THE ECHO Elective Classes: A Look Into a Few Optional Classes at BGA
2013-‐‑14 Issue 5
As we near the start of course registration time, the Newspaper Staff that it would be helpful to interview teachers/talk about some of the elective courses available.
Page 2: Elective Classes: AP Government Page 3: Eamon Smith: Going to Nationals Page 4: The Library Has Gone Digital Page 5: BGA’s Inclusion Committee
Jacklyn Abernathy continues our coverage of elective classes offered with her article on AP Government taught by Dr. Fulwider.
Dr. Fulwider’s AP Government comprises of two different semester classes, which are usually combined but may be taken separately. In the first semester, students take AP U.S. Government and Politics. Modeled after a standard introductory college government course, the class covers six overarching topics defined by the College Board: constitutional underpinnings of United States government; political beliefs and behaviors; political parties, interest groups, and mass media; institutions of national government; public policy; and civil rights and civil liberties. The class looks deeply into these six parts of government and how they affect the political culture in our country. As students learn about the institutions, groups,
Page 6: Review of the Oscars Page 7: Advice from a Graduating Senior Page 8: I Will Never, Ever Visit Sea World Page 9: History of St. Patrick’s Day
The Echo Staff
Editor-‐‑In-‐‑Chief: Erinie Yousief BGA Happenings Editor: Jonathan Reiss Special Interests Editor: Annie Kennedy Sports Editor: Nora Scott
Associate Sports Editor: Ivy Shelton Photography Editor: Jacklyn Abernathy Writers & Photographers: Hersheyth Aggarwal, Laura Anglin, Chad Bramlett, Sarah Butler, Danielle Caron, Audrey Collins, Stokes Dunavan, Miller Fahey, Andrew Graveno, Emily Hopkins, Bethany Kirkpatrick, Brenna Kirkpatrick, Neel Kurupassery, Madeline MacArthur, Chloe Masten, Michaela Murphy, Grace Whitten, Steve Xu and Reagan Yancey
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Elective Classes beliefs, and ideals of U.S. government and culture, more about what causes the successes and failures of the government today are revealed. As most students in the class are able to vote soon after finishing the class, the knowledge gained can help students make informed decisions while voting and help promote informed decision-‐‑making. In the second semester, students take AP Comparative Government and Politics. This class compares six different countries—the United Kingdom, Russia, Mexico, Nigeria, Iran and China. It covers similar topics as the U.S. Government and Politics class within each country, but surveys rather than details each country’s history and current political state and focuses on comparing the countries. The six topics for this AP exam are: introduction to comparative politics; sovereignty, authority, and power; political institutions; citizens, society, and the state; political and economic change; and public policy. Since six countries are covered, each country cannot be covered in extreme depth, but students learn to analyze the similarities and differences between the countries in these six categories. This class also benefits the students as responsible citizens, as most have little prior knowledge about the specific history of countries like Nigeria or Iran, and information learned in the class can help explain the United States’ current relationships with these countries.
as it covers two full semesters of college material in one school year and still leaves time for AP review at the end of the year. Although both textbooks used in the classes are recent editions, Dr. Fulwider supplements the textbooks with current news stories and election information, which adds a different, more exploratory element to the class. For example, studying U.S. government during the government shutdown and Russian government during the ongoing Crimean crisis has further illuminated the underlying problems which caused the issues and has led to greater understanding both of the course materials and the issues themselves. Students who enjoy reading the news and staying updated on national and world issues will find the class interesting, but little prior knowledge of government is required for success. Scoring well on both AP exams can lead to a full year of college credit, but regardless of AP scores, the course as a whole leads to a greater understanding of both United States government and what we as Americans can learn from other types of government.
The course generally has a small class size, so Dr. Fulwider often uses debates and discussions to promote greater understanding of the material. The class moves very quickly,
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Going to Nationals: An Interview with Eamon Smith By Bethany Kirkpatrick While most high school students were spending their Saturday morning sleeping in, Eamon Smith was up at 8 AM, talking. Though that seems kind of ordinary, it was in fact anything but because that would end up being the day he qualified for Nationals. (Spoiler alert). A senior member of the speech and debate team who’s in his fourth year of participation, Eamon competes primarily in an event called Original Oratory, which involves writing a persuasive speech about an important topic and then performing that speech at competitions throughout the school year. On March 1st, after two days of grueling competition and a lot of public speaking, Eamon ended up beating some of the best oratories in the state to take first place and qualify to the national tournament in June. To get some context, this would be like being named to the all-‐‑nation basketball team, which would be pretty cool. Eamon was recently interviewed to talk about his trip to Nationals and what he plans on doing from there. First of all, what did you do to get ready for the national qualifying tournament? As hard as it was sometimes, practicing was really important. It took a lot of work because keeping the speech updated was a challenge. Every week you have to look things up, get new sources and stories, add, take out. But overall, keeping up with it the entire year, I think, led me to this point.
