributor


oronto continues to be internationally regarded as one of the safest cities in the world (according to Business Insider, The Economist, and Condé Nast Traveller), however it is hard to ignore the recent spike in homicides that have taken place. Even Mayor John Tory, whose demure attitude has angered supporters in the past, realizes that “the incidents of gun violence in our city… are shocking and can in no way be accepted or brushed aside.” While gun violence has been on the rise in Canada, Toronto has been hit especially hard with the reported increase in homicides. By mid-August, there had been 63 confirmed homicides within the city since January 1, more than double the recorded amount seen last year at the same point. Many keen observers have noticed that Toronto’s crime rate is now greater than that of New York City. Scot Wortley, an Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Toronto, says that based on a population of around 2.93 million people, Toronto’s current crime rate is 1.67 per 100,000 people. In comparison, New York City has a population of about 8.62 million, and a crime rate of 1.51 per 100,000 people. In a recent interview, Chief of Police Mark Saunders mentioned that Toronto has historically experienced periodical spikes in violence: “When it comes to gun play in the city, there are peaks and valleys, and when we hit those peaks everybody gets alarmed, and then it calms down.” In an interview on August 16, Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, stated “we have… a lot of work to do in this city to reduce the demand for

Memorial set up for victims of the Danforth shooting on July 22, 2018 | Photo by Mia Petrovic

guns.” He suggested that “going into communities where gun violence is the most prevalent and changing some of the social determinants of crime and violence” would be the most effective approach. National Restorative Justice Initiatives, including those in Toronto, work to divert youth from participating in gang-related activity and offer them better choices and opportunities. For Youth Initiative is one of many non-profit organizations that advocates for teens and young adults. For Youth Initiative serves the York South-Weston community and provides year-round programs and services to help local youth graduate high school, enrol in post-secondary education, and gain employment. In addition to the anguish and grief felt by families of the victims, there are questions that continue to resurface. What motivates someone to kill strangers in a seemingly senseless way? Is there anything can we do to stop these tragedies from recurring? The large samples of mass murderers, along

with the murderers’ eagerness to justify their horrific acts in print and video, provide an extensive database through which psychological and demographic patterns can be identified. Additionally, individual case studies coupled with meticulous analysis of communications left behind suggest common psychological themes. These include, but are not limited to, feelings of injustice and resentment, rumination on real or imagined rejection, and chronic feelings of social persecution and envy. As Psychology Today writer Allen J. Frances states, “[They are] tormented by beliefs that privileged others are enjoying life’s allyou-can-eat buffet, while [they] must peer through the window, an outside loner always looking in.” Sima Komeilinejad, a registered psychotherapist practicing in Toronto, commented on the city’s waning social services. “Unfortunately, social services aren’t easily accessible to those who need them most. For example, psychotherapy tends to be an unaffordable option

and even after government subsidization, there is a six month waiting list before one has the opportunity to be seen.” While there are walk-in clinics scattered across the city, Komeilinejad said that “walkin clinics provide a maximum of two subsidized sessions- a kind of ‘drive-thru’ therapy if you will.” Funding for mental health in Ontario is, in fact, on the decline, and Health Minister Christine Elliott is under fire for cutting $335 million from planned mental health funding in the province this year. The recently elected Progressive Conservatives have cancelled former Premier Kathleen Wynne’s promised $2.1 billion in additional funding towards mental health services, and plan to divert the money to help first responders deal with mental health issues and offer de-escalation training. In wake of both the Yonge St. van attack in April and the Danforth shooting in July, Mayor John Tory partnered with the Toronto Foundation to establish the #TorontoStrong Fund. The fund works to support those most directly impacted: victims and their families. To date, $3.5 million has been donated. The hashtag can be seen on display all over Toronto on posters, banners, and even in Starbucks. One Starbucks employee stated “we want to play our part in supporting the victims and families of these attacks, and the hashtag is a way to spread awareness.” The ways in which we react to a situation determine our recovery from it. The devastating events of this year have shown the pain that can be inflicted upon this city. They have also revealed the strength and compassion of Torontonians and show that in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, resiliency and proactivity are essential.

Politicians hesitant to call the dispute a “trade war” TRADE, continued from cover Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that the tariffs have “hurt” and “insulted” Canadians. If it wasn’t already clear that government officials on both sides of the border were intent on standing their ground, by August 2018, the two respective countries had imposed tens of billions of dollars worth of tariffs onto the other country’s markets. Despite all the drama and increasing tensions, it might still be too soon to call this issue a “trade war.” According to Marco Paoli, the Executive Assistant to Chrystia Freeland, the conflict is not “the traditional understanding of a trade war.” Paoli, who agreed to be interviewed, says the reason why the conflict doesn’t fit into the definition of a trade war is because “[Canada has] imposed a precisely proportional retaliatory tariff “ and “ha[s]n’t escalated”, whereas “the traditional meaning of a trade war is one in which you have escalation.” While tensions between the

two countries continue to mount, both nations have shown contrasting objectives. On the Canadian side, Paoli says that “the relationship is so big, it’s so important, we need to try to do everything that we can to protect that relationship and grow it.” He adds that Canadian officials are “willing and eager to try to improve this trading relationship in any way that we can, but any suggestion that any trade with Canada is a national security threat to the United States is absolutely unacceptable and has to stop right away.” Although it can be hard to determine what President Trump and his administration’s exact intention is, Paoli speculates that “the United States is trying to rebalance its trading relationships in its favor. And our objective is to try to make sure that we are all better off at the end of the process. I don’t think that’s necessarily a contradiction with the American objective, but there is a measure of tension” As for now, the tariffs are starting to make a profound impact on every Canadian’s life. In

Illustration by Yoohyun Park

addition to the rising prices the Canadian market has already begun to see, Paoli warns that the tariffs will also “create some pressure on the Canadian dollar which is going to make the same problem worse.” Moving forward, an important factor in repealing the tariffs is the ongoing NAFTA negotiations. Paoli says that “if the NAFTA negoti-

ations are successful, I think the expectation is that in the course of that process, all these other unacceptable tariffs will also be dropped.” He adds that “we’re going in with kind of an open mind, or a desire to get this thing done, but a lot of its going to be up to what the Americans really want to do. I don’t know if I really have the answer to that right now.”

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | External



Thailand’s miracle: The Tham Luang cave rescue

12 boys and their soccer coach successfully escaped from a flooded cave after being trapped for more than two weeks. Sarah Ha Contributor


magine being trapped in a cave with rising water and limited oxygen for more than two weeks. This nightmare came true on June 23 when the Wild Boars, a soccer team consisting of twelve young boys and their coach, went missing. The team had decided to write the names of the members on a cave wall as they headed deep into the Tham Luang cave in Thailand. The cave is known to be dangerous during the monsoon season, with people having gone missing before due to high water levels blocking the exits. When the parents of the boys started to get worried, they headed directly to the cave after finding out that the soccer team’s plan to visit Tham Luang had been announced in a group chat with friends. They stumbled across abandoned bikes and bags, and they knew right away that the rain had the team trapped. Inside the cave, the Wild Boars had Rescuers pulling out one of the boys from the Tham Luang cave in Thailand. | Photo courtesy of Reuters no food and their only source of wa- the boys were announced missing into their depths. On their third the channel, the boys were assigned ter was from the cave walls. When in an attempt to recover the team. attempt on July 2, they finally suc- to another group of rescuers who reflecting upon the matter, Grade However, not all hope ceeded in finding the boys. How- helped them escape the rest of the 12 North Toronto C.I. student Ni- seemed to be lost when the rescue ever, they were now faced with the way. With each rescue taking sevcolette Kemerer shudders over the team found footprints after exten- challenge of advancing from there. eral hours, the whole operation of conditions the young boys had to sively searching through the dark The original plan of leaving the soc- getting the whole team to safety endure. “I’m claustrophobic,” she caverns. Unfortunately, the explora- cer team in the cave for longer than lasted two days, starting on July 8. says, “so the whole situation seems tion had to come to a pause due to a month, until the water levels re- The boys were transported unbearable to me. It’s one of my the rapidly rising water. It took many ceded, had to be abandoned due to to the hospital and were prevented worst nightmares to be confined in days to pump out the water and the limited amount of oxygen. After from seeing anyone while they were a space with rising water. Another block all the streams that brought some discussion, the team had to put through health checks. The restrong element of claustrophobia in water from the outside, but these resort to diving. This decision was sults showed that they had minor is the fear of all-consuming dark- operations were deemed to be es- extremely risky, especially since eye and lung infections which could ness, and wanting to escape from sential for the future of the rescue. former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Ku- be treated with antibiotics. The being horribly unaware of your After being contacted about nan, recognized as a hero by the boys wrote letters to their parents surroundings. I don’t know what the rescue effort, three British cave public, passed away on July 6 due to and relatives, which drew a lot of I would have done. It must have divers – Robert Harper, John Volan- lack of air while on the mission of attention on social media, and the been so terrifying.” She exclaims then, and Rick Stanton – arrived delivering oxygen tanks to the team. coach was thanked by the public that she is astonished at the brav- in Thailand on June 27 to aid with This incident only emphasized the for keeping the boys safe and calm. ery of the soccer team for being able the operation. At this point, the danger of the situation, but there Many people were shocked at how to endure the horrible conditions. flooding had become extreme. Bill was no time to spare for worries. successful the rescue was, as even News of this incident spread Whitehouse, vice chairman of the While two more cave div- the rescuers themselves had little quickly, with schools holding group British Cave Rescue Council, stated ers headed to Thailand with div- hope that all would survive the opprayers for the team and people that, “At that stage there was no way ing masks and harnesses, divers in eration. The boys were officially disaround the world donating money they could get anywhere near the Thailand went over the task with charged from the hospital on July and food. The rescue had initially boys. Conditions were really bad, children in a local swimming pool 18, and held a press conference. seemed impossible because no one the water flow was very strong and for practice. The operation of get- Officials are planning on turning knew where the team was; the heavy the suspended sediment made visi- ting the boys out of the cave suc- the cave into a museum and tourrain and unfamiliarity of the cave bility very low. To be fair, the chanc- cessfully was complicated: the boys ist attraction, and production comonly added to the hopelessness. De- es of getting far were not high”. were sedated to keep them from panies are already thinking about spite these concerns, 110 Thai Navy Shortly after the water levels panicking, and each boy was guided turning this incident into a film. SEALs members along with hun- lessened, the rescue team mapped by two divers through an extremely dreds of soldiers and several vol- the route of the cave and plunged dangerous flooded channel. After unteers were assembled on the day

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Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | External



Yorkdale mall shooting frightens North Toronto C.I. students An NT student’s experience of the shots fired in Yorkdale shopping centre. Claudia Huang Contributor


hursday, August 30, started out as a pretty normal day. My main source of agony was getting my timetable for the upcoming school year and facing the daunting reality of starting my senior year of high school. A few hours later, this concern became the very least of my worries as I found myself huddled under a table in Yorkdale Shopping Centre, hearing the people squished around me whisper about a shooter in the mall. Sometimes, when you see reports of shootings on the news, you try to imagine how you would react if you were placed in the same situation. You may find yourself quick to judge others on their on-the-spot decisions, which may have risked bringing them further into harm’s way. However, thoughts such as these are usually quick to pass after people allow themselves to feel a temporary wave of emotions in reaction to the news. In most cases, you tend to distance these stories from your personal life, thinking the odds would never place you in such a situation. I never thought I would ever find myself in such a situation. Even reflecting on the event now feels surreal. Trying to make the most of our last few days of summer, my friend and I decided to spend some time at Yorkdale after having picked up our timetables from school. We

Photos courtesy of Claudia Huang

had no concrete plans set out for the day other than window shopping. We decided to get some food on the upper level of the building before walking through the more densely populated areas of the mall. As we placed our food down on the table to eat, before we had the chance to take our seats, our attention was drawn to a mass of people stampeding towards us. People were running, screaming, and knocking over chairs and tables. It took a moment for us to realize what was happening and to join the people running from the apparent source of danger. We ended up getting pushed to the corner of the balcony. Some people, including ourselves, squeezed under tables, while others hid behind planters. From under the table, I was hearing a variety of speculation, from people thinking that there had been a fire in the building to there being an active shooter just behind us. With my back facing the now empty food court, and the crowd of people surrounding me, I couldn’t even move my head enough to fully check my surroundings. Knowing my mom and brother were also in the mall at the time, I took out my phone to text my mom and tell her that I was okay, and to get herself out of the building if she could. As it turns out, she was also in the food court, and was hiding in the back of a food stall with my brother. After a minute or so, the people around me were starting to return to the open area of the floor. Some people even started to sit back down at their ta

bles to continue their meals. There were alarms sounding over the PA, but my friend and I couldn’t understand anything that was announced because of the commotion. We decided we should try to get out of the building right then and there. We ran down the stairs and saw some security guards ushering people towards an exit. As we were running out, we saw that all the stores in the mall had closed their fronts and the hallways had completely cleared. When we got outside, we stood against the side of the mall, talking to others, trying to gain an understanding of the situation. With more messages exchanged with my mom, I found out that she was still stuck inside the building. She told us to leave the area and go home because she heard that there was an active shooter outside the mall. From what we could tell on the outside, people seemed pretty calm and police were starting to surround the perimeter. We decided we were adequately safe waiting where we were. Even if we wanted to leave, we didn’t have the means. We couldn’t be sure if we were safe walking alone in the open or getting on public transportation, and we didn’t want to potentially bring any other people in harm’s way by calling an Uber or a taxi. So we waited outside the mall, checking the news, talking to others around us, and keeping contact with my mom, trying to understand what really went on inside. Slowly, more police cars, ambulances, and news reporters ar-

rived at the scene and more information came through on the news. Af ter about 40 minutes, my mom got out with my brother and a family who she was hiding with. She had been hiding in a back stairwell of the mall with a group of employees and shoppers, waiting for security to escort them out safely. Through the same doors they exited, we saw a Sephora employee being rolled out by paramedics on a stretcher, though she was sitting upright and looked unharmed. After a few groups of people were escorted out of the mall by security, they told us we were allowed to leave if we had a car in the parking lot. Luckily, my mom had driven there and we drove home shortly afterwards. We later found out that the shots fired at the mall were not only without deadly intentions, but they occured in a part of the mall quite far away from us. The more we talked about what happened and the longer we knew we were safe, the less severe the whole event seemed. By the end of the day, it almost seemed like more of an amusing anecdote rather than a life threatening situation. After a while, our fear and intense reactions to the situation even seemed a bit foolish. But in the moment, you don’t know how severe the situation is. That sense of not knowing is what I would say is the scariest part.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Internal




Meet your president: Adam Barkas Barkas, along with nine other student council members, was elected by students last May. as involving and as fresh as possible. How is your council planning to improve the system of receiving suggestions and feedback from the student population? We received some feedback on this issue from the class reps at the and of the year, and, based on what they said, we want to allow the class reps to get a little bit more time to speak in class than they did last school year. We are going to talk to Ms. Hayden, and we will bring it up at the staff meeting. Based on what I have heard, I know that, in some classes, teachers give the class reps very little time at all to speak. And so, that doesn’t give enough time for those students to get the information they need from the class reps; that affects charity week, that affects everything. We definitely want to tell the staff that the time allocated to the class reps is important so that the students can be heard and so that everybody can know what’s going on in the community. What is Student Council planning to do about the lack of involvement with class reps? We’ve talked about that, especially attendance. We thought of maybe putting in a reward system, but we haven’t finalized anything yet. The reward system has been our only thought so far. We’re open to new ideas. Photo courtesy of Adam Barkas

Hana Sharifi & Joshua Chong

Editors in Chief


dam Barkas is North Toronto C.I.’s Student Council president for the 2018/19 school year. Barkas, along with nine other council members, was elected in May 2018. According to the Student Council Constitution, the ten members’ responsibilities include unifying the school community, promoting extra-curricular and social activities within the school, and representing the student body when dealing with staff, administration, and parents. Recently, Graffiti was able to sit down with Barkas to learn more about him and his goals for the year as Student Council president.

I felt welcomed, so I just want to give it back and also make the NT community feel welcomed with what I could bring to the table.

sible. And I think that the student body knows that they are the people who will represent them best. I’m glad that they all got elected.

What are you most excited for?

Is Student Council planning on having another vote to see if Art Council will have a representative on Student Council?

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

I’m most excited for creating a bigger Norse Olympics. Last school year, it was kind of rushed. I want to make it a little more organized by giving more time to planning. Also, I would like to get Grade 9 and 10 students more involved with extra-curriculars earlier on because I feel that some of them feel intimidated or scared to see students in older grades. I know students who tried out for different teams last year in Grade 11 and 12 for the first time, and they were really good and they made it. I think that if they had joined in Grade 9, they could have grown more.

Why did you decide to run for president?

What are your thoughts on your fellow council members?

I’ve been at this school since Grade 9. Coming in, I didn’t know all that many people, but I was embraced by the whole community. All the extra-curriculars I’ve joined have just been amazing overall.

