MV Viewer 2022-23 Issue 6

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The Viewer Volume 70 Issue 6 February 27, 2023 Website: Instagram: @mvviewer News 02 Features 04 Good Question 09 Arts & Entertainment 10 Sports 11 TikTok bans Anime club rivalry How can you escape “the bubble?” Denler Art Gallery Fencing Club
Modern Day School Segregation

TikTok bans due to security concerns

In late 2022, U.S. Congress passed a bill banning TikTok from government devices. This stemmed from the growing concern over its current ownership, the Chinese company ByteDance. Following this incident, public universities like Arkansas State, Auburn, Oklahoma, Georgia, Idaho State and Iowa, banned the app from school-owned devices. The University of Wisconsin recently followed suit, restricting TikTok usage on system devices.

For TikTok, security issues on user information collected by the app were the primary concern, as the app could potentially share information with the Chinese government. “Every social media app collects data on its user, but then sharing information to [the] government is where the security issues lie,” said Christopher Hagel, math teacher.

Some call for further action, believing a complete ban is necessary. “If they are gonna ban the app they should do it all together otherwise it defeats the point since you could access it and the app could still collect user information,” said sophomore Verayn Naikwad.

Many of the 80 million monthly active users in the U.S. browse TikTok for entertainment and information, and some even rely on it as a source of expression and income. However, some believe that safety should take precedence. “Any national security issue should be a priority even though it affects a lot of people who not only watch TikTok but use it as a means to express themselves,” said Naikwad.

Even if TikTok is banned in certain networks,

people continue to use it, bringing up concerns over whether people truly care about their privacy and security. “Apps like Snapchat state in their terms that they share user information which is provided by the user to third parties but then people still use it,” added Hagel.

issues, this is gonna make sure people aren’t gonna be scrolling through much and wasting their time, [and] they would be more productive,” said junior Wyatt Mackenthun.

Bans of TikTok have seen major controversy, as they involve balancing privacy concerns and freedom of expression. Currently, the ban only affects government devices and certain schools, but it remains unclear how extensively it will be enforced in the future.

He suggests that security concerns have never stopped users before.

Another issue with a total ban of TikTok is that it restricts a student’s use of the social media platform, potentially violating their First Amendment rights on freedom of expression. “You are still able to access [TikTok], just not in their WiFi which could also place an argument that it is private property,” added Hagel. Hagel believes that the ban is not extensive, and does not affect most people.

Other than security issues, some people feel this ban is for the best as it reduces the amount of time spent on TikTok daily. “Even if [the problem] isn’t security

Restrictions, changes to AP African American Studies

Recently, the College Board launched a new AP curriculum high schoolers can take: AP African American Studies. Through this course, high school students can learn about the four units: Origins of the African Diaspora, Freedom, Enslavement and Resistance, The Practice of Freedom, and Movements and Debates related to African American history. Additionally, the units cover topics such as how Black activists and writers handled racism, the history of Black universities, redlining and Black migration to the U.S.

experience other cultures is through language courses and so I think with [African American Studies], it gives you another opportunity to explore other cultures,” said sophomore Alaina Pundsack. Pundsack explains that it is hard to learn about other cultures at school, but with the African American studies course offered, students at Mounds View are able to learn more about African American culture.

Many Mounds View teachers hold a similar opinion. “I think all ethnic studies and getting them introduced to so many different stories is so important because we live the white cultured life,” said Jenna Claflin, social studies teacher.

Along with the spread of culture, Mounds View students believe it is important for other reasons too. “I think that African American history is also U.S. history and it really shows what happened during that time of enslavement,” said sophomore Elilta Gaim.

where we can make it cover the U.S. History credit, it would have to be an elective,” said Claflin.

This appearance would be received well by many students. “I think that having an AP version is important because there’s an AP version of U.S. History so why shouldn’t there be one for African American History? I think that it is good to add because it can go more indepth if you are interested in the topic,” said sophomore Zoe Saxton. Saxton describes the reason why it is vital to provide this choice to the students at Mounds View.

AP African American Studies is a welcomed course by many Mounds View students and staff. The diverse perspectives offered to the course options offered to students are just some of the reasons offering the course could benefit Mounds View. However, with the precedent set by Florida’s ban, the future remains uncertain.

After the proposal of adding this AP class to the list of courses the College Board will offer, Florida has taken action to ban this course from its high schools. The Florida Department of Education believes that the class will indoctrinate the students into a “political agenda.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis describes this saying “education is about the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of ideology or the advancement of a political agenda.” After the backlash from Florida politicians like DeSantis, the College Board edited the framework of the curriculum making changes such as removing the section on Black Queer Studies and making the topic of Black Lives Matter optional.

Many students at Mounds View disagree with the action those in Florida have taken, citing the benefits of such a class. “I feel like the only time we as teenagers

Maya Betti

Tyler Quattrin

Maya Betti, Tyler Quattrin

Sarafina Dillon

Michael Wang

Maya Gjelhaug

In the future, the AP African American studies course might make an appearance at Mounds View. “So we’ve put in an application here to have the pilot here

in the future and I do think so but the only tough thing is that it won’t be like regular African American History

Sarafina Dillon

Shivam Vashishtha

Michael Wang

Sarafina Dillon, Ariana Eschenbacher, Morghan Larson

Ariana Eschenbacher, Rachel Zou

Maya Gjelhaug, Rachel Zou

Maya Betti

Maya Gjelhaug

Morghan Larson

Khadra Abdulahi, Alexander Bi, David Anton Golridge, Charlotte Krum, Nikhil Kulangaroth, Isabella Kunc, Isabel Li, Gloria Liu, Owen Schwalm, Ahmed Sharara, Gao Zhong Tha, Kia Yang

02 News Monday, February 27, 2023
“I think that African American history is also U.S. history...”
Viewer Staff
Elilta Gaim, ‘25
Mounds View High School • 1900 Lake Valentine Rd. Arden Hills, MN 55112 • • @mvviewer
graphic by Michael Wang
“Any national security issue should be a priority even though it affects a lot of people who not only watch TikTok but use it as a means to express themselves.”
Verayn Naikwad, ‘25
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
“I think all ethnic studies and getting them introduced to so many different stories is so important because we live the white cultured life.”
Jenna Claflin, social studies teacher

BookTok’s worst take: Colleen Hoover

BookTok: a wonderful subculture within the social media platform TikTok dedicated to connecting readers everywhere to their next quick read. Young adult fiction, fantasy and romance novels are at the center of this thriving community. While it is the place to be for various online literature-related discourse, it is responsible for more than just intellectual conversation. Effectively holding the purse strings of many book consumers, BookTok is oftentimes the sole reason a person may or may not purchase a book. For many authors, a positive review on BookTok could get them more exposure than their publisher could ever hope for. Yet, despite its influence and credibility, there are times in which the algorithm picks up on an author that is less than worthy.

A prime example of the unadulterated power a good recommendation can have is most perfectly displayed in the case of Colleen Hoover, the unofficial queen of BookTok and currently the bestselling novelist in the United States. In a matter of a couple months, Hoover was launched from small-town social worker to a #1 New York Times bestselling author. However, her meteoric success, while record-breaking, was not unmarred by controversy — even if some overlook it.

