Page 1


Page 1: Obama Romney Article

Shannon Byrne’s Journalism Portfolio

Page 2: FCS Article Page 3-4: Breast Cancer Awareness Page 5-6: Negatives of Social Media Page 7-8: Living Lenape Page 9-10: Love Lines Page 11-12: Self-Harm Awareness Page 13-14: Stress Awareness


In the last few weeks of the election year there were still many undecided voters, quite a few of them in the very halls of Neshaminy High School. Our current president Barack Obama and the nation-renowned flip-flopper, Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, have been neck and neck since the embarrassing first presidential debate. Of course, I know my candidate was asleep the entire time, but I’d take Sleepy over Dopey any day. I want to discuss education; since it is something I’m very concerned with and would absolutely affect my vote if I were to be participating in this election. Education is a huge part of every single one of our lives, especially for our outgoing seniors who need to be thinking about the quality and cost of education. When asked by a student about the availability of jobs for kids with college degrees and how it would be fixed Romney said he would, if elected president, make college easier to afford by keeping the Pell Grant and loan program growing and make sure jobs are available to graduates. As per usual, there is no explanation whatsoever on how he would actually accomplish these goals, just a glazed over idea with no substance, but said with a, I believe, false compassion and we as Americans eat it up. In this country anything can be said, it’s one of the beautiful things about our country, however, anything looks pretty and perfect with the right arrangement and wrapping. Not to mention he appointed a potential vice president, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose major claim to fame was his budget that, according to the Huffington Post, would “cut federal spending by 20 percent, 77 percent of the 1,500-plus school districts that rely on federal funds for 20 percent or more of their annual revenue could wind up losing millions.” Now, if Romney cared so much about America’s education system, then why would he appoint a vice president who would, if elected, strip school districts of various programs and classes that are educating our nations’ youth? And let’s not forget, this same budget, according to the American Progress Fund, would, “slash more than $15 billion of mandatory and discretionary funding from the Pell grant program beginning next year.” For those of you who don’t know that’s a 42 percent cut to a grant that is designed to help low-income students pay their ridiculous tuition costs. Another little fun fact this grant can give up to $5,500 to an individual student. This budget would deny this grant to more than one million students, reduce existing Pell grants by $1,500 per year, and would add thousands and thousands of dollars in loan debt to college students and their families. I believe that presidential elections have become more and more unimportant to young voters. You are the future of our country and the way young voters are taking these elections with a grain of salt and voting for whoever their parents are voting for, if they’re even voting, is terrifying.Mitt Romney, along with his VP, would strip you of the opportunity to be able to attend the college of your dreams, possess a degree of higher education (that is essential for financial stability in this country) and not be in debt for the rest of your life.Our President should be someone who is concerned with our countrys education and our future, which is why President Obama is a perfect match.

I also wrote this my junior year as a staff writer. I was involved in the FCS Major and was really happy and proud to be with a group of people so devoted to helping others. It felt like a team that was formed to change the community in whatever way we could. Mrs. Macauley was one of the most generous and kind individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I was proud to be in her class. I was frustrated with the Interact club getting all of this attention for not doing much of anything. The Interact club acted as a gateway to community service outside of the school whereas, the FCS Major didd everything in class as a team which I feel inspired more people to participate. It was more convenitent so more got done. I wanted to highlight the fact that I felt FCS was more beneficial to the community than Interact becuase everyone worked together. It never felt like we were a team when I was in Interact. community responsibilities. However when the class moved up to the High School along with the freshman classes the class itself changed. Service Learning Club began in TLC, but with the buildings’ close the club went away with it. However, High School Principle Dr. McGee wanted to continue to offer this opportunity to these students so Mrs. Macauley and Ms. Romano took over and brought it to the main building. In Macauley and Romano’s Service Learning Club students take the lead to discover the needs in their community or even globally. The students work together to figure out how they can help on their own. The advisors are there to help and guide the students in any way they can, but refrain from telling them what to do. SLC meets every other Wednesday in room C117 and are always looking for new nice and compassionate students to take the lead in their community.

I wrote this article my Junior year as a staff writer. I remember that this was just at the beginning of my interest in politics. I was a follower during the 2008 election, but didn’t truly understand the game until Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012. I rememebr being very angry about the election and Romney’s tnedency to flip flop and the wat his VP Nom. Paul Ryan felt about education and was immensely disappointed in his budget plan, which would rip money away from the education system. So I wrote this article to make the students going away to college aware of who they would be electing and the effect it would have on their ability to finance higher education.