I don’t think we have any weak links. They are all really hard working, responsible people, who are involved in NT; it’s not like they ran for election for the fun of it, attention, or jokes. They were elected because they are involved and respon-

It depends on what Art Council wants. If they come to us, we may be open to it; it also depends on the administration’s opinion. It’s not only up to my and the council’s discretion and opinion. Only time will tell. Charity week has been really successful over the past years, but it has kind of plateaued. It seems that students have become less enthusiastic. Has Student Council talked about how you might want to combat that? I know that Cameron Gilliland and Michael Ma, the two vice presidents, have been tossing around different ideas. But I know they’re definitely open to new ideas, and they want to change things, because they realize it has plateaued, as you said. We do realize that and we are going to take that into account for the future, and try our hardest to make it

How are you involved with the school community? We’ll start with band; I really enjoy band. I’m involved with the Symphonic Band and Marching Band. Honestly, band allows you to meet new people and talk to different students, especially during Music Retreat. I met so many kids in Grade 10 last year that I didn’t even know. Regarding sports, I participated in boys’ volleyball, badminton, and table tennis – that was a fun one. I also did the beach volleyball tournament, which was really fun and something I’d like to promote. In addition, I am general member of the North Toronto Athletic Association and the head of the Ping-Pong Club. What do you plan to do after high school? If I’m being honest, I’m not a hundred percent sure yet. I know I want to go into math and science for sure. But, I’m trying to keep my options open at this point with a diverse course load, because I’m not quite sure what I really want to specialize in. For example, I’m taking music – I don’t think I’ll go into music but it’s fun, and it’s definitely a great course to have, AMR included.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Internal

North Toronto C.I.’s Clubs and Councils


North Toronto C.I.’s “Explore” mural designed by Caitie Robinson | Photo by Elizabeth Wolfenden/NT Alumna

Me to We Club

Hana Sharifi | Editor in Chief Subin Park | Editor

Graphic courtesy of Me to We Club

Me to We is a global social initiative whose goal is to procure funding for humanitarian operations around the world. They operate in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and help to build schools and provide clean drinking water. Here at North Toronto C.I., the Me to We Club creates initiatives to raise awareness on global issues and gives students the unique opportunity to be a part of global change. Being a part of Me to We is an extremely valuable experience. Throughout the year, the club organizes and delivers many important campaigns that directly benefit marginalized communities around the world. Some of these include WE Bake for Change, WE Create Change, and WE Scare Hunger. You will see us selling baked goods, handmade bracelets, and holidaygrams at various parts of the year. All of the money we raise goes towards our initiatives. On top of the amazing campaigns we plan throughout the year, dedicated Me to We club members also receive the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend We Day, a powerful, life-changing event filled with world-renowned speakers and performers who impart real inspirational stories of change. Over the course of Me to We’s existence at NT, the club has raised over six and a half thousand dollars, which all went directly to support education in Ecuador. Me to We meets every Wednesday at lunch in room 226 (Ms. Wither’s room) and is always looking for new members! Listen to the announcements and follow us on our Instagram, @ntcimetowe, for updates on when we will meet.

North Toronto Art Council Jessie Strong | Contributor

The North Toronto Art Council meets every Monday at lunch. Our aim is to make the grey walls of North Toronto colourful and to share art with the school. You will receive volunteer hours for attending meetings and participating after school, before school, and at lunch, as long as you participate for the whole year. Art Council creates the murals and Semaine Blanche installations that can be seen throughout the school. Semaine Blanche is a week where members of the Art Council create two to three differents installations that relate to one theme. We also organize Soda Pop Shop with the Music Council, a fun night with a lot of music, art, and food. Art Council is a great way to make friends and create new art pieces for the rest of the school to see. To join Art Council, you do not need to be in an art class, but rather need to attend and actively participate in weekly meetings. You can sign up at Club Fair or in your art class.

Graphic courtesy of North Toronto Art Council

North Toronto Music Council Kamil Mamdani | Contributor

The North Toronto Music Council organizes many different music events at North Toronto C.I. throughout the year. There are many ways to get involved in music here at NT. The Head Senators of our music council are always looking for volunteers to help out with our events, whether that be through selling tickets or helping with set-up. Our first event is Music Carnival, which is a BBQ in the front of the school where you will be able to get to know the council, buy baked goods, perform at an open mic, and buy raffle tickets to get one of the council members pie’d in the face. In late October, we have our Music Retreat, which is a three-day trip where you will be able to participate in many outdoor activities, get coaching from professional musicians, and meet many new people from across the music department. Later in the year, during charity week, you can choose to perform in NT’s Got Talent for the chance to win a prize. At Soda Pop Shop in April, come out and enjoy a variety of baked goods and watch our Stage Band perform. We look forward to starting the year on a high note. Graphic courtesy of North Toronto Music Council

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Internal



Joshua Chong & Hana Sharifi | Editors in Chief

Graffiti, the team behind the publication currently in your hands, is North Toronto’s studentrun and award-winning newspaper. Throughout the school year, Graffiti typically publishes 4 to 5 issues, and these are distributed to over 1300 students, staff, parents, and members of the NT community. Additionally, Graffiti runs a website and is active on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Graffiti is made up of over 50 editors, managers, designers, advisors, writers, photographers, and illustrators from all grades, as well as the editors-in-chief and staff advisors. Being on the Graffiti team is an extremely rewarding experience. Contributing to the paper will give you the opportunity to gain valuable journalistic experience, hone your skills in writing, art, and design, develop excellent teamwork and leadership skills, and, most importantly, voice the issues you care about. Anyone in any grade is welcome to contribute, and no previous experience is required! The 2018-2019 Editorial Board will be more than happy to guide new writers, designers, photographers, and illustrators who are interested in contributing to the paper. Listen to the announcements and follow us on Facebook @Graffiti, The Voice of NT for updates on leadership applications and section meetings for our upcoming November issue.

Graphic courtesy of Graffiti

North Toronto Athletic Association Emma Skipp | Contributor

In addition to the presidents, the North Toronto Athletic Association (NTAA) is comprised of 58 hard working and dedicated students in Grades 10-12. Mrs. Rough and Mr. Tallevi work alongside the council as the NTAA’s staff advisors. Our council is composed of 22 executive members and 36 general members. NTAA members are chosen from a pool of applicants at the end of every school year. As a result, the council is no longer accepting new council members until applications open at the end of the school year. However, students can still help out with the many events that NTAA runs. It is a great way to get involved at NT. In addition, the NTAA is responsible for scorekeeping all home games that NT hosts, running athletic related events, and organizing other sport related activities for the NT student body, such as intramurals. The executive members meet for a brief meeting every week on Tuesday in the gym. Members can also be found during sporting events participating on teams, helping scorekeep games, and in the stands cheering on our school. All year long members of the NTAA are working hard to plan and run many events for student body. Events to look forward to include Red and Grey Day (everyone’s favourite “school day”), the Charity Week volleyball buyout (which raised around $400 last year), pancake breakfast, pajama days in the winter, Norse Olympics, and hopefully a few new events that are in the works. Graphic courtesy of NTAA

Classics Club Kayla Bhargava | Contributor

Salve (“hello”), present and potential members of Classics Club. Long ago, across the vast Atlantic, there was a spectacular society called the Roman Empire. The Romans conquered vast areas of land to expand their empire from a small town called Latium, to the whole continent of Europe, and even some parts of Northern Africa. During this time, they developed their culture and language (Latin), conquered Greece, and established entire cities, among many other accomplishments. Classics Club focuses on the culture and history of the Roman Empire, and some aspects of the Ancient Greek language. We spend the majority of the school year preparing for a competition called the Classics Conference. It takes place at Brock University in the beginning of May and is a four day competition with three different sections. The sections are: creatives, academics, and athletics. The creative section includes the skit, fashion show, archeological dig, chariot decoration, scrapbook, and school display. The academic section includes subjects such as Roman Life, Roman and Ancient Greek History, Latin and Ancient Greek Vocabulary and Derivatives. There are also athletic events such as running, swimming, and frisbee. There are heads for each event and there are two presidents of the club. Classics Club is a lot of work, but it pays off in the end because the club is like a family and the Classics Conference is definitely the highlight of the school year. So, if this sounds like something you’re interested in, then listen to the announcements for details about the new Classics Week and look for us at Club Fair. Photo courtesy of Classics Club


Subin Park | Editor

Photo courtesy of PALs

PALs is the biggest club at North Toronto C.I. and is comprised of 125 PALs who help all the Grade 9s and other new students transition into our school. You may have seen us wearing our red vests on Grade 8 Welcome Day, Grade 9 Welcome Evening, or wandering around the hallways these past few days. We know how scary starting high school or transferring to a new school may be, which is why we are here to assist you through the process. Whether you are looking for a new club to join, lost on your way to your next class, need a friend to talk to, or have questions about your timetable, your PALs will be there for you. During the first few weeks of school, your PALs will frequently contact you to make sure that you are adjusting well to NT. Outside of helping many of you have a smooth transition into NT, we also organize and help out at many school events. You will see us during Parent-Teacher night, Mini Night, the post-secondary fair, and many more events. Although we won’t be taking new PALs for this year, we do accept PALs at the end of each year, so, if you are interested, ask your PALs or listen to the announcements near the end of the year for application details. Our club is broken down into PAL heads and assistant heads, which this year include Mia Petrovic, Bronwyn Kelly-Richards, Subin Park, Kate Bullock, Megan Christoforidis, and Yianna Suntres, PAL leaders, and general PALs. All the members receive volunteer hours for donating their time to PAL events and other school events. We look forward to getting to know the new faces at NT!

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Internal


Digital Graffiti

Danielle Depencier and Jake Rudin | Digital Editors

A modern, creative, online version of Graffiti is returning to North Toronto C.I. this September. A digital showcase of school sports, art, events, news, reviews, fashion, pop culture, and more, Digital Graffiti is your official source for student-based content, from teacher profiles to “what high schoolers are actually wearing”. If you have a passion for photojournalism, videography, writing, editing, social media management, or even just a creative mind, be sure to visit us at Club Fair, fill out an application, and become a member of our editorial team. Digital Graffiti is a great way to meet new people and get involved in the NT community. Check us out on Instagram @ntcidigital, or at our website, for weekly uploads.

Graphic courtesy of Digital Graffiti

Salt and Light Club

Sean Lee | Contributor

Do you want to meet new people and participate in more extracurricular activities? Did you forget to bring your lunch on a Wednesday? Are you Christian or curious about anything related to Christianity? If you said yes to any of those questions, then come out to Salt and Light Club in Room 224 every Wednesday at lunch. Pizza is provided every week, and we also offer the opportunity to listen to different voices and opinions relating to Christianity. Feel free to drop in, meet students from all grades, and participate in the different devotionals every week. There is no commitment, so feel free to come and go as you please. But understand that if you come once, you’ll probably want to come over and over again. We hope to see all of you there on Wednesday.

Graphic courtesy of Salt and Light Club

North Toronto Environmental Action Team Ensi Cullhaj | Contributor

The North Toronto Environmental Action Team (NEAT) advocates for greater environmental stewardship and awareness within the school community . Our executive team meets weekly and is aiming towards platinum certification from TDSB EcoSchools for a second year in a row. Furthermore, we are working on many fun events throughout the school year. For example, Wasteless Wednesdays will be organized by a NEAT subcommittee and will work to reduce waste in the school community, especially during lunches. Other exciting events include Earth Week in April and Charity Week, which will support Forests Ontario. Join us to share your ideas, experience, and to work together on reaching our goals. Make sure to listen to the announcements on Hot Air to find out more about our first general meeting. Our team is very excited to work on making this year successful.

Graphic courtesy of NEAT

Debate Club

Danica Bortenstein & Emily Sakaguchi | Contributors

Not sure if you want to join the Debate Club? We can give you numerous reasons (this is a debate club) on why you should join, or you can find out for yourself at our tournament. Yes, that’s right, the Debate Club is going to run an exciting debate tournament, with no obligation for you to join the club. There are going to be refreshments and prizes, and we are committed to making sure that it is fun and stress-free. So come on out from October 15th to 17th. It will be a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, take part in school spirit, and get a taste of what debate has to offer. Search NT Debate 2018-2019 on Facebook for more information, or listen to Hot Air.

Graphic courtesy of Debate Club

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Internal


Film Club

Zoraise Ahmad and Grayson Plumpton | Contributors

It’s a little known fact that North Toronto C.I. has its very own film club. It’s relatively new and small, but we’ve made some major strides to help us step into the spotlight for the 2018-2019 school year. From Stanley Kubrick’s classics, to JJ Abrams’s modern day lens-flare extravaganzas, we see it all in Film Club. Join us in a relaxed environment, twice a week at lunch, as we sit back and appreciate the art of filmmaking as it flashes past our eyes at 24 frames per second. We don’t always appreciate the film though. Sometimes we tear it apart as we go over all of the things that make what we are watching bad, with a club favourite being Tommy Wiseau’s “masterpiece”, The Room. For the 2018-2019 year, we’re planning on multiple club trips to see some of the best films from the past century on the big screen at venues such as the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre and Cinesphere, which holds the title of being the world’s first permanent IMAX theatre. We hope you come take a look and see what we have in store.

Graphic courtesy of Film Club

Robotics Team Robotics Team | Contributors

In Robotics, our goal is to design, build, and program robots which will be used to compete against other schools in competitions. Our club is not only about giving you a chance to socialize with others, but also about allowing you to develop useful skills and improve in STEM subjects. Robotics will nurture your critical thinking skills and, through building and troubleshooting, will teach you how to effectively problem solve and work well and efficiently with others in a variety of situations. Furthermore, Robotics will offer you the opportunity to engage in hands-on work, learn programming, participate in exciting competitions, and enjoy yourself in a friendly, safe environment. If you are interested in joining Robotics or learning more about our club and what it has to offer, come see us at our booth during this year’s Club Fair. Our meetings are every single Tuesday after school in room 412; however, we also build whenever we can in a drop-in fashion.

Photo courtesy of the Robotics Team

Archery Club Olivia McLeod | Contributor

Archery club is a good place for you to destress, build your confidence, and make friends. On top of all this, you will learn a skill that not many others have. Every Tuesday at lunch we will have club meetings in the gym where you get a full hour of practice. There will also be game/theme days with prize opportunities. Later in the year, we will start an archery team and take you to competitions (e.g. OFSAA). All you have to do to join is come to the meetings and sign two forms. See you in Gym C.

Graphic courtesy of Archery Club

Art Club

Jessica Hungate | Contributor

Art Club will be running bi-weekly meetings this year in the art room. Art Club is one of many fantastic clubs North Toronto offers, and definitely one you should join. Contrary to popular beliefs, you don’t need to be a modern day Picasso to be a member; activities like friendship-bracelet making do not require advanced painting techniques. In addition to crafting awesome beaded bracelets, we will be making bookmarks, tie dye clothing, and much more. Come out to our first meeting this October. We hope to see you there!

Graphic courtesy of Art Club

Wellness Committee Wellness Heads | Contributors

The NT Wellness Committee is committed to improving wellness and mental health awareness here at North Toronto. School can be really stressful and crazy, but we are here to help. We run various stress-relieving initiatives throughout the year, such as cookie giveaways and therapy dog visits. We also run monthly general meetings, which are full of wellness hacks, fun activities (like slime making!) and yummy snacks. If you want to learn more or join the Wellness Committee, come out to our first monthly general meeting to learn what we are all about. Make sure to add us on snapchat (username: wellnessnt) to stay up to date on the time and location of our various initiatives and general meetings. We can’t wait to meet all of you! Get ready for a great year, NT! Graphic courtesy of Wellness Committee

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Internal

North Toronto C.I.’s New Staff


North Toronto C.I.’s “Explore” mural designed by Caitie Robinson | Photo by Elizabeth Wolfenden/NT Alumna

Mme. Philippe Joshua Chong | Editor in Chief

Mme. Philippe is joining North Toronto C.I.’s French department this school year and will be teaching some of the Grade 10, 11, and 12 French classes. She will also be the staff advisor of the French Club and DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française) Club. In addition, Mme. Philippe has a passion for debating and will be helping out with NT’s Debate Club. She decided to become a French teacher because she feels that French is a “magical language” because of the way it sounds. Outside of the classroom, Mme. Philippe enjoys tango dancing, tennis, watching Netflix, and travelling. Her favourite tennis players are the Williams sisters, Steffi Graf, and Michael Chang. This summer, she travelled to British Columbia. However, her favourite travel destination is Berlin, thanks to the city’s cosmopolitan feel, incredible pastries, and affordable prices. So far, Mme. Philippe has really enjoyed her time at NT and feels that her students are really motivated to learn. She also loves the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood, especially all the restaurants. Bienvenue, Mme. Philippe!

Photo by Maya Sternthal

Mr. Taylor Amelia Banville | Contributor

You might be seeing a couple of new faces here at North Toronto C.I. this year, and one of them is Mr. Taylor. Officially, he is the Assistant Curriculum Director for Special Education, but he is most excited this year about getting involved with the school atmosphere and the many events NT has to offer. He teaches learning strategies, and his favourite thing about being a teacher is that he gets to work with other great teachers and help teach students how to succeed. Mr. Taylor, just like many of us, has an interesting life outside of NT as well. He really enjoys being in the outdoors at his cottage, and even says his dream vacation would be hiking and camping. However, he does have a wide variety of other interests, such as reading, running, and, of course, spending time with his family. And, similar to many of us students here at NT, if he were to describe himself in three words, they would be: “I need coffee.” Photo by Maya Sternthal

Ms. Simone Hana Sharifi | Editor in Chief

Photo by Maya Sternthal

North Toronto C.I. is pleased to welcome Ms. Simone, the newest member of NT’s science department. If she were not a teacher, Ms. Simone discloses that she would love to travel, explore different cuisines in the countries she visits, write about her travels, and keep up with a blog. Her interests in travelling the world run quite deep, as even her bucket list includes flying a plane or helicopter, and travelling to Japan. In addition to travelling, her interests and hobbies include spending time with her husband and kids, reading novels (particularly thrillers), cooking, and trying out new restaurants. Ms. Simone, though full of diverse interests, finds her job as a teacher particularly rewarding because she gets to “teach, inspire, mentor, and help shape the lives of our students.” On the subject of guiding students, Ms. Simone states that the best piece of advice she has given to a student is to be the best version of yourself possible – “Always give your best, do your best, and be your best. Be kind. The world needs more kind people.”

