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Design by Insert Name

Quarter Two 2017 • Volume 3, Number 2

Vape Nation

Category • Subject #

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Design by Lauren Newman

5901 Pine Island Road Parkland, FL 33076

The Eagle Eye Quarter Two 2018 • Volume 3, Number 2

Contents Photo by Suzanna Barna

Front Cover: Photo illustration by Emma Dowd; Logo design by Daniel Williams


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

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

03 Letters to the Editor 04 Briefs 06 Down the drain 08 winning state of mind 10 one world, one show 13 let the light shine on learning to Listen 14 17 Silenced 21 Vape Nation

MSD student body shares their perspective on various issues New developments occur at MSD

Student survey brings up school restroom sanitation issues

MSD’s Eagle Regiment defeats rivals Park Vista to win at States Multicultural World Showcase returns to MSD with new cultures

MSD hosts the first Kristallnacht event

MSD sponsors film viewing for mental health awareness Recent allegations raise questions about rape culture in society

Photo Illustration by Emma Dowd

Editorial Board Emma dowd Lauren Newman Rebecca Schneid Editors-in-Chief

Christy Ma Taylor morrison Carly novell Associate Editors

Mady Kravitz Business Manager

Jacob Brown Design Editor

Hannah Kapoor Social Media Editor


Suzanna Barna Nikhita Nookala Einav Cohen Julia Noye Daniel Pirtle Ryan Deitsch Richard Doan Mackenzie Quinn Samantha Goldblum Delaney Tarr Alex Han Fallon Tratchtman Ryan Loferno Kevin Trejos Olivia Melamed Daniel Williams Lewis Mizen

Electronic cigarette usage escalates among teens

25 the song of an eagle 25 27 Things to do 31 Meme madness 32 Kneel Ordeal 35 Born to run 35 MSD STRIKES BACK 36 Best of 2017 victorious voices

Senior Ariana Ortega directs charity for Venezuelan aid

MSD alumna Sonali Argade releases single after hiatus

Parkland and Coral Springs provide ways for locals to entertain themselves

Roses are red, Harambe lovers are still bitter, political memes are taking over Twitter

Kneeling controversy it extends to local level

Junior Alyssa Fletcher qualifies for state cross country competition

MSD women’s bowling team returns to state bowling competition

2017 offers new pop culture classics

Design by Lauren Newman


Ratchet Restrooms

Dear Editor, The bathrooms are absolutely atrocious. I know they are cleaned like everyday, but everyone in this school seems to be blind to the concept of restroom etiquette. As soon as I walk into any bathroom, I get blasted with a wave of heat that, not smells, but makes me feel like unflushed human waste and 13 different vape flavors. Apparently, guys in this school have no hand-genital coordination, and for some reason, there is always a toilet with dumped food in it. I have no idea why guys do this; it makes no sense, and they gain literally nothing from it. It makes school more of an unpleasurable experience than it already is. Imagine: you had a coffee this morning, and during second period, nature calls. You sign out of your classroom and walk to the nearest bathroom. But before you can even take three steps in, your nose disintegrates into nothing, and your eyes begin to bleed (metaphorically, of course). This is quite upsetting to me, and I think it is for everyone, except for the people that make the bathrooms look like that of an abandoned gas station. There needs to be stricter rules on how bathrooms should be used, since apparently nobody knows how. Jack Macleod, 11

Stressing the Need for Change

Dear Editor, I’m stressed. Haha, big news right? It seems like everyone is constantly under some kind of pressure or another. Is it not true that when the conversation is dying, and the two of you have nothing left to say, you always attempt that last ditch effort of “I’m so tired” or “I have so much homework”? I’ll tell you why: it’s because it’s just always relevant and relatable. In fact, I’m personally offended when someone tells me they’re not stressed. Like, who are you so high and mighty that you can’t feel these crippling emotions like the rest of us? I legitimately question their humanity, or at least if they’re just saying that to make it seem like they have an edge. The point to all of this is to just show that stress truly has become an integral part of our society, of our communication. Try to imagine a night without worrying what to do the next day, or how you did on that test you kind of studied for but not really. For most of us, it’s an unfamiliar concept. To those “special” few who cannot relate to this letter: you are… concerning. Isabella Pfeiffer, 11

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

The Right to Respect

Dear Editor, Honestly I’m a little concerned. Women are still not treated as equals, and there is little acknowledgement on the subject. Being a young woman in Stoneman Douglas myself, I can tell you first hand that the disrespect towards women has dumbfounded me. I’ve seen little to no boys or young men with respect for the young ladies that go to this school. I understand there isn’t much more that can be done on the administration’s part, but there could be a tad bit more light shined on the subject. It’s up to the people to take control of their own actions, but

it’s also up to the adults and authority at MSD to show more concern on the blatant disrespect going on. I’ve seen plenty of sexual harassment at this school, and most girls/young woman don’t do much about it because they don’t know the difference between playing around and when it’s time to say enough. The authority and/or administration need to make the women at Stoneman Douglas more aware how to contrast the fine, but distinct, line so our ladies of the future can properly know how to respect themselves. So for all whom it may concern, please know the difference. Kat Perez, 10

Banding Together in Support

Dear Editor, It’s come to my attention that the performing arts don’t get as much credit as they deserve. As a band kid with friends in theater, orchestra and chorus, I’ve noticed a lack in appreciation for these mediums and those who work in them. As mentioned previously, I’m a band kid. Each week I and the 200 other students in band and color guard spend hours working tirelessly and often find our fellow students telling us that we don’t have to work so hard and that what we do is easy. In reality, marching band is a lot harder than it looks. For musicians, we have to play memorized music perfectly while trying to create intricate moments all in time with each other. For color guard, there is a lot of running and jumping and dancing, and I challenge anyone without hours of hard work to toss a saber, spin around and catch behind

their back. But it’s not just band that goes underloved. Similar to band kids, during concert season, orchestra kids will spend hours honing their techniques, working fingers on strings until they bleed. Yet come concerts, no one but family shows up, partly because no one knows. For kids in drama, there is more love, but as much looking down upon. Memorizing lines, singing and dancing, it only looks easy due to hours of practice. We performing arts kids dedicate just as much, and in some cases more, time to our arts as sports players do. Yet instead of celebrating our top music and drama programs, people just feel sorry for the football team that worked so hard only to lose, again. Let’s give our performing, and non-performing, arts kids some love. They work hard and deserve it. Maddie King, 11

Scholar Season Dear Editor, As a high school student soon approaching graduation, the stress that comes upon applying for scholarships and colleges reaches an all time high. Although the choice to continue education after high school is the choice of the individual, I believe high school students should be more motivated by the school to apply for college. Most students do not know how to take the first step to applying for financial aid and other scholarship opportunities. Nearly all students can qualify for financial aid, and 20 percent of all undergraduate students failed to fill

out the financial aid application in 20112012, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and an unknown but undoubtedly large share of low-income students never enroll in college at all because they believe it is unaffordable. The chance to be able to continue into college after high school is extremely possible even for students who do not believe so. There’s many scholarship opportunities that I believe the high school should make more known to students before they miss out on the opportunity. Emma Langley, 12

Making Learning Motivating Dear Editor, The lack of motivation in our school is a pressing issue. In many of my classes, the students completely disregard the importance of education. As a result, teachers are growing hopeless, and it is reflected in the way in which they teach. This sad cycle of unmotivated classrooms hinders the ability of those who actually want to learn from learning. Reform is nearly impossible when the

lack of motivation is so deeply embedded within the minds of students and is increasingly woven in deeper with hours of pointless homework and studying for tests that mean nothing. To improve, we must restore interest in education. We must teach the youth that education is not only important for omnipotence and success but is essential for personal and psychological growth. Taryn Hibschman, 12

Not Cool Enough for School

Dear Editor, In society, we’re never enough to fit their perfect image. The definition of perfect has so many different meanings, no one can really find one. We’re either too fat or too skinny, or clothing is too dark, or it’s too bright. We’re a prude if we don’t have sex, yet we’re sluts if we ever do. If you’re emotional, then you’re a wimp, but if you act like you don’t care and party, then you’re cool. We’ve become numb. There are kids that are cruel to others, betray them, break their hearts and act as if we don’t care because that’s what teenagers do apparently. It’s cooler to pretend that you don’t care than to show how much it hurts. We can’t be who we are because that’s not who we’re supposed to be. And whoever we try to be isn’t enough. That’s why those who don’t care what others think are seen as weirdos. I don’t know if it’s a problem that’ll ever be fixed, but hopefully one day it will be. And I think it can start with us. Thais Guerra, 10

All Lives Matter

Dear Editor, This year has been characterized by Trump and his actions. The start of possibly the most scandalous and roughest presidential term since Nixon. Everyone has there own opinions of the man. Personally, mine fall in “against” category. Despite this, there are certain things I agree with him on. Most mentionably, the “Black Lives Matter” Movement. To be quite frank, I find it ridiculous and absurd. The name already gives itself a negative connotation, suggesting that black lives have more value than other lives. Why not “All Lives Matter” or something as such to promote the equality they claim they wish to achieve? Other than that, they seem to be good for nothing but creating hatred and mistrust between civilians and police. A black individual is over nine times more likely to be shot by another black person than any cop. And when “Black Lives Matter” claims that black-on-black murder happens as much as white-on-white murder, know that they’re not telling the full truth. Despite being only 13.3 percent of the population, black people kill each other 5.4 times per capita than white people kill each other. “Black Lives Matter” don’t want equality. They want superiority. Daniel Snell, 12

Letters to the Editor 03

MSD In Brief Design by Lauren Newman

laying the foundations


uring the 2017-2018 school year, students have been working towards a more effective use of Marjory’s Garden. The garden, located behind the 900 building, aims to bring students together while helping the environment along the way. Students that are part of activities such as engineering, culinary, and biology can all be included through the advancement of the garden. “We have many plans for the garden. Right now we are working on building the classroom area,” Marjory’s Garden Committee sponsor Kyle Jeter said.

“Mrs. Orillio and students working on planting things in the different beds and Mr. Simpson is working on building the hydroponics.” The garden is becoming a bigger part of our school. Its goal is to incorporate many different clubs and classes to interact with the environment. By having many different clubs take part, it will help the garden become more important and relevant to society. “We want it to be a very interdisciplinary activity where we have people out there that are into biology and botany,” said Jeter. “We want to have culinary out there growing actual

vegetables and things that we can actually use.” The garden is beginning to add many new aspects to help the garden grow and become a functional part of MSD. Students and faculty just added a compost pile to recycle. The Marjory’s Garden Club is also trying to make benches out of recycled items for classrooms. “Lauren Rosa’s art class came out and made beautiful stoned tribute pavers for people who donated money,” Jeter said. “They painted the beds and they are going to paint the benches for us. ” The Marjory’s Garden Committee

New developments occur at MSD

Marjory’s Garden unites MSD organizations

hopes the space will become somewhere that people can go to socialize. In the future, the garden club hopes to grow food to donate to the less fortunate or to sell at the farmers market. “The sky’s the limit,” Jeter said “There are many things we can do with it [Marjory’s Garden] if we want to. It just takes time, money, energy and effort.” A year ago there were no sidewalks and students built them by hand with stone. The stage, sidewalks and art that have been added to the garden helped transform the area from a patch of grass to a fun location on campus. Story by Olivia Melamed

Planting Power. Freshmen Daniel Tabares, Justin Pemberton and Ryan Matulin plant a tree in the garden. Photo by Kevin Trejos Going Green. Science National Honor Society President Yijie Huang flattens the soil. Photo by Kevin Trejos Marjory’s Garden Rocks. Junior Steve Erched, freshman Joshua Erched and junior Collin Notkin use a wheelbarrow to collect rocks to be removed from the garden on Sunday, Dec. 3. Photo by Kevin Trejos

The need for speed


arjory Stoneman Douglas High School held its invitational drone race Oct. 28, inviting 11 other high schools in Broward County. Students brought their clubs’ drones to the competition to test their abilities in an obstacle course comprised of hoops and tight spaces drones must pass through. In order to prepare for the competition, participants practiced in Drone Club coach Frank Krar’s classroom by setting up desks and seats as obstacles that drones must loop around and through. “Because the drones are in first person viewer (FPV), that means we are able to see exactly what the drone is looking at as we’re flying,” Drone Club president David Hogg said. “It’s basically like being in a real-life video game where you’re in control in real time. It’s kind of surreal when you see yourself because it’s like ‘oh that’s right, this is real life.’” Drone prices range from just under $100 to thousands of dollars, but the Broward County Drone League (BCDL) focuses on racing drones that are $200 or under so that schools can afford the devices. The BCDL was formed in the fall of 2016 with MSD astronomy teacher Kyle Jeter as one of the creators alongside

04 News • Briefs

South Plantation High School teacher and previous MSD teacher Gustavo Junco. It began with them conducting a drone camp during the summer of 2016 at a middle school that expanded into the BCDL. “There were half a dozen middle schools and at least a dozen high schools at the last race at MSD,” Jeter said. “Dr. Krop High School of Miami and Boynton Beach are top contenders.” MSD has been a top contender in drone racing among the BCDL since the beginning of the league. “We flew in the first competition, which was in Miramar, and won second place,” Hogg said. “At the second competition in MSD, we won second place there as well.” The drone team won third place in the invitational competition at MSD and first place in glider, which is an event where competitors are given 20 paper clips and 5 styrofoam plates and coffee stir sticks to create an object that suspends in air, and the object that flies the greatest distance wins. The MSD Drone Club is still in the works of becoming an official club. It has become a major obstacle for Hogg and his members as they cannot obtain sufficient funding and transportation to competitions.

