l et t er from t h e EDITOR
oming off the high of releasing our first issue of the year, we knew that things were going to be different this time around. Finally, at the closing of the first semester, we are finding our rhythm, looking away from the legacies of the past and trying to build a new face for the magazine. And so, for this issue of The Chariot, we chose a topic that hits us all close to home. “High School” tells the story of today’s high school experience. We wanted to capture what it means to be a kid in 2019, and not just in Johns Creek. Today, the processes of attending and leaving high school, going on to bigger, and hopefully better things seems to hinge entirely on your parents: the opportunities they give you, the resources you have access to and the schools you can attend. Of course, this puts students at lower socioeconomic classes at an extreme disadvantage. Though some students break through to the top despite barriers put in place by society and the American economic and educational system, getting merit scholarships and financial aid is extremely difficult, and often does not cover the costs people face. Johns Creek puts us at an advan-
taged position, with amazing classes and a myriad of resources at our disposal, we have a completely different perception of the high school experience than those in disadvantaged communities. Because of this, we wanted to show a different side of the story. In addition to the story of the high school system, we wanted to capture all aspects of the life of a high schooler. This year, we’ve begun a new round up, focusing on the extraordinary students at Johns Creek . For this , we decided to look into the lives and activities of the cross country team, swimmer Andrew Simmons, photographer Jeremy Paredes and influencer Shae Story. Staff writer Claire Federico looked into what makes the Johns Creek Bubble different, a fun look at how our school stands apart from the others. Finally, writers Alec Grosswald and Justin Vexler debate the merits of summer homework, an issue that’s become the bane of all our existences. For this issue, we hope, not just that you enjoy the magazine, but that it makes you think about how your life and high school look different than someone else’s. So enjoy: Issue 2, High School.
2 | ADAM KLAFTER
Table of Contents 04.news 4. AROUND THE CREEK 6. VAPING 7. CLIMATE CHANGE 8. THE 6IX9INE TRIAL
Copy Editor Ethan Mingoia covers one of the hottest topics in the news, the medical community, and school: vaping. Page 6
09. sport s 9. NFL 10. JOHNS CREEK CAPTAINS 12. GEORGIA BASKETBALL 13. PRESEASONS AT JOHNS CREEK
14. feature s
Staff Writer Coln Raad goes in depth on what it means to be a captain in Johns Creek, in and out of game-play. Page 10
14. COVER STORY: HIGH SCHOOL 20. FALL FESTIVITIES 22. THE JOHNS CREEK BUBBLE 23. HIGH SCHOOL SURVIVAL GUIDE 24. MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT
26. opinions 26. FACEOFF: SUMMER HOMEWORK 28. FLEX 29.SPORTS VS ARTS FUNDING 30.AMERICAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
Editor-in-Chief Dani Blank tackles the issues currently plaguing the American education system. Page 30
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Around the Creek: S
HANNAH ROSE FRAZER, staff writer, EMMA BUONI, staff writer
Cross Country Record Breakers: Agam H, Maddie W, Dani B, Luca P, and Asa H.
his season, five cross country runners from both 11th and 12th grade, earned themselves new spots on the record board. Agam Horowitz (11th), Maddie Wheatley (12th), and Dani Blank (12th) all broke 20 minutes in the 5k and achieved new personal records this season, claiming the 2nd, 4th and 6th spots on the board, respectively. These runners led their team to a podium finish at the State Championships. On the boy’s side, Luca Parker (12th) and Asa Hawkins (11th) broke 17 minutes and earned the 4th and 6th spots on the board. Parker qualified individually for State.
ndrew Simmons (11th) is a gifted swimmer at Johns Creek High School. He was a vital contributor for the Johns Creek swim team’s success in winning the state championship. Andrew swam in the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay both of which won state. Andrew also placed second in the 200 individual medley, and currently holds the school record for that success. Outside of school, Andrew qualified for Summer Junior Nationals and was a finalist for the 200 backstroke event. In addition, Andrew qualified for the US Open in three different events. It is hard to believe that with all of these accomplishments, Andrew has had to undergo many medical procedures. Freshman year, Andrew needed surgery for the first time for appendicitis and intestinal malrotation. Shortly after the operation, Andrew needed an emergency surgery because there was a blockage in his intestines due to a buildup of scar tissue. These surgeries not only delayed Andrew’s swimming, but also his academics. Despite two months of procedures, Andrew placed in several different events in a state championship meet, including getting fourth place in the 100 backstroke and first place in 400 freestyle relay.
The Comeback: Andrew Simmons
4 |ADAM KLAFTER
Student Highlights W
hen most people think of an Instagram influencer, they think of someone like Kylie `Jenner. However, what many people at Johns Creek are unaware of is there is an influencer among us-Shae Story, a promoter for Nova Shine, a teeth whitening product.At first she was skeptical when contacted by the company. “I had gotten DMs from many jewelry and clothing lines, but I always thought they were scams,” she said. “Lots of people think being an influencer is a joke and that it’s not a real job, but we put a lot of work into what we are doing, just as others are putting work into their jobs,” Shae explained. Shae’s world has changed rapidly since her new tech-based career. “This past summer I went to Colorado for a soccer tournament, and there was a group of kids looking for me, having heard I was in town and wanting to meet me. Getting to meet them and talk to them was so amazing...I was in a different state and people knew who I was...Just a couple months ago, I was a normal girl who was going to school and playing soccer, and now I’m an influencer, and everywhere I go, I’m recognized. That’s just amazing.” Shae believes that becoming an influencer has improved her positivity and outlook on the world. “Being an influencer has definitely changed the way I look at the world. I see everyone as a beautiful individual who deserves a chance and opportunity that I have!”
Life of an Influencer: Shae Story
eremy Paredes (11th) is a talented film producer at Johns Creek High School. As a freshman, Jeremy would film the football team and incorporate his own ideas into videos along with other edits he found on social media. As Jeremy gained more experience in editing and creating videos, his work received more popularity. Jeremy has earned many accomplishments for his talents: he placed first for Student Television Network Nationals his sophomore year, along with Landon Reed, and was awarded two Student Emmys in the categories of sports and editing. Jeremy also produced a video covering 15 year old Coco Guaff, a rising tennis star, on her journey at Wimbledon in which she made an amazing appearance to defeat Venus Williams. Shortly after Jeremy posted a video on her success, she reposted his work on her Instagram feed and gave him a shoutout. Jeremy is an undoubtedly gifted film producer and has a lot of great things headed his way in the future. Make sure to check out his work by following his account, @jdopefx, on Instagram.