Mr. Leishman Annie Doane | Editor

Photo by Maya Sternthal

This year we are lucky to welcome Mr. Leishman as the new edition to our special education department. Mr. Leishman was born in New Jersey, attended high school in New York, and went to university in Washington D.C. He moved to Canada and became a citizen in 1996. He has been teaching for 20 years and has been with the TDSB for 10 of those years. As well as teaching day school, Mr. Leishman has also taught night school, summer school, and online courses. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, hiking and playing with his new dog, a racing greyhound named Max. Mr. Leishman loves Netflix and watches a lot of it. Some of his favourite shows include Ozark, The Crown, and any of the CSI shows. He also admitted that he loves to see movies in theatres and admits he goes to the Cineplex Yonge and Eglinton right by the school because “they have the most comfortable chairs”. When asked what advice he would give to students at North Toronto C.I., Mr. Leishman stressed how much hard work can pay off, and how important it is to follow their interests so that they can end up in a career they love, just as he did with teaching. Best of luck this year, Mr. Leishman!

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Internal

Mr. Silver

Emily Sakaguchi | Contributor


Mr. Silver’s favourite subject in high school was History, so it’s no wonder he brings so much enthusiasm and positivity to the role of North Toronto C.I.’s newest History and English teacher. Despite his eight years of teaching experience, this is a year of firsts for Mr. Silver; not only is it his first year at this school, but he is also expecting his first child very soon. What he loves most about teaching is “being able to interact with a variety of different students who have different interests, and being able to support students in achieving whatever goals they set out for themselves.” He hopes “to learn as much from students as they can from [him],” and is looking forward to getting involved with the school community. Indeed, Mr. Silver has already become a valued staff advisor to the Debate Club. He also takes an interest in science, as he is passionate about causes which further research on cancer and autoimmune disorders. Outside the realm of academia, Mr. Silver has just as many interests. A lover of sports and the outdoors, he is a dedicated squash and tennis player, and enjoys walking, biking, and travelling. He is “a very big Toronto sports fan,” cheering for the Raptors, Maple Leafs, and Blue Jays. High Park is one of his favourite places to visit in Toronto — but he found that the most fascinating place he has ever visited in the whole world is China. When not taking in new destinations, Mr. Silver takes pleasure in the crime novels of John Grisham, particularly The Associate. He is also partial to soft rock music, the television shows Friends and Lost, as well as the film Airplane. Welcome to North Toronto, Mr. Silver!

Photo by Maya Sternthal

Ms. Botha

Evelyn Mang | Editor

As North Toronto C.I.’s newest Math and Careers teacher, Ms. Botha is both excited to join the NT community and to have a fresh start. Outside of the classroom, you might find Ms. Botha doing anything from spending time with her nieces, participating in outdoor activities, listening to music (her favourite song is “Alive” by Pearl Jam), watching Netflix (Breaking Bad is one of her favourites) or reading. She also loves travelling, picking “anywhere cold like Iceland or the Arctic” as her dream vacation, and is happiest on a beach in Trinidad and Tobago. If you’re a dog lover, you also might be happy to find out that you share a common interest with Ms. Botha, who has a dog herself. In fact, if she wasn’t a teacher Ms. Botha says she would be a veterinarian. Ms. Botha’s favourite things about NT so far are her students. She would like them to know that she always loves helping them out. As for her own high school experience, Ms. Botha says she was “goofy” while she was a student. Welcome to NT, Ms. Botha!

Photo by Maya Sternthal

Mme. McNeely

Joshua Chong | Editor in Chief

One of the new faces in North Toronto C.I.’s French department is Mme. McNeely, who is teaching Grade 9 and 10 French this year. Mme. McNeely’s passion for French stems from her love of language learning and discovering new cultures. She hopes that her students “enjoy the experience [of learning French] and look for opportunities beyond the classroom as well.” When she is not in the classroom, she enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling. As an Italian, she loves cooking different types of Italian food, especially Italian recipes that have been passed down from her family. “I think I’ve mastered my mom’s sauce,” she says, “and [I] am working on mastering her gnocchi.” Her favourite books that she recommends are Pride and Prejudice, and Pillars of the Earth. However, if there is one thing you need to know about Mme. McNeely, is that she loves to travel. So much so that, if she wasn’t a teacher, she would have a job that includes travelling. Her favourite destinations that she has visited so far are Indonesia and Peru. Welcome, Mme. McNeely, and we hope you enjoy your new adventure here at NT.

Photo by Maya Sternthal

Ms. Dalamba Diana Kagan | Editor

Photo by Maya Sternthal

During the last three years, the vocal department at North Toronto C.I. has seen a different teacher each year. Ms. Dalamba, who will hopefully stay with NT for years to come, has been selected to become the new vocal teacher. After spending a week at NT, Ms. Dalamba has a lot to say about the wonderful things at the school. She explains that her favourite thing about NT is the people. She says that “[she] feels so lucky to work with such accomplished and supportive colleagues.” When asked to describe herself, Ms Dalamba says she is loving, academic, and tenacious. She also underlines that she cares deeply about her job and her students. She wants all of us to be the best versions of ourselves. In her spare time, Ms Dalamba loves to read (she even has an organized library in her new apartment), go to the park, play the ukulele, and sing. Aside from her hobbies, Ms Dalamba also has a secret talent: She can make a noise like a dolphin… “only upon request, of course”. Looking forward into the year, Ms Dalamba really hopes to expand our school choir. “I love the way choir and vocal music programs [can] develop into a community and even [a] family. I welcome the opportunity to bring people together; I really encourage anyone-even if you’re not taking a music class this year- to come out on Tuesdays after school to the auditorium to check out our choir. I’d love to have as many people involved as possible; Do it!” To find Ms. Dalamba, you can always check room 116 or the music office. She is really looking to a great first school year at North Toronto!

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Features




Taipei Joshua Chong Editor in Chief


y family’s 48 hours stopover in Taipei this summer was an experience to remember. What was planned to be a relaxful layover between our flights from Toronto and Singapore, turned out to be two jam-packed days filled with sightseeing, food, and sleepless nights. As an emerging tourist destination, it is easy for travellers to stretch their budget in Taipei, compared to more popular cities in the region such as Hong Kong and Tokyo. Most attractions are free, and the ones that cost money (such as the popular museums), are no more than $5 per person. While Taipei’s main tourist sites (such as

the National Palace Museum and Taipei 101) were great, the city’s best gems are usually favoured by locals. My family could have spent a day wandering the Eslite bookstore. Think the Yonge-Eglinton Indigo is pretty big? The Eslite bookstore is a seven story bookstore-department store hybrid. In between our activities, we spent our time eating at small hole-inthe-wall establishments. It is easy to see why Taipei is considered by many to be the food capital of the world. For less than $5 per person, you could get amazing seafood, Taiwanese food, and even sushi. Two days was definitely not enough time to visit this bustling metropolis and I can’t wait to go back again. Photo by Joshua Chong

La Mezquita de Córdoba Katarina Makivic Contributor

L Photo by Katarina Makivic

a Mezquita de Córdoba - The Mezquita of Cordoba is the ancient city’s gem and is one of Andalucia’s many wonders. The Cordoba Mosque was built in the tenth century by the Moors during their rule over Spain. In the sixteenth century AD, after the Christian Reconquest, a Cathedral was built within the building, yet the Mosque was left perfectly intact. This mosque-cathedral is unique and very symbolic of Spain’s rich

McGill Summer Academy Diana Kagan Editor


his summer, I was lucky to participate in McGill Summer Academy (MSA). MSA is an educational program that allows Grade 10s and Grade 11s to experience life on campus while learning about neuroscience or humanitarian aid. Situated in Montreal, McGill’s New Residence has awesome facilities and is where the majority of the program takes place. Each day was structured the following way: In the morning, there would be lectures, workshops, and study groups (simulating the ones in university). Later in the day, there were different interactive activities and games, such as boat cruises, dance

parties, free shopping time, and a mini olympics. This year, MSA hosted students from 16 different countries. It was an unbelievable experience to learn about different cultures, education systems, and slang. It was also interesting to observe how different teen life is in each country. Most of the international students really wanted to come and study in Canada, with most of them ranking McGill as their top choice. There are three main reasons why MSA was a great choice for me: I learned what it’s like to go to university, I experienced the programs, and I got to make a lot of new friends from all around the world. If you are scared of university or would like to become bet- Photo courtesy of Diana Kagan ter at English, then MSA is for you.

history. The interior of the sacred structure is filled with red and gold arches and walls, and is given an airy feel due to its high ceilings, all of which are adorned with Moorish-style patterns and engravings. The walls of the mosque-cathedral are lined mostly with Christian chapels, with one central space for Muslim worship. Although the Mezquita can be seen as a symbol of the divide and intolerance between Christianity and Islam, it can also be seen as a unifying monument, which is now visited by thousands of Muslims and Christians alike.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Features



Five pieces of life advice from an entrepreneur turned venture capitalist Sara Chiarotto O’Brien Contributor


laine Kunda is a former entrepreneur and the founder of Disruption Ventures, a venture capital investment fund that aims to help female-run startups. She shared her experiences in the business world and her advice for high school students. 1. Be Curious When we enter high school, many of us lose our passion for things we once loved, whether in an attempt to focus our energy on things that might benefit our careers, or because we think it’s no longer cool to pour time into personal projects. According to Kunda, though, curiosity has been the driving force behind her success. As a child, she loved to read and “learned much about life through books that [her] parents couldn’t expose [her] to”. The new perspectives that she gained from reading opened her eyes to all the possibilities and life experiences surrounding her and triggered a lifelong love of learning. This curiosity followed her through her life and manifested itself in her desire to problem solve and always seek solutions. This began in early high school, when she taught herself to play chess from a library book in order to be allowed into a club she’d been told she couldn’t join. Today, her curiosity and desire to solve problems led her to create Disruption Ventures.

2. Surround Yourself With People Who Support You Throughout her career, and while establishing Disruption Ventures, Kunda has had to deal with negative opinions of herself and her work. When asked how she overcomes her critics, her answer was simple: don’t try to please everyone. “There are enough people who are supportive, I don’t need the people who aren’t,” she explained. In her opinion, the support of people who matter to you and share your vision is far more powerful than the negative opinions of people who don’t. The key to achieving that kind of focused, untouched mentality lies within the people you surround yourself with. “There’re a lot of people who, for their own reasons, don’t see the world as being open and available,” she said. “To me, everything is available. It doesn’t mean you’re going to accomplish it all, but it’s out there and you want to surround yourself with people, who, if you are like that, think the same way.” 3. Create Your Own Opportunities to Do What You Love While Kunda has had many opportunities to take on interesting, self-directed projects throughout her lifetime, it wasn’t always easy to find the freedom to do what she was interested in. She often felt stifled by the confines of school and the rigid structure of her curriculum. “I used to get frustrated in class…[I thought] if I wanted to learn this I could learn it, but I don’t want to learn this, I want to learn that.” The restrictions of the

classroom led her to finding other ways of learning what she was interested in (even if it was far removed from the curriculum), such as asking teachers for independent study projects in elementary school, and fostering her interests through extra-curriculars. Still, she admits that it was often a “struggle between doing what (was) expected of you and staying engaged and [she] quite often got bored in school.” For current high school students who sometimes feel that their time could be better spent outside of the classroom, her main piece of advice is to find spaces to grow your skills and knowledge outside of school, through clubs, teams, and personal projects. 4. Don’t View Your Post Secondary Decisions as Irreversible “A challenge that I’ve faced… is always thinking that time’s running out.” Kunda stated. “It’s a good thing because it creates a sense of urgency... but it’s a long life.” As people live healthier for longer, it is likely that many students of this generation will retire much later than our parents and grandparents did. For this reason, Kunda believes students need to shift the way we think about work and careers on the whole. “We have to look at the possibility of having multiple careers in your life in completely different [fields]. I think we’re going to see an increase in people going back to school in more significant ways, partly because it will be more accessible through… online education,” she said. The way she sees it,

the career you choose for yourself in your twenties and thirties could be completely different from the one you want in your forties, and career changes are set to become more normal and attainable. “So what if you’re forty? If you wanted to be a doctor or you wanted to be a lawyer and you’re not, you’ve got forty years potentially left in your career”. This rather new phenomenon of having multiple careers in a lifetime should be taken as good news for high school students today. It means that students can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the field they choose to study in school the first time around is likely not the most important decision they’ll ever make and that there will always be opportunities to shift course later in life. 5. Be Resilient Life will bring with it many successes, but also many let downs and situations we never could have anticipated. Kunda stressed the importance she places on resilience. “Resilience is so important, especially in an environment where technology is just constantly changing,” she said. It’s important to see every situation as an opportunity for growth and to “understand the experience that you’re gaining,...and maximize that potential.” Ultimately, she acknowledges that planning how to react to unpredictable industries is nearly impossible to do, but that an ability to adapt and apply prior knowledge to new situations is the “key to a successful life.”

JOIN THE TEAM Come out to an information meeting Monday, September 17 at lunch in the strings room (room 110) if you are interested in joining our team. We are looking for writers, illustrators, editors, advisors, layout designers, and a social media coordinator.


Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Features



Female entrepreneurs are a goldmine that investors are overlooking The gender gap in venture capital funding is costing the Canadian economy millions and billions of dollars annually. Sara Chiarotto O’Brien Contributor


he past five years have seen massive changes in a variety of major North American industries. There has been a shift across the board toward workplaces that allow more flexibility and empathy, and less tolerance for discrimination, particularly against women. Movements like #MeToo have accelerated these developments, triggering the dismissal of dozens of top male executives in the tech, finance, and entertainment industries, and the welcoming of what some are calling a new era. While this widespread shift has benefitted many, there is still one critical sector of the Canadian economy which has yet to feel its impact: Venture Capital. Venture capital is a segment of the finance industry in which large firms, and sometimes wealthy individuals (called Angel Investors), give large sums of money (ranging from hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of dollars) to small companies and start-ups in order to help them develop. A recognizable example of a company which has benefitted from venture capital investments is the skincare and makeup brand Glossier, which quickly became a household name after a $52M investment. Venture capital is a popular form of financing because no amount of investment money needs to be paid back. The only expectation is that the company grows and increases profits, allowing the initial investors to exit the company (often by selling their shares) with exponentially more money in their pockets. As a result, taking money from venture capitalists often allows entrepreneurs to achieve things that would not have been possible through self-funding. However, the venture capital route is not accessible to everyone. Currently, female entrepreneurs only receive 2% of venture dollars in the U.S. and Canada. There have been numerous studies conducted to try and determine why this gap is so prevalent, and the main reason seems to be bias. In a study cited in The Harvard Business Review, it was found that 67% of the time, male entrepreneurs were asked potential based questions about their start-ups (i.e What do you plan on doing to grow your customer base?), while, 66% of the time, female entrepreneurs were asked prevention based questions (i.e How many active monthly users do you have? What are you doing to keep them?). For every prevention based question asked of an entrepreneur, regardless of gender, an average of $3.8 million less was raised in capital. The conclusion found was that potential

Photo courtsey of Elaine Kunda / Disruption Ventures

based questions allowed entrepreneurs to respond in kind, reinforcing the idea that their company either had many potential gains to offer investors, or many potential losses. Unfortunately, the imbalance of funding given to male and female founders is a huge missed economic opportunity that costs our Canadian economy millions, and by some estimates, billions, of dollars annually. When 98% of new businesses being funded by venture capital money are run by men solving issues from a male perspective, opportunities are missed to tap into a female market, which has its own unique concerns. The tangible effects of this bias can be seen in the types of products created by companies with primarily male executive teams. For example, fitness trackers from Fitbit, Nike, and Apple all contain health tracking devices, but none of them included a period tracker upon release, which would have appealed to women of all demographics and presented an opportunity to drastically increase sales. Many solutions have been proposed to close the gender investment gap in venture capital, from increasing the number of women

on the boards of major companies to hiring more female venture partners and reserving specific percentages of government contracts to be awarded to female owned businesses (as Canada and the U.S. are currently doing). One of the more innovative ideas, however, comes from Elaine Kunda, who founded Disruption Ventures in April 2018. Disruption Ventures is a $30 million fund which will invest only in female founded companies. According to Kunda, the fund was created after she noticed that many venture capital firms had been sending female founders her way, rather than investing in them. “Some of these women who I thought had really great ideas and plans...weren’t getting funded and [male founded] companies that I didn’t necessarily think were as good or had less potential for success were [getting funded]”. She began to recognize a trend and thought, “If nobody’s giving them money, what an opportunity for someone to take advantage and be successful”. With the rest of the industry dragging its feet, she decided to create a fund that could capitalize on these missed ideas. “This

was not ‘I want to give out money as charity’, [but rather], ‘Hey, these women are awesome and if they had money they could be hugely successful, but they’re limited because they don’t have capital to expand.” Kunda’s ability to view this particular problem as an opportunity is not one that everyone shares, however, as she has faced some criticism for establishing a women-only fund. “You have to be comfortable with being a trailblazer,” she said. “What I’m doing right now is not very popular because it’s basically saying [that traditional venture firms] have done a bad job and I have to fix that.” She’s clear, though, that the support she’s received outweighs the criticism and that she sees far more opportunity for high payoffs than losses. Ultimately, her hope is that the fund will exist for 10-15 years, growing dozens of female founded companies into major disruptors of their industries along the way. By the end of that time, she hopes that Disruption Ventures will no longer be necessary, and that female founders will be able to seek funding from all types of venture funds without the bias that exists today.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Features



