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Read more on pages 8 & 9 about the rise of teenage marijuana use and the misconceptions surrounding the recreational drug.

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EDITORIAL Marijuana usage has been a growing factor in teenagers’ lives and, to many, it seems to be getting out of hand. Ultimately, the problems with marijuana differ from those associated with tobacco. It is not seen as physically addictive, but it can often become mentally addictive, which can result in emotional and financial issues. Sure, marijuana is not as physically harmful as tobacco, but responses to the drug vary wildly. Marijuana can cause an enjoyable high, but can also result in paranoia or overly impulsive behaviors. Safe marijuana use is all about moderation, something teenagers are not typically the best at. Support for the legalization of marijuana is on the rise, with eight states allowing recreational use. Even when marijuana was illegal in all 50 states, it didn’t stop people from getting their hands on it. However, according to PBS Newshour, a survey performed by the federal government shows that “the average potency of pot has more than tripled in the past two decades,” and that trend is continuing. As marijuana becomes more potent and more readily accessible, safe usage becomes even more important. If marijuana were to be legalized in a state, there should be commercials and public service announcements implemented to raise awareness of the effects, dangers, and consequences of irresponsible marijuana use. They should be similar to


Managing Editors

Hailey Bullis Morgan Ocetnik

existing media campaigns promoting awareness of the use of cigarettes or alcohol to at least show the potential problems with the drug, so that the public is well informed. Although everyone is responsible for their own actions and decisions, it is still important that officials make the public, and especially teenagers with developing brains, aware of the disadvantages of marijuana, since habitual behavior can develop quickly. The thing is that teenagers are smarter than some give them credit for. If you tell them that marijuana is made of razor blades and snake venom and that using it once will make their heads explode, they’ll use it once, realize you were lying, and assume you’re also lying about all the long-term negative effects (as well as, potentially, those of other drugs). It’s important to provide teenagers with information that isn’t just exaggerated fear-mongering nonsense, but is instead accurate fact. Otherwise, teenagers will assume marijuana has no negative effects whatsoever, or, perhaps, that heroin and crystal meth are perfectly okay. Whether or not this drug ever becomes legalized in the state of Virginia, the decision to use marijuana is not one to be taken lightly and, as with any choice in life, people should be informed of the possible consequences of their actions.

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Trisha Strahl The Viewpoint is a cross-section of the news and opinions of the student body of Mountain View High School. It is a forum of expression published by aPrintis. Letters to the editorial board are welcome and should be submitted to rooms 303 or 311.

Staff Writers

Jenny Bullers, Nicholas Chechak, Charlotte Hazard, Damien Veal, Austin Venable, Adam Skoloda, Sophie Perez

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Jenny Bullers

by Jenny Bullers

The up and coming Pingpong Club has ascended the Mountain View chain of popularity, drawing a lot of attention to this underrated sport. The club was started seven years ago by Zack Ranberger, a former student of Mountain View. Initially, it was not popular. Senior Pingpong Club captain, Connor Walls said, “The thing about Pingpong Club is that it didn’t really get big until this year. Forever ago it was just about five guys slapping the ping pong ball back and forth, but this year it prospered; it blossomed.” Club supervisors Megan Taylor and Brian Eanes watch over the Pingpong Club practices every Wednesday after school. Pingpong Club was well advertised on the announcements during school which led to 40 students attending tryouts. “So many students showed up that we had to cut kids and even make a JV and varsity team,” said Walls. A predicament arose when a fire marshall attempted to cut the program, claiming the tables underneath the stairs were a fire hazard. As a result, they cut the JV team completely leaving only the chosen varsity players. This was not in the game plan for the Pingpong Club, but in order to not have the entire program cut, they did what needed to be done. Now, the club only has one table under the staircase rather than three.