King of the Camera: Jeremy Paredes
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---- The Fight to Save the Future DREW PELJOVICH, staff writer
he planet’s climate is changing, and so is the way humanity combats it. Today, the younger generation is stepping up and waging war against rising temperatures. No other age group has ever been so vocal about preserving this planet. Climate change is now on the forefront of political conversations; possibly for the first time ever. Whatever improvements need to be made in society, activists are ready to implement them. In the midst of the climate issue, protesters flooded streets all over the world in support of political change for one week in September. Rather surprising to some, reporters estimate that approximately 31 percent of the protesters were between the ages of 21-25. Furthermore, the BBC states that in New York alone, “1.1m children [were] allowed to miss school to join the march.” The younger generations are reshaping the face of the climate debate, arguing that the older generation failed to fix the issue. The youth argue that since this will be their future,they want it to be clean, healthy, and alive. At the forefront of the fight stands Greta Thunberg, a 15 year old Swedish schoolgirl who spearheaded the climate march on September 20th. Greta is best known for her incredible ability to stand up to world leaders, and slam their inactivity. She stated, “you have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” She first started protesting her cause by sitting in front of the Swedish Parliament every Friday with a sign that translates to school strike for the climate. Now, she stands as a powerful leader for millions of youth to rally against lethargic leaders. Climate change is not only an issue for the younger generation, but also for several minority groups. The Washington Post estimates that people of color attributed to over one-third of protesters in Washington D.C. Moreover, the publication claims at least twice as many Hispanic and black students as opposed to white children walked out of school during the climate protests. Although not technically a minority, women make up a majority of the population in favor of eco-friendly laws; 58 percent of participants and 68 percent of the organizers at the climate protests were female. The Earth is warming, and the fight for change is just heating up. With a new era of political participation on the horizon, young people as well as minority groups across the world are taking matters into their own hands.
6 | ADAM K. & LARISSA C.
VAPING & HIDDEN RISKS ETHAN MINGOIA, copy editor
n recent weeks, there has been a surge of reports detailing hundreds of people ending up in the hospital due to severe lung illnesses and other health problems after vaping. At least 28 people have died. E-cigarettes hit the US market about a decade ago, branded as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. However, they did not gain traction until 2015, when Juul Labs (then part of Pax Labs) debuted its discreet USB-size vaporizer and quickly became the industry leader. Sleek and slim, with an appearance that mirrors a flash drive, Juul has been established among youth as the vaping tool of choice. Teens even morphed the brand into a verb - juuling - according to widespread news coverage chronicling its rise. The result was a spike in vaping, especially among teens and young adults, a segment of the population that, until then, had been using fewer tobacco products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To understand vaping, it’s best to start on broad terms. To vape is to inhale vapor created from a liquid heated up inside a device. From there, things quickly get complicated. The devices have many names—vape pens, pod mods, tanks, electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDS), e-hookahs and e-cigarettes. The liquid they contain also has many monikers—it might be called e-juice, e-liquid, cartridges, pods, or oil. Most vape liquids contain a combination of propylene glycol or glycerol, also called glycerin, as a base, and nicotine, marijuana, or flavoring chemicals to produce common or outlandish flavors, from mint to “unicorn puke.” The devices rely on batteries to power heating elements made of various materials that aerosolized liquid. Although vaping companies emphatically deny that they are marketing to young people, critics note features in their advertising such as youthful images and colors, animation, actors who appear to be under 21, and suggestions that vaping makes you happier and improves your social status.
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GA Basketball Scene SAM BEAGLE, managing editor
eorgia is nothing shy of a basketball state, plain and simple. Football and baseball are southern staples, but multitude of these athletes, along with their sin=gle-sport counterparts, find rhythm in the simplicity of basketball. The sweltering heat of Georgia summers make air-conditioned gyms a haven for athletes, and the upcoming athletes make use. From hall of famers like Dominique Wilkins to current NBA standouts like Jaylen Brown and Dwight Howard, Georgia has always produced a great number of elite players. Recently a rise in attention to high school basketball and the viral mixtapes that have come with it have thrown Georgia into the spotlight. As communication evolved, powerhouse high schools developed. Certain schools in big states, like Florida and California, attracted and utilized the best of the up-and-coming classes, using prior successes and coaching as attraction elements. For example, Montverde Academy in Florida has had a handful of professional alumni in the past few years such as NBA stars D’Angelo Russell and Ben Simmons. The same goes for Sierra Canyon, a school in Los Angeles that hosted players like Lebron James Junior, Zaire Wade, and Brandon Boston (a recruit out of Norcross High School). Social media enabled these athletes to obtain high levels of exposure at a young age. Social media platforms like Overtime and Ballislife burst into the scene in the mid-2010s as mixtape creators and centers of attraction for high school athletes. Players like Zion Williamson and Mac McClung were able to draw these groups and many others to their AAU games with NBA-caliber dunks and complete destruction of other teams. This started a new wave of reporting that centered around offensive prowess, focusing attention away from quality defensive work. Not only did the basketball attract attention, but the player’s themselves made the videos even more exciting to watch. Highlight reels turned into mini-documentaries about the
8 | MOKANBASKETBALL
lives of the players, and this drew in non-basketball audiences. Soon enough, every top-tier EYBL (Nike’s premier youth basketball league) and AAU game attracted handfuls of reporters, spotlighting certain players and making them mixtapes to post on social media. One of these AAU teams, Atlanta XPress, held the nations second best recruit of the 2019 class, Anthony Edwards. The Holy Spirit Prep alumni committed to the University of Georgia, an unforseen commitment to a school that has not advanced in the NCAA tournament since 2002. Even more popular EYBL team AOT drew entire film crews with top recruits like Sharife Cooper out of McEachern High School and the aforementioned Brandon Boston. Cooper’s high school team, also holding top recruit Isaac Okoro, won Georgia’s 7A division in basketball last year. 7A teams like MeadowCreek, McEachern, and Norcross have all been staples in Georgia basketball history, and their top recruits have done nothing but gain exposure in recent years. Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to one of Georgia’s best youth basketball players, Scoot Henderson. Scoot attends Kell High School in Marietta and plays for an elite AAU team: Game Elite 5. Scoot, the second ranked point guard in the Class of 2022 (according to 247 Sports), had strong opinions on the impact of social media on the game based on his experience. Modeling his game after elite Georgia players like Collin Sexton and Anthony Edwards, Scoot claimed his playstyle changed through middle school as he began to be filmed. He broke down his shift from a conservative court controller to a stand-out physical presence that can drive in the lane like no one else. Magazine coverage by SLAM HighSchool and MSHTV, keep high school ball in headlines for older audiences, and their youth tournaments for middle schoolers go viral every year. If there is one takeaway from all of this exposure, it is that Georgia basketball will not be just a local event anymore.
