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Quarter Four 2019 • Volume 4, Number 4


Design by Rebecca Schneid

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 5901 Pine Island Road Parkland, FL 33076

The Eagle Eye Quarter Four 2019 • Volume 4, Number 4

Contents Photo by Darian Williams

Front Cover: Photo by Nyan Clarke and Darian Williams


The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School or Broward County Public Schools. The publication is a member of the Florida Scholastic Press Association, the National Scholastic Press Association, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association. If you would like to advertise please call (754) 322-2150 or email

Visit us at: @HumansofMSD on Instagram @EagleEyeMSD on Twitter @EagleEyeMSD on Instagram

03 Letters to the Editor MSD In Brief 04 Leaving the Nest 06 09 LET’S DANCE 11 That’s A Wrap 12 PAYING THE PRICE 12 Sinking salaries 13 power of privilege

MSD student body shares their perspective on various issues

New developments occur at MSD

Ty Thompson steps down from his position as MSD principal

MSD wins ‘Ultimate Prom’ Hollister contest

End of Florida legislative session brings educational changes

Students question admissions fairness after cheating scandal

Average salaries for Florida teachers amongst lowest in U.S.

College cheating scandal reveals truth about wealth in society

Photo by Nadia Murillo

Editorial Board Hannah Kapoor Rebecca Schneid Editors-in-Chief

Anna Dittman Brianna fisher Zoe Gordon Taylor Morrison Dara Rosen Associate Editors

Nyan Clarke Photo Editor

Ryan Lofurno Sports Editor

Leni Steinhardt Multimedia Editor

Taylor Yon Business Manager

Einav cohen Managing Editor

Staff Writers

Ava Steil Kaleela Rosenthal Jenna Harris Nadia Murillo Rishita Malakapalli Jason Leavy Elama Ali

Katrina White Ashley Ferrer Kacie Shatzkamer Brianna Jesionowki Mackenzie Quinn Julia Noye Darian Williams

Melissa Falkowski Adviser

13 Early Birds 15 going separate ways 15 On To The NExt Journey 16 19 Under the Influence Under Pressure 23 America Runs on Sports 25 27 STEpPING DOWN we deserve better

Low teacher pay hurts both teachers and students

Students opt to graduate early after changes at MSD

MSD students choose alternative post-graduation routes

Staff leaving MSD reflect on their careers

MSD students participate in underage drinking despite consequences

Mental health issues affecting teens on the rise

Sports have a heavy impact on American society

Three MSD coaches resign for various reasons

Design by Rebecca Schneid


Spoiler Alert

Dear Editor, When a movie comes out, it is deeply frowned upon to spoil it to people who do not see it, as we have seen recently with Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. While I wholeheartedly support not spoiling movies for those who have not yet seen them, I have noticed that the same respect is not given to books and TV shows. People have told me that it is my fault when I ask them to please not talk about the recent Game of Thrones episode because I’m not there yet. Well, I’m sorry that I had other things like homework and spending time with family to do instead of binge-watching a TV show. I even once had a book spoiled for me a week after it came out! All I am saying is that if someone tells you that they are not in the same place in a show or book as you, respect that and refrain from spoiling, please. Maddie King, 12

Park-land Privilege

Dear Editor, My sister is a senior and has a specialized spot in the senior parking lot. When she does not come to school, comes in late, or goes home early, I will drive her car in and out of the parking lot. I have been 16 for over six months now and have lots of experience driving her car, since we share. My mom paid a lot of money for that spot. I have driven past the security with no problem, after showing my ID, and parked perfectly fine. I have done this at least ten times before super testing week, and then all of a sudden, they decided to tell me and my friends that we are not allowed to park there. There were maybe 15 cars in the parking lot that day, much of which were my friends who have siblings that are seniors. When our parents called to complain about how stupid this policy was, they said the pass was non-transferable and it had something to do with insurance. However, the pass was not being transferred in any way possible. It was the same car in the same spot, just like every other day. They also said that the passes expire when the seniors leave. So now when we have 3,000 more kids that need to get to school, our school will be having a huge parking lot that is empty. It just makes no sense. Ashley Moskowitz, 10


Dear Editor, I feel like as we get older that the choices, we make in our lives greatly affect us and with school these choices are amplified. I often feel as though high school is a catalyst for our lives. For people like me this isn’t helpful but overwhelming. Do I take AP to look good for college even though my teachers warn against it? Should I hang out with friends or tackle the huge pile of homework that has been rapidly growing? In the moment these choices seem simple, don’t take

the AP and do your homework. But are those the correct choices? What about my friends who I must ditch in order to keep a good grade? These choices often feel like a balancing act. So, I guess the question I’m going to leave you with is: How are we as fourteen to eighteen years old’s supposed to look in to the future to know the correct choices to make? Brooke Kessler, 9 *Correction: This letter to the editor was incorrectly attributed to AJ Griffith in the third issue of The Eagle Eye.

Media Mayhem Dear Editor, Social media is the most toxic thing to ever exist on this Earth. It poisons everyone’s brain with unattainable images and goals. Anyone is able to see anything with a click of a button. Social media is definitely resourceful, but it comes with a huge cost. People who use social media the most are about 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than

participants who use social media the least. Social media is directly correlated with disorders, like depression and anxiety. Eighty-eight percent of teens have seen someone be mean or cruel to another person on social media. We’re all addicted to social media, including myself. We all must put an end to the mind manipulating social media. Gabby Furetta, 12

Silver Shortage Dear Editor, At this year’s cord ceremony for seniors, our school, in its infinite wisdom, ran out of silver cords to distribute. I don’t understand why this issue could ever have happened, since the school is the one that maintains the list of people that will be receiving these cords and should have the foresight to order that many plus a comfortable buffer of extras. While I’m not personally invested in the ceremony and I did receive my cords that day, there were many parents

present that had to take time off work to be there and support their son or daughter, just to be met with the fact that their child will not be able to receive their silver cord. For students that were only receiving a silver cord that day, their parents were unable to benefit from the ceremony at all. I believe this is a significant disservice to the parents on behalf of the school and a scar on the school’s ability to plan and execute events, even at that magnitude. Dylan Bowerman, 12

Change the World Dear Editor, Many people may not know this but there are thousands of people who don’t have a meal each day. If you know about this have you ever done anything to contribute to the thousands of starving people? Many people will say no, and I am one of them. About two years ago, while living in the U.S Virgin Islands Hurricane Maria and Irma destroyed my home. For about a month, I was not sure where my next meal would come from because all

the supermarkets were closed due to severe damage. At that time me and my family had to depend on the United States Army to send us food. Going through this tragedy, I learned how important it is to give because a small contribution can go a long way. To this day, there are still people suffering in the U.S Virgin Islands and other parts of the world, so I encourage everyone that reads this to contribute to a cause. Don’t wait until you’re the one on the other side of the table. Jevon Gittens, 12

Trauma Overload

Send us a letter Have something to say about school? Have something to say about a local, national or global issue? Have something to say about this issue of The Eagle Eye? We want to hear your opinions. Email submissions to:

Submissions must be between 100-250 words

Dear Editor, The way trauma sells is unbelievable. My therapist told me to limit my social media because it can be triggering, but let’s be honest. I am a 16 year old in high school; social media takes up half of my time. It’s nearly impossible to just cut half of my time on social media. So I tried something else. On Twitter there’s a muted words section to mute words so you don’t see them on your timeline.

And even though I muted a bunch of triggering words that I knew would bring up triggering images, it still didn’t work. Trauma is everywhere, no matter what words you mute. People found new ways to share those images and stories. It’s truly everywhere, and I have no idea how to escape this, when our whole world is obsessed with what the next major trauma will be. Anahi Maldonado, 11

Staying on Top

Dear Editor, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how competitive Douglas actually is. Everyone is constantly trying to one up each other and compare how difficult or rigorous their schedules are. It almost feels like if you’re not taking five or six AP’s then you’re not good enough. Trying to keep afloat in a school of 3,000 people is hard enough, now trying to make yourself look more appealing to colleges than the person next to you is near impossible. There is so much stress that comes from these years of adolescence; but competing with your friends for your future just adds to it. Ethan Zeichner, 9

Transparent Dear Editor, Let me get right to it: I think there is a severe issue in the way transgender people are discussed in media and in our common discourse. Right now, we stand at an important crossroads for trans rights. Prior to the 2010s, my community was invisible in many ways. In the years since then, our rights and identities have come into the national spotlight, in large part due to the celebrity transition of Caitlyn Jenner, a rich white conservative woman, who claims her biggest struggle as a woman is choosing what to wear. Needless to say, what little representation we have is less than representative, especially for trans people of color. It’s this lack of representation that leads to the misconceptions and bigotry we face. Too often, I’ve seen trans people covered by the news through misgendering and deadnaming. Too often, I’ve seen trans people portrayed as predators or freaks through the legislation designed to discriminate against us, the ban on our participation in the military, and the frequent placement of trans prisoners in confinement opposite to their identity. Too often, I’ve seen trans men or non-binary people regarded as a joke or ignored out right. And it is this constant bigotry and ridicule that hurts my community most. We are seen as subhuman, and as such, we often live afraid of danger. The chance of an average American being murdered is 1 in 18,000; for trans women, that number is 1 in 12, 1 in 8 for trans women of color. Too often, I’ve seen us portrayed as some sort of other. In truth, we aren’t. We are just as mundane and freakish, just as hopeful and terrified, just as human, as everyone else. We deserve to be seen as such. Marisol Garrido, 11

Letters to the Editor 03

New developments occur at MSD

MSD in brief

Goodbye Gift


arjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s class of 2019 has been raising money for a parting gift to the school since their freshman year. As per tradition, the senior class donated a gift to help beautify the school. Previous classes have donated benches and picnic tables around the school, as well as mosaics in the senior courtyard. The senior class decided the best option for their gift was an emblem painted in the center of the courtyard. As of the end of last year, the current senior class board was planning on placing new bricks in the courtyard as a part of their donation. After further brainstorming and considerations, the board decided after winter break to paint an emblem instead. Senior Ma’ayan Mizrahi, vice president of the senior class board, was the student leader in planning and executing the gift. “In years prior, other classes wanted to have an emblem like this with brick, but it was too hard. This year, we decided to go for it with paint because we thought it could unify the courtyard and unify the school,” Mizrahi said. Senior Class Adviser Danielle Driscoll says the senior class knew they wanted to spread spirit and strength with this emblem. “This gift resembles to be positive,