MSD wins third place in drone racing competition

“We are a club, it’s just that there’s so many roadblocks to become a club in a timely manner,” Hogg said. “We have meetings twice a week and had a competition at school, yet we’re still not recognized as a club.” The ICC, led by president Elise Etheridge, requires students who want to start a new club to talk with assistant principal Winfred Porter, fill out a club packet, participate in quarterly projects and attend future ICC meetings held the first Thursday of every month in room 210. “The greatest challenge of starting a new club is finding a supportive member of administration to serve as a club advisor and lend their room to students for scheduled club meetings,” Etheridge said. “I feel the reason [Drone Club] has been struggling to be recognized as a club

is because they have not been attending the monthly ICC meetings, and therefore are not active within the council. They can simply fix this by attending each ICC meeting and possibly advertising and expanding their club to different students at MSD.” With more practice and funding, the team plans on upholding their position as top contenders in drone racing in Broward County, and eventually become recognized as a club by the ICC. Story by Christy Ma; photos courtesy of Josh Reimer

Design by Lauren Newman

Mar ory’s Melodies


usic week kicked off on Dec. 4 and ended on Dec. 8, with musical performances during both A and B lunches from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students. Unfortunately, due to the scheduling conflicts with the school calendar, the Thursday of the week coincided with a professional study day, so no performances took place in that day. Last year, brothers Marcos and Christian Lecky, now a junior and senior respectively, came up with the idea to have students display their musical talent under the gazebo in the main courtyard as a way to encourage more musical activities at MSD. In a school that won 1st place at the 2017 Florida Marching Band Championship (FMBC), the promotion and fostering of musical talent is a part of the schools identity. Orchestra teacher Stewart Rabin helped the boys organize and develop their idea by figuring out the dates for the event and getting approval from the school to perform. Rabin helped the brothers set up and transport the necessary equipment for every different performer, along with providing instruments for the students who wanted to participate but were unable to bring their own. While most guitar players did bring their own guitars, the main issues were concerning drumsets and keyboards. The Leckys came down to the music building 15 minutes before each lunch and brought all the equipment out to the gazebo in order to give the students performing ample time to prepare. “Last year was the first year we ever did it. It took us a little bit longer to get the idea confirmed by the school because they were a little scared of it due to it being a new event. This time we got permission to do it for a whole week, whereas last year it was only three days of

Second annual music week performances return to MSD

performances,” Marcos Lecky said. In order to publicize the event, the brothers posted an announcement on the school website, put up posters all around campus and even convinced Mr. Porter to advertise it on the morning announcements. As word of the event spread, people became aware of the audition dates and began to attend the event in force. “We held auditions for people interested, so we could determine who is eligible… thankfully everyone qualified, so we were able to have about 13 to 15 acts,” Christian Lecky said. The week featured the lyrical and instrumental stylings of the individual performers, along with several groups of friends who decided to come together to perform as makeshift bands and duets for the day. One of the bands, Cosmic Blitz, was made up of a bassist, Jorge Garrido, guitarist and backup singer, Leah Ronkin and lead singer, Anna Buyak who are all sophomores. Cosmic Blitz performed on Dec. 5 during both lunches. They played a cover of “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde. “[It is] my second year participating. It was a lot of fun and I’m really glad I got to participate,” Buyak said. Thanks to the Lecky brothers, MSD now has a new tradition. The fact that the younger Lecky brother, Marcos, will still be at the school next year suggests the fact that next year’s Music Week will have a familiar face at its helm. Story by Einav Cohen and Lewis Mizen

Singing Sensation. Senior Kristy Lamb sings “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. Photo by Kevin Trejos Whistle While You Work. Sophomore Gennaro Laurita plays the baritone saxophone. Photo by Einav Cohen In the Zone. Junior Alexander Athanasiou shows off his musical talent with the song “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Photo by Kevin Trejos

Remembering Mr. Olds


ne of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s longest working substitute teachers, Richard Olds, passed on Nov. 19 at the age of 84, causing heartbreak in the MSD community. Born on June 23, 1933, Olds previously worked as a manager for Sears in the paint department and went into teaching in Connecticut before moving to South Florida and becoming a substitute teacher at MSD for the next 25 years of his life from 1991 to 2016. He also volunteered his weekends teaching Sunday school at his local church. Olds left behind a loving family including his daughters Nancy Jane Olds and Wendy Olds Curren, grandchildren Daniel and Darrell Brothers David and Ronald Olds along with several nieces and nephews. Olds’ sister-in-law, Gail Gallagher, is a retired MSD English teacher who remembers that his love for impacting younger generations drove him to continue working in education, even though financially he did not have to.

“Dick missed the students. He was always involved with helping them. Once it is your passion, I think it is something you are born to do forever,” Gallagher said. After the passing of his late wife, Nancy Olds, on Aug. 7, 2017, Olds never fully recovered emotionally and physically. “His beloved wife Nancy was the light of his life. They were married for 62 years. She met him when she was working in the summer on Long Island. He was still in the Air Force then. She said she married him because he would not take no for an answer,” Gallagher said. “Dick would always say she was his best friend and soulmate.” Nancy Olds had her funeral contributions made towards the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that assists wounded veterans by providing recovery programs, services and events in support of her husband’s veteran past. Olds touched the lives of many students while reminiscing about his past as a veteran of the Vietnam War. His positive, cheerful attitude towards life was

MSD mourns the loss of beloved substitute teacher

noticed by many students. “He never failed to come to class with a smile on his face and always asked students how their day was going. His consideration for us as individual students was touching and made us all feel like we had a connection with him,” senior Julia Salomone said. Despite his war past, Olds was remembered for having an understanding and unique personality. “Mr. Olds was quite kind and understanding. Unlike your standard substitute teacher, he would vivify our dull days. He would tell accounts of his life and bring joy to the classroom,” senior Elijah Abraham said. Olds was honored at his memorial service on Sunday, Dec. 16 at the Kraeer Funeral Home and Cremation Center on University Drive in Coral Springs. In lieu of flowers, the family requested contributions made to the Wounded Warrior Project, similarly to Nancy Olds’ ceremony. Olds’ memory remains in the lives of

Beloved Memories. Richard Olds and his wife, Nancy Olds, take a family vacation to Northern California. Courtesy of Gail Gallagher

all the students and faculty he was able to meet, and his legacy as a brave veteran and nurturing teacher goes on. Story by Christy Ma

News • Briefs 05

Design by Lauren Newman

Down the Drain


Student survey brings attention to school restroom sanitation issues

ne of the most common complaints from the student body at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is the cleanliness of the bathrooms. A survey of 320 students at MSD found that 84 percent of the student body considers the school bathrooms to be either unclean or very unclean. Administrators, teachers and other staff members share the perception that student restrooms are unhygienic. “In the bathrooms… sometimes there is stuff all over the place,” Principal Ty Thompson said. The student body frequently encounters water on the bathroom floor, along with urine or feces. “[The bathrooms are] terrible. During the day, I walk in and there is toilet water all over the floor and sometimes the toilet paper is completely out,” senior Nicole Smith said. “Half the time, the dryers don’t work unless you hit it really hard.” Other common grievances include a lack of soap and toilet paper. “Although our school is fortunate enough to receive such luxuries of items in the bathrooms, and it is understandable that the money for toilet paper or soap has to be shared with regulated school equipment, I feel that it is sometimes forgotten that our hygiene is important,” junior Alyssa Fletcher said. “Putting a little more time and thought into restocking our bathroom supplies would be appreciated by the thousands of students in the school.” The majority of students say the bathrooms have extremely dim lighting, excessive humidity as well as bugs. Students also report that there are broken locks and doors and rusty toilet paper dispensers. Eighty-five percent of students surveyed reported they regularly encounter a putrid smell. “There is little to no ventilation, creating a warm and pungent environment, which makes it difficult to breathe,” junior Chris Garza said. Moreover, 64 percent of students purposefully avoid using the restroom until they got home. “For three years, and this is true, I avoided using the restrooms in the establishment, being repulsed by their presentations [characterized by] horrendous smell and lackluster appearance upon sight,” senior Elijah Abraham said. “I would draw the source of this issue solely to the student population, as I have seen our custodial staff work hard to maintain a good degree of cleanliness in our school. I do not believe that a student should have to feel uncomfortable or threatened by the grimy surroundings caused by the selfish carelessness of others.” Administration maintains a strict protocol which governs the daily custodial duties and procedures.This daily custodial protocol, according to Assistant Principal Winfred Porter, includes cleaning the toilets, mopping the floor, replenishing

06 News • Bathrooms

the toilet paper and soap and sanitizing everything. “The custodians are responsible every night for cleaning the bathrooms, restocking the toiletries, making sure that there is running water and so on and so forth,” Porter said. “So they have a protocol that they must go through in order to ensure that those restrooms are clean and suitable. When there is damage to the restrooms, they close those restrooms down… They are responsible for making sure that those restrooms are clean and ready for opening at the beginning of every school day.” According to Assistant Principal Jeffrey Morford, who presides over all custodial activity, the bathrooms are cleaned daily between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. “I can tell you that in the morning, one of the first things I do with our head custodian, Mr. Suarez, he and I walk the building every morning. The bathrooms are spotless in the morning,” Morford said. “What these kids do during the day in these bathrooms, we can’t control. And we don’t have the personnel to be cleaning

However, a complete remodeling is unlikely since the control of such a process is not in the hands of administration, but controlled by the district. Thompson has requested several minor reforms as opposed to a complete remodeling due to the unlikely approval of such a large-scale project. “That’s one of those things I don’t have control over,” Thompson said. “Some of these things—I hate to say it—it’s almost like putting on bandaids. It’s sort of like you fix it as you go along. There is really no talk about a complete remodel of the current bathrooms… I know from past experience [that if] you ask for too much, you get nothing.” While some renovations are being implemented in the student restrooms, the issue of graffiti has yet to be addressed by the school. “Somebody stood there and watched somebody else [graffiti the walls],” Assistant Principal Denise Reed said. “... When you guys decide you’re so tired of that going on, then you want to contact somebody when you see it happening.” Several of these illustrations or messages depict some form of profanity or harassment. During a time when a large portion of the public’s attention has been placed on putting an end to bullying, many schools around the country have made attempts at discouraging vandalism. According to Cleaning & Maintenance Management Magazine, the best way to who have no respect for their cleanliness prevent graffiti in student restrooms is to upgrade the physical appearance of nor the hard work of our faculty.” bathrooms and clean up present graffiti Nonetheless, students have organized right away. Restrooms that exhibit initiatives in an attempt to reform the unhygienic traits and are dimly lit provide state of these facilities. a more attractive environment for Peer Counseling’s “Random Acts vandals. of Kindness” movement has inspired “Most of the bathrooms are either students to help upgrade the restrooms vandalized or filled with a bunch of by providing soap, feminine hygiene students vaping at all times,” sophomore products, toilet paper and other various Tony Infantino said. “The freshmen “acts of kindness.” bathrooms aren’t as bad as the rest of the “I enjoy when peer counseling school, but they’re almost never unlocked conducts the annual ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ because participants help make when I check, so it doesn’t even matter.” Many students who are involved in the bathrooms fresher,” senior Nicole afterschool activities face the dilemma of Anderson said. caged up bathrooms after 3:30 p.m. Along with attempts to improve these “[The doors are locked] because kids conditions, new amenities at MSD such will vandalize everything, and you got to as the addition of the 1200 building have remember that no one is supposed to be modernized some of the restrooms. on campus after 3:10 p.m.,” Morford said. Featuring a clean floor, more stalls, Administration requests that students individual sinks and air-conditioning, report maintenance and hygiene concerns the 1200 building bathrooms appear to in order to improve the current state of be more inviting than the other, older the school bathrooms. bathrooms on campus. “See Mr. Morford every time there is a “The freshmen building bathrooms concern with a dirty restroom or lacking have always been clean, having no water toilet paper, lacking soap in the sink [or] or toilet paper on the floor,” senior Kali water on the floor,” Reed said. “We would Clougherty said. be happy every single time that someone Additionally, in early December 2017, reported it to get someone in there to the renovation of urinals in the men’s clean it up... You don’t have to tell us who bathrooms began after a six-month did it, but that it’s been done.” process to get the project approved by To report a problem regarding the the district. The new urinals will contain maintenance of any school restroom, water in order to increase fluidity in the drainage system. According to Thompson, students can contact Jeffrey Morford at this will help eliminate the smell found in or at the front office. Story by Lauren Newman many of the restrooms. are responsible for enforcing minimum environmental health standards. In particular, DOH county health departments inspect the environmental health aspects of school buildings, grounds, shops, cafeterias, laboratories, restrooms, first aid rooms and any other area where school activities are conducted.” These statewide mandates require schools to maintain proper sanitation standards in student bathrooms, indicating that this, legally, is not a problem that can be neglected regardless of whose fault it is. In a State of Florida Department of Health inspection report dated Oct. 12, 2017, MSD received no violations in the category of “toilet facilities,”indicating that those faculities do in fact meet the requirements set statewide. “Health inspection probably looked at it at the beginning of the day or after the faculty did them,” senior Diego Pfeiffer said. “The faculty does a great job. It is during the day that the bathrooms [become] dirty because it is the students

I do not believe that a student should have to feel uncomfortable or threatened by the grimy surroundings caused by the selfish carelessness of others. them all day.” His words are echoed in the stance that administration has taken, suggesting that any discrepancies in the cleanliness of the bathrooms are due entirely to the students’ irresponsibility in cleaning up after themselves. “I think students need to be a little more intentional about keeping our restrooms clean throughout the course of the day,” Porter said. “If they have an accident on the seat, it’s okay to wipe it up. If they see that there is toilet paper, give it a flush.” Many MSD faculty members express a similar opinion and feel as though any extra effort made by custodial staff will only be met with apathy by the students. “[The bathrooms] are gross, but that’s because the students make them that way,” geography teacher Ernest Rospierski said. Surprisingly, many students agree with this sentiment. About 37 percent of students attribute the poor hygiene of the bathrooms to themselves, which stands in stark contrast to the mere 5 percent who believe that the primary cause of poor sanitation is solely custodial issues. The remaining 58 percent believe both are equally to blame. According to the Florida School Health Administrative Guidelines in Section IV Chapter 21-1, “the Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Health (DOH) are jointly responsible under State law for regulating school environments. County health departments

Design by Lauren Newman

Toilet Troubles

Student survey reveals frequently encountered problems; student attitudes about MSD bathrooms















Broken Door Locks


Toilet Paper on the Floor



moderately clean

39% unclean

Urine or Feces On Toilet Seat Floor


2% clean

Spiders, Roaches or Other Bugs

Water on the Floor



very clean


very unclean

Dirty Mirrors

Urine or Feces on the floor

Dim Lighting

The primary cause of hygiene issues in the bathrooms is


Empty Soap Dispensers

Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

Extreme Humidity





Putrid Smell

Both: Students and Maintanence


370 +50 +580


of students purposely avoid using the bathroom until they get home

Data based on a survey of 320 MSD students

News • Bathrooms 07

Design by Taylor Morrison

Winning State of Mind

MSD’s Eagle Regiment defeats rival Park Vista to win at States


n Nov. 18, under the bright lights of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Tropicana Field, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s marching band, the Eagle Regiment, won first place in the Florida Marching Band Championships Class 5-A finals. After three years of finishing as runner up to Park Vista High School, the Eagle Regiment finally triumphed. “I couldn't believe it. It's always been a tradition for us to hold hands with the people next to us during retreat, and when they announced another band for second place, I remember squeezing my friend's hand and both of us immediately crying,” flute Lt. Sydney Shteif said. “It wasn't the ‘beating Park Vista’ aspect of it, it was more on the fact that we had just accomplished something we worked so hard to do.” MSD scored a 91.70, whereas Park Vista received a score of 91.35. With a winning margin of only 0.35 points, the Eagle Regiment beat out their bitter rivals by a narrow margin. Their winning score also earned them the title of best overall at States among class 1-A through 5-A. “Though we knew how breathtaking our performance was, we never truly had the goal of winning to begin with, so this championship was just another extraordinary milestone that we are so grateful to participate in,” head drum major Brianna Sanchez said. The bands were judged based off of their music, general effect and visual components. The music category consists of the sound and composition chosen. The visual includes the shapes and designs the band makes throughout the performance as they march. General effect represents the excitement and “wow factor” felt throughout the performance. The music and visual section are split into ensemble and individual, and the general effect category is split between the general effect of the music and the coordination. Each element contributes to the final score, which is a summation of the points accumulated in the three main categories out of a possible 100 points. The performances may only last for nine minutes, but well-coordinated and colorful displays can leave band members with memories that can last a lifetime. This year, band director Alexander Kaminsky’s set out to perform at a higher level than ever before, despite the stress caused by weather delays and the days off due to Hurricane Irma throughout the school year.

