SEPTEMBER 19 IS INTERNATIONAL TALK-LIKE-A-PIRATE DAY!
VAUGHN HIMBER EDITORIN-CHIEF
SOPHIA PAGE MAGAZINE EDITOR
NICK HALABY BLOG EDITOR
CAMERON DE MATTEIS BUSINESS/ SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
GRACE MCKAGAN ADVERTISING MANAGER
HALEY WIMMER WRITER
HALEY GILFORD WRITER
KATHRYN BRACKEN WRITER
ALEX STEPHENSON WRITER
ANDREW GAVINET WRITER
VERONICA HUSTON WRITER
VICTORIA MARTINEZ WRITER
JANET YEO WRITER
GABRIELA AVILA WRITER
ERIC TALAMAS WRITER SEPTEMBER 2013
JEANNIE GONZALES WRITER THE KNIGHT
In the previous August 2013 Issue of THE KNIGHT, band student Ashley Vera was said to be a Percussionist when she is, in fact, part of the Winds section. We regret the error.
ND THEATER’S 12TH NIGHT
ND’S CAFFEINE ADDICTION
TALES OF FROSH BOX
MRS. CONNELLY INTERVIEW
ND COUNSELOR CORNER
ND’S ALUMNI TEACHERS
5 BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIPS
NO. CAL. COLLEGE TOUR
STUDENTS IN THE MILITARY
LEGALIZATION OF ALCOHOL?
NATIONAL CHICKEN MONTH
EXCLUSIVE Interview With 13 MRS. CONNELLY
STILL IN THE SERRA LEAGUE?
STANDARDIZED TEST TAKERS
THE COLLEGE COUNTDOWN
THE WORLD WATCHES SYRIA
10 SEPTEMBER 2013
Twelfth Night: Behind the Scenes By Alex Stephenson
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is finally coming to Notre Dame, and the theater department is already working hard to make sure this play will be an amazing one. With the play set to open on November 13th, Twelfth Night is not one you will want to miss. With rehearsals everyday, for generally three hours (more or less), putting on a good show is no vacation. “We train through acting exercises, we do script work, we do script and character analysis, we block scenes and we do anything else that helps us develop the performance of the play,” reveals Judy Welden, Play Production teacher, about what goes on “behind the scenes”. Shakespeare, as everyone knows, can prove to be difficult when reading, let alone acting it all out. As Emily Bisno, Stage Manager, says, “Shakespeare can be tricky to navigate, so right now, we are going through the script making sure we know everything we’re saying.” For now, rehearsals are being broken down by scene, and as all 166 actors are not in every scene, not all need to come to every rehearsal. However, “everyone in the cast will meet two days a week for a couple hours,” says Bisno, so not everyone is off the hook! During rehearsals, “we warm up and stretch and then do some relaxation and just get in the zone and get ready to work,” says actress Lauren Kelly. “We will break up into smaller groups so we can get more work done,” adds Bisno. Because they are still in the early days of rehearsal, “we are still doing some getting to know you stuff.” Kelly explains that, “we just finished reading through the script” and are now starting to block scenes. As for costumes and props, the cast will be costumed in Elizabethan attire. “We already have a few costumes we can use and we will rent and build the rest,” says Welden. As for her prop secrets, “most of the props I typically find on eBay.” Now, one may be wondering, “How was Twelfth Night chosen?” Well, Welden chooses her plays by reading plays over the summer, and hopefully, something catches her eye. “If I can’t stop reading it, I know it’s the right play.” True for each play she puts on, Welden says, “I feel in awe of the playwright’s work and try to honor the writing. I am thrilled by the opportunity, and have a sense of responsibility to do the script justice.” What makes the Notre Dame plays worthwhile are the hard work and dedication of the students and faculty involved, so with all the hard work going into this one, as with all the others, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare will surely be an Notre Dame favorite.
Behind the Scenes of Christian Leadership
By Gabby Avila
Once every month, students are shuffled into the gym for mass. Everyone knows that the service is put together by Christian Leadership, but what exactly is Christian Leadership? How can a student become a part of it, and what else do they do other than organize masses and lead retreats? Christian Leadership is a yearlong religion class available for Seniors to take. Students need more than just a good grade in their Junior religion class to qualify. “To be accepted into the class, students go through an interview and application process,” says Mrs. Reese Abbene-Ingino, head of campus ministry and Christian Leadership teacher, “and we can’t accept everyone.” There is only one Christian Leadership class at Notre Dame, which has a maximum of 40 students in it. Despite this, the number of applicants has increased over the past few years. “Last year we had a little over 70 students submit applications.” What sets the accepted apart from the rejected? “We’re looking for students who are really grounded in their faith. They don’t have to be Catholic to be able to contribute to the class,” shares Abbene-Ingino. She believes
there are many different ways for students to lead, and she looks for that diversity in those aspects as she reviews potential candidates. “Some lead by being very vocal and outspoken, and there are also those that lead by being behind the scenes.” After a student has gone through the application process and is accepted, what can they expect for the year ahead of them? There are two parts of Christian Leadership: what goes on in the class, and what goes on outside of it. The classroom is where students get the academic aspect of religion. They read and take notes and quizzes, just like every other student. The students work in committees to plan liturgies and retreats, and in the process, learn how to work with others towards a common goal. The length of time it takes to prepare an event varies based on the occasion. “These students work on a mass for about three weeks,” shares Abbene-Ingino. “They’re meeting at X-Period and working really hard behind the scenes to get everything together.” Retreats do not take as long to prepare, only requiring a day of planning and training. However, the actual day of the retreat is a long one for the students. They arrive early,
leave late, and do not get many breaks in between. Outside of the classroom, students are expected to be active leaders and volunteers, both on their own and as a class.They complete a service project in the community together, reflecting how students should be involved in their parish and community as a whole. To any Juniors thinking about applying for Christian Leadership, here is some advice. AbbeneIngino encourages early participation at your place of worship. “If you have a chance to do something like become a Conformation leader, do it,” she suggests. “See if that’s something that you enjoy and really like to do.” Also, maintain balance between your academic and extra-curricular activities. “The sooner you learn how to find balance for everything you’re responsible for, the better off you’ll be,” Abbene-Ingino says. The best thing any prospective applicant can do is talk to a current member of Christian Leadership, such as Ryan Snyder and David Blaire. Blaire applied based on recommendations from friends, and his previous involvement with his church. Both admit that there are challenges and benefits that come from the class. “Sometimes plans
go wrong at the last minute,” Snyder says, “and you need to fix it in a short amount of time.” There are also some sacrifices that need to be made. “We have to be at school by seven on mass days,” Blaire says, “and sometimes we miss the beginning of sixth period while we finish cleaning up.” Both say that the planning process is fun and they try their best to make it as inclusive as possible. They also say that retreats are great, and it is nice to have the younger students look up to them. To any students thinking about applying, they gave similar advice. “It’s open to everyone,” Snyder says, “and if you apply you should be willing to make an effort.” David encourages students to be responsible. “If you believe in your faith and take it seriously,” he says, “definitely do it. It’s a lot of fun.” So next time there is a mass, take a second to look around and appreciate all the work that Christian Leadership does to make it possible. If you think that what they do is something you could do as well, get a head start. Become active in your community, achieve balance in your life, and make the effort required to become a Christian Leader.