This class and club have made a significant impact on the Kelly Macauley is a teacher and Department Chair for the community surrounding the High School. FCS frequently visits Woods Family and Consumer Science department of Neshaminy High School.Services and the Attleboro Nursing Home and packages meals for the She teaches Nutrition and the FCS Major and, alongside Ms. Roma- well-known Aid for Friends, who provide meals to local elderly who no, organizes and supervises the brand new Service Learning Club at do not have the means to prepare or buy good wholesome meals. Neshaminy. Macauley wants her students to learn civic responsibility, Mrs. Macauley believes that as a member of this communi- teamwork, leadership, and selflessness with her guidance in hopes that ty “everyone has a personal responsibility to try and make someone it will teach them service which she believes “is a life skill that helps else’s life better by whatever means they can.” This philosophy is people appreciate their own circumstances, develop empathy, and something she tries to bring into her classes to make her students want grow personally, socially, and ethically.” to make a difference in their community while making lasting friendships through creative collaboration and using their “group genius” to Community Service not only looks good on a college help others. application, but can make one feel a personal sense of fulfillment and reward for making someone else’s life better. I have only been a part The increasingly popular FCS Major, according to Macauley, of this class for a short while, but I already feel as if I’ve made a dif“focuses on character education and leadership.” The FCS Major orig- ference, however small it may be, in my community and it truly does inally started as a 9th grade elective back when the freshman were still make me appreciate what I do have in my own life and what I can at the middle schools, and was created to be an introductory course to bring to someone else’s to make them feel even just a little happier. preview the different electives available at the High School. Mrs. Macauley is not only an exceptional teacher and guide, The classes’ old curriculum covered the four major areas of but a truly commendable human being and inspiration that Neshaminy the FCS standards: child development, financial and resource manand its student body are lucky to have as a role model. agement, food science and nutrition, and balancing family, work, and


The Playwickian

Special Features

October 23, 2013

October 23, 2013

The Playwickian

Breast Cancer Awareness Celebrities affected promote self-examination By Emmaleigh McNally Staff Writer October is breast cancer awareness month. Many people have died from breast cancer, but there are always survivors. Even celebrities like Olivia Newton-John, Giuliana Rancic from E! News, Sheryl Crow, Robin Roberts from Good Morning America and Angelina Jolie were all diagnosed or threatened with breast cancer at one point in their lives. Some of the celebrities looked into their diagnosis of breast cancer repeatedly; Olivia Newton-John told “Everyday Health,” “I was diagnosed in 1992 after a selfexamination, which led me to my doctor for further testing. I wasn’t feeling right, and I had found lumps before, but this time, it just felt different.” “My doctor recommended a mammogram, which was negative, but my instincts were telling me that something wasn’t right. From there, we did a needle Photo/ MCT Campus biopsy, which also was negative. After a surgical biopsy, they found the cancer,” Newtown-John said. “I don’t tell the story to scare people but to really stress the importance of knowing your own body and trusting your instincts. This is the very reason I am now such a big supporter of monthly breast self-exams.” Another celebrity who thought she would be diagnosed with breast cancer, Giuliana Rancic told E! News “I think being diagnosed with breast cancer was a part of God’s plan for me to help me be aware that it can happen, and that Photo/ MCT Campus I should have taken care of it before hand, but I didn’t.” Several celebrities were even shocked about their diagnosis. Country singer Sheryl Crow was not expecting the diagnosis. “’Someone like me shouldn’t be diagnosed with breast cancer. That was going through my mind. I wasn’t thinking about the diagnosis. It was a shock,” Crow told Bloomingdale’s Pink Book. Robin Roberts from “Good Morning America” was asked to write a book about how her life was going to change after being diagnosed with cancer. “I was asked to write a book about my experience with cancer. I respectfully declined the offer. Cancer is just a chapter in my life, and it won’t be the last chapter, ” Roberts told “People Magazine.” Angelina Jolie, an actress who was not even diagnosed with breast cancer made sure she took care of the possibility of being diagnosed with cancer when she found out she had an 87 percent chance of getting breast cancer. Jolie’s mastectomy lowered her chances of developing breast cancer to under five percent and testing of the removed breast tissue showed no signs of cancerous cells. On April 27, Jolie had reconstructive surgery involving implants and allografts, a preventive oophorectomy, as she still has a 50 percent risk of developing ovarian cancer due to the same genetic anomaly. “I choose not to keep my story private Photo/ MCT Campus because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer,” Jolie told “The New York Times.” “ It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too will know that they have strong options. And having a mother that had died from cancer at such a young age was really hard and I couldn’t do that to my children. I don’t think any mother can.” So many people deal with breast cancer, warn the ones you care about deeply. Breast cancer can happen to anyone.

