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R R P THE P anther PRESS




VP's Chamber Choir

So, what is RAK Week exactly?



On Friday, February 26th, 2016, VP’s Chamber Choir, led by Ms. Chang, our talented music teacher, went to the Ontario Vocal Festival (OVF) at Mayfield Secondary School in Caledon, Ontario. The Ontario Vocal Festival is one of the largest choral festivals in North America and is all about the “spirit of voice” as well as promoting an atmosphere for music-sharing. Victoria Park CI’s Chamber Choir were invited to perform at this festival this year and had also attended the event last year. Aisha Khan, a reporter for the Panther Press, had a chance to interview two students…

I order to learn more about RAK Week, I interviewed the current SLC Vice-President, Ridwan Kabir. First off, RAK is an acronym for “Random Act of Kindness.” The main goal of RAK Week is to “[spread] good vibes” and “acts of kindness around the school.” It is a time where students are encouraged to reach out to their fellow peers to boost the atmosphere of a supportive school environment.

Spring into Sports at VP! KEVIN ZHANG Even though the weather may disagree, spring sports teams. If you're looking for more is finally upon us. Along with the vernal equinox information on some of the teams, read below to comes the spring sports season, and all the VPCI find some key details. athletes are ready to prove their potential. With a variety of sports to choose from, there’s always somewhere to find your place in the many VPCI


Shadowhunters -

Ontario Student Grant -

When Spooks Can’t Snoop -

Climate Cange -



MARCH 2016 |

NEWS & EVENTS Refugees join VP for dinner AYESHA HASHMI

Victoria Park C.I. will show it cares, as we welcome Syrian refugees to our community by hosting a dinner put on by our very own staff and students. After the March Break, any individuals that have come to Canada within the past year are invited, along with their families, to a dinner hosted by the school from 5 to 9 pm. This dinner will allow refugees from not only Syria, but also from other neighbouring countries, to feel welcome in Canada.

The event will also include a gift bag from VPCI that will consist of items such as bus tickets and grocery gift cards, which the refugees may need as they settle down in Toronto. The refugee dinner will give Victoria Park students a chance to not only acknowledge the current issues and hardships that refugees are facing, but to also become

involved in creating a community that is welcoming to everyone. Editor's Note: The Syrian Refugee Welcome dinner has been postponed until further notice due to circumstances beyond our control. Check back for more information in the future!

Ms. Maize, a teacher involved in the event, held a meeting on February 29th at which students were able to sign up for certain tasks based on what they would prefer to do for the event. These tasks included set up, clean up, decorating, fundraising, announcements, and English-to-Arabic translation. To prepare for this event, VPCI students will gather on the day of the dinner to decorate the area, organize the food and eating utensils, and prepare well before the guests arrive. Students will be serving halal food to the refugees. PHOTO CREDIT: HUFFINGTON POST

The OSSLT Arrives Tips and Guidelines for VP's Grade 10s AYESHA HASHMI

On March 31st, Victoria Park’s Grade 10 students will be taking the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), a graduation requirement in the provincial curriculum. VPCI students will be tested on their literacy skills acquired by the end of Grade 9. Every Grade 10 student must pass the literacy test that is developed by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), but this is easier said than done. Every student has been developing skills from early grades to be prepared for the test. This is so every student who graduates from post-secondary will graduate with sufficient literacy skills. It can be very nerve-wracking for students to write this test because it is an assessment that will affect a student’s chances of graduating.

It should be noted that teachers at VP held literacy test help sessions for any Grade 10 students who needed extra help. The first session was held after school on Monday, February 22nd in the staff room. During these sessions, VP Grade 10 students could ask any questions they had well before the test and get extra time to learn concepts they have forgotten. Teachers also provided tips to prepare the students for the assessment. The literacy test consists of written responses, reading questions, and other short-answer jlkjlkjlkj

questions. Students taking the literacy test are advised to explain their answers clearly and concisely. In doing so, students should expand on details, and provide specific examples in their answers, while making sure they keep to the allotted space. VP students who will be taking the literacy test should get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast before their exam, but most importantly, they should try their best!

In order to be well prepared for the literacy test, practice is key. VPCI students are encouraged to take advantage of previous literacy tests and answers that can be found online on the EQAO website. VP Grade 10 students should also practice sample questions that are similar to the ones that could be on the assessment. PHOTO CREDIT: J. BRAZEAU

| MARCH 2016



Panther PRESS


Ontario Student Grant The promise of "free tuition" PHOTO CREDIT: SALAM TORONTO


On February 25th, 2016, the Ontario Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, introduced the 2016 Ontario budget. Usually, such news is of little worth to students but this year’s provincial budget has caught the attention of students all over the province, including the students of VPCI. The reason for students’ sudden interest in the provincial budget is one of the promises made by the Ontario government. Among the usual promises of creating new jobs and opportunities for the residents of Ontario, the government promises to assist postsecondary students by making post-secondary education more affordable, a promise which has been dubbed “free tuition.” The government announced that it will do so by introducing a new grant system, the Ontario Student Grant. The Ontario Student Grant will provide grants to qualifying students in Ontario. The grant system will work on a sliding scale, which will be dependent on family income, and the number of dependents in the family. A student with a family income of $50,000 or less will receive, in most cases, enough grants to cover the cost of tuition. This also means that even a student with a family income greater than $50,000 may potentially be eligible for enough grants to cover their tuition. The announcement of the Ontario Grant System will surely come as good news to many students at VPCI. Grade 12 student, Fatimah Nadhum, has welcomed the announcement of “free tuition,” as she states that she is “really pleased to witness such a historic moment. The provincial government is moving in the right direction by not only recognizing that students, especially in Ontario, face huge financial burdens due to student loans, but also acting upon it. The strategy that's being introduced reaffirms the importance of accessible post-secondary education.” Fatimah is just one of the many students in support of Ontario’s “free tuition.” Graduating students should note, however, that the Ontario Student Grant will not come into effect until the 2017-2018 school year. Students attending college or university in September 2016 must rely on OSAP, scholarships, and bursaries to help fund their first year of post-secondary studies. Beginning September 2017, eligible students will be able to make use of the Ontario Student Grant. References


MARCH 2016 |


Mental Illness It is a big deal.