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CRASH COFFEE CAMPUS “In Mocha We Trust”
By Eric Talamas
Coffee: a drink that everybody knows and is incredibly familiar with. Some people drink it, either for the caffeine or the taste, and some people do not, also for the caffeine or the taste. But for the people who do drink coffee, chances are, it is for the “kick” the caffeine gives them in the morning. It is not easy being a student, and with the constant workload, which, like it or not, is probably going to follow us to adulthood, it can cost us a few hours of sleep. That is why most people would even consider coffee: for the boost it supposedly gives them during the day. There is just one problem: the coffee that gives you a boost gets SEPTEMBER 2013
its reputation from the caffeine in it and trust me, it can have its ups and downs. So, why do we not take a quick look at our general coffee consumption, shall we? As of 2013, statistics have shown that about 50% of all Americans are frequent drinkers of some kind of coffee and drink an average of 3.1 cups of coffee a day. Honestly, I think I speak for most of us when I say that we can only guess how much of those people are students like us. Now, the way I see it, this massive coffee consumption most likely stems from people’s stress in life and, as a result, their consistent need for energy to get through the day. But the truth is, coffee only helps
ND’S Caffeine Addiction REVEALED
to give you that boost if you do not drink it regularly. When you cannot go a day without it, it is because your brain has become so dependent on the caffeine that you almost instantly start to fall asleep without that caffeinated buzz. So, if anything, it’s not really giving you an instant boost all the time. If anything, you’re just fighting off the effects of serious withdrawal. Oh, and let us not forget some of the rather unpleasant effects that caffeine can have on the people who just do not know how to let go. For those of you who are not very perceptive of the obvious, coffee addiction can cause some serious sleep disorders, considering that it only gives you energy, and does not refuel your sleep. This can result in numerous changes in mood when on withdrawal, including, but not limited to, aggression, irritability, impulsiveness, and everybody’s least favorite, lack of concentration (not good to have in the middle of English class, huh?). We can also thank coffee for a number of other issues such as high blood pressure, liver damage, possible cholesterol increase, and constriction of blood vessels, especially in the brain. After all, what else is there to expect from so much caffeine, considering that caffeine is classified as an actual drug, albeit a legal one. And when it comes to students who stay up late with so much work to do, students who are already drinking coffee cannot help but get more of it, so that they are hurting themselves even more just to stay awake in class (and trust me, they will have to). Basically, coffee has its negatives, considering that a 16 oz. cup
of coffee from Starbucks has about as much caffeine as nine cans of Coke, and unless I am mistaken, that is a LOT. But coffee can actually have some benefits when taken in moderation. For one, research has shown that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee can reduce the risk of skin cancer by about 12% and may even be beneficial against breast cancer, according to other researches. Other research has also shown that it can help to remove up to 90% at most of all heavy metals such as copper or lead that have been dissolved in tap water (as if we did not already know tap water was unhealthy). Better yet, it has also been found that moderate coffee consumption can help reduce mental decline in elderly women above the age of 65 and lessen the likelihood of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and lower the chances of Type II diabetes. All in all, caffeine has its ups and downs, some ups when taken in moderation, and some downs when taken in excess. The fact of the matter is that people really need to take more consideration of how much coffee they drink, because, like the old saying goes, all things in moderation. But to all who drink coffee, a word to the wise: try drinking tea. It has some of the same benefits, less caffeine, and, let us face it, you just flat out look smarter.
THE SCANTRON SHEETS... OF DOOM! By Veronica Huston Since the beginning of civilization, intelligence has been measured in various ways, such as essays, speeches, knowledge of nature, and even the memorization of Confucian texts. Now comes a new method, standardized tests. These sheets of paper with rows of tiny bubbles determine your future as a student and have the power to label you if you recieve a poor score. For years, the GATE test has been administered around the age of eight and is used to identify gifted children. “This form of testing is consistent with the industrialization of education. However, I don’t believe in this approach. I believe in a more individualized manner of teaching that takes into account each child’s unique talents and they should be tested accordingly,” declared psychiatrist Dr. Lana Benedek. Not even a test is unbiased. The GATE exam has been proven to lean towards boys while the alternative RAVEN favors girls. A great barrier to this wave of testing is dyslexia. Dyslexia is caused when the brain uses the frontal lobe instead of the more effective language center to match letters with their corresponding sounds. This makes reading incredibly difficult and exhausts five times the amount of energy that it should, according to the publication Exploring Dyslexia. The Dyslexia Research Institute recorded that 10-15% percent of the U.S. population has dyslexia, while only five out every 100 dyslexics are diagnosed and treated. Add this to the fact that 40-50% of children with ADHD also have dyslexia (according to the Boston Children’s Hospital), and it is no wonder that so many kids these days are being mislabeled as “stupid’ or “special” when all they need is a little more attention. Dyslexia and ADHD, two of the most common learning disorders, do not affect a person’s inherent intelligence, but it may make it harder
for them to test. Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Nelson Rockefeller all suffered from either ADHD or dyslexia, and they are acknowledged as some of the most intelligent people of our time. All over America, students are pushing themselves to the extreme in order to get into better schools. Students at Notre Dame are not immune from the pressures. Instead of choosing subjects that they are interested in, kids are choosing the classes that will look best on their transcript. People are buying SAT and ACT books their Freshman year and stuffing their schedules with as many Honors and AP classes as they can fit. However, they would find that beneath the red numbers that mark a child’s fate, there is a person with strengths and weaknesses, just like any other, that deserves to be judged as an individual. “It’s hard not to compare myself to other people,” bemoaned Junior Sabrina Agbabian. “But I try not to let it get to me because I know that it’s not healthy to get caught up in the competition.” This strain and constant one-upsmanship is not without negative results. No, it does not simply foster super-competitive brain children with no souls. Kids are far more stressed out than teenagers have a right to be. As young folk, we should be exploring the world while we are still free from the responsibilities that will crush us when we get older. Instead, we are zombies: tired, pale, frizzy-haired, red-eyed, coffee-chugging drones with barely enough energy to pick up the pencil necessary for the test we stayed up all night studying for. “I never get the required amount of sleep, which affects my ability to think the next day at school,” said Jackie Hynes, Junior. The fact that standardized tests are so universally utilized and depended on introduces another potentialy stressful factor to the difficult teenage life.