“I think that the sophistication of the design of the show was higher, which allowed us to get more credit, particularly with the theme itself of piece by piece and also the use of the blocks which served as our props,” Kaminsky said. “And so telling that story through the show for this year definitely helped our general affect scores. And also the music was more sophisticated than what we played before, so we basically performed well, but the difference was that the show itself was more sophisticated in every regard.” The marching band’s last win at States occurred in 2009 when the band competed in Class 3-A, a category for bands of 51 to 75 wind and percussion players. Now competing in the largest class for bands of 101 and more wind and percussion players, Class 5-A, the band won in the most prestigious of the classes. “The title of ‘champion’ sounds pretty good, but anyone who has been on that field knows that the real reason we do what we do isn’t for the trophy, or the title; it is for how it changes us, how it moves us, how it leaves us with an indescribable feeling of satisfaction when we walk off that field. It’s about the sense of teamwork, about being a part of a whole,” trumpet section leader Ridley Hutton said. On the road to states, the Eagle Regiment competed in three regional competitions. At the final Regionals before the state-level competition on Nov. 4, the 12th Annual Striking Cobra Invitational, the Eagle Regiment scored highest in Class 5-A with 91.535, maintaining a first place ranking in their class and overall. The Eagle Regiment won all categories except for the percussion category in which they came in third. Semifinals took place the morning of the finals at Gaither High School, located in Tampa. Park Vista beat the Eagle Regiment with a score of 93.25 in comparison to MSD’s 91.85. The close margin displayed the inevitable battle between the schools during Finals. In addition to the band, the MSD color guard came in first in their Class 5-A competition for Semifinals. “After our Semifinals performance, most of us came off the field knowing that we could have done a lot better. However, we took that feeling, and we transformed it into something amazing during our finals performance,” clarinet section leader Sophie Ayoung-Chee said. “It was definitely the best run we've had visually and musically. You could feel the energy radiating off of everybody, and you could

08 News • Florida Marching Band Championships

Two Thumbs Up. Band director Alexander Kaminsky celebrates the Eagle Regiment’s victory at a celebratory event in the courtyard.

Photo by Emma Dowd

tell that everyone was performing like it was their last.” Kaminsky, however, disagreed with these sentiments, asserting that as a whole, the Eagle Regiment should have earned higher placement in Semifinals. “Honestly, I thought the Semifinals performance was pretty strong, especially with the venue that was used, which was not very good… I thought the band played very well,” Kaminsky said. “Interestingly, we did not get rewarded as much as I thought we should have.” The Eagle Regiment puts in many hours into their performance, beginning practices in the summer at band camp and then in the school year, practicing from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays with some additional Wednesday practices added at Kaminsky's discretion. On some Saturdays, the band practices from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. during competition season to ensure their success at competition and solidify their cohesion to the point where the instrument notes and marching formations seem natural. “We practiced hard and even added in a few practices as needed. It paid off in the end because we had an incredible performance at finals. Everyone felt that it was amazing and probably the best

performance ever, and that amazing performance ended up coming with first place,” mellophones section leader Owen Trent said. Unfortunately, band members’ long standing commitment to band during the first semester of school requires sacrifices to homework and social time. In fact, all members of the Eagle Regiment missed out on MSD’s homecoming dance this year on Nov. 4 because it coincided with the aforementioned 12th Annual Striking Cobra Invitational regional competition. Despite this being their last year as part of the regiment, MSD seniors are thrilled to have been able to end their high school band careers on such a high note, winning at FMBC. “Of course it's sad to be leaving. But at the same time, I will be leaving thoroughly satisfied. I also get this feeling that I've ‘done my time,’ so to speak, as many others have done before me, and that it's time to hand the program over to the next generation, to whom I wish the best of luck,” band captain Luis Gomez said. Next year, the wind symphony will travel to New York City in March of 2018 to perform at the famous Carnegie Hall as one of only six schools to have the privilege to go. Story by Kevin Trejos

Design by Taylor Morrison

Saturday Night Lights. The Eagle Regiment walks onto the Tropicana Field in Tampa on Nov. 18, 2017 to recieve their awards. Courtesy of Keith Weschler

The Legacy of John rusNak

Former Director John Rusnak inducted into the FMBC Hall of Fame


ormer band director of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Eagle Regiment, John Rusnak, was inducted into the inaugural Florida Marching Band Championships’ Hall of Fame on Nov. 14, 2017 along with four other individuals. Rusnak directed the MSD band from the school’s foundation in 1990 until his

passing on August 5, 2014, participating in many FMBC competitions and winning the 2009 Class 3-A Championship. Rusnak suffered a heart attack and passed away unexpectedly in his Coral Springs home at the age of 58. Under his direction, the Eagle Regiment performed at prestigious events and state competitions. Rusnak showcased the Eagle Regiment at various special appearances, such as the 1996 Thanksgiving Day Parade and the 1999 Tournament of Roses. Since

his passing, Rusnak has received other commemorations of his legacy. On Feb. 4, 2015, the City of Parkland formally commemorated Rusnak’s legacy. On Feb. 22, 2017, Broward County Schools formally approved the dedication of the MSD auditorium, home to the band’s countless performances, to Rusnak with the name, “John Rusnak Performing Arts Building.” The ceremony commemorating the dedication took place on April 20, 2017. Story and photo by Kevin Trejos

trucking it home


receding their journey to the 2017 FMBC state competition, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Eagle Regiment purchased a new equipment truck with the help of both corporate and individual sponsors. The new addition to the band family was emblazoned with a professional imprint on its sides by 2TU Creative

The Eagle Regiment purchases new truck to haul instruments and props to competitions

Graphic Design. The graphic design consists of Class of 2016 band graduate Kaitlyn Valenz and junior Mahalia Gourdet. The truck has a large Eagle Regiment logo at its center, and is colored a bright crimson red. The names of individual and corporate sponsors lie on the side of the truck. The truck was dedicated to the late

Julie Hurst, mother of band members Mackenzie Hurst and Austin Hurst, who passed away on Apr. 18, 2017, and the family of the former band director John Rusnak who passed away on Aug. 5, 2014. “It feels good to have her dedication to this program on display for the world to see,” Austin Hurst said. Story and photo by Kevin Trejos

News • Florida Marching Band Championships 09

Design by Suzanna Barna

Whip My Hair. Junior Oriana Rivas performs a solo in the Egyptian bellydance. Photo by Kevin Trejos Hawaiian Punch. Senior Fabianna Gaskin dances in the Hawaiian dance. Photo by Emma Dowd

Get in Formation. Junior Merhedyne Verna and sophomore Justin Trujillo slow dance together in the Haitian dance. Photo by Suzanna Barna

Suprise Smooch. Seniors Giancarlo Mendoza and Fiorella Rossi dance the salsa. Photo by Suzanna Barna

Perfect Pair. Senior Francisco DeJesĂşs and junior Melania Petreccia strike a pose the in merengue. Photo by Kevin Trejos

K-pop Comes to MSD. Juniors Kerry Lin and Alex Han, senior Eric Lee and freshman Joyce Han perform in the K-pop dance. Photo by Kevin Trejos

10 News • Multicultural World Showcase

Design by Suzanna Barna

One World, one show Multicultural World Showcase returns to MSD with new cultures


arjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Spanish Club conducted its annual Multicultural World Showcase scheduled on Friday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium. The Epcotthemed show displayed MSD’s diverse conglomerate of talented students in dancing, singing, acting and spoken word poetry from different cultures across the globe. Despite the long lines to purchase tickets and the show’s late start at 7 p.m. when it was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., hundreds of people attended the show, eager to see the diverse performances of their peers or children. Interest in the show was high among students and parents alike, as the auditorium was filled to its maximum capacity of 864 people with even more people standing against the walls for the entire length of the performance. “I really enjoyed the multicultural show because I could just tell that everyone who participated really loved what they were doing, and the dances

were really entertaining,” junior Charlotte Dwyer said. “The show allowed people to embrace different cultures, which was so nice to see.” Not only do the performances serve to evoke national pride and entertain its audience, but also to bring together a cast of multifaceted students with an appreciation for the world and its cultures. “It’s my senior year, and doing the show with the people that I’ve grown with and gotten to know these past four years will be unforgettable,” Spanish Club president Diana Estrada said. The student-led showcase took three months to choreograph and organize by the Spanish Club officers who began their progress in September. In addition, other organizations at the school take part in the production such as the Bollywood team, French Club, Haiti team, Jamaica team and step team. The lead choreographers were Alex Han, Daniela Menescal, Darlecia Bossfield, Fiorella Rossi, Jessenia Villa, Katrina Ghantous, Lucio Carrillo, Lydia Moreno, Mei-Ling Ho Shing, Merhedyne Verna, Melissa Saucedo, Michael Alvarado, Natalia Sales Muñoz, Nikhita Nookala, Oriana Rivas, Rebeca Benarroch, Shannon

Moise, Tatiana Noble and Varvara Chernyaeva, each assisting with the 21 dances presented in the showcase. No show is complete without its set and lighting; the artistic director Daniel Williams and the lighting director Adam Alhanti rounded off the production crew. The showcase began with a poem from the Spoken Word Club entitled “Fireworks.” Performed by sophomore Jorge Garrido, sophomore Anna Bayuk and junior Sara Giovanello, the poem spoke of tolerance among all cultures and its presence during the firework displays at Epcot theme park. The show continued with a moment of silence in honor of countries currently in distress such as Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. The dances were performed by the region they were from, starting with North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The actors Alex Martinez, Ariana Lopez, Brian Martinez and Nicole Catania performed a skit to introduce each region’s section of dances in which the four pretended to be a family wandering around the attractions at the Epcot theme park. At intermission, Franchesca Brunnetti sang “Imagine” by John Lennon with

some of the lines translated into Spanish, reinforcing the showcase message of unity. “While several different cultures are being displayed, music has a way of bringing everyone together, and that is the best part of our show,” Estrada said. Many dances remained consistent with last year’s showcase, although some changes to the 2017-2018 lineup occurred. The lineup annexed several new cultures from destinations around the world such as Korea (K-pop), Germany (waltz), Egypt (bellydance), the Bahamas (soca and whine) and Hawaii (Hawaiian dance). “I’m so excited for this year’s show because we have incorporated many more dances from around the world,” choreographer Oriana Rivas said. In particular, the Korea dance modeled the choreography of the songs “Lie” and “Fire” by Beyond The Scene, a South Korean boy band. Familiar with the choreography, junior Alex Han assumed leadership for the dance. “What makes me most excited is that because it will be the first time Douglas ever sees a K-pop dance at the multicultural show this year, I’m eager to see what kind of reactions will arise,” Han said prior to the performance. While the production introduced new performances, the Chinese lion dance that has performed in the multicultural show in the past did not make a reappearance, disappointing some of the students. The audience was not alone, as dance coordinator Carmen Lo was also saddened by its absence from the show. “This year, I was supposed to be the dance choreographer, [but] we unfortunately were unable to get the lion costumes for the dance,” Lo said. Through the rallying of national pride and the exposure to an increased level of diversity, the Epcot Multicultural Showcase shared not only the heterogeneity of the many students at MSD, but also united those cultures under the umbrella of one world. In a world where division has become so highly emphasized, gatherings like these prove that, deep down, we are the united people inhabiting the same world. Story by Suzanna Barna

News • Multicultural World Showcase 11

Design by Madyson Kravitz



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Let the Light SHIne ON


n Nov. 9, the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hosted its first “Kristallnacht Commemoration: Let The Light Shine On” event. With parents, students and other members of the community present, the event shared musical performances and somber stories about Kristallnacht and the Holocaust in the auditorium from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. MSD’s Holocaust teachers Donna Amelkin, Ivy Schamis and Darren Levine partnered with Sylvia Kahana, an executive producer of Spark Next Production, and Sarah Solomon, a local advocate of Holocaust remembrance events, to organize the program. Together, the contributors combined their ideas and turned their vision into reality for the community to witness. At the request of Kahana, Daniel Finkelman of Sparks Next Productions filmed the speakers and performers for the company’s documentary entitled “The Last Survivor Legacy.” According to the event flyer, the documentary attempts to eradicate evil, hate and intolerance, connecting the experiences of Holocaust survivors and our youth to spread peace and unity. Historically, Kristallnacht, referred to as the Night of Crystal or the Night of Broken Glass, was the mass destruction of Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues across Germany and German-occupied territories on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 in 1938. Blindly following the request of the government, neighbors and friends of Jewish families committed these heinous acts of violence, arson and vandalism, resulting in numerous deaths and a mass rounding up of Jews into concentration camps. For many Jews living in Nazi Germany, Kristallnacht was the true start of the Holocaust. While conveying the serious implications of Kristallnacht and the suffering it caused, the program aimed to encourage people to respond to violence and hatred with kindness and tolerance. “It always amazes me how warm, giving and loving [the Holocaust survivors] are to students or anyone that comes and is willing to hear them, and, I think it just gives you faith in humanity,” Amelkin said. The event also highlighted the importance of learning about history. As more time passes from the onset of the Holocaust 80 years ago, fewer survivors will be able to share their experiences with the world. Future generations will hold the responsibility for sharing these stories, and this Kristallnacht commemoration gave students the opportunity to hear them. “Here is a chance to see real life living history, and we’re going to lose that,” Amelkin said. “It is our responsibility, as people who live on, to further history and not repeat it, to tell those people’s stories.” The event’s entertainment included a dance by two MSD seniors and multiple songs by the Holocaust Survivor Band. Seniors Sofia Cozzolino and Stephanie Kaine choreographed and performed a contemporary ballet dance to an original

MSD hosts first Kristallnacht event

Surviving and Thriving. Saul Dreier speaks about his experience in the Holocaust during the Kristallnacht Commemoration. Photo by Genevieve Martin

score titled “Kristallnacht,” composed by Rami Yadid with lyrics written by Cecelia Margules. “We worked so hard in trying to make the dance really special, and we hoped to build a message that would move the audience emotionally,” Cozzolino said. “It was an honor to be asked to perform.” The dance and song conveyed a solemn mood parallel to Kristallnacht itself. The dancers wore contrasting costumes— white and black—to convey the opposing sides in the Holocaust. Cozzolino, in white, represented the Jewish people and their suffering, while Kaine, in black, portrayed the evil and hatred of the Nazis. “The choreography was built around the idea of the Nazi versus the Jew, who eventually becomes an angel,” Cozzolino said Additionally, the Holocaust Survivor Band performed an arrangement of songs such as the classic “God Bless America.” The band was founded by Saul Dreier, a Holocaust survivor and drummer and conductor in the band. The other band members are second and third generation Holocaust survivors: Mel Olman, Alex Miloslavsky, Mike Gold, John Morello, Jeff Blacke and Haim Rubinov. Spreading their message of tolerance and peace, the band was excited to play at the “Kristallnacht Commemoration: Let The Light Shine On” event. “We thought it was fantastic because I really think that people need to remember these things, and young people don’t get a chance to confront what that really was. And this was an opportunity to investigate it and learn about it and internalize it, so they have more of an appreciation of what those people went through,” Olman said. The educational aspect of the program mainly derived from the speeches of Dreier and Morris Dan, two outspoken