Snitches Get Stitches
6 i x i n e D
KOLIN BRANDEIS, staff writer
aniel Hernandez, commonly known as Tekashi 6ix9ine, entered 2018 with a bang. Sporting tattoos across his body and rainbow colored hair, Hernandez was recognizable anywhere he went. To go along with his controversial look, Hernandez put out the song “GUMMO” towards the end of 2017. “GUMMO” possessed a new, violent tone to rap, echoing screams and gunshots throughout the track. Just weeks after its release, the track found itself at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 with over 350 million views. Hernandez, who was now known by everyone as Tekashi 6ix9ine, entered the upcoming year as a bona fide star. 6ix9ine rode this wave into 2018 with the releases of his other hit songs “KOODA” and “KEKE”. Within months of his rapid rise to fame, it became evident 6ix9ine was living two simultaneous lives. In public, 6ix9ine was portrayed as one of the most up and coming rappers of the decade; in private, however, 6ix9ine found himself part of a New York gang that committed murders, robberies and distributed drugs. As 6ix9ine flaunted his membership in the Nine Trey Gangster Bloods throughout all of his songs, he began to face the repercussions for
his gang lifestyle. Around January 2018, 6ix9ine’s conviction of sexual assault against a minor became publicly known. This crime surge continued to follow 6ix9ine as he was charged with a number of assaults and other misdemeanors during early 2018. Then on November 18, 2018, 6ix9ine and other members of the Nine Trey Bloods were arrested on federal charges of racketeering or running a crime organization. On January 23, 2019, 6ix9ine pleaded guilty to 9 counts of racketeering, firearm offenses and drug trafficking. 6ix9ine’s trial began on September 17, 2019. In cooperation with the government, 6ix9ine has outed many of his former Nine Trey Gang members and has even outed former member and famous rapper Trippie Redd. As 6ix9ine convicted many of his previous gang brothers, he will likely get out of jail earlier than expected due to his cooperation with the government. For his safety, many have suggested 6ix9ine to receive witness protection in response to him “snitching” on many violent members of a dangerous and growing gang. Ultimately, 6ix9ine remains optimistic and reportedly wants to restart his rap career instead of entering witness protection.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BINO
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CREEK CAPTAINS: COLN RAAD, staff writer
Football: Jon Ross Maye
Volleyball: Rachel Williams
hat does it mean to you to be a captain? Maye: “Being a captain means you listen to your teammates and put them first along with the team. Team means more than anything else. You’re the voice and you must listen to people.” Q: What type of responsibilities do you have for the team? Maye: “Make sure everyone is on the same page because people are counting on you. If there is a problem you have to fix it. While you do have friends and friends you have to hold them accountable just like anyone else.” Q: During a game, do you feel pressure representing your team as captain? Maye: “When the big play needs to be made it’s on you but it’s a team game and you have to do your job like the team is doing theirs.” Q: What actions have you taken that have led you to be chosen as captain? Maye: “Believing in my team and my abilities along with listening to the players on the team and caring for them. Not thinking you are above but doing the little things right.”
hat does it mean to you to be a captain? Williams: To be a captain means to be a leader and example for the rest of your team. Q: What type of responsibilities do you have for the team? Williams: As a captain, I have to talk to the refs with the other team before the game, and I always have to bring energy and positivity to the team.” Q: During a game, do you feel pressure representing your team as captain? Williams: “During games, I do feel pressure representing my team because I want to try to be an example for my teammates.” Q: What actions have you taken that have led you to be chosen as captain? Williams: “I have always gone to practice with high intensity and positivity. I am loud and try to lead with confidence. I think I was chosen to be a captain because I try to pick up the team anytime we get down on ourselves.”
10 | ADAM KLAFTER
: Fall Sports T
he Chariot interviewed some of the fall sport captains for the 2019-2020 school year. The captains from the sports include cross country, volleyball, and football. In recap, the Gladiator football team won back-to-back Region Championships after two straight 9-1 seasons. The cross country team won second place in Region 6A and finished fourth at state. The girls volleyball team finished the season qualifying for playoffs and finishing strong in their final games.
Cross Country: Team Seniors
hat does it mean to you to be a captain? Seniors: “To me, being a “captain” means setting a positive example for my teammates. We encourage our teammates to cheer each other on and put 100% into every workout.” Q: What type of responsibilities do you have for the team? Seniors: “During meets, as a senior who’s been on the team all four years, I feel a lot of pressure to pull my weight for my team. If I’m struggling in the middle of a race I tell myself to do it for the team.” Q: What type of responsibilities do you have for the team? Seniors: “As a captain, I lead warmups and stretches while motivating my teammates. It’s important to encourage everyone to strive to improve. The seniors do a great job in supporting teammates and guiding them.” Q: What actions have you taken that have led you to be chosen as captain? Seniors: “There are no assigned captains, therefore the seniors take on the role of being team leaders. We work together to create a positive influence on the team.”
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NFL Century Mark Updates HARRISON BLANK, staff writer
he 100th NFL season is already 10 games in and some teams have thrived and others have struggled. After week ten , there is only one undefeated team remaining, the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco has succeeded through extremely strong defense and well-executed offense. On the other hand, teams such as the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, and the Cincinnati Bengals are already looking forward to the NFL Draft in April. These teams are preparing to “tank”, which is purposely losing in order to get a highly rated player in the draft. There are several teams in the running to make the playoffs this year, and some Super Bowl favorites include the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and dark horse candidates like the Seattle Seahawks. The NFL has experienced injuries to a multitude of their star players including Drew Brees, Saquon Barkley, JJ Watt and more. Drew Brees, the future hall of fame quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, hurt his throwing hand in week two of the season. He missed five games, but his team was undefeated during his injury mainly due to the consistent play of backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Brees returned in week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals,and is now 2-2 as a starter. The star running back for the New York Giants, Saquon Barkley, got injured in the Giant’s week three game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barkely suffered a high ankle sprain and missed three games for the Giants. Saquon Barkley has struggled in the games after his return from the injury, averaging over 42 yards per game. Due to all the injuries so far this season, several backup quarterbacks have been thrust into the spotlight. One of these backups is Gardner Minshew, who took over as the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars from Nick Foles, who hurt his shoulder in week one. Minshew has helped the Jaguars to a 4-4 record while becoming an internet sensation. Gardner Minshew, a rookie out of Washington State, has taken the internet by storm with his brusque personality and flamboyant fashion sense.
12 | PHOTO COURTESY OF NFL
Another rookie quarterback that has taken over the starting role for his team is Daniel Jones, quarterback for the New York Giants. The sixth overall draft pick from Duke University has been on and off with the Giants this year. Jones started off well with two consecutive wins versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Washington Redskins, where he threw for a total of 580 yards, three touchdowns, and ran for two touchdowns as well. Jones lead the game-winning drive in his first start against the Buccaneers, earning him the nickname “Danny Dimes.” Jones suffered losses in his next six games against teams such as the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots. Fellow rookie Kyler Murray, the first overall pick for the Arizona Cardinals, is a Heisman-winning quarterback out of Oklahoma University looking to impact the league. Kyler Murray has shown great potential in his rookie season, averaging 255 yards per game passing and throwing twelve touchdowns with only five interceptions. Murray has succeeded despite little talent on the offense and terrible defense. oWith seven weeks left to go, teams are preparing for their playoff push in an attempt to make it to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Competition is sure to heat up in the following weeks, so tune in to witness the rest of this unpredictable NFL season.