OBSESSIONS: They Run in the Family By Andrew Gavinter
Everyone loves something. Most people enjoy sports, learning, or even spending time with friends. However, some people take it a step further and become obsessed over every little thing that they love. Most of the time, obsessions with things like sports or academics are seen as a good thing, but when it becomes revolved around one person (or five for that matter), things tend to get a little out of hand. Whether it was the Beatles, Michael Jackson, or Nsync, it seems as though the ladies love themselves some pop stars. Take, for instance, the latest girl-wide obsession of the British boy band called One Direction. With millions of fans (mostly teenage girls) worldwide, it is safe to say many of them are what you would call obsessed. But just what makes people especially obsessed with boy bands? Interestingly enough, there was one girl at Notre Dame who helped to shed a light on this recurring phenomenon. Sophomore Lauren Crittenden is just like most girls her age. She is smart, witty, and also has a big crush on Harry Styles. When first asked about how she became a One Directioner, Crittenden said, “At first I didn’t like them. What really got me into them was hearing other people on the Girls Golf team talk about them. That’s when I started to actually spend some time listening to them and their music and that’s when I became a fan.” She also went further into how most of their fans do genuinely like their music and not just their abs. “It really depends on the girl, but a lot of the time, if they like the music, [then] they like the band as a whole.” So then what is it specifically that makes girls love them? “I think what happens is that a lot of girls are attracted to older guys who are 18, 19, or 20 that act like teenagers. That makes them more relatable, but boys our own age who do act like that don’t come off the same SEPTEMBER 2013
way. That immaturity really turns girls off and makes them go after older guys who are still playful and funny but not overdoing it as much.” Now that is all great, but has this not been seen before? What separates One Direction from other boy bands of the past? Just to remind everyone, this is not the first time girls have gone crazy over young music stars. Remember those girls screaming at Shea Stadium for Paul McCartney? So do not think that boy bands are only a recent thing. Even Crittenden’s mom had some things to say about her teenage idol: the original King of Pop, Michael Jackson. “There wasn’t one moment in particular that made me a fan. I grew up listening to the Jackson 5 [and] I always enjoyed him,” said Mrs. Crittenden. “Everything, from his creativity in singing, his amazing dancing, [and] as an entertainer, he was unbelievable.” When asked about his impact on music, she said, “Michael Jackson was one of the first to introduce the video age back when their used to be music videos on VH-1 and MTV. He was such a pioneer that it was a huge event to watch a new video of his come out to the public. Everyone would look forward to what he was doing. Even when he did the moonwalk for the first time at an anniversary special for Thriller on the Grammys, people were still being blown away.” So even back then, teenage girls have always had their music heart throbs looking right back at them, from the posters on their walls, performances on television, and in music videos seen around the world. So boy-band obsessions can run in the family. And regardless of who you are or what kind of music you listen to, you have to admit that the power they can have is unmistakable: Thriller is still the best-selling album of all time, and Up All Night by One Direction was a chart-topper in 16 different countries
Military Ambitions ND Student Looks at Future Navy Career By Cameron de Matteis
As the school year gets off to a good start, many Seniors are starting to make big plans for their futures. With so many options available in regards to colleges and career paths, it can be hard to ascertain what is the right decision. However, Senior Stephen Hemedes already has a clear vision for his future. Hemedes plans on becoming an officer in the military and aims to get into an academy. “An academy is pretty much an Ivy league college scholarship. You attend [a college] for four years and after you graduate you serve in the military as an officer for five years to ‘pay back’ what you would owe for college,” explains Hemedes. Hemedes plans on applying to the United States Naval Academy and plans on serving in the Navy as an officer after college. As an officer, Hemedes will receive higher pay and have greater responsibilities. Officers are in charge of everyone below their rank, and consequently are responsible for those below them. They are expected to manage their time better and be more efficient than others. The Navy SEALs have captured Hemedes’ attention since he was a young boy. “It’s a job that I’ve wanted to do since I was about five or six years old,” stated Hemedes. He was inspired to join the military by a tragedy that Americans will never forget. “I became interested [in the Navy] because of 9/11. I was in kindergarten on the first or second day and I heard my teacher say something about 9/11. When I got home, I saw what happened on the TV. From then on, I’ve just wanted to defend and protect my country. I figured the SEALs was the best way to see the most action and do the most.” Hemedes has already taken steps towards achieving his dream of being a Navy SEAL. He is in Civil Air Patrol, a United States Air-Force auxiliary unit. “It improves my chances of making it into an academy,” commented Hemedes. The process is quite tedious and lengthy. There are a series of requirements applicants must meet such as a minimum 1950 SAT score and at least a 3.5 GPA. Applicants must also receive a congressional nomination. “I’m currently working on my college application,” Hemedes stated. Hemedes’ passion about his future in the military is highly admirable. “It’s not really a job if you enjoy it the whole time,” he said. Hemedes’ dedication and hard work are sure to pay off. He confidently stated, “People have said I probably won’t make it. I intend to prove them wrong.”
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE KNIGHT SEPTEMBER 2013 THE KNIGHT 09
Up in the Air
Keep a look out for The Knight’s Special Homecoming Issue!