Heckman nurse struggles with Breast Cancer

Fun-loving nature prevails By Shealyn Miles Special Features Editor

Oliver Heckman Elementary school’s nurse for twenty years and counting, Jeanne Drake is not only a diligent worker and a strong proponent of community service, but she is also a breast cancer survivor. Drake’s daughter, Neshaminy High School teacher and Interact adviser, Suzi Drake shares her experience. Diagnosed in 1997, J. Drake went through a year of treatment. With a course of radiation and chemotherapy, she, like most cancer patients, lost her hair. Despite these troubles, S. Drake describes a light- hearted, kind woman who “did not ever play the sick card.” According to S. Drake the largest annoyance for her mother was that her hair did not grow back in as curly as she had hoped. Drake believes that it was her mother’s sense of humor that really aided her in her struggle. At the age of 72, to this day she keeps herself busy with work and church, she’s a member of the deacon board. Students at Neshaminy high school and beyond may very well remember the same, fun nurse that remains there today. S. Drake’s love for service can be credited to her mother. Drake explains that being “raised in a family that did community service made her the person that she is today.” The Drake family continues to donate their time to those in need, especially breast cancer patients. Drake does the survivor walk every year, explaining that it does “make her emotional.” Luckily, J. Drake’s illness was caught early. Suzi Drake expresses the importance of regular mammograms. With breast cancer running in her family, she is okay with the fact that she may have to travel that path one day, with thanks to early recognition and treatment. “This month shows how strong women are,” Drake said. She describes a mother as the central element of a family, the one that holds them together, even though the tough times. It comes as no surprise that these are her thoughts, with a mother as strong as J. Drake.

Did you know? -In 2013, there is projected to be 232,340 cases of breast cancer diagnosed. Within the number of diagnosed cases, about 39,620 of those people will die. -There is about 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. currently. -The rate of invasive breast cancer for Pennsylvania is 126 per 100,000 women. The mortality rate being 24 in 100,000. -1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime

Highest Breast Cancer stricken countries for 2010: Iceland: Denmark: Belgium: New Zealand: Ireland: Hungary: United Kingdom: Germany: Canada:

Photo/ MCT Campus

This is the first page I put together my Senior year as the Special Features Editor with my co-editor Shea. Breast Cancer Awareness was something Special Features had done for years, but we thought we could make it more visually pleasing. We incorporated more pictures and statistics and hopefully made it a more attractive page.

39.4 per 100,000 women 30.4 per 100,000 women 28.7 per 100,000 women 28 per 100,000 women 27.5 per 100,000 women 26.6 per 100,000 women 26 per 100,000 women 23.5 per 100,000 women 22.6 per 100,000 women

Dig Pink: By Shannon Byrne Special Features Editor On Monday, Sept. 23 at 7:00 PM the varsity Neshaminy Girls’ volleyball team and their coach of seven years, Kate Livingstone, participated in Council Rock North’s annual Dig Pink match. The Dig Pink match is a breast cancer awareness fundraiser for the Dig Pink Foundation and the Healing Consciousness Foundation. The Dig Pink Foundation is a national volleyball breast cancer organization, devoted to raising awareness and funds for medical research. The Healing Consciousness Foundation reaches out to people affected by breast cancer and offers them counseling and minor health treatments. “Breast cancer is too prevalent of a disease; we need to change our perspective because it may be our own fault.” Coach Livingstone said when asked why people should care about this cause. Although, Coach Livingstone has no personal connection with the disease many of the girls on her team do. According to Livingstone, the diagnosed family members who attended the game were very emotional. “It’s very encouraging for the people affected to not feel alone, and this event

Special Features

The impact of Breast Cancer isn’t all bad; Neshaminy High School is doing their part to raise awareness in a fun and positive way. Neshaminy and its inhabitants have either supported the cause through fundraisers, sports events, and even clothing choice, but may have also had very real and personal experiences with this disease.

Varsity volleyball supports breast cancer awareness hopes to raise awareness for that reason.” Coach Livingstone felt the event went great she stated that, “It was cool to see our kids have fun and support the cause too.” The event raised about $1,200 for the Healing Consciousness Foundation (the

most money Council Rock North has ever raised). Coach Livingstone was so inspired by this organization that she is planning on bringing the match to Neshaminy’s own gymnasium in the coming years.

On Monday, Sept. 23 at 7:00 PM the varsity Neshaminy Girls’ volleyball team and their coach of seven years, Kate Livingstone, participated in Council Rock North’s annual Dig Pink match. The Dig Pink match is a breast cancer awareness fundraiser for the Dig Pink Foundation and the Healing Consciousness Foundation. The Dig Pink Foundation is a national volleyball breast cancer organization, devoted to raising awareness and funds for medical research. The Healing Consciousness Foundation reaches out to people affected by breast cancer and offers them counseling and minor health treatments. “Breast cancer is too prevalent of a disease; we need to change our perspective because it may be our own fault.” Coach Livingstone said when asked why people should care about this cause. Although, Coach Livingstone has no personal connection with the disease many of the girls on her team do. According to Livingstone, the diagnosed family members who attended the game were very emotional. “It’s very encouraging for the people affected to not feel alone, and this event hopes to raise awareness for that reason.” Coach Livingstone felt the event went great she stated that, “It was cool to see our kids have fun and support the cause too.”

The Neshaminy Varsity Volleyball Team poses for a team photo before their charity match against Council Rock North. Photo/ Kate Livingstone

I wrote my article about the Varsity Girls’ Volleyball Team because they ahd been involved in a charity event called Dig Pink and I had never heard of it so I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to the amazing things the Volleyball team was doing with their coach, Kate Livingstone.