Preseasons at JCHS MATT PRESS, sports editor
all sports are in full swing at Johns Creek, and our athletes have gotten off to a very hot start on their respective teams. As players and coaches set their sights on postseasons and look to bring more hardware to our school, the prospect of winter and spring sports lingers in the near future. Myriad athletes at Johns Creek participate in sports during both the fall and either winter or spring, so the fall season alone could be conceived as preparation for the ensuing seasons. However, the pre seasons for Johns Creek student athletes serve multiple integral purposes such as recovery from the previous season’s conditioning. After getting insight from various spring sport athletes, the magnitude of preparation for their sports became increasingly evident. Though the aforementioned fall sport athletes are in the middle of their current season thus unable to participate in winter and spring pre season workouts, the ones not currently in a Johns Creek fall sport are granted optional (but highly suggested) conditioning sessions anywhere from two to four days a week. A vast majority of this conditioning entails running, speed, agility and circuit style workouts which get the athletes’ muscles re-acclimated to the fast twitch portions of the sport. Running, however, is not the entirety of the pre season, as most sports take on weight room sessions designed differently for each sport. Though actually playing the sport, for instance passing drills in soccer, is not allowed during the pre
season, many athletes do find extra work outside of the optional conditioning session. Coaches however are not allowed at these sessions, and baseball players, for example, find time to get into the batting cages to practice hitting to maintain their skills without the supervision of their coaches Although teams are not set in stone, and tryouts and performance will ultimately define rosters, players still have definitive goals before/ during the pre season. Junior lacrosse player Ethan Sorkin said that the team did not achieve their collective goal of a state championship last season, and they are entering this spring with a vengeance. “We’re told this by our coaches, like [Coach] Byrne, that winning games, winning playoff games, it starts right now. It starts with how we’re conditioned, how strong we are, so we know it starts now. Our goal is to be in the best shape we can be to push ourselves and to push each other” said Sorkin regarding the importance of pre season workouts. To many, pre season workouts are merely a dreaded chore in the early mornings with seemingly no purpose other than running, but to Sorkin and other athletes at Johns Creek, they represent the bonding of a team with one goal of conditioning to be prepared for the upcoming season. When fall sports come to a close and student athletes begin gearing up for the winter and spring seasons, they will carry that mindset forth and represent the Gladiators to the best of their ability.
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THE HIGH SCHOOL
14 | ADAM KLAFTER
BROOKE HALAK, editor-in-chief and JEFFERY SHEN, staff writer
t’s a chilly Fall morning as you lie in the comfort of your heated room when the sound of your blaring iPhone alarm pulls you from your deep sleep. You get up groggy-eyed and head downstairs to the kitchen where a vast array of food awaits you. Breakfast poses a tough question: Will it be pancakes or some fresh fruit? Your stomach grumbles as you contemplate the difficult decision. After a filling meal, you scramble for the keys to your shiny new car (your 16th birthday present) and eventually hop in. Maybe today you might even treat yourself to some Starbucks before school. Once you get to school, you join your friends who are complaining about how badly they need the new iPhone because any other phone is no longer adequate. It’s another long, typical day at school; but thank god you have your Starbucks coffee to sip while you type away on your Macbook. Although this day may sound like a typical daily schedule, this routine is a luxury to students in lower socioeconomic groups. Many high school students across the nation are at a disadvantage due to the effects of cyclical poverty. Nearly half of low-income kids in America cannot afford breakfast, with 21 million kids receiving free -- or reduced-price lunch last year. This is detrimental not only to their health but to their academic performance and social skills. That vast array of food in your kitchen is something that millions of students in America go without, there-
fore hindering their ability to focus in school and attain academic success. Hunger is on the rise, and with this comes the disparity between high school students of low and high income. Everyone at Johns Creek understands the concept of “The Bubble,” a metaphor for the isolated state that students at our school live in. Students here are barely able to fathom what is outside the wealthy city; our school culture is built on achieving the perfect A+ transcript, getting into the top colleges and having the newest technology. Still in doubt? Take a look outside any window in the school -- from the parking lot filled with BMWs and the occasional Tesla to the clean and manicured campus, it should be clear that Johns Creek at large is privileged. However, this precludes the experiences of people who do not have a shiny new car or the most expensive SAT tutor. Many students at Johns Creek live through experiences that demonstrate incredible dedication to succeeding, like working multiple jobs in conjunction with a heavy course load to support their family. “Johns Creek is definitely a wealthy place. It’s a lot easier to get into college and have other future opportunities if you have the privilege that many JCHS students have - especially considering how much money your family has and what activities you can do,” a Senior told The Chariot. The foundations of America are built on the idea of meritocracy - that if you just work
The foundations of America are built on the idea of meritocracy - that if you just work hard enough and have enough resiliency, anyone can succeed.
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hard enough and have enough resiliency, anyone can succeed. In a hypothetical and ideal world, perhaps this is true. However, the extreme disparities between the wealthy and the underprivileged at school question the truth of meritocracy. Is it really possible for students of any background, regardless of socioeconomic status, to succeed at a level comparable to the wealthy? For high schoolers, this question can be best answered by the ease of going to college, a strong measure of future success. It is important to understand that a college education is harder to attain now than ever, especially education at a top university. Aside from SAT and ACT exam scores, high schoolers are expected to attain top GPAs and national level awards while also juggling a job. “Having a job limits the amount of free time I have to relax so it can cause me to become tired and possibly push my work aside in some cases, or it can prevent time to hangout with friends [and] family, [or do] extracurriculars and sports. This stress is a lot for any student, let alone students that must work additional jobs outside of school that do not have the resources that wealthier students have,” said a senior at Johns Creek High School. Resources that come at the snap of your fingers like a laptop or even pens and pencils are not just a purchase away for many high school students. They must earn these resources by working long hours after-school which often cuts from the tiny amount of sleep that high schoolers get. This adds on to the already surmounting, unavoidable stress which inevitably comes from the rigor of high school, resulting in challenges in both academic and extracurricular performance. That aforementioned Starbucks coffee must be sacrificed for a new notebook, and those hours involved in clubs or varsity athletics must be spent working to support siblings and other dependents. It is not only tangible resources that give
16 | ADAM KLAFTER
these students an edge in high school. Regarding standardized testing and college admissions, the more money students are able to spend, the greater the chances are in surpassing the typical student profile. With SAT and ACT tutors costing hundreds, even thousands of dollars, this fosters the discrepancies across all socioeconomic groups. These tests tend to favor those in households with high income, historically showing white students scoring higher than minority students. Many would argue that these tests fail to exhibit a student’s abilities, but are rather a representation of demographics. This compromises a student’s chances of being admitted into colleges, as they are competing with those in higher socioeconomic groups who can afford these tutors and additional resources.
With SAT and ACT tutors costing hundreds, even thousands of dollars, this fosters the discrepancies across all socioeconomic groups.