By Andrew Gavinet
Football, like life, is uncertain. Teams can come and go, and ultimately fade into memory of Autumn’s long past. This year, however, poses something very memorable. This may be the last year that Notre Dame Football stays in the Serra League, or so it is thought. According to many reports, it was certain that the Knights were going to have some league changes this year. The switch includes the Knights leaving the Serra League and losing the opportunity to play their main rival Crespi on a yearly basis. It is obviously a huge loss for both schools, considering the significance and history of the rivalry (I think everyone can remember last year’s four-overtime thriller quite well). Both of the teams may still play in the playoffs, but that is not a guarantee. When speaking to head football coach Wayne Rooney, his sympathy also rang with the fans who wished to see this great rivalry continue. “We would still play them [Crespi] out of conference but it is a big loss to lose that traditional rivalry game.” When speaking about the new teams in the conference, a different side of Rooney came out: nothing could alter his demeanor when it came to his football team was going up against different and more challenging opponents. “I don’t think it makes much of a difference; you’re still playing some of the same teams as before. We’ve always had a tough schedule. I believe Cal- High Sports had our schedule ranked as the 4th toughest in the state. So we are always playing against good competition.” Just to add another twist on the story, it also appears that the conference realignment plan itself is in jeopardy. It was supposed to take place following this year, but schools like Oaks-Christian and Damon High have filed injunctions against it, putting the future of the league in hot water. “It may not happen at all,” said Rooney. If it does, the new teams added would include Serra and Damon, both of which have a legitimate shot at taking the league title. “Obviously, with the addition of Serra, who is a very good team, and Damon, who is getting better, there will be some challenges.” When asked about the change from playing local teams to ones that are farther away, Rooney said, “Obviously, it would be nice to still play mostly local teams, but so be it. We can’t control what happens, so we will just continue to do what we do.”
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D g o n i uble e e S Sports Tradition RUNS in Family
By Kathryn Bracken and Nick Halaby
There are many students at Notre Dame who have younger or older siblings. There are a select few who can say that they are a twin. Now just imagine being a twin whose younger brothers are also twins. It turns out that that is the case for Seniors Donatella and Fendi Asemota, whose little twin brothers are Freshmen at Notre Dame. For these two sets of twins, having brothers and sisters takes on a whole new meaning. Senior Donatella Asemota is used to having a twin at Notre Dame. She and her sister, Fendi, are in their last year of high school. Their little brothers, Dolce and Tyler, are Freshmen, and will probably experience some of the same things that come with being twins that their older sisters experienced. According to Donatella, being a twin can be annoying. “People constantly get us confused….” she stated, “….and sometimes I would prefer to be viewed as an individual instead of a twin.” She says that it is very common for people to mistake her for her sister, and her sister for her. Being a twin isn’t all that bad; however, Asemota says that part of being a twin is always having someone that has your back, no matter what. A close relationship is something that is shared by both sets of twins, but it is not the only similarity between the two pairs. According to Donatella, her, her sister, and their little brothers are all athletes. They all run track and play basketball. This athleticism is something that the four had obtained from their parents. “My father was a track runner in high school and was the fastest in his school and so was my mother. I believe speed runs in our family. ” Asemota says that her parents first introduced sports to them when they were little, and that as they got older it was their decision to stay with it. Athleticism is one of many things that Donatella and Fendi share with their younger brothers Dolce and Tyler. If being twins is rare, than having two sets of twins in one family is even rarer. Being a twin can sometimes be annoying and other times it can be a blessing. There is no one that a twin is closer with than their twin, and that relationship is something special. “I think it’s cool,” says Asemota, “not all families are composed of two sets of twins.”
“Not all families are composed of two sets of twins” - Donatella Asemota
Frosh Box: The Start of Something New By Lauren Critenden
Frosh Box came and went on September 7, 2013, providing our newest Knights with crucial insight on what Notre Dame has to offer to their newly developed social lives. Most of the Freshies looked like they enjoyed their night, eating to their hearts’ content, and dancing their socks off. There was one student who gathered up the courage to entertain some female teachers with his superb dance skills. Although every table had a creative theme, “The Walking Dead” group stole the show. This group of Freshwoman faux “walkers” included Lauren Anderson, Joey Ann Mateo, Chloe Mendoza, and Kennedy Menefield, who were gracious enough to provide their point of view on this once-inyour-high-school-career night. The dinner included a jello brain, watermelon carved brains, intestine empanadas, blood red punch, gut spaghetti, and meat-lovers pizza to satisfy any apocalyptic appetite. Joey Ann Mateo, one of the Freshmen in this group said, “We chose this theme because most of us loved the show and thought the boys would enjoy it too.” Not only did this winning group have edible body parts, they also dressed up to look like SEPTEMBER 2013
“walkers”. The girls served their dates in torn up shirts with red tank tops underneath for a gory effect as well as cargo shorts and zombie makeup. “We used a lot of brains and intestines and eyeballs and anything bloody, to amplify our theme,” said group member, Chloe Mendoza. Since the girls’ main goal was to impress their dates, we spoke to Sammy Godinez, to receive his point of view on the night. Freshman Godinez was lucky enough to be served the finger cookies and eyeball cupcakes. Godinez said, “I liked the theme, ‘The Walking Dead’. Although I’ve never watched the show, I thought it was a good interpretation of what the show might be like. The food was great too.” When asked if the night was awkward at any point, he responded, “It was not awkward for me at least. I consider myself to be a pretty entertaining guy. For me the night went by quite smoothly between me and my ‘date’.” The night sounded successful and everyone looked like they were having a great time. According to Godinez, he and his friends enjoyed the music and were busting out some pretty sweet moves on the dance floor. Save some of the action for the Back to School Dance, Freshmen!
WHO IS MRS. CONNELLY? By Haley Gilford
Principal Stephanie Connelly has been the grind behind the gears of Notre Dame for 17 years now. She is the mother of the Knights, the iron fist behind the rules, and the presence in the golf cart. But to most of us, Connelly is still a mystery. A day in the life of Connelly seems to somehow have a few more hours than everyone else’s 24. Her day starts bright and early when the rooster crows and ends when the big dipper is in the sky. At seven a.m. you will find Connelly settling in her office beginning her day. As principal, her responsibility is to oversee faculty, students, curriculum, activities, and sports. “I am not pretending like I am micromanaging: I have the best administrators who
make everything possible,” said Connelly. As the head problem-solver of Notre Dame and with her open door policy, days are spent answering questions and bringing dilemmas to a satisfying end. Then, always after school, Connelly is the supportive presence at activities and games. Her day is capped off with meetings, where she brainstorms with others how to make the school better. “My philosophy is being hands-on, available and accessible. Being present as well, I try to be at as many things as I can,” Connelly said. No matter what, Connelly is in charge and makes the final call. “Making decisions, you always have to keep in mind we are a Catholic school,” said Connelly. When making decisions she always
has to have the mindset of the Catholic faith. She has to get input from different people. “If I had everybody around me who thought the same way I did, it wouldn’t work,” says Connelly. Opinions and perspective aid the final say. If decisions are the worst part of her job, Connelly is adamant that the kids are the best. “I’m so proud of all of you, you would think I’m your mother,” Mrs. Connelly said. Who would have known someone is that happy to see us that early in the morning? Before Connelly held the throne, in 1996 she was Dean of Women. Notre Dame was not where she sprung into existence. She has been in education for 40 years, starting as a teacher in a Catholic junior high, and then she became a teacher, counselor
and vice principal at Louisville High School. When Connelly has a few seconds of rest, you can find her in Maui, Hawaii soaking up sun at the beach. Her social life takes her to movies and dinners at Ruth’s Chris Steak House with friends. As a teenager, Connelly described herself as a goodytwo shoes. “I had a single mom who worked really hard, so I played by the rules,” shares Mrs. Connelly. Though we do not see it, Principal Connelly is the first one here in the morning and the last one to leave. She pays attention to each individual and has dedicated her life to students. Office Secretary Barbara Vining says it best: “Her blood runs blue and gold.”