Most recently, Hoover announced a coloring book depicting scenes from her top-selling 2016 novel “It Ends With Us.” The novel, even though categorically a romance novel, is largely about domestic violence. Many voiced their concerns, calling the coloring book “tone-deaf” and claiming it “made light of domestic abuse.”

Hoover, in light of the abundant critical feedback,

released a statement on Instagram announcing she decided to not move forward with the publication of the coloring book. While the statement was quick and showed accountability, it failed to acknowledge that even before this incident, Hoover was capitalizing on the romanticization of abusive relationships.

For many authors, approaching domestic violence in any capacity is difficult. For Hoover, who carries themes of domestic abuse throughout several of her most popular books, it is much less of an approach and much more of a thoughtless stumble. When it comes to her depictions of traumatic events, Hoover oftentimes takes on a “check-list” mentality, cramming topics such as homelessness, infertility, abuse, sexual assault, miscarriage, infidelity and suicidal thoughts into the same novel.

For those who blindly follow BookTok, such a topic range might seem highly profound, invoking the powerful emotions she is so often accredited for. Yet, brushing past the exaggerations, her two-dimensional characters, redundant writing and excessive Hallmark cliches all point to the fact that she uses trauma as a plot device in an attempt to make her writing forcefully emotional instead of well-written.

Young and impressionable readers, who are the core of BookTok, are not only told these scenes are powerfully endearing, but they are romantic. Consistently throughout her writing, Hoover paints her fiction as the utmost moral high-ground, even though such fiction leaves her younger audiences largely vulnerable to misinterpreting topics like consent and healthy relationships.

Importantly, Hoover of all people should understand the importance of an accurate portrayal of domes-

tic violence. In fact, the center of BookTok’s fanatical obsession, “It Ends With Us,” follows an abusive relationship that is supposed to mirror the relationship between her own mother and father. Yet, instead of a thought-provoking and humanistic rendition, her depiction of the relationship between the two main love interests reduces domestic abuse to a lovers’ quarrel and presents a tactless caricature of the realities of abuse.

While the connection Hoover has offered some should not be undermined, and while books like “It Ends With Us” do send an objectively good message, BookTok’s un wavering support of her is egregiously misplaced. Com paring her works to that of Delia Owen or J.K. Rowling is not only misleading, but out-right un justified. If the adoration of her continues, BookTok not only risks poor taste in litera ture, but also jeopardizes young teenagers’ idea of healthy relationships.

Fraud in the name of God: the big megachurch scam

A new method of manipulating the masses has recently grown in popularity: megachurches. Megachurches, which are often defined simply as a church that has an average weekly attendance of 2,000 or more, have been on a steady rise over the past few decades. According to the Hartford Institute for Religious Research, there are over 1,500 megachurches in the United States as of 2018, with roughly 90 of those having a weekly attendance between 10,000 to 44,000 people. As well, on top of their large amounts of attendees, many such churches, such as Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, broadcast their sermons live, thereby accumulating millions upon millions of weekly views. Beyond the glitz and glamor, however, it has become increasingly prevalent that the message they have come to preach no longer revolves around faith, but political what-not and profit.

Needless to say, with such a large reach, pastors like Osteen have direct daily influence on their follower’s lives. Their word, which is akin to God’s for some believers, is how many receive advice involving money, family, health and even who to vote for. And while it is undeniable that politics and religion have intermingled throughout American history, many megachurches seem to erase the lines between church and state. When pastors move from advising their congregations to follow Christian values to foisting their own political beliefs upon impressionable members, the beauty of religion is replaced with personal gain.

Such an issue is best displayed in the relationship between Donald Trump and megachurch leaders. In fact, during the start of Trump’s 2020 campaign, the

first rally was held at King Jesus International Ministry, a prominent megachurch in Miami, with the very vocal support of its church leaders. As his campaign continued, more and more such pastors voiced their support for Trump, thereby continuing to manipulate the faith and trust of their followers into more voting power. Additionally, during the pandemic, megachurches, such as Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee, adamantly preached against topics like vaccination and mask-wearing. “I will ask you to leave. I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church,” said its pastor, Greg Locke, in reference to members entering the church with masks, according to an article in The Lexington Herald-Leader. Not only do these churches risk spreading misinformation and bias philosophy, they

value for the likes of megachurch preachers Osteen, Locke and, most prominently, Oral Roberts. Prosperity theology is especially lucrative for these pastors as it pushes the idea that those who give money to God will be blessed with money themselves, even though oftentimes “God” is their bank account.

Roberts, a televangelist and founder of Oral Roberts University, is often regarded as the largest prophet of prosperity theology. Oftentimes, he is accredited for his unique way of combining capitalism and religion. Roberts was involved in many controversies, such as telling his viewers he needed to raise $4.5 million soon or else God was going to “call him home.” He promptly received over $9 million, and God did not, in fact, call him home. In addition, he used his fundraising to finance his lavish lifestyle, eventually building his net worth to $117 million at the time of his death. In the end, Roberts was nothing more than a scam artist who exploited vulnerable people for his own financial gain and stands as the perfect example of how faith and religion is exploited within megachurches.

ence, running such platforms does with its drawbacks. this, the “prosperity or the philosophy that rewards increases in faith with increases in wealth, has been a

Regardless, the teachings at prominent megachurches, such as Lakewood, take away from the true meaning of Christianity. From their ungodly use of church literature to fund their hyper-capitalistic tendencies, to their incessant need to involve their sermons with religion, some modern-day megachurches have warped the meaning of civil service to feed their own personal gain. Positive public perception, while decreasing, is only supported by their grand acts of service. Once such extravagance is stripped away, the true philosophy of these churches is revealed: profit.

Monday, February 27,
editorials 03
The Viewer Mission Statement 1. To publish news, information and opinion articles for and about student, faculty and administration activities, interests and policies. 2. To maintain high ethical standards with regard to fairness, personal and legal rights, responsibilities and accuracy. 3. To provide a forum for free and responsible expression of student opinion and present well-balanced, locally researched coverage of issues of broader student interest. 4. To strive for a high level of competency in the technical aspect of writing, including grammar, spelling, clarity, and precision. 5. To welcome diversity and increase the scope and depth of our coverage in order to heighten mutual understanding and awareness throughout our entire school community. Articles and letters to the editor appearing on the editorials pages represent solely the opinions of the writers and do not represent in any way the viewpoint of The Viewer, our advertisers, Mounds View High School or its staff. The editors of The Viewer welcome and encourage the publication of all viewpoints.
God wants you to give me your money. *not actually said by Joel Osteen a smooth brain
photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster
courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The rival anime clubs

The Anime Club was created about four months ago by junior Robin Kim and freshman Isabella Shi, who started it on a whim.

troducing others to anime and watching as much as possible. “We wanted to introduce more people to anime. And that’s why what we do in our club isn’t to talk about anime. We watch anime instead,” said Shi.

it’s really–it’s just a good place to hang out.”

Both Kim and Shi believe their posters are superior to the Better Anime Club’s. Although, Shi admits the other club’s posters are creative.

“When [Robin and I] decided to create the club, we figured there wasn’t an anime club yet and we thought there should be one,” said Shi. “[We wanted] to create a fun and healthy community for everyone, and just for more people to discover the wonders of watching anime.”