The event raised about $1,200 for the Healing Consciousness Foundation (the most money Council Rock North has ever raised). Coach Livingstone was so inspired by this organization that she is planning on bringing the match to Neshaminy’s own gymnasium in the coming years.


The Playwickian

Special Features

Cyber-bullying:

School-yard harassment enters safe home enviornment By Shannon Byrne Special Features Editor

In today’s world, kids spend most of their day on the internet. With this new frontier, the internet, new areas of bullying have come to light; cyber-bullying to be more specific. Before the internet, kids could escape and feel safe at home. Now, kids don’t have that luxury. Social media is destroying the safe haven that is supposed to be a child’s home. Now, because of these new bullying outlets they are open to harassment anywhere and at any time. Cyber-bullying, according to the Social Times is “when someone is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, or otherwise targeted by someone using the internet…” The convenience of social media allows anyone, anyplace to chime in from the safety of their homes and screen names. With this newfound anonymity it is no wonder that cyber-bullying is quickly on the rise. It is no secret that kids can be cruel. Social media acts as a safety zone for those cowards that hide behind their computer screens while inflicting hurtful words that wouldn’t ordinarily be spoken face to face. According to a cyber-bullying research summary

by Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D. “Cyber-bullying victims were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide compared to youth who had not experienced cyber-bullying.” These teen suicide stories are all too real and tangible for many people. It is unfortunate when someone takes his or her own life, but especially unfortunate when it is the fault of their peers and could have easily been prevented. Unfortunately, for those children who succumb to such a fate, simply being mean, sadly, is not a crime. However, it could be construed as a malicious hate crime. Hate crimes violate free speech protection under the constitution by impinging on other people’s rights and could carry very heavy penalties. Preventing cyber-bullying is easier than you think. The obvious step to take would be to get rid of all social media accounts. However, since social media is essential to most kids to communicate that may not be the best option. The best option when attempting to solve a bullying issue is to save the threatening messages and contact an adult who can help the situation de-escalate.

November 20, 2013

November 20, 2013

Special Features

The Playwickian

Media decisions affect professional opportunities

Selfies beware

Social media is not all fun and selfies. The negatives of social media are becoming all too prevalent in today’s society. In this issue we discuss the negatives of social media. We analyze how it can damage your image, social capabilities, mental health and even professional opportunities.

By Colleen Harley Copy Editor

Nowadays, almost everyone is on social media websites. From elementary school kids to the elderly, they are logging in and posting on websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but think before that post/ share/tweet button gets pushed. What gets posted on these websites is going to be looked at by future employers, so always take caution. Future employers may want to investigate someone before they hire them for the job. For example, these managers/bosses might search the potential employee’s name on Facebook for more information on them. If the profile is not private, they can see almost everything the hopeful employee posts. That’s right, everything. It’s a known fact that teenagers do not think before they post. Potential employers 10 years from now may be curious to see what was posted when the hopeful employee was 16, 17, or 18 years old. If they come across something they do not like, for example a status update with

Art/ Shea Miles

a curse in it, they could very well not hire the hopeful at all. Employers want an abundance of professionalism in the workplace, not curse riddled tweets. Also, things like lying on public websites, posting inappropriate pictures, negative comments on previous employers/people, talking about alcohol and drugs, and also lacking good communication skills, would all be reasons for an employer not to hire a candidate. In reality, separating inappropriate from appropriate can be difficult. This is because a lot of people do not take into account who is going to be looking at it. A grandmother does not want to see their granddaughter/grandson caught in various compromising situations and neither does a future employer. Things that shouldn’t be kept private are things like, where people were formerly employed, where they attended college/high school, and also what they plan to do with their future career opportunities now and in the future. The bottom line is, don’t keep social media completely private, but leave things that a future employee might want to see being posted, on public display. If not, it might completely ruin the hopeful future in a career.

Self-absorption vs. self-esteem The battle between vanity and mental health By Colleen Harley Copy Editor

Photos/ Felicia Nunez

There are all different kinds of people in this world, each individual person with different personality traits and quirks, as well as a variety of looks. Some people have all the confidence in their looks and think they are perfect the way they are, virtually in love with themselves. But, on the other hand, so many girls and boys lack that confidence in themselves, because of the weight of their own standards and those of society they feel the need to live up to. “You’re so self-absorbed.” Someone might say this to another person if the person they’re talking about has a cocky vibe coming from them. Possessing this quality is not necessarily a good thing though. Qualities of someone who is selfabsorbed are things like not being excited for someone when they receive praise or good attention, not liking someone just because of their status on the social ladder, demanding that things be done their way, and taking the spotlight away from other people for no apparent reason. Being vain though, is different than being self-absorbed, it means they only care about their looks and think they’re the best looking person in the world. It is good to have confidence in their looks, but sometimes people take it to the extreme. Examples of being vain are that if they are a girl, they cannot leave the house without makeup on. If they are a boy, maybe they have to have their hair cut in a certain style.