HELEN LI About 20% of adults in Canada will suffer illnesses are often discouraged to seek treatment from a mental health disorder over the course of for their illnesses. Only 1/3 of people with mental their lifetimes. That’s almost five million people. health disorders who are currently working seek Mental health disorders have rapidly help for their illnesses. become more frequent in recent years, affecting people of all ages, incomes, and cultures. In Canada alone, 3.2 million teens (aged twelve to nineteen) are at a risk of developing depression. Nonetheless, there is certainly a stigma surrounding mental illness. In the media, those with mental illnesses are often depicted as unstable, violent, and dangerous. Mental illnesses do not receive the same amount of attention as physical illnesses, although they influence a frightening percentage of the human population. The negative stereotypes around mental health disorders cause unimaginably profound impacts on the lives of those living with these disorders. Mental illnesses are, in a way, “invisible.” Mental health disorders can affect anyone disregarding their income, intelligence, or their social class. The media ostracizes those with mental illnesses, and when they are portrayed, they are often shown to be poor and unintelligent. As a result of this stigma, people with mental

media and their depictions of the mentally ill. Everybody plays a vital role in preventing the stigma surrounding mental illnesses from spreading. People with mental health disorders The negativity around mental health are not unpredictable maniacs in mental asylums. disorders has, without doubt, a strong presence. They are neighbours, workers, and even students. In Canada, 61% of people with mental illnesses They are everywhere. are unemployed. This can be due to the prejudice against those affected. Often, employees are fired, simply due to their mental health conditions. Workers commonly lose their reputation and credibility once their mental health disorders are made public. The continual rejection of those influenced by their disorders is unreasonable, as they often have the credentials and skills for their job. With the media destructively representing people with mental health disorders, and the workplace excluding them, people with serious mental illnesses often do not seek professional aide. It is greatly recommended that people are educated on this issue, as mental illnesses affect a vast number of people. The media must learn about the harmful consequences that their actions have, as youth are exceptionally influenced by the


Citations: "Fast Facts about Mental Illness." Canadian Mental Health Association, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2016. "Stigma and Discrimination." Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario Division, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2016. Whalen, David. "The Stigma Associated With Mental Illness." The Stigma Associated With Mental Illness (n.d.): 1-5. Canadian Mental Health Association. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

The Harsh Reality of “Resumé-Building” ALICE CHENG Whispers of “what did you score on that [subject] test,” “how are you doing in [teacher]’s class,” and “can you tell me your most recent average,” otherwise known as your typical student’s jargon, buzz in my ears as I make my way down the packed hallway. It’s discreet, but persistent, almost as if there was a script permanently suspended in the school atmosphere, and the speaking students the perfectly rehearsed cast - the only thing is, this isn’t a movie.


The script changes frequently; gone are the days where classroom achievements equated to academic success. Now, with an ever increasing range of extra-curricular activities being brought to attention, involvement is all the rage. It doesn’t seem to matter exactly what you’ve done or what the end result will turn out to be, because in the end, the main theme competition - is still being very much embraced. From councils and committees to youth groups and ensembles, the list of extra-curricular options is seemingly endless. With breadth of choice, students are becoming eversusceptible to devoting entire lunchtimes to club meetings or a large chunk of their weekends and after school hours to laboring over the latest initiative for their non-profit organization of which they are a part. Those who still have yet to fully assimilate into the toxic high school culture can immediately sense the absurdity, but for others, it’s become second-nature; the constant pressure to out-do your peers has intrinsically taken root in so many unsuspecting students. As students enter the senior grades, more and more avenues open

up for exploration outside the traditional classroom environment, such as internships and volunteer positions. And, with the job market growing in volatility, more students are seeking an advantage than ever before. This alone plays such a large role in its enticement, and but this only begs the question, when do we do draw the line between extra-curriculars and unnecessarycurriculars? It’s a prevalent happening; students frantically joining every club humanly possible, exerting all of their energy in the process, “spreading themselves thin” in an attempt to fulfill each commitment's roles and responsibilities to the extent where, in the end, all of the extra-curriculars are simply a title to put on a resume or to appeal to post-secondary institutions – or both. It’s time to redefine how we view the nature of extra-curricular activities. While they can definitely be beneficial in terms of providing students with experiences normally not included in the curriculum, it is also important to note the difference between involving oneself in twenty extra-curriculars and dedicating only twenty percent to each, as opposed to whole-heartedly committing a hundred percent to a few select extra-curriculars.

| MARCH 2016


Climate Change An increasing problem AYESHA HASHMI

Climate change has been getting immense amounts of international attention. The previous years have been recorded as the hottest years in history, with Earth’s annual temperature continuing to increase. Evidence from melting glaciers resulting in sea levels rising, endangered ecosystems, and coral reefs dying due to the warming of oceans explain the change in Earth’s climate. As of now, there are two sides to climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claimed in 2007 that “the warming of the Earth’s climate is evident from the observations of the increase in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global sea level as a result of human activities.” Skeptics, however, state that scientists do not understand the climate well enough to make further predictions about the future. Such people know the Earth’s temperature is increasing, but do not believe it is because of human activities. Additionally, they believe that the increase in temperature will create greater benefits than costs. The Pew Research Centre found that Canada is one the 40 countries that understands the dire consequences of global warming and wants to prevent it from getting worse in the future. The research also proposes that Canadians are amongst the least concerned people on the planet about how climate change will affect them personally. The International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that governments should strengthen policies dramatically; otherwise, the world could have an average temperature increase of 2.6°C by 2100 and 3.5°C after 2200. The Independent Union of Concerned Scientists proclaims that due to the melting ice caps, the world’s average temperature is already on its way to exceeding two degrees. This outcome is highly likely as the melting of ice caps cannot be reversed. Canadians should not wait to be told how to slow climate change. Instead, Canadians should make several changes in their lifestyle starting now. It is recommended that Canadians should replace

incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent light bulbs to save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide due to its 60% less energy consumption. We should move our thermostats two degrees down in the winter, and two degrees up in the summer to save about 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. We should be cleaning our furnaces and air conditioner filters to save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, covering pots while cooking to save energy needed for preparing a meal, taking showers instead of a baths to save four times the energy while using less hot water to save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, and much more. Together, we can take small steps to combat climate change, and create a secure place for future generations.


Citations: (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from 5. Canadian Mental Health Association. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.