The club meets every other Friday after school in the orchestra room until about 4 p.m. to watch anime together. “We just wanted to have this place where people who like anime can just come in and like, you know, hang out,” said Kim. The meetings begin with an introduction of the anime the group is going to watch that day, and then Shi streams it from her computer.

Although some may argue that they don’t do much, the leaders plan the meetings around their goal of in-

Anime Club Better Anime Club

After first hearing about the newly cre ated Better Anime Club, Kim was opposed to the idea of a rivaling group. “[We] didn’t really have positive feelings to wards it,” she said. However, gradually she has grown to live with it after realizing the two clubs had different goals and atmospheres.

The Anime Club founders acknowledge that their rival club is conducted differ ently and more social than theirs. Still, they prefer their club being more anime-focused. Although their goal is watching anime, members are still allowed to talk in the background and go to the club to socialize. “Our club is really chill,” said Kim. “Like even if you don’t like anime, you can just join but

Juniors Parker Walton and Ronald Xu have recently started another an ime club at Mounds View: “The Better Anime Club.”

The idea of starting an anime club was always in mind according to Walton and Xu. “Ronny and I had planned to do this for a couple of years now. But then they beat us to it. We couldn’t allow this disrespect,” said Walton.

Be - fore deciding to create the Better Anime Club, Wal - ton did some digging on the original anime club. “Parker also went to the first Anime Club meet ing, and was very disappoint ed with how the meeting went. This further encour aged us to make the Better Anime Club,” explained

In contrast with the original anime club, Better Anime Club participates in more activities. “We’re a lot more hands-on. We do actual activities and we talk about anime. Whereas they just watch an episode and say ‘alright, pack it up guys, let’s go home,’” said Walton. In addition to intense games of anime jeopardy, they also play chess, board games and help each other with homework.

Members of the Better Anime Club have many

“You don’t need to, like, know anything about anime to be in our club.”

With many posters being taken down on both sides, the Anime Club founder feels frustrated by the poster war and thinks it wastes their money. “I just hope that they can stay up there when we put them up and we don’t have to re-put them up every time,” said Shi.

Despite the drama, the Anime Club has no issue coexisting with their rival. “I just want to make it clear that we don’t have any ill-intent against the other club,” said Kim. “It’s just friendly competition.”

positive things to say about it. “It’s pretty fun and you get to talk about your interests,” said junior Echo Zhai. Meeting others with a common interest is another favorite aspect of the club. “The best part about the club is meeting new people and having new experiences,” said junior Case Pedersen.

An aspect of the club rivalry has been meddling with each other’s posters. This has peeved the Better

Anime Club founders. “We’ve had some resistance, we’ve had some rebellious people, but we’re working on it,” said Walton.

While the original anime club has no harmful intent towards their rival, Better Anime Club continues to advance the competition. “In all reality, our content is better, our snacks are better, our team leader, no disrespect to the other team leader, is better,” said junior Fardis Malik. “We got a Better Anime Club in our name for a reason, you won’t see as many members over there,” he said.

Walton explains how the Better Anime Club has a vision to continue advancing. “We’re gonna have more activities, varied activities, bigger prizes. We are going to get better,” he said.

04 features Monday, February 27, 2023
“Anime is pretty popular, but there wasn’t [a club] so we wanted to introduce more people to anime.”
Isabella Shi, ‘26
image courtesy of Robin Kim photo by Isabella Kunc photo by Parker Walton Isabella Shi, ‘26
“It’s pretty fun and you get to talk about your interests.”
Echo Zhai, ‘24
“We’ve had some resistance, we’ve had some rebellious people, but we’re working on it.”
Walton ‘24 grapics courtesy of PNGitem image courtesy of Parker Walton

Wrap it up with CANVAWRAP

CANVAWRAP is a new small business started through the Startup Club, a branch of the Econ Team. They sell handmade eco-friendly products, such as wrapping paper, that are made out of burlap, and make all-natural accessories made from dried fruit.

use and do their part in improving the issue of climate change. Later, freshman Lennox Tan joined. “We want to spread awareness and reduce the amount of plastic waste in our environment by promoting biodegradable and eco-friendly gifting and decorating options,” said Wang.

Ensuring that their products coincide with their purposes was difficult to balance. “Our goal was to try to reduce plastic waste so our products are actually eco-friendly to help with the issue of climate change,” said Sorelle Tan.

When deciding what product to sell, they had a few factors to consider. “How much would people want the product and how much would it cost to make it and that’s how we got it,” explained Lennox Tan.

Despite being recently founded, they have had a successful start. In early December they participated in a competition called Junior Achievement Pitchfest. This pitchfest competition was specifically made for new companies to help jumpstart their business. “We got first place and received $600 in total as seed funding,” said Wang.

The business has partnered with different companies since they’ve started. “We have established partnerships with Dunn Brothers, Spyhouse and Up Roasters to acquire their used burlap bags in which we use to make our products,” said Wang. “We also were able to sell our products to a store called Hummingbird Floral & Gifts.” The products CANVAWRAP is selling are burlap gift wrapping kits, flower wraps and succulents wrapped in burlap.

Their future plans are to partner with other gift and flower stores, such as local Minnesota stores Corazon and La Vie est Belle, to both promote their business and to spread their statement of being eco-friendly. While certainly Wang and Tan have had success with their business, they acknowledge there is more to be done. From introducing new flower wraps and gift tags, to working with local community members, their message of environmental healthiness will continue to be spread.

While they take pride in their eco-friendly products, they have some drawbacks. The costs of ecofriendly products can be higher than its plastic counterpart, and oftentimes don’t last as long. An example of this is the shedding that the burlap products have which creates an unwanted mess. Due to this, the team applies biodegradable modge podge on the burlap products to ensure its durability.

New SRO getting into the flow

There is a new cop walking the beat here at Mounds View High School. Deputy Abi Sachdev transferred from a patrol and apprehension unit to Mounds View, where he is the new school resource officer (SRO).

An SRO, or a police officer who works in a school environment, has many different duties. Sachdev, as Mounds View’s SRO, often helps with traffic congestion, enforcing school safety and assist ing with any other community service duties. “I’m just another resource, I’m in a police aspect, but it’s more so another resource to guide them [students] in the right path,” said Sachdev.

Before his time at Mounds View, Sachdev first started working for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office in 2014 in a patrol unit. In 2017, he then started as an SRO for three elementary schools within the district until returning to his past unit in 2019. After his elementary experience, however, he finds he now sees familiar faces as he walks through Mounds View halls many years later. “I know most of the kiddos attending here. So that makes a huge difference, you know, bridging that gap with them. It’s good,” he said. Sachdev hopes he can grow closer with students through this recon-

work as a patrol officer and an SRO are stark. “I’m used to being out and about in a patrol setting, so I just have to get used to those elements, constantly being out and about in the building,” he said. In place of driving in a patrol area, apprehending suspects and answering calls, he instead patrols the building making sure students get to where they need to go, ensuring the student safety and helping keep the school clean. He also works in his office during the day to finish

reports and work on previous cases.

Sachdev is not sure what he’ll be doing for the sheriff’s office in the future, but plans to stay at Mounds View for now. Although, in the long term, he would like to go back to working in his former unit.