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“I took the ACT in July and went for a 5 day boot camp the week before at Patrick Craig Academy for three hours each day. It helped me a lot because I took many mock ACT tests which got me used to having a time limit…[and] I found out a lot of tips,” said a Johns Creek senior. Even though tutors are usually seen as the quintessential factor that helps raise standardized testing scores, some point out other things that can help. “In my opinion, SAT tutors don’t do much; I know people that don’t use tutors and get a score above 1500. There are a lot of free materials that are available to people, such as Khan Academy or even SAT Prep books at thrift stores,” a senior told The Chariot. Even with free materials the college admissions process is inadvertently biased towards wealthier students, who have the money to stand out amongst others. Parents willingly pay immense sums of money for college advisors who almost guarantee acceptance into top-tier schools. While there may be free materials, there is no argument that having a consultant work one-on-one with a student greatly increases one’s chances. Kids from higher socioeconomic groups are also not inhibited from the burgeoning price of college. Lack of financial support and the stress of loans and student debt, often deter kids all across the nation from applying to their dream school. At times, they are left with few options: public institutions that offer financial aid or small schools that will hopefully provide a scholarship. Evidently, the future poses many financially stressful questions that hinder one’s ability to leave the state for college. Albeit, before even thinking about how to pay for college, students
18 | ADAM KLAFTER
from lower socioeconomic groups must endure the hardships of high school and challenges of supporting themselves. From working jobs after school to caring for family members while both parents work, the pressures of getting good grades and staying on top of schoolwork are enhanced for these students. It is common that these kids have to sacrifice sports and extracurriculars in order to maintain, or at least mitigate, the stress of family life. While wealthier students don’t need to make an effort to earn money to support themselves, many kids from lower income families feel the added stress of doing well in school, balancing extracurriculars and working a job during the week. Of course, all high school students, no matter what socioeconomic group they are in, face the constant burdens of school. Sleep deprivation and anxiety seem to be the most conventional and accurate characteristics found within high schools. At Johns Creek High School specifically, staying at the top of the class means piling on APs and finding as many leadership positions as possible, often times disregarding one’s own mental health or emotional stress that comes with this. The utopian ideal of meritocracy is undermined by the resources and support that money can buy. Although success can be achieved through grit and ambition, privilege plays a substantial role in high school and even college success. Even more important than money in achieving success, is the work ethic, drive and desire to do so.
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THE CHARIOT | 19
pumpkin tasting P ANNABELLE BUCHANAN, staff writer
umpkin, pumpkin, and more pumpkin! As the air gets colder and the leaves begin to fall, many places begin to offer new, fun and funky fall themed items. Pumpkin is a controversial flavor that people often either love or hate, but pumpkin spiced goods are available almost everywhere. Across America, the desire for pumpkin flavored products is rising as annual sales were up 15.5% in 2018 according to Nielsen. The Chariot set out to find the best pumpkin drinks and goods around Johns Creek. Starbucks: Every August, Starbucks debuts their infamous and popular pumpkin spice latte. However, new this year, there is a pumpkin spice cold brew too. The PSL can be almost overwhelmingly sweet so the cold brew is refreshing because it isnâ€™t too sugary but still festive with the pumpkin spiced foam. In my opinion the PSL is best served hot because it really encapsulates the warm fall spirit and shows the pumpkin the best -- it does not just taste like pumpkin, but feels like it too. The PSL will always be a classic with over 424 million pumpkin spice lattes served worldwide. The PSL is always a 10/10; the cold brew is an 8/10. Dunkin Donuts: America runs on pumpkin this fall at Dunkin Donuts. Their fall menu is much more widespread and features pumpkin donuts, munchkins, muffins, pumpkin swirl iced coffee and of course, a cinnamon pumpkin spice latte of their own. The pumpkin munchkin had a slight pumpkin flavor and was overall tasty and festive, albeit a little dry. On the other hand, the pumpkin swirl iced coffee blew away expectations and was absolutely delicious, definitely a fall favorite. At first, the pumpkin flavor was very faint but by the end of a sip it transformed into one of the absolutely best festive drinks. Ths flavor swirl single handedly sweetened the coffee, but was also milky and creamy -- perfect surprise. For sure the coffee is a 10/10, while the munchkin is a 7/10. FROYO: The Chariot also tried out pumpkin frozen yogurt. Overall, it was festive and tasty because the frozen yogurt blended with the pumpkin spice created a unique symphony of flavors.The exquisite nature of the pumpkin spice perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the swirl. Overall, the experience was very pleasant, coating my tongue in a cool mixture of sugary yogurt. I would rate this an 8/10 purely because it did not acquire an advanced enough flavor pallet to be considered a ten- more diverse flavors are needed.
20 | ADAM KLAFTER
CARLY BLANK, staff writer
he dog days of summer are wrapping up and fall is finally here! Johns Creek offers a wide variety of fall activities for people to enjoy. As temperatures drop, it’s time to finally put away the tank tops and bikinis, and get out our cool-weather favorites from storage. Be prepared to cozy up in sweaters, flannels, leggings and boots of all heights. And of course, you can’t forget to accessorize with a fuzzy hat or gloves. Autumn staples include the iconic flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, apple and caramel. Head to a local pumpkin patch or apple farm and pick up some fresh ingredients while supporting a local business. There are endless recipes available to get your kitchen smelling like fall -- try out pumpkin pie, caramel apples, a warm soup or some sweet potatoes and cornbread. You can’t forget all the warm drinks, like pumpkin spice lattes, apple cider, hot chocolate and tea, that are perfect to curl up on the couch with. If you are more in the mood to eat than cook, there are plenty of delicious food festivals in Johns Creek this season. Stop by the Harvest on the ‘Hooch or Apple Harvest Feast to get your fix of autumn treats. With the holidays around the corner, consider spreading the joy and helping those in need. The Salvation Army and other soup kitchens can always use a hand serving food and assisting the less fortunate. If you’re low on gas money or you just don’t feel like braving the elements, you can always enjoy fall from the comfort of your own home. The summer humidity is finally gone, so open the windows and enjoy the cool, crisp air while testing out your crafting skills. Halloween is coming up, so why not explore Pinterest and try a homemade costume or complete your spooky decorations with a jack-o-lantern? For a change of pace, complete your fall wardrobe with a warm and fuzzy scarf- knitted by hand, of course. As the sunsets get earlier, fall is the perfect opportunity for a movie night in. Some seasonal classics include “Halloweentown”, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and everything in between. Of course, fall isn’t fun without friends and family! This season, there are countless fun activities to get you into the seasonal mood with your loved ones. Beautiful trails from the Big Creek Greenway to the Chattahoochee River Recreation Area are perfect for a hike. Pack a picnic and just relax in nature before the chaos of midterm exams. Haunted hayrides like the Trail of Terror are always a fun and spooky option. Bonfires are also a blast: roasting marshmallows, swapping scary stories and gazing at the stars. Lastly, be sure to show out on Fridays for football games because before you know it, basketball season will be starting. Don’t be sorry when winter comes and be sure to enjoy the endless possibilities of fall!