Online summer schools struggle to maintain the academic integrity of their non-proctored evaluations Training for new teachers teaching online courses only “touches on” academic honesty. Subin Park Editor


ummer and school were once two words that, when put together, triggered severe headache, nausea, and a flood of tears for many high school students. However, today, those words reward students with a stream of high marks that bring them joy and delight. Summer school has completely broken its old stereotype and become a hugely popular way to spend the summer among high school students. Lately, with the expanding availability and flexibility of summer school, choosing to sacrifice those precious months for a credit is becoming an increasingly more attractive choice—especially when the new forms of summer school, such as online school, seem to guarantee academic success even when the students disregard their academic honesty. Online school is one of the ways a student can take summer school while volunteering, working, or traveling in the summer. Unlike EduTravel credits, it is free, and unlike in-class summer school, it comes with very flexible study hours. It operates through an e-learning module called Desire2Learn where all the content, quizzes, tests, assignments, and discussions are posted. The lessons are done through live Virtual Classroom sessions on the website, where, every day, the teacher hosts an audio session to review the course material. The most appealing aspect of online school is that anyone can take it as long as they have access to a computer and stable internet connection. Students can also start their quizzes or tests at any time they want, as long as it is within the timeframe the teacher assigns, which is normally one to two days. Forms of evaluation differ from course to course; however, they are all done online and unproctored. All together, the immense amount of freedom and flexibility the elearning platform provides makes it very easy for students to engage in academic dishonesty and nearly impossible for teachers to catch who is cheating in some courses. Graffiti investigated the prevalence of academic dishonesty in a data management e-learning class this past summer, and discovered that many students were cheating and getting away with it easily. At the end of the first week of school, one of the students created a Facebook group chat to share all the answers to quizzes, tests,

and assignments. Even when some of the students all got the same questions wrong, the teacher did not suspect anyone of cheating. On top of this, although none of the evaluations were open book, students could have class notes out or search questions up on a separate tab while completing the quizzes or tests, with no way for the teacher to track what students were doing. Despite how the online school administration and teachers seem unaware of the rising cheating epidemic in online school, Ms Doucet, an English teacher at North Toronto C.I., who has “taught a mix of English and history” on online summer school says that they do “spend much of their time dealing with issues of academic honesty”. She says that “experienced teachers pass on tips and work with [teachers new to online summer school] to help them deal with issues of academic honesty”, and “new teachers...go through mandatory training before teaching their first course”, though the training only “touch[es] on” academic honesty. Additionally, teachers are able to check if students have read the content or opened up a link to view content notes while an online quiz or test is running. However, this feature can be easily undermined by students if they load the content link and leave it open before starting the quiz or test. The TDSB also switched platforms for online school this year, and Ms. Doucet says that she can “no longer tell if the student watched the [Virtual Classroom] lesson”. When there is no supervision nor a culture of integrity among students, no number of these features may be enough to restrain them from cheating and academic dishonesty may be inevitable. However, it does not necessarily make cheating easier across all courses. Hana Sharifi, a Grade 12 student at NT who took Challenge and Change in Society through online school, says, “Because this was a humanities course, and most of our assignments were writing-based... there [were not] that many opportunities to cheat.” She says that it was also easy for her teacher “to see who [was] writing from understanding and who [was] writing from cheating”, and that “the mark she received would have been pretty similar had [she] taken the course at NT”. For most of the English, history, or other humanitarian online courses, Turnitin is available to check for plagiarism and they only include a few quizzes and tests, which makes catching students cheating easier and the marks more accurate reflect their academic achivement. However, for the one or two quizzes and tests in the courses, Ms. Doucet says that “there isn’t much [she] can do...except make [them] worth very little of the final mark”. Instead, she says that these marks are “level[ed] out” by the exam, which “tend to be long and comprehensive”. In con-

Illustration by Yoohyun Park trast, 70% of math or science online courses are made up of quizzes, tests, and assignments that include lots of multiple choice questions, and it makes it more challenging to catch students red-handed and to level out the marks with the exam. Similar to day school, there are certainly more opportunities for academic dishonesty in math or science courses than humanities based courses, but the numerous problems imposed by online school also force many students to tempt relying on help from peers and the internet during evaluations. Most students in the data management class cheated, but a few of them were genuinely trying to understand the concepts; they simply had no other immediate resource to go to for questions. The biggest problem students experienced was communication with the teacher. It was tough enough to grasp the material before the daily quizzes, but it was even more difficult when students could not attend all of the live Virtual Classroom sessions to ask questions. For some students, even if they could attend the live sessions, there were too many technical difficulties. Jessica Hungate, a Grade 11 student at NT, took Grade 12 philosophy online and says that she was often “left waiting in the Virtual Classroom for around 20 minutes with no teaching” because her “teacher had a slow internet connection”. Joe Zhang, a Grade 12 student at NT, also had a similar experience when he took Grade 12 chemistry

online this past summer. During the second and third weeks of school, the Virtual Classrooms “were inaccessible [which was] a problem [that] was never fixed”, and he was “never given back the answers to any tests or assignments, so [he did not know] what mistakes [he] was making”. In addition to the technological issues, some students experienced communication barriers and limitations when it came to online school. Sharifi says that her “teacher felt it was okay to be a bit vaguer in explaining his marking decisions, since the difficulty in emailing complaints made it so that a lot of students [did not] question anything” and wishes for more “transparency in marking” in online school. Trying to learn a full school year’s worth of content in a month is a challenge in it of itself. However, learning it online, although experiencing many technical and communication issues, is perhaps one of the reasons why many students decide to take advantage of having non-proctored evaluations and show more academic dishonesty. All students learn differently and have different experiences with online school depending on the teacher and course, but there are difficulties that exist platform-wide that also prevent some students from receiving sufficient help and guidance from the teacher. Until they are settled and more electronic supervision is put in place, prevalence of academic dishonesty will continue to degrade the academic integrity of online summer school.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Features NT TEACHER SUMMER EXPERIENCES

Mr. Taylor


Ms. Marquis

Taylors at the ark | Photo courtsey of Mr. Taylor


he soy and corn fields of Kentucky hardly sound like an exciting destination for a family road trip. After all, they don’t exactly compare favourably in travel magazines with, say, the pristine beaches of Mexico or the marble halls of European museums. But there we were, in early August, taking in the sights of northern Kentucky farmland as we made our way from Cincinnati, Ohio to Williamstown. Aside from a few picturesque white Kentucky fences, it wasn’t a memorable drive. But not long after we turned off of I-75 at exit 154 we saw it: the largest timber framed structure in the world. No, it was not a Mennonite barn, mid-Western hockey rink, or horse racing track. It was an ark. A what? Well, it was not the Biblical Ark, but a $102 million replica completed in 2016 that rises out of the monotonous fields of the Bluegrass State. Objectively speaking, it is an impressive structure. But it was not the awe-inspiring site that we had imagined. At about 500 feet in length, it is an enormous vessel, large enough to hold three space shuttles on its deck. But the Titanic, at 882 feet, was over 300 feet longer. We spoke to a gentleman at the base of the Ark who had worked on an aircraft carrier which was double the length of the Ark. So while it was impressively large, it was a frac-

tion of the size of many of today’s largest ships, several varieties of which stretch well over 1,200 feet. What was most impressive about the Ark’s structure was the craftsmanship. It duplicated the Biblical proportions as recorded in cubits by Moses in the Book of Genesis and roughly translated to 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 50 feet tall in modern Imperial dimensions. Raised up on stilts, it sure looked far taller. From inside, you could see hand cut notches in many of the largest timber beams, some of which were simply enormous debarked Engelmann spruce and Douglasfir trunks. It was a legitimate engineering and manufacturing feat. After about three hours of walking through the Ark, while the sound effect-induced rainstorm thundered outside, we had seen most of what there was to see: 72 bays of exhibits with animal replicas, educational arrangements, impactful video presentations, and, of course, a life-like model of Noah and his family. Despite the lengthy and at-times boring van travel, it turned out to be a memorable destination. So, if you find yourself looking for a road trip next summer, this enlightening journey to Northern Kentucky is sure to inspire and delight, though you’ll want to bring your favourite music for the ride.

Photo courtsey of Ms. Marquis


he summer started off all well and good. A much anticipated road trip driving from Portland, Oregon to San Francisco, California was pretty much the highlight. A few fun facts that I picked up along the way: Portland is as weird as they say it is, and sea lions are cute, but they stink! The deepest lake in the USA is in a volcano that blew its top 7700 years ago (594 m). There’s a lot of sand in Oregon (and ATV’s are really scary!).

And the Redwoods of California are the tallest living things on earth. Upon returning from my two and a half week road trip, I expected to have a kitchen renovation that was nearly completed. Instead, I found a gutted hole in my house without a floor, that has remained that way right up to this very day, and a contractor that abandoned the job (taking my money with him)! Hence, I’ve been living out of my home and suitcase since June 30th!

Ms. Bulgutch

Mr. Tallevi

Photo courtsey of Ms. Bulgutch

Photo courtsey of Mr. Tallevi

I played a round of archery tag. It was my partner and I versus three of our preteen godsons. I was the only one who was left with a bruise from this activity. It was worth it.

The Tallevis spent some great family time at Deerhurst resort and our family cottage! Theodore and Samuel are growing up way too fast, but we are enjoying every moment we get together!

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Features

Mr. Gardner

Photo courtsey of Mr. Gardner

Susan and I went to British Columbia and explored Victoria, the Whistler area, and Vancouver. We had a great time. It is so beautiful there. It’s all about getting out of the city and into nature. Here is a photo of Susan and I at Cheaka-

mus Lake at the top of Whistler’s mountains (it was a two hour hike). It was 28 degrees that day but you can see snow on the mountaintop. Amazing! Note also that I am wearing a Norsemen t-shirt.

Ms. De Sousa

Ms. Chamberlain

Photo courtsey of Ms. Chamberlain

I love my summers. Summers mean lots of time with my family and often involve some travels, both near and far. This summer our adventures included camping near Huntsville, a week in PEI, staying at a cottage


in Georgian Bay, and a trip to New York City. All different and all lots of fun! The picture is of my family on the Brooklyn Bridge with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

Ms. McDowell

Photo courtsey of Ms. McDowell

Photo courtsey of Ms. De Sousa

I got married! And then travelled to Italy and France.

The highlight of my summer was a trip to New York City to see “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” on Broadway. I’ve been a fan of the books and movies since

I was in high school, so seeing the show was an unforgettable experience. Here’s a picture of my mom and I in front of the theatre.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Sports




Tavares joins Leaf Nation

The centreman hopes to bring the Stanley Cup back to his hometown for this first time in 51 years.

Illustration by Avishai Sol

Zoe Arzuman Contributor


n 1 July 2018, the Toronto Maple Leafs agreed to sign free agent John Tavares on a seven-year contract worth $77 million. Tavares had served as captain of the New York Islanders for the past five years and racked up 84 points in the 2017-2018 season (37 goals, 47 assists). His talent is no secret; everyone remembers when Tavares fought off Sean Couturier

while handling the puck with one hand, leading to a much needed overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers in November 2017. A skill like that takes years to master. Adding a 210 pound centerman into the mix just makes things tougher. Tavares’ expertise and experience has Leafs fans filled with hope for the coming season, and Islanders fans crying for him to come back. After signing with the Leafs, Tavares commented to the media on key details that made him choose the Leafs over all the other

teams. Growing up in Toronto was one of the factors that made him choose the city. After playing for the Islanders since the beginning of his career, it was difficult to decide where to settle down again after dedicating so much of his life to one team. In an interview, Tavares stated that, “you get… connected and your roots get so deep in one place, in Long Island, I mean you go in there as a nineteen year old and it becomes all you know… it was really going to take something special to pull me out of it.” Being close

to home seemed to take the cake. As well, Tavares talked about how much talent Toronto possesses. It is very hard to be a successful and winning team season after season in the NHL. Each team has extremely talented players willing to work just as hard as the next player to win. Take the Las Vegas Golden Knights, a team that was supposed to not make the playoffs in their first year as a franchise, but ended up going to the Stanley Cup finals. If a team has hard working players, they can make it anywhere. By signing with Toronto, Tavares does not have to be a hero and save a failing team. He has solid players surrounding him such as Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Nazem Kadri who earned 69 points, 63 points, 61 points, and 55 points last season, respectively. “[Tavares] is one of the most talented players in the world and putting him in a position where he can share the burden of being a star player with the other talent that the Leafs have only puts him in a better position.” says Graeme Hambleton, a Grade 12 student at North Toronto C.I. “Tavares doesn’t like being in the spotlight, which is one of the reasons why he liked Long Island. Matthews can take the top defensive matchups for him, which would allow him to thrive in a more secondary roll than he was used to.” When asked to comment on what he thought of potentially being Tavares’ linemate this season, Mitch Marner said that Tavares is able to put the puck in the net, which complements his own playmaking style. Marner has 89 assists in two seasons so far. Tavares is also able to create scoring opportunities. It will be interesting to see how these two get along on the ice, because a crucial part of being a successful team is having knowledgeable centermen who are able to gel with their wingers. Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov of the defending Stanley Cup champions the Washington Capitals, and Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins who won the Cup in 2016 and 2017 are examples of similar centermen. However, even a top tier player such as John Tavares may not be enough to elevate the Leafs to a Stanley Cup level. With a franchise best 49 wins last season, they still lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row. Tavares and his teammates would have to overcome a 51 year drought along with dealing with the pressure of millions of insatiable fans. All this without notable players like Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk who were traded to St. Louis and Philadelphia respectively.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Sports SEASON PREVIEW


The velocityRaptors: A factual pun Despite the end of the Derozan-era, Raptors fans have a lot to look forward to. Brendan Weeks Contributor


f you mention “the Raptors” to any Canadian, they’re guaranteed to know what you’re talking about. The Toronto Raptors have recently been rising up the ranks of the NBA faster than you can say change in position divided by time. They were the third worst team in the NBA only 7 years ago, and now they have taken the #1 seed in the East with ease. In essence, the Raptors are a force to be reckoned with, especially for next season. For the past few years, Masai Ujiri and his management staff have been priming all of their previous offseasons for one like this, through trading away countless draft picks, being wise by making sure not to impulsively sign players to long term high paying contracts, and crafting an elite bench overtime. And for a good reason too, because this offseason has had an impact greater than the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs (which included the real velociraptors). Before we analyze our team, let’s take a look at how the NBA has evolved this past offseason. For starters, our fellow Atlantic Division title contenders the Boston Celtics will be locked and loaded this season since their two all stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, are fully recovered and hungry for success. The Celtics nearly clinched the Eastern Conference title last year, but haven’t made any big moves or trades this offseason and are relying on willpower and passion. The Brooklyn Nets have made numerous trades and signed free agents to acquire solid players like Kenneth Faired and Shabazz Napier, but nothing too rattling. Philly and New York decided to play it cool this offseason as well, which is good news for us. In the mystical far away land known as the Western Conference, things have gotten dicey, with some notable all stars making huge plays in the realm of free agency. The Hawks nearly got their talons on Carmelo Anthony due to a trade with the Thunder, but it was waived and now the Houston Rockets got a hold of him. This is bad news for teams in the Southwest Division, since they now have a new franchise Big 3 consisting of Chris Paul, James Harden and Melo. Dirk Nowitzki showed the NBA what loyalty really is by resigning with the team that drafted him 20 years ago, while Demarcus Cousins (although he was never loyal to the Pelicans) was set to receive a huge pay increase and tons of love from the New Orleans fanbase, but sold himself short to the Warriors for a shortcut to “earning” a big shiny final’s ring. But, most importantly, NBA fanatics have been on a thorough investigation to decide where Lebron James would end up before last season’s finals were over. Theories suggested the 76ers or back to The Land, but Lebron decided on the currently ‘needing a little pick me up’ Los Angeles Lakers. LAbron has attracted the likes of veteran point guard Rajon Rondo,

pretend rival Lance Stephenson, particular trade made Toronto seem and big man/blooper highlight reel like sellouts to the rest of the NBA, Javale McGee, in hopes of reviv- but in terms of business, it was the ing this legendary organization. right call. Derozan didn’t seem to With the 2018-19 season ap- be hungry to lead his team through proaching, it’s clear to fans that our the hellfire that is the playoffs, and Raptors have started a snowball ef- Kawhi Leonard’s relationship with fect of big moves that can definitely the Spurs has been disintegrating be the difference maker in seizing slowly but surely. In short, the Rapthe East. Let’s start off with our tors management felt it was time to new head coach, Nick Nurse. He has been the assistant coach for some time, which means that he has observed and learned Casey’s style of basketball. Dwayne Casey was clearly a phenomenal coach, and after he was fired Toronto’s fanbase was angry and confused (judging that he won Coach of the Year the same year). However, management believed Casey’s inability to make Toronto a playoff threat was unproductive, so the Casey era was ended abruptly. This decision may not have been the safest, but with his successor also being his former right hand man, things could turn out just fine. We also can’t ignore the fact that we’ve signed some really solid players. Greg Monroe is a veteran centre, playing for the Pistons and Bucks, along with a short run last season with the Celtics and Suns. We have also acquired point guard Kay Felder from the Cavs, to accompany superstar Illustration by Avishai Sol Kyle Lowry and bench point guards Fred VanVleet and Delon change the franchise… no, revoluWright. Other than that, our off- tionize it. Although Kawhi has had season has been decently mellow, some trouble settling into Toronto’s except for a trade that shook the customs and his health is up in the whole NBA and turned as many air (he only played nine games last heads as Lebron heading to LA. season due to his questionable right In mid-July, the Raptors quad injury), fans need to realize that traded the face of their franchise, he is in the future of our beloved orDemar Derozan, and 2016 first ganization, short term or long term. round draft pick Jakob Poeltl (plus As a Raptors fan, I don’t a 2019 first round draft pick) for believe trading Derozan was very shooting guard Danny Green, 2x De- honourable, but I believe the orfensive Player of the Year and 2014 ganization’s well-being and future Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and to supersedes fan favoritism. The Rapboot a $5.1 million luxury tax. This tors are a franchise, and franchises

require constant care and updates, sort of like machines. If a car isn’t cleaned, washed, and has it’s fluids changed regularly, it won’t operate as well as it used too, and probably won’t be able to keep up with newer models. In conclusion, everyone in Toronto will miss Derozan and, in the words of Masai Ujiri, he’ll be celebrated appropriately. But in the

world of sports management, making tough (and sometimes risky) choices is the difference between being the predators or the prey. The Raptors need offseasons like this one if we expect to move on and keep up with the pack. As fans, we carry the Canadian basketball community on our shoulders with the only Canadian team (and the best team) in the NBA, and hustle always wins over hype. So let’s keep on hustling, let’s keep on cheering, and let’s certainly not lose faith in our Raptors.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Sports

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Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Sports


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Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Sports



The highs and the lows from the 2018 FIFA World Cup

The best moments, the worst moments, and everything in between.