Holocaust survivors, about their experiences in Nazi Germany and the concentration camps. Dan spoke of his experiences from an adolescent’s point of view in Nazi Germany. Dan explained the horrors of walking down the street and getting spit on and bullied as he displayed his yellow star that read “Jude.” “They took us to a cattle train and pushed in about 60 to 70 people in one cattle car. Imagine a whole night, no water, no wash room...and when the door opened, we didn’t know where we are,” Dan said Dan described life in the camps, stripped of clothes, hair and family. With no family left to provide him strength, he considered taking his own life. Fortunately, Dan forced himself to fight, work and most importantly survive. With the blessing of life, he speaks every opportunity he can, especially to students who he sees as the shapers of the future. Dreier decided to keep his story on a lighter tone, but still described his sufferring during his three and a half years in the Holocaust. While he was only 16 and a half years old, Dreier worked in the concentration camps. Dreier was chosen to work for Oskar Schindler as one of the 1,500 workers that he saved. After their speeches, Dreier and Dan answered questions from multiple students about details about the past and their outlook on the world today. However, the segment was cut short due to the bright auditorium lights hurting the survivors’ eyes and time constraints. “I was very impacted by the survivors’ stories since I know that could have happened to any group of people at any time in history. As a Jew, though, it made me thankful that these courageous

speakers are able to tell their stories so that we can never forget the horrors of the past. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and it is necessary for their messages to be alive,” senior Brandon Abzug said. The event’s audience was not only comprised of MSD students and families, but also students from various schools across Broward County who heard about it from their Holocaust classes. J.P. Taravella High School, another school in the county with a Holocaust class, promoted the event to their students. “I attended the event because I knew it would serve as a great learning experience that I could share with others. My favorite part was when the man was playing the electric violin in the band because I play the cello myself,” J.P. Taravella senior Christian Michael said. Although admission was free, donations were accepted to assist Holocaust survivors who are in dire need of transportation, medical attention and food. For the same cause, the event also promoted a GoFundMe titled “Holocaust Survivors- Must Help Now” that the audience was encouraged to make contributions to. So far, $104 has been raised out of the $5,180 goal. Bringing the community together, the first “Kristallnacht Commemoration—Let The Light Shine On” event taught high schoolers a lesson that cannot be attained in a classroom. Through the moving first-hand accounts of survivors, students were able to connect with the horrifying reality of the Holocaust in a way that a textbook could never convey. It rests on the shoulders of these dwindling survivors to ensure that today’s youth never forget their stories, and that they resolve to make a brighter and better future moving forward. Story by Suzanna Barna

News • Let The Light Shine On 13

Design by Delaney Tarr and Christy Ma With Arms Wide Open. Sophomore Rebecca Leal shares an emotional hug after watching “Listen” and hearing the message behind the movie. Photo by Rebecca Schneid

Listen Up. “Listen” director and writer Erahm Speaking Out. Senior Brooke Bowsman shares her Helping Hands. Sophomore Rachel Nattis plays a Christopher leads active listener training in the thoughts and questions after watching the movie game with Assistant Principal Winfred Porter at the media center. Photo by Rebecca Schneid “Listen.” Photo by Rebecca Schneid active listener training. Photo by Rebecca Schneid




On average, 1 in every 4 kids are bullied nationwide


of young people see bullying at their school


percent of kids that observe bullying report it or stand up against the bully

suicide of people admit to There are an average of bullying attempts by high school students daily

14 News • Listen

Suicide for the U.S. population has increased by

24% in the last 15 years

Men die by suicide 3.57 times more often than women


of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying

Design by Delaney Tarr and Christy Ma

Learning to LiSTEN


n Nov. 2, about 1200 students arrived and filed into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gymnasium to watch “Listen,” a film that aims to promote suicide prevention and mental health awareness. The showing was a result of Broward County Public Schools’ initiative entitled “Listen—It Only Takes a Moment.” This program was created in association with the Hope Sunshine Club, the Jason Taylor Foundation and the Bluapple Poetry Network. The initiative was started by Michael Ramirez, the Broward County Public Schools director of the Office of School Performance and Accountability. Ramirez was invited by the Hope Sunshine Club of South Florida to view the film in Oct. 2016. Inspired by the message of the movie, Ramirez wanted to make sure that more people saw it, especially in light of the stigma surrounding mental health issues and the number of teen suicides nationwide. “We wanted to let students know that they are not alone in the things they experience,” Ramirez said. Twenty-nine Broward high schools have been scheduled to show the film, nine of which have already taken place. Each school committed $6,000 towards the movement, leading to a total of roughly $200,000 for the entire movement, according to Ramirez. About a week prior to the event, students were informed that the Nov. 2 Professional Study Day would be dedicated to the showing of the film. They were given the option to opt-out of watching since the film contains sensitive topics. Students who opted out could either sit in an alternate location for the duration of the showing or stay home with an excused absence. “Social emotional learning has been at the forefront over the past few years. The district previewed the film last year with some HOPE clubs across the District and received great feedback,” Principal Ty Thompson said. “The District decided to allow schools to show the film and follow up with active listener training, followed by instilling some curriculum into the schools.”

students is detailed in several feature documentaries as he taught and guided students in underprivileged schools to express their feelings constructively. The film suggests that teachers need to pay more attention to their students’ needs. One character in the film is driven to suicide because of the fact that a teacher misjudged his character and punished him for expressing himself instead of listening to his struggle. “I think [teachers] need to redefine what listening really is. They need to realize listening is not just with ears, it’s with the eyes, heart and mind,” Christopher said. “[During communication], really understand what those five components to listening are: being open, being silent, being curious, being aware and being respectful.” Teachers were also given a private screening of the film before the student session, and they were invited to watch again during this time. “I think [the film] was an important conversation starter for all students and teachers, and I think as a society we should look at mental health in the same way we look at other disorders and diseases,” English teacher Donna Amelkin the group to see what they did not notice said. “I’m very touched by the positive As for next steps, the initiative has an before. He also implemented interactive feedback Sara and I have been getting on accompanying curriculum that includes our pieces. I just hope me coming out and exercises such as linking arms in certain talking about these things inspires anyone patterns and setting participants up with lessons about respecting peers, reading body language cues, and making sure else who needs to talk and needs someone partners to practice active listening. Christopher gave tips on how to be open- to demonstrate interest in what the to listen,” Hashmi said. The film, a work of fiction inspired by minded and engage conversation the right other person has to say. The teachers present at the after-school session were way. He emphasized not just listening true stories, follows six students and a also educated on how to implement guidance counselor in a New Haven school with your ears, but with body language this curriculum in their personalization for troubled teenagers. All of the students and other clues. classes. “After watching ‘Listen,’ it was face various real-life issues such as gang “Thirty teachers were trained in very encouraging to be able to involvement, learning disabilities, body active listening on the day of the movie. reflect on methods for more effective image issues, self-harm, pressure from We are currently waiting for curriculum communication with my peers and parents and parental abuse. from the writer/director to begin to roll After the film, Christopher noted that teachers in an open and welcoming out with the teachers that were trained,” environment,” junior Maayan Mizrahi the actors who played the characters Thompson said. “This will be completely said. also faced similar problems in their real voluntary for those teachers.” “Listen” calls into question the lives, which allowed them to portray the Regardless of opinions about the prominence of mental health education fictional students in a three-dimensional movie, the film promotes a message of in schools, especially in public schools. way. acceptance and understanding among In order to make the film as authentic as “[‘Listen’] is not just a film, it’s a movement,” actor Josh Pafchek said in an possible, Christopher spent 10 years with peers. Though the characters in the movie could not be saved, students in real life students on school campuses to learn interview with Good Day Sacramento. still can be. It’s time to listen. Story by the ways kids talk, interact and even The school day concluded with an Nikhita Nookala harm each other. His work with these emotional discussion with various MSD Before showing the film, Director Erahm Christopher introduced himself and gave a brief speech about it to the audience. Christopher has directed several documentaries about troubled students, but this is his first feature film. “It’s my belief that, after this experience today, that someone will feel less angry, less frustrated and less alone,” Christopher said in his opening talk to the crowd. Following Christopher’s speech, juniors Sara Giovanello and Ramis Hashmi, who are associated with the Bluapple Poetry Network, presented poems to the crowd. The network focuses on encouraging local South Florida students to express their thoughts in the form of poetry, workshops, open mics and competitions.

students and Christopher himself. Several students divulged personal experiences and struggles to almost one-third of the school. The crowd paid close attention, shouting messages of reassurance and encouragement. “I remember I stopped being friends with someone because she called me fat, and it made me feel really bad about myself,” senior Jenna Korsten said during the session. “I think what people need to remember is that there is a light at the end of every tunnel.” After school, approximately 30 teachers and select students attended a follow-up workshop in the Media Center led by the director about active listening. The director showed the first 7 minutes of the movie again because he wanted

I think [the film] was an important conversation starter for all students and teachers, and I think as a society we should look at mental health in the same way we look at other disorders and diseases.

of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves

of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide







Source: CDC

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

19.3% 600= 200+ 17% 610= 190+ 14.5% 620= 180+ of high school students have thought about commititing suicide

Infographic Designed by Daniel Williams

MSD sponsors film viewing for mental health awareness

News • Listen 15

Design by Delaney Tarr and Christy Ma

Too much listening, not enough talking


ullying. Self-harm. Body image. Suicide. All are monumental problems faced by many teens coming from all walks of life. All need to be addressed. That’s where the PSAs and the cautionary tales come in: heartbreaking stories of girls and boys who have taken their own lives and the bullying that has pushed them to do so. Take the ABC Family film “Cyberbully” or the more popular “13 Reasons Why.” Or, to look more closely at the issue, watch the most recent product of adult attempts to reach out to teens: the independent film “Listen.” Each of these products heralds itself as a conquest in teen understanding, in “raising awareness” and “starting a conversation.” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School dedicated an entire school day to “discussion” about feelings and reactions to the film “Listen”. But is starting a conversation enough to help teens anymore? It seems that the idea of “raising awareness” has begun to act as a blanket statement, an excuse for any questionable content. Take, for example, the self harm scene in “13 Reasons Why.” Many accused the scene of being harmful. The declarations were everywhere when the show was first released, with celebrities like Paris Jackson declaring it “extremely

triggering.” Of course, when presented with this, the creator of the story accused viewers of “shutting down conversation.” Not only do defenses like that prevent any actual discussion about an issue, but they also do not work. Blanket rejections of criticism do nothing but ignore those who have actually found the content problematic. Such problems are obvious, with one family even naming the show as a key component in their child’s suicide. Despite the intent, the need to start a conversation is not an acceptable excuse for using graphic content that may trigger an individual struggling with these issues. Despite the presence of powerful storylines in “Listen,” the movie contains this same flaw seen in so many other teen dramas- the lack of discussion about mental health. For all of the shocking actions shown, rarely does the film go beyond the shock factor and delve into the specifics. The film never even mentions anorexia or mental illness. The film’s climax contains one of the most controversial scenes: a graphic display of self-harm. The intention behind showing the full brutality of the scene is not fully clear. Perhaps, just as the creator of “13 Reasons Why” said, it’s because “we don’t show how horrific it is.” However, to simply show the horrors

Media portrayal of suicide may be the problem

of self-harm is not enough. The character at the crux of this triggering scene has one of the most cringe-worthy conclusions. After an emotional conversation, the girl reveals she “wants to be happy” and “not perfect.” Yes, these are both reasonable desires. But why were they not explored in depth at all earlier in the movie? If she has dealt with these crippling expectations, then they need to be both displayed and discussed. She gets no further conclusion, so one must assume that her confession is the healing point, something that overly simplifies the long journey many must make to heal. During the showing, Ehram Christopher, the writer and director of “Listen,” described his intentions more clearly. During the span of his lengthy Q&A session, he spoke to many students about their own stress and problems in life. He mentioned his desire to turn the film into a curriculum, to dedicate time to dissecting why the characters did what they did and how to prevent it. The plans and actions are wonderful in theory and clarify the messier parts of the film. Yet, not every person that watches “Listen” is going to get an hour long Q&A with the director and writer or a class dedicated to its analysis. Not every person watches “Listen” knowing

easier said than heard


eath is inevitable, but an untimely death, especially at one’s own hand is preventable. Writer and Director Erahm Christopher creates a hyperbolic tale to demonstrate his perception of the best action to take in preventing an untimely demise through active communication. To put it simply, a person must “listen.” “Listen” is a film aiming to emulate the human experience, and frankly it does a good job in doing so. The film accomplishes this through its visuals and expansive ensemble cast. Cinematic techniques, such as point of view and jump cut montages, put the viewer in the shoes of a character in the film, having them watch events as they transpire. The film even goes so far as to manufacture a real world aesthetic through its use of fairly neutral lighting tones and the inclusion of natural sounds. It is in this reviewer’s opinion that the movie is well produced from a technical standpoint, but when it comes to actor performances and overall story beats, the movie misses the

mark. A key component throughout the film is an English assignment on the topic of influence. The film poses the question, whether it be positive or negative, “who influences you?” This idea of influence is sprinkled throughout the overall film leading into the effect of said influence, being the legacy left behind. Characters strive to accomplish something, be it finding their dog, winning a wrestling match, losing a few pounds or bettering the life of just one student. The characters interact with one another to form bonds that last long after they are gone. Many of the characters have similar situations in the sense that they come from broken homes. Josh lost his mother and brother, Summer, Dresean and Benny have no father to be seen, and Mr. Helfore has a strained relationship with his own father due to his sexuality. Death, divorce and close mindedness all affect this cast of characters and influence their actions and behavior throughout the film.