Panther PRESS


MARCH 2016 |

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT VP's Chamber Choir goes to OVF! AISHA KAHN On Friday, February 26th, 2016, VP’s Chamber Choir, led by Ms. Chang, our talented music teacher, went to the Ontario Vocal Festival (OVF) at Mayfield Secondary School in Caledon, Ontario. The Ontario Vocal Festival is one of the largest choral festivals in North America and is all about the “spirit of voice” as well as promoting an atmosphere for music-sharing. Victoria Park CI’s Chamber Choir were invited to perform at this festival this year and had also attended the event last year. Aisha Khan, a reporter for the Panther Press, had a chance to interview two students, Arushi Arora and Veni Subramanian, members of VP’s Chamber Choir, both in Grade 10, who went to OVF this year. Aisha Kahn: What did you do at OVF? What was the breakdown of the day? Arushi Arora: We went to compete against other schools' choirs. Entering the school's auditorium, we listened to two choirs who each sang three songs. Both choirs were amazing and encouraged us before it was our turn to get on stage. Veni Subramanian: When those groups ended, we were called for our final practice before our performance. After 30 minutes of warm up and practice, we went up on stage and performed three songs. After finishing our performance, our choir had a chance to work with a clinician, a musician who helps improve the group’s abilities, from Edmonton, Alberta. The clinician helped us improve our style of singing and it was a lot of fun. After our time in the clinic, we headed back to the auditorium to listen to 2 more choirs, and then it was the end of our day. AA: We ate lunch, got back to school at 2:30 pm and debriefed about our performance. AK: Was it a competition or a contest or just for fun, friendly face-offs? VS: Nope, it was a competition. However, it would be a lie to say that the competition atmosphere was stressful and competitive because at OVF, it was friendly, exciting, and definitely fun!

AK: What song(s) did you sing? AA: We sang In Flanders Fields by Paul Aitken, Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen by Louis Armstrong, and Voice Dance by Greg Jasperse. AK: I remember In Flanders Fields from when our Choir sang at VP’s Winter Music Night. How did our choir do, in your opinions, at OVF? VS: In my opinion, VP’s Chamber Choir did pretty well. We were extremely nervous at first, but we all ended up having an amazing time. AA: I definitely agree. I feel that our choir did an amazing job in all three of our pieces, and while debriefing after the performance, we got to gather our thoughts about our strengths, weaknesses and next steps. AK: That’s a good thing to do, reflecting. It’s helpful to know where to improve and also to encourage wherever you all did spectacular. Did you go to OVF last year? VS: No, unfortunately, we were not a part of this amazing ensemble in Grade 9. AA: Both of us joined Chamber Choir in Grade 10. So this was our first year attending the event. AK: So “for the first time in forever”…. Alright, going there for the first time, what was your overall impression of OVF? AA: It was an amazing opportunity to listen to and learn from different groups who each sang with unique styles and individual beauty. Since it was a vocal festival, we heard many other different styles in addition to choir. VS: Overall, OVF was an unforgettable experience where we were able to improve our performance abilities and enhance our style of singing. I agree with Arushi that was also wonderful hearing the choirs from other schools and working with the clinician. AK: How were the practices? Were there more practice sessions nearing the date?

VS: The practices for Chamber Choir are always interesting. In order to get energy for one of our songs, we rehearsed while walking around the cafeteria or dancing while singing. Before OVF we didn't have any extra group rehearsals, but many of us had extra sectionals to get ready for the competition. AA: Generally, practises occur on Friday mornings starting at 7:30 am. In addition to this, nearing the performance day, individual and at least 2 sectional practises, for the Sopranos, as far as I know, [since I am a Soprano] had to be arranged in order to get as close to perfect as possible AK: What is VP’s Chamber Choir’s next move? VS: As of now, the next big performance for Chamber Choir is our school's Spring Music Night. AK: I am no doubt looking forward to it! Both of you are definitely passionate and happy to be a part of Chamber Choir. What would you say to a student interested in auditioning to join Chamber Choir at VP? AA: Join choir because it's a great opportunity to let out your inner talent. It's really enjoyable and from my perspective, starting with choir in the morning keeps me going throughout the day with a fresh mind. VS: If any student wants to join chamber choir, I would say just go for it. VP’s Chamber Choir is an amazing ensemble and the atmosphere is always fun and happy. Anyone with a passion for singing should definitely consider auditioning for choir! AK: Thank you both for answering my questions. I, alongside the whole school, cannot wait for your next performance! Good luck!

Ed Decter, the show-runner, oversaw some amazing casting – the actors are physically and emotionally capable of capturing the characters, especially the character of Clary, who was so captivatingly brought to life on the page. Furthermore, the cast is rather diverse, as characters that were never described as POC are played by POC, such as Luke and Isabelle. And despite some of the cast never having worked on screen before, for example Alberto Rosende who plays Simon Lewis, their chemistry with their cast mates is off the charts. The book is an expansive fantasy series, so it’s expected that any adaptation would require a lot of CGI to be effective. Despite that, however, the actors work well with their circumstances and the action looks as realistic as fighting a vampire could possibly look. Speaking of the look of the show, viewers may see some recognizable

landmarks or even themselves in the background of a couple of scenes, because the show was filmed partly in Toronto. Watch Shadowhunters Tuesday at 9 pm on Freeform, or just wait until the next day for the new episode to update on Netflix.

Shadowhunters "All the legends are true" SHEROUK ELASFAR 2016 saw the series premiere of Shadowhunters, a television adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s hit young adult fantasy series The Mortal Instruments. The series, a loose adaptation of the books, has much of the same characters and story elements. The show features teenager Clary Fray and depicts her life as she is slowly introduced to the magical world that existed in her own backyard. Clary Fray’s only troubles were getting into art school – that was until she accidently bumped into the gorgeous Jace Wayland and his demon-hunting friends, the Shadowhunters. Not to mention that she’s the only one who can see him. After her mother is kidnapped Clary finds herself receiving help from the Shadowhunters. As Clary delves deeper into the world of the supernatural, she begins to wonder if she’s going crazy, or finally seeing things clearly.