Another example of possessing the quality of vanity would be if they pass a mirror, they have to look at themselves. Also, if they see the slightest sign of imperfection of them, they will take immediate and irrational action to get the imperfection taken care of. An example of that would be if a pimple appears on their face, they will start to throw a tantrum and do everything possible to get rid of it. Senior Megan Barrett comments on the subject, “I think that people who are vain just have an ego that they feel needs to be noticed. They need the attention to make themselves feel better about what they’re doing or who they are. I think it’s good to have confidence and to like how you look, but to make shallow minded remarks about others isn’t okay. Appearance shouldn’t be the only trait you care about, and it shouldn’t be all you think about either.” Self Esteem by definition is “ones self-worth or self-value. Often defined as a personality trait, it can involve security/ insecurity about someone’s own beliefs, appearance, behaviors, and emotions.” Self-esteem problems affect people of all ages, in all four corners of the earth. According to Dove’s research, only 4% of women believe they are beautiful and only 11% of girls worldwide are comfortable enough to use the word, ‘beautiful’ to describe themselves. The pressure of women and girls everywhere to look perfect 24 hours, seven days a week, is almost unbearable. From society, to the media, and to even their own families and friends, women constantly have an image they

feel the need to uphold. In fact, Dove’s research also found that 72 percent of girls feel there is a huge amount of pressure on them to be beautiful. But not only does the criticism come from the media and society, it comes from the women themselves. They always say that an individual’s mind is their own worst critic. Senior Jackie Connelly gives her definition of what a lack of self-esteem is. “Lacking self-esteem basically means that you think you aren’t good enough in your own shoes. You’re confidence isn’t as good as you want it to be, and you are always looking to just feel better about yourself” The popular smartphone app, Instagram is a prime example of how social media affects how people view themselves and others. On the app, you can take pictures from a cell phone, edit them with a filter, and upload them for ‘followers’ to see, and share with other people on different websites. People feel the pressure to look like they’re having fun doing something, when in reality they are not, just because of all the hype about the app. Even celebrities are jumping on the Instagram bandwagon. When people see the fun and amazing things celebrities are doing, or seeing how amazing they look, it prompts regular people to try and show off like their favorite famous person. Yet, at the same time, the normal people feel bad because they aren’t doing the lavish and exciting things that they wish they were doing.

Shea and I wanted to show the negative impact of social media on today’s society. We have had our own problems with social media addiction and thought it would be both fun and informational to research the topic and bring the consequences to light.

Are we really connecting? How social media destroys social lives By Shealyn Miles Special Features Editor The average person has what, 800 friends, Facebook friends that is. This issue with society today is that people tend to focus more on their virtual status rather than their real one. One may argue that social media has brought the world endless connections that seemed nonexistent in previous years. This is undoubtedly true. Social networking sites allow the word to spread at a much faster pace than people have ever thought possible. The question is, however, is society really connecting? If so, who is it that people are reaching out to? Are they even important? Out of Facebook’s 500 million users, the average person toils over it 7 hundred minutes per month. Of course, there is some merit in the content they scroll through, but for the average teenager, is it much more than obsessing over the lives of their so-called “friends?” People today are immensely skilled at sending out information across the web in seconds, but many can barely take part in a conversation with family or close friends. Take this classic scenario, a friend is on their phone, and it takes them nearly five minutes to respond to a question that was asked, and even when they do, their mind lingers on what they had been reading on their phone. According to author Jonathan Safran Foer in the New York Times, “Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat.” If these websites risk ruining relationships, are they worth the five seconds of fame when one gets a notification that some random person liked their photo? The suggestion is not to throw away social media altogether. There are obvious advantages to sending out mass information. The suggestion is to put the phone down for a family dinner. After all, the things one can learn in a face-to-face conversation might interest them.

Facebook - 1.15 Billion Twitter - 500M Google Plus - 500M LinkedIn - 238M Instagram - 130M Pinterest - 70M

-From 1999 to 2009 the average amount of time children spent on the internet increased from 27 minutes a day to 1 hour and 29 minutes a day -23 of these minutes are dedicated to social media -11-18 year old children spend on average 1 hour and 32 minutes on their cell phone each day

Photo/Shea Miles

My article was about cyberbullying. I have a very personal connection to this topic and wanted to really express the importance of being kind to others. The effects of cyberbullying can be very tragic and I didn’t think anyone truly understand how devastating it is to know that no matter where you go you’re not safe from being bullied.