DIRECTOR: UPCOMING UPCOMING Erahm Christopher Broward ard County County Brow WRITER: Screening Dates Dates Screening Erahm Christopher 1/11 Monarch High School STARS: 1/17 Pompano Beach High School Karen Bethzabe 1/25 Hollywood Hills High School Linc Hand 2/6 Ft. Lauderdale High School Steve Rankin

16 News • Listen

This film holds a powerful and deep message in communication and influence. However, this message is so deep that it is almost hidden from its audience under all the noise of the movie, whether it be the actual abundance of background noise, drowning the characters’ thoughts and actions under a pool of sound, or the excessive noise of side plots. While reality is actively portrayed in the film, a story must be more focused to drive in its main points. Much of the film, while semientertaining, is in fact extraneous to say the least. The entire Jun story of looking for his dog, while it is a great example of a holistic world, slows down the ideas against teen suicide and self-harm presented in Summer and Josh’s stories. The idea of not letting outside influences affect you negatively, as portrayed by Benny as he leaves his gang, is more important than the bully redemption arc presented through the death and replacement of Jun’s dog. These concepts do link together and affect each other, as Mr. Helfore is “ Maybe there is something we don’t know about him ” - JOSH

“ I NEVER Had a friend ” - dresean

the intent of every scene as described by Christopher. Not every person watches “Listen” with the intention of joining larger conversation among teens and adults. This is where the biggest flaw lies. This movie should be able to stand alone. People need to be able to watch a movie about mental issues and teen struggles and actually gain something from it. They must gather something more than just a variety of shocking events thrown onto a screen. A movie cannot rely on the discussion that follows it. It must carry its message in its content, not in vague messages that are later explained. The message of “Listen” is wellmeaning. To pay attention to teens, to not dismiss them, is important. But to just say “listen” is too vague. To display the film to all of these teens, some who clearly seem to have mental illnesses, disabilities and disorders, and then just tell them to “listen” is barely any guidance. Simply pointing out the injustices teens face and giving a one word response is not enough. It is a nuanced, complex web of issues, and the barrage of films about said issues is not doing enough. Rather than just start a conversation, these films should BE the conversation. We deserve more than just listening. We need them to speak. Editorial by Delaney Tarr

“Listen” displays various teenage conflicts confronted by Benny’s gang when he tries to save Benny and the two are beaten and stabbed. These events lead Mr. Helfore away from Josh, ultimately leaving Josh with nobody to listen during his time of need. Another example of these connections would be how Summer dropping her breakfast on the road in an attempt to shave body weight leads to the dog’s death as the dog is hit by a car carrying the bully. “Listen” is a movie that aims to rear young viewers away from the actions of self-harm and teen suicide. This message is like a tide, drowning the viewers in its cause at one point and receding to another topic altogether at the next. The side plots and sound mixing leave much of the story faded into obscurity as the apple core of the movie’s message is crawling with tacked on worms. The film is, at points, still quite thoughtful and displays to a young audience the need for communication. In summary, the viewer was more than willing to listen, but they couldn’t hear. Review by Ryan Deitsch

quotes quotes from from the film film the

“ I took this job so i can make a difference. i feel the best way to connect with students is to connect with their problems. god knows they have them. but it needs to be a joint effort. times have changed and not every parent is a “parenting” and not every teacher is “teaching”. But we all can be listener.” -Mr. Helfore

Infographic Designed by Daniel Williams


Design by Rebecca Schneid Photo illustration by Emma Dowd Photo editing by Daniel Williams

Recent allegations raise questions about rape culture in American society

Feature • Rape Culture 17

Design by Rebecca Schneid Photo illustration by Emma Dowd Graphics by Delaney Tarr

18 Feature • Rape Culture


Design by Rebecca Schneid

hen the New York Times came out with an explosive news story on Thursday, Oct. 5 describing multiple sexual harassment allegations against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, America went into a frenzy. This story, which was 10 months in the making, described eight settlements Weinstein made with women who he allegedly sexually harassed over his dignified years in the film business and as the leader of the influential Weinstein Company. Soon after these allegations shook the foundation of Hollywood and the media, other women—and men—in Hollywood and around the country came forward with their own experiences with sexual harassment and assault at the hands of Weinstein, as well as other producers, actors, politicians and coworkers. In these references to their own experiences of assault and gender discrimination, several highly influential men were accused. Some of these men, such as Ben Affleck and Louis C.K., have come forward and acknowledged or apologized for their acts of sexual misconduct. Others, including actor Ed Westwick and politician Roy Moore, have yet to confirm or deny the accuracy of these allegations. Rallying around the campaign marked by the hashtag #MeToo, stars and politicians of all calibers, such as Lady Gaga, Viola Davis, Ellen Degeneres and Elizabeth Warren, have come forward denouncing sexual harassment and misogynistic behavior. Men, like actor Terry Crews, have also come forward depicting their own experiences with harassment. On Nov. 12, the “#MeToo Survivors March” rallied protesters in Hollywood, demonstrating the influence of this movement on both social media and society. “The fact that women are coming out and talking about their experiences is amazing, and it raises awareness of some pretty serious issues,” junior Sarah Chadwick said. “But, honestly our reaction to it shows something seriously wrong with us. To most women, this isn’t shocking. To most women, this is their life.” These victim-turned-activists have garnered so much support and respect from the public that they were announced as TIME’s Person of the Year 2017. These “Silence Breakers” have “started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day,” according to TIME. In light of this quickly expanding movement, questions have been raised

about whether sexual harassment is normalized in today’s society, and whether this is indicative of a larger and more serious issue: rape culture. In concurrence with the release of the film “Rape Culture” in the 1970s by a group of second-wave feminists, the term became defined as a culture that normalizes sexual violence in society, whether inadvertently or purposefully. Today, the term has become very ambiguous with many people defining it based on their own experiences with sexual misconduct. “To me, rape culture means that society accepts the fact that sexual harassment, like catcalling and other kinds of stuff, is just a part of it,” sophomore Naomi Rosenberg said. “Boys can still be sexually assaulted, but usually they are the ones not being accountable for what they do to girls. People just say ‘boys will be boys’ and are done with it.” According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in 2016 alone there were 12,860 reports filed of sex-based harassment in any work environment, 83.4 percent of which were filed by women. Not only that, but a study done in 1994 by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board showed that sexual harassment caused the federal government $327 million because of sick leaves, job turnovers and productivity loss. This and other more recent studies done demonstrate that it is not just those in Hollywood who have to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. But the question remains in the minds of many Americans: does this sexual harassment and the reactions to it indicate a culture in America that propels the ideas that this behavior is acceptable in society? A 2014 study done by Society for Consumer Research found that 65 percent of women in the United States have experienced some sort of street harassment (catcalling, groping, flashing, etc.), and 47 percent of these women explained that after the harassment or harassments, they would often feel unsafe in an area unless they assess their surroundings beforehand. In these cases of harassment and rape, the issue of victim-blaming has often come to the forefront. These debates are marked by arguments that some women “invited” the harassment or rape through their words or their clothing. Some women believe that this issue in America is evidence of a society that inherently objectifies women. “I had a stepdad...who used to say to me that I shouldn’t wear certain things

because like people would take advantage of me or something like that,” junior Lauren Snow said. “I don’t feel like that should be the default mindset of people. I shouldn’t have to be afraid of wearing something because of what people might do or say to me. That isn’t right.” Furthermore, in many of these cases, people’s confessions of sexual harassment are met with intense disbelief and support for the accused. Last year when Fox reporter Gretchen Carlson came out accusing and suing Fox CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, many of Carlson’s own colleagues came out in support for Ailes, even when she won a $20 million settlement from him. “Honestly, people just don’t really believe women in the same way they believe men I think,” Chadwick said. “And that kind of sexism just so deeply rooted in our society, we don’t even realize we are doing it.” A rising question amidst of all these allegations at once is why these women or men never came forward previously to report their sexual assault. In fact, only 16 to 35 percent of all sexual assaults are reported according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice. This fear peer disbelief the shame of the confession itself and denial all play a large role in why people often do not report their sexual assault. Furthermore, the fear of consequences from their boss, the perpetrator themself or those who stand behind them play a factor. “In many cases, it all goes back to power and control,” Holly Carotenuto, Crisis Intervention Specialist of the Nancy J Cotterman Center said. “The individuals who are being accused of these crimes, indecent and inappropriate behaviors often held power over the victims.” The long-term mental effects of rape or sexual assault also often lead victims to suppress their experience or choose to hide it from others. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 33 percent of female rape or sexual assault victims contemplate suicide and 94 percent of female victims experience symptoms of PTSD within two weeks of the event. They are also 10 times more likely to experience substance abuse. “A substantial portion of the people that come to us for help are suffering from PTSD,” sexual abuse attorney Stuart Mermelstein said. “Many of them come to us after years of living with the memory of what happened to them, thinking that if they just brush it aside they will forget about it. But, what they ultimately find, is that that makes it worse; what helps

the most is talking about it and being an activist for their own rights.” With 105 public figures accused of sexual assault since the Harvey Weinstein allegations, though, it is evident that as people have come forward with their own stories, it has inspired so many more to do the same despite their fears and obstacles. These societal characteristics are often cited as major instances of how rape culture pervades American society. Another argument, though, contends that those committing acts of rape, assault and harassment are the “bad seeds” of this society, not indicative of our society as a whole in which rape or sexual assault is condoned. “If we look at Hollywood, yeah, rape culture and the casting couch has been a thing for a long time,” junior Em Jiminean said. “But, looking at America as a broad scope, that doesn’t describe our culture at all.” Still, the issue of rape culture and sexual harassment have been increasingly put in the public eye. Because of this, experts have been working towards ways to reduce the prevalence sexual assault and harassment. Psychologists explain that the mentality young boys have on women and relationships trace back mainly to their childhood examples. “The biggest influence on a boy’s view of women often comes from the relationships he witnesses including parents, friends and other family members,” Carotenuto said. “It is important for adults to demonstrate healthy relationships in front of children.” In order to do fight sexual harassment, Carotenuto explains that people not only should teach youth about consent, but they also should call out their peers for sexist remarks and resist victim blaming when some tells their story of sexual assault. “As children grow they should be taught to understand the changes in their bodies,” Carotenuto said. “Sexual assault can happen to females and males at any age by anyone. Education should be continual and open non-judging conversations need to take place in homes and schools.” This issue, as controversial as it is, has penetrated the popular culture of our society, both in social media and in reality. Experts, psychologists and activists alike are looking towards a future in which sexual harassment, sexual assault,and rape are not seen as commonplace. Story by Rebecca Schneid; additional reporting by Mackenzie Quinn

dealing with the damage 3% ages 65+


15% 28%

ages 35-64

Sexual assault victims

98+T 98%

ages 12-17


ages 18-34


of college women have been touched without their consent


of reported rapes are true

chance a person will develop PTSD after rape

Sexual assault occurs

Every 98 seconds

The food and service industry has the highest level of sexual harrassment at


Source: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

Feature • Rape Culture 19

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Electronic cigarette usage escalates among teens


lthough teen cigarette use has seen more than a 15 percent decrease since 2000 according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the amount of teens who use e-cigarettes has skyrocketed. Since their introduction in 2004, e-cigarettes and vaporizers, more commonly known as vapes, have quickly become popular among teens. In fact, according to the Florida Health Department, 37.6 percent of Florida high school students have tried e-cigarettes at least once. There are several vape products popular among teens today—two of which include JUULs and vape pens. Invented in 2015 by PAX labs, JUULs are hand-held vaping devices that fall under the category of e-cigarettes. They look similar in size and appearance to a USB flash drive. JUULs are able to be refilled with JUUL pods available in flavors such as

Clouds on Campus. Of the 36 percent of students who vape, 74 percent of those students admit to vaping on MSD’s campus. Photo illustration by Emma Dowd

fruit medley, creme brulee and mango. Each JUUL pod contains 0.7 milliliters of liquid which includes 5 percent nicotine. A JUUL pod contains an equivalent amount of nicotine to one pack of cigarettes, or about 200 inhalations. JUULs are relatively small; therefore, they can easily be hidden. Vape pens are pocket-sized refillable vaporizers. The device is long and thin, resembling an actual pen. Their main purpose is for the typical e-liquid vapor, but they can also hold marijuana cartridges. Both JUULs and vape pens can be charged, similar to how a cell phone is charged. However, vape pens have a longer battery life than JUULs or typical e-cigarettes. Vape pens also use a liquid that comes in different flavors, typically containing a third to a half of the nicotine found in a regular cigarette. Contrary to their “healthy” label, some of the chemicals

used for e-liquid flavoring can put one’s health in danger. A common belief among vape users is that e-cigarettes and vapes are a healthier alternative to cigarettes; however, the use of e-cigarettes is not an FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy, or way to quit smoking. Interestingly enough, many doctors actually see vaping as a gateway to traditional cigarettes rather than a method of quitting. “Especially [now] that e-cigarettes are being used more and more recreationally at a younger age,” pulmonologist Dr. Stephen Milan said. “That’s certainly a concern that it’s kind of opening up a door for people to get into tobacco use,” While the FDA’s label on vaping provides proof that they are evidently not an alternative to cigarettes, vape users continue to vape and potentially cause a long-term detriment to their health in doing so.

Vaping can result in significant damage to fibroblasts which are a type of stem cell involved in the maintenance of tissues. Consequently, vape users often exhibit an inability to heal wounds properly. Additionally, vaping can cause chronic bronchitis due to frequent inhalation of irritating particles. An extensive period of time with chronic bronchitis may trigger permanent lung damage. Equally as sobering is a recent finding from the Harvard School of Public Health regarding the ingredients in the liquid of e-cigarettes for flavoring. The university’s research discovered that over 75 percent of flavored e-cigarettes and refill liquids tested by the researchers contained diacetyl, a flavoring chemical associated with cases of a severe respiratory disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, popularly known as “popcorn lung.” The disease results from inflammation, which causes damage to the lungs’ smaller airways.

Feature • Vaping 21

Despite these legitimate health risks, many vape users still see vaping as a harmless habit because of its absence of tobacco. This is partially due to a lack of existing research regarding the health risks. Teens reject the notion of possible long-term impact caused by vaping because abstaining from it is not encouraged as strongly as the push to abstain from cigarette use. “Vaping isn’t as bad because it doesn’t have all the tar and stuff,” senior John* said. “It’s just nicotine; everyone does it to get buzzed.” The main ingredients in the liquid of a vape pen include either heated propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin. E-cigarette and vape users inhale this solution into their lungs and proceed to exhale, giving them a “buzz” with a temporary sensation of relaxation. However, they may experience side effects such as dehydration, dizziness, muscle soreness and allergies. “The head buzz makes your head feel ‘spinny,’” junior Robert* said. “At the same time, it just like relaxes you.”