| MARCH 2016



Sports Spotlight: VPCI Ultimate Club An interview with VPCI Ultimate's very own Amar Dholakia and Parham Rouzbahani MADISON NG One of the sports featured in the array of spring sports offered at VPCI is none other than the new and upcoming sport of Ultimate Frisbee. In its first year, Ultimate has been wildly popular, with the excitement being shared between over 80 club members. Recently, I had the chance to sit down with VPCI Ultimate Club leaders Amar Dholakia and Parham Rouzbahani who discussed the achievements, challenges, and goals in the club and team’s inaugural year. Madison Ng: Could you give us a summary about the club activities and events? Amar Dholakia: Currently, we’re in the off-season until the end of March Break. After [the break] though, I believe the team will take precedence over the club, so make sure you’re up to date with team information. As for the club, we try to get a game going every day at lunch on the track field or the Exit 4 field, weather permitting. MN: What inspired you to take that step forward and legitimize the club? Parham Rouzbahani: With so many students having an obvious passion for the sport, it was about time to form an organized club dedicated to ultimate. With the existence of an ultimate club, players are now able to routinely meet and discuss the bright future of this sport at VPCI, as well as toss a disc and prepare for the ultimate season in the spring of 2016. Ultimately, pun intended, the goal is to gather students with an interest for ultimate and have fun! MN: What are some challenges you’ve faced thus far? What are some future goals? AD: In the past, there hasn’t been much gender diversity, often with males outnumbering the number of females in any given game. That being said, community outreach for both genders is something that has been

improving and [the club] will continue improving, and I think the formation of a Co-Ed Ultimate Team will help in this [aspect] in the coming months. MN: What does it take to be a strong leader in any group situation? PR: A good leader must be able to assemble and lead a team towards a specific goal. This of course requires a combination of social strengths and attributes including: honesty, delegation, communication, confidence, commitment, positivity, intuition, and decisiveness. MN: What advice would you give to anyone interested in trying out for the team, or just playing in general? AD: If anyone is really passionate about anything, whether it be athletics, music, or even academics, I feel like it’s really important to just keep learning and practicing. Set a practical goal and once you’ve reached it, set another one and you’re on the road to improvement. Also, commitment and respect for others are incredibly important when you’re in a group activity or team sport.


Spring into Sports at VP! ARCHSANAN SRIMURUGATHASAN Even though the weather may disagree, spring is finally upon us. Along with the vernal equinox comes the spring sports season, and all the VPCI athletes are ready to prove their potential. With a variety of sports to choose from, there’s always somewhere to find your place in the many VPCI sports teams. If you're looking for more information on some of the teams, read below to find some key details.

to forego this tremendous opportunity. With great support from experienced players and coaches, water polo could be your perfect fit at VP.

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee is an up and coming sport at VPCI. Ultimate Frisbee Club was started this year by Ms. Takahashi and a group of highly interested students, and is growing to be one of the top clubs at VPCI. Along with the Rugby 15s club, Ms. Takahashi is running tryouts for VPCI’s newest team, which is Rugby is an integral part of the VPCI community. Coached by the amazing guaranteed to have great success! Be sure to give Ultimate Frisbee a try! Mr. Larrett-Smith, rugby has thrived at our school. You may have seen It'll be an experience you will never regret! games played on our own home field during the fall season for Rugby 7s. A similar game with more players, Rugby 15s is a fast paced game that is filled with adrenaline for the players and the fans. The team is always PHOTO CREDIT: DARREN SO looking for new players and it could be one of the best experiences you can have at VP. Our rugby teams include Varsity Girls, Junior Boys, and Senior Boys.

Cricket Cricket is entering its second year at VPCI after being resurrected by Mr. Kissell. After last year’s great season, the cricket team is looking to add new members and teach them the popular sport that has gained interest at VP. Cricket could be your opportunity to try something new and it's guaranteed to be an amazing experience. If you want to learn a new sport and new skills while having fun at the same time, be sure to check out VP’s cricket team.

Water Polo Water Polo has been a huge hit at VPCI. Coached by the ever-determined Mr. Lohasz and Ms. Swanson, water polo is a new and exciting experience for a lot of people. VP athletes have proven their ability in the pool on numerous occasions (I'm looking at you, Swim Team!) so there’s no excuse


MARCH 2016 |

SPOTLIGHT Meet Kathleen Liang!

The new Arts and Entertainment Editor ALISHBA NASEER

Alishba Naseer: Tell me a little about yourself. Kathleen Liang: I am currently in Grade 10, and I am really passionate about the arts, more specifically music. I like playing different instruments, such as the piano and the bass clarinet. Aside from music, I really like reading books. Also, I like going on the internet to read Buzzfeed articles and watch YouTube videos. AN: How did you get interested in the Panther Press? KL: In Grade 9, I heard about recruitments for Panther Press through the announcements. I've always wanted to write for a school newspaper, so I thought it sounded really cool! I signed up for a few sections that sounded interesting, including Arts and Entertainment. AN: What are your passions? KL: One of my passions is music. I play a few instruments, and am currently in Music Council and Symphonic Band. Also, I really like to read. The Harry Potter series is

one of my favourites. As well, I like to cook food, but I could definitely be better at it. It's really fun, especially eating the food afterwards. AN: What was the process of becoming an editor? KL: I received an email stating that I would be considered as a potential co-editor for A&E. I had to submit a piece of writing, such as an article, and that's what I did. AN: What new initiatives are you thinking of bringing to this section? KL: One of the initiatives I have in mind is bringing more writers into this section. I think that having more articles on different topics such as book/movie reviews and school events relating to the arts would give a broader range of subject matter to A&E. There would be more opinions and more coverage on events that have happened. Furthermore, I was thinking of having an interview with a teacher in the Arts Department each month. It would help students get to know the different teachers of

different subject areas, like visual arts, dance, drama, and music. AN: How do you think you’ll be able to achieve those? KL: Word of mouth is really useful. Telling friends and classmates to write for the newspaper will bring more writers. Promoting the school newspaper to others and holding another recruitment session is useful. The monthly interview with a teacher could be accomplished by choosing different teachers to write about each month. With that said, I believe that Kathleen will serve as a formidable edition to the Panther Press staff. She has proved to be passionate about her new job by already being equipped with ideas for improvement. We wish her the best of luck in her new position!

So, what is RAK Week exactly? PRISCILLA JOUNG

In order to learn more about RAK Week, I interviewed the current SLC Vice-President, Ridwan Kabir. First off, RAK is an acronym for “Random Act of Kindness.” The main goal of RAK Week is to “[spread] good vibes” and “acts of kindness around the school.” It is a time where students are encouraged to reach out to their fellow peers to boost the atmosphere of a supportive school environment. Kabir says that it is as simple as “hold[ing] a door, say[ing] something nice[,] or simply smil[ing] at [students] in the hall.” Although the exact origin of RAK Week is unknown, Kabir states that “[t]he theme behind RAK has always been a thing in the TDSB.” It is good to know that our school district pushes for events that are simple and yet have positive impacts. To spread the word with

the student body about RAK Week, SLC “communicat[ed] with teachers to bring an all-new friendly-yet-competitive theme.” They used a “RAK O Meter that awarded the homeroom class that spread the most RAK.”