Scotiabank Arena enters its rookie season Brendan Weeks Contributor


(Left) France celebrates after winning the championship following a 4-2 win over Croatia | Photo courtesy of Forbes Middle East (Right) Germany, the defending champions, fail to make it out of the group stage after falling to Korea Republic | Photo by Alexnder Hassenstein/Getty Images

Sean Lee Contributor


une and July of 2018 brought forth the most watched sport event in the world. The 2018 FIFA World Cup assembled the world’s best footballers who fought to achieve glory for their country on the world stage. If you weren’t able to watch to watch the World Cup, don’t worry. Here is a summary of the best moments, the worst moments, and everything in between. The Best France was unstoppable at the World Cup as they went undefeated to claim the championship. Mbappé, Griezmann, and Lloris all had outstanding performances to help bring the trophy home. France may not have to wait another two decades to win another championship as a majority of France’s players have yet to reach their prime. For the 2022 World Cup, the real question is whether France will be able to defend their title or get eliminated in the group stage like every other champion in the last couple of World Cups. More on that later. Teams like Belgium, Croatia, England, and Russia had an outstanding World Cup. Even though Belgium finished in third place, there is real hope for what they could accomplish in the next World Cup. They won six out of seven games including coming back from a 2-0 def-

icit against Japan to win 3-2, pulling a 2-1 win over Brazil, and only losing to France 1-0 in the semi-finals. Croatia ended up in the World Cup finals against France only to lose 4-2. They were able to excel through the World Cup thanks to outstanding performances from Modrić, Mandžukić, and Perišić. England finished fourth place after two losses to Belgium. But with Pickford, Kane, and Trippier in their squad, it’s not hard to see them be a genuine contender for the 2022 World Cup. Finally, Russia turned many heads as they made it to the quarter finals after beating Spain in a penalty shootout and absolutely lighting the crowd on fire. Unfortunately, their World Cup run ended after a loss to Croatia in a penalty shootout. The Worst Germany were the favourites for many to win this World Cup as they were the defending 2014 World Cup champions. However, they flopped hard. Losing to Mexico 1-0 in the opening match would’ve been okay, and they were even able to pull ahead of Sweden 2-1 thanks to Kroos’ absolute wonder of a goal from the side of the penalty box off of a free kick. With three points and Mexico losing to Sweden 3-0, all Germany had to do was beat the Korea Republic 1-0 to secure their spot to the Round of 16. Instead, they lost to Korea Republic 2-0 thanks to goals from Kim and Son during injury time and their goalie Jo, who

was a brick wall. As a Korean who cheered for the Korean team to do well, I’m still scratching my head wondering what the heck happened. Germany getting eliminated and coming last in their group continues a trend of World Cup champions entering the next World Cup and getting eliminated in the group stage. Honourable Mentions Both Ronaldo and Messi’s teams, Portugal and Argentina, were eliminated in the round of 16. This was likely their last World Cup. Iniesta, Mascherano, and Biglia announced their retirement from international football directly after the World Cup ended. European teams virtually dominated the playoffs with teams like Columbia, Japan, and Argentina being eliminated at the round of 16. Brazil and Uruguay got eliminated in the next round. There should be a bigger expectation for non-European teams to compete better in future World Cups. In conclusion, whether your country wasn’t able to make the World Cup, got eliminated early, or made a run in the playoffs, I think everyone can agree that the World Cup was a month of heartstopping action. The World Cup brings anyone together with one common interest. Football. It’s time to start the countdown for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

ver wonder what $800 million can get you in today’s world? A futile exercise for most of us. But if you have a net worth of more than $9 billion, I’m sure you would indulge in a few options. Such is the case for Scotiabank. As of July 2018, at a monster price tag of $40 million a year for the next 20 years, Scotiabank has purchased the naming rights from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to the Toronto-based Air Canada Centre. This venue, which is used for sports and concerts, will now be recognized as the Scotiabank Arena. No longer can citizens from the 6ix be able to reach “The Hangar”. Non-locals will remember a place once called the “ACC”. Memories of seeing concerts, Maple Leaf Hockey games, or Raptors Basketball games at the Air Canada Centre will become the stories we tell our kids. Grandkids, for some. Because, let’s face it, that is where we’ll all be 20 years from now. It is like the tales we hear about this legendary place called Maple Leaf Gardens – our parents and grandparents are the ones telling these stories. It once welcomed magnificent concerts like The Rolling Stones and was home to our very own Maple Leafs, where the last of 11 triumphant Stanley Cups was won. Today, the “Gardens” serves as a retail chain grocery store. Whispers say that beneath the floor of the fish department is where center ice once was. “It was a real place,” said Andy Mastoris, a former usher at the Gardens and current gate staff at Scotiabank Arena. “It was a family-oriented place.” And what of this mythical place called Exhibition Stadium? It too served as a venue for sports and concerts. Legend has it that near the edge of Lake Ontario, on the exhibition grounds, sat a majestic open-air arena known as “The Grandstand”. Did it succumb to an Atlantis type fate? “There was a different atmosphere at the Grandstand,” said Susan Tiam-Fook, who once danced in an Argos halftime show there. “It was a galvanizing place.” Today, two new arenas serve the same location. BMO Field serves as the homefield for the Toronto Argonauts Football team and Toronto FC soccer team, while the newly renamed Coca-Cola Coliseum serves as home for the Maple Leafs hockey farm team, the Toronto Marlies. I wonder if Scotiabank factored in the daunting responsibility they have now embraced as being the name behind stories for the next generation. Stories that will outlast any group selfie and memories that will be more valuable than any currency. Only time will tell. So what can that $800 million price tag buy you? A place in history.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Arts & Culture



arts & culture

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a guilty pleasure

The ABBA-infused movie may be cliched and repetitive, but it will still have you smiling and singing in your seat.

Jessica Keenan Wynn, Lily James, and Alexa Davies in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again | Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Starring: Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Cher, Lily James Director: Ol Parker Run Time: 114 minutes Rating: PG Upcoming Showtimes: Today - 4:20 p.m. 7:20 p.m. (Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas

Diana Kagan Editor


n 2008, Mamma Mia!, a musical romantic comedy, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and written by Catherine Johnson, was a box office hit. Becoming the fifth biggest grossing film in 2008, Mamma Mia! earned $615 million on a $52 million budget, which clearly demonstrates the enormous amount of love that the all-ABBA movie received from its fan club. After creating a unique production where the themes of paternity, love, and belonging were reinforced through the songs created by the Swedish pop group, ABBA, and becoming one of the most famous movies in the market, when its sequel, Mamma Mia 2: Here we go again!, was announced,

the audience had mixed feelings. As the announcements of Mamma Mia 2 spread, many fans, as well as myself, became very excited to watch the intriguing continuation to the stories of our already favourite characters. However, along with the excitement came the fear of disappointment in the newer production. Building up the hype, Hollywood made sure to include posters, trailers, and online advertisements everywhere, forcing me to buy the tickets and go as soon as possible to watch the movie. Although Mamma Mia remains the best musical movie created, Mamma Mia 2 was also definitely a success, even making me tear up a little bit in the last scenes. Unlike in the original movie, where the narrative was strictly present, in Mamma Mia 2, the narrative constantly jumps from the present to past, prior to the events of the first movie. The plot of Mamma Mia 2 is set five years after the original comedy and follows Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) who searches for connections between herself and the younger version of her mother, Donna (Lily James), who passed away prior to the second musical. Although some may think that the movie is strictly a romcom with no themes to take away and no lessons to learn from, this is actually not the case with Mamma Mia 2. In the beginning of the movie it seemed as though the plot was forced; how-

ever, as the new characters were developed and the climatic point was reached, it was evident that this sequel was the right way to finish the story of Mamma Mia. Director Ol Parker made sure to include a variety of different symbols and metaphors, and use the actors’ abilities to their fullest potential. All of the actors turned out to be very artistic during emotional scenes, this was shown through their well choreographed facial expressions and body language. Although it was hard to tell whether they were good singers because there was a lot of autotune, their great acting added an irreplaceable element to this musical story. From the beginning of the movie to the end, all of the camera work was perfect; there were no sudden camera movements and it was easy to follow the time-jumping sequences. Along with brilliant camera work, each setting was also crafted very carefully with consideration of the time period that the scene wa in. From an audience’s perspective it was very interesting that the sequel also consisted of only ABBA songs to continue the legacy. During Mamma Mia 2, all of the actors seemed to over play for their roles; however that didn’t muddle my admiration for this pure and melodramatic story. One of the biggest surprises in Mamma Mia 2 was seeing the younger versions of the beloved characters, and the ac-

tors didn’t disappoint. Each version had a similar physique, emotional characteristics, and even behaviour, making it believable that all of these characters were the actual younger versions. It is amazing how easily the acting fades into the background when viewing a story about favourite characters; intuitively we start to follow the plot better and we are more interested in the resolution of the conflict regardless of the acting. Although the tone of the movie was very light, the music on the screen, symbolic piano playing, and unique settings were able to convey the seriousness of the scenes in the right moments. Since all of the characters were well known to us already from the original movie, it was more likely that the audience would feel more emotionally connected to the characters. I even started crying during the last scene when Sophie was able to talk to her late mother, Donna. I would definitely recommend to watch the brilliant Mamma Mia! sequel because it is an ideal way to enjoy balanced storytelling and extraordinary musical numbers in one. Although this movie might seem predictable and repetitive, Mamma Mia 2 should be treated as a classic that creates smiles on people’s faces and evokes their singing nature.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Arts & Culture FILM REVIEW


Crazy Rich Asians is a bold delight

The romantic-comedy takes some large risks that pay off, but also gets some aspects of Singaporean culture totally wrong.

Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, and Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians | Photo by Sanja Bucko/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh Director: Jon M. Chu Run Time: 121 minutes Rating: PG Upcoming Showtimes: Today - 4:40 p.m. 7:30 p.m. (Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Eglinton and VIP)

Joshua Chong Editor in Chief


hen I was in Singapore over the summer visiting family, excitement and exuberant national pride were sweeping the tiny island nation. We were coming off a high after the Trump-Kim summit shined a spotlight on the country and were eagerly awaiting the release of Crazy Rich Asians to catapult us once again onto the world stage. It may sound that I am painting my fellow Singaporeans as vain, egotistical people, but after constantly hearing the same old “What part of China is Singapore in?” from Westerners, Singaporeans should rightfully feel proud their country has become somewhat less obscure. I, along with countless other Singaporeans, had lofty expectations for Crazy Rich Asians, a movie based on the book of the same name written by Kevin Kwan, a Singaporean-American author. The satirical novel, which received critical acclaim upon its release in 2013, interweaves the stories of different members of the Young family, an ultra-rich Singaporean clan. The primary plot line focuses on Nicholas Young (Henry Golding), the heir to the family fortune. Nicholas invites his middleclass ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. When rumour

spreads that Nicholas may propose to Rachel, Nicholas’s mother and grandmother try to intervene and halt the marriage, fearing that Rachel’s modest background would severely tarnish the family name. The secondary storyline centres upon Nicholas’s cousin, Astrid Teo (Gemma Chan), and her husband, Michael Teo (Pierre Png). Like Rachel, Michael was born into a middle-class family. After a few years of marriage, their relationship becomes strained because Michael can no longer tolerate the pressure of associating with a family that is as lavish and traditional as the Youngs. Their plot line follows the demise of their relationship and Astrid’s discovery of Michael’s affair with a woman in China. After watching countless stereotypical Asian characters in Hollywood movies and just as many Asian stories brutally botched by Westerners (I’m looking at you The King and I), it is with great relief and immense pride to say that Hollywood’s adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians is a sheer delight. Director Jon M. Chu’s bold and dizzying production goes along with the absurdity of the story and is generally faithful to the original novel, albeit slightly trimmed down. Although the movie is your typical “guy meets girl but family disapproves” kind of story, Crazy Rich Asians feels like a breath of fresh air in Hollywood. Vanja Cernjul’s stunning cinematography, Brian Tyler’s east meets west musical palate, and a fast-moving, roller coaster screenplay by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, make this feel like a traditional Chinese soap opera — a guilty pleasure for many ah ma’s in Singapore — rather than your traditional romantic comedy. While Chu’s production is absolutely hilarious, he is careful not to create stereotypical characters. All the main and supporting characters are fully fleshed out and have a story arch. The character of Eleanor Young, Nicholas’s mother, is

particularly well crafted in the movie. Originally written as a purely evil character in the novel, who cares solely about her wealth, status, and gossip-filled bible study sessions, the character in the movie is much more layered. While Eleanor is terrified that letting Rachel enter the family would ruin the family name, she is also afraid that, like many Westerners, her son is seeking immediate self-fulfilment, rather than thinking of the consequences of his actions. Her actions are justified more out of her love for her son and misunderstanding of Rachel’s background, than her own self-interest. Although this change elevated the story to a new level, other changes left me scratching my head. While not everything from Kwan’s long novel can fit into a two hour movie, Astrid and Michael’s deteriorating relationship served as a great antithesis to Rachel and Nicholas’ blossoming romance. The movie only glazed over that story arch in two scenes, leaving many loose ends. As Eleanor, Michelle Yeoh definitely gives the best performance of the cast and pulls every morsel out of her meaty role. Constance Wu also gives a wonderful performance as Rachel and successfully brings out the change in character from a naive fish out of water American girl to a more confident woman who stands up for herself. In the supporting cast, rapper Awkwafina gives a hoot of a performance as Rachel’s brassy Singaporean friend, and Gemma Chan makes the most of her scaled down role as Astrid. Unfortunately, leading man Henry Golding is the weakest link in the cast. Previously a television host for travel documentaries, Golding gives a stiff performance as Nicholas, the Prince Charming of the show. Warner Bros. Productions should be commended for casting an all Asian cast; it gave me a smile seeing some highly respected local actors finally get their big break after working for decades in the tiny Singaporean/Malaysian tele-

vision industry. However, the film does not steer clear of westernization. Most notably, the infamous Singlish accent was watered down for an American audience. Singaporean actor Pierre Png, who plays Astrid’s middle-class husband Michael, was speaking a “simplified Singlish” that was so butchered that it sounded like a Korean accent. In addition, Warner Bros. seems to believe that all Asian cultures can be assimilated into one. In a move to appeal to a global Chinese audience, Chu added on a dumpling scene that was absent in the novel. In the scene, the Young family gathered together to create dumplings and, according to Eleanor, “pass on a family tradition”. Typically a tradition among families in China, you would rarely find a Chinese-Singaporean family making dumpling because the dumpling-making tradition is not a part of Chinese-Southeast Asian culture. In contrast, Kevin Kwan never intended to make his novel a commercial success and appeal to a wide global audience. He was writing a love letter to his homeland — filled with Hokkien profanity, nyonya kueh (colourful bite-sized desserts), and old nosey aunties. This unabashed presentation of Singaporean culture, which was what I loved about the book, was severely watered-down in the movie. Despite my qualms, Hollywood did a fine job with its first film with an all-Asian cast in 25 years. But, the industry must not stop here. If westerners only get a glimpse at Asian culture through a film that barely scratches the surface of Singaporean culture (not every Singaporean lives like the Youngs), many westerners will be left with the impression that all Asians are crazy rich, dumpling-making elites with weird English accents. So here’s to hoping that it doesn’t take another 25 years before we get another truthful film that makes another Asian community proud.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Arts & Culture



Hopelessly devoted to Grease the Musical Starring: Janel Parrish and Matthew Helfer Director: Josh Prince Music, Lyrics, and Book: Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey Venue: Winter Garden Theatre Run Information: Grease the Musical concluded its run on 15 July, 2018. The show is expected to tour in 2019.