Since joining the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office in 2014 to working with elementary schools in 2017, Sachdev continues to make a positive impression on the students in the district. He wants students to know “that I’m very easy to talk to [and] very easy to approach. If you need anything, just come up and talk to

features 05
Monday, February 27, 2023
photo by Alex Bi
Alex Bi staff reporter
“I know most of the kiddos attending here. So that makes a huge difference, you know, bridging that gap with them.”
Abi Sachdev, SRO
photos courtesy of Selina Wang
“We got first place [in the Junior Achievement Pitchfest competition] and received $600 in total as seed funding.”
Selina Wang, ‘24
“...I’m very easy to talk to [and] very easy to approach. If you need anything, just come up and talk to me.”
Abi Sachdev, SRO
winningCANVAWRAP big at JA Pitch Fest
“We want to spread awareness and reduce the amount of plastic waste in our environment by promoting biodegradable and eco-friendly gifting and decorating options.”
Selina Wang, ‘24

Failures of desegregation

On May 17, 1954, all nine Supreme Court justices ruled in favor of the Brown family and other plaintiffs in one of America’s most important landmark cases, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The ramifications of the decision led to states across America instituting new desegregation initiatives to aid in the integration process.

However, almost 69 years after Brown v. Board of education, racial segregation is still prevalent in schools today. In research conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Education, it was found that in large school districts across America, white-Black segregation between schools has increased by 35% since 1991, and white-Hispanic segregation was also higher in 2020 than in 1991.

Racial segregation persists throughout the Mounds View School District as well. As many have realized, Black and Hispanic students make up a substantially larger portion of Irondale High School’s student body than Mounds View High School’s — a portion around 2.6 times greater than Mounds View’s.

While this segregation is likely not entirely intentional, it still begs the question of how it has been allowed to continue.

After the decision of Brown v. Board of Education, school districts across America were no longer allowed to deny student admittance to their schools based on race. Many districts began implanting new methods of integration. At first, schools simply opened enrollment to students of color; however, districts often depended on Black families to transfer to predominantly white schools.

Although this distinction might not seem problematic, it introduces the first mistake made on the path toward integration in America. “You can’t get the idea that just because kids of color go to white schools [they] are better [off], because that is the thing that’s harmed people of color for a long time,” said Justin Benolkin, social studies teacher. Benolkin explains that because only Black students were bused to predominantly white schools, and not the other way around, true integration was never achieved.

Potential solutions

Coming to recognize and understand the problems at hand are the first steps towards finding solutions. School seg regation and academic disparities between students of differ ent races are not easy issues to fix, but there are options that could assist schools in combating them.

A potential first step to integrating school districts could simply be hiring more teachers of color. “If your ethnicity is represented in the staff, then you feel more comfortable towards them and you have a better attitude and learning and just like you feel more comfortable in your environment,” said junior Brandon Luna-Sanchez.

Employing more teachers of color benefits all students, but especially students of color, according to re search from the Learning Policy Institute. Essentially, teach ers of color improve the academic performance of students of color, including improved reading and math test scores, improved graduation rates and increased college attendance.

This is attributed partially to the fact that teachers of color are less likely to hold strong implicit biases against students of color. For example, Black teachers are less likely than non-Black teachers to interpret Black students’ behav ior as disruptive to the classroom, and are more likely than non-Black teachers to trust Black students’ academic abilities according to research from the Center for American Progress. Schools could work to hire and retain more teachers of color to introduce all students to previously ignored perspectives by incentivizing people of color to enter the teaching field.

To address academic disparities between students of different races and income levels, Minnesota has introduced new initiatives aimed at bridging funding disparities between schools. This policy, known as compensatory funding, is a program that intends to compensate for environmental issues that impact students’ learning. According to the Minnesota House of Representatives Fiscal Analysis Department, 5.2% of Minnesota general education program revenue is for com pensatory funding. The program is one of many attempting to help close achievement gaps in education.

Because of Irondale’s higher percentage of low-income students, Irondale receives more funding than Mounds View, yet some argue that additional funding may be necessary to fully bridge the gap between these schools. “Ultimately, the best approach to bridging the gap between schools with lower and higher achievement levels may depend on a number of factors, including the specific circumstances of each school, the availability of resources, and the effectiveness of current educational policies and practices.” said Kevin Gahona, Irondale Equity Advisor. Essentially, Irondale could benefit from more programs, staff and additional resources that could be provided with increased funding.

To address disparities and segregation between schools in the Mounds View district, Mounds View is committed to bridging achievement gaps between students of color and white students through its 2020 Achievement and Integration Plan. This program seeks to increase the representation of students of color in challenging classes, increase standardized test proficiency among students of color and employ more teachers of color to better represent the demographics of students.

In the past year, Minneapolis has taken great steps towards desegregating its schools by redrawing school zoning lines. Unlike previous integration initiatives, which often bussed children of color to predominantly white schools,

resources among pre-existing schools, providing schools with literacy coaches and funding for extracurricular activities.

However, this did not stop reluctant white parents from taking their children out of the district entirely. Possibly fearful of the low test scores and high crime rates associated with the school, only 15% of new families assigned to North decided to attend, with the others opting for private or suburban schools instead, according to the New York Times.

White parents are not the only ones concerned with the policy — Black parents also worry about the potential gentrification of their previously tight-knit community and some believe that integration should not come before the needs of Black students at the school.

Still, the program has seen optimistic results. North Community’s percentage of white students more than tripled, from 2% to 7%, and is projected to grow to 30% in the long run according to the New York Times. Furthermore, North now offers nine new Advanced Placement courses and a variety of new activities and sports, such as lacrosse and soccer.

The most important thing to understand about school segregation is that there is not one single solution to the issue because there are countless different factors that perpetuate modern-day school segregation. “In fact, the desire or

sole pur-

pose of increasing diversity in the public school system. Similar to charter schools, magnet schools have special curriculums and programs specifically designed to fulfill the integration efforts outlined in the Brown v. Board decision.

However, similar to previous integration efforts, magnet schools were mostly ineffective. In a UCLA study, researchers found that, due to limited funding and aggressive rezoning, many magnet schools found it difficult to maintain their core focus of creating a diverse student population. While some magnet schools did succeed in promoting integration, some only worsened existing divides. Boston University researchers found that in some districts there was a 19% increase in Black students with magnet schools, while in others, there was a 13% decrease in the Black student population. In truth, further research is necessary to fully understand the effectiveness of magnet schools, but it seems clear that these schools only made limited impact, if any, in promoting integration.

A District

Over half a century post-Brown v. Board, significant racial including Mounds View schools. School zoning ordinances split Irondale — and feeder schools — containing a significantly larger and Hispanic students contine to fall behind white students academically spread, we seek to uncover what has perpetuated this racial

segregation] gets ignored for ‘simple’ answers like ‘more funding equals better schools’ or ‘desegregation always means improved learning…’” said Justin Benolkin, social studies teacher.

Designing an integration program that addresses a variety of issues and meets the needs of all students requires a thoughtful, careful approach. True integration cannot be achieved without effort from students, parents and educators of all backgrounds.

MVHigh School
photos courtesy of Mounds View Public Schools

schools segregated after the Brown v. Board decision as it indirectly segregated schools and was, therefore, completely legal. This “de facto” segregation can be seen in school districts across the U.S.