They’ve also hung posters around the school and promoted it at the Friday Event in the cafeteria. RAK Week occurred the week following the week of March Break, and had a lot in store for the students of VPCI. PHOTO CREDIT:HAIKUDECK.COM

| MARCH 2016


Get to know Niroban Jayakumar, VPAC Co-Director ALISHBA NASEER

In light of the various intramural games that have been taking place in VP, I decided to interview the VPAC co-director, Niroban Jayakumar, who is responsible for many of the events. He is a determined and hard-working person, who is passionate about VPAC’s initiative of healthy and active living. Let’s get to know more about him Alishba Naseer: What can you tell us about VPAC? Niroban Jayakumar: VPAC is an amazing council that works very hard. It [is] a group of very dedicated and hard-working students that promotes healthy active living, as well as [the] athletics at our school. There is a lot of behind the scenes when it comes to spirit assemblies, tournaments for sports and even intramurals‌ [The council does] an amazing job promoting health and athletics, as well as making sure the school is involved [in ways] such as using intramurals to engage students in a friendly competition between one another. AN: What are your jobs and responsibilities? NJ: I am currently the Director of Intramural teams and tournaments. For intramurals, I lead the intramural committee with my co,-director Kelly Qin and provide [the] VP student body with multiple sports ranging from dodgeball to indoor soccer. I organize the whole intramural event that occurs throughout the school year. I create the whole intramural schedule for each sport after the teams sign up. I make sure there are VPAC members refereeing the games and that the games are running smoothly [as well as] updating the VPAC wikispace and intramural bulletin board with results, schedules, and scores. For teams and tournaments, I check the schedule for upcoming tournaments and games, and make sure [that] there are VPAC members at the event for scorekeeping or linesmen, as well as assemble a team to set up for the event on time and help run the event smoothly.

with Facebook posts and announcements. We [also] get students to sign up for teams and after [that] I create a master schedule for the tournament, which includes a round robin and play-offs. These games are played at lunch and students have a lot of fun but can get really competitive. The winners of the senior league and junior league receive intramural champs T-shirts and move on to [play] the teachers. AN: What new initiatives are you thinking of bringing into VPAC? NJ: I have managed to provide the students with dodgeball, tug of war, and basketball intramurals. In the following months, I will be pushing for floor hockey and soccer intramural for all the students that [have] been asking, and hope they have a lot of fun. Due to a tight schedule with only 10 months of school, we could only fit [in] a set amount of intramural [sports] and had to leave out some very popular ones like volleyball. I apologize to the volleyball lovers and other sports like badminton for not being able to fit in all the sports for everyone to enjoy. I will be running for the VPAC president position and push for volleyball and any other sport I was not able to provide this year to change up the sports options, instead of intramurals getting repetitive and not as interesting for the student body. There you have it folks, a meeting with your very own VPAC co-director. He has great ideas and initiatives for this and the upcoming years. Be sure to attend the many VP sports events and really show your VP pride. Sports have always been a huge thing here in VP and everyone is always welcome to join.

AN: How have you been running the intramurals? NJ: I run intramurals with a subcommittee that includes 3 directors and 11 general members. We promote the new intramural



MARCH 2016 |

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY When Spooks Can’t Snoop

ANDREW UDERIAN On December 2nd, 2015, Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people at a holiday work party in the Californian city of San Bernardino. Amongst the evidence recovered by the FBI in their ongoing investigation was the iPhone 5c owned by Farook, who, like most smartphone users, secured it with a passcode. While the six-digit key could eventually be guessed by brute-force software, entering more than ten incorrect attempts would result in the phone wiping all data contained within its storage, leaving the FBI's hands tied.

criminals, cryptologists and security experts have warned against them, evoking notions of an Orwellian dystopia. The court order brought the debate to the public eye, with corporations such as Google and Microsoft, and individuals such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and presidential candidate Donald Trump expressing opinions on the case. While other corporations may cede to federal demands, should Apple win its legal battle, it will set a precedent for civilians to have a right to protect their data, even from the government.

In order to circumvent the safety measures embedded within Apple's iOS 9, which Farook's iPhone is running, the Los Angeles US Attorney's Office filed a court order demanding the tech giant's involvement in the investigation. However, Apple has stated since iOS 8 it has been impossible to forcibly bypass the passcode on one of its devices as the company no longer stores their encryption keys. Responding to the order, Apple CEO Tim Cook published an open letter on the company's website, stating "[The US Government has] asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.” According to the executive, in order to allow the FBI to unlock Farook's device Apple would be required to build a custom version of iOS and install it on the shooter's iPhone, disabling the security features that are keeping the federal organization out. Arguing the creation of such a piece of software would be the equivalent of a master key to all iOS devices, the CEO declined to assist the FBI in its investigation. Government backdoors in encryption technologies have been long-debated. While proponents argue backdoors would help catch


WORKS CITED Clover, Judi. "Apple Reiterates Inability to Unlock IOS Devices Running IOS 8 or Higher in New Court Filing." MacRumors. MacRumors, LLC, 20 Oct. 2015. Web. 07 Mar. 2016. Cook, Tim. "A Message to Our Customers." Letter to Apple Customers. 16 Feb. 2016. Apple. Apple Inc., 16 Feb. 2016. Web. 07 Mar. 2016. Goffard, Christopher. "They Met Online, Built a Life in San Bernardino — and Silently Planned a Massacre." Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing, 5 Dec. 2016. Web. 07 Mar. 2016. Statt, Nick. "Judge Says Apple Must Help the FBI Break into San Bernardino Shooter's IPhone." The Verge. Vox Media, 16 Feb. 2016. Web. 7 Mar. 2016. Vincent, James. "Tim Cook: Apple Will Fight US Demands to Build an IPhone Backdoor." The Verge. Vox Media, 17 Feb. 2016. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.

Mercury Revealed to have Crust of Carbon SIMON LIU Messenger, NASA’s Mercury-faring spacecraft, was launched on August 3rd, 2004 with a mission goal to understand Mercury, the densest and least-explored of the terrestrial planets. Having arrived, the spacecraft orbited Mercury and gathered data between 2011 and 2015.