Hana Sharifi Editor in Chief


n all its hand-jiving, ballad-belting, summer-night-pining glory, what better musical is there to see in the summertime than Grease? Grease is a hit 1971 musical originally created by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School. Named after the 1950s American working-class youth subculture called the “greasers”, the story follows ten high school teenagers as they navigate the ups and downs of peer pressure, personal core values, and love, amidst raunchy and rock’n’roll inspired music. This past summer, Grease was revamped, injected with energy, and spat out to wow Torontonians at the lovely Winter Garden Theatre. Following the original production in November of 2017, Grease returned to the Toronto stage in May

2018, with a different cast. The most notable cast changes were Matthew Helfer, the new Danny, who is most famous for his appearances on Criminal Minds and How To Be A Vampire, and Alicia Barban, who played Rizzo. However, Janel Parrish as Sandy remained unchanged. I found the production, which was reinvented by Broadway choreographer and director Josh Prince, to be wholly entertaining. With all the undeniably catchy songs from the original musical and movie (I had “Greased Lightnin” stuck in my head for more than a week after watching it), set and costumes pulled straight from the 50s, and fast-paced choreography that made the stage feel larger than it was, it was impossible not to get swept away by the excitement. The cast played their roles with so much quirkiness, energy, and relatability that it almost felt as if I was having a pajama party or doing the hand-jive right along with them (in fact, nearly the en- Photo courtesy of Hana Sharifi tire audience clapped or danced along when the cast launched into tween the characters, particularly “We Go Together”). The set designs between Sandy and Danny, were and transitions were both incred- cheesy and loud, but this wasn’t ible, seamlessly incorporating that necessarily a bad thing. With a story nostalgic and iconic 50s style with- like Grease, chock-filled with raging out it feeling stuffy or overdone. teenagers and fun-filled abandon, Janel Parrish who played you can really only go big or go home. The singing and dancing, Sandy was surprisingly quite fun however, were really what made on the stage, though her history of the whole show stand out. Balancplaying Mona on the popular teen ing witty acting, fast-paced dancTV show Pretty Little Liars shone ing, and over-the-top singing must through as she felt a little done-up be a challenge, but this young cast and awkward. The relationships be-

really did it well. If you were already a Grease lover, this production made you fall in love with it all over again. If you were new to Grease, you were swept away into the craze. It’s been a long time since the 1950s, but Prince managed to provide the audience with a fresh, contemporary rendition of the show while still keeping true to the heartwarming themes of love, friendship, hardship, and identity that made Grease a hit in the first place.


Come From Away is a national masterpiece Starring: Eliza-Jane Scott, Jack Noseworthy, George Masswohl Director: Christopher Ashley Music, Lyrics, and Book: Irene Sankhoff, David Hein Venue: Royal Alexandra Theatre Run Information: Come From Away is currently running until January 20, 2019 before transferring to the Elgin Theatre beginning February 5, 2019.

Deena Shirkool Contributor


he tragedy that occured on September 11, 2001 brought a chain of chaos and confusion to the United States of America. The first mass terrorist attack in decades created silent fear and public outrage on every continent. David Hein and Irene Sankoff’s musical, Come From Away, delves deeper into the lives of the people who had been affected by the disaster and brings attention to the international consequences of 9/11. The story takes place almost 2 400 km away from the Twin Towers in a small town in Newfoundland,

called Gander. With a cast of only 12 actors, the show tells the story of nearly 17 000 people and displays the kindness that the people of Gander gave to the rest of the world. Each actor performed multiple characters and used special costumes and accents to let the audience know which character was on stage. The show begins in Gander, on the morning of 9/11, when the citizens of Gander learn of the attack and stranded passengers arrive at the town. When the planes crashed into the Twin Tower, the air had becomes so dangerous that all the other planes in the North American sky had to land as soon as possible. In a day, the population of Gander rose from approximately 10 000 to 17 000 people. Telling the story of love and friendship beyond political borders with the help of folk music, Come From Away takes an unusual method and uses a live band on stage for many of the songs. Each song captivates you with its harmony and emotional lyrics, while also being quite the comedy with Canadian inside jokes. A national masterpiece, the musical sheds light on the lesser known parts of Canada, teaching the world about the culture of small towns in the east coast. A musical that had been nominated for seven Tony’s created many expectations, Eliza-Jane Scott in Come From Away | Photo by Matthew Murphy/Come From and it met and surpassed all of them. Away

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Arts & Culture TELEVISION REVIEW


Moving performances and a captivating plot lift up The Rain

Lucas Lynggaard Tonnesen, Alba August, Mikkel Folsgaard, and Angela Bundalovic in The Rain Netflix

Nicolette Kemerer Editor

Starring: Alba August, Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen, and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard Creators: Jannik Tai Mosholt, Esben Toft Jacobsen, and Christian Potalivo Rating: TV-MA Run Information: The Rain is available for streaming on Netflix.


he Rain is a Danish Netflix Original TV show released in May this year which has been dubbed in English, French, Spanish, and Italian for viewers around the world. It narrates life in a postapocalyptic environment after a deadly virus carried by rain wipes out almost the entire population of Scandinavia. Simone and Rasmus, siblings, have managed to survive inside a bunker for six years after the first deadly rainfall, but

| Photo courtesy of

when their food supply runs out, they must find other methods to remain alive. They join a group of five young survivors and embark on a journey of the physical and emotional challenges that come along with being a raindrop away from death every day for six years. Each survivor has witnessed the deaths of all their friends and family and overcome difficult and strenuous moral dilemmas as they’ve come to learn that they must put themselves above others in order to stay alive. Although the series is captivating and addictive, the plot is

somewhat unrealistic and the science behind the virus is not entirely plausible nor even remotely explained. One wonders how they have managed to stay alive if even the tiniest drop of rain touching their skin will send them to an immediate convulsive death. How could the air be safe to breathe then, if the humidity would contain the same water as the rain? Despite these shortcomings, the performances of the young cast are incredible; the actors effectively portray very tough and emotional scenes relating to grief after loss and moral degradation. The characters’ makeup is similarly refreshing as they really look like they have survived an apocalypse. Too often are actors unrealistically glamorized in appearances even when the circumstances of their characters would have them looking much differently. Conclusively, The Rain is a well created, under appreciated show, which will frequently leave you on the edge of your seat, tug on your heartstrings, and certainly be worth the Netflix binge. This series leaves one wondering why they hadn’t ever considered watching Danish films or television before, and why the last thing they heard from Scandinavian pop culture was Ylvis’s “What does the fox say?”


What a Wonderfully Wicked Show Starring: Mary Kate Morrissey, Ginna Claire Mason, and Jon Robert Hall Director: Joe Mantello Music & Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz Book: Winnie Holzman Venue: Ed Mirvish Theatre Run Information: Wicked concluded its run on 5 August, 2018.

Kiana Sharifi Contributor


don’t even know where to begin in expressing how incredible my experience was, but all I can say is get ready to defy gravity after seeing this musical. Wicked is a superb musical and was presented in a grand, yet tender, way. Based on the novel Wicked by Gregory Maguire, which was inspired by the highly acclaimed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Wicked, the musical, takes us back in time before all the good and evil. Toronto hosted this musical for the fourth time at the Ed Mirvish Theatre with Mary Kate Morrissey (Elphaba), Ginna Claire Mason (Glinda), and Jon Robert Hall (Fiyero). This untold story tells the tale of an unlikely but promising friendship between two girls who could not be more different. El-

phaba is quirky, headstrong, and, of course, green-skinned, whereas Glinda is popular, spoiled, and beautiful. They first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University and soon find their way to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. While in Emerald City, their friendship reaches a crossroad which will decide whether they ultimately fulfill their individual destinies as Glinda the Good and as Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West. Throughout the entire show, I felt as though I had been swept away out of my seat to join all the characters in Oz. I fell in love with the songs (I’ve got the songs on repeat in my head and on Spotify), as they all gave me goosebumps or made me want to get up and join all the excitement on stage. I liked how this musical included songs that were soft and compelling as well as songs that were comical and whimsical. The transitions between the dialogues and songs were seamless, and it wasn’t choppy. I thought the songs were really well placed over the course of the musical and that they were sung at times when the character reached a crossroad or an epiphany. The musical numbers were catchy, dramatic, exhilarating, and really well executed by the performers. I honestly felt mesmerized by all the lights, colours, and set designs, and although it was overwhelming at times, it was also quite enchanting. One thing that really stood out to me was the plot. I was truly entertained by how the story of Wicked tied in with the story of

Mary Kate Morrissey and Ginna Claire Mason in Wicked | Photo courtesy of Wicked

The Wizard of Oz and how our first impressions of these good and evil characters are not necessarily true. It was interesting to see what the characters were like in the beginning and, as the story progressed, why people began to perceive certain characters as genuinely evil or good. Although I particularly enjoyed the story arc of the musical, I also noticed that there were quite a lot of plot holes in the story that not only didn’t make sense, but didn’t add up to the continuity of the story. For example, shortly after Fiyero and Elphaba had gotten together, Fiyero was captured by the Ozian guards and tied to a stick, waiting to be tortured. Elphaba cast a spell on him and turned him into the Scarecrow, so he couldn’t feel any pain. In the end, the two are reunited with a plan to run away together. However, in The Wizard of Oz, Elphaba tries

to harm the Scarecrow by setting him on fire. Why would she have done that to someone she loves? As for the acting, I thought everyone nailed their characters. Mary Kate Morrissey was occasionally uneven and overacting, but followed through to portray an awkward, misunderstood girl that finally breaks free. Ginna Claire Mason did a fabulous job at representing your typical everyonewants-to-be-me popular girl who finally learns what true friendship is. She was hilarious and did a great job with diving into her character. Even the way she walked and moved was ditzy, which I thought added a great touch to Glinda. Overall, I thought this musical was fantastic and enthralling and would definitely want to be swept into the enchanting world of Wicked again.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Arts & Culture



Advice for the savvy fashion shopper Olivia McLeod Contributor


s the youngest child in my family, I received many bags of hand-me-downs, and, due to this, my parents didn’t have to take me clothes shopping until about middle school. When I went to a proper mall for the first time, I was astounded at the prices of clothing. The pieces I actually liked had insane price tags, and the affordable clothing was dull or ugly. After the visit, I stopped begging for a trip to the mall, but I still needed new clothes. The only solution that I could think of was thrift shops. The more I went to these stores, the more I was pulled in by fashion. The variety of styles is always a surprise. A thrift shop is a library of wearable stories that you can continue writing yourself. You can also relish in the fact that every piece of clothing there was once loved by someone. The best places to go are Goodwill, Salvation Army, and small town thrift shops. Goodwill is well known and has a well known name to keep in the spotlight. The ‘Sally-Ann’ (Salvation Army’s affectionate nickname) is always welcoming and displays its items well. Small town thrift shops always have the best clothing because the people who donate live far away from the big malls. They only buy clothing that they know they will like and sometimes will donate very nice handmade items as well. My personal favourite stores are The Helping Hand near Barrie and the Salvation Army in Newmarket. Since the Helping Hand is a small store, it always displays the best stuff and sends the rest elsewhere. About a year ago, the store moved to a larger location, but still

keeps the same rule. It uses a third of the space for cleaning and storage, the rest for carefully hanging up clothes or for shelves so customers can browse the store with ease. The racks are spread out to allow customers to see everything by turning around on the spot. At the Salvation Army in Newmarket, a quarter of the store is used to display silverware, plates, lamps, curtains, toasters, and etc. Another quarter is full of furniture, including couches, cribs, and shelves, in mostly brand new condition. The other half of the store is packed full of clothing. Baby clothes, jean shorts, graphic Tshirts, swimsuits, men’s button ups, shoes of all kinds, a huge section for dresses, and so much more can be found here. This is one of the places where the cashier is in control of what you pay. They will take any item that doesn’t have a price tag and judge how much they think it costs. That doesn’t mean you can argue with them, but there are still ways to lower the prices. Personally, something that came out of thrifting for dresses was my desire to sew. Not only could I buy any dress and alter it, but I could also make them and wear anything I wanted. I started taking weekly sewing classes and started designing. By learning how to sew, your option bubble gets larger. If you want a pair of pants that fit you everywhere except the waist, buy them and take it in. If you find a really comfy sweater that needs some extra pop, buy it and embroider or sew on some beads. Make your closet your own, not just in style but also in accomplishment. I don’t know exactly how you, as a reader, will take this article. However you read my words, I hope they make you see part of your life differently.

Tips when shopping at a thrift store: •

If you ever encounter a sign that reads “Garbage bag sales”, go inside. Basically, you pay $5-10 (depending on the store) for every garbage bag you fill up with stuff to buy. As mentioned above, some thrift shops don’t have price tags on items and let the cashier determine the price. If you are nice to the staff and have a great attitude, there’s a chance they will give it to you for less! (Also, it helps if you aren’t on your phone). As a student, you probably wouldn’t be able to drive to really far thrift stores, so make it into a family trip to visit to them! Your parents can look at the clothes or browse through the silverware, decorations, and jewellery. Who knows? Your parents might have so much fun that they decide to help you buy half of your new wardrobe. Keep the number of nonsale items to a maximum of three. If an item looks like it will go on sale, wait it out. Keep to the rule, “Only take from the rack what you could never take back” Illustration by Danielle Depencier

Photos by Hana Sharifi

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Opinion




We have a lot to learn from the Finnish school system

Behind the scenes from one of the most successful school systems in the world.

The Finnish classroom environment is more relaxed than classrooms in North America. | Photo courtesy of Journey to Finland

Sarah Ha Contributor


ost students dream of a more lenient school system. After all, students in North America complain daily about their five tests per week and stress over the insane price of post secondary tuition. Imagine a world in which everyone has an equal chance of getting high quality education and there are no standardized tests apart from one exam at the end of senior year in high school. It sounds impossible and miraculous, but the Scandinavian education system holds true to this. Finland is especially well known for having no competition and rivalry in school, as all students are able to receive the same education no matter what. Many people think that it may be a drawback. Competition essentially drives students, and some may view that it is unfair to give all students equal treatment when each student differs in ability. However, a few statistics prove that this isn’t always true. 93% of Finnish students graduate from academic high schools, which is 14.7% higher than the high school graduation rate of Canada. 66% of Finnish students move on to post secondary education, which is the highest rate in the European Union. It may seem like Finland ends up spending more money on students than the United States, but they actually spend 30%

less per student. Although their school system may not seem ideal to many people, Finland is considered to have one of the best education systems in the entire world. Pasi Sahlberg, a math and physics teacher who is currently in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture, stated that “we prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test. We are not much [sic] interested in PISA (Program for International Student Assessment). It’s not what we’re about.” Having no tests means that lessons are structured with more flexibility, which gives students more freedom and opportunity to invest in the topic at hand. This also encourages students to build a future based on their strengths and interests as they are allowed to explore many different aspects of education without stress. Grade 12 student Hana Sharifi expresses that “I like that in Finnish schools competition is not as important as cooperation. They spend a lot more time on building young children’s transitional skills, such as teamwork and respect, because students have a lot more time to play with one another and spend time with their families, rather than stressing over piles of tests and homework that pit them against each other. I think that North America would benefit extremely from this kind of education system.” On top of the Finnish system omitting standardized tests, they also have significantly more

time for recess. The law states that kindergarten teachers must give students 15 minutes of free time for every 45 minutes of teaching. This further emphasizes Finland’s opinion that children should enjoy being young while they can; they would rather not force kids to start taking tests and doing hours of homework at a young age. Several studies also prove that students who are given short breaks eventually perform better in school. Another aspect that makes Finland’s education system so exceptional is that education is completely free. As opposed to students all over the world who struggle under an immense amount of student debt, Finland provides their students with free, quality education. This may raise some questions, but it is crucial to realize that Finland views education as a fundamental right. The Universities Act, which states that equal opportunities must be given to all, is what provides the foundation for Finland’s famous tuition money-free schooling. Finland’s schools are also structured based on equality. There are few private schools in Finland because everyone is invested in the quality of public schools. This ensures that there is no competition between independent and public schools regarding teachers, funding, and students, which makes Finnish public schools more successful than others. As schools in Finland work above and beyond to make sure stu-

dents are all given the same level of education by devotedly helping weaker students to catch up, the same idea is applied to the schools themselves. All schools are equivalent in strength, meaning that no school is better than the other. This decreases the amount of favouritism towards high performing schools, which prevents weaker schools from falling apart. As all schools offer the same quality of teaching, there is also no need for parents to contemplate and stress over which school is the best for their child. Finnish schools offer an amount of equality that is incomparable to other regions. An interview with Krista Kiuru, Finland’s minister of education and science, explains why Finland focuses so intensely on equality. Responding to a question regarding why Finnish schools provide every student with the same resources, Kiuru said, “We don’t know what our kids will turn out like. Regardless of a person’s gender, background, or social welfare status, everyone should have an equal chance to make the most of their skills.” Finland’s education system is notably peculiar compared to ours, but they have consistently been performing as one of the top nations on the PISA. Other school systems, especially those in which competition and rivalry are a driving force, have a lot to learn.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Opinion



Social media is changing how democratic institutions function DEMOCRACY, continued from cover The ensuing outrage resulted in complaints about the presumably racist intent of the tweet and requests that Andrew Scheer expel her from caucus. The situation was somewhat soothed when Batters explained she had not meant to offend anyone, but rather thought that Alghabra “would have a unique perspective to offer” due to his background. Although everything seems to be sunshine and roses again — Alghabra accepted an apology from Batters — treading the line between customary political rhetoric and offensive language is still as dangerous as ever. Yet why is it so difficult? To answer that question, it helps to look at the way the first sentence in the tweet addresses Alghabra and his interview for Power and Politics. Here, the confusion stems largely from Batters’s hostile choice of word, even before any reference to birth place came into play. It is unashamed criticism and a rejection of everything Alghabra contributed to the discussion surrounding Canada’s international affairs. You may be thinking that criticizing the words of another politician is a responsibility for individuals on Parliament Hill. If so, you are absolutely correct. Where there is disagreement, we get more depth in political decision making, as there are more ideas on the table to take into consideration. However, vague accusations were all that Batters provided in saying Alghabra was put up to “spout” government talking points and provide unhelpful information by answering “zero questions.” These types of denouncements do not move important discussions forward. There is nothing wrong with criticizing what another politician says, but instead of pointing out what her problem was with the Liberal position, and adding her own layer of analysis, she turned it into an attack on the Liberal Party. The toxic world of attacks through social media is not exclusive to Batters’s tweet. Simply look south of the border, and you will find tweets and posts galore that do not even attempt to hide antagonism. With this reality, it is unsurprising that many Canadians do not bat an eye at the claws and hissing which periodically come out online. Though Batters’s feed and those of other Canadian politicians are usually centered around the positive aspects of Canadian society, indications of political polarization are far too easy to find. Click on any seemingly innocuous post on social media, any day of the year, and you are likely to find a host of replies by Canadians who have their own list of party-line criticisms — many of which are as vague and unhelpful as the attack on Alghabra’s analysis in August. This type of rhetoric, where anger takes precedence over constructive criticism, does not belong solely to the right side of the political spectrum. In response to a tweet by PC leader Andrew Scheer, citing