Sometimes, however, district rezoning was used as a tool to promote integration rather than protest it. In the mid-1980s, Mounds View School District was planning to redraw the district lines to integrate the racially and economically divided district. District officials proposed dividing the Mounds ViewIrondale split between north and south rather than the current east-west divide by sending students who lived above Highway 694 to Irondale and those south of it to Mounds View. However, Mounds View High School parents who did not want to send

their children to the lower-ranked Irondale objected to this proposal. Eventually, the county decided to submit to the uproar and keep the current district lines, which partially explains why the Mounds View district remains segregated today.

To counteract the disparities of funding, open enrollment, an increasingly common practice in America, was initiated in schools throughout Minnesota in 1988. Open enrollment allows students to attend schools that are not within their resident district. In other words, in an effort to avoid the prejudice of district rezoning, students can find enrollment in public schools outside their district.

However, although the intentions were there to aid desegregation, open enrollment turned out to be the vassal for the op-

posite. Open enrollment often enabled segregation-increasing actions such as white flight, as white families could move their kids out of urban districts containing a high minority population to wealthier, suburban districts. This includes the Mounds View School District, although not nearly to the extreme of some other districts in America.

With a historical theme of impediments thwarting the goal of integration in school districts all over the country, the key to an equitable education for every student could lay within examining policymakers’ efforts and increased awareness involving such inequalities.


rondale HighSchool

Academic disparities District Divided

racial segregation persists throughout schools across the U.S., split the district into two socioeconomically distinct regions, with larger portion of Black and Hispanic students. Furthermore, Black demically in the Mounds View district and across the U.S. In this racial segregation and discover what can be done about it.

vantages begin as early as preschool. Lower income families — which are often families of color — cannot invest as much money into child development programs. From a young age, these students do not receive the same opportunities to develop skills that will prepare them for success in grade school. This explains why Black, Hispanic and Native American kindergarten students continually rank below white students in their School Readiness, which is a metric that evaluates a child’s personal development, as well as their math, language

had access to more resources and funding. For example, even though some inner-city school districts in Minnesota, such as the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts, actually spend more per student today than suburban districts, they still fall behind in academic achievement.

The disparities between impoverished and wealthy school districts are evident in Minnesota. Seniors Ava Frey and Jessica Tran did a project for their AP Government class in mid-January comparing Wayzata High School, a wealthy, highly ranked school with a minority population of 34.8%, and North Community High School, an inner-city school with 97% minority students. When visiting these places after school, Frey noticed vast differences in their environments.

Frey explained in their project how she noticed North Community had run-down hallways, dirty staircases and ceiling tiles that were popping out. “They didn’t even have a practice room for dance, so a lot of the students were outside in the hall practicing cheer,” Frey said.

On the other hand, she said Wayzata had an extremely modern and spacious facility, with 20 practice rooms for music, dance studios with full-length mirrors and flex spaces similar to Mounds View’s.

These disparities worsen the learning experience of students at impoverished inner city schools. According to research conducted by Professor Richard Ingersoll at the Uni-

versity of Pennsylvania, teacher turnover rates are especially high in urban school districts because of poor working conditions, ineffective school leadership and lacking support from other educators. “As you have smaller and more lower income schools… there’s less incentive to work. If you go to a rundown school, there’s less incentive to learn,” Frey said.

However, even in suburban districts that have access to more resources, such as Mounds View, academic disparities persist between students of different races in the same school. According to ProPublica, a news service that determined miseducation in school districts in the U.S., Black students in the Mounds View District were 2.7 grades behind white students in 2017 based on differences in standardized testing proficiency.

Furthermore, at both Mounds View and Irondale, Black students make up a smaller percentage of advanced classes.

In 2017, 1.2% of all calculus students at Mounds View High School were Black, whereas they made up 3.9% of the total student body, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection. Similarly at Irondale, 4.9% of calculus students were Black, but they made up 18.9% of the student body.

The underrepresentation of Black students in the Mounds View District in advanced classes, and nationwide, could be attributed to differences in early childhood education, as well as income levels and access to opportunities. More specifically, students from low-income families, which are often minorities, do not have as many opportunities to attend academic enrichment programs or receive help from highly-educated parents, which is what often gets wealthy students ahead.

Studies from the National Bureau of Economic Research also finds that Black and Hispanic students are often subjected to the implicit biases of teachers, as they are often less willing to provide help to minority students or refer them to gifted programs and advanced classes.

Besides these disparities, attending segregated schools shields students from having diverse experiences. “You can’t grow as a person, you can’t develop an understanding of what other people go through. I think a lot of issues in society that we have happened because people’s perspective is too narrow on things, and I think we have to open up our eyes to the realities that other people experience,” said Matthew Scardigli, admin intern.

This lack of diversity is prevalent in teaching staff as well, even in integrated schools. When schools were desegregated, black educators were forced to leave their positions. Because of lower pay and workplace discrimination, they still remain a small percent of the education workforce. “We are still feeling this effect today where just 7% of teachers are Black and about 11% of principals are Black,” said Jenna Claflin, social studies teacher. In Mounds View schools, the percentage of teachers of color was around 4.7% in 2019, according to district data. The low percentage of non-white teachers often puts minority students at a disadvantage.

In the long-run, achievement gaps continue to negatively impact students. Minnesota has a high school graduation rate for Black students of 70%, one of the lowest in the nation, compared to a white student graduation rate of 89% according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This low rate means that Black students are less likely to attend college.

This causes them to resort to unskilled labor and earn lower incomes. “You’ll go look for jobs, whether that’s a minimum wage job, or you’ll resort to worse… and then the cycle will continue with the new generation, and it’s very dangerous. And so the equality and equity gaps are just continuing to grow,” Frey explained.

Even though these impacts are no secret, people continue to turn a blind eye to the issue of school segregation. “I just think it’s really hard to visualize something that you don’t see in your own community. It’s very rare that families will go beyond the very close suburbs that surround them,” Frey said. With this lack of recognition, there remains little motivation to solve these persistent academic disparities.

Cancel Culture

Cancel cancel culture

It seems to happen every day. A celebrity tweets a phrase that is far from politically correct and suddenly thousands of internet users rush to defame them. Calling for extensive apologies, tears and money in retribution, they often lose control After posting several self-deprecating videos of themselves crying, as well as a few carefully worded paragraphs designed by their PR team, the offender is then promptly forgotten until the next time around. This vicious cycle, known as cancel culture, started circulating in 2017 and has rapidly spread to every corner of society, from politics to slang use. However, cancel culture has had many unintended (or intended) consequences, which can often spiral out of control.

While “canceling” someone may start with good intentions, it can quickly go too far. A study by Liberty University showed that people lose emotions and responsibility over text. This detachment from the victim makes it easy to dish out overwhelming hate and punishment for a person who has already faced real-world consequences. Cancel culture just adds fuel to the flames.

Another consequence of cancel culture comes from mob mentality. Mob support has been a frequent weapon utilized politically to people’s own advantage. This suppresses free speech of people who agree with a view and even causes many people to join the mob in fear of being canceled themselves. Also, it further decreases any original thought, with many people just adopting the popular view. It violates the fundamental principles of democracy that cancel culture aims to uphold in the first place.