is being hands-on, available and accessible. Being present as well, I try to be at as many things as I can.”
The Legal Drinking Age:
Who Has It Right?
By Kathryn Bracken With a legal drinking age of 21, the United States ranks as a country with one of the highest drinking age requirments. In most other countries, the legal drinking age is 18, 17, or even 16 years old. If our legal drinking age were lowered, how would that affect us and our lives? Three 18-year-old girls from London, Germany, and Belgium all believe that 21 is an absurd age to be legally allowed to drink, and that the age should be lowered to 18 in the United States. In a teenager’s mind, when someone tells them that they cannot do something, they tend to want to do it more. Sadie Bailey, from London, states, “I think that because you can drink at an earlier age in England, you learn how to handle your liquor and drink responsibly… it’s not a big bad rule that you want to obnoxiously break all the time.” Drinking in Europe is more of a social activity than anything else. Because of the exposure to alcohol at a younger age, SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER 2013 2013
alcohol in Europe is demystified, therefore less alluring to teenagers. Bailey shares, “As you grow up, alcohol doesn’t become some mysterious substance you’ve always been inquisitive about…it’s just a drink that doesn’t taste that nice but gets you drunk.” Most people are aware that alcohol can have a disastrous affect on drivers. Multiple accidents caused by irresponsible drinkers cause 18% of all accidents. One study at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that in 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic-related deaths in the US. Jennifer Schlüter, from Germany, shares, “I think just for less accidents a higher age is good, but come on, everyone drinks alcohol even against the legal drinking age. So even if it was changed, there would never be a difference to what actually happens.” There are significantly less drivers in Europe, and consequently
THE THE KNIGHT KNIGHT
fewer accidents. Europeans use of the public transportation system makes the roads much safer in Europe than in the United States where most people are dependent on cars. Carolina Chello, from Belgium, believes that “There would be lots of accidents for drinking [at whatever age you drink]… I just think drinking and driving should be illegal, not drinking until you’re 21.” Despite all of this, there will be deaths and accidents caused by drinking no matter what the age. However, according to Bailey, if the law on drinking matched that of England’s, she thinks that it is more likely that American adolescents would drink more appropriately and within reason. In 2005, drunk driving caused 20% of all traffic-related deaths in Europe, whereas in the US in 2005, drunk driving caused 39% of all traffic-related deaths. On the subject of underaged drinking, Ms. Vasquez, Notre Dame High School’s anatomy teacher, shares “We have rules and laws for a
reason… underaged drinking leads to complications to the individual’s overall health.” If the drinking law were changed, Americans would have to be informed on how to moderately drink alcohol and not drink to an excessive amount. Chello’s reasoning on why the legal drinking age should be lowered to 18 is, “Because you start driving at 16, you get used to it for 2 years, and you could start to drink beers and light alcohol drinks at 17 years old. Then when you’re 18, you can start drinking heavier drinks… one step at a time.” So what does this all mean? Should we change our drinking laws to match those of Europe? Can we expose ourselves to alcohol little by little before the age of 21 and really hope to make a difference? Or should we keep our laws the same as they have always been and begin to educate younger children on the dangers of irresponsible drinking?
By Tory Martinez
The 2013-2014 school year is in full gear and it is key to stay in tuned with what is happening around campus. No, this does not mean the latest gossip…it means the counselor’s office! The first few months of the school year are quite busy, especially for Seniors, who are encouraged to center their attention on college. This includes deciding what colleges they want to apply to, keeping up their grades, staying in communication with their teachers, and constantly checking Naviance. “Seniors must also keep in mind that December is the last time they could take their SAT or ACT tests if they have not already or wish to do so again,” said Ms. Mae Greenwald, Director of Counseling and Senior Counselor (L-Z). As for the Juniors, the counselors really encourage them to start looking into colleges now. Juniors are advised to decide what type of environment they would like to study in- whether it be a big city, small town, religious college, non-religious, or otherwise. “They should also start looking at what they would like to study in the future,” said Greenwald. Counselors recommend that Juniors take their SAT or ACT test multiple times so that they are able to see how the tests are designed. Naviance is a very helpful tool, which, among many other useful features, announces dates and times for college visits to Notre Dame. Naviance also provides an SAT/ ACT preparation course called “Prep Me”, which is free and available to all students looking to prepare for the SAT and ACT tests. Greenwald also highly emphasized, “Freshmen and Sophomores, get involved!” Focus on Notre Dame: go to football games, plays, dances, and anything else this school has to offer. Have school spirit, support your fellow Knights, and get familiar with Naviance. Take the surveys; they will help you get a feel as to who you are and what kind of student you are. Continue to strive for the greatest you are capable of achieving. On October 16, Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors will be taking the PLAN and PSAT tests, and for Seniors, there will also be a college tour of Occidental College. Lastly, for all students, the annual College Fair at CSUN will be held on October 26, where over 100 representatives from universities throughout the country will be here giving information and answering any questions, so be sure to attend!
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE KNIGHT SEPTEMBER 2013 THE KNIGHT 15
Notre Dame’s Alumni Teachers
From top left, clockwise: Mr. Kounalis, Mrs. Faber, Mrs. Genova, and Ms. Tallungan.