A common practice consists of students coming to Taylor’s room, half of them hitting pingpong balls against the wall to warm-up and the other half getting the games going so that they can play each other. “The club’s ultimate goal is to be able to play against North Stafford High School because they have a Pingpong Club as well,” said Walls. “I see it [Pingpong Club] as a great way for people to play a sport that is good for the mind, body, and soul. It helps with getting active in the community and school activities,” said junior Caleb Stuart. The students in the club agree that it is a good experience that they have definitely benefited from. “Pingpong Club has ultimately shifted my life into a whole new level where I can only become the best person I can be. It has changed my life; I get to go out with the boys and ping the pong,” said Walls. This club has brought students of Mountain View together in a fun and active way. However, there is a lot of competition that takes place behind the scenes as well, which keeps things interesting and improves the players’ ability to deal with pressure and sportsmanship, just like any other sport would.

Front Cover Sydney Morgan

2014-2016 Virginia High School League State Championship First Place Award Winner 2013, 2014, 2015 Free Lance-Star Best Over All Newspaper 2011 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist 2011, 2010 and 2009 Virginia High School League First Place Award Winner

Mountain View High School 2135 Mountain View Rd. Stafford, VA 22556

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November at Mountain View Band Together to Fight Hunger by Charlotte Hazard

Charlotte Hazard

On November 7, all five high school bands in Stafford County gathered at Mountain View to hold a band event to help families in need. Admission was one canned food item and the desire to hear amazing music. This event was coordinated by Karen Bingham, a Mountain View band parent and principal of Rock Hill Elementary School. “We start each year in August with a county level team. There’s a band parent from each school that’s part of our team. Then we work with the directors and students to create this community service project. We write grants to our local businesses to solicit donations for the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank,” said Bingham. The performance schedule was North Stafford’s “Contrast,” Brook Point’s “Sound of Simon,” Mountain View’s “We Can, We Will, We Must” (in memory of the attack on Pearl Harbor), Stafford’s “Myths of Mount Olympus,” and Forge’s “For Your Eyes, For Your Ears Only.” This event was sponsored by many local businesses such as Pancho Villa and Chic-Fil-A. Because of their donations and the canned good contributions, 20,807 meals went to the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank, which will help many families to have happy, healthy holidays.

25 Years of Service by Nicholas Chechak

Jay Cooke

Making Music by Adam Skoloda

At its School Board meeting on November 9, 2016, Stafford County Public Schools recognized Mountain View’s own Thomas Clark, Mark Hughes, and Todd Welker, along with several other Stafford County Public Schools employees, for their loyal dedication to Stafford County’s public school system. Each was awarded a Service Pin signifying 25 years of service to Stafford County Public Schools in a ceremony that honored employees who had remained in the institution’s employment for anywhere from 25 to 50 years. Sherrie Johnson, the Stafford County Public Schools Director of Strategic Communication and Community Engagement, presented the awards. She addressed the recipients: “Tonight, we say ‘thank you’ for all that you have accomplished and all that you will continue to accomplish in the future.” Among the most distinguished recipients were Betty Fitzhugh of Garrisonville Elementary School and James Andrews of Stafford High School, honored for 45 years of service and 50 years of service, respectively.


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Hailey Bullis

The Mountain View Fine Arts Department had their combined concert on Tuesday, November 1. Musical directors for the night were chorus director Bonita Keene, band director Gene Welch, and orchestra director Tom McDonald. The wind ensemble performed first, playing pieces of varying tempo and style. They played songs such as “Galop,” “Ave Maria,” and “Havendance.” The instrumentation sounded perfect in terms of blend and balance within the band. The Madrigals’ part of the concert included songs called “Wanting Memories,” “Golden Slumbers,” “Beyond this Day,“ and “Jenny Kiss’d Me.” The Madrigals were closer to the audience, standing on risers directly in front of the first row of seats, which helped to both draw in the audience and project their beautiful voices for the whole auditorium to hear. Chamber Sinfonia performed pieces such as “Game of Thrones,” “October,” and “Funeral March of the Marionette.” The song selection was varied well and the audience was captivated by the resounding chords. During the finale, the groups performed three pieces together: “The Navy Hymn,” “March to the Scaffold” (from “Symphony Fantastique”), and the MVHS Alma Mater. “It was very impressive. My favorite part was when all three played together,” said Kristy Bell, a parent of one of the orchestra members. The fall concert was a success, attended by many, all of whom were greatly moved by the music.