MSD class of 2019 has emblem painted in the courtyard as their gift to the school per MSD tradition

passionate and proud to be an eagle. It’s important that students are passionate about their school, and it incorporates a positive message,” Driscoll said. Although the seniors knew they wanted to add MSD’s logo in the center of the courtyard, there were several options for the writing that would accompany it. After many discussions, it was official that an eagle with the school’s motto, be positive, passionate and proud to be an eagle, would be printed on the emblem. Driscoll hired an artist named Angel Mir, from Gainesville, Florida, to work on the painting. “We decided to hire them since they are responsible for painting at Flanagan High School, which has a similar blueprint to our school. This made it easier to rely on their responsibility,” Driscoll said. Mir donated materials and his time to complete the emblem, which helped the senior class stay within their $2,000 budget. The emblem was sealed to preserve the painting underneath. The project initially started over spring break, but due to weather issues, the painting was completed two weeks after the break. Although this project was a long and difficult process, the senior class is proud to show their spirit and strength through

the new addition to the courtyard. “I think it turned out amazing,” Mizrahi said. “Kids now meet up ‘on the eagle’ because it’s a good central location. It’s something pretty to look at and smile at.” Story by Kacie Shatzkamer

Remembering Calvin


ophomore Calvin Desir loved creating–whether it was friendships, jokes, tech in engineering class or memories on basketball courts. Calvin was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Nov. 10, 2002, and was raised in Coral Springs for the duration of his life with his mom Tania Wright, stepdad Brentan Wright, older sister Brittany Wright, and younger sister Aniyah Wright. Once he entered high school, he made friends with ease. His charm, witty humor and radiant smile connected him with friends and brought light to their lives daily. His friends saw him as protective, loyal and hilarious–always ready to use a joke and cheer them up. “We just clicked like that,” sophomore Brianna Ramirez said. “There was never a day that he didn’t smile, and if he knew that you were not happy, he would talk to you to make sure you’re okay. He didn’t shy away from things like that… he wanted to help everyone. And he would always tell me to keep going... because we only live once.” He tried to teach his friends to live their lives to the fullest and to live their lives with happiness and joy. “At the time, I don’t think I saw how

04 News • MSD in Brief

big he was in my life... and now I realize he made such a huge impact. He was just the realest person you could ever meet... and he showed me what a true friend should be like,” sophomore Priyanka Rampat said. At school, Calvin thrived in his engineering class freshman and

Saying Goodbye. The class of 2019 had an emblem of the eagle logo that reads “Be Positive, Be Passionate, Be Proud to be an Eagle” painted in the courtyard as their gift to the school. It is an MSD tradition for the graduating class to donate a personalized gift to beautify the campus. Photo courtesy of Dawson Corea

MSD mourns the loss of sophomore Calvin Desir

learn but we would joke in class–we had a strong bond. He would message me the funniest, most random things over the summer on Remind,” Ashman said. “He was kind and studious... polite. He was just a good kid. He was my star boy, and when I hear his name years from now, I’m going

There was never a day that he didn’t smile, and if he knew that you were not happy, he would talk to you to make sure you’re okay. He didn’t shy away from things like that… he wanted to help everyone. And he would always tell me to keep going... because we only live once.

sophomore year, even going to an engineering camp over the summer. He dreamed of being an architectural engineer, spending hours designing engineering projects. Calvin grew close with some of his teachers–especially English teacher Nadine Ashman. He worked hard and cared about his studies, but made sure to have fun along the way. “We had that rapport where we would

to remember the light that came from his smile. He left an imprint on everyone–a permanent one.” When he wasn’t at school, he was often seen playing basketball, listening to rap music–especially Lil Wayne and Chief Keef, sending Snapchat streaks, eating candy and ice cream, and watching Marvel superhero movies. All of this, he would do with his friends and those he loved.

“He was only himself and nothing else, and he wouldn’t follow–he led,” sophomore Alijah Williams said. “He taught me to be myself.” Story by Rebecca

Schneid; photo courtesy of Nadine Ashman

Design by Dara Rosen

Stealing the Show


arjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s drama department performed “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief ” as a musical, based off of the popular fiction series “Percy Jackson” on April 25 and April 26. The musical brought in not only high school viewers but also, children from the surrounding elementary and middle schools, along with their parents. “It’s really fun, but it is really scary at times, just because you know there are hardcore fans,” Director Jared Block said. “It’s scary because you could totally not misinterpret the show, but misrepresent key moments and really important characters if you don’t focus on those moments.” In the weeks leading up to the musical, the production stage manager, Alexandra Duffy, and the rest of the cast worked on stage placement. “All of a sudden we realized we had a couple of weeks until the show,” Duffy said. “So, we started running the show, and we have a music teacher come in and help us play piano for the songs so we know how they go when we have our live band here.” Senior Alexander Athanasiou played the part of Percy Jackson and brought the key elements of the character to life on stage. “Playing a role as big as Percy Jackson is both exciting and terrifying,” Athanasiou said. “It’s been a dream role of mine since middle school when I read the books and wanted to be a half-blood too.” In the musical, Jackson discovers that he is a demigod, a person who is halfhuman and half-god, and he begins the search for his identity and Zeus’ missing lightning bolt, after being accused of having it. He is joined by his new friend, and fellow “half-blood,” Annabeth Chase, played by senior Isabela Barry, and magical satyr guardian, Grover, played by junior Tanzil Philip. Two of the three directors, junior Andrea Peña, who played Clarisse, and

Electrifying Performance. Juniors Isabela Barry, Tanzil Philip and senior Alexander Athanasiou perform in Douglas Drama’s production of the concert version of “The Lightning Thief” on April 26. Photo by

Mackenzie Quinn

Philip, also had prominent roles in the musical. Many members of the drama department were part of the cast and the production team. Due to copyright restrictions, only certain plays and musicals are available for schools to perform under a licensing agreement, which the school has to pay for. Normally, popular modern series, such as Percy Jackson, are not available for licensing. MSD Drama was given special permission to perform the musical at a $0 cost, and a special concert version was written specifically for MSD. MSD’s version was shorter and contained additional narration from the “campers,”

Eye on the Prize


n Monday, April 15, The Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious form of recognition granted in journalism and literature in the United States, announced their 2019 winners. As the nation’s writers, composers and journalists watched the annual ceremony in eager anticipation, viewers were surprised by an unprecedented opening: a shout out to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s very own newspaper, The Eagle Eye. For their coverage during the 20172018 school year, The Eagle Eye entered the Public Service and Local Reporting categories. The submitted work included a collection of 17 obituaries published in their third quarter memorial issue, as well as coverage of The March For Our Lives movement, and other activism and happenings at MSD. “I want to break tradition and offer

MSD drama performs a concert version of “The Lightning Thief”

my sincere admiration for an entry that did not win but should give us all hope for the future of journalism in this great democracy. The entry is from the staff of The Eagle Eye student newspaper at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida,” Dana Canedy, the Pulitzer award administrator, said. While The Eagle Eye did not receive the award, their recognition was atypical, for the Pulitzer Prize organization has rarely, if ever, acknowledged a high school entry. “These budding journalists remind us of the media’s unwavering commitment to bearing witness, even in the most wrenching of circumstances in service to a nation whose very existence is dependent on a free and dedicated press,” Canedy said. “There is hope in their example.” The award in Public Service was ultimately received by South Florida’s

or rather, side characters. “So what happened is the original writers of the show contacted Herzfeld after the shooting, and they were like ‘hey you want to do it?’” junior Sophia Cichetti said. “They wrote a special concert version just for us because they already knew we were doing a children’s show.” After the final bows and closing of the musical itself, there were several speeches about Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, in a similar fashion of actual Broadway shows. The drama department also made bonnets based on the show and had an auction. As the audience started to depart on closing night, there was a special,

surprise promposal for senior Ariana Lopez from senior Jonah Bryson. The cast welcomed the audience with a meet and greet afterward. “Percy Jackson was one of my personal favorite musicals performed here at Douglas,” sophomore Alexander Denisov said. “I love how they pulled me into the action as if I was on stage with them. The acting and singing were incredible and I enjoyed every minute of it.” “The Lightning Thief ” was the final MSD Drama performance of the 20182019 school year and the last high school performance for the senior actors. Story

by Mackenzie Quinn

The Eagle Eye receives special invitation to attend annual Pulitzer Prize luncheon in New York City

Sun-Sentinel for their coverage and investigative reporting on the shooting at MSD, and the award in Local Reporting was received by the staff of The Advocate from Baton Rouge, Louisiana for their coverage of their state’s discriminatory conviction system. In further recognition of their entry, Canedy personally invited The Eagle

Eye to join the annual Pulitzer Prizes luncheon at Columbia University in New York City on May 28. Spirit Airlines donated a set of flights for the group, alongside the Sun-Sentinel, who will be covering the group’s other expenses. Eight students will travel to the luncheon. Story by Hannah Kapoor; photo courtesy of The Pulitzer Prizes

News • MSD in Brief 05

Leaving The

Nest Ty Thompson steps down from MSD principal position


fter a last minute meeting of teachers at the end of the school day, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Principal Ty Thompson stepped down from his position. This departure will be effective as of June 6, 2019, the last official day of the 2018-2019 school year. Thompson’s announcement comes two months after he was removed from his active duties as principal due to the pending investigation regarding the events of Feb. 14, 2018. Before becoming MSD’s principal, Thompson traveled all throughout Florida for his education and his career. He graduated from another one of Broward County Public Schools, Plantation High School. From there he went on to attend Florida State University in Tallahassee. Once earning his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Social Sciences as well as Education, Thompson returned to Broward County, this time as an educator. “I loved high school so much that I

neglected my family and my health.” Despite all that has occurred at MSD in the past 15 months, not all of Thompson’s years have been filled with unpleasant memories. “There’s been a lot of great memories here,” Thompson said. “When I came in as the principal, the big thing I wanted to do was to help with the school spirit. I think that over the years I was here I was able to do that, with the additions of pep rallies and different activities.” While being a principal allows for Thompson to be able to teach students, as well as the staff, the job also comes with it’s own lessons. Not only did he have to The next leap in his educational path Throughout all of these additions, learn the layout of the school and how was to be named assistant principal at J.P. Thompson has remained the face of the the existing staff worked together, but he school, wanting to be there for the MSD Taravella High School. He remained in was also tasked with making the school a family. that position for eight years. Thompson better environment for his students. “Basically it boils down to the fact was then transferred to MSD as an “This school is unbelievable; the kids assistant principal during the 2009-2010 that the day-to-day things that are going are unbelievable. There is lots of great on here have just kind of caught up to school year, and for the next four years potential here and hopefully we were me,” Thompson said. “I was worried he would thrive at MSD, becoming the about everyone, which I should be as the able to bring out some of that potential,” principal during the 2012-2013 school principal; worried about my own students Thompson said. “The staff here is also an year. and my staff and everything. Over the 16 unbelievable staff. I’ve worked at three “I had such a great experience at my schools and this staff definitely rises months it’s been now, I’ve really kind of high school that I wanted to come back kind of wanted to come back and be in high school again,” Thompson said. Back at his alma mater of PHS, Thompson taught government and economics, as well as advised student government. He was also the adviser for leadership and coached golf and flag football.

and give back,” Thompson said. “When I was at Taravella, I did all the things that I wanted to kind of spread out [at MSD] as principal. I wanted to come back and do what I grew up with.” Since the shooting on Feb. 14, 2018, the students and staff of MSD have been faced with many challenges and changes.