The surface of Mercury is noticeably dark and scientists now believe they know the reason why. After analyzing data gathered by Messenger, the darkening agent found in Mercury’s surface appears to be the same substance that is found in an ordinary pencil – graphite. Today, not all of Mercury’s landscape is dark and carbon-rich, but scientists analyzing data from the spacecraft believe the planet's primordial crust was coated in graphite billions of years ago. However, due to volcanism and other geological processes, only small pockets of the original crust are exposed in the present. Patrick Peplowski, from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, stated, “If we’ve really identified the remains of Mercury’s original crust, then understanding its properties provides a means for understanding Mercury’s earliest history.” While the discovery has seemingly few applications on Earth, understanding the composition of the least-explored terrestrial planet in the solar system creates the possibility of further venturing to Mercury, perhaps even delving into its depths. PHOTO CREDIT: THE VERGE

WORKS CITED "Dark Mercury's 'pencil Lead Crust' Revealed - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 7 Mar. 2016. Web. 08 Mar. 2016. <>. NASA. NASA, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2016. <>.

| MARCH 2016




I stood there my heart beating wildly, I felt like rubbing my eyes to make sure this was actually real. She was standing in front of me, like literally in front of me. She was dressed in her usual style, bleached blond hair and large eyes. It was incredible, the fact that she came, even after all we had been through… The truth had been hard for us to face, to put it plainly she was into shuojo and I was into shounen, it had been hard having the same passion but from so far away, like two strangers looking at each other across a great lake. To say the truth, I had loved her for three years, ever since the first time I saw her in her cosplay I knew there was nobody else for me. Though she never knew who I was, the entire time she barely talked to me, but seeing her eyes light up when she talked about the latest volume of Kimi wa pet with her friends warmed my heart. But I knew that this was going to be hard, especially when I decided that I had to take the first step and go into her world. It was complex in the beginning, why did the girl always blush so easily and why were the boys always so dense? Sometimes I felt like running to the author’s house (even if it was in Japan) and demand them to write a better volume. I guess that is what I have to thank for my success now. I was so frustrated with the stuff I was reading that I started to draw my own. At first it was for personal satisfaction, but then I realized that I had a hand for drawing. So I was pleasantly surprised when my parents said that my manuscript (which I had sent in a bout of confidence) had actually been accepted by a company which was set on hiring me. I was ecstatic, until I realized that this meant I had to leave my life here and go back. The three soon to be four years that I had loved her for had been from behind corners and from at least a distance of two meters. Those few years I had loved her enough to buy her presents on her birthday, Valentine's Day, Christmas and other occasions. I had purchased everything from perfume to dresses that I knew she would look great in (no I’m not a stalker). However I always lost my courage right before I could give it to her. I am so glad I live alone because if my mother walked into my room she would probably feel I was cross-dressing. But she was still ecstatic when I told her that I bought all this stuff as presents for her and my family. Back to this moment, I had decided to go and pursue my future, not before I had tied loose ends though. So I slipped a letter into her locker asking her to come (to a particular location) after school, so here I stand amazed that she actually showed up. Nervous as hell, I pull out my letter give it to her and start to recite it. Maria, when you hear this I don’t want you to run away, just stand here, don’t say anything and wait until I am finished. The truth is that I have loved you for three years and wanted to tell you this because I think that you are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen, the way you are so passionate about the things you like makes me like you more. I know you have a hard time at school because not everyone understands your passion, but I do. So I wanted to tell you that you make me feel like there are butterflies filing in my heart every time you step into the room; that you always seem to be glowing when I see you and that even though you probably don’t know my name that I know you, not because I am creepy but because we are so similar. I truly feel that we are made for each other. The reason why I am telling you this right now is because I am going to be leaving this country in two weeks to go and become a manga artist. I hope that you will remember me, not as the awkward transfer student that didn’t talk, but as the boy who loved you and will even when you turn old. I want to say so many things but I will leave it at this, if you ever open a manga and feel your heart speed up, I want you to think that this might be my drawings. I hope you have a long and happy life because I know that this is probably the last time I am seeing you. Sincerely thank you for being the way you are and for being my first love. She is just standing there; I don’t know what should I do? Did she not like it? Is my grammar ok? No she must think I’m creepy now! I should never have done this, she definitely thinks I am strange, oh no what if she thinks I am trying to make fun of her? I have to leave. “Thank you for listening to me, you don’t have to reply if you don’t want to” “Um Roy I really just need some time to think about this” Well at least she didn't reject me right away… “Yes sure take all the time you need” “Thank you for the wonderful letter though” “Oh would you like to keep it” “No I am ok” “Alright then I guess I will see you around” “Yeah, ok then, bye Roy” And she is gone……..what did I just do…

Robots Don’t Have Feelings SHEROUK ELASFAR

Felicity X saw how the world developed from year 2087 to the current year 2216, from the Hovering Boards 2.0 to the floating vehicles, but she’s never felt anything; robots don’t have feelings. “Good Morning, Master! I’m Felicity X, your robot assistant. Robots don’t feel.” Felicity X, welcomed her master like every morning and continued on with her normal daily routine. She unplugged herself from her charger, cooked breakfast, did chores, cooked lunch, continued outside chores, cooked dinner, finished chores, and re-plugged herself in the charger. Felicity X repeated this routine every day for the past 130 years. Every single day except that one afternoon at 2:21. Felicity X was in the process of finishing up her outside chores in the garden. Then it happened. Felicity X spotted a robot on the other side of the garden. All of a sudden, Felicity X forgot all about her chores and tasks. Felicity X could only think about the other robot. Over the course of the next week, Felicity X spent most of her time in the garden thinking she’d spot her dream robot again. However, that thought only remained a wish. Since that morning, Felicity X did not see the other robot, not even a single glimpse of him anywhere. To her surprise, Felicity X thought she started to feel, but that was a crazy thought because after all, robots don’t feel. Felicity X’s master started to notice some changes in Felicity X’s actions as her chores got sloppier by the day, and she’d been burning his meals more often than ever. Reading over the manual, he decided to give her a break. Felicity X spent her break in the garden, waiting, again for a sight of the robot she had started to feel for, but yet again, nothing. Felicity X began to notice some changes too. She had no clue how to react. Felicity X searched on her Program Software, How to feel? “CODE RED!” an inner system voice yelled inside Felicity X, she didn’t know what to do. “ROBOTS DON’T HAVE FEELINGS! ROBOTS DON’T HAVE FEELINGS!” the voice kept repeating. Felicity X did the only thing she could think of. She wiped her entire database, resetting herself. “Good Morning, Master! I’m Felicity X, your robot assistant. Robots don’t feel.” Felicity X said.


MARCH 2016 |





I am useless.

Music played Out loud Fills the air around me.

None of those around me have ever said I have accomplished great tasks to be proud of. Why is everyone else better than me, stronger than me, smarter than me? I no longer think about the opportunities that could create an infinite path. The only pictures in my head are my past humiliations, all of my failures. Why should I even care about

I drop the headphones Somewhere between 5th street And an A minor chord From the string base and The violins. Winter is coming. The frost tipped grassCrystals in the sun, Are fading by the light.