Mainstream Media is a human resource that introduces current events to society. As such, they should be upholding high integrity and carrying out the essential responsibilities of a journalist by Morgan Ocetnik, artwork by Karli Beaumont Mainstream media should maintain greater integrity than any other source; recently it seems that some journalists have overlooked that. Mainstream media and social media should have a thick line drawn to separate their coverage and definition. Mainstream media is mass media that influences a large number of people. It reflects and shapes public thought. Journalists have a powerful responsibility to report the facts in magazines and newspapers and on television. Such news sources are the most relevant and eye-catching and society relies on them to stay informed on daily activities in the country and around the world. The difference between these trustworthy sources and toxic social media is an integrity that must be upheld. Social media is an opinionated and dangerous medium for communicating unreliable information, often through uneducated people “reporting” their thoughts. Although many journalists and important figures are accustomed to social media and still choose to cover true stories, the dependability of mainstream media as a whole is not up to par. According to the New York Times, in the spring of 2016, data was collected differentiating the purchased versus free media for the presidential election. There was a comparison of future candidate’s expenses: buying publicity for themselves versus earning it freely from the press. Donald Trump was seventh out of seventeen future candidates for the amount of money spent on publicity. Trump spent 10 million dollars on media and received a hefty two billion dollars worth of free media attention. In contrast, Hillary Clinton spent 28 million dollars on publicity and received 746 million dollars freely, Bernie Sanders spent 28 million dollars on publicity and received 321 million dollars freely, and Ted Cruz spent 22 million dollars on publicity, receiving 313 million dollars freely. This is an irresponsible amount of free publicity given. Because mainstream media reflects public sentiment, what would happened if an equal amount of free publicity was given to every candidate? Would the result change? Although the exorbitant amounts of free publicity awarded by mainstream media to Trump do not necessarily indicate favor, he received

publicity on every media platform, from television to Twitter. Paul Senatori, mediaQuant’s chief analytics officer, says that Mr. Trump “has no weakness in any of the media segments.” Another case of mainstream media irresponsibility occurred during the report of the U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte this past summer. ABC News reported that Ryan Lochte had claimed that he was held up a gunpoint at a Rio gas station at night. Later, he announced that he was still intoxicated when he gave his report and thus made a false accusation. “I was still going through the emotions of having a gun pulled at me,” Lochte said. “I’m human. I made a mistake, and that’s something that I’m going to have to live with.” The mainstream media reported the story before having all the facts, reporting that Lochte was robbed at gunpoint. They later back-pedalled, and anyone that covered the false story was forced to take it down when they found out that he was drunk and vandalized a bathroom. This is yet another example of the important duty that journalists face when announcing a story to the whole word. According to Huffpost, John Oliver stated,“The most important thing in a functional society is a well-informed public. What we have now is not only uninformed but misinformed masses.” The media immediately believed the situation, without further investigation or testimonies. This not only negatively impacted their reputation, but also distributed incorrect information to the public. It’s critical that journalists remain unbiased. They are accountable for breaking every story, every piece of news, to the world. . Their job isn’t to be prejudiced in favor of or against one thing, person, or group. The power they hold to influence public thought is incredibly important. Many journalists work really hard to cover their task sufficiently, staying unbiased, but some reporting is just deficient. Whether false information or unnecessary reports end up being given, journalists’ dedication to reporting the factual truth is becoming increasingly pivotal and a standard that should not waver. opinion q november 2016 q the viewpoint q 5