I loved high school so much that I kind of wanted to come back and be in high school again.

06 News • Principal Thompson Leaving MSD

Design by Dara Rosen

Proud Principal. Principal Ty Thompson congratulates the Eagles baseball team on their state championship title on May 15, 2016. Photo

by Emma Dowd

Talk it Out. Principal Ty Thompson talks to students on Nov. 27, 2018 during a student protest against the removal of four MSD staff.

Photo by Dara Rosen

In Remembrance. Principal Ty Thompson remembers and reflects on the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the annual event held by JROTC on Sept. 11, 2018 .

Photo by Nyan Clarke

School Spirit. Principal Ty Thompson gets students excited for the upcoming Homecoming game at the junior vs. senior pep rally on Nov. 3, 2017. Photo by Delaney Tarr

Celebrate Success. Principal Ty Thompson congratulates the Eagle Regiment of the FMBC Class 5A championship title on Nov. 20, 2017. Photo by Emma Dowd

above any staff I’ve ever worked with.” Over the past ten years that Thompson has worked at MSD, he has been able to build relationships with many of the teachers and staff members, earning their respect and confidence. “He allowed for an enormous amount of academic freedom. He trusted us and I think that is an enormous quality in a principal when they can trust their employees to do what’s right. And I think along the way, we did,” television production teacher Eric Garner said. Since arriving at MSD in 2009, Thompson has earned the trust of the student body and has been deemed a supportive principal, attending school functions ranging from sports events to award ceremonies. The student body has even given him his own nickname, Ty the Tank. “I see Thompson as a great person in general,” sophomore George Alvord said. “He had always been a great supporter to every student at MSD. He is one of the kindest people at our schools.” When he was removed from his duties

they will not be returning to MSD. Instead, assistant principals, Daniel Most, Daniel Lechtman and Yvette Figueroa will be staying as administrative staff joined by three new assistant principals to be named before next school year. When Thompson was originally removed from his position as principal, it raised concerns about what changes would be implemented at MSD. Now, those feelings of uneasiness and worry have returned to the minds of teachers. “With new principals, they set their expectations and we have an expectation about a principal, and it’s about trying to align everything,” Garner said. “To give school year. In addition to Thompson miss hearing him say ‘We are MSD a really bad analogy, we are all switching stepping down from his position, Strong’ every morning and just how boats. This boat has had a lot of rough several other members of the staff have approachable he was.” waters, so we’re jumping onto this new announced their planned departure as It was announced that Michelle Kefford, the current principal of Charles well. Guidance Director Terrence Sullivan boat where she will be the captain, and and Office Manager Teresa Basilone have how that all works out is going to be very W. Flanagan High School, would start interesting.” revealed their plans to leave MSD next her role as principal of MSD. On May 17, What the future of MSD looks like is Kefford was present on the MSD campus year. When the investigation into the three not totally certain, but it is clear that the in order to get a feel for how a school day 2019-2020 school year will come with it’s is actually run under the guiding hand of administrators, Denise Reed, Winfred own set of challenges and changes. Story Porter and Jeff Morford, and security Thompson. specialist, Kelvin Greenleaf, concludes, “[Kefford] can’t be here everyday by Ava Steil back in March, students and teachers alike took comfort in that fact that he would still be seen around campus. With this new turn of events, however, it means that he will no longer be in attendance every day at MSD. “He’s a super nice and chill guy,” senior Michael Vega said. “I’ll really

because she still has to close up over at Flanagan,” Thompson said. “We’ll really be putting a lot of time in over the summer, but I wanted her to see you guys and be here at least a day or two between now and the end of the year.” However, Kefford will not be the only new administrative face at MSD next

I’ve worked at three schools and this staff definitely rises above any staff I’ve ever worked with.

News • Principal Thompson Leaving MSD 07

Design by Taylor Yon and Darian Williams

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Design by Dara Rosen; photo by Darian Williams Mixing It Up. Hollister’s surprise guest, DJ Cash Cash, performed for about an hour at prom on May 11. Photo by Nyan Clarke Crowned. Seniors Sophia Ortiz and Santiago Cuellar are crowned as prom king and queen on May 11. Photo by Nyan Clarke Dancing Queen. Senior Helena Denny dances at prom on May 11 at The Westin Ft. Lauderdale hotel. Photo by Nyan Clarke

LET’S DANCE MSD wins ‘Ultimate Prom’ Hollister contest

to the runner-up school; these rumors were debunked by Driscoll when she announced that MSD had in fact won. “There was never a point in time when n April 8, leadership teacher Hollister called us and said ‘you won’ Danielle Driscoll made an and the district was saying ‘you didn’t’,” announcement to the student Driscoll said. “That never happened.” body that the senior class of Leading up to the day of prom, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Hollister did not release the name of had won a special prom through a the performer, but had them surprise Hollister contest. students on the special night. DJ Cash For the first time, Hollister held a Cash came out to perform forty five contest for high schools around the minutes after prom began. country for a chance to win the ultimate “I loved DJ Cash Cash, he played the prom. From Feb. 15 to March 15, schools best music and made the room bounce,” fought to be the recipient of this award. senior Camden Lander said. “I would Students and community members signed definitely recommend he come back for up through the Hollister website and another dance.” nominated their school. From the entries, As the night came to an end, the 800 Khalid because he is sponsored by Hollister chose the school with the most amount announced by Hollister, the Hollister,” senior Nyla Hussian said before students in attendance made their way number of votes. money was distributed throughout out of the venue, most people with swag attending prom. “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High several aspects of the prom budget. bags in their arms and smiles on their That was not the only rumor of the School was the winner, receiving more Decorations to go with the Ancient prom season. Prior to the announcement faces. than a quarter of all the votes cast for Greece theme and prom swag bags were “Prom was awesome. Super happy the top ten schools,” Hollister’s media provided, in addition to the those already that was made about MSD winning the special prom, there was also speculation with how everything turned out,” Senior department said in a statement. picked out by the senior class board. Class President Jaclyn Corin said. Story by among students that MSD had lost the Hollister promoted the contest Some of the money was used to reduce contest and the ultimate prom would go Brianna Jesionowski and Ava Steil via social media, such as Twitter and the ticket pricing from $125-130 to $73-


Instagram. The ad was a poster with the details linked. In these details it stated the rules, regulations and prizes of the contest. “Hollister has what they called an ‘Ultimate Prize Contest,” Driscoll said. “It’s valued at $150,000, but that does not mean they handed us $150,000.” Instead of receiving a check for the

$88. Hollister also donated $5,000 dollars to MSD in addition to cover the costs for a professional performer to play live at prom. When this aspect was revealed, many students believed Khalid, the celebrity on the contest’s advertisement, would be at their prom. “I think the special guest will be

I loved DJ Cash Cash, he played the best music and made the room bounce, I would definitely recommend he come back for another dance.

News • Prom 09

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That’s A End of Florida legislative session brings educational changes

he 2019 Florida Legislative Session began on March 5, 2019. These sessions occur annually on the first Tuesday of March and last for 60 days consecutively. Both the upper chamber, the Senate, and lower chamber, the House of Representatives, of the Florida legislature convened to pass new laws and amend or repeal those that are already in place. With this session being Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first since taking office, DeSantis constructed a budget of over $90 billion focusing heavily on education, environmental issues and health care. During this session, the Florida legislature reviewed 34 bills regarding education. Of these 34 bills, 16 were introduced by the Senate, while the remaining 18 were introduced by the House.

Graduation Dress Code SB 292 is a two-page bill that bans a school district from preventing students from wearing the dress uniform of any U.S. Armed Forces at graduation. “A district school board may not prohibit a student from lawfully wearing the dress uniform in any of the Armed Forces of the United States or of the state at his or her graduation ceremony,” the bill said. The bill was introduced by two Hillsborough County lawmakers after an incident at Newsome High in Lithia, Florida. Senior Emily Olson had finished her basic military training and wanted to dress out for graduation, in order to show her achievement in the program. However, the school board rejected her proposal, stating that she had to wear the traditional cap and gown. “That just sparked a very uncomfortable conversation with the gentleman who is leading the coordination with the graduation ceremony who was quick to tell me that even though he served in the military, that nobody would be able to wear their uniform,” Olson’s mother, Julie Abueg, said according to Spectrum News 9. The bill passed unanimously, 115-0, and is awaiting DeSantis’ desk.

Back in Session. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses a joint session of the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee, Florida on March 5. Photo courtesy of Scott Keeler/

Tampa Bay Times

Florida counties approved referendums to fund their local schools. Some of the referendums specifically directed the funds only to traditional public schools and not charter schools. “It’s another attack on local control,” Collier County School Board Chairman Roy Terry said, according to the Naples Daily News. “They’re taking away the ability of local elected officials to determine what is best for the schools in their district.” On the other hand, numerous charter school board members, such as Marco Island Academy Board Chairwoman Jane Watt, appreciate that the Legislation is guaranteeing their funding rather than having the school districts decide. “We have a ton of funding just to survive,” Watt said in an interview with reporter Rachel Fradette. “We should be receiving equitable funding, not excluding.” The bill was passed by the House with a vote of 69-44 and will affect many school districts all over Florida for all future tax referendums.

of this year, which some anticipate will change the results. “The notion that the very clear Florida Supreme Court precedent is going to be disregarded here simply because there are new justices on the court honestly is an insult to all of those new justices,” Democratic Rep. Joe Geller said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “They will reject this law as unconstitutional as the previous iteration was rejected.” On the other hand, bill supporters liken these programs to the scholarships of universities that are funded by the state, yet can be used at private colleges. “Frankly, the time for political posturing is coming to an end, and now it’s time to do what is right for our middle-income and low-income families in the state of Florida,” House PreK-12 Appropriations Chairman Chris Latvala said in an interview with Orlando Weekly.