THE CHARIOT | 21
The Johns Creek Bubble CLAIRE FEDERICO, staff writer
t’s the first day of freshman year. You enter the Johns Creek High School parking lot and see an array of Jeeps, Range Rovers, Mercedes-Benzes and other luxury cars you would never expect to encounter at a public high school. Upon your arrival to first period, you get your first taste of JCNN- the famous morning announcements. By lunchtime, you have already been told of the legendary “pool on the roof ” and some upperclassmen have even attempted to sell you tickets to it. Despite the inevitable teasing, you can’t wait to stand in the student section at Friday Night Lights, study with your friends at Starbucks or Panera and join all the clubs you didn’t have in middle school. The fact is, Johns Creek has a student body like no other, and there is no denying that the school is surrounded by its own bubble of traditions. Johns Creek’s very own football team is a major factor for school spirit along with the energized student section led by the class of 2020. Friday night games consist of posters, unique cheers and a post-game meal at Cookout or Waffle House. We even have former Atlanta Falcon Roddy White on our coaching staff; he has become the subject of a cheer himself. But most importantly, Johns Creek wouldn’t be Johns Creek without our very own Jeremy Paredes. Under his account @jdopefx, Jeremy has earned quite a name for himself amongst Johns Creek students
22 | ADAM KLAFTER
by photographing and filming the iconic moments at every football game. Almost every student in the bleachers makes a debut on his Instagram account. In addition to football, Johns Creek has a number of successful “country club” sports such as swim, tennis and golf. These sports have brought home numerous state championship wins for the community. As burdensome as it might be, the parking lot has become a well-known joke among students at Johns Creek. The JCHS alumni will never forget the struggle to obtain a parking pass as a junior. And of course, there is the occasional day where rumors of booting spark chaos that plagues the student body. That fear is all too familiar for the current Johns Creek juniors, and it is definitely something the seniors don’t miss. Another bittersweet occurrence at Johns Creek is none other than the competitive atmosphere that encases the academics. There aren’t very many schools that can relate to the challenge of being a JCHS student. It’s almost as if there is a constant competition to see who can take the most AP courses, get the highest ACT score, and have the most leadership positions in clubs. At the same time, this high school offers more academic opportunities than others, and students have learned to take advantage of their circumstances. There is no doubt that Johns Creek High School is one of a kind.
s a junior that has reached the halfway point of my highschool career, I have learned more than I can even put into words. I have learned to make Panera my best friend while studying late at night with friends; I have learned that coffee actually does taste good and is a necessity; I have learned that sometimes it is okay to leave sporting games early for school work; I have learned that late night cookout runs are mandatory after Friday night football games, but most importantly, I have learned that time flies, and you have to make the most of each and every moment. So freshman… hold back your tears, take a nap if you need one, and get ready for the next 4 years. There is one thing I cannot stress enough: school spirit. Yes, it is actually cool to dress up for spirit weeks. Make Party City and the dollar store your go-to on Fridays, go all out with your friends, and prioritize getting everyone involved. Most importantly, actually go to the games and cheer on your team. You may have to sit in the back, but I promise you if you do not go, you will look back and regret the missed opportunities of sitting in the student section with your best friends. Not only is it important to take pride in your school, you must take pride in yourself, your work ethic, grades, and goals. Freshman year does, in fact, matter and colleges do see those grades. These four years are the ones we have waited for our whole childhood, and everything you have done from the moment you walked into school on your first day of kindergarten has led up to these moments. The last thing you would want to do is look back and regret the decisions you made or wish there was something more you could do. With that being said, learn how to study, don’t be afraid to ask your teachers questions, and go to help sessions if you need clarification or are struggling. I promise you, teachers care and are willing to help you if you show them you care. So do not short yourself and take the easy way out; challenge yourself with your course load and take classes that you are genuinely interested in. High school is a great opportunity to finally choose subjects and pathways that interest you. Take advantage of all the courses our school has to offer; it may be helpful to meet with your counselor and go over the different options. High school is what you make of it. Even though you may not always consider the faculty to be your friends, the connections you make with them will influence you for the rest of your life. We are lucky to have such outstanding teachers. Even though you may not always think so, most of the time they care about you and want you to do well just as much as you do; they would rather be your friend than your enemy… I promise. Remember that you will especially need them in the future because they are the people that will be writing your recommendations and encouraging you throughout the entire college application process. Even though you may be getting booed at the pep rallies, yelled at in the hallways, and blamed for all problems at the school, we’ve all been there; were all once freshman. Before you know it, you will be applying to colleges and saying goodbye to the people you have grown up with your whole life. Your grade will be splitting off to different parts of the country and everyone will be going their separate ways to make new lives for themselves. With that being said, my final pieces of advice are this: don’t live for tomorrow, push through the mounds of homework you think are unnecessary, stay out late with your friends, care about your future, try your best, don’t let one bad grade discourage you. Most importantly: make the most of these last 4 years, because these moments will turn into memories you will remember them for the rest of your life.
EMILY MILLER, design editor THE CHARIOT | 23
Fa ll ing Leaves
GALAPAGOS FEELING LONELY PLANTS RACECAR DARK CIRCLES PLAYGROUND CHECKMATE LIGHTS UP DHL SOFTLY WIDE AWAKE RUN AROUND SHORT SKIRT ROLLERBLADES MINIMAL PLEASE NOTICE
YUNO BOY PABLO CRUMB DEATON CHRIS ANTHONY RYAN BEATTY STEVE LACY CONAN GRAY HARRY STYLES FRANK OCEAN CLAIRO PARQUET COURTS BLUES TRAVELER CAKE DOMINIC FIKE ROLE MODEL CHRISTIAN LEAVE
PHOTO COURTESY OF GENIUS.COM
01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GENIUS.COM
“The Chariot” staff came together to create a playlist that reflects the feeling of all things fall and contains a variety of artists and songs to listen and relax to.
FAR CASPIAN FAR CASPIAN FAR CASPIAN FAR CASPIAN DAYGLOW DAYGLOW DAYGLOW FAR CASPIAN FAR CASPIAN VANSIRE HUNNY REX ORANGE COUNTY WALLOWS WALLOWS VERZACHE FAR CASPIAN FAR CASPIAN
PHOTO COURTESY OF GENIUS. COM
Coln Raad 01. FINDING MY WAY HOME 02. BLUE 03. A DREAM OF YOU 04. ASTORIA 05. NICKNAMES 06. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? 07. FALSE DIRECTION 08. THE PLACE 09. LET’S GO OUTSIDE 10. HALCYON AGE 11. JULY 12. SUNFLOWER 13. ARE YOU BORED YET? 14. THESE DAYS 15. I DON’T WANNA BE NOTHIN’16. THE HEIGHTS 17. THESE TIMES -
PHOTO COURTESY OF GENIUS.COM
& entertainment EMILY MILLER, design editor PHOTO COURTESY OF COASTMOUNTAIN.NEWS
Be on the Lookout For... Two RomCom Sequels Coming out on Netflix in 2020 : 1. The Kissing Booth 2
The hype following the first movie proved it was worthy enough for a sequel! This classic romcom storyline starred Joey King, Jacob Elordi, Joel Courtney and Molly Ringwald. Rumors have it there are new faces joining the cast, and even though no release date has been announced yet, Netflix has slated it for 2020.
3. To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
Starring the famous and crushed on Noah Centineo, this film is a sequel to the 2018 movie, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. It is scheduled to release on February 12, 2020.
V id eo Games : An Ep id e m ic 4. Clash Royale: Top Games Played in 2. Run 3: Schools A singleplayer game that has countless The best head to head game on this things to do. There is the main story list, has 1v1’s, 2v2’s and allows friendRevealed... AARON BASHUK, staff writer 1. Google Chrome Dinosaur Game: It’s the easiest game to access and understand, and all you need is Google Chrome, no internet connection, and a space bar. Just jump over different obstacles and see how far you can get, however, the further you get the faster it gets, and the faster it gets the harder it becomes.
mode, a ton of side quests, achievements, over 10 characters, and an infinite mode in which you can test how far you can run without falling off the map.
ly battles. It is a head-to-head game in which one team, or person, tries to destroy the enemy towers before the enemy destroys your team’s towers.