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Republican nominee Donald Trump wins the presidency of the United States. Coming with him are new ideas and a lot of changes. by Charlotte Hazard

Most people know Donald Trump’s campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again;” this is what he plans to do within his first 100 days of presidency. Trump’s plans include canceling federal funding to sanctuary cities, repealing the Illegal Immigration Act, restoring the National Security Act, and proposing a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. Freshman Marcos Gonzalez said, “I don’t agree with his policies and I don’t like his arrogance, but I feel like he can bring our country back together.” Trump’s website explained issues he sees within the military, including improper veteran health care. According to Trump, restoring the National Security Act will grant veterans the option to receive care at either a Veterans Affairs facility or a private practice. Trump claims that this restoration will end the current defense sequester and will invest more in the military. In a plan released in September, Trump promised to strengthen the Army with 540,000 active participants, add 13 battalions to the Marine Corps, increase the number of naval vessels to 350, and increase the number of aircrafts in the Air Force. According to a survey done by Military Times, 54 percent of 951 active duty troops said they would vote for Trump, 21 percent said they wouldn’t vote, and 25 percent said they would vote for Clinton. Another focal point is sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities are American cities that have policies protecting illegal immigrants from federal immigration laws. There are hundreds of these cities in the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Austin. Trump said he plans to cancel federal funds for these sanctuary cities. According to the City Comptroller of San Francisco, Ben Rosenfield, if Trump follows through with this, San Francisco, which receives $478 million annually from the federal government, will take a hard hit financially. In addition, Trump said he believes in reducing taxes for middle class Americans through what he calls the Trump Plan.

According to Trump, his plan will ensure that the rich pay their fair share, while no one pays so much that it destroys their income. Other factors of the Trump Plan include increasing the standard deduction for joint filers, repealing the death tax, holding capital gains until death, lowering business taxes, and enacting spending rebates for childcare. The Trump Plan also states that the 3.8 percent Obamacare tax on investment will be repealed, as well as the alternative minimum tax. With a new president in office, changes are bound to occur. No one knows for sure about all the changes or what is going to happen. Some people are pleased with the results of the election, while others aren’t. Senior Mackenzie Cunningham said, “I felt like I knew he was going to win, but I was surprised in a way that he did.” People weren’t just sticking to their political parties for this election either. Some Republicans voted for Clinton because they disliked Trump, while some Democrats voted for Trump because they disliked Clinton. Some people didn’t like either of them at all and either didn’t vote or didn’t care. Junior Joseph Poe said, “I didn’t care who won because I didn’t really like either of them, so I didn’t care.” However, some are outraged about the election outcome. This is evidenced by the riots occurring in cities around the country, namely Chicago and New York. Students at Cornell University and the University of Michigan had a “cry in” as a result. Trey Boynton, the director of multi-ethnic student affairs at the University of Michigan said, “People are frustrated, people are just really sad and shocked. A lot of people are feeling like there has been a loss. We talked about grief and about the loss of hope that this election would solidify the progress that was being made.” Despite how people feel, on January 20, America will have a new president and in the months that follow, we’ll all learn his definition of “making America great again.”

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ne o e om s mar 63% s g rug n in a survey of 220 ijua of i s e d w r o al p na stud n k students r n e i o s d e i e e p t n e t rea mar ts d g a r e s o v y p i c b ijua u e e e e r t c r r l d o e 1% uses ey r se a obt ieve ciga na us 8 ain rett e ex th to u o h d i w % sa ure e us ceed 33% s e s 38 using repor marij ted to uana ever 65% belie shou ve ma ld b rijua e le n gal a