“tax hikes, red tape, and deficits that will span a generation,” as issues with the current Liberal government, one Twitter user commented that “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition has become a populist party infested with #racism, #bigotry, Nazi sympathizers, liars, misogyny and hatred for the Canadian way of life.”

social media profile “Meanwhile in Canada” in response to a post made by Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s Minister of Health. She wrote, “We can beat cancer — and our government is committed to helping make it happen.” “Meanwhile in Canada” responded to the tweet saying, “Instead of expanding our dependence on oil, your team need[s] to transition our economy away. Human exposure to benzene has been associated with cancer. Exposure can occur occupationally and domestically as a result of the ubiquitous use of benzene-containing petroleum products.” Notice the difference between this comment and the aforementioned complaint by Batters. It does not attack the individuals who support the way Canada’s oil industry is being handled. It does not resort to generalizations, but instead voices specific concerns that “Meanwhile in Canada” would like to see addressed. Despite the fact that Canadian society is largely positive, the polarization that has infected our political system reverberates far outside the realm of social media. Perhaps you have never posted something divisive online, but have felt polarized nonetheless. Even at cec Toronto C.I., this sentiment is not far beneath the surface. In a Graffiti article from March 2018, entitled “Policy, Equality, and the TDSB,” a Conservative NT alumnus, Maddie Skain, was quoted saying that “[she] often had difficulty reading [the school newspaper] because it…offended her beliefs.” The article went on to describe right-leaning students as feeling “outnumbered,” even comparing them to “oatmeal raisin cookies at the local charity bake sale…[that] nobody wants to touch.” Unfortunately, this culture which creates outcasts based on political affiliation is so deeply ingrained in our society that we seldom stop to reflect on just how ironic and destructive it is. After all, without an opposition to challenge those in power, it wouldn’t be much of a democracy at all. We need a paradigm shift in order to move forward with any hope for democracy. All this anger and dissatisfaction is traceable to the most basic factor: our erroneous perception of what is normal and healthy in a democracy. We cannot hope to eliminate mudslinging in favour of a system where politicians and constituents alike listen to one another, so long as we accept that attacks and polarization are an acceptable part of democracy. When friendship for those on the other side of the floor is almost a taboo sign of weakness, when everything regresses to name-calling and sticking out our tongues, and when we fundamentally see democracy and policy making as a zero-sum game, then Let it be fully understood that there we surrender to defeat for everyone are also numerous constructive in a system which is not designed comments which center around for loss at all. Rather, true democraproductive communication on how cy is a system designed for everyone we, as a nation, can move forward. to benefit as much as possible, beFor example, we can appreciate cause each side brings a unique arthe intent behind comments such gument to the table—not something as those made by the well-known to be refuted, but to be considered.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Opinion



High school relationships are unnecessary Nicolette Kemerer Editor


any of us can attest to the need for companionship. Displays of this behaviour, as well as eventual romantic unions between young people, are present in virtually every teenage movie, television series, or novel. Not only are we predisposed to desire romantic stimulation because of the changes in our hormones, but we are also being conditioned by outward forces (namely the media) to want to be in a relationship. However, a relationship is not merely the result of a two-way barrage of frantic and flirty texts, confirming mutual romantic feeling; it is a serious and mature dealing. Along with a relationship is a duty to be committed, faithful, and loving to your partner. People who have successful relationships are stable, sensible, and responsible. How can one expect a positive outcome from a relationship if they are still relying on their mother to prepare their lunch and do their laundry every day? To be frank, teenagehood is possibly the worst time in one’s life to engage in romance. The frontal lobe (the decision making part of the brain) develops fully at around the age of 25. In fact, the way teens think is completely different from that of an adult’s way of thinking. In short, adults think with the prefrontal cortex (the rational part of the brain), whereas teens think with the amygdala (the emotional part of the brain). This is why we continue to make poor decisions without understanding the motivations behind them. Not only are young people emotionally illequipped to decide if a relationship is really something they want, they are doomed to make many mistakes and quite possibly hurt their partner if they choose to engage in one.

Illustration by Tamlyn Kook-Chun

Moreover, the emotional tolls that come with every relationship are amplified when young, hormonal people are involved in them. The sting of a heartbreak is much more debilitating and the affection towards a partner is much more obsessive and all-consuming. According to Lucia O’Sullivan, professor of psychology at the University of New Brunswick, breakups are one of the leading causes of suicide among teens. A study conducted by the university found that over a period of four months, 28 percent of the cases of in-school counselling dealt with a breakup of some kind. Adults are much more able to deal with heartbreak, because they are emotionally and physically developed for the pain, and they are much more accustomed to responsibility, since it is they, not their parents who are in control of their lives (in most cases, anyway). From personal experience, and knowing many teenagers, the unstable and insecure temperaments some of us have are enough to discourage the idea of a relation-

ship. Many people go through most of their teenage years filled with great insecurity and vulnerability. They think that the only way to know that they are worthy of the desire of others is for others to outwardly express desire for them. However, by now, we should all know the saying: It is difficult to love someone else if you don’t first love yourself. Even those of us who are extremely self confident can benefit from a journey of self love and alone time. Learning to be alone is also essential to surviving and succeeding when one goes off to the “real world” and ventures into adulthood. The seemingly simple task of just being alone for long periods of time is challenging in itself, and should be experienced several times before the end of high school. I can’t imagine the feeling of emptiness one would have upon entrance to post-secondary, after separating from a high school partner: so suddenly being snatched from feelings of attention and care. Additionally, creating time for a romantic partner in the midst

of the stress of school work is remarkably difficult, more so in the upper years of high school, when the stress of post-secondary starts to set in. Anecdotes from Grade 12s not having time for a social life are disheartening, but are often not even remotely exaggerated. In the grand scheme of things, a high school relationship is a frivolity, a distraction even, to one’s future career. If spending time with a likely temporary partner decreases one’s chances to get into their top university or college by distracting them from their schoolwork, then how can such a distraction really be beneficial at all? Perhaps the most depressing dilemma about the high school romance is its inevitable end before the start of post secondary. Some couples will stay together past this milestone, especially if they are going to the same university or college. This dedication is admirable and enviable, though it is rare to see in young people. For the most part however, the end to a high school relationship is predestined. To engage in one is ultimately asking for heartbreak. Although relationships can be the cause of much satisfaction and joy in a time of perpetual awkwardness and development, they should not be something to aspire to, and they certainly should not be the ultimate staple of the high school experience. There are so many other important things that can be achieved in the span of four years: a foundation for a future career perhaps. Chance is a wonderful thing that can lead people to many different opportunities (I’m not saying you should refuse a date simply because of these reasons), but actively seeking out a relationship out of loneliness and conformity at such a vulnerable age is unhealthy, and really just unnecessary.

The Rock is Hollywood’s smartest businessman Cameron Gilliland Contributor


wayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the biggest, savviest and smartest stars in Hollywood today. In the last six months alone, he has starred in two blockbusters (Rampage and Skyscraper) along with his HBO series Ballers. The Rock promotes everything he does through social media, whether it be about his upcoming films, his movies that are currently in production, or his career in general. By dominating the social space in America and China, he can advertise all his movies without paying a single dime. The role of social media in the film industry has become more and more important as a new age of moviegoers stream films on their personal devices. Netflix is a perfect example of a platform that digs into the film industry’s profits. Millennials and people of Generation Z don’t want to leave their homes to go to the multiplex anymore. So, by Netflix bringing the multiplex to them it is much easier and cheaper to enjoy

Illustration by Tamlyn Kook-Chun

new content. To stay relevant with the new influx of movie goers, The Rock has shifted a lot of his marketing to his social media accounts on American and Chinese platforms. In recent years, the Chinese market has bolstered up The Rock’s less than stellar domestic numbers with consistent big box office numbers. To continue his good relationship with Chinese movie goers and theatres, Dwayne Johnson’s latest movie Skyscraper was not only filmed in China but co produced by a Chinese production company. By

embracing the Middle Kingdom, he is one of the only American movie personalities to capitalise on the biggest movie going market on the planet. Looking deeper into the Chinese box office totals, it is clear that they are already outpacing North America for the highest grossing movie market of the year. One reason for their success is their sheer size; China’s population is more than four times bigger than the population of the U.S. Also, with limited online accessibility, Chinese people often have to go to the multiplex to watch new content, compared to North American audiences who do not. However, one problem Dwayne Johnson seems to have is weak domestic totals. Breaking down his last five films, it is clear that his domestic totals have made up less than 50% of his worldwide totals with all of those films being

saved by the foreign box office. Especially his new movie Skyscraper, which only opened at 25 million states side, yet opened at 48 million dollars in China. Eventually, Dwayne Johnson’s U.S. numbers will get better, but it will take more star power through the supporting roles of his films to do so. For example, in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Dwayne Johnson co-starred along with Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart who are all box office successes in their own rights. So, when this movie left theatres it had done phenomenally in America, grossing over 400 million dollars. On top of his mainstream success, Dwayne Johnson also produces several of his own films, giving him a great deal of creative control on projects. The benefit of producing your own films is that you can always work, and Dwayne Johnson is always working. In Conclusion, with growing success in Hollywood by utilising social media and the Chinese Market, Dwayne Johnson further shows that he is a new breed of self-made movie moguls.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Opinion



Is Doug Ford really for the people? Doug Ford’s intentions are called into question following his recent policy decisions. Amanda Morwick Contributor


fter the end of Rob Ford’s political career, many Torontonians never thought they would hear the words ‘Ford more years’ uttered ever again. However, “Ford Nation” politics are becoming a reality again, but this time on a provincial scale and with a different Ford. Current Ontario premier Doug Ford - who won a resounding majority government this past June - has reignited some of the great divides within our province after only two months in office. His campaign promises instilled fear in many Liberal and NDP voters, but what was to come has made an even bigger impact among the residents of Ontario. In 2015, the Liberal government introduced a new and revitalized sex-education curriculum for the students of Ontario. The new topics included the issue of consent, gender identity and expression, same-sex relationships, as well as masturbation, all in attempts to educate and destigmatize. Premier Ford has made it a top priority to repeal Ontario’s sex education curriculum - vowing to do so just two

days after winning the election - as Despite the uproar from parents, he has stated that the curriculum teachers, and other political lead“should be about facts, not teaching ers, Premier Ford will continue with Liberal ideology.” In an attempt to his plans of creating a regressive regress the changes that were previ- classroom environment and in turn, ously made, Ford made the decision he will retrograde Ontario’s youth to revert back to the curriculum from education back to the 20th century. 1998 which excludes important top- In addition to his desire to ics such as repeal the sexconsent, LGed curriculum, BTQ individuDoug Ford als, and cybercontinues to safety. Ford make efforts claimed that towards reducthe changes ing represenmade back tation within in 2015 were Toronto. In implemented August 2018, without conthe Progressulting the sive Conservaparents of Ontive governtario. Yet, forment passed mer Ontario a bill slashing premier Kaththe number of leen Wynne Toronto city insists that councillors thousands of from 47 to 25. parents were Photo by Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun This legislasurveyed on tion attempts which sexual health topics should to align Toronto’s total city councilbe taught and at what age. More- lors with that of other cities within over, the government went beyond the province. With the reduction parents, collecting input from child of city councillors, Toronto will development professionals, mental be on par with Ottawa, which has health and sexual health organiza- 24 members on their city council. tions, parent groups, and police. However, the needs of Toronto’s 2.8 When the announcement was made million residents are greater than by Ford about the curriculum, two that of Ottawa’s 950,000. Striking of Ontario’s largest teacher unions the number of Toronto’s city coun- the Ontario Secondary School cillors in nearly half will make it Teachers Federation and the El- harder for Torontonians to have ementary Teachers Federation of their concerns dealt with. In addiOntario - opposed the decision. tion, this move will create an imbal-

ance between Toronto’s city centre and the GTA. With larger wards, there will less representation for those living in the city’s core. The deceit within Ford’s politics extends even to the name of this bill - the Better Local Government Act - as he is giving less local representation within the government. In addition to his efforts to turn back time and decrease representation for the city of Toronto, Ford has canceled the Liberal government’s basic income pilot project, which would have provided 4000 people with a basic income for three years. This project was created in order to help Ontarians live decently while getting their lives back on track. Unlike welfare, a basic income plan wouldn’t penalize individuals for working or receiving money. However, Ford scrapped the project, marking the first broken campaign promise, just one months into his term. What Ford has yet to learn as premier is that he has to represent all Ontario voters, rather than just those in “Ford nation”. He has angered many people with his repeal of the sex-education curriculum, the slashing of Toronto’s municipal government representatives without consulting the public, and the backtracking of his campaign promise to keep the basic income project. This disregard for a large portion of voters in the province does not bode well for the next few years or the future of the PC party in Ontario.

Remembering a maverick Jacob Crawford-Ritchie Contributor


n August 25, 2018, an American war hero, peacemaker, and maverick passed away. At 81 years old, Senator John McCain had achieved nothing less than a full life. McCain was born into a military family. Both his father and grandfather were highly decorated Admirals in the United States’ Navy. McCain followed in the footsteps of his forefathers by joining the Navy, serving as a bomber pilot during the Vietnam War. While flying a routine mission, his plane was struck and he was forced to eject from the plane. As a result, he sustained several injuries and was captured by enemy forces, tortured, and held as a prisoner of war for five and a half years. After his release, McCain found his true calling in public office. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 4 years. After serving two terms in congress, McCain made the switch to the Senate. During his tenure as Senator for Arizona, McCain was the chairman of a number of committees, among them, The Senate Armed Services Committee, The Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and The Senate Commerce Committee. Senator McCain was known to stand up for his beliefs even if they contradicted the overarching views of his party, the Republican Party. He was given the nickname “Maverick” for that rea-

son. McCain was an honest politician, one of the last of his kind. With the rise in isolationism, nationalism, and the “America First” mentality, he was one of the few people in American politics that held moral values above all else. In his first bid for the Republican nomination in the Presidential race, McCain ran against George W. Bush. Senator McCain’s biggest regret of the 2000 nomination campaign came because of a question he was asked in South Carolina. When asked whether he believed that the confederate flag should be removed from the State Capitol building, contrary to his beliefs (and his character), Senator McCain stated that the confederate flag was a symbol of heritage and history rather than hatred or oppression. After losing the nomination bid, Senator McCain voiced his regret for making the statement saying, “I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles. I broke my promise to always tell the truth.” His admission spoke volumes and showed who he truly was as a person. Though Senator McCain made the judgement to ignore his beliefs and speak to the Republican base, he later admitted his mistake and addressed his values of integrity and honesty despite the views of his party. Senator McCain also had no trouble crossing party lines. He repeatedly worked with members of

the rival Democratic Party, which garnered him respect from both sides of the aisle. He was able to form close relationships with John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and other big name Democrats. Senator McCain, a former prisoner of war, worked alongside then Senator John Kerry (who heavily opposed the war in Vietnam) to normalize relations with Vietnam. This grew into such a strong partnership that McCain nearly ran alongside Kerry in his 2004 presidential campaign. McCain understood that the only way for the nation to move forward was with respect and cooperation, not decisiveness and hatred. In addition to working with Kerry, McCain was one of the few Republicans to take on climate change. When faced with the claims of climate change, he was not one to dismiss them. Instead, McCain along with Democrat Hillary Clinton and other Senators wanted to see the impacts of climate change first hand. They travelled on a research mission to Alaska in order to view the overwhelming impacts of climate change with their own eyes. McCain did what he could to understand the issues and fight injustice, even if it meant compromising his big oil campaign contributions. After his research mission, he worked with former Democrat Joe Lieberman, proposing a bipartisan bill to reduce greenhouse emissions and combat global warming.