5. Flappy Golf:
A classic game that is still relevant 30 years later. Use 7 different building blocks to fill out a row, when you complete that row, it disappears increasing your score. . An added bonus? It can even be played on your calculator.
Fantastic game to play with others, all you have to do is get your flying golf ball into the hole before others. Also, this game has a single-player mode that can provide hours of content.
IMAGE COURTESY OF GOOGLE.COM
THE CHARIOT | 25
face-off SUMMER HOMEWORK?
26 | ADAM KLAFTER
ALEC GROSSWALD, opinion editor
ost students view summer homework as a tedious task that teachers give to put a damper on our break from school. Whether we realize it or not, summer work is an efficient way to give students momentum and background knowledge for the curriculum, and it helps teachers gauge how much extra help different students need. Especially for rigorous classes, students need summer work in order to dive into the fast-paced school year. According to the Department of Education, “students who don’t read, or read infrequently during their summer vacation, see their reading abilities stagnate or decline.” Students who don’t have summer work often start the year with little background knowl-
edge compared to others, and this causes them to not perform as well during the year. While some argue that summer homework only burns students out, summer workloads are light and keep students engaged over the summer. Summer work also allows a teacher to change their curriculum based on initial student performance. For example, in a math class, a teacher can tell what students need to review based on the problems most students missed in their summer assignments. This allows everyone in the class to get a chance to catch up for the rest of the year. Not only is it easier for teachers, but students are able to get extra help at the beginning of the year to prevent them from getting behind. The opposition may argue that it
discourages people from AP and honors classes, however, summer work gives students a good idea of the workload of the course, preparing the teens for a greater amount of work than an on-level class. Summer work is actually a good tool for AP or honors students to get a headstart on studying for the year. Summer work does not produce a damper on people’s summers because it is not a very large workload given over a long period of time. Summer work is a necessary part of the school year that helps both teachers and students succeed during the school year by keeping students engaged and allowing teachers to help students who are starting behind.
that have no summer work. A Stanford study found that, in other countries like Sweeden or Japan, students with minimal summer homework outperformed those with large amounts of summer assignments such as the United States and Great Britain. Is it really that unbelievable to think students should get a break from reading books and writing essays when school is not in session? Classes that are usually assigning summer work are AP and honors classes which discourages students from taking those higher-level classes solely because of the lengthy summer homework. Work assigned over the summer also prevents students from exploring other opportunities outside of schools such as acquiring a job or joining
a sports teams. This can also affect children who attend a summer camp that takes up weeks of their summer break. After a stressful year of nonstop work, students continue to do homework which burns them out during the regular academic year. Summer work also presents an obstacle for transferred students to take rigorous courses because they lack the opportunity to complete their summer work. Although they could complete the summer work in the first weeks of school, this puts them behind from the rest of the class and more strain on their already overwhelming year at a new school. Overall, summer work should not be assigned in order to prevent exess stress and to allow students to seek out new opportunities.
JUSTIN VEXLER, staff writer
or too long schools have controlled summer breaks by overloading students with summer work. Schools assign summer work to combat the negative effects that long summer vacation has on learning. Also, teachers feel that summer assignments foster accountability and further enrich learning. However, a study by the American Psychological Association shows that 80 to 95 percent of students procrastinate on their schoolwork. This causes extensive is prolonged throughout the summer break. Students go through 10 months of rigorous work to finally get a break only to receive more work as a result. Studies have shown that countries that assign work during summer break don’t outperform countries
THE CHARIOT | 27
GRACIE KWON, staff writer
or the 2019 to 2020 school year, Johns Creek High School made several changes that significantly affect the school day for many students in Johns Creek. Perhaps the most evident adjustment is the new class schedule that now includes a flex period between second and third period. Flex period was created for two reasons. The first is to help struggling students by giving them time within the school day to meet with teachers for a help session. However, students,who are doing well in all of their classes, are forced to wait in their homeroom classes for 25 minutes. The second reason is to give students a chance to relieve some stress in their busy day. Although it is time to unwind, flex teachers still encourage students to use the time wisely as a study hall period, but because the flex period is only after second period, some students do not have work to do. Students do not have a choice in what flex class they attend. If a student’s counselor does not move them into another class, they are stuck with the same class for the entire year. In fact, during flex, students are not allowed to leave the room. The administration prohibits going to the bathroom; however, if one needs to go to another teacher’s room for any reason at all, the teacher must notify that student’s flex teacher prior. For the students who have the band teacher, Mr. Koperniack, or orchestra teacher, Mr. Kim, as their homeroom teacher, they are forced to sit in the auditorium and complete their work without a proper desk to work on. The auditorium is not only
troublesome for students to go to during the busy five minute transition period but also further inconveniences study hall. For recovery or test makeup, teachers give the option to come into their room during flex period to take assessments; however, 25 minutes is not enough to fully complete a test. Not only would they be under extreme time pressure, but with other students in that room for their own study hall period, completing a test is seemingly impossible. In order to have a 25 minute flex period, every class period including lunch is shortened. Therefore, there is less time to complete a test, quiz, or even timed essay in a single class period. Unfortunately, attendance in flex is mandatory. To make things worse, any absence in flex counts towards other class attendance as well. This ultimately affects every student’s exemption eligibility for all other subjects. A simple 25 minute sitting period should not have that large of an influence on core subjects. The most prevalent change for this current school year is the new flex period. With only 25 minutes for students to sit around in their homeroom class without a choice, students are expected to relieve their morning school stress or to complete their homework. This is a waste of time and an unnecessary requirement students must endure daily; therefore, Johns Creek High School should revert to its prior school schedule.
FLEX? 28 | DEBORAH YOON
s funding for extracurriculars in public As unfair as it may seem, if funding must be schools are getting cut across the coun- given to either sports or art programs in a high try, concerned school, the fundindividuals are raising should ing the question, “is be given [it] more important to to keep sports or fine arts sports, This problem is amplified programs?” Both proin low in low income areas where especially grams are essential to a income areas. Arts parents can’t afford to help allow for many kids full and complete high the funding of school pro- to master the art of school experience; the grams through donations. self expression and arts are essential to stimulating creativity inventiveness, howwithin students, while ever sports are imsports are important in portant in promotstimulating leadership ing socio-economic ability and teamwork mobility and create within kids of all ages. relationships that However, with the budget cuts that are happen- promote teamwork and discipline. Also, sports ing now and over the next few years, some of have a very positive impact on physical and menthese extracurriculars are being forced to make tal health for the students involved in them. It crucial sacrifices. With football being the high- allows students to develop into better and more est budgeted and most popular sport, it is saved complete individuals. Fine Arts programs do from the prospect of losing funding, however, allow for students to be involved in productive a number of the budget cuts are affecting the activities but, for many people, sports are more less popular sports like tennis and soccer. The than a simple game; they are an opportunity to changing budget is pushing many student ath- bring together families and communities: a conletes out of sports. Similarly, artists, musicians stant outlet of joy. Sports can open up opportuniand theatre students are either forced to pay ties that allow for more movement up the ladder for their own equipment or quit the fine arts of socioeconomic classes and, therefore, deserve altogether. This problem is amplified in low in- to be well funded in all schools. Although arts come areas where parents can’t afford to help the programs foster creativity, sports programs build funding of school programs through donations. crucial life skills like teamwork and leadership.