In today’s world, kids spend most of their day on the internet. With this new frontier, the internet, new areas of bullying have come to light; cyber-bullying to be more specific. Before the internet, kids could escape and feel safe at home. Now, kids don’t have that luxury. Social media is destroying the safe haven that is supposed to be a child’s home. Now, because of these new bullying outlets they are open to harassment anywhere and at any time. Cyber-bullying, according to the Social Times is “when someone is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, or otherwise targeted by someone using the internet…” The convenience of social media allows anyone, anyplace to chime in from the safety of their homes and screen names. With this newfound anonymity it is no wonder that cyber-bullying is quickly on the rise. It is no secret that kids can be cruel. Social media acts as a safety zone for those cowards that hide behind their computer screens while inflicting hurtful words that wouldn’t ordinarily be spoken face to face. According to a cyber-bullying research summary by Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D. “Cyber-bullying victims were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide compared to youth who had not experienced cyber-bullying.” These teen suicide stories are all too real and tangible for many people. It is unfortunate when someone takes his or her own life, but especially unfortunate when it is the fault of their peers and could have easily been prevented. Unfortunately, for those children who succumb to such a fate, simply being mean, sadly, is not a crime. However, it could be construed as a malicious hate crime. Hate crimes violate free speech protection under the constitution by impinging on other people’s rights and could carry very heavy penalties. Preventing cyber-bullying is easier than you think. The obvious step to take would be to get rid of all social media accounts. However, since social media is essential to most kids to communicate that may not be the best option. The best option when attempting to solve a bullying issue is to save the threatening messages and contact an adult who can help the situation de-escalate.


The Playwickian

Special Features

December 18, 2013

December 18, 2013

Turtle Clan:

Lenape history in Neshaminy community

Ranked as the most important, the Turtle Clan occupied the land south of the Lehigh Delaware area, all the way to Philadelphia. The sachem, or chief of the tribal councils were from this clan. Head Sachem Tammanend, who made a peace treaty with William Penn, was of the Turtle Clan.

The Playwickian

Special Features

Living Lenape In this issue, we discover the traditions and lifestyles of the Lenape people in our community. We explore the impact that those traditions and their language have had in our area. We also pay special attention to the three matrilineal clans within the Lenape community: Turtle, Wolf and Turkey.

By Shannon Byrne Special Features Editor

The Neshaminy community has a rich history in Native American Culture. The Lenni Lenape Tribe, also referred to as the Delaware Indians, occupied the land called Lenapehoking. This land expanded all the way from northern Delaware to southeastern New York and from the Atlantic Ocean to the forests in Eastern Pennsylvania. The name Lenni Lenape translates to “true men” or “original people.” They are called the original people because many of the traditions of the Algonquin Indian Tribes say that the Lenape homeland was the original birthplace of these Algonquin Indians. This is why the Lenape’s are referred to as their “grandfather” tribe by various other tribes. They acquired the name Delaware Indians from English colonists in the Delaware Valley. Captain Samuel Argall coined the name Delaware in honor of Sir Thomas West, Third de la Warr, the governor of Virginia. This term was then used to name the river and the Native Americans who inhabited it. The Lenni Lenape tribe was made up of three groups called “clans.” These clans were the Turtle, Wolf and Turkey. They were matrilineal, which means that every member traced their decent through their mother’s line and not their father’s. They have a 130 year history of migration to Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Wisconsin and Kansas. Only some stayed permanently in these areas, but the largest population of the Lenape people went to reservations in Oklahoma and Ontario, Canada after European colonization began. In the 17th century, the Susquehannock and the Lenape’s had preexisting hostilities that continued to escalate with the presence of the colonists. The Susquehannock wished to eliminate the Lenapes so they could dominate trade with the colonists, more specifically the Dutch and English. This occurred over a five year period. There was an outbreak of smallpox along the Delaware and Hudson valleys during this war. The Lenape lost half of their original population due to these epidemic and attacks. They were forced to abandon a vast majority of their homeland and became an inferior people. For example, they had to ask the Susquehannocks for permission to sell their land to the Swedes. However, in the mid 1600’s, a conflict between the Susquehannock and Iroquois erupted and resulted in the defeat of the Susquehannock and the Iroquois taking control of the Lenape tribes. During this time there was another epidemic of disease that affect all of the tribes, including the Lenapes. The Lenape were eventually allowed to return to the west side of the Delaware, but they were made to be a part of a “covenant chain” with the Iroquois. This covenant chain allowed the Iroquois to speak in council and the Lenape’s were forced to do their bidding. They also had to pay a yearly tribute to the Iroquois. Despite the low population, the Lenni Lenape people have continued to make a substantial impact on our community both outside and inside of our school.

Wolf Clan:

Neshaminy Nisha-men-ing “at the double drinking place” or “at the place where we drink twice” and probably referred to the Lenape village situated near two springs at the head of Neshaminy Creek near Chalfont, west of Doylestown.

The Wolf Clan, or the Munsee or Minsi (the name of the derivative of the Algonquin language that they speak), occupied the land northward along the Delaware River or the point where the Lehigh River meets the Delaware in the area that is now called Easton. The members of this clan were referred to as the “People of the Stony Country.”