In response to the bill, various Democrats have proposed over 45 amendments, all which were denied or withdrawn.

Arming Teachers The highly controversial Senate bill, SB 7030, Arming Teachers and Guardian Expansion, was passed during this session after a two-day debate and was signed by Gov. DeSantis. SB 7030 allows a sheriff to institute a Guardian program in schools, in which teachers can be trained to use firearms, requires a school district to encourage the usage of an app to report suspicious actions and requires the implementation of the legislative recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. “Instead of helping fix the problem, they’re only adding fuel to the fire,” sophomore Jessica Virk said. “There are so many things that could go wrong; it’s Teacher Bonuses scary.” SB 7070 will also develop a program Various teachers are also against this that specializes in recruiting good bill. teachers in high-demand subjects, the “It is terrible that the people who are Best and Brightest program, and get rid School Voucher Programs supposed to represent us in the legislature of the SAT/ACT test-score requirements Another passing bill is SB 7070, the ignore our wishes when it comes to issues Potential Train Bill, which establishes the which currently dictate which teachers like this,” Hospitality teacher Mitchell receive the top bonuses. Family Empowerment Scholarship that Nonetheless, numerous teachers have Albert said. “I have no intention of ever allows a larger amount of students to School Tax Referendum Money carrying a gun in school and do not feel attend private schools under scholarships been opposed to this program, as they SB 294, or the Educational Facilities safer because of this law. If you pass a law want a raise in pay, not an alteration in a paid for by taxpayers, as well as create bill, authorizes school districts to use requiring universal background checks– new private school voucher programs. The bonus, which is a one-time transaction. funds from a taxpayer bond referendum which, by the way, 90% of Americans Among others, English teacher Lauren scholarship will be given to up to 15,000 for the construction of educational support–would keep weapons away from Rower is against the program, even with students each year. facilities, in the absence of a survey those who want to use them for nefarious the discussed revisions. The Potential Train Bill passed with recommendation; it also prohibits a school purposes.” “I think it is important to evaluate 76 ‘Yays’ in contrast to 39 ‘Nays.’ However, board from using funds from any source However, Broward County Public teachers and make sure that they are there are many critics of this new bill. A other than specific local sources. very similar bill was passed with the help effective in the classroom. I know recently School Superintendent, Robert Runcie, SB 294 is not the only bill that stated that the school board will stick with that there were some changes to [the of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2006, references tax referendums. House Bill their decision not to arm teachers. program], essentially what money we yet was ruled unconstitutional by the 7123, sponsored by Republican Rep. “The Broward County School Board receive for being effective has been Bryan Aliva, allows tax referendum funds Florida Supreme Court later that year. voted on a resolution against arming decreased,” Rower said. “The idea that Due to this Florida Supreme Court to be distributed between public and teachers in March 2018,” Runcie said in we dedicate so much time and put in so case, Bush v. Holmes, there is a stigma charter schools based on the number much effort and even when we are seen as an interview with the Miami Herald. “We surrounding how the bill will progress of students. The controversial factor in being the best at our jobs, we are still not do not believe arming teachers is the best once it reaches the judicial branch. this bill is the fact that charter schools way to make our schools safe.” Story by given this credit where it is due is pretty receive government and taxpayer funding, However, DeSantis appointed three new hurtful.” conservative justices at the beginning Ashley Ferrer yet are privately-run. Taxpayers in 24

News • Legislative Wrap-up 11

Paying The Price I

Students question admissions fairness after cheating scandal

t has long been said that “money can’t buy happiness,” and the same reality is true for those who are involved with manipulating the education system. After news of the major college admissions scandal broke out in March, questions arose regarding how frequently unqualified students are admitted into competitive schools. When federal prosecutors charged 50 individuals in a complex college admissions scheme that involved bribery and fraud, the Department of Justice deemed it as the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.” Thirty-three parents, including actresses Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were accused of bribery to help facilitate their children’s admission into highly ranked universities “The parents’ bribes were disguised as ‘donations’ to the Key Worldwide Foundation, which purported ‘to provide education that would normally be unattainable to underprivileged students, not only attainable but realistic.” When the findings of this investigation made the news, millions became angered with the fact that economically privileged individuals once again had the upper hand in society. Students who devote their time to their academics and extracurriculars to enhance their chances of attending

a university, as well as student athletes who train hours after school with goals of recruitment from college athletic directors were especially outraged. They realized that these privileged children could have easily taken their spots at the university of their dreams. “I just think that students who work hard are more deserving than those who take the easy way out,” junior Alyssa Goldfarb said. “With people like Olivia Jade [Giannulli], who even admitted in her YouTube video that she doesn’t want to be at college to receive an education, but she just wants to go to party at football games, it’s so unfair.” The outbreak of an immense, nationwide scandal brings attention to whether such corruption takes place within our own school community. The term “cheating” can be very broad. While some may define cheating as copying homework from a friend, others may think of cheating as bribing admission boards with large sums of money. Most students are aware that cheating is immoral. However, cheating is most often on a smaller scale and is a common practice for many students. The extent of what counts as cheating is also not clear cut. Some consider actions such as getting a private tutor or hiring a college counselor an unfair advantage over

those students who can’t afford one. Students and parents in today’s competitive, goal-oriented society push themselves and their children to perform to the best of their ability in all aspects of their lives. The intensified desire and expectation to go to college drives more students to cheat to reassure their success. “I think that with all of the competition that it takes to get into colleges these days, people have gotten to the point where they’ll do anything to keep a 4.0 GPA,” junior Seth Klein said. The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics found that 95% of students have admitted to cheating sometime in their academic career. However, there are various downfalls to committing to a school that a student is not truly qualified for. “My opinion is that you work for it,” guidance counselor Gerald Turmaine said. “That’s the best way to go because if you get into college by cheating your way through it, then it’s not really real. You didn’t do that on your merits, but you did it on how sneaky you were or how savvy you

SINKING salaries


lorida is sinking in the national teacher salary ranking. According to the National Education Association’s annual report on teacher salaries, the Sunshine State has dropped from 45th in 2018 to 46th in the United States in 2019. The average salary of a teacher in Florida is $47,267, with a starting salary around $37,405. It is one of the lowest in the country, as it lags below the 2017 Nationwide annual salary of $59,660 in 2016-2017 by more than $10,000. “Obviously when you’re not paid the amount that you feel that you should be paid or you’re not paid as much as teachers in other states, you feel undervalued and under appreciated,” English and teaching academy teacher Felicia Burgin said. “By not giving teachers the pay they should get, the lack of respect is shown.” A teacher’s salary comes from funds provide through the state government, along with local property taxes. “With the poor pay, growing healthcare costs, high cost of living, and increase in prices, a teacher’s salary is not sufficient enough to live on, especially if they have multiple children,” U.S. history and sociology teacher Michael Marino said. “I can live off of my salary because I have no children and my wife works as well; for teachers with kids, the pay is a little

harder to live on.” According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one in five teachers have a second job. “At the beginning of my teaching career, I had to be a bartender to get paid more,” advanced placement government teacher Jeffrey Foster said. “Half the teachers I know work two jobs. The salary is barely enough to pay the bills.” The Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution reported that even with more qualified teachers, teacher pay dropped 5% in the last decade. Additionally, studies from the University of Pittsburgh and University of Tennessee, among others presented, show that a low salary serves as one of the main factors for the shortage of teachers available to teach in classrooms across the nation. Halfway through the 2018-2019 school year, The Florida Education Association and the statewide teachers union reported that there are 2,217 teaching positions available for teachers in Florida, which is an increase of about 700 from last year. The shortage forces schools to hire non-certified teachers. The national non-profit, non-partisan Learning Policy Institute predicts that unqualified or under-qualified teachers are teaching hundreds of thousands of students across the nation.

Average salaries for Florida teachers amongst lowest in the United States

“Some teachers at this school and at other schools don’t teach,” junior Emalie Hull said. “They make you learn the material by yourself through videos and by reading the textbook. That’s not really helpful because students need to be taught the material through their teachers, so they can ask questions and receive answers.” Teachers not only work during school hours, but they work unpaid hours before and after school. “The teaching program that I’m in at school helped me see how much teachers have to do,” President of Future Educators of America Hailey Carpenter said. “Many teachers come early to school to prepare

12 News • College Admissions Scandal & Florida Teacher Pay

were.” In addition, attending a school that one is not academically ready to handle will prove to be a challenge when they are unable to keep pace with peers who got into the school on their own merit. “It’s going to come to a point where now you are applying for a job,” BRACE adviser Ana Farrand said. “How do you begin to cheat for that job? For example, Google only has one position. How are you going to cheat your way into getting that position?” Major results of the surfacing of the college admission scandal are increased discussions in what should be done to minimize the presence of cheating in schools, as well as how the students caught in the scandal should be punished. Debates and discussions over college cheating scandals have grasped the attention of people nationwide, with both students and parents asking the question: Is it possible to get into college solely based on merits? Story by Zoe Gordon and Katrina White; photo illustration by Nyan Clarke

for class, stay late to finish grading and some are sponsors for after-school school clubs. Teachers are such a necessity in our society; without them, nobody would be able to do their jobs because teachers are the ones that teach them how to do it.” For most teachers, their passion of teaching is what keeps them going. The love of building relationships with kids, making an impact for the future, helping children when they need it and having the ability to see students succeed is what makes them continue teaching. Although money is a major factor, the teacherstudent bonds created are often what keeps a teacher seated at their desk. Story by Elama Ali; photo illustration by Nyan Clarke



n his recent CNN OpEd, “Know who’s not surprised by Aunt Becky’s rule-breaking? Every teacher,” elementary school principal Gerry Brooks contends that we are all “Aunt Becky,” suggesting that we are all willing to bend the rules when we think it serves our assessment of some “best interest.” Brooks’s online rant on parenting, considering the college admission scandal, has garnered over 6 million views, but Brooks misses the point. I am not surprised over the scandal, and I do not disagree with Brooks that parents, and sometimes teachers, bend the rules. But this is not about bending the rules just because parents were concerned about the best interest of their children. This scandal is all about greed, about privilege, about the amassing of generational wealth and about image maintenance. It honestly could not be any more ironic that Lori Loughlin, or “Aunt Becky,” lied her Instagram influencer daughter’s way into the University of Southern California. Olivia Jade not only did not want to go to USC, but she had no need to go to USC; the only one who needed Lori Loughlin’s daughter to be in USC was Loughlin herself. Olivia Jade was only enrolled at USC for her parents to be able to say she was a student at USC. These parents spending thousands of dollars, one paid as much as $6.5 million, to get their children into school are not looking out for the best interest of their children; they are looking out for the notoriety that comes with saying “my child attends _____.” I have attended and worked at a variety of colleges; I have learned how the admissions process works. I

have written recommendation letters; I have spent time with recruiters and administrators, with deans who have extra influence, and, overwhelmingly, they are good people. They are honestly looking for qualified students, not falsified students. As I see it, colleges and universities have been made to look like criminals by a lot of the media coverage on this scandal. Select employees might be criminals, but the institutions themselves are arguably just as defrauded as the rest of us. It is wrong that pundits frame colleges and universities as criminally liable. I am not here to say schools are blameless; I think the institutions are villains, but of a different type of crime. They created the system that allowed this scandal to flourish, especially the notorious schools, so sought out after by the students and parents. Too many pundits are out here accusing colleges of benefiting from the scandal when in all actuality, this scandal