What actually are you sharing in your speech? Yeah, I’m talking about tradition—why it’s good, why it’s bad, basically how you need to take everything with a grain of salt. How did the rest of the year go for you? It’s going pretty well, actually. Oratory and duo with my partner this year have been an incredible success, but first place at National Qualifiers for the National Speech and Debate League (which was formerly known as the National Forensics League) was my first time winning oratory this year. I won first place again to qualify to state the next weekend and I’m not planning on stopping there. How confident did you feel on those last days of competition? I felt relatively confident that I could get to finals, especially after I went through four rounds of competition getting first, second, or third, but I wasn’t at all expecting to take first place, more like fourth or fifth. It was really remarkable. What are you doing to prepare for Nationals? I’m going to be here over the summer practicing with Mrs. Ward and working with past oratory victors like Alex Svenpladsen. I’m lucky to have a wealth of resources going in. And what are your expectations there? Every time I hear people talk about oratory at nationals, especially from Tennessee, I hear about how difficult and insane it was and how crazy it was. I’m not going to nationals with
Going to Nationals continued that attitude. I want to win and I’m going to do it. It’s going to be hard and some people may be better than me right now but I’m going to work and I’m going to come up on top. From Mrs. Ward: Eamon has really come a long way in his time on the team. He is a naturally gifted speaker who exudes warmth and empathy when speaking. The best way I can think to describe the effect he has on an audience is that his speech feels like a warm hug, and yet, in the same speech, he is also able to take people to task for clinging to a past that was never as perfect as they remember. His oratory this year has evolved over time and he revised it to include an amazing story about his grandmother. Over the years I'ʹve watched a great many final rounds from Nationals and his speech is definitely finals worthy! I'ʹm so proud of him and excited for him that he has this chance to compete at Nationals. Nationals will be held in Overland Park, Kansas, this summer from June 15th – 20th.
The Library Has Gone Digital By: Mrs. Barclay Some of you may have heard during your English class library research days that we now have pleasure reading (fiction) eBooks and audiobooks available. If I failed to mention it to your class, forgive me. (Consider this your official announcement…) With our campus going all iPad next year, I thought it was time we upgraded our fiction section to be more digital as well. The Upper School Library has signed with a program called OverDrive. I can order eBooks and audio books that you can download to your iOS, Andriod, or Amazon Kindle device. You can browse the BGA collection of eBooks and Audio Books available through OverDrive from Destiny as well as the OverDrive application you download. You need to be connected to the Internet to be able to download the book. Once you’ve downloaded it, you have the option of adding it to your iPad (I’m sure it works the same for Android – I just don’t know 100%) so you can read it anytime with or without the Internet. Consectetuer: I have already read two books in a series through OverDrive and am anxious for the third book to be published. I will gladly take any recommendations you have for books you would like to have in the library, as well as what you think of the program.
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A Quick Look at the Inclusion Committee By Jonathan Reiss Despite outreach efforts, many view the newly-‐‑ formed committee on inclusion with caution and a raised eyebrow. Of course, “diversity” is arguably one of the biggest buzzwords of the 21st century. The sensitivity surrounding the issue often turns the simple one-‐‑sentence definition into an essay in order to fully explain its meaning, relevance, and importance. Our school is no exception; O.J Fleming, the Diversity Coordinator at the Middle School, makes a point to fully elaborate the word’s implications on the school website: “Diversity can be defined in many ways. At BGA, we define it as a commitment to recognizing, respecting and celebrating perspectives that differentiate us as individuals, as well as characteristics which make us similar. Diversity is the sense that no matter where you come from, who you are, or what your background is, there is a place for you. BGA is a community which strives to make a commitment to diversity -‐‑-‐‑ we are a community striving to be an inclusive, welcoming environment where differences in all its forms are affirmed, appreciated and celebrated. We acknowledge that these differences go beyond race, ethnicity, and gender. These differences endow the school, and its community, with a multitude of perspectives from different races, ethnicities, genders, cultures, social classes, and lifestyles. All perspectives are equally important and differences are not only
welcomed, but also actively sought. How do we do this? While at first this may seem like a difficult task, we continue to raise our awareness of social issues and educate ourselves about the topic through dialogue, curriculum, and special programs to promote understanding of the issues surrounding diversity. One of the primary initiatives identified by the community was the development of Battle Ground Academy'ʹs commitment statement on diversity” As with anything, diversity and its subsequent campaigns are shrouded in misconceptions; notions such as diversity relating only to racial issues make paragraphs like Mr. Fleming’s necessary. The Inclusion Committee’s goal is to overcome these misunderstandings. To the Committee, diversity is the coming together of various mindsets, beliefs, and ideas in order to create a “dream team” of brains. Of course, it’s undeniable that different mindsets often coincide in race and religion; but skin color does not guarantee a different mindset, religion, fiscal background, or any other factors in a multitude of variables. In a campaign for diversity, there must be a sense of trepidation in any action. As the age-‐‑old Southern saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. The idea of bringing a horse to water parallels the very concept of bringing together a very different group of people…but bringing people together 5