By Simone Schwartz Lombard The terminator’s famous line “I’ll be back” can be applied to more than just robots, as Notre Dame teachers have thoroughly proven. What brought back our returning alumni? What made them decide to switch sides of the desk? What is it about Notre Dame that is so special? It takes an X-period to find out. My first stop was, room 42, Ms. Christina Tallungan’s room. As debate coach and English II teacher, naturally her favorite class when she was in high school was debate. She enjoyed the class because everyone goofed off, but of course (she claims) she was very focused. Her favorite teacher was Mrs. Kate Nelson. Her favorite memory as a student was her disaster of a Froshbox. Tallungan describes her table as being by far the worst considering they didn’t even have a tablecloth. They made all their food from scratch and it did not turn out very well, but the boys at her table were good sports. Those boys also happened to be the “class clowns” so their table was loud with laughter the entire evening. Descending into the basement, I found our Freshman English teacher, Mr. Nicholas Kounalis. When he was a student his favorite teacher was Mr. Tom Dill, among others and his favorite subject was English. Kounalis believes that the changes the school has undertaken, namely technology, are good because it opens doors for new and different teaching styles that benefit the students. Next, trudging through the crowds of Freshman and the sizzling sun I found Ms. Bridget Lander (not
“Landers”), the religion teacher. Like Tallungan, her Froshbox memory was unforgettable, but today she is all about her coworkers (giving a special shout out to Mr. Santos). During her days as a student, her favorite classes were U.S. History taught by Mr. Richard Woolery and English taught by Mr. Cassidy. Making my way past the cafeteria and up the stairs of the Woodman building, I hear music coming from down the hallway. There is Mrs. Rebecca Faber, pre-calculus and algebra teacher, representing yet another returning alumni. When she was a student here her favorite teacher was Mr. Bill Gamble who taught math analysis. The thing that has stayed the same to her is the restrictions on girls’ skirts. With the temperature still rising and energy fading, I crawl over to the science building to see Mrs. Shannon Genova. Swarmed by Freshman and visiting students, our Science Department Chair and Freshman biology teacher enlightened me on the changes Notre Dame has undertaken since she was a student here. The campus has evolved from trailer parks that flood and ceiling fans that fall to a track that consists of more than dirt and the life changing advancement of air conditioning. Before she was a teacher, Genova’s favorite classes were Sophomore and Junior English. An overall consensus for our Notre Dame faculty was the feeling of community. These five alumni are not the only returning teachers at our school, but that is enough for one X-period!
Backpacking Around Notre Dame By Janet Yeo
Although it sounds pathetic, the thing that you spend the most time with at school is your backpack. It holds everything you need: pencils, pens, notebooks, and your phone. The typical backpack brands are Jansport, American Apparel, and Hershel. Some backpacks are unique and express the owner’s personality and their style. Here are five Notre Dame students with interesting backpacks. Rolling backpacks are not very common at Notre Dame, but when you see one, it always seems to grab your attention. Freshman Cassandra Parker has a unique backpack, not with just the shape, but also in the type of a backpack. She got the idea of the rolling backpack from using it in dance and how useful it is to hold all of her gear. “It’s cute and shows the little crazy side of me, but also shows that I am efficient and sophisticated,” said Parker. Senior Stephanie Fedoroff’s backpack is filled with patches and pins that describe her taste in music. “It mostly has bands that I like, like Vampire Weekend and the Strokes. It just has things that I enjoy, like pizza and Spock.” Her inspiration came from one of the members of her favorite band, Arctic Monkeys. He has a denim vest embroidered with the title of one of their hits. Fedoroff thus got a denim backpack with patches that read the same. “It’s a nice backpack because I can be known as the chick that has the backpack.” Junior Mike Little carries a Superman backpack that shows his creative side and represents his personality so well. “I got it because it reminds me of how I look, with the abs and such,” Little said. When he first saw the backpack, he was immediately intrigued because it embodied himself so well. It also shows his childhood love for Superman. Senior Emily Coffee has a bag with multiple pins and patches that reflects her personality. There are 25 pins with a variety of shows she enjoys, like Pokémon, Adventure Time, and Harry Potter. “They are a bunch of lame pins but they reflect my interests,” said Coffee. The backpack also reveals that Coffee is looking toward the consumer-friendly side. “Jansport backpacks are expensive, so I found this [backpack] for $15 at an army supply store.” Senior Francine Diemer has a playful backpack with Disney princesses that shows her outgoing side. “I thinks it’s the perfect balance between outgoing and not obnoxious,” Diemer said. With the majority of backpacks at school being plain, Diemer wanted to be different. “It’s hard to express yourself when you’re in uniform all the time, so my backpack is the way that I express myself. It’s different and it makes people smile.” Backpacks are great way to express your personality, especially since we attend a school with uniform. But these students still found a clever and unique way to show their individuality.
Senior Emily Coffee and her personalized backpack.
Mike Little with his Superman backpack.
“My backpack is the way that I express myself. It’s different and it makes people smile.” ~Francine Diemer Francine Diemer with her Disney Princess backpack.
Cassandra Parker with her rolling backpack.
Stephanie Fedoroff and her custom-made backpack. SEPTEMBER 2013
5 Tips for Back to School By Grace McKagan
It is that time of year again that most teenagers dread: back to school! Most students find it torturous, having to get back into the routine of waking up early, loads of homework, and studying for tests and quizzes. Going back to school can be very dreadful for everybody; luckily, here are some tips to help stressed out students de-stress.
As soon as you have the opportunity to organize, do so! Organizing school supplies can be fun and creative, and perhaps the most obvious tip for how to de-stress for back to school. Whether it is organizing a daily planner, your locker, or your binder, being organized will definitely help you become a better student who is more prepared for class, and it will make your life much easier. “I like to color coordinate my binders and folders according to class, so every class has its own color, and that way it’s easier for me to stay organized the whole year. Also, I like to come in the day before school and get my locker set up and everything,” said Junior Valerie Silberburg. “With de-stressing, I think the one important thing is to get organized, especially from the beginning. Once you’re organized, life is just so much easier, especially for Freshmen,” said Counselor Ms. Martine Abdaem for Grades 9-11 (Rod-Z).
KNOW YOUR SCHEDULE!
The first couple weeks of school can also be confusing, in finding out what classes you have, what period, and where they are. To make things easier on yourself, and to avoid embarrassment by walking into the wrong classroom, keep a printed-out version of your schedule with you at all times, and scope out where your classrooms are as soon as possible. Also, for Freshman, the campus may seem bigger than it actually is when you first arrive, so knowing where your classes are and asking upperclassmen and teachers will help settle those nerves. “It’s gonna be okay, it’s not that big of a deal, it’s just the first day; just come in, maybe see some people you know, and you will get through it”, said, Freshman Hunter Thorton, on thoughts regarding the first day of school, which made him feel “kind of anxious”.