KATELYN MAO, ADAM KLAFTER
THE CHARIOT | 29
AMERICA’S FLAWED EDUCATION SYSTEM DANI BLANK, editor-in-chief
fter twelve consecutive years of sitting through eight hour school days, students around America host a unique stockpile of information, classifying them as knowledgeable in the fields of advanced math equations, grammar rules, historical timelines, physical science and an infinite amount of elective topics. However, despite graduating with a vibrant and full intellectual library, the majority of students never truly learned in high school. Instead of inspiring students to discover what they are passionate about and how to apply themselves, today’s flawed school system teaches students how to memorize and regurgitate information for exams. Students are flushed through an endless cycle of being fed a slew of material, memorizing it, and spitting it back out on a test. As soon as the rushed unit passes, the students immediately proceed to forget most of the information in an attempt to clear out space in their brain for the next rapidly approaching topic. This cycle occurs simultaneously for each of a student’s six classes, and as a result, he or she spends semester after semester drowning in projects, study guides and test prep. Teachers are not necessarily at fault for this though; the problem stems from the inner workings of our society and how it measures intelligence. The incessant testing originates from colleges’ and states’ need for a basis by which to compare and evaluate students. The College Board first created the SAT, and later the ACT, which became the standard tests that satisfy society’s need to compare aptitude levels of students around the country. Surprisingly, the United States is an outlier in this equation, juxtaposed to the less structured education styles of most countries across the globe. For example, Finland, home to the best education system in the world, has zero standardized tests. The absence of a universal exam has astronomically improved the quality of Finnish education and eased the burden placed on students. Yet the seemingly successful nature of the standardized tests in America sparked a desire for even more: AP exams and End-of-Course tests (EOCs) (or the equivalent standardized tests in other states) -- effectively forcing our high school classes to be centered around state-administered or College Board-administered tests. Most American students view high school as a stepping stone on the path to college or a career. Each grade, test score, class, elective, and extracurricular is an opportunity to stand out
and prove one’s worth to a college. The urge to obtain any advantage possible in the college application process pushes students to spend their secondary school years preparing for specific end goals, and consequently, prevents them from having time to immerse themselves in material and truly learn. Many people attribute our country’s score-based system to our desire to raise future leaders and scientists, but Finnish schools manage to produce high IQs and successful leaders while also serving as a happy home for students to thrive in. They only assess students once or twice a year and don’t use grades as a way of comparing students to one another. Teenagers should be eager to pursue their bubbling passions, but instead, America’s students don’t even have a clue what interests them. Classes in American high schools often seem more like checklists and chores than chances to understand and pursue new subjects. The sad truth is that the American school system’s rigid focus on fair and frequent testing takes the enjoyment out of school. More than simply lacking “fun,” high school has become the main source of stress, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts in teenagers. Unfortunately, the pressure placed on today’s younger generations to survive the strenuous workload takes an unnecessary toll on mental health. Students would be happier and more excited to learn and grow if they could enjoy the environment in which they are taught. Finland’s top-ranked school system perfectly exemplifies these ideals. To ease the stress of school, they give only 30 minutes homework a night, begin school at almost 10 am, end school before 3 pm, and have long breaks between classes. Even with a seemingly minimal amount of school, Finland’s highly renowned education system is adored and respected by students, faculty, and the workforce. If the United States could steer away from its focus on testing and creating fair standards, it would open up room for students to learn to love school and be excited to wake up every day to learn. Such a massive undertaking is easier said than done; college admissions, state laws, different types of high schools, and varying levels of students are all intertwined in the web that makes up America’s school system. Nonetheless, if schools and states could one day work together to rebuild the school system with more long term goals in mind, students could develop passions and critical thinking skills that will aid them far beyond high school.
The most common major among rising college freshmen is “undecided.”
masthead PUBLICATION The Chariot is a student-run publication for and distributed to the Johns Creek community. The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the entire staff or those of Johns Creek High School, its students, faculty, staff, or administration. Content is edited and controlled by staff editors, in collaboration with the staff adviser and the administration. The staff will publish only legally protected speech, adhering to the legal definitions of libel, obscenity, and the invasion of privacy. ADVERTISING The Chariot publishes ads with signed contracts provided that they are deemed appropriate by the staff for the intended audience. For more information about advertising with The Chariot, please contact the staff e-mail. CONTACT US firstname.lastname@example.org 5575 State Bridge Road Johns Creek, GA 30022 COVER DESIGN Brooke Halak Jeffery Shen
EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Dani Blank Brooke Halak Maren Stephens MANAGING EDITOR Sam Beagle COPY EDITOR Ethan Mingoia DESIGN EDITOR Emily Miller NEWS EDITOR Jeffery Shen OPINION EDITOR Alec Grosswald SPORTS EDITOR Matt Press FEATURES EDITOR Carly Blank
STAFF WRITERS Aaron Bashuk Annabelle Buchanan Ben Gonzalez Claire Federico Coln Raad Emma Buoni Gracie Kwon Hannah Rose Frazer Harrison Blank Justin Vexler Kolin Brandeis DESIGNERS Adam Klafter Brooke Halak Dani Blank Emily Miller Maren Stephens Sam Beagle ADVISER Gillian Alred
PHOTO EDITORS Adam Klafter Dani Blank Deborah Yoon Emily Miller BUSINESS MANAGER Drew Peljovich
THE CHARIOT | 31
2. Priority: Seniors. Juniors, may the odds be ever in your favor 3. The cage is for football 6. “I have a dream” holiday 8. Do you have a pass to get in? 10. Go Gladiators! 12. 6.022 x 10^23 14. 1492 Holiday 16. Lunchtime 17. Photosynthesis 18. Volunteering 21. Hola and Bonjour 22. J-Chella 23. The Magic School 27. Happy Holidays! 30. Beep Beep Watch Out!
32. aka Tornado Burrito 34. Clubs and sports and arts: Oh My! 36. Derivatives and Integrals 37. Cap and Gown 39. Marks the end of the school year 40. Instructor 44. Show the teacher what you know 46. 2nd, 7-1-2 47. Capitol: ATL 50: Red Velvet 51. Head Teacher 52. No. 2
1. Safety goggles always 2. Washington and Lincoln 4. What’ll ya have? 5. .morP 7. GA Sate or Gwinnett Tech 9. Aux or main? 11. Stay classy Johns Creek 13. Did you restart? 15. Leftovers but for classwork 16. Early Action or Regular? 19. With the Frizz? No way! 20. Pop ____ 24. Go vote! 25. Writing or Speaking? 26. HS 28. You’re either 1100 or 2000 29. Do not wear white after
Don’t Forget To Add Spaces 32 |
30. Get Pumped! 31. The Great Gatsby 33. Seaside 35. y = mx + b 38. DDDIIIINNNGGG 41. Pick up a drink across from Regal 42. aka Atrium 43. Do not be late to 45. 1, 2, FLEX, 3, 4, 5, 6 49. aka The Colosseum 51. Half Day Wednesday and Memes