Inclusion Committee continued physically does not guarantee the exchange of ideas. Discourse is the key to success. To create the best environment for learning, the BGA community must therefore continue to make conscious efforts to increase dialogue. While the Inclusion Committee continues to find ways to increase such discussions, it is worth noting that dialogue does not equal the awkward, cringe-‐‑worthy Michael Scott-‐‑esque diversity rant. You do not have to be a member of a committee to make a difference, but why not join? Find any of the members or contact the two sponsors! Leah Handelsman email@example.com Ben Fulwider firstname.lastname@example.org
Review of the Oscars By Emily Hopkins The 2014 Oscars was another fantastic show with Ellen DeGeneres as the host. Although the Oscars is a red carpet, black tie event, the show seemed slightly more casual and entertaining this year. About halfway through the show, Ellen DeGeneres brought out pizza for some of Hollywood’s biggest names, with Brad Pitt following behind with the paper plates. Even though some of my favorites did not win, overall it was probably the best awards show I have seen in a while. Not only were the awards given to some of the most deserving acts in the business, but a few were new faces. Gravity swept most of the technological categories, which was much deserved. Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett won in best Actor and Actress in a Leading Role for Dallas Buyers Club and Blue Jasmine. In a fairly rare instance, the winner for “Best Picture” was not guaranteed and easy to predict. Although 12 Years A Slave had a much deserved win, most of the other nominees were pretty close behind. Not only did many winners make history, but in an attempt to connect the Oscars to social media, Ellen DeGeneres took a photo with Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and many other stars, and posted it on Twitter. In a short time, the photo became the most retweeted photo ever, topping off the already historical Oscars show.
Advice from a Graduating Senior By Erinie Yousief
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losing one hour of sleep every day for one week
(as many do) means losing a total of seven Outside of the usual “don’t do drugs” and hours of sleep by Saturday—an entire day’s “study for exams” some words of advice that I wish to pass on to the underclassmen include worth of brain power. Losing one hour of sleep every day for four years means losing 208 days the following: (over six months) of brain power needed to 1. Pursue Your Interests. Few students retain information, to concentrate, and to know what careers they want by the time they analyze. In order to maximize your academic leave high school. In fact, a study conducted in performance, go to bed. If you cannot, try the fall of last year by The New York Times avoiding screens, staying hydrated, washing predicts that nearly 50% of up-‐‑coming college your face with warm water, keeping a students will change their majors twice before consistent sleep schedule, and doing some light graduating. To avoid the tremendous loss of reading and stretches before bed. Though those time and money put into “finding yourself” habits do not guarantee a longer rest they often during college, I suggest you pursue your lead to a deeper one. interests—however small—now. Register for classes that appeal to you, even if they have 3. Keep Up with the World Around You. little effect on raising your GPA; take up sports, By the end of my sophomore year, I hardly ever clubs, or volunteer opportunities that excite you spent time outside and I no longer watched the and drop those that do not. Cultivate your news—I used those hours to study. Like many personality and pinpoint your true interests as of peers, I allowed school-‐‑work to override early as possible and the difficulty of the college every other aspect of my life and I learned to search will be cut in half. Do not suppress your dread thoughts of responsibility. Subsequent personality in order to squeeze in as many AP feelings of exhaustion and apathy began to classes and clubs as possible on your résumé; affect my disposition and—ironically—my pursue your interests and the quality of your grades. To avoid the fate that befalls many of academic life will follow. 2.
the upperclassmen, I suggest keeping in touch
Prioritize Your Sleep over Your GPA. with the world that exists outside of your After nearly four years of late nights filled with school-‐‑work. Read about current events; go on coffee and existential crises, I can say, with walks; enjoy the earth. Remember that billions certainty, that sleep plays a more vital role in of other people breathe and struggle as you do your education than your GPA. For example, and that all the problems you face have
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Advice continued solutions. Do not allow yourself to become so consumed with your work that you forget the world. The rest of your life—including your high education, your work, and your personality— first come into place now. The choices you make in these four years will affect every part of your identity, so make them with sincerity and passion. Do not allow yourself to succumb to the role of the worker; you are a thinker and an adventurer. Explore yourself and the world with all the opportunities presented to you.