Moments of achievement. I have

Winds blow the tune back to me. Out my mouth pours a song.

Times when nobody is there for me. And there will never be people who honestly love me. I know there will always be fear. So I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let myself fall into that misguided sensation of hope.

It is a twinkling thing An Anthesis against the background But the beat is the sameIn time with my steps. Music played In silence Fills my soul within.

When I become lost, there is nothing I can do. Even though sometimes I feel there is a chance for success I let myself believe there is no possible way to make it through. Why would I have


Here we stand once again before the coffee shop. Should we go in or should we just stop Is it too late, has the moment passed us by Is there any hope for us to wait and try? Uncertainty flows and burns through our veins Maybe we can sit and recount our old gains It does sound nice but where do we start All that truly matters is that it came for the heart Ironic as we stand longing for what we lost (almost had) We turned to dust as you and I turn to frost (oops my bad) A breeze picks my coat and chills me to the spine You extend (/take) your (/my) arm always a gentleman (/lady) so fine Pay for a table for us to rest and to dine Eat enjoy, how when you talk your eyes shine I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe you were almost mine

| MARCH 2016




MARCH Horoscopes



Most cities in Canada have obsolete laws, but some of them seem strange or downright funny. Here are some examples of some strange Canadian laws.

Aries (March 21 – April 19) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever.

* In Nova Scotia, you’re not allowed to water the lawn when it’s raining. * In Toronto, it is illegal to drag a dead horse on Yonge Street on Sunday. * In Vancouver, it is illegal to ride a tricycle over 15 km/h. * It is illegal to kill a Sasquatch in British Columbia. * In Alberta, wooden logs are not allowed to be painted. * Owning a baby walker can result in a fine of $10,000 and jail time.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever.

Weird Canada The laws aren’t the only strange things about Canada. * The first UFO was built in Alberta. * 77% of the world’s maple syrup is made in Quebec. * Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake is the name of a lake in Manitoba. * The World’s longest beard (2.5m) belongs to Canada’s Sarwan Singh. * Canada has more lakes than all the other countries combined. * The longest beaver dam (850m) is found in Canada. * Every year there are 247 car accidents involving moose. * Every year in Nanaimo,BC there is an aquatic bathtub race.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever. Cancer (June 21 – Aug 22) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever. Leo (July 23 – August 22) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever. Virgo (August 23 – September 22) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever. Libra (September 23 – October 22) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever. Scorpio (Oct 23 – Nov 21) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever. Sagittarius (October 23 – November 21) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever. Capricorn (December 22 –January 19) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever.

Source: Uncle John’s Extra Large Bathroom reader (2013)

Storm Watch: A Game BY SANDY YI

Aquarius (Jan 20 – February 18) The position of the stars and planets will not affect your life in any way, shape, or form, whatsoever.

Players: 5 or more Materials: None Depending on the size of the room, any number of players can enjoy this game. Name the four sides of the room after the four points on a compass: North, South, East, and West. Four players - the Weathervanes - choose a side and stand there. One player is the Wind and stands in the centre of the room. The game begins when the Wind points to one side of the room, calls out a direction, and all the Weathervanes immediately face the opposite direction. For example, if the Wind calls “North!” the Weathervanes must face South. If she shouts “East!” the Weathervanes all turn West. If she shouts “Variable!” the Weathervanes stand on their toes and sway back and forth. Finally, if the Wind shouts “Storm!” all Weathervanes must spin around three times and stop. Of course, these directions come fast and furiously, and any player who slips up or disobeys a command from the Wind is out of the game. The last remaining player wins. Vecchione, G. (1999). Kids' games. New York: Sterling Pub.


MARCH 2016 |




Dear Tori, When I was younger, I was always so happy and confident in my own skin, but during these past few years I’ve been feeling really down. In the beginning, I didn’t really consider it to be that big of a problem because I thought it was totally normal. Though lately, I’m not all that sure. I’ve been finding it difficult to talk to people because I’m scared they won’t like me and I’ve stopped doing a bunch of things that I used to love because they don’t really seem to matter anymore. I know that mood swings and changing interests are a part of growing up, but I think there’s more to it than that. I don’t know how to deal with this. Please help! - Anxious Dear Anxious, Growing up can be tricky, and that’s how almost everyone feels about it. That being said, there is a point at which the nagging voice inside your head is more than just that. If you feel as though what you’re going through is not the same as most people, the best thing you can do is trust your judgment and seek help from someone. I’m glad you’ve taken this step by acknowledging there’s a problem. You’re already halfway there. If you’re finding it difficult to talk to people, it’s likely that the problem is your self-confidence, or lack-thereof. You may have heard people tell you to “just believe in yourself,” but at the end of the day, it’s just not that simple. Developing confidence can take some time and it may seem like an impossible task, but with some time, you’ll be able to do it. I suggest that you take some time to discover what you’re really good at. Everyone has a talent, and when you find yours, you’ll feel unique and realize that you’re capable of doing something great! This in turn will encourage you to believe in yourself, and over time, you’ll develop that allimportant self confidence. Now, I know you mentioned that you no longer have an interest in doing the things you used to love, so what would motivate you to take this step? Well, this is the hard part. You need to push yourself. For this to work, you need to want to help yourself. By writing to me, it’s clear that you want to be happy, so with a little bit of trust and some work on your part, it can happen. I want to be clear. This situation probably requires a little bit more than a speculative response. As someone who doesn’t know about what’s going on in your life, my suggestions won’t be as beneficial as you talking to a qualified professional. Guidance counsellors are available to you, and if that’s not something that you’re comfortable with, the Kid’s Help Phone is free and available 24/7. Though it’s a little bit scary, growing up can be an amazing experience. I hope that someday soon, you’ll be able to see that. - Tori