22 Feature • Vaping

The “head buzz” that many vape users, known collectively as the “Vape Nation,” crave is attributed to nicotine. As a psychoactive drug, nicotine is classified as a stimulant. Stimulants are said to activate motivational centers and reduce anxiety in the central nervous system. These drugs are characterized by increased activity of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Other drugs in the same category include caffeine, amphetamines and cocaine. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, nicotine is addictive because it activates a rewarding pathway in the brain’s circuitry. Oral ingestion of large quantities of nicotine may cause poisoning and exposure can lead to lifelong addiction, which is why programs like Tobacco Free Florida work to discourage smoking of any kind. Because of the rising popularity in e-cigarette usage, Tobacco Free Florida, an organization established by a state constitutional amendment that addresses the dangers of smoking and provides assistance to those attempting to quit

smoking, has begun to focus more on e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes. The company labels electronic cigarettes as a “current issue” on their website, detailing that the number of Florida high school students who were current e-cigarette users increased by 72 percent from 2014 to 2016. The accessibility of e-cigarette and vape products is a driving factor for their popularity. Devices are available to order online or they can be bought in stores by those over 18 years old. Even though vaping products are easily obtainable, under Florida law, it is unlawful to sell, deliver, barter, furnish or give any minors a nicotine product or a nicotine dispensing device. Additionally, it is illegal for minors to knowingly possess any nicotine products or nicotine dispensing devices. However, teenagers have found ways around the law to purchase vape products. “People buy them from other kids whose parents let them order them online or in stores if they have a fake ID,” Robert* said.

In recent years at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students have often been caught on campus using electronic tobacco products including JUULs and vape pens. “If they are just vaping, we take the vape,” campus monitor Brian Staubly said. “If it’s their first time, they’ve got at least a day in internal suspension.” According to the Broward County Public Schools Discipline Matrix, using, possessing and selling tobacco products can call for consequences ranging from parent contact to a six-day out-of-school suspension. MSD’s policy on vaping follows a threestrike method. Upon the first offense, the student is punished with one day in internal suspension. The next strike calls for a five-day internal suspension. If a student is caught vaping three times, then they will be penalized with a six-day outof-school suspension. Every vape product confiscated is tested to ensure that it is a typical vape product and not marijuana or any other illegal substance.

Design by Carly Novell Design by Carly Novell

HOLY SMOKES E-Cigarette sales by year in the U.S. (in dollars) 2.8 billion

1.7 billion

1 billion 500 million 195 million





2015 Source:

The United States makes up

There are approximately (in millions)

43+57 43%

of the world’s vape users

9 million vape users in the United States Source: CDC

Source: Euromonitor International

Ta iwa n

Hiding in Plain Sight. Students can easily hide their vape devices by putting them in their pocket or inserting them in their sleeves. Photo illustration by Emma Dowd

Ar ge



Vaping is banned in BR AZ





“We’re testing to make sure there’s no illegal drug like THC, the active ingredient in marijuana,” MSD School Resource Deputy Scot Peterson said. Students often use their JUULs or vape pens in the school bathrooms, school parking lots and even during their classes. “I’ve caught three or four people with the vapes,” Staubly said. “There are other people that have caught people over by the 1200 building or the gym bathrooms.” Because of their size and odorless vapor, students can vape in class without teachers noticing. It is common for students hide their JUULs in their pockets or sleeves and vape into their shirts. “It’s really easy to use my JUUL in class,” sophomore Samantha* said. “My teachers never notice because it doesn’t smell like anything, and I just wave my hands so the clouds fade away quickly.” Samantha is one of the many students at MSD who get away with vaping on a daily basis. However, some students have not been as fortunate, like in classes with more observant teachers. “On the first day of school, I was

walking down the hall and I happened to be walking next to a student,” social studies teacher Sandra Davis said. “I asked him a question and instead of responding verbally, he just shook his head to the question... I knew something was going on, so I just stayed with him. We continued walking down the hall until finally, the student had to exhale and smoke came out of his mouth.” Davis escorted the student to the front office and he received a suspension. “I don’t understand the intrigue with [vaping],” Davis said. “Kids think it’s a joke, but it’s not allowed on campus and you don’t know the long-term health risks.” Currently, there is no way to physically prevent vaping in the school because MSD does not perform any type of search without cause. Security will continue to discipline those who are caught vaping, but this does not necessarily mean that e-cigarette or vape usage will decrease at MSD. Story by Carly Novell; Additional reporting by Julia Noye; *Names indicated were changed to protect students’ anonymity

How many MSD students vape?

How many vape-users vape in school?

36+64 74+26 36%


Poll results are based on a school-wide survey of 330 students






Feature • Vaping 23

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Victorious Voices


his year, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s DECA chapter has undertaken the “Voices for Venezuela” initiative as one of its four chapter projects of the year. Voices for Venezuela is a project created by DECA Co-President Ariana Ortega in conjunction with HITS 97.3 and Cox Media Group Miami. The goal of the project is to help struggling families in Venezuela, a country that has been ravaged with economic crises during the past few years since President Nicolas Maduro took over. Economic problems in Venezuela, which began due to the fall of oil prices and the socialist economy put in place by former President Hugo Chavez, have caused protests to emerge all over the country. “My cousins and their classmates, just mere teenagers, spend their days preparing to protest amidst showers of toxic bombs, instead of sitting in classrooms. Their dedication and sacrifice portray their deep desire to free the country from the chains of tyranny detaining it,” Ortega said. Ortega, a first generation American with two Venezuelan parents, felt guilty as a privileged American during the turmoil in her family’s country. “I felt a strong pang of guilt as a Venezuelan to be standing here, motionless as the country falls apart,” Ortega said.

Ortega created an Instagram page named @VoicesforVenezuela as the first step in her journey to raise awareness. Along with the help of her Venezuelan relatives, she was able to obtain meaningful graphic images of the protests in Venezuela to share using social media. She began to post the stories, or “voices” as she refers to them, on her website and Instagram page. “I can be a source of power and energy for them, and essentially their voice and beacon of hope here in the United States,” Ortega said. “I wanted to be a part of the American network working towards reaching a hand out to Venezuela.” Her desire to make an impact led her to contact the HITS 97.3 team, which she heard was already trying to raise awareness for the crisis in Venezuela. She successfully negotiated her way into organizing an event with Cox Media Group Miami, HITS 97.3’s parent company, at their headquarters in Hollywood, Florida. “As soon as I had a friend tell me that he heard a radio station speaking about Venezuela, I reached out to them, asking for a partnership between us so that I could expand my small project, Voices for Venezuela, into something impactful and that tied in the entire community as one ‘voice’ for Venezuela,” Ortega said. Armed with the support from a major radio network, which boasts popular

Senior Ariana Ortega directs charity for Venezuelan aid

stations such as 99 JAMZ, EASY 93.1 and HITS 97.3, Ortega launched the project as a donation tool for victims. The “Voices for Venezuela: A Day of Unity” event took place on Monday, July 17, hosted by HITS 97.3’s DJ AI-P. The event raised over $20,000 worth of goods for victims in Voice of a Generation. Ariana Ortega collects various food items and Venezuela. medical supplies at the HITS 97.3 event on July 17, 2017. Ortega “The medical and has made it her mission to raise awareness about the human rights food supplies we sent crisis in Venezuela. Photo by Kevin Trejos have been given to said. “With the Cox Media Group, we were university student protest groups, who distribute the supplies to those in need at able to collect mass donations from the their local hospitals and schools,” Ortega Miami and South Florida area, as it was a fantastic marketing medium. But through said. In August, Ortega decided to volunteer MSD DECA, we are making Voices for Venezuela a project through which our her project to DECA, which has over 600 local Parkland and Coral Springs students members—the most of any club at MSD. and families can show their support.” Ortega describes the shift from Cox DECA is now accepting donations in Media Group to MSD’s DECA chapter as a transition from a large-scale fundraising exchange for “DECA diamonds.” Students can support the cause and donate to project to a method of uniting her current community to help her previous Cuatro Por Venezuela by visiting www. one. Students can follow the movement’s “With MSD DECA, Voices for Venezuela is now at a position where the Instagram page @VoicesForVenezuela to stay updated on the crisis in Venezuela. local community and school can join in Story by Kevin Trejos and contribute their own voice,” Ortega

The song of an eagle


onali Argade, better known by her stage name, Sonali, is a singersongwriter living in New York, but her roots are here in Parkland. As a class of 2012 alumna, Argade got her start at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and graduated from the Clive Davis Institute at the NYU Tisch School of Arts in 2015. The influence of Sonali’s experience at MSD translated into her real-life habits. She considers herself to be equally creative and academic, attributing her broad range of interests to the wide variety of classes she took in high school. “There are certain days where it’s more fun to do an in-depth demographic analysis of my fans and structure a marketing campaign rather than write a song, and there are some days where it’s the total opposite,” Argade said. “I think it’s cool to have a career that encompasses so many different skill sets; you don’t get bored that way.” Argade additionally cited MSD teachers Enrique Acosta, Donna Amelkin, Alicia Blonde, Carla Verba, Darren Levine and Robert Rosen as being the most impactful on her success. Many of her memories at MSD strike familiar chords for current students. “I actually have a recurring nightmare every few months in which I’m failing an AP Physics test... There were so many other influential teachers I had who don’t work at MSD anymore, but all these people were fantastic, and I learned a lot from them,” Argade said. “I think the most valuable thing I learned from Douglas was

work ethic… I’m no stranger to hard work now, and there isn’t much that fazes me.” Sonali has dreamed of being a singer ever since she was 3 years old, and she began taking voice lessons when she was 6 years old. However, it wasn’t until college that she started singing pop music. During her freshman year at NYU, Argade’s cover of the song, “Diamonds,” by Rihanna went viral, eventually catching the attention of Rihanna herself. Argade and some friends were invited to Rihanna’s Newark concert and met the star backstage after the show. She currently credits this as her “big break,” but hopes to experience something even bigger soon. “[Meeting Rihanna] was pretty wild… I’m not sure that I’ve had one huge defining moment in my career yet; it’s just been a build of a solid fan base after years and years of very hard work, and I’m so grateful for them,” Argade said. Argade started releasing music professionally in her senior year at MSD and released an extended play, or EP, upon her graduation from college in 2015. The EP, entitled “Wake Up,” received positive feedback from her fans. “If you need to compare her to another musician... her style is similar to that of Ed Sheeran, only with a bit more of an Americana feel,” Scott De Buitléir of the Huffington Post said in a 2014 review of her work. “Still, there is a sweetness and light to Sonali’s music that makes it perfect for that happy-go-lucky kind of playlist.” However, she soon ran into an

MSD alumna Sonali Argade releases single after hiatus

Girl with a Voice. Class of 2012 alumna Sonali Argade aims to inspire with her up-and-coming music career.

Courtesy of Sonali Argade

obstacle that caused her to question whether or not she could even continue with her music career. After two years of continuous illnesses and searching for answers, Argade was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, forcing her to take a break from singing and cancel her planned 2015 tour. “There were a lot of moments during that time where it seemed like music wouldn’t be a viable option anymore,” Argade said. “As I started to get better, I started feeling more like myself again, and in the last few months, I’ve been able to return to what I love and start working on it full time.” Argade credits much of her success to her mother. Her mother handles the administration of day-to-day activities, branding, content creation, booking and press. According to Argade, the assistance and support of her mother was essential to accomplishing her goals.

Killing the Game. With over 12,000 followers on Instagram and 16,000 followers on Twitter, Argade’s fanbase continues to expand.

Courtesy of Sonali Argade

“At the beginning there is just so much to learn,” Argade said. “I wouldn’t have even known where to get started if she wasn’t helping me.” In October 2017, Sonali released a single, “Forever,” which is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, as well as on her website, Sonali can be found on Twitter with the handle @ItsMeSonali in addition to her Snapchat ItsMeSonali13. This debut artist is a rising star and has the potential to join MSD’s growing list of notable alumni in the near future. Story by Nikhita Nookala

Features • Profiles 25

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Parkland provides events for residents

Concert event ‘Eats ‘n’ Beats’ combines food trucks and musical performances

ats ‘n’ Beats, which was originally called the “Concert Series,” was renamed “Eats ‘n’ Beats” by Parks and Recreation Manager Gayle Vasile to better encompass the event’s purpose. “We changed the name of the event from Concert Series to Eats ‘n’ Beats because we wanted to bring some life back into the event,” Vasile said. Though it was established in 2013, the event only recently gained the popularity needed for it to become a regular occurrence in Parkland. The early Concert Series involved only one band and a few food trucks, according to Vasile. An additional 20 food trucks and a second band were added to increase excitement over the event, ultimately resulting in the event’s name change. Music with a Meal. Tribute band Pure Heart performs the song “Barracuda,” originally “By adding the additional features, by the band Heart. Photo by Delaney Tarr we extended the event hours, and now residents can enjoy dinner and a show at the amphitheater,” Vasile said. Each event now features two bands and multiple food trucks, such as Waffle March 10 April 14 Wagon and Cheesezilla. Bands that are set Time for a Change Big City Dogs to perform include the Pure Heart tribute band, Awall, Matthew Sabatella and the Jason K Sweetwater Rambling String Band. Signal Fire Junction Band Eats ‘n’ Beats currently has three dates planned during the 2017-2018 school February 10 For information on upcoming year; however, the event coordinators dates and musical acts for Hit the Slide have plans to establish an event on the Eats N’ Beats visit: second Saturday of each month Maggie Bough round. The first one occurred on Nov. 11,

Upcoming Concerts

and the following events will be held on Dec. 9 and Jan. 13 at the Pine Trails Park Amphitheatre from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. “Eats ‘n’ Beats hopes to create a consistent, free and family friendly event that people can look forward to the second Saturday each month,” Parkland Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Alexandra Valle said. Eats ‘n’ Beats hopes to appeal to music and food lovers of all ages. It serves as a place for members of the community to come together in a shared space where entertainment and food is at their disposal. “I really enjoy Eats ‘n’ Beats because it’s a great way to eat really good food with friends while listening to good music,” junior Crystal Tang said. Eats ‘n’ Beats also offers various volunteer opportunities to students and members of the community. “At the most recent Eats ‘n’ Beats, volunteers helped do some arts and crafts with the kids and give out glow sticks,” Valle said. “By volunteering, students get hours for their required school volunteer hours.” Volunteers also helped hand out fliers and pamphlets at the Parkland tent. Students are encouraged to sign up to volunteer at the various Parkland events through the City of Parkland Human Resources Department. On the Parkland website, there is a link where volunteers can register. Story by Taylor Morrison


Parkland Farmers’ Market supports local businesses


arkland has numerous activities to offer its residents, including the Parkland Farmers’ Market which serves as a way for Parkland residents to purchase goods from local businesses. The Parkland Farmers’ Market was established in 2006 as an event for local businesses to advertise and sell products. The Parkland Farmers’ Market occurs two Sundays per month from November to April at the Equestrian Center, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Parkland Farmers’ Market is comprised of over 100 vendors from around Broward County. The event serves as a way for local businesses to promote their products to a new crowd of people. “Vendors that come year after year get to know the shoppers, and it is a very friendly and close-knit environment,” Parkland Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Alexandra Valle said. On top of its benefits for local businesses, the Parkland Farmers’ Market also includes many volunteer opportunities for students and members of the community. “We love to have student volunteers,”