College cheating scandal reveals truth about wealth in society

that system; it is still wrong, but it is gainfully different from cheating on the ACT/SAT, lying about playing a sport and fraudulently filing for tax write-offs. The scheme that William Singer, the criminal ringleader and founder of a college preparatory business called the Edge College & Career Network, perpetrated stole the slots of more qualified people. Those pushed out are direct victims of these crimes, but they are not the only victims. All students become victims. Students with learning disabilities that warrant testing accommodations are victims, as Singer encouraged parents to falsify justification for these accommodations. Student athletes are victims, as nefarious coaches reserved slots for people with fabricated

It is important to remember that getting into schools with notorious names is often a function of circumstance, privilege and connections, not talent, knowledge or competency.

flies in the face of the dubious admissions we are used to hearing about. Accepting the student of a parent who builds a new million-dollar aquatic center, state-of-the-art telescope, or physics lab is problematic, but at least under that system decades of students will benefit from one super rich kid getting to attend the school. And I am not apologizing for

athletic resumes. As the admissions process of higher education falls under greater scrutiny, we are better able to identify the deeper crimes involved. It is high time we accept that our meritocracy is not all it seems to be; those with greater wealth need fewer merits; those with connections and legacy have more access to the right

WE DESERVE Better sk just about anyone, and they’ll tell you that teachers deserve to be paid more. Teachers are creating the future, they’ll say; we wouldn’t have doctors, lawyers or scientists if we didn’t have teachers. Politicians win elections by making big promises: I’m going to give those teachers a raise!

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Low teacher pay hurts both teachers and students

extra-curricular activities is laughably low, and teachers often don’t get paid anything for the extra time they put in outside of class; many club sponsorships and other activities don’t come with stipends. But teachers sacrifice their own time–time that could be spent with their families–to give students the opportunities we feel they should have. Teachers don’t choose their career for the paycheck; we know when we get into this that we’ll never be rich. We choose this career because we love our students, and we want to give them the a new teacher is hired in at $40,724 per tools they need to be successful. The year, while a teacher with 15 years of people in charge of our salaries, who experience earns $46,164–over $14,000 promise us raises year after year, take below the national average. Florida teachers can then supplement this salary advantage of this. They don’t deliver what based on a complicated system involving they promise, because they know that we will continue to accept less than we classroom observations, student test scores, and (incredibly) their own SAT or deserve because we care about our kids. And year after year, that’s exactly what ACT scores. teachers do. Think of all your teachers; how long Low salaries mean that fewer people ago do you think they took the SAT? Well, are becoming teachers, and that almost that’s what their bonus is based on. half of the teachers leave the profession The money teachers get for certain to the Tampa Bay Times, teachers in Florida are paid an average of just over $48,000, more than $12,000 less than the national average. Florida is ranked 46th in average teacher pay, even though our cost of living is slightly above average. But these numbers are actually fairly misleading, and the real numbers are even worse. In Florida’s current system

people, the right doors and the right social passwords. This scandal isn’t about bending the rules, it is about playing by a second set. Privilege, social capital and socio-economic status will result in far more “success” than good grades, high test scores, and a well-deserved recommendation letter. In all fairness, going to Harvard or Yale, USC or Wake Forest is nice, but there is nothing wrong with going to Florida Atlantic University or Miami Dade College, Laramie Community College or Doane University. There are “Ivy League” students at community, junior and state colleges across the U.S. It is important to remember that getting into schools with notorious names is often a function of circumstance, privilege and connections, not talent, knowledge or competency. There were legal crimes committed, but there are greater offenses that will take far more work to solve, and that is where conversations should go next. Guest editorial by debate teacher Jacob Abraham; portrait by Nyan Clarke

Somewhere between the political lip service and teachers’ actual paychecks, the money teachers “deserve” gets lost. And that’s where it stops. Somewhere between the political lip service and teachers’ actual paychecks, the money teachers “deserve” gets lost. It’s a problem nationwide. Teacher salaries have increased at a much lower rate than the national average income over the last decade, and because our salaries don’t keep up with inflation, teachers are taking home less today than we were 10 years ago when compared to the cost of living. In Florida, it’s even worse. According

within their first five years–they simply can’t afford to keep this job when other professions pay so much more. And fewer quality teachers means a lower quality of education. I don’t know how to fix the problem, but I do know that the current system is bad for everyone–everyone, that is, but the people in charge, who keep getting raises despite the fact that they fail teachers and students year after year. Guest editorial by English teacher Katherine Posada; portrait by Nyan Clarke

Editorial • College Admissions Scandal & Florida Teacher Pay 13

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Early Birds


Students opt to graduate early after changes at MSD

ith the distribution of course cards and meetings about class selections, some rising seniors are rethinking their graduation plans. While most students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School choose to “walk across the stage in June,” some have diverged from the norm, deciding instead to graduate early, in December. In previous years, students have also decided to graduate early. Multiple factors can contribute to one’s decision about graduating early, including future career choices, gap semesters and personal concerns. However, a new reason is leading more students to graduate early: MSD itself. While the same average of 15 students that graduate early every year are leaving in 2019, some of this year’s group have made this decision based upon the school environment itself. The recent changes in leadership, security and procedures have created a feeling of exhaustion and concern for certain members of the student population. “I’m graduating early because I just don’t want to be at this school anymore,” junior Alyssa Goldfarb said. “I just feel like I

don’t need to be here for a full year, if I can get my credits done sooner.” For those who plan on taking a semester or two off, some students have been trying to decide what to do with their future spare time. Volunteering, interning or even getting a head start in the workforce have been options that resonate with some MSD students. “After I graduate I’m most likely doing a community service-based program that travels out of the country,” junior Zoey Fox-Snider said. “For me, benefits are getting to choose what I actually want to do, experiencing new things that I normally wouldn’t and taking a break before college.” Upon graduation, many members of the faculty try to convince students that it is important to do something with the time that would have been occupied by attending classes and studying. Although most students are over the constraints to school, graduating early should be more than just an opportunity to leave school. “My opinion is that you only graduate from high school one time, and I think that kids tend to rush through growing up,” senior guidance counselor Gerald Turmaine said. “They need to do

something. Don’t just graduate early to lay on the couch or stay up until 4 a.m. playing Fortnite. If you are doing it you should be doing it for a reason and you should do something with it instead of being over school and not wanting to do anything.” Weighing both personal and social factors together to make a decision, some students have found that they will mentally and physically benefit from leaving the school earlier than scheduled. This new time allows them a chance to recuperate from their high school years and prepare for an upcoming future. “I want to gain experience in my career

field in the semester that I won’t be in school,” Goldfarb said. “I either plan to land an internship with a fashion marketing company or just get a job within my field. I think that gaining experience is more important than that last semester in school, since I know what I do in that semester away would benefit me more in the long run than what I would do here.” Whether a student decides to graduate early or on schedule is a decision that holds influence on their future. Either way, citing MSD itself as the reason for leaving has been on the rise for 2019. Story by Brianna Fisher; photo by Einav Cohen

Going separate ways


MSD students choose alternative post-graduation routes or many students, the end of high school means the beginning of the next chapter of their lives: college. However, some students today are breaking from the traditional four years of school and taking an alternative route. Whether this includes heading into the military, taking a gap year or heading directly into the workforce, some students feel that succeeding in life does not necessarily mean getting a college degree. Many students often take into account external factors such as grades, if their parents or siblings went to college and the cost itself. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, just 33% of adults 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Oftentimes, students take an alternative route due to the excessive cost of college. According to the College Board, the average cost of college tuition for the 2017-2018 school year was $9,970 for in-state residents at public universities and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. Many students feel that these high costs simply outweigh the benefits of a college degree because of the burden of college loan debt. Some students choose to enlist in the military. Members in active duty receive a salary, access to a wide variety of government benefits such as free healthcare, generally low living costs, access to travel the world, and retirement benefits after 20 years of service. The military will also pay for college tuition for service members.