Importantly, cancel culture often fails to bring about any meaningful change. People who speak or act offensively will already see consequences in work, school and law enforcement if warranted. Thousands of people insulting them on social media does nothing, only akin to glorified cyberbullying. The only thing these people are “bringing to justice” are their own egos, but fail to impact them in the real world.

One recent example is the incident at the Oscars involving actor Will Smith. Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on live television, prompting outrage from many people. Yet, despite this widespread cancellation, Smith continued to hold and secure new jobs in films and movies, which shows just how ineffective cancel culture is.

Another case is when Terry Crews attempted to speak out against his abuser in the wake of the MeToo movement. Many people accused him of taking advantage of the movement for personal gain, causing significant damage to his job and reputation. This cancellation was not only harmful but added confusing conflict to an already complicated case.

Taking the side of the “morally correct” opinion, and shielded by the mob mentality, users of cancel culture feel invincible behind their screen. Devastating and unproductive, this textbook example of mass hysteria is harming people’s livelihoods and reputations. Cancel culture needs to be canceled.

Important tool for progress

Cancel culture encourages citizens to give voice and words to their hatred towards certain people who are unreachable otherwise. It reduces support for certain individuals, more commonly celebrities, due to their opinions or actions being considered objectionable by society. Oftentimes, it is met with resistance, whether by the accuser or their supporters. However, overall, cancel culture allows for society to progress and wrong-doers to be held accountable, and it shouldn’t be written off due to its extremities.

Cancel culture’s biggest moment: #MeToo circa 2017. When sexual abuse allegations against former film producer Harvey Weinstein became public, widespread outrage sprouted that called for retribution for the hurt women, eventually leading to his conviction as a sex offender. In support of the abused women, other assault survivors would disclose their abusers over social media to show support and unity, as well as hold their own offenders accountable. Before the movement, many survivors said they were scared to tell their side of the story as they believed people would not believe the facts. However, because of how this movement enabled them, thousands of women were able to get their story out there and proved a point to society — people should be held responsible, regardless of their status.

Cancel culture also encourages accountability and a chance for the development of the people who are called out. An example of such can be seen in the controversy surrounding YouTuber Logan Paul after he posted a video containing a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, a site know for its high rates of suicide. Paul initially was reluctant to discuss the video after removing it but, due to widespread backlash, he later came forth to take more accountability. As well, he donated $1 million to suicide prevention organizations and worked with experts to raise awarness about mental health. Since then, Paul has openly admitted that he feels he has learned a lot from what happened to him, an experience that only cancel culture taught him.

A common critique of cancel culture is that it never knows when to stop. However, it can be argued that that is the natural flow of progress. Society’s progress should and can never stop. For example, during the #MeToo movement, many argued that innocent men were targeted, creating an “environment of fear” for male employees. However, it is important to remember that the movement definitely helped to create a safer and more equitable workplace for many people. In fact, according to Politico, between 2017 and 2021, states introduced 2,324 #MeToo-related bills and passed 286. Sure, those in power at the time will have an aura of fear surrounding them, but in the end, society still progressed.

Overall, cancel culture is a valuable part of social media today as it reduces the shame around taking responsibility. Moreover, it provides people with a platform to express their opinions. In the future, cancel culture will continue to enhance as more people on social media discover the power it enables them with, and the opportunities it gives to the individuals who are being “called out” to bring about positive change.

08 Debates monday, february 27, 2023
illustration by Iris Ren

What college credit options does MV offer?

When registering for classes, many students may wonder whether AP, CIS or ARCC courses will benefit them the most. These courses provide potential college credit to high school students and can help students discover pathways of interest.

AP, or Advanced Placement, courses tend to be the most popular of these challenging course options. All grades can participate in AP classes, and because they are weighted on a five-point scale, taking AP courses can even help students boost their GPAs. However, college credit is not guaranteed. In order to qualify for potential college credit, AP students must pass an exam at the end of the year that tests students on material from throughout the entire school year. An AP test is scored from one to five, with a score of one or two meaning that a student would likely not receive any college credit, and a score of three or above meaning that a student would likely receive college credit at AP-accepting universities, although some only accept scores of four or five on AP exams.

Another option is CIS courses, or College in the Schools, which are University of Minnesota classes taught in high school. “This is a partnership with high schools in the area to take what they call concurrent enrollment. So we have CIS Writing, CIS Lit. sometimes is offered and then CIS Physics, and [these courses are] taught by our high school teachers here,” said Dean Sarah Hatalla. While most juniors and seniors can take CIS, the university recommends that only students in the top 20% of their grade take these courses. CIS classes are similar to ARCC classes in that students can earn college credit from the University of Minnesota if they pass the class, but the classes are more rigorous and demand more.

Each option takes dedication and responsibility. ARCC is challenging in its own way, but these courses often demand less time outside of school and are typically less time consuming for students.

Conversely, AP typically demands more from the student in and out of school. “AP Biology students are very dedicated to reading the material, learning about it, asking questions and finding different ways to learn about biology because they have to - it’s a more challenging, detailed study,” said Mark Johnson, AP Biology teacher.

transfer to any other Minnesota state colleges and universities,” said Hatalla.

Typically, CIS credits transfer to most institutions within Minnesota as well. “There’s a whole umbrella of Minnesota State Colleges, and so when you’re in that umbrella, it transfers really easily,” said Nancy Johnson.

ARCC, which means Anoka Ramsey Community College, can help students receive articulated college certificate credit. These classes are only available to sophomores, juniors with a 3.0 GPA and above and seniors with a GPA of 2.5 and higher. Even though you can earn college credit, not all colleges will accept ARCC.

Money can sometimes interfere with course selection, and AP is the most expensive out of the three. To take an AP exam, students have to pay $71 to $111 to take the test. “They’re expensive. So if you’re taking three AP classes, that’s $200 just to take a test,” said Nancy Johnson, ARCC biology teacher.

The credit that is mostly accepted by college can vary depending on where students want to attend college. “I think [credit acceptance] varies from college to college. Because ARCC is part of the Minnesota State colleges and universities, they are guaranteed to

Students looking to attend college out of state should consider taking AP courses, as AP tends to be a more universal metric of college credit. “But I think if somebody chooses to go to school in Maine, or New Mexico [or] somewhere far away from here, ‘AP anything’ means more consistently challenging courses to a school in another state,” said Mark Johnson. Essentially, ARCC and CIS are great options for students looking to attend in-state colleges, while AP is better for students looking to attend out-of-state- schools. Teachers and deans recommend taking any of these courses as long as the student enjoys the subject and is prepared to challenge themselves. Students will likely find that if they can commit to the challenging workload of these courses, they will be rewarded with stronger work ethic and may even save thousands of dollars on college tuition.

How can you escape “the bubble?”

Living in a bubble simply means living in a limited reality and being absorbed in one’s own world. It usually means only exposure to a narrow range of perspectives and information. Mounds View’s general lack of diversity is evident; some would even consider the community a bubble. While the effects of this minimal diversity are apparent to some, others are unaware of how they are affected by their community or how they can escape “the bubble.”

There are many ways someone can live in a bubble. Most of the time, they form in communities when diversity is minimal. Whether it be religiously, racially, socio-economically or politically, immersion in a community with little diversity restricts individuals’ access to varying perspectives and therefore causes bubbles to form.