Valle said. “We have volunteers at every Farmers’ Market that help set up the Parkland tent with flyers, giveaways and information.” Volunteers also conduct surveys at the Parkland Farmers’ Market. These surveys are used to find out where market goers live, how they found out about the market and what improvements Parkland can make to their farmer’s market. The results of these surveys help Parkland understand what it should do to improve the market or its advertising strategies. Various Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students work with vendors in the Parkland Farmers’ Market. Juniors Lauren Snow and Olivia Feller, along with the company Art Paper Scissors, work at a booth where they do face painting. “I enjoy seeing the happiness on kids’ faces,” Snow said. “Even something as small as face painting can really lift these kids’ spirits.” Members of the MSD JROTC direct parking for service hours at the Farmers’ Market MSD students are encouraged to attend

Courtesy of Abby Wolk

Local Luxuries. Sophomore Lauren Williamson picks out jewelry at the Parkland Farmer’s Market. Photo by Taylor Yon the Parkland Farmers’ Market to stroll through the vendors or bring their pets, as the market is pet friendly. “I enjoy being able to walk my dog with family and to observe all the different food items and things being sold,” senior Mary Hutchinson said. There are also pet related booths where animal lovers can purchase treats or other pet related goods. The market has a variety of booths with interactive activities for attendees including arts and crafts and make-yourown cupcake booths. Those who attend the Parkland

Farmers’ Market have the opportunity to support local vendors. The market offers locally grown fruits and vegetables from vendors like Benny Fruit and Vegetables, sea food from Seas Seafood Market, baked goods from Benson’s Bake Shop and much more. The Parkland Farmers’ Market offers a great opportunity for a family outing or a chance for teenagers to hang out and volunteer. It is an excellent way for local consumers and for Parkland residents to become familiar with and purchase from Broward County businesses. Story by Taylor Morrison

Arts & Leisure • Things to Do 27

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as part of the challenge. The “space station” room opens soon and will contain multiple levels, water effects and sci-fi inspiration. The “Mayan temple” room will also open soon and will be based on the movie “Indiana Jones.” “We pride ourselves on designing our buildings specifically for the purpose of being escape rooms,” Red Button Escape co-founder Michael Barton said. “We come up with original themes, and the main goal of our rooms is always to find and press a red button.” If the groups participating in these escape rooms can crack the case in under an hour, they win. This challenge requires participants to think and demonstrate creativity at every corner. “It’s great for teambuilding and is really a mind game that requires more mental skills than physical,” co-founder Travis Butler said. “Teams can work together to find clues and solve puzzles

Nature at its finest


public education about the environment, responsible pet ownership and injured wild animal rescues. SNC has summer wildlife camps and informational programs both on and off-site. The organization is a resource for people who find injured or lost wild animals and for people who need to give up exotic pets. A small staff and numerous volunteers provide services made possible largely by individual and corporate donations. “The volunteer program here has taught me great leadership skills as I give tours around the facility, and I get to constantly interact with animals that most people do not see in their everyday lives,” volunteer Pavan Vutor said. Along with rescuing animals, the center also offers a summer camp

to help them create a work of art. If a private class is taking place, the instructor allows the participants to choose what their class would like to paint, but if it is public then the instructor will choose the creation ahead of time. The lesson then takes off from there. Participants are given detailed instructions on how to create their piece. It is important to the staff that their ainting Fiesta, located in Coral customers have an enjoyable experience. Springs, is a space designed for For this reason, the classes are taught at a painters of all ages and skill sets that supplies the artists with a full set of pace that suits the participants and there brushes and paints. Classes are offered to is always help offered when needed. “We always have the instructor give customers step-by-step instructions

to gain trust and faith in each other along with themselves.” At the Parkland Escape Room located at 10880 Wiles Road in Coral Springs, customers can choose from “the emergency room” and “the vault.” This facility is opem every day from 1:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The objective is to escape the room and solve the mystery using as few hints from the staff as possible. The rate for an hour is $25 per person. Discounts are periodically offered. “It was so interesting to see how so many clues work together and are hidden in plain sight,” sophomore Katrina White said. “I would highly recommend this activity because it kept me thinking and entertained the entire time the mystery was unsolved.” This is an activity not only for teambuilding, but also for challenging oneself. Story by Fallon Trachtman; photo by Delaney Tarr

Local nature center provides informative experience for visitors

program. At the camp, the children learn about wildlife and have encounters with interesting animals that live at the nature center. “I’ve been going to the Sawgrass Center since I was a little girl at about 8 years old because of my love for animals,” freshman Lindsey Salamone said. “I started out as being a camper and am now proud to say that I am a counselor there and enjoy the time I spend there.” Visitors are welcome to wander around or tour the facility on Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. SNC charges a $5 admission for adults who are 18 years or older and $3 for children 5 to 17 years old. Children

Artistic adventure


Coral Springs offers variety of activities for residents to enjoy

Local escape rooms provide entertainment for students in Parkland area

revealed within everything from picture frames to the floorboards. Just when the mystery seems to be solved, another challenging dimension is revealed. The experience begins with a staff member locking the participants in a room for an hour with a limited number of hints. At the Red Button Escape Room located at 9705 W Sample Road in Coral Springs, or those who enjoy thrilling the room options are “jewel heist,” “prison challenges to test their intelligence, break,” “space station” and “Mayan escape rooms are the perfect temple.” The hours of operation are activity for a night out with friends. Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. Every object in the room is a potential to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday clue waiting to be uncovered. Constant from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Each game is $30 puzzling obstacles, a one-hour time limit per person. and foreboding room themes are all The “jewel heist” room is a characteristics that add to the suspense of 1960s-themed obstacle with retrolighting, escape rooms. furniture and decor. The “prison break” What starts in one small, average room, based off of Alcatraz and Eastern room is soon proven to be multiple rooms European jails, has multiple cells that each branching off of each other. Clues are participant has to be locked in separately

he Sawgrass Nature Center (SNC) and Wildlife Hospital, located just 5 miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping animals. Founded in 1995 by a group of volunteers, SNC’s mission is to educate the public about South Florida’s environment and the many species that inhabit it in order to promote healthy living and provide care for sick, injured or orphaned wildlife. At any given time, one can observe approximately 30 different animals that live there such as snakes, turtles, birds and even some rodents. “Since its creation, the organization has worked toward their mission goals by not only providing treatment for animals in need, but also by promoting

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under 5 years old and SNC members are welcome without charge. On Sundays, the center waives its admission fees, but they encourage donations from guests. The SNC and Wildlife Hospital is located at 3000 Sportsplex Drive in Coral Springs. The park offers service hours to students willing to volunteer. Story and photo by Samantha Goldblum

Customers enjoy guided painting classes

paint along with the clients to make the directions easy to understand,” Painting Fiesta employee Christine Morgan said. The prices for a class range from $17 to $35. For that price customers are offered canvas painting, wineglass painting and finger painting. Prices rise as the size of the canvas grows and painting on surfaces other than canvases may cause the price to increase as well. For those interested in booking private sessions, a catalog is given to assist them in deciding what to paint. “It was a really fun class and I painted even better then I thought I could,” sophomore Allie Lazar said.

Painting Fiesta is open for business Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The company occasionally holds discount nights and fundraisers. They have previously hosted two to three-hour fundraisers where, depending on how many people attended, 20 percent to 50 percent of proceeds were given to an organization of the organizer’s choice. “It’s a great way to bring people together and end up with something to take home and have forever,” Morgan said. Story and photo by Fallon Trachtman

Arts & Leisure • Things to Do 29

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Roses are red, Harambe lovers are still bitter, political memes are taking over Twitter

rumpy cat. Success kid. The world’s most interesting man. What do these all have in common? They are all part of the online phenomenon that has encompassed the internet for the past 20 years: memes. Originally coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, “The Selfish Gene,” the word “meme” is derived from the Greek word “mimeme,” meaning “something that is imitated.” The term originally belonged solely to memeology. It described the transmission and evolution of cultural ideas in a scientific manner. In recent times, it has devolved to a common phrase for any humorous image, video or text that is copied and slightly altered before being spread rapidly by internet users. Meme enthusiasts have been locked in an endless debate over which internet meme has the glory of being labeled the first, and there are a few title contenders. The most commonly labeled “first internet meme,” goes to the “dancing baby,” or “baby cha-cha-cha.” Developed by LucasArts developers, the Graphics Interchange Format, or GIF, spread to mainstream success and even made its way onto a television episode of “Ally McBeal”—a clear signal of success in today’s society. The true first meme, however, has been around for longer than the Internet. Often accompanied with skulls, bones and other symbols of mortality, the phrase “Memento Mori,” Latin for “remember that you have to die,” has been present since the Roman Empire. The idea that

Science Monitor in May of 2017. “People just don’t have an escape, and they’re frustrated that they don’t have an escape.” Conscious of the fact that people’s limited attention spans will prevent them from paying attention to many of the key details of an issue, comedy show hosts instead aim to make key points that will gain them brief internet fame on social media, thus reaching more people as a result. “Each of the current late-night satirists are competing for viewers and for the sort of relevance that only comes from being GIFfed, memed, retweeted or posted to Facebook,” Religious and Ethical Studies Assistant Professor Steven Benko said to The Christian Science Monitor. However, late-night comedy is not the only outlet for memes to shine in. The extremely popular meme, “Pepe the frog,” gained infamy when it was branded as a hate symbol for its depictions as both Adolf Hitler and a member of the KKK. 2013. type of bait and switch using a disguised The fact that memes are now being used This attention deficit, exacerbated by hyperlink. Whether it be the god-like not only as political constructs, but also the political atmosphere that has been status achieved by the late Harambe, or the “Charlie bit my finger” video, memes taken on by late-night comedy, has created as social ones is a testament to the impact memes are having on modern society. an environment where politics seem to have unquestionably become part of As the world continues to progress into infiltrate every corner of daily life, and modern society. a new age of comedy on the platform of according to Heather LaMarre, a Media Due to the fact that there is almost social media in the form of memes, society and Communication Associate Professor, instantaneous communication of news, will have to choose the direction in which for some people it is suffocating. thanks to the development of social that form of comedy is heading. People “For the guy who goes and works 50 media, memes have dramatically increased will have to choose whether memes hours a week just trying to make ends in importance over the last couple years. should continue down the increasingly meet for his family, and he just wants to For many people, a breaking news event serious atmosphere that the political sit down and watch the 11 o’clock news will be seen in the form of a meme long before they will view it on a news channel. and laugh a few times before going to bed, undertone has created or return to the This stems not only from the evolution of there’s this feeling now that everything is light-hearted fun that its creators had intended. Story by Lewis Mizen social media as a whole, but also from the political,” LaMarre said to The Christian one is faced with imminent death is a rather morbid thought, but it is one that is almost universally recognized across all cultures. This universal recognition makes it the first true meme to encompass a global society. Most memes of today tend to be less morbid than the dark and empty eyes of a skull. In fact, they tend to be rather humorous. A common example is being “rick-rolled,” a prank involving an unexpected appearance of the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The meme is a

Thanks to social media, though, I can see breaking news events on my phone, and, since the memes tend to be funny, I actually pay attention to them.



mindset of today’s youth. “I watch the news in the morning, but, since I have a very busy schedule, I’m not able to watch the news again until the next day,” junior Alex Barbosa said. “Thanks to social media though, I can see breaking news events on my phone, and since the memes tend to be funny, I actually pay attention to them.” According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of a human has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in

PopBuzz creates list of 2017’s best memes

Arts & Leisure • History of Memes 31

kneel ordeal Design by Emma Dowd

Kneeling controversy extends to local level


irst pioneered last year by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the movement of kneeling during the national anthem has continued to gain national attention. Originally, the controversial protest was rooted in speaking out against police brutality, but its purpose today remains up for debate. “This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,“ Kaepernick said in an interview with the NFL Media. "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right." Supporting Kaepernick’s decision, numerous other players have participated in kneeling during the national anthem, which has frustrated some of the American public. Following week three of the NFL season, approximately 180 players kneeled, with at least one individual from each team participating in the protest according to The Washington Post. Opponents of kneeling argue that the act serves as a disrespect to the American flag, the military and the nation. However, the essential purpose of the athletes’ kneeling has been blurred, as numerous athletes have taken part in the movement for various reasons. After President Donald Trump shared his negative position on the issue, the purpose of the protest has shifted to expressing defiance of the current presidential administration for some. Trump’s statement that those who kneel in the NFL should be fired spurred further support to kneel during the national anthem. “I disagree with what the president said and how he said it. I think it’s very unbecoming of the office of [the] president of the United States to talk like that to the great people like that. And obviously he’s disappointed a lot of people,” New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said during a post-game press conference on Sept. 24, 2017. The NFL’s decision on Oct. 18, 2017 to permit kneeling, but “encourage” standing during the anthem, has brought the question of the ethics of kneeling back to the forefront of American society. The movement has also spread to high schools across the United States. In Manatee County, Florida, District Athletic Supervisor Jason Montgomery notified middle and high school parents that players are required to stand for the national anthem. Failure to do so is in violation of the district’s rules. “[With] regards to standing for the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, the School District of Manatee County complies with both Federal Statute 36 U.S. Code § 301 and Florida Statute § 1003.44. The Code of Student Conduct complies with all statutory requirements that include requiring a student to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, unless excused in writing by a parent," Montgomery’s statement read. This federal statute concerns conduct during the national anthem and instructs that all those who are not members of

32 Sports • Kneeling

Taking a Knee. San Francisco 49ers’ Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before their NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, Calif. Photo courtesy of Nhat V. Meyer of Bay Area News Group, Tribune News Service. Photo editing by Jacob Brown

the armed forces “should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.” The issue of kneeling extends beyond high school to the classrooms of local elementary schools. In Wesley Chapel, Florida, Eugenia McDowell’s 6 year old son was inspired by the NFL protests of racial inequalities and injustice during the morning Pledge of Allegiance. While the teacher and his fellow students stood as they recited the pledge, McDowell elected to take a knee. “What he did was have a difference of opinion. He was not being disrespectful. He was silently protesting and exercising his constitutional right," McDowell’s mother said in an interview with ABC News. Despite similar incidents nationwide, there have been no reported issues of kneeling during the anthem in high school sports in Broward County. “All year this year in the state of Florida and every game when we played, I’ve never seen one person kneel. So it has not been an issue in the state, at least not in Broward County,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football coach Willis May said. A poll conducted by CNN reveals that 49 percent of Americans support kneeling, while 43 percent say it is wrong, with political views divided severely by race, age and partisanship. May’s opinions on kneeling generally align with the 43 percent of the nation who find kneeling as what senior Peter Forester calls a “show of disrespect to the sacrifices of American soldiers for our country.” “As a team, we decided to honor the flag and those who fight for the flag,” May said. “We would stand for the Pledge of