“I want to serve my country because I want to make a difference and make the world a better place,” senior Stephano Henry said. “I chose the army because the army offers the best opportunity because they have the most jobs in the military and they provide a lot of a different things or if you wanted if you want to be like in combat or if you want to be on a support jobs are like a side job you can like also switch off with afterward.” Another option that students choose after high school is a gap year before attending college. Taking time off between high school and college can help some teens explore the “real world” and who they are as a person. Students can spend this time interning, volunteering, traveling or working to save up money for college. “So far my gap year has opened my eyes in a million new ways,” Alumna Julia Salamone said. “I have such a broader world understanding from being in a totally different context from my own, and meeting people from Brazil, and all over the world, through my program. I am definitely more confident and assertive now, and feel more myself in general.” Another alternative route that students have after high school is enrolling in a technical college. Technical colleges provide courses in specific subjects such as technology, engineering, agriculture, carpentry, cooking and secretarial skills. These schools teach skills that are geared towards a specific career, instead of a

broad education. According to culinary teacher Ashley Kurth, 30% of her students are going into some form of hospitality or culinary education. “Sometimes people feel that it is more beneficial to go to a technical school in order to build skills,” Kurth said. “You learn in a more controlled environment where it’s grade base instead of pay base. Along with that, you also get to learn the specific lingo in the actual field and get to practice using the machinery that is used on a daily basis.” Some students leave school and enter the workforce through police or fire academies. However, applicants must be 21

years or older to pass competitive written exams in order to become a police officer. “I plan on going into the police academy because I want to make a difference and help out the community. It’s something I have always wanted to do,” senior Colton Haab said. Regardless of a student’s plan after high school, there are many different paths that a student can take. Whether the student wants to join the workforce, military, or take a gap year, sometimes attending college immediately after high school is not for everyone. Story by Leni Steinhardt; photo illustration by Nyan Clarke

Feature • Students Leaving MSD 15

ON to the next

Miracle maker


uidance counselor Joan Paula has worked as at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for over 16 years, but the 2018-2019 school year will be her last year working at MSD. Paula entered the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) five years ago in 2015. The DROP program, once entered, provides an educator five years of paid work before they must retire. “I’ve never taught students, but I’ve been a guidance counselor for 25 years,” Paula said. “I first started out working at

a middle school, and after about maybe 15 years at a middle school, I moved over into high school.” Some of Paula’s favorite memories from MSD are when she is able to watch her “miracle” students grow and progress through hardships in both their individuality and education throughout her years with them. “I have some students that I call my ‘miracle kids,’ in a sense, that have come a long way, I’ve seen the progress and I’ve enjoyed working with the same set of

Guidance counselor Joan Paula retires after 16 years at MSD students from ninth to eleventh grade,” Paula said. “It was even a good feeling today to see some of the same students that I assisted from ninth grade now become seniors as they walked across the stage at the cord ceremony.” When Paula retires, she plans on having a period of rest and relaxation immediately after her retirement. Following that, she would like to continue to have interactions with students, and look into becoming a college adviser. Story and photo by Jason Leavy

The show must go on


and director Alexander Kaminsky has taught for 30 years, four of which have been spent at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He has decided to accept an offer as the director of band at the Vandercook College of Music in Chicago. “My focus would be to train the next generation of band directors, which I feel at this point in my career, it’s time for me to give back to the profession,” Kaminsky said.

Kaminsky’s career as band director at MSD includes a number of achievements, including two 5A state championships back to back, and three concert bands and two jazz bands, who have achieved the highest ratings in the state. Some of his favorite memories at MSD include the wind symphony’s midwest clinic performance and the moment concert band achieved the honor of straight superiors at the state music performance assessment. “Another one [memory] was at the

Psyched out


P Psychology instructor Lisa Chauvin is retiring after teaching 35 years in Broward County, 27 of which have been at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Chauvin graduated from Louisiana State University. Besides teaching, she participates in a number of school activities some of which have become fond memories for her. “Favorite memories from Douglas are the various Pig Bowls, I chaperoned Grad Bash, and I used to drive the activity bus,” Chauvin said.


16 Feature • Staff Leaving MSD

first of the 5A championships when they announced second place and it wasn’t us. We knew we won that 5A state championship for the first time,” Kaminsky said. In light of the world we live in, Kaminsky emphasizes the importance of finding a passion that helps conceal the negative. For Kaminsky, his passion is making music to the highest possible level of excellence and always doing his best. Story by Rishita Malakapalli; photo by Nyan Clarke

AP Psychology teacher Lisa Chauvin retires from MSD after 35 years as a teacher in Broward County

Chauvin’s enthusiasm for psychology is reflected in her lessons which many students remember being informative yet engaging. While there was plenty of notetaking, there were also many instances in which she would play movies or conduct an experiment to help explain a topic. “AP Psychology taught me a lot about why humans behave the way we do, and I feel because of Ms. Chauvin’s unique teaching style, I will remember the topics we discussed for years to come,” senior Pinaki Upadhyay said.

soldiering on gt. John Navarra taught the JROTC program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for over 12 years. Recently, Navarra announced that 2019 will be his last year teaching at the school. In 2015, Navarra entered a government program known as DROP, the Deferred Retirement Option Program. Once entered, an educator will be paid for five years before they are compelled to retire.

Band director Alexander Kaminsky leaves MSD

Chauvin is retiring this year because her five years as a part of the DROP program have come to an end. “I have had many, many thousands of wonderful students during my career and I am ready to have new adventures in life,” Chauvin said. Chauvin’s long commitment to teaching, in addition to her passion for psychology and her participation in a number of school events has left a lasting impression on the MSD community. Story by Rishita Malakapalli; photo by Joyce Han

JROTC teacher Sgt. John Navarra retires from MSD after 12 years

“Your retirement pay goes into an account that draws interest, but you continue to work and receive your regular pay,” Navarra said. Navarra takes great pride in helping prepare his students for the real world. “Teaching Junior ROTC is my favorite memory of all employment I’ve ever had,” Navarra said. “I enjoy watching kids come in from eighth grade into ninth grade,

where they barely know what high school is, yet in four years, they’ve matured and are ready to go to college.” After he retires, Navarra plans on fixing, cleaning and doing chores around his house, along with scuba diving more regularly. He also hopes to spend more time with his grandchildren. Story by Jason Leavy; photo by Nadia Murillo

Journey departing duo


aymond Posada, sociology and world history teacher, has been teaching at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the past four years alongside his wife and English teacher Katherine Posada, who has been teaching at MSD for the past three years. The family will be relocating to Raleigh, North Carolina at the end of the school year out of concern for their two children who they do not trust in the hands of Broward County Public Schools. Raymond Posada wishes that students, administrators and teachers would hold students accountable for their actions. He feels that there is a lot that gets overlooked and brushed under the rug because no one wants to ruffle any feathers. This year, both teachers introduced a co-curricular class referred to as “Englistory.” In these classes, Raymond and Katherine connect their lessons to


uidance Counselor Debra Work never fails to express her love for her job, yet asserts that she wants to retire happy. Work has had a career in education for 31 years and has decided to retire from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School due to personal circumstances both in and out of school. In addition to a successful professional life, she wants to enjoy her personal life and spend time with loved ones, including her mother. “Life is too short. We shouldn’t take what we have for granted, and I want to enjoy my family, especially my mom who has been ill this year,” Work said. “It’s just another reminder that we need to

Both Raymond and Katherine will miss many things from their time at MSD. In particular, Raymond will miss his iconic musical chair lesson, where instead of eliminating chairs and people, he only eliminates chairs, so in the end, they would have six or seven students sitting on one desk. All of the kids work together and have fun. “I will miss the staff. I really have felt welcome here and like a part of a team,” Katherine said. “I will miss the students and how eager they are to learn and how awesome they are.” Both affirm that they are not leaving because of MSD or any people in particular, but rather, the environment in which the school exists. Raymond plans on teaching in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, while Katherine is applying for teaching jobs in the area as well. Story by Nadia Murillo; photo courtesy of Lyliah Skinner

Guidance Counselor Debra Work retires after 31 years in the education field

appreciate, enjoy and treasure the time we have. I have an opportunity to really make a difference in my mother’s life.” Work graduated from Coral Springs High School and went on to earn a degree in Health Education from the University of South Florida (USF). She then worked in the public health clinic at the health department of USF until she received a job at J.P. Taravella High School as a health teacher. Work also worked for a year at Miramar Elementary School as a guidance counselor. Work then obtained her job as a guidance counselor at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after Joan Bloom called Work and told her that they had a spot for her. One thing she always tells her

leaving the lab


Teachers and staff whom are leaving or retiring reflect on their careers at MSD

MSD teachers and spouses, Raymond and Katherine Posada, leave MSD due to school environment

create ties between what students learn in English and World History. The pieces of writing or literature that the students read in English may also be from the same time period as what they study in world history, or it may be written by a historical figure in which they learned about in world history. “Mr. and Mrs. Posada have connected my education further than I would have ever expected. Going into the year, I expected the english-world history cocurriculum to be great, but it was far more than that,” said sophomore Zachary Beer. “The classes truly helped me understand the topics and the concept that everything is related. I will miss them very much, and as this was the first year of the ‘Englistory’ class, it saddens me to know that no one else will experience what I, along with my classmates, got the pleasure of learning through.”

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students is to pursue a career that they love and will enjoy in the future. “I’ve been fortunate in my career, I love what I did, do, and I’ve always loved working,” Work said. After retiring, Work plans on moving herself and her mother in the hopes of finding help for her mother’s illness. She also plans on finding ways to help the community and have her dog complete its service dog training to help others, just like the service dogs at MSD. Work hopes to enjoy the freedom of not being committed to coming into school every day, traveling and spending time with her mother and friends. Story by Nadia Murillo; photo by Jason Leavy

Physics teacher Robert Rosen, an original MSD staff member, retires after 42 years of teaching

hysics teacher Robert Rosen is retiring after 42 years of teaching. Rosen taught first at J.P. Taravella High School before he began teaching at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for 29 years. He has been here since the school opened in 1990. “When you open a school, you get a chance to put your imprint on it and to this day, the school is known for its academic excellence because that was our vision,” Rosen said. Rosen graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in meteorology. His passion for science is something he enjoys

sharing with his students. AP Physics C, a course available at only a handful of schools in the state, has been available since MSD’s inception, due to Rosen’s proficiency and experience with the subject matter. Rosen frequently stays long after school to help end student’s confusions and review material. His dedication is reflected in his meticulously planned lectures and activities that help students grasp even the most complex concepts of physics. “I really like how he teaches not for the exam, but just to learn physics,” said senior David Wu, “I feel like I am actually understanding physics.” Rosen’s love for teaching is unwavering,

Media Shy

AP Spanish Language & Literature Teacher and Guidance Counselor Deborah Faruqui Enrique Acosta (21 years at MSD), English (16 years at MSD) will also be retiring at Teacher Steven Osher (11 years at MSD) the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

but in accordance to the rules of the pension system, he is required to retire this year. He has expressed his desire to continue to be a part of the education community. “I’d like to see what I can do next year, teaching somewhere, preferably here, as a volunteer. I’m still not really ready for not having a purpose for getting up in the morning,” Rosen said. Famous among students and staff alike for his long standing commitment to the education of students at MSD, Rosen will be missed by many in the school community. Story by Rishita Malakapalli; photo by Samantha Goldblum

They did not want to be interviewed by the Eagle Eye Newspaper.