Thoughts on Life After Watching a Documentary I Will Never, Ever Visit Sea World By Madeline MacArthur
Last week, I watched the documentary Blackfish because of its awesome reviews. I did not know what the film was about besides it being a documentary on killer whales (which was obvious because of the cover photo). However, I soon learned the film’s purpose: to spread awareness about the dangers of keeping orcas in captivity. The film shows raw footage of killer whales injuring their trainers while following the captivity of Tilikum, from a calf to an adult orca, because of his involvement in the death of three trainers. I literally stared at the TV open mouthed, making noises of shock at what I was seeing…it is one thing to read about an incident involving an orca—and another to see the incident unfold before one’s eyes. Outside of the footage, the film also features interviews with a number of trainers
2013-‐‑14 Issue 5 who worked with Tilikum. These trainers clearly love their jobs, but repeatedly state that they did not realize the horrors that came with the animals until recently. Many of them were kept in the dark about past incidents with Tilikum. In fact, it was not until the death of Dawn Brancheau, Tilikum’s personal trainer, that they began to question if what they were doing was right. Many of them concluded that by keeping killer whales in a 36ft by 180ft by 90ft tank, by making them perform against their will to make money, and by shortening their life spans by forty or so years, no real help was being offered to the animals. In the wild, for example, these creatures swim an average of 100 miles a day and live to 30 to 50 years, whereas, in captivity, they only live to 9 years. These are only a few of the statistics that reveal what happens to orcas in captivity. I was truly shocked by what I learned. This film definitely deserves its BAFTA nomination for the Best Documentary of 2014. My only question: what effect does captivity have on other animals? References: http://www.seaworldofhurt.com/features/8-‐‑ reasons-‐‑orcas-‐‑dont-‐‑belong-‐‑seaworld/
The History of St. Patrick’s Day By Annie Kennedy Among many Irish cultures, particularly in the homeland and in Irish-‐‑American communities, the legend of St. Patrick serves as a prominent aspect to the Irish faith and ancient legends. The popularized ideas of St. Patrick stand strong today. Many believe St. Patrick was the first to bring Christianity to Ireland and was the figure responsible for banishing all snakes from the island. However, both aspects of the legend have been discovered to be untrue. St. Patrick, often considered an Irish saint, was actually born in Britain to a wealthy family near the end of the fourth century. He lived there until his teenage years. At the age of 16, St. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland where he lived for six years as a shepherd in captivity. It is said that St. Patrick began to hear a voice, God’s voice, and received dreams to convert the Irish, who were originally Pagan, to Christianity. Of course, this would not be the first time a Saint figure is said to have received dreams and heard voices from the divine. In France, Joan of Arc, leader of the French army in the 1400’s, also is said to have received messages from God, leading her to knighthood. Whether these aspects of holy legends are true or not, one thing is for certain — influential “saviors” always seem to receive guidance from above. Contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick did not introduce Christianity to Ireland, nor did he forcefully convert the Irish people. There were small groups of Christians among the island
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that, after 15 years of religious study, St. Patrick connected with in order to help them spread Christianity. The majority of the Irish people were earth-‐‑ based pagans and, with this knowledge, St. Patrick peacefully converted and even included aspects of Irish paganism, such as bonfire celebrations and a sun into the cross, into his Christian practice to help the people comfortably convert. Although the banishing of the snakes did not occur and the idea was spread through oral interpretation, the symbolism behind the story stands strong. In Christianity, snakes normally stand for evil or temptation and the act of banishing the animals aligns with St. Patrick converting the majority of Ireland to Christianity. However, some modern pagans argue the banishing of snakes symbolizes the “forceful” banishing of paganism from the island as the snake, in paganism, symbolizes wisdom and is a powerful image. This argument is generally discredited by not only historical fact, but also other New Age Pagans, as the proof of peaceful conversion is evident. St. Patrick may not have been the snake banishing hero who introduced Christianity to Ireland, but he certainly was a peaceful figure who respectfully included pagan ideals in his practice to create a comfortable and natural environment for the majority of the Irish people.