Allegiance, and we didn’t have any problem with it . . . I was always taught that it was wrong to do anything other than that. I believe it’s something we should do as citizens of the United States.” The issue, has also inspired students to align themselves with one side or the other, some in support of players kneeling and others believing that those who take a knee are disrespecting the American flag. “I think the whole thing is ridiculous. I understand and acknowledge that there are racist people in America, and they’re terrible,” junior Patrick Petty said. “But, kneeling for the national anthem doesn’t protest them; it protests the people that have fought for our freedom and the men and women that have served this country proudly.” However, senior Franklin Lee argues an opposing viewpoint; he strongly stands in support of those who kneel. “As citizens, we retain the right to peacefully protest and kneeling in the NFL serves that right. The NFL offers players a stage to demonstrate their views on the issue of discrimination. The act of kneeling may shock, but it certainly opens their eyes to the issues that plague our nation today,” said Lee. The Broward County Athletic Association has yet to comment their stance on kneeling during the anthem, but the Florida High School Athletic Association emphasizes that although “it is customary for everyone in attendance at an athletic event to stand at attention, we acknowledge the freedom each individual has when they choose not to participate in the celebration of our national anthem.” However, despite the freedom to kneel recognized by high school athletic associations nationwide, some high schools have issued statements requiring students to stand. Waylon Bates, the principal of

Parkway High School in Bossier City, Louisiana, illustrated in a letter the disciplinary actions against students who choose to kneel. “Failure to comply will result in loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal. Continued failure to comply will result in removal from the team,” Bates said. In another case of punishment for kneeling, a CNN article reported that two players were kicked off their football team for protesting before a Friday night game in Texas. The boys were ordered by their coach to strip down their uniforms and exit the field. Despite strict consequences at other schools, “The BCAA has never really talked about [kneeling] with the coaches of Broward County. So it is not really an issue for us to have to talk to about it all with our kids,” May said. Regardless, both the BCAA and FHSAA in their respective handbooks emphasize the importance of sportsmanship and ethical conduct. The FHSAA requires student-athletes and coaches to to “adhere to the fundamental values of honesty, integrity, respect, caring, cooperation, trustworthiness, leadership, tolerance and personal responsibility,” as stated in the bylaws of the Florida High School Athletic Association. As for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School varsity football team, the players unanimously agreed that they do not support kneeling whether it has at the highschool level or national NFL stage Although high school rulings on the issue of kneeling remain in question, the trend of kneeling appears to currently be and continue to be a high-profile issue showcased on the national stage and demonstrated at the local level. Story by Richard Doan

Design by Emma Dowd

Free The Knee


ver since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the United States national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 2016, several other NFL players and teams have followed his example. The actions of these football players symbolize a peaceful protest against police brutality in America. The athletes are protesting in a variety of ways, such as locking arms with their teammates, sitting down or taking a knee. Many view the demonstration as disrespectful and uncalled for. However, these football players are effectively using their platform to make a necessary statement about racial inequality, not about America or the president. On Sept. 23, 2017, in response to the increasing popularity of the NFL protest, President Donald Trump posted a slew of tweets calling the participating athletes obscene names and characterizing the protest as a “disrespect to our flag.” “I am not going to stand up and show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a press conference regarding his demonstration during the anthem. Kaepernick’s reasoning for taking a

Athletes should feel free to kneel during anthem

knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not out of disrespect for the country, it is rather the country’s disrespect for him and other minorities. People of color are repeatedly villainized in the media and in politics. In fact, Trump devoted a majority of his campaign pledging to deport what he calls “illegals,” “thugs” and “bad hombres.” The president’s negative depiction of these people only caused further racism toward people of Mexican and Hispanic ethnicity. The protest should have mobilized change in how the country treats people of color, but all it did was spark a debate on the morality of standing for the national anthem, completely ignoring the problem. Police brutality is an increasingly pressing issue in today’s society. According to The Washington Post, 917 people were shot and killed by police in 2017, 212 of which were African Americans. NFL athletes chose to address their concerns relating to the situation in an appropriate and respectable manner. When expressing his opinion on the protest, Trump completely neglected to discuss why the football players were protesting in the first place. Instead, he fashioned it as a protest against America. Trump also demanded that the NFL

make standing for the national anthem mandatory. He redirected the protest from an issue of oppression towards African Americans to an issue of the First Amendment. The First Amendment grants all citizens of the United States the freedom of assembly. It is the government’s job to protect the rights mentioned in the Constitution, and Trump’s comments display a blatant disregard for these rights. Disengagement during the anthem should not constitute grounds for suspension or termination, it is a choice. In the three days, Trump uploaded more tweets about the NFL protest than about major concerns including North Korea and natural disasters. Since Sept. 23, Trump dedicated 37 tweets to talk about the protest. He even created a trending hashtag, #StandForOurAnthem. The NFL maintains a reputation of ignoring domestic abuse claims towards players. Why is kneeling for the national anthem considered more of a controversy than violence? Thousands of people are selling their tickets and boycotting football games because of the athletes’ lack of patriotism, but no one is speaking out about the corrupt nature of the NFL.

Stand for stars and stripes


merica, in its current form, is a country divided. Since President Donald Trump’s victory in one of the most hotly contested elections in history, there has been no shortage of controversies to plague the country. The NFL has found itself at the center of one of the most divisive debates, most likely due to how deeply the national anthem and football are embedded in American patriotism. Anyone who has turned on the news in the last few months has probably heard about the kneeling controversy sweeping across the NFL. Ever since quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the 2016 football pre-season, everyone from NFL executives to the U.S. president himself have expressed strong opinions in support or opposition of the polarizing subject. However, what originally began as a protest against the injustices faced by minorities—African Americans in particular—in regard to police brutality, has exploded into a battleground for political debate. Whether Kaepernick knew the reaction he would incite from the public or not, one thing is for sure: his actions have further divided a country still recovering from a damaging election. Whether someone is black or white,

gay or straight, a Patriots or Jets fan, all of the American people have one thing in common: they are American. Immigrants travel from around the world in the hope of making that dream a reality for themselves and their families. They struggle through sweat and tears for the right to be able to stand beneath those stars and stripes and call the land of the free their land and the home of the brave their home. That privilege—the privilege that millions around the world dream of—is something that Americans have from the moment they are born. The freedoms, guaranteed by the millions who have sacrificed themselves, are a birthright. The right for Kaepernick to play football, let alone protest through it, was secured for him by the men and women who believed that the ideals of America was something worth fighting for—something worth dying for. Those sacrifices are enshrined in the words of the national anthem. Francis Scott Key stood on the ramparts of a prison ship as he watched his countrymen fight for the hopes of the future—a future where being an American was something to be proud of. It does not matter whether someone loves or hates what America stands for, because what America stands for is why

At least the football players’ protest has not put anyone in imminent danger, unlike the actions of some unethical policemen who have murdered innocent people because of their personal prejudice. The fact that some law enforcement officers have maliciously killed American citizens is more of a degradation to the country than kneeling for the pledge will ever be. Oppression is an ongoing struggle, and Americans should not stand by the injustices committed toward their fellow citizens. Rather than criticizing those who participate in the protest, the country needs to recognize the issue at hand. Seeing that another African American was killed by a police officer should not become commonplace; murder cannot be ignored any longer. Athletes should continue kneeling because their actions have an effect on the country. If they can provoke Trump enough to generate a number of tweets, they will eventually stimulate change in America concerning oppression of minorities and police brutality. Taking a knee may be recognized as a betrayal to the U.S. currently, but the impact that the protest will make on the country is nothing short of patriotic. Editorial by Carly Novell

Kneeling is a flawed protest that needs to go

they are allowed to love or hate America. The freedom of speech and the freedom to protest are an integral part of the ideals of this nation, and that right to protest has been used again and again over the course of U.S. history; on so many occasions, it has proven to be a force for good. So in protesting the national anthem, the football players are in many ways protesting their right to protest. What Kaepernick and those who have followed his example are trying to achieve is a testament to the forward-thinking mentality that has propelled the United States to the forefront of the world's superpowers. Unfortunately, the only thing that their current method is going to achieve is further isolating segments of the population from their goals, effectively creating the opposite reaction they were trying to achieve. In light of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School players’ decision to stand during the national anthem over the course of the season, a debate has arisen over what administration should have done had players decided to take a knee. There are a couple reasons as to why the school would have had a legitimate backing to ban students from taking a knee. The first reason is the fact that the students are exactly that: students. Schools

go out of their way to prevent any actions taken by the students that will create an outcry by the parents or members of the community—a certainty should students kneel. Therefore, the school has the authority to infringe on the rights of students if, by kneeling, they created a significant disruption. While the students right to protest is protected, documented in the Tinker v. Des Moines Supreme Court case in 1969, the reaction of parents and fans towards the actions could be substantial enough to justify administrative intervention. Secondly, the political environment surrounding the protest has caused the meaning of protest to be lost. No matter what the purpose of a student's decision to kneel might be, the message that will come across is only a political one. Therefore, if a student wishes to protest racial injustice, then protesting the national anthem will prove fruitless. There are countless ways to defend or promote your beliefs, but insulting a symbol of the right to be able to protest is not only ineffective, but also a surefire way to create opposition to whatever belief is being focused on. The best way for NFL players to heal this divided country is to stop kneeling and start standing up for their rights. Editorial by Lewis Mizen


41% 59% 590+ 410

black 18% 820 82% 180+ Players are doing the wrong thing

Players are doing the right thing

Source: CNN

87+T 72+T 87%

of Republicans believe players are doing the wrong thing

Source: CNN


of Democrats believe players are doing the wrong thing

More than 200 players

from 16 different teams refused to participate in the National Anthem Source: Associated Press

6 out of 10 Americans say Trump did the wrong thing by criticizing players

Source: CNN

Editorial • Kneeling 33

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born to run M

any believe that to avoid getting lost in the shuffle at a heavily-populated school, students need to become as involved as possible. Any student that seeks proof of this theory needs to look no further than junior Alyssa Fletcher. Fletcher juggles an extraordinary amount of activities. As the captain of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s

women’s cross country team, as well as a member of the lacrosse team, various clubs, Advanced Placement classes, DECA and other extracurricular activities, Fletcher has learned the importance of time management and has still found a way to achieve success in each of her activities. “Once I entered high school, I knew I would have a lot on my plate. Whether

Running the Show. Junior Alyssa Fletcher participiates in cross country district meet at Tradewinds Park. Courtesy of Alyssa Fletcher

it is school, after school clubs and honor societies, volunteering or sports, I make sure to put 110 percent effort into everything I do,” Fletcher said. “All of the success that I have achieved is only possible because I have learned to manage my time and stay organized.” At a district meet at Tradewinds Park on Oct. 24, Fletcher found herself running alongside a rival from Coral Springs High School. As the runners entered the final stretch, Fletcher pulled away, winning the race by a wide margin. “I can picture that day perfectly in my mind,” Fletcher said. “I was neck-andneck with a girl from another school, but mentally I was able to push myself to pass her.” This gave her a boost in self confidence that she used as motivation. “I learned a lot about myself in that I should never give up on a goal, rather push further because I know I can personally do it,” Fletcher said. Fletcher’s win surprised her, but her cross country career has been full of surprises. “I started cross country during freshman year with no experience at all. I originally joined the team because I thought it would be good training for lacrosse, but it quickly became a sport that I participated in for the pure love of it,” Fletcher said. “The people on the team are all nice and supportive, which made me feel like I was a part of something much bigger than myself, and I am so happy to be the captain of this amazing team.” Fletcher built off of her success at districts with another dominating

msd strikes back


n Oct. 25, juniors Hannah Carbocci and Ashley Paris secured their positions in the Florida High School State Bowling Championships. Although both the men’s and women’s bowling teams fell just short of state competition, Carbocci’s and Paris’ strong performances at districts led to their admittance into the qualifying individual bracket. Their qualifications speak to their talent and high pin scores throughout the season. Averaging 175 and 164 pins per game respectively, Carbocci and Paris greatly contributed to the success of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School women’s bowling team with their 9-3 record. The team’s only losses during the 2017-2018 season were to J.P. Taravella High School and Coral Springs Charter School, the winners at the district competition. Carbocci and Paris were among the star players of the team given their high average scores during the season and at Districts. Over three games, Carbocci totaled 588 pins, and Paris bowled a total of 510 pins.

Representing MSD at the Boardwalk Bowl on Nov. 1, Carbocci and Paris bowled their way to the top 5 percent in the state in the individual qualifiers. Paris in particular had an especially strong showing with 690 pins over five games, placing her among the top 50 bowlers in the state. Despite their efforts, their scores were not enough to advance past qualifying. Nonetheless, simply making it to states is a feat that only MSD student Carbocci herself has accomplished before—last year. Although the competition in Orlando may have been cut short, their teammates are still proud of all they have achieved. “I am so proud of Hannah and Ashley for making it to states. They really competed and gave it their all, so I feel that they represented MSD well,” junior and teammate Lauren Faulds said. “Although we may have not gotten the result we wanted, we’ll come back stronger next year as a team,” MSD has had a bowling team for only three years, but they have sent players to States for the past two years. Carbocci,

Paris and the team are focused on returning to States again in the upcoming 2018-2019 season. Learning from both the struggles and triumphs from this year, the team hopes to achieve their goal of making it further in competition than ever before in school history. “We are preparing for the future season by practicing as hard as we can. We bowl in all leagues and come to compete. Next season we are going to make it to States as a team,” Carbocci said. Amelia Pena, MSD’s registrar and women’s tennis coach, and her husband, Orlando Pena, took up the role as bowling coaches just this year and see a strong future for the team. “This was Coach P and my first year as bowling coaches, and we saw great improvement in the team,” Pena said. “Hannah Carbocci is an excellent bowler and will lead the team next year… As for Ashley Paris, she is really improving her game and will be an excellent asset to the team next year.” With both their experienced players and coaching staff returning for next year, the women’s bowling team plans to

Design by Ryan LoFurno

Junior Alyssa Fletcher qualifies for state cross country competition

performance at Regionals, where the team had a chance to qualify for states, for which only the top 15 individuals and six teams qualify. “The girls’ team was not ranked to be able to make it, and I personally was not ranked to individually qualify,” Fletcher said. “After Districts though, I knew that there was so much more inside of me to exert, and I used it for this race.” Fletcher used her newfound confidence in her abilities to succeed at regionals, where she achieved the best time of her career. “I ended up placing sixth overall and getting a personal best time of 20:03,” Fletcher said. “I was so happy to have qualified for states, and I was even happier that the girls’ team tied for third place as well.” Through all this pressure, Fletcher has not been fazed and has laid the blueprint for students who want to become as involved as possible while still enjoying their daily lives. “It is important though to make sure to enjoy everything you do, which I do. Everything I participate in is because I am passionate about it, and I want to make a difference in that particular team or club,” Fletcher said. “Everything takes time, whether it is the difference of a few seconds in a race or planning out the future week. But to live a healthy lifestyle and have time for family and friends, one must have the skill of balancing.” Fletcher plans to pursue a business degree after high school, but has not yet decided on which school she wants to attend. Story by Daniel Pirtle

MSD women’s bowling team returns to state bowling competition

Rock and Bowl. Hannah Carbocci (11) and Ashley Paris (11) represent MSD at the Boardwalk Bowl on Nov 1. Courtesy of Amelia Pena come back stronger than ever, with their sights set on States once again. Story by Richard Doan

Sports • Alyssa Fletcher and Bowling 35


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