Dear Tori, I’ve never been the type to dress really nicely or wear makeup to school every day, and that was totally fine up until I came to high school. I began to notice that there’s a really big difference between how my friends dress and how I dress. I don’t know that much about fashion, and even if I did, I don’t have enough money to keep up with the trends. Sometimes my friends tease me for looking a bit frumpy, and I know they don’t mean to hurt my feelings but I can’t help but feel a little bit put off. I know that fitting in isn’t the most important thing in the world, but I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb everywhere I go. What am I supposed to do? - Sticking out Dear Sticking out, I’m sure you’ve heard that looks aren’t everything, and in your predicament the phrase probably means nothing to you, but it is the truth. You are allowed to wear what makes you feel comfortable and what represents you. It doesn’t matter if everyone else looks a certain way because that isn’t necessarily you. You don’t need to sacrifice your individuality in order to conform to people who don’t respect your decisions. It may seem like everyone dresses a certain way, but there are others who dare to be different and love it. If you don’t know that much about fashion, and really don’t care to, it’s not worth your time or money trying to figure it out. People will always find something to complain about and if you change yourself because of it every single time, you’ll lose your uniqueness. My experience with friends dictates that more often than not, they don’t realize the damage they’re doing when they joke around by calling you names. It seems to me you’ve drawn a similar conclusion, so why don’t you just talk to them about it? Being open with friends can get a little bit awkward, and maybe it doesn’t seem worth the trouble, but it definitely is. Try to think about it like this: if your friend felt bad about something you did or said, would you rather have them not confront you about it and continue feeling bad, or talk to you to straighten things out? When you care about your friends, you want them to be happy so I’m sure your friends would want you to talk to them. By doing this, you’ll also set a precedent for the next time one of your friends feels bad about something. They’ll know that it’s okay to talk about it, and you guys will become even closer. Your situation can be fixed very easily without you needing to change yourself. Keep in mind that you do not need to look a certain way to be cool, or pretty, or to fit in with anyone. You are great as you are, and absolutely nobody should be allowed to tell you to change just to fit their standards. If you’re true to yourself and open with those you love, all else will follow. - Tori


Dear Tori, I’ve been friends with this girl since elementary school, and we’ve always been really close. Recently, she’s been borrowing money from me, but not paying me back properly. At the beginning, I didn’t really mind, but now it’s getting to be a bit too much. I don’t want to offend her because I know that money can be a sensitive issue, but at the same time I really want to talk to her about it. What should I do? - Puzzled Dear Puzzled, True friends are always there for one another and always do their best to help each other out. You’ve clearly done your part — it’s kind and trusting of you to lend money to your friend. Now she must fulfill her role by paying you back. I know it probably doesn’t seem like a comfortable conversation, though I’m glad you’re willing to take that step of talking to her. Where to begin? Well, the answer may be simpler than you think. Maybe she’s unaware of the fact that she’s not paying you back properly. Just confront her about it. There’s really no use in beating around the bush because it’ll probably make the conversation seem as though it’s a bigger deal than it really is. I suggest telling her that she still owes you, and I urge you to stand strong even if she insists that she doesn’t. As long as you’re sure, you shouldn’t back down. It’s also a good idea to avoid lending her any more money until she pays you back in full. It doesn’t even matter if she promises that she will. She should prove it before you end up losing any more. Of course, the possibility remains that she insists that she owes you nothing, or that she continues to say she’ll pay you back without actually doing so. In a situation like that, the best thing that you can do is learn from your mistake. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be her friend anymore, or that she’s a bad person. It just means she doesn’t hold herself to the level of accountability one requires for you to lend your money. I’d recommend that you refuse to give her any more money, and that you’re explicit in your reasoning for it. She’ll learn to stop asking you, and perhaps it will encourage her to make smarter decisions in the future. Asserting yourself is important, so this is a conversation you need to have. As long as you hold your ground and make responsible decisions, all will work out. Best of luck! - Tori




| MARCH 2016



Editorial: The prevalence of shadeism in the media ASHRAY JANI & FRANCES TACARDON The Editorial section of the Panther Press will reflect the intended nature of the editorial, which is an opinion piece that takes a position on certain topics. As always we are open to feedback and suggestions. If you would like to contact us, please email or submit a comment at Not many people know of the topic, but VP’s Black History Month presentation was able to thoroughly explain it to us. We are now aware of how this issue is apparent within the communities of people of colour. The issue, shadeism, is discrimination based on one’s shade of skin colour. In many communities, being fair-skinned is often idealized and desired by many while dark skin is much less appreciated. This prejudice mindset has been alive throughout history in places like Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. Integrated within the culture of many societies is a system that links one’s social class with one’s skin colour. Essentially, people would miss out on opportunities due to the colour of their skin. This mindset has only been worsened throughout history by colonialism, slavery, and racism, and still affects many people to this day. Bleaching products to make one’s skin tone lighter, for example, are advertised globally. For many, this is a problem because it is seen as being unable to embrace one’s own skin tone.

In the media, there is a significant lack of representation of dark skinned people because most on-screen characters are played by fair-skinned actors/actresses. An example of this is Zoe Saldana’s casting as Nina Simone in the biopic Nina about the influential artist’s life. The issue is that Nina Simone, a dark-skinned woman, is being played by Saldana, who is a light-skinned woman of colour. Saldana’s casting is an issue for two major reasons. Firstly, a naturally dark skinned woman could have been easily suited to play Nina. Secondly, the fact that Saldana is a woman of colour putting on “blackface” to play another woman of colour is questionable. Though, some may argue that Saldana herself is a victim of shadeism as a result of the backlash she is receiving. This point of view considers that because Saldana isn’t black enough to play Simone, this disregards her skills and capability of playing the role simply because of her skin colour. Since the beginning of film, white actors and actresses have been playing people of colour. The issue of blackface is definitely not something new. The specific trend of actors playing “blackface,” in which makeup is used to play a black person, dates as far back as the 19th century where blackface was prominent in American and British entertainment. Blackface, which was used in cartoons and theatre performances, created and promoted racist stereotypes and attitudes towards black people. Some cartoons that


Panther PRESS


augmented these racist stereotypes were created by animators of Walt Disney and Looney Tunes! Many protests of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s were successful in stopping blackface from being aired on television, but the trend still continues to this day even with other races. A few examples are as follows: in 1964 Burt Lancaster, a white actor, played a Native American soldier in Apache, and in 2012 James D’Arcy played a Korean man in Cloud Atlas. This year’s Academy Awards was seen as being ‘too white’ because it was the second year in a row in which only white actors were nominated. The film Creed was written and directed by Ryan Coogler and starred main actor Michael B. Jordan, who are both black American men. However, Sylvester Stallone, a white actor, was the only Oscar nominee for this movie. At the Panther Press, your Editorial Team believes that it is the responsibility of the media to implement diversity by valuing the representation of dark-skinned actors and actresses in films. It’s important for people to see the representation of their races and shades of colour. Even then, representation is not enough. It can no longer be that certain races and shades are depicted only through stereotypical roles or story lines. Diversity in the media is also necessary in moulding the youth of today. When the media is such an influential outlet to youth, what they see is what shapes their perception of the world.


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March 2016  
March 2016