TALK TO YOUR TEACHERS!
Talking to your teachers the first couple of weeks of school will not only give them a good impression of you for the rest of the school year, but will also allow you to personally ask them what they expect from you in the class.
A great way to stay motivated throughout the school year is to set goals for yourself academically. For example, if you make a promise to yourself to achieve straight As this school year, then strive to do just that. Even setting short term goals for yourself, such as getting a good grade on your math quiz this week, is a good way to avoid quickly growing lazy with your schoolwork.
A lot of falling behind in school and getting stressed out has to do with daydreaming in class, which we are all guilty of at some point. Paying attention and getting involved in class by asking questions may seem simple, but it is important, and teachers will take a positive notice of this. “With classes, I think X-Period is really essential, and having that ability to see and talk to your teachers, get the work done, and being on task on a daily basis. It’s a great feeling knowing that you have things done and your ready to go for the next day,” advised counselors, Ms. Abdaem.
COLLEGE TOUR HALEY WIMMER’S
TOP 3 SCHOOLS
1. USF (University of San Francisco) 2. Berkeley 3. Santa Cruz
During our freetime in San Francisco, we were able to visit the Golden Gate Bridge.
FACTS USF was ranked #1 College Town by American Institute for Ecomomic Research Berkeley was ranked #1 for national public university
Cal Poly is the second largest land-holding universities in the nation
FAVORITE EXPERIENCES When we visted St. Mary’s College, we were able to play a soccer game on their big field.
By Haley Wimmer
After our tour in Santa Cruz, we were able to have a bit of freetime on the boardwalk.
Sonoma State was ranked #17 for “Best College Dorms”
UCSB was ranked #2 Party School
COLLEGE & MY FUTURE I am very fortunate I was able to go on this trip. Seeing all these colleges helped broaden my horizons about the “real world” and brought my classmates all together. Also got me more prepared and excited for the future.I learned the true value of education and how far it can get me in the future. By going to these colleges, it helped motivate me to be the best that I can so that I could be successful. During this tour, I have come to realize that staying in California for college is very considerable, and now there are two colleges at the top of my list that were not there before. Going on this tour helped me to open my eyes to new possibilities. For those who were not able to go this year, I recommened going next year. If I were not to have gone, I would have not considered some of the schools I really enjoyed.
Thank you, Counselors, for the time and opportunity. You have truly inspired me to reach for the stars and try to accomplish as much as I can in these upcoming years and rest of my life.
NATIONAL CHICKEN MONTH:
National Chicken Month, or September as it’s otherwise known, is an entire month dedicated to this common barnyard animal. The tradition began in 1989 when the National Chicken Council noticed a drop in sales in September after the summer barbeque months had ended. “So the Marketing Committee of the National Chicken Council decided back then, as a way to keep the attention on chicken past the summer and into September, was to create National Chicken Month specifically in September,” explained Tom Super, Vice President of Communications for the Council. Chicken producers come together annually to promote special deals and offers to encourage chicken sales. We all know that protein is essential to the human diet, especially for growing young adults, but why choose chicken over other proteins? Super said, “Chicken is naturally lean, contains all nine essenSEPTEMBER 2013
tial amino acids and provides a lot of nutrients per calorie. There is no protein that is more affordable and nutritious than chicken.” National Chicken Month is also a great time to focus on the animal itself and not just the health benefits of eating chicken. Chickens are no longer being kept in farms, as there is a growing trend in urban chicken-keeping. Urban chicken farmer Bob Schooley shared why he got on the barnyard bandwagon. “We decided to get chickens because they seemed like they’d be fun pets and there’s nothing better than fresh eggs.” Schooley owns three hens that he keeps in his backyard. Hens are allowed in the city of Burbank, where Schooley lives, but roosters are prohibited due to their telltale crows at dawn. To get started, Schooley said, “You need a good coop with a protected area for the hens to lay their eggs, a feed and a water dispenser, 20
chicken feed and, of course, chickens!” He also set up a misting system using a small garden hose to combat the Southern California heat. Eggs are naturally high and protein and have many health benefits. However, there are some notable differences between storebought eggs and backyard eggs. Eggs from small flocks contain lower cholesterol and have higher amounts of important vitamins and minerals than even organic, freerange eggs. Schooley said, “Fresh eggs are supposed to be healthier for you and they taste delicious. Because you control what the hens eat, you can be confident nothing bad is being passed to the eggs.” Store-bought eggs usually travel miles to get to your plate and have been laid weeks or even months in advance. You can eat a fresh, backyard egg the day it was produced and all it takes is a trip to the backyard. Chickens are not the usual pet store animals, so the best
idea is to purchase them from a reputable farm as teenagers or adults, but not as chicks, as those require more care. Schooley purchased his from Dare 2 Dream farms in Lompoc, California. This small, family-owned farm’s goal is to spread humane, local, and sustainable sources of food to others by providing happy farm chickens to become happy backyard chickens. Backyard hens enjoy a carefree life with good food, clean air and plenty of affection as opposed to commercial hens that have to deal with overcrowding in large farms. Backyard chicken eggs are healthier, taste better, and are laid by happy hens. Maybe it is time for all of us to invest in the pet that gives back in a small but big way. National Chicken Month gives us a chance to celebrate this hardworking, often over-looked bird. Happy National Chicken Month!