While fewer teens are smoking cigarettes, more and more are using marijuana by Hailey Bullis

art by Madylen Descutner


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To many teenagers, using recreational substances is not unheard of. Experimentation with drugs has almost become a stereotypical experience of many teens, with the assumption that teens are expected to be partaking. Contrary to this belief, an anonymous survey of 225 students ranging from freshmen to seniors, only 33 percent reported ever using marijuana. However, when asked if they know anyone who uses recreational drugs, 81% of students responded “yes.” Marijuana usage has become a topic of debate in America in the last few years as more and more states legalize its use. On election night, Massachusetts, California, and Nevada approved the use of marijuana for recreational use, joining four other states and D.C. in legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults. Sixty-eight percent of students said the use of marijuana should be legalized for recreational use. The use of marijuana among teenagers has been on the rise in the last couple of years, surpassing even the use of cigarettes by .5 percent in 2015 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In the survey, 68 students claimed to have begun using marijuana at age 15 or younger. Thirteen students claimed to have started using recreational drugs when they were 16-18 years old. But the important question to ask is: Why is marijuana usage on the rise? Among the 225 students surveyed, 28 percent said it was okay for minors to use marijuana or other recreational drugs. When asked why, one student said anonymously, “It doesn’t do as much damage to your body as tobacco does.” While another student wrote, “It’s not as harmful as other drugs.” The common belief among teens is that marijuana does not cause the same amount of long-term damage as cigarettes do. This belief, as it turns out, could prove to be more damaging. Regular use of marijuana could cause negative effects on a developing brain, such as a drop in IQ of up to eight points according to the Teen Rehab Center. In terms of addiction, while marijuana doesn’t have tobacco in it, 13% of people can still become dependent on the substance if used regularly. In the same study, it was found that those who use marijuana are 65 percent more likely to get into a car accident than those who don’t. Another culprit of the “rise of marijuana” could be the accessibility teens have to get the drug itself; 63% of the students surveyed said

they believed getting a hold of marijuana was easy. And with the burst of technology that teenagers have at their fingertips today, it’s not surprising that many feel this way; it is now easier than ever to make connections with people who have possession of the substance. Senior Sydney Morgan, however, attributes the rise to curiosity; “I think they’re just curious. I’ve never used it, but I don’t know. I think a lot of them are curious and they want to experiment and explore things.” It’s important to remember, however, that while marijuana may be easy to obtain, there are still consequences to being caught with marijuana. It is important to note that the legal consequences to being caught with marijuana is the same for a teen as an adult. According to Deputy Ronald Richmond, a judge can be more lenient with the punishment for a minor as “these are your years of learning,” said Richmond. The possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of $250 and a juvenile may be required to take a drug awareness/drug prevention course. Richmond said, “Now juveniles vs. adults is that the judge can look at you and give what is called 1st offender status. Meaning that this is the first time you got caught with it, and you got in trouble and he has the latitude to say ‘Okay I’m going to give you a chance on this and make it not a part of your personal record’ or depending on the circumstances on how you got caught or what you were caught with doing then you could be punished severly like an adult.” It may be due to these consequences that 65% of the 225 students believe that the use of marijuana should be legalized in Virginia. One of the 144 students who said it should be legal said, “Marijuana can only become dangerous if you become dependent on it. I do not think anyone should use recreational drugs other than marijuana.” While many of the 76 students who did not think it should be legal stated that use of the drug is illegal for a reason. “I think more and more teenagers are getting involved because of curiosity number one and number two they see see all these different states that are making it legal so they believe it should be legal here in the Commonwealth of Virginia but our laws are different,” said Richmond. No matter the cause of the rise of marijuana use, it’s important to be correctly informed on the harm it can do to one’s body and life.