Additionally, in an environment like Mounds View — or most American high schools, for that matter — even if there is diversity within a community, many often still conform to groups of people similar to themselves. Although it was written satirically, we can all attest to the truths behind the “Mean Girls” lunch room scene.

These social groups are not as problematic as other bubbles, such as the political bubbles that have formed nationally and have been developing for years. Communities of people with similar political beliefs tend to be reinforced through limited exposure to op posing viewpoints.

In a study conducted by The New York Times, it was concluded that “one in three Americans are almost completely isolated from the opposite [political] party.” Minnesota is no exception, and this is evident when looking at a state election map. In the 55128 ZIP code, consisting of Minneapolis and Saint Anthony, just four miles away from Mounds View High School, only 19% of voters vote Republican. Further north in Lino Lakes, 10 miles from Mounds View High School, roughly 75% of voters vote Republican.

Most neighborhoods within the Mounds View School District lean Democrat but not by

an exceptional margin. Data from publicly available voter registration records show that most neighborhoods in Shoreview, North Oaks and Arden Hills have a Democratic majority by about 10-20%.

Many students would consider Mounds View to lean substantially left and might even consider our school to be in a liberal political bubble. According to a poll conducted on The Viewer Instagram, 84 out of 102 voters said they believe Mounds View’s student body leans liberal. While there are certainly conservative and right-leaning students at Mounds View, they are clearly a minority.

Many Democrats around the nation would say they were surprised when Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016 and, likewise, many Republicans would say they were surprised when Joe Biden won in 2020. Such a mentality eventually contributed to the capital insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. The Republican voters’ shared denial in the election results can be attributed to the fact that they rarely interact with people who voted for Biden and hence are secluded within their own shared opinions.

When one is less likely to question information around them, they become more prone to manipulation, such as how many Trump voters were easily manipulated to believe the 2020 election

Modern-day media plays a major role in creating these bubbles by making people susceptible to echo chambers, where individuals are only exposed to views and opinions that align with their own. Through algorithms on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, users’ opinions and biases are reinforced due to continuously consuming content that aligns with their views. This can be especially dangerous as social media content is not held to any journalistic standards, which can leave consumers purposefully misinformed about issues.

Seeking media that challenges your beliefs is the most effective way to not be influenced by echo chambers. Additionally, fact checking the media you consume is one of the best ways to avoid falling into the trap of echo chambers on social media. It goes without saying that not everything you see online is accurate. You should fact check any statements on social media before sharing, commenting or articulating an opinion on them.

There are a few important steps to follow whenever verifying the accuracy of online information. First, take note of the origin of the information. Check if it is from a credible source, such as a reputable news organization, an academic institution or a government agency. Even if information seems to come from a reliable source, it is still important to verify its accuracy.

It is also important to check other reliable sources to verify online information. You can check reliability by using fact-checking websites such as Snopes, Politifact or Deciphering what is true and consuming content from various sources allows you to not fall into media bubbles and avoid misinformation.

While not everyone “lives in a bubble,” the importance of diversifying one’s viewpoints is something everyone should consider. Fortunately, we live in a globalized society where information has never been more accessible, so we have resources to expand our perspectives. By seeking out unfamiliar opinions, individuals can break out of their bubbles and reap the benefits of diversity.

Monday, February 27, 2023 Good Question 09
graphic courtesy of Free SVG
“Because ARCC is part of the Minnesota State colleges and universities, they are guaranteed to transfer to any other Minnesota state colleges and universities.”
Sarah Hatalla, dean
“...if you’re taking three AP classes, that’s $200 just to take a test.”
Nancy Johnson, science teacher

Denler Art Gallery

The University of Northwestern recently opened the new Denler Gallery on the second floor of the Totino Fine Arts Center to display students’ work. The gallery shows 24 styles of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and clay making.

I attended the gallery in late January and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the art. I was expecting simple designs, maybe paintings and some sculptures, but I needed to be corrected. When I first walked in, it was a plain white room filled with nothing but the artwork. The spacious and modern interior sets a perfect tone for the collection. The many visible pieces reflect the gallery’s commitment to showcasing a broad and diverse range of art.

colors represent spring and the trees and flowers blossoming after a bland and colorless winter.

The second piece that stood out was “Breath” by Crystal Yi. Odd and somewhat creepy, it is a ceramic depicting the top of a head with bits of hair surrounding it. It resembles a face halfway submerged in water with only the eye above the surface. This piece has an odd feeling but is exceptionally well-made overall.

In the corner of the room, I saw a canvas that was painted but then cut into. There were multiple cuts and

the gallery. It opens every year in January and goes through February.

wood chips all over the piece. This was “Hollow Gaze - A Reflection on Self-Harm” by Jacqueline Joseph, which was one of the pieces I most appreciated. The elements in the piece, such as the colors and wood chips, can have different meanings depending on the viewer’s perceptions. I saw the wood chips representing childhood innocence; it reminded me of getting covered in wood chips at the playground when I was young. The slashes through the painting, contrasting with wood chips, symbolize a loss of innocence.

Final Verdict: 4/5

Upon entering, I was immediately drawn to an extensive array of multicolored tissue paper. I came to find this work titled “Spring Fall” by Emily Hayton. After reading the name, I began understanding how the

Overall, I enjoyed the gallery a lot. My only complaint would be that I wish there was more art. However, I understand the limitations of only having so many students to feature. I highly recommend visiting

Cafe Astoria brings color to Grand

Cafe Astoria, located in St. Paul offers a wide variety of foods, including crepes, sandwiches and salads.

The shop, which is on Grand Avenue, is surrounded by other busy shops and boutiques. The actual building, while small, is decadent in its beauty with its older architectural style. However, due to its location, there are few places to park which makes it a challenge for some visitors.

Right when walking into the building, guests are

greeted with beautiful brick walls, the smell of delicious coffee and a friendly staff. Needless to say, I was immediately struck with a great feel for the place. One thing that certainly added to the down-to-earth experience was how the cafe owner went around to all the tables and spoke with customers. She asked if she could assist them, how their food was and if she could improve their experience. To me, this really showed how customers are cared for at Cafe Astoria.

The food and drinks were outstanding. After only a 10 minute wait, I had an açaí bowl and a latte.

The açaí bowl had bananas, strawberries, blackberries and cranberries. At the cafe, there are several kinds of bowls offered, such as: Berry Berry, Manila Mango, Beehive, Peaches and Cream and Eat Your Greens. All of these bowls are, at most, $10.

The latte was exceptional as well. It had rainbow foam on top, which added a unique component to the coffee-drinking experience.

Cafe Astoria also has a “secret menu” section, in which they offer unique forms of drinks, such as the 24K Latte, the Campfire Latte and the Rainbow Matcha latte.

They also offer an incredible selection of pastries, such as croissants, muffins and an assortment of strawberry bakery items.

The cafe doesn’t take reservations, so if it is busy, visitors do have to wait until a spot is open. The food was appropriately priced for the quality and the service was great. For these reasons I would recommend Cafe Astoria to anyone who likes a good adventure.