Lenape traditions

Then and Now By Colleen Harley Copy Editor

Lenape Now How Lenape people keep old traditions alive To “walk the red road” is to persist along a path, timeless in nature. Archaic traditions remain spirited in the hands of a people most passionately devoted to a respect for all relations. Seldom acknowledged for their rich history in our community, Lenape people strive to live their time-honored ways of life in a modern world of dwindling priorities. “It is very difficult walking in two worlds, one of our culture and tradition, and one of what mainstream society demands of us. Often times, we get so caught up in society’s way of doing things that we fall off our paths,” Chuck DeMund, Ceremonial Chief, Lenape Nation of PA, said. Despite these temptations for societal norms, DeMund explains that several people, including young children, continue to keep up with some of the oldest rituals to date. Among these ceremonies is

By Shealyn Miles Special Features Editor “going to the water.” It involves going to their homeland of Lenape Sipu (what is known to most as the Delaware River), and giving thanks for all that it gives. They sing songs and offer “prayer ties” to it as well. This is also a time for washing away the bad things in their lives. “We try to maintain balance in our lives and work toward peaceful solutions, accepting others as they are,” Carla J. S. Messinger, cultural eduacator and consultant, said. In the fast pace environment of the present age, Lenape people find themselves illustrating their culture in a fashion that is similar to many familiar service learning organizations. Messinger, for example, describes her view that people must not be wasteful, people should use items in as many ways possible in order to cut down on trash and recyclables. The greatest belief of the Lenape

people is that everything—plants and animals just as people—are equal. “In tribal living, issues are discussed in a circle,” Shelley DePaul, assistant chief, Lenape Nation, said. Though elders hold a significant amount of credibility, even young children have their voices heard. DePaul recalled a story of a time in which the European people asked how many natives there were. The response, “How do you count the stars in the sky?” As Lenape people continue with their traditional lives in a modern world, they continue to pass along their culture to future generations. (DePaul does this as she is the keeper of language, teaching it at Swarthmore to not only Lenape descendants, but any prospective students.) For more information on Lenape Nation of PA please visit www.Playwickian. com for links to websites of interest.

We were caught up in a controversy about a policy that the editorial board of The Playwickian made to not publish the word Redskin. People were telling us that the word wasn’t rascist and that we were being stupid and dramatic. Shea and I decided to create a page on Lenni Lenape culture and history in our community. We wanted to make sure our accusors were informed about the people they were attempting to speak for before they continued arguing with us.

Turkey Clan:

The Turkey Clan lived the furthest south. They occupied current-day Wilmington, Delaware. They were also referred to as the “People Who Live near the Ocean.”

The Lenni Lenape tribe has a lot of historical significance in the Neshaminy community, considering that the land that the high school is built on once belonged to the tribe. The Lenape tribe in our area lived along the Delaware River. Lenape tribes lived in very big villages of about 200 to 300 people, but usually stayed together in smaller groups of about 25 to 50 people. Inside the Lenape tribes, were smaller clans, They are the Wolf, Turtle, and Turkey. These clans traced their ancestry back through their mother’s side. Whichever clan the mother belonged to, her children did as well. A rule within the Lenape tribe was that sons couldn’t marry into the same clan; they had to marry into one of the other two. Inside the clans, everyone looked out for each other, and there was not much of a need for crimes like stealing considering they all shared the land, shelters, and food that they had. Even individual possessions were shared with everyone in the community. Men and Women in the Lenape tribe did different tasks from one another, but everyone worked. Boys were taught from a young age how to woodwork and hunt. When the boys got older and grew into men, they cleared land, built homes, and even built canoes. Girls were taught how to housekeep and garden at a very young age. When they grew up and became women, they began to garden and harvest crops for food. They also collected sap from trees for syrup. They would also weave baskets, mats and bags, and even corn husks to make slippers. Lenape women were also skilled at making clay pots and were responsible for making and preparing the hides for clothing and shelter. Homes were dome shaped houses called “wigwams,” where a small family could live. They were made of bent poles and animal skins or mats. These homes lasted for only a short time because once the natural resources of the land they lived on were used up, they had to move away and find new land. Now, they live in modern homes just like the average American, and only build wigwams for fun or to connect back to their heritage. The Lenape kept themselves very clean by taking their daily swim or steam bath. Women had long hair and usually kept it in a bun or braid. Also, their clothing consisted of skirts made of deer or beaver skin in the winter, and a light wrap around skirt in the summer. Women also painted their faces red with dots on their cheeks, ears, and below the part in their hair. The paint was made from the bloodroot plant and mixed with bear grease. Men wore breechcloth and leggings, and had their hair cut into a Mohawk style, with a beaded headband with one or two feathers in it. Chiefs would wear big headdresses pointing straight up from the headband with many feathers in it. Men also were tattooed with depictions of animals. Both men and women wore deerskin moccasins, and long earrings made of animal bones and teeth. Decedents of the tribe in modern times now wear average clothing and sometimes their moccasins and traditional headbands. Only on special occasions do they wear the feathers in their hair. The Lenape tribe believed in storytelling as a key skill in teaching children how to grow up, including stories about creation, past events, and taught key social values for children to grow up as a fully functioning member of the tribe. They also believed in herbs and sweat lodges as a way of healing the sick, ill minded or the dying. The Lenape tribe is a heritage rich in tradition and culture. The Lenape tribe has forever left their mark, not only in on American history, but in the Neshaminy community.