Feature • Staff Leaving MSD 17

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UNDER THE INFLUENCE MSD students participate in underage drinking, despite the legal, physical and emotional consequences

Feature • Underage Drinking 19

UNDER THE INFLUENCE MSD students participate in underage drinking, despite the legal, physical and emotional consequences

20 Feature • Underage Drinking

Design by Dara Rosen


lcohol is one of the most commonly used and abused drugs among youth in the United States. As a result, underage drinking is a leading health problem in this country. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of consuming alcohol; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 from homicides, 300 from suicide, and hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns and drownings. Many instances that influence teenage drinking come from all sides of the social spectrum. The pressure to drink from certain family members and friends is prominent in a teenagers life, as well as social media posts displaying red solo cups or a game of beer pong from their peers. “Sometimes when I see my friends out partying and posting about it, I feel like I’m just missing out on the experience and memories I could have made,” junior *Jane said. Social media often portrays drinking as a party-enhancer and an important part of being a teenager with most teens having witnessed their peers posting their late night endeavors online. Certain celebrities also boast online about how expensive their drinks are and even advertise different brands of alcohol via Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. A prime example of this would be DJ Khaled who has been the face of Ciroc premium vodka since 2016. Through his Snapchat alone, he gains 3 to 4 million views. From daily affirmations to boasting about his lavish lifestyle, he insinuates a vision of wealth. By advertising an alcohol brand to millions, including teens and adults, Khaled connects alcohol and the consumption of it to wealth and success. The probability of teens stumbling upon an ad promoting an alcoholic brand on social media is very likely, even if it is not solely targeted towards their demographic. Research published in the September 2016 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs discovered that teens today believe ads have a significant influence on their desire to drink specific alcoholic brands rather than drinking in general. The main strategy these companies use to promote alcohol consumption is by normalizing daily alcohol use and glorifying binge drinking. Constant exposure to these types of ads allows for an increase in alcohol addictions and

cravings. Studies on the effects of alcohol advertising on children have found that alcohol ads can significantly increase teens’ positive expectancy when first experimenting with alcohol. Alcohol advertising targeted at young adults has been found to increase the likelihood of teens continuing to drink as adults. For years, movies, television shows and music videos have depicted glamorized scenes of underage drinking. The classic 80s movie “Sixteen Candles” is a prime example, depicting scenes of tipsy or blacked-out teens at a high school house party thrown after a school dance. The glorification of illegal alcohol consumption has lethal results. Throughout prom and homecoming seasons, teenagers are informed of the constant risks and dangers. At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a wrecked car is usually displayed between the gym and the 1300 building as a visual representation of those dangers and the lives lost due to drunk driving.

the legal drinking age who drank alcohol,” according to an article by Cleveland Clinic. Without alcohol, some teenagers consider parties not worth attending. Some may even say they cannot party without the presence of alcohol in their system. Consuming large quantities of alcohol in a single sitting, or “binge drinking” is most common in a party setting. It is considered a dangerous, yet preventable, public health issue and is most common among young adults. “I don’t see the point in going to a party if I’m not drinking. It’s not fun to be sober when everyone around me is drunk and high. I want to be on the same level as everyone and have just as much fun if not more,” senior *John said. Alcohol is classified as a depressant, meaning that it slows down the function of the central nervous system. Those under the influence tend to make decisions they would later regret. These consequences can be long term and can even be lethal. One result includes

There’s a lifetime for teens to make adult choices, and I don’t think those are the choices that they should be making because of how detrimental it can be to a young person’s overall health.

Despite these daunting warnings, 24% of MSD students report having been present in a car with a driver under the influence, according to a survey of 381 MSD students. “I had no other ride home one night, so it was my only option. They were speeding and weren’t paying as much attention to the road as they should have been. I’m just happy I made it home safely, and never will I get in the car with someone under the influence again,” junior *Jane said. Teenage drinking has proliferated partly due to modern technology, which allows teenagers to use social media to plan and advertise elaborate parties. With one post, hundreds of teens can have information on a party location, entry cost and what alcohol is available. Profits can be made for both those hosting these parties and the people who supply the alcohol. This method proves to be very effective, especially since it is giving a large population of teens who are unable to obtain alcohol freely and legally, a place to do so. Even with the legal drinking age set at 21, in 2002 and 2003, “there were approximately 7.2 million persons under


academic and social issues such as an increase in daily absences, failing grades and a lack of participation in extracurricular activities. Additionally, when drinking, teens are more likely to engage in unprotected, non consensual sexual activity, leading to another youth epidemic: teen pregnancy. The risk of contracting an STD rises as well. The early halt in sexual and hormonal development tends to catch up to those who start drinking at a younger age. Heavy and extended alcohol abuse is accountable for a 10 percent reduction in the size of the hippocampus, which is responsible for the memory and learning function of the brain. The lower the age of the drinker, the worse it gets. As these teens reach addulthood, they could struggle more with memory and making healthy decisions. “There’s a lifetime for teens to make adult choices, and I don’t think those are the choices that they should be making because of how detrimental it can be to a young person’s overall health,” assistant principal Daniel Most said. “As both a parent and school administrator, I hope all MSD students make good choices considering the risks involved [with

67+34 T 40+ +T 24+ T 30 T 42+ +T T of MSD students say that their parents know they drink

of MSD students drink only at parties

of MSD students have driven with someone under the influence

Infographic by Rebecca Schneid

MSD students reveal their drinking habits in a survey of 381 students

67% 34% 40% 24% 30%

of MSD students say they have consumed alcohol

underage drinking]. ” Though there are certainly health risks, the legal consequences can be just as damaging. The acts of possessing alcoholic beverages when under 21, lying about one’s age to obtain alcohol and having a house party where alcohol is consumed by those under 21 are all illegal. In Florida, the consequences on a first offense involves a fine of up to $500, a mandatory class on alcohol addiction treatment, 8 to 12 hours of community service and a 30 day suspension of license, if the minor has a driver’s license. Underage drinking and driving, as well as obtaining and using a fake ID, have much more serious and possibly permanent legal consequences. Though data shows that underage drinking is on the decline, trauma can raise the risks of misuse of alcohol, and so many students at MSD are at risk. And though this issue can be detrimental to one’s health, it is important to recognize that there are methods to recovery and resources for prevention. Since mental health and mental illness is a major factor in alcohol abuse, it is important to understand that students have resources to reach out to. Informing one’s pediatrician or primary care practitioner can be an important step towards education and recovery, learning the consequences of drinking and how to drink responsibly. Furthermore, online resources such as the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the American Society of Addiction Medicine can give more information on how to responsibly drink. According to the CDC, communitybased prevention is one of the best ways to decrease underage drinking. This effort is a combination of parental guidance, community enforcement and media campaigns targeted at young adults. The Broward County Youth Coalition is one of manysuch prevention groups. They are a group of young adults working to educate other students on healthy habits and hoping to prevent them from abusing alcohol or drugs. The State of Florida also funds prevention programs, including the Too Good For Drugs program, the Alcohol Literacy Challenge and Active Parenting Now. Programs like these target young students to educate them on the risks of underage drinking from an early age and work to destigmatize alcohol use in teens. Story by Taylor Yon and Kaleela Rosenthal; photo illustration by Isabella Resich *Names indicated were changed to protect the students’ anonymity

of MSD students started drinking during 9th or 10th grade

Reasons MSD Students Drink

Where MSD students drink


Social drinking at parties 38%

They like the way it makes them feel 21%

At parties 41%

At home 33%

of MSD students drink because of peer pressure or social drinking

To relieve stress 12%

They like the way it tastes 13%

Other 16%

At school 2%

Feature • Underage Drinking 21

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Mental health issues affecting teens on the rise

Under Pressure


eet tapping on floors; beads of sweat coating hands, dripping down foreheads; pulse racing a mile a second; constantly feeling on edge, agitated, fatigued. This is the reality that many students with mental health disorders must deal with on a daily basis. Anxiety, as well as a diverse array of mental health issues, have recently gained a considerable amount of awareness as an increasing number of teens battle against these issues. According to an article by BlueCross BlueShield, in the United States, the most common mental health disorder amongst youth is depression. Diagnoses of major depression have risen 33% since 2013 in the average American, 44% in millennials and 47% in adolescents. Other psychological disorders commonly found in teens range from PTSD and anxiety disorders to personality disorders and schizophrenia. Substance abuse, along with eating disorders, are also frequent mental health issues among teens today. One of the leading causes of suicide is mental illnesses and according to a study done by CNN, the number of adolescents who have been to the emergency room because of suicide attempts has drastically increased from 580,000 in 2007 to 1.12 million in 2015. One in five teens and young adults have a diagnosable mental health condition, most of which develop by the age of 14, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. The rise of mental illnesses within adolescents and young adults brings into question why young people in today’s society are more likely to develop mental illnesses than those of previous generations. There are several theories by scientists who have studied the reason for the increase in mental illness among young people; the most prominent one identified as social media. Social media has been found to be a primary cause of anxiety and

pressure for adolescents. “I did feel like I had to look like the very best version of myself to be able to post [on social media]. That kind of took a toll on my mental health when I was younger because I felt the need to be perfect when that clearly is not possible,” junior Sofia Arvelo said. “[Social media] makes you set impossible expectations of yourself.” Self-image is not the only reason social media could have a negative effect on one’s mental health; teens today spend less time

well-being. “Dealing with high-stress situations every day takes a toll on your mental health,” junior Nikki Scotto said. “There is so much pressure put on us as students, to not fail our teachers, and as children, to not fail our parents, that we forget to not fail ourselves, we forget to take care of ourselves but we need to put our mental health first, always.” Due to some mental health issues relating back to schools, many campuses

particularly as an adolescent, that’s a very tough age, if I were a youth in today’s society I don’t know how I would do it,” director of Eagles Haven and licensed clinical social worker Julie Gordon said. “The more support anyone can get, especially in your age group, the better, no one should have to struggle through anxiety, depression or anything like that alone.” Even with the stigma surrounding mental illness, in recent years many celebrities and influencers have been trying to break down the stigma by using their platforms to educate people and bring awareness to the topic that is so often ignored. “I have suffered from anxiety and/or depression since I was 18… what I would say to my younger self is don’t be fooled by this game of perfection humans play… have implemented health centers as an you deserve to feel just as beautiful on the extension to just an ordinary school clinic, days you wear no makeup… you have an these centers are meant to be a place for obligation to take care of yourself from the students to talk to professionals about any inside out because that’s how you can truly mental health-related concerns. feel beautiful,” actress Kristen Bell said in Even though many acknowledge the a social media campaign, #MyYoungerSelf, reasons teens today face these struggles, with the Child Mind Institute. “There are there is still a widespread public stigma resources out there… people to talk to and about mental illness. doctors to interact with, there are tons of In ancient times, it was thought solutions out there for you. You are not that people with mental illnesses were alone.” possessed by evil spirits. While the If you or someone you know is dealing stigmatization is not as intense in the 21st with an issue involving mental health and century, it is still prominent as this stigma is in need of help, call 211 for additional comes with a lack of education on the topic resources and support. Story by Dara Rosen of mental illness and the importance of mental health, which can lead to a greater Additional Resources number of people going untreated for National Crisis Text Line mental illnesses. 741-741 According to Psychology Today, “stigma, shame, and embarrassment can National Suicide Prevention Lifeline all play a role in the decision not to seek 800-273-8255 treatment [for mental illnesses].” Eagles Haven “Mental illness doesn’t necessarily (954) 618-0350 mean there is something wrong with someone. They could just be going through a hard time, and it is very hard to pull National Alliance on Mental Illness yourself out without learning the coping (800) 950-6264 skills and getting the support you need,