Final Verdict: 5/5

monday, february 27, 2023
10 Arts & Entertainment
photos by Sarafina Dillon photos by Owen Schwalm

Q: How and when did your passion for swimming start?

A: I started swimming since I was two with my brother but when I was old enough I joined a team with him and found that I was good at it and liked doing it.

Q: What is your favorite thing about swimming?

A: My favorite thing about swimming is being able to see how much better I get with trackable numbers and the teams that I’ve been on because they helped me branch out and make great friends who push me.

Q: What is the most difficult part of swimming?

A: The most difficult part I would say would be the mental aspect of having to get up early, jumping in the cold water, showing up to practice even when you don’t feel like it and overcoming times where you don’t do as well as you want.

Q: What goals do you have for the rest of your swim career?

A: A goal I have for the sport is to really enjoy the whole process and the training seasons and not just look forward to the big meets and championships. Also to beat Justin in 100 breast.

Q: Do you plan to go further with your sport?

A: I most likely won’t choose a university based their swim team but the ones that I’m interested in I am definitely looking into college swimming.

En garde!

While the members of the Island Lake 6-12 Fencing Team all come from different backgrounds and attend different schools, they certainly share one key characteristic: determination.

The new club, founded by Irondale High School sophomore Muaz Mussa, hopes to allow all fencing enthusiasts, regardless of age or experience, the opportunity to learn fencing and its components in a judgment-free environment.

Mussa fell in love with fencing after an interaction with his cousin who fences. Paired with his love of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, he knew he had to get involved any way he could. However, Mussa soon discovered the difficulty of getting into fencing without the necessary funds. “I tried to go to the [other] fencing club, but it was just super expensive,” said Mussa. “So I was like, ‘what should we do?’ And then I thought you might as well start a fencing club.”

With the help of others interested in the sport, as well as numerous meetings with Irondale administration, the team successfully held practice for the first time on Feb. 7.

In the weekly practices, the student fencers work on activities that teach basic blade work, right of way and open bouting skills. The drills, explains Coach Braeden Walker, are meant to allow each fencer to learn at their own pace. “We get a lot of different people… Some people have been fencing in other places with other blades [and] other people have never picked up a sword in their life.” However, despite the differences in skill-level, Braeden explains that he feels as a whole the team is moving

in the right direction.

“There’s definitely a lot of people here who challenge me,” said sophomore Samantha Fuller, who got involved with fencing last December.

While some of her teammates have been fencing since childhood, she doesn’t let it deter her from challenging them during open bouting. “[I] just keep telling them I’ll get you one day,” said Fuller.

Progress for any fencer can be difficult, especially given the nature of the sport, explains sophomore Oscar Rasmussen. “Improving technique isn’t as easy as going an extra lap around the track. You’ve got to like train, your dexterity, your arm strength.”

For non-fencers, practicing things like footwork or bladework might be the obvious solution to improvement, but members of the team note there is more to being good at fencing than just physical capability.

“It’s an extremely emotional sport, because it’s very easy to get aggravated with yourself and the mistakes you make, especially if you keep making the same one over and over again,” said senior Gabriel Luhman.

“It is an intellectual sport almost as much as it is physical,” said Walker. He hopes teaching a balance of patience and a willingness to act will give his students the skill set to thrive in tournaments.

“That’s special about fencing,” said Mussa. “It doesn’t matter how strong or… non- physically active you are, anyone can join the sport.”

The team, while varying in experience, will continue to build upon their foundational skills as they master the fencing technique. With enough practice and dedication, they hope to hold their own in future competitions and tournaments.

One team, one dream

Due to a smaller number of players, the Mounds View and Irondale girls hockey teams combined into one this year. As the girls continue to develop their relationships with their new teammates, they must learn to balance building team chemistry with personal improvement. So far this season they have faced many challenges, such as the loss of last year’s strongest teammates, but together they hope to persevere.

With the combination of teams, the newly formed group has had more challenges to overcome than most. In hockey, decisions need to be made quickly and efficiently, which means each player must have complete faith in each other. This is why team bonding events are so important, as it ensures the team knows each other, according to senior Berit Hudson. Due to some of the girls playing together for the first time in their entire hockey career, building such vital trust has been a challenge.

However, together, the team has pushed through. “It was really hard at first to be combined as a team… but I’m happy with where we’re at now,” said sophomore Lila Peltier.

While the team has become more cohesive throughout the season, they know they still have something to prove. “We gotta show that we’re just one team,” said Peliter. The phrase “one team, one dream” is spoken many times on and off the rink, as it symbolizes the team’s mentality. Every win, loss and tie the team has isn’t on one individual, but the entirety of the team.

Because of this, having motivated teammates is very important during a game. “We always cheer for each other and have

a very loud bench,” said Hudson. “[And] when a player does good, we compliment them.” Additionally, after games, they give

down by their shortcomings.

The team believes that they are set to finish up this season strong and continue to make great connections with their teammates.

shoutouts to recognize outstanding players to create a positive team environment and to encourage improvement.

This positive environment is bolstered by the events the team participates in. “We do a lot of activities to bond,” said Peltier. “We do things like carbo loads, go to Wild hockey games and have fun together at out of town tournaments.” They believe this also helps with their performance.

The girls have been setting many goals to try and stay focused on progress, which includes improving individually and as a team. “Although our record isn’t the best, with it being 6-13, we think we are going to improve and do better now that we are all as one,” said Peltier.

Individually, many agree they have things to improve on. “The only thing you can control is your effort,” said freshman Taylor Metz.

However, confidence is key in this progression. “I can overcome any obstacle if I am determined and work hard,” said Hudson. This mentality, while difficult to achieve, allows players to not be weighed

Monday, FEbruary 27, 2023 Sports 11
Athlete of the Issue
photo by Maya Betti
“I’m happy with where we’re at now.”
Lila Peltier, ‘24
Boys Swim photo courtesy of Lila Peltier


1. Irondale equity advisor

3. Nathan Hare’s featured sport

4. U.S. state that will not allow AP African American History to be offered

6. City in Minnesota that votes roughly 75% Republican

7. Street Cafe Astoria is located on

8. Chinese company that owns TikTok

9. Last name of junior that co-created the original anime club

13. Movement against sexual violence


2. Type of class offered at Mounds View that runs through the University of Minnesota

5. City where King Jesus International Ministry is located

8. Subculture within TikTok focused on books

10. An inner-city high school with 97% minority students

11. High school that sophomorefencer Muaz Mussa attends

12. Last name of junior that co-created the Better Anime Club

14. The award ceremony where Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in 2022

15. Featured piece in the Denler Gallery by Crystal Yi

16. Material that CANVAWRAP uses to make their products

KenKen Sudoku

Fill in the blank squares so that each row and each column contain all of the digits 1 through 4.

The heavy lines indicate areas (called cages) that contain groups of numbers that can be combined (in any order) to produce the result shown in the cage, with the indicated math operation. For example, 12× means you can multiply the values together to produce 12.

Numbers in cages may repeat, as long as they are not in the same row or column.

First three students to finish all puzzles and DM @mvviewer on Instagram with a picture of completion win free coffee from Mustang Mocha.

courtesy of Opensky

Scan QR code to access exclusive online content from The Viewer’s website:

12 Puzzles Monday, February 27, 2023
puzzle courtesy of KrazyDad