In the midst of the 2008 Presidential campaign, McCain hosted a Town hall where his true character was put on display. A Republican woman took the microphone to spew a conspiracy about his then opponent Barack Obama. The woman said “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he’s not, he’s not — he’s an Arab.” Without hesitation, Senator McCain took back the microphone to respond, “No ma’am, he’s a decent family man; a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.” When faced with bigotry, Senator McCain spoke up against one of his own supporters to say what’s right. Despite a heated campaign, he showed compassion for the American people, respect for the Constitution, and honour for the office that he was fighting to occupy. What a difference eight years makes. McCain was the last member of the true Republican party that was Abraham Lincoln’s and Teddy Roosevelt’s Republican Party. As President Trump continues to destroy the integrity of the highest office in the United States and preach hatred and division, our memories of John McCain live on. Though I often disagreed with many of his policies, I understand that whatever John McCain did, he did in the interest of the American people and for that I am forever grateful.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Opinion


Baby boomers vs. the economy Amanda Morwick Contributor


fter the Second World War, there were numerous booms within Canadian society. There was an economic boom, a marriage boom, and the most well known boom, the baby boom. Young men came home from war to get married and start a family, husbands came home to their wives, families were reunited, all while the economy was thriving and jobs were readily available. This resulted in a 20 year period known as the baby boom, in which more than 8.2 million babies were born. Fast forward to today, where these 8.2 million babies have matured into an exceedingly large aging population. In 2016, for the first time ever, seniors made up a larger population in Canada than children. This rate of seniors is on the rise and, by 2031, 1 in 4 Canadians will be over the age of 65, making a significant proportion of our population elderly. What many people don’t realize is that the aging population is a significant issue for Canadian society - in particular, the Canadian economy - and is one that will affect every individual in the population. In past generations, it was assumed and almost guaranteed that one would work until they were physically incapable. The idea of retirement is a new phenomenon and will soon be one of the main issues facing the Canadian economy. By 2040, Canada’s labour force participation will drop 8% due to millions of Canadians aging out of the labour force. Additionally, per-capita income growth in Canada will slow down significantly. Between the years of 1981 and 2016, per-capita income grew by about 1.3%. However, projections for the growth of percapita income between 2017 to 2045 are low, at only 0.9%. Lower rates of per-capita income growth means

the economy in general will grow at a slower pace, making it more difficult for the Canadian government to collect revenues. As the higher volume of seniors begin to retire, not only will there be fewer individuals contributing to the economy through the workforce, there will also be a large drop in government tax income. Much of Canada’s revenue is made from income tax, however, with the labour force volume in a decline, Canada will be losing income tax from millions of people. This decrease in revenues will come right at a time when there will be a great increase in pressure on government spending and contributions. When retirement was introduced in the 1920s, the general age to retire was 70, even though the average life expectancy was 60. By the 1950s, workers were able to begin drawing benefits at age 65 with the average life expectancy being 68. When the Canadian government began to introduce old age and retirement benefits, it was originally assumed that the government would only be paying these benefits for up to five years. Now that life expectancies have extended well past one’s 60s, the Canadian government is burdened with supporting the elderly for decades, and, as the baby boomers begin to age, this burden begins to land heavily upon the shoulders of Canada’s younger population. The healthcare system is one of the largest programs in Canada funded by government spending. However, as citizens reach the senior age of 65, one’s average annual healthcare costs becomes exceedingly higher than the average for those aged 15-64, going from $2,664 to $11,625 annually. In addition to higher spending on healthcare, other old age programs will require increased spending as well such as Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Canada’s current spending on these old age programs is around $48.3 bil-

Illustration by Tamlyn Kook-Chun

lion dollars and is estimated to increase 47% by 2045. An increase in Canada’s spending will cause issues when trying to expand the economy as a large portion of Canada’s revenues will need to be focused towards old age programs. As this spending rises, ultimately Canada’s tax rates will need to go up as well. Old age homes, hospitals, and healthcare are only a few of the areas that will need increased government spending over the next few decades. As these programs are crying out for greater funds, fewer and fewer individuals within the labour force will be sending in their income tax every year. The Canadian government, left with no choice, will need to raise taxes in order to support their aging population. However as these rates increase, consumers will end up with reduced disposable income. This reduction could be detrimental to the Canadian economy, as consumer purchasing is one of the easiest ways to surge or deflate the economy. In the second quarter of 2017, Canada’s economy had an unexpected acceleration at a 4.5% pace. This ac-

celeration was led almost solely by the power of consumer purchasing. The growth of Canada’s aging population will put a large strain on the economy, resulting in a negative affect that is already being seen today. This large demographic shift will result in higher spending paired with slower revenue growth. The Canadian government will need to reform various policies, alter spending habits, as well as raise taxes, all the while accumulating debt in order to counteract much of this issue. However, the constant increase in deficits and debt could easily result in a large increase in Canada’s debtto-GDP ratio. In fact, it is projected that Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio could increase to between 167% to 252% by the year 2045. Canada is currently facing stark economic choices over the next few decades due to its aging population and this burden will inevitably be dropped on the shoulders of the younger generations, the government, but mainly, the economy itself.

We can learn life lessons from kids, the ultimate teachers Maya Sternthal Contributor


ike many North Toronto C.I. students, I spent my summer working at an overnight camp as a counselor. This year, I left camp not only with special memories and new skills, but with a new perspective on the importance of lessons that children can share. Of course, camp counselling is not all glamorous, and I did have to constantly remind ten-year-olds to pick their wet bathing suits up off the floor and to stop walking around the cabin during rest hour in horseback riding boots (which is in their opinion the most appropriate and quiet footwear option). I could not imagine my summer without the loving hugs from my first session ten-year-old campers and the late night talks about middle school, confidence, and friendship with my second session twelve-year-olds. I have compiled the top three lessons that I took away from this summer, which I think demonstrate the importance and great value we can

all gain from working with kids. Kids remind us to be optimistic. When my cabin was scheduled to depart for a camping trip on the stormiest day of the summer, I was shocked by the girls’ excitement despite the pouring rain. Not one of them complained, and they hopped into their canoes with smiles on their faces. They showed me that the rainy outing was an adventure and definitely one that we would remember for a long time. They laughed throughout dinner about funny songs and even performed a “rap battle” under a tarp in the pouring rain. Even though many of them had frustrating, wet sleeping bag nights, they crawled out of their tents the next morning laughing about their experience. As we canoed back to camp, singing at the top of our lungs, they told me that it was the best cabin overnight trip. I know that many of us (myself included) would have struggled to maintain such a positive and optimistic outlook due to the gloomy weather, but twelve-year-olds made the experience a beautiful memory.

Kids are experts on the importance of having fun. The campers were unapologetically themselves and their goofiness shone around camp. Walking into the cabin in the middle of a flashlight dance party or fashion show reminded me that it is important to have a “goofy moment” each day. I have never seen such pure and natural smiles from kids and tweens as I did when they were being goofy. I could tell that many of them felt pressures to be “cool” and mature at home, and it was evident that being in a place that fostered individuality and the preservation of youth was beneficial to their mental health and outlooks as they grew up. Kids remind us of how beautiful childhood is. I found that camp is one of the few places left where a ten-year-old and even a twelveyear-old are still treated as children. They are encouraged to play, to make up their own games, and to use their imaginations to create their own fun. Of course, many of them mentioned their phones or social dramas at home, but I saw the side of a little girl in every one

of them. This is very unique today as kids are encouraged to mature at increasingly young ages. It was magical to see ten-year-olds who would normally be playing on tablets at home, thoroughly consumed in writing letters to fairies and patiently waiting for a response. While summer only lasts for a few months, I hope that the girls will remember the value of viewing everything in an optimistic light, the smiles and confidence that come with showing one’s goofy side, and the joy of creative play through imagination. Now the counselors and campers have gone home to very different communities, families, and lives, but I hope that we will always remember how we felt about ourselves at camp. I hope that institutions such as camps and schools continue to foster the values of optimism, the preservation of youth, and creativity. I hope that as high school students, we can look back on memories from our childhood summers and use them to propel us into the new school year.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Humour & Games


humour & games

How to survive high school Connor Colwill Editor

2. While you will spend most of your high school career stressing over

9, and I spent a lot of time stressing over them. The earlier you learn that marks don’t matter that much until you hit 11th and 12th grades, the happier you’ll be in life. I entered Grade 9 from a middle school which basically did not prepare me at all for NT; it felt as if I had never

1. This is a tip for anyone reading, not just niners: Walk faster in the hallways. With 1300 students and four staircases, getting anywhere in this school takes hours and a definite popping of your personal bubble. The number of times you’ll have to squeeze through the crowd to get to the door and weave your way in and out of people in the hallways is crazy, and the school Illustration by Danielle Depencier would be a much happier place if everyone put a spring in their step marks, the one time you don’t need and went a bit faster. There was an to is definitely in ninth grade. In all incident I witnessed last year that honesty, your marks will most likely I’m just warning you now never to be lower than you expect because do, and that is locking arms with NT is a big step up from middle two other people and walking down school. I remember my marks from the hallway as if you’re part of the Grade 9 and, yikes, were they bad. Wizard of Oz and you’re skipping My four lowest marks in all of my down the yellow brick road. These high school years come from Grade

learned anything before in my entire life, and I realized it was going to be bad. But don’t worry, I went from a 63% in math to having an unsuccessful one year attempt at enriched math for Grade 10, and from an 80 in Grade 9 science to dropping physics in Grade 11 because it was too hard… so actually, never mind. You


o all the new Grade 9s, I’d like to start off by welcoming you to North Toronto C.I. and also warning you that these next few years will bring you the most stress you have ever faced in your life… enjoy! Entering a new school can be tough, so as someone who’s now entering their final year, I’d like to share some tips from my friends and I that will help you survive NT.

individuals legitimately took up the entire hall and didn’t stop until someone walked between them and broke up their interlocked arms (which was for the best).

might as well give up now because things aren’t going to get any better. 3. Please don’t sit in the middle of the hallway or have your squad sit on both sides and stick their legs out, because people will just push right through. Honestly, I can’t blame them. Sorry Samantha, but you practically gave yourself that twisted ankle leaving your leg out there just waiting to be stepped on. This tip fits into the theme of spatial awareness, which is very important when navigating NT. I’ve seen some niners play catch with a lunch bag while descending from the fourth floor, taking up the entire staircase. Just letting you know that I did, in fact, yell at them to get out of the way because I wasn’t trying to be late to second period or get hit with the lunch Timothy’s mommy packed for him. Here are just a few tips to make your time at NT a little better. I would also like to apologize for the imminent rudeness you’ll receive from every other grade since you’re merely a niner, because, trust me, there’s going to be a lot of it. Don’t worry though, you only have to make it through one year until you’re allowed to terrorize the incoming NT class of 2023.

Ten ways to trick yourself into being smart and organized Follow these ten steps and you will breeze through high school. Maybe.

Annie Doane Editor Nicolette Kemerer Editor 1. Write in your agenda every day and create a homework plan. Trust us, you will forget to do your homework if you don’t write it down. Some people think that they can remember dozens of assignments in their head. If you can, congrats, but most of us mere mortals are not above using an agenda. It will keep you organized and on task. It is also extremely satisfying to cross something off once it is completed. 2. Surround yourself with smart and organized people (fake it till you make it). One of the many things we’ve learned in high school so far is that if you pretend you know what you’re doing and you hang out with the smart kids, their habits will hopefully rub off on you and you will start becoming one of them. The one downside to this is that you will have way less spare time than you usually would due to all that studying. But hey, you can see your friends on weekends right (probably for a study session in the library)?

3. Remove distractions that will interfere with your learning. Has this ever happened to you? You’re working on a project and it’s so boring that you can’t help yourself from looking at your phone so you can remain updated on the important lives of those you have never met before. Tip: Never do your homework within five metres from your phone. Your phone deserves a break from seeing your double chin every now and again. 4. Buy organized notebooks for each class. Perhaps the only fun thing about organizing the mess that is your life is colour coding your stationary according to your classes. On a side note, don’t become the kid who asks the students around them for paper every single class, only to shove it in their backpack, to be found ten months later (in accordion form). 5. Write notes in class (or else you’ll forget every lesson). You don’t have to be the kid repeatedly mumbling “Did we seriously learn this? I swear we never learned this!” (among many profanities) during a test. 6. Don’t neglect a subject because

you dislike it. Let’s be real, most of us (excluding the enriched kids) hate math. But the thing about math is that you actually have to do your homework, or else you won’t understand anything and you’ll probably fail (speaking from experience). As a North Toronto C.I. student once said: “No one actually enjoys taking multiple sciences and maths. We just do it so we can get into university.” 7. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Having too many obligations will make you extremely overwhelmed and horribly stressed out. If you stretch yourself too thin, you will eventually snap. Also, the quality of your work will worsen, which will stress you out even more. Don’t get to the point in your life where you’re cramming for a science test while counting the rests in a piece of music, or organizing a fundraiser while brushing your teeth (both true stories). 8. Don’t spend too much time on something dumb. It may seem tempting to spend five hours making an extremely detailed visual to go with that English presentation. But if the visual is worth 4% of the assignment, it’s not worth it. Instead, try to focus on the actual

contents of the presentation, or the math test that you have tomorrow that is worth 10% of your grade. 9. Ask for help. Probably the biggest mistake you can make in high school is not asking your teachers for help when you clearly need it, simply because you’re afraid of looking stupid in front of them. It is literally their job to make sure you understand. I (Nicolette) have gone so out of my way to avoid talking to my teachers for the sole purpose of preserving my dignity. I later realized how it is not worth having dignity if it means almost failing math. 10. Don’t procrastinate. Finishing your assignment as the teacher comes around to collect it isn’t the best way to get a good grade. Though you may work surprisingly well under pressure and somehow enjoy the rush of adrenaline you get from pulling an all-nighter to finish an essay, stop. Do not do it. It will only cause you an immense amount of stress and make your next day at school horrible because you only slept two and a half hours the previous night. It would have been three hours had you not spent half an hour trying to find the rubric you got two weeks ago.

Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Humour & Games


The summer life cycle months have moved out, and you are now sporting some fresh tanlines.

Annie Doane Editor


dmit it. Your summer wasn’t as great as you wanted it to be. You either spent too much time having fun and weren’t productive, or you were so productive that you forgot to have fun. It happens to everyone. Plans are made, some of them are carried through: most are not. I’m not saying that your summer was a waste, I’m sure it was a “nice, well-deserved break,” but chances are that it fell into a routine that I like to call the summer life cycle. June 25th to 30th: You are free. There is no need to worry about the exams you just finished or your report cards marks that definitely are not at their prime. You leave North Toronto for the summer and never look back. All you can focus on is the summer job you are starting, fancy trip you are going on, or the summer camp you are attending. You are hopeful that this is going to be the best summer ever. July 1st to 31st: By now, you have most likely adapted to the summer lifestyle and are enjoying every minute of it. Whether you are in the city or not, you are enjoying many days with your friends, sleeping until ten (at least), and eating your weight in ice cream. The dark bags that have lived under your eyes for the last 10

August 1st to 17th: You have just seen the first back to school commercial on TV and an unruly sense of dread forms inside you. You have the same thoughts everyone has at the sight of these commercials: “August literally just started, calm down Staples.” By now, most are back from their vacations and have run out of things to do. Most North Toronto C.I. students either spend their August taking a summer course, an internship, or a part-time job, and as practical and necessary as they might be, if you are like me, you spend all the times when you aren’t at work either sleeping or watching Netflix. Welcome to the mid-summer slump. August 18th to 26th: This is when you start thinking about going back to school. Though the idea depresses some and excites others, preparing is necessary for all. Whether you start preparing yourself mentally for all the homework you are definitely going to be assigned, or emotionally training for getting out of bed every day at 7am, this is a time where students are bracing themselves for what is to come. August 27th to September 3rd: This is your last week of freedom until Christmas break. Instead of continuing your mid-summer

Illustration by Nikoo Aleyasin

slump, you make the last week of your summer count. Some go up to their cottages or on vacation to prevent back-to-school nerves, while others get together with their friends and

celebrate the time that they have left before school tears their social life apart. This week allows you to go back to school with a fresh, relaxed, and hopefully open mind.




Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Humour & Games

Terrible experiences from my past Connor Colwill Editor


e’ve all been little kids before which means we’ve all had embarrassing moments. School has finally sprung, and I’m going to share a few moments of my past to give you something to laugh about, because I’m sure most of you are grasping onto any remnant of summer and happiness that you have left.


biggest wedgie humanly possible, but nothing could stop me because I finally got that ball back! I climbed the fence again to get back over, taking extra precautions, but this time my shirt got stuck on the top and ended up ripping a big hole in it… so as you can tell it was a rough day. 3. *Gross story warning* This one didn’t occur too long ago. I was in Grade 9, but it emotionally scarred me for life and be thankful that I’m even sharing this right now because I care about lifting spirits for the

beginning of the school year. I had been away from school for about three weeks with the worst flu I had ever had in my entire life; at one point I unsarcastically thought I was going to die. My parents are the type to send me to school even while sick, so when I first showed signs of getting slightly better, they told me I had to go to school immediately. I got on the streetcar, and everything was going fine, but, halfway through the commute, my head started to spin. Now, at this point in the story you probably think Grade 9 Connor is about to faint, but no, what happened was much, much worse than fainting. In a crowded streetcar where no one could move an inch, I proceeded to throw up on the stranger sitting down in front of me. I doubt many of you have experienced the sheer amount of embarrassment I faced after this happened, because this was one of the worst experiences of my life. After processing what I had just done, I took some Kleenex out of my bag and threw them at her while I ran off of the streetcar, and I turned right around to go home and sit and think about what had just happened… and cry because I legitimately just threw up on a random stranger. These are just a few stories that I hope made at least one of you laugh at me to take your mind off of school. I could probably fill an entire issue of Graffiti with my struggles, but I’ll save the rest for another time.


Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every box contains the digit one through nine in any order. There is only one solution for each puzzle.

RIDDLES 1. How do you spell hard water with only three letters? 2. What did the blanket say to the frightened bed? 3. Where were the first french fries made in? Answers: 1. Ice 2. “I’ve got you covered” 3. Grease

1. One time, I went to Ontario Place with my mom. However, the Caribana parade was going on, and it was blocking the bridge to get there. Instead of just waiting until it was over, my mom decided the best approach was to slip past the fence and the police perimeter and walk smack-dab into the middle of the parade. She proceeded to stop a parade float and got into argu- Photo courtesy of Connor Colwill ments with various people but, in tons of kids jump over the wire the end, came out on top. They acfences, so it can’t be that hard. I got tually paused the entire parade for a to the top and flipped my legs over bit to let all the families walk across to the other side, but my shoelace to Ontario Place. Reading this story, got caught on the spike at the top. I’m sure you can imagine the sheer This camp did not have the most atembarrassment I felt, and also that tentive staff team, so they didn’t remy mom could easily win the title alize I was stuck for a solid 20 minof most embarrassing parent ever. utes. I sat there for 20 minutes, and ended up crying at the end because 2. I was at a baseball camp once, I thought I would be there forever. which is probably shocking to people Finally, they came over and freed that know me, and a ball was thrown my shoelace. I hopped down, but my over the fence. I was told to climb shorts proceeded to get stuck on the the fence and get it, which didn’t top spike as well which gave me the seem like a big problem. I mean,


Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Humour & Games


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Graffiti | September 13, 2018 | Comics



GUM SHOES IV | Avishai Sol


September Issue 2018  
September Issue 2018