Egg Image Credit: http://mobile-cuisine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/egg.jpg
By Kate Schooley
COLLEGE COUNTDOWN By Vaughn Himber
September is a special time in the lives of most Notre Dame Juniors, as it marks the start of the official College Marketing Season. After years of enviously watching parents open mail, there is nothing in the world more exciting than getting your own mail from colleges, written just for you! The first envelope is akin to a joyous holiday gift that fills your head with grand dreams of a picturesque campus green surrounded by old buildings with wondrous architecture. Lucky you, you get another letter. And then another. And then another, ad infinitum, until you have broken the back of your poor local postal delivery worker. At this point, a haunting realization dawns upon you: you are just one of millions of students colleges eagerly seek to accept and reject, a speck in a sea of humanity. Now, you do not even bother to read or open the 200th urgent message inviting to you to “Tell the Story Only YOU Can Tell” from Whatsitsname University. Environmentalists may gaze with dismay upon the gargantuan pile of college envelopes, view books, and applications which have accumulated in the recesses of your home, but rest assured: the papers used by colleges to print their fabulous full-color mailings are only made from the wooden corpses of bad trees. Trust us on this one. Stress is the primary symptom of the disease known as Collegius applicatus. Contrary to years of supposed medical knowledge and bogus scientific research, and regardless of what the corporate-owned media would have you believe, “stress” is actually your body’s way of expressing that it is happy, excited, content, and satisfied. In fact, stress itself is a hoax created by Big Pharma to sell more aspirin. The Germans did not even have a word for “stress” until the 1980s (and then they had to invent one, but that is another story). SEPTEMBER 2013
Applying for college sharpens the entire range of senses. You will enhance your eyesight and hand-eye coordination by quickly opening, skimming through, and then disposing of a tidal wave of college spam mail. You will improve your hearing as you listen to practically everyone you know drown you with career advice about “your future”. They will lecture you with clichéd, outdated trends recycled from newspaper articles such as, “I have just one word for you, and that word is PLASTICS.” You will soon learn to savor the taste of the tears, as well as the bile that arises in your throat, as a stream of rejection letters arrive in the mail. You may get a few paper cuts and some tired, bloodshot eyes along the way, but as Buddhism tells us, “Life is suffering” (this, by the way, is wisdom, so you should probably take it to heart). Regardless of the tedium of filling out applications and writing essays, these activities build character and actually prepare you for the work world! After all, 90 percent of being an adult is pushing paperwork. The other 10 percent, by the way, is doing taxes, which is pretty much the same thing as paperwork, except that it costs more and causes people to smile even less. And speaking of
Why College Stress is
For You money, you are most likely wondering how you are going to be able to pay for your college, including tuition, textbooks, room, board, transportation, and, most importantly, enterentainment. Where will you get these hundreds of thousands of dollars from? Can you count on that
distant, rich, and elderly relative to kick the bucket and leave you a fortune as inheritance? No? Perhaps that neighborhood lemonade stand plan is not such a clever idea after all. In the end, no matter how many pints of blood you had to donate in order to afford your higher education, think about the “big picture”: all of your college payments stimulate the economy! And according to elementary macroeconomics, the more money consumers spend, the greater the GDP (both nominal AND real) increases. Universities have every right to charge the breathtaking amounts they do for tuition. The credit companies and federal government will LOVE you for wracking up thousands of dollars in lifelong student loan debt in exchange for attending a college with a pedigreed name. Also, bankruptcy lawyers need work, too. So we have learned that there IS a story only YOU can tell! A tale of sleepless nights spent attempting to balance collegiate concerns with schoolwork, nursing your carpal-tunnel syndrome acquired from countless online college applications, and frantic parents waving around financial aid forms as deadlines approach and the college countdown comes to a dreadful end. Let us consider a life without this college stress. What would Notre Dame Seniors worry about then? Trivial things like high fructose corn syrup? Or the latest shoe fashions? Please. Overall, a life WITH college stress IS a life worth living. Fun Fact: Did you know that “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”? But as we now know, a little attitude adjustment about that old “stress” myth completely makes the college admissions process a total piece of cake. And oh, how bittersweet it all is.
Syria: The World is Watching with “no boots on the ground”. The Senate has already approved the U.S. to conduct an attack; however, opposition in the House is still very strong and opinions are divided. The possibility that the U.S. might get involved has the power of changing the course of history and our relations with the world.
“I think if we inter-
vene it will escalate over the next couple of years because trying to change a way of government takes time” -Yasmeen Faisal
By Sophia Page
“Should we or should we not?” That is the question on everybody’s mind as the United States ponders if it should launch an attack on Syria, a nation in turmoil. As the world watches, one cannot help at our hand in Syria’s future. Syria’s civil war has been unfolding ever since May of 2011. As part of the Arab Spring, the discontent of the people in Syria resulted from the Bashar al-Assad regime. A civil war began between President Assad and the rebels, which has resulted in over 100,000 deaths, according to the United Nations. Major human rights violations have always existed in Syria, and Assad’s “democratic” changes have not done much to improve the condition of the country and its relations with the people. Things took a turn for the worse when civil upris-
ings began to protest President Assad’s role in corruption and human rights violations. These civil uprisings have led to more than just protests, including many supposed horrible responses by President Assad to stop the restlessness of the people. It was suspected that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons to kill over a thousand people in Damascus on August 21, 2013. The U.S. and the United Nations has warned President Assad multiple times not to use chemical weapons, which the world was aware that he had access to. The question is where do we stand in all of this? Although no formal decision has yet been made, President Obama has decided to put an end to the ongoing hostilities taking place in Syria by an initiating U.S. intervention. He described his plan as “limited”
Getting involved in any country’s civil problems can take years to resolve, especially when a country is in such turmoil. The president said it will be a “speedy intervention” while many others believe that it could take years to destabilize the Assad regime. “I think if we intervene it will escalate over the next couple of years because trying to change a way of government takes time,” according to Yasmeen Faisal, former Notre Dame Student who is Syrian. The U.S. is considering entering dangerous territory: a country that is highly unstable and unpredictable. Syria has several strong allies including Russia and Iran, which have warned us to stay away. The ongoing debate of whether or not we should enter is elevating and the outcome at this point is very unpredictable. Senior Tony Hawara, who is also Syrian, believes that “the U.S. should not intervene because Assad is actually a
great president. It all changed after terrorists started to attack the government who only tried to keep the country safe. The U.S. has absolutely no reason to aid the terrorists at all. They slaughter many innocent citizens.” Yasmeen Faisal, on the other hand, said, “I believe Assad used the chemical weapons. I have been to Syria myself and the people are loving, and free-spirited. I believe they would never go to such extremes.” Although there is evidence from the United Nations that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, there is no doubt that both he and the rebels are to blame for many atrocities. Many of the rebel groups are linked to al Qaeda, which might have had a role in thousands of deaths during the civil war. The question is: should the United States stage a military intervention? The obvious pro to this would be helping the people of Syria by weakening the Assad regime, ending the civil war, and, consequently, restabilizing a country that has suffered greatly in the last few years. There is also the con of an intervention, one of which argues that the United States is not the world’s police force and that we do not have enough money to fund another war. Whether or not the U.S. intervenes, is up to Congress and President Obama. Whatever the final decision is, Syria is a beautiful country that is suffering deeply from a devastating civil war.