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“People have stereotyped me as a typical mexican saying I am going to be deported even though I’m American and I [would have] voted for Trump.” - Joe Poe, junior

“People have said that because I’m blonde, I’m dumb, and it made me feel like I wanted to prove them wrong because I didn’t think the stereotype they gave me was true or fair.” - Ryley Margheim, sophomore


stereotype “People assume that I like chicken, watermelon, and kool-aid just because I’m black.” - Tyler Haskins, sophomore

Have you ever stereotyped someone based on their race/ ethnicity/social group/appearance/ etc?

yeS-213% no-61% *survey of 274 students

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I ain’t got

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Everyone has the right of freedom of speech; it’s one of the greatest rights that Americans have, but at what point do people’s words and freedom of speech cross the line? by Lexi Strawder and Abbey Whitehead Stereotyping has been an issue for many years; it is seen all over social media, in school hallways, even out in the real world. People are calling other people out and making incorrect assumptions based on skin color, beliefs, social groups, and physical appearance by saying things such as “all teenage white girls like pumpkin spice lattes” or “all Asian teens are good at math”. In fact, stereotyping has become a nasty habit that many people are all too accustomed to in our society. Seventy-seven percent of students said that they have been stereotyped based on their race, ethnicity, social group, or physical appearance, while 59 percent of students said they have stereotyped someone. A majority of students have stereotyped someone at least once, regardless of whether the student knows him/her or not. Of those who have been stereotyped, 54 percent thought that the stereotype they were given was unfair. If stereotypes are thought to be unfair, then why do people continue to do it? Sophomore Tyler Haskins said, “I think people stereotype because people assume things and categorize them, even if they don’t know them based on the way they look, act, or where they come from.” According to Saul McLeod, writer of “Simply Psychology,” “The use of stereotypes is a major way in which we simplify our social world, since they reduce the amount of processing (i.e. thinking) we have to do when we meet a new person.” This oversimplification results in blanket statements that do not hold true for everyone who classifies themselves as part of a certain grouping. Stereotyping has recently become increasingly evident in today’s society, especially during the presidential election. On both sides, people are using the presidential election as an excuse to stereotype based on who they voted for. Junior Joe Poe said, “I get stereotyped as a typical Mexican like I’m going to be deported even though I’m an American citizen and I [would have] voted for Trump.” Everyone has their own story and background, so assumptions are typically unfounded and cause damage--mentally and emotionally. Instead of stereotyping one another, the focus should be on being more self-aware through personal conscientiousness in both thoughts and speech.

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p a c e r s t r Fal l spo An overview of this season’s varsity sports and athletic achievements by Paige Doerfler

The athletics department really outdid itself this season with the incredible performances of many varsity teams. The cross country team traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, specifically Fort McHenry, as well as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, competing in multiple meets. Junior Henrik Anderson ended up going to states, but did not place. The cheer team was the state runner-up, finishing the season strong. The field hockey team members were 5A regional and state champions, winning against Stafford High both times (2-1), astounding everyone. As fall sports come to an end and awards are determined, the expectation for winter sports rise as we hope for the same success this next season.

Personal awards (as of November 15, 2016) 1st Team All Conference Henrik Anderson (Cross Country) Lily Bryngelson (Field Hockey) Madison Hatcher (Field Hockey) Madi Hyatt (Field Hockey) Tiaralyn McBride (Volleyball) Sarah Stahl (Volleyball) Paul Sepulveda (Cross Country) Hannah Shero (Cross Country) Timmy Sharp (Cross Country) Nathalie Tortolero (Field Hockey) Connor Weed (Cross Country) Tyler West (Cross Country) Rachael Westerman (Cross Country) Yazzie White (Field Hockey)

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2nd Team All Conference Riley Burzynski (Field Hockey) Samara Hughes (Field Hockey 1st Team All Region Henrik Anderson (Cross Country) All Area Tiaralyn McBride (Volleyball) Sarah Stahl (Volleyball) Honorable Mentions Jesse Boles (Volleyball) Erin Davis (Volleyball) Simone Levendosky (Volleyball)


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limits of language Other countries are making knowledge of other languages among high school students a bigger priority than the United States by Jenny Bullers