There are resources out there… people to talk to and doctors to interact with, there are tons of solutions out there for you. You are not alone.

interacting face-to-face, which can cause the feeling of isolation, a major risk factor in relation to mental illness. Since the surge of smartphones in 2012, teens have spent less time doing things that would positively affect their mental health, like in-person interactions. Some teens also do not get enough sleep every night due to spending too much time on their phones, which is another major risk factor of mental illness, and yet another reason scientists blame phones for the rise in mental health problems. The pressures of high school and college can also take a toll on mental health and social media plays a role in that as well. “You see other people on social media and they’re doing so much better than you and they’re showing the best of themselves. And so you think, ‘Oh, I need to work harder so I can be up with them too.’ It certainly does bring down your self-esteem and it makes you want to be better and do better,” senior Melanie Cardoso said. There is so much academic pressure put on high school students to get the perfect grades, to get into the perfect university and to have the perfect life that teens often lose sight of the importance of their mental

Feature • Mental Health 23

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America Runs On

Sports Sports have a heavy impact on American society


ince the mid-1800s, Americans have been obsessed with the idea of competitive sports. It began with the introduction of baseball, famously deemed “America’s pastime,” and has only increased in popularity since then with the creation of the NFL, MLB and NBA. Sports have influenced American society in multiple ways throughout the course of history. This culture has formed rivalries between fans of opposing teams, while also creating a community out of those who root for them. One example of the outreach sports has in society is the 114.4 million viewers that the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX reigned in, making it the most watched television program in the United States. “I believe sports have brought America together in a way because it is something that everyone can either participate in or watch together,” senior Allie Schuller said. Additionally, college sports have grown massively in popularity due to their lively and energetic nature. They have unified fans from all over the country and the world because of their undying commitment to the college they went to. In a study done by CNBC in 2017, 21% of people age 53 or older attended football games, and 43% were of the ages 18 to 52. At college football games, one can see an age range from those who go to the college to those in their 70’s who are passionate for their former team, to young children dressed in the colors of their parents’

school. Sports are incredibly unique in their ability to unify a variety of people, despite differences in politics, social class or race. However, even though massive strides have been made, the discussion of race was and still is an issue of concern in the lives of athletes. Segregation had been a prominent factor since the beginning of organized sports, especially in the early to late 1900s. Athletes such as Jackie Robinson, Wataru Misaka, Chuck Cooper, Kenny Washington

formed into a family, despite their racial differences. “Sports gives us people to look up to, as well as people that we talk to and trust. It helps us fit in and feel like we have a family,” senior Aramis Warford said. The emphasis on character and group building in sports is essential for a team to gain respect for each other while also developing teamwork skills. This collaborative mentality is necessary on and off the field when working with others in different settings.

I believe sports have brought America together in a way because it is something that everyone can either participate in or watch together. and Althea Gibson were some of the first non-white players in the professional sports of their choosing. They ultimately helped to break down racial barriers, giving way to further acceptance in the professional sports industry. Movies such as “Remember the Titans” is one example of racial tensions in sports, based during 1971 in Virginia when allblack high schools were forced to integrate with all-white schools, altering the school’s celebrated football program. “Remember the Titans” champions acceptance in sports, as well as how a team can be

on a task—a majority of which comes from being active. “Sports helps me stay focused because I know that in order to be successful on the field, I need to be successful in the classroom first,” junior Colin Flynn said. The influence of sports in American culture has even extended into consumerism. Due to the admiration of professional athletes, they are oftentimes paid endorsement checks for their participation in brand promotions and campaigns. In turn, the brand will likely see a heavy increase in sales if the campaign was perceived well by the public, showing how easily consumers could be persuaded. One example is Stephen Curry’s $35 million check for his sponsorship with Under Armour in 2017. “When students see a popular celebrity they like endorse a product, it makes us more prone to purchase that product. We want to try and be like them so we buy the things they tell us to,” junior Nick Joseph said. The prevalence of sports in America is without a doubt, grand in its innate ability to bring people together and build necessary life skills in the players themselves. Its widespread outreach and entertaining nature put sports on a pedestal. Whether its impression on society is positive or negative, the culture of sports can be seen in many aspects of American life. Story by Jenna Harris; photo

“Being a part of the tennis team my four years has been one of the best experiences I’ve had at MSD. You create a little family and you push each other to be better every day,” senior Alejandra Martinez said. When it comes to academics, sports is highly effective. According to the Guardian, in an article about how sports “makes your brain work better,” the hippocampus in the brain grows as a person becomes fitter. In turn, it boosts memory. The body also has to produce glucose and oxygen in order to concentrate illustration by Nyan Clarke

Feature • Sports in America 25

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Stepping down

Three MSD coaches resign from football and softball coaching positions during the 2018-2019 season for various reasons

Post-game Speech. Former football head coach Willis May talks to his players after the Homecoming football game on Sept. 7, 2019. The football team defeated South Broward High School 23-6. Photo by Nyan Clarke


oaches Willis May, Andrea Kowalski-Rospierski and Brian Staubly all resigned from coaching during the 2018-2019 season. May left Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at of the beginning of March, taking a position in another county. Kowalski-Rospierski and Staubly have resigned from coaching but will remain at MSD. After losing both assistant coach Aaron Feis and athletic director Chris Hixon, head football coach Willis May struggled with adjusting to a new daily routine. “I walk into my office every day, and Aaron Feis’s office is right next to me, Chris Hixon’s office is right next to me, and I miss those guys with all my heart every day,” May said in a March 13 article published by ESPN. May coached the varsity football team for six years. Dealing with the loss of his colleagues, May decided to resign and relocated to South Fort Myers High School, where he is coaching football. May impacted MSD as a whole, from the football team to his own physical education students. According to May’s players, he taught them how to have a good work ethic, important life lessons and many other skills. He stressed to his players the importance of success beyond the football field. “He has always been there for the whole team, always giving us encouragement and keeping us in a good mood,” sophomore Nick Dicaprio said. “He was always a great coach and getting people better every day.” Along with his positive influence on his team, May connected well with many of the players. He consistently taught the team how to push through difficult times and energized them before games or practices. “He made me a stronger person and he gave me more confidence about myself,” junior Josh Funk said. “He made me push myself to limits I didn’t think I could. He treated us all like family, he made us all feel like brothers. I’m going to miss him like crazy and I hope he does well wherever he goes.” Assistant coach Quentin Short will be filling in as the interim head coach for the remainder of the year. Short has coached for 18 years in total and spent six of those years coaching at MSD. Short’s own experiences in sports in both high school and college inspired him to become a coach. “Sports is what I love, my passion; it’s what I did when I was in high school and college. The impacts the coaches had on me growing up and in my life, I look to be the same type of impactful person in these kids lives,” Short said. In addition to coach May, former softball coaches Kowalski-Rospierski and

Staubly resigned from coaching the MSD softball team. Both left coaching due to personal reasons that they do not wish to disclose. After being an athlete her whole life, Kowalski-Rospierski wanted to continue that path by becoming a coach. KowalskiRospierski decided to follow this dream, coaching softball at MSD for the past five

continue coaching the varsity softball team. Staubly has coached at MSD for 22 years. “Just working with the kids, seeing the kids grow, seeing them go off to college, and helping them get scholarships, it’s been a positive effect on my life the whole time I was coaching,” Staubly said. “It’s nice when I see somebody that I’ve

reach their full potential and become better athletes and people. “Both Staubly and KR taught me not only a lot about the game but about myself. Two people who have done only good to me. They instilled a fire and fight in us that affected the team as a whole,” junior Abby Dowd said. “After everything we’ve been through together, as coaches they stressed the importance of being together. The softball program and players are forever in debt to Staubly and KR and their time and dedication to the team.” Assistant coach Sal Vacirca will be finishing out the year as the MSD softball head coach, but is unsure if he will be taking the full-time job next year. Kowalski-Rospierski is still teaching at MSD and Staubly is still an MSD security guard. “The importance of coaching is the impact they have on their players. Coaches coached, 15 to 20 years ago, when we stay don’t only teach you about the game, but years. in contact. I watch how they grow and “The coaches I grew up with really about yourself. I have learned multiple become successful in life and hopefully, impacted me, made me want to continue life skills and other skills to get through to be a coach myself and get other players I’ve had a little impact in that.” my life,” Dowd said. “I have learned things The coaches established a connection to be athletes as well,” Kowalski-Rospierski from my coaches that you can’t learn in with their team that encouraged them said. “Now, my athletes are a big part of the classroom.” to work hard on the field and in their life my life. Especially here at this school, While each of the three coaches [I’m] just trying to be there for them [the outside of sports. departing from their positions have “Staubly and KR have been my coaches different journeys ahead, each has taught athletes] and help them when I can.” since freshman year and they’ve really Being an educator herself, Kowalskitheir players the importance of a team and helped me grow,” junior Samantha Diaz Rospierski, made sure the team was on getting through tough situations. said. “It was really upsetting when they top of their grades through grade checks While many of the athletes at MSD quit, but I understand why they did before, during, and after their season to await a change in dynamic on the field, it. Coach Sal really stepped up and we enforce the importance of doing well on it is easy to say that their coaches have couldn’t have finished the season without greatly influenced their team by teaching the field as well as in the classroom. After coaching his own daughter while him so I really appreciate him.” them how to become better people on and The coaches wanted to see their players off the field. Story by Julia Noye she was growing up, Staubly decided to

He made me a stronger person and he gave me more confidence about myself. He made me push myself to limits I didn’t think I could. He treated us all like family, he made us all feel like brothers. I’m going to miss him like crazy and I hope he does well wherever he goes.

Sports • Coaches Resigning 27

Profile for The Eagle Eye

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