American travellers are often stereotyped as the harried, wandering tourists who can only speak English. The fact of the matter is that American students are behind in the language diversification race. The majority of European countries require their students to study multiple languages before they venture into their teenage years. Meanwhile, the US does not have a nationwide foreign language mandate at any level of education. However, many states allow individual school districts to set language requirements for high school graduation. In Virginia, if a student is looking to get a Standard Diploma for their high school graduation, the foreign language requirement is two credits which was set in 2011. However, students looking to achieve an Advanced Diploma require three credits from one foreign language class advancing over three years or two years of two different languages over a course of four years. This is hardly a real incentive for students to learn a language considering a large portion of students take four years of a foreign language course with close to no language fluency. I may be constructing a barrier and boxing in the potential of American high school students, but this has been my experience and the experience of many of my peers. The fact of the matter is that taking these foreign language classes seems like just another means to an end, being able to graduate with an acceptable diploma. Moreover, students are just getting through the course without a real grasp on the subject or the development of a passion. Sure, this is not the description of everyone’s encounter with learning foreign languages in school, but acknowledging the fact that the American education system has not stressed the importance of foreign language enough is essential. Starting this learning process at a younger age along with more rigor increases a person’s likelihood of retaining the information. The idea is that the knowledge and mastering of more than one language creates a less limited world meaning the blending of peoples is more abundant, and in my eyes that is a beautiful thing. If a person is well-versed in multiple languages, they are able to break down these walls built between cultures from the language differences.

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” -Ludwig Wittgestein A mere 25% of American adults report speaking a language other than English, according to the 2006 General Social Survey. Of those who know a second language, 43% said they can speak that language “very well.” Within this subgroup of multilinguals who are skilled in a non-English language, 89% acquired these skills in the childhood home, compared with 7% using school courses as their primary environment for language acquirement. The statistics show mathematical proof that we are lagging behind in the foreign language department and venture away from the accusations being “just talk”. Furthermore, your language (native or acquired) shows a great deal of who you are, where you come from, and where you plan on going. If the American education system stresses the learning of more languages adequately, our horizons will be broadened, bringing cultures closer together.

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S From speeding to drinking to staying out all night, reckless behavior is often thought to go hand-in-hand with being young. Author Jon Krakauer said, “Danger has always held a certain allure. That, in large part, is why so many teenagers drive too fast and drink too much and take too many drugs, why it has always been so easy for nations to recruit young men to go to war. It can be argued that youthful derring-do is in fact evolutionarily adaptive, a behavior encoded in our genes.” According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, more than 16,000 young people die each year in the U.S. from unintentional injuries. People do things all the time that are immature and reckless, but for the most part, risky decision making is associated with teenagers. Teenagers hear adults and elders talking all the time about how they are reckless and can’t be trusted to be responsible for themselves, and

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many people believe it. Teen stereotypes have resulted in the common belief that all teens are drawn to danger and choose to partake in high-risk behavior. A study by Jay Giedd, a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Mental Health, says that the human brain doesn’t fully develop until at least the mid-twenties. Some believe that teens act recklessly because of this, while others argue that peer pressure is the biggest factor. Clare Johnson, a sophomore at Mountain View, said, “I think adults seeing all teens as reckless is not okay because not all teenagers are like that; there are so many good teens that get overlooked because of the ones that make poor decisions.” The fact of the matter is that while there is plenty of evidence that teens may be more susceptible to poor decisions, leading to risky situations, not all risks are bad. Many people automatically associate the word “risk” with bad things and assume that taking risks results in poor consequences. In reality, there are benefits to taking risks too, such as discovering new opportunities or gaining confidence. So before you judge someone based solely on the fact that they are a teenager, just remember that not everybody is the same. There are so many teenagers that just aren’t drawn to the same dangers that people assume they are.



Teens around the world constantly engage in risky behavior, but what is it about being young that makes you inherently reckless? by Emilee Holmquist 16 q

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The Viewpoint November 2016  

Marijuana, language, and risky behavior are a few topics covered in this issue.