I wrote my article specifically on the history of the Lenni Lenape tribe to show how native americans were treated and to show the lasting impression their culture has had on our community in a very positive and non-rascist way.

The Neshaminy community has a rich history in Native American Culture. The Lenni Lenape Tribe, also referred to as the Delaware Indians, occupied the land called Lenapehoking. This land expanded all the way from northern Delaware to southeastern New York and from the Atlantic Ocean to the forests in Eastern Pennsylvania. The name Lenni Lenape translates to “true men” or “original people.” They are called the original people because many of the traditions of the Algonquin Indian Tribes say that the Lenape homeland was the original birthplace of these Algonquin Indians. This is why the Lenape’s are referred to as their “grandfather” tribe by various other tribes. They acquired the name Delaware Indians from English colonists in the Delaware Valley. Captain Samuel Argall coined the name Delaware in honor of Sir Thomas West, Third de la Warr, the governor of Virginia. This term was then used to name the river and the Native Americans who inhabited it. The Lenni Lenape tribe was made up of three groups called “clans.” These clans were the Turtle, Wolf and Turkey. They were matrilineal, which means that every member traced their decent through their mother’s line and not their father’s. They have a 130 year history of migration to Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Wisconsin and Kansas. Only some stayed permanently in these areas, but the largest population of the Lenape people went to reservations in Oklahoma and Ontario, Canada after European colonization began. In the 17th century, the Susquehannock and the Lenape’s had preexisting hostilities that continued to escalate with the presence of the colonists. The Susquehannock wished to eliminate the Lenape’s so they could dominate trade with the colonists, more specifically the Dutch and English. This occurred over a five year period. There was an outbreak of smallpox along the Delaware and Hudson valley’s during this war. The Lenape lost half of their original population due to these epidemic and attacks. They were forced to abandon a vast majority of their homeland and became an inferior people. For example, they had to ask the Susquehannocks for permission to sell their land to the Swedes. However, in the mid 1600’s, a conflict between the Susquehannock and Iroquois erupted and resulted in the defeat of the Susquehannock and the Iroquois taking control of the Lenape tribes. During this time there was another epidemic of disease that affect all of the tribes, including the Lenape’s. The Lenape were eventually allowed to return to the west side of the Delaware, but they were made to be a part of a “covenant chain” with the Iroquois. This covenant chain allowed the Iroquois to speak in council and the Lenape’s were forced to do their bidding. They also had to pay a yearly tribute to the Iroquois. Despite the low population, the Lenni Lenape people have continued to make a substantial impact on our community both outside and inside of our school.


The Playwickian

Special Features Atticus, you’re so dreamy. Love, A 9 th grade English teacher

Love Lines

February 19, 2013 LOVE RUN peeps- WE CAN DO IT!

Andrew Reardon to Amber Prolcop, I love you more than anything. You fill my heart you’re my fairytale, my world. You’re my dream girl, and I love you to death.

Dear Viki, Why did you leave us? This place is bananas without you.

I love and appreciate all of my FCS majors! –Mrs. Macauley

2nd Period: You’re my favorites :) Love, Drake

Dearest Rita Iovine, I’ve admired you from afar for too long. I love to go to your pizza shop and watch you work. You are so beautiful. I sniff the air as you walk past me in the hallway. I would follow you to Italy and back. And can I say, your feet are to die for. 3rd Period: You’re my favorites :) Love, Drake Hunney Bunny, Roses are red, violets are blue, take me to prom? :) –Pookie Bear Shea, contrary to popular belief, I don’t hate you. Love, your dog, Duke. I love you guys, Aliyah, Jess, and Becca! From, Bryce Leah Dando, you got me rolling in the deep. Love, Adele To my period five class and “extras”… I love you a “hole” bunch! Mrs. Thomson

Dear Mr. Boffa, are you really Chuck Norris?

Dear Taylor, every time we touch, I get this feeling. Luv u, Edwardo.

February 19, 2013

The Playwickian

Amanda Usewicz: Babe, we can work this out. Babe, don’t leave babe. Babe? Babe? Babe! Lots of “kisses” to my period two English class! <3 Mrs. Thomson To: Gina Kay October 8 was the start of the greatest time of my life. I love you. From: Christopher Carroll

Dear Periods 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7, thank you for a wonderful year! You are my “thee” –J. Cohen

Dearest Ashley, How can a mere 15 words- even 30 or 45 possibly describe the love we share? For a guy who doesn’t believe in destiny, it truly means a lot when I say that all the events that occurred to bring us together just shows we were meant to be. –Matthew

Happy Valentine’s Day to the best study hall ever. <3 May

Dear Matt, I love your chops. They’re beautiful. Can I take them to prom? –Matt

To Britinee, You are an amazing singer. You should audition for American Idol. You have the voice of an angel. With love, AMJDM

Dear Playwickian editors and staff, thanks for always getting to the <3 of the matter. Rock on!

Dear PHILLY LOVE RUN: I hate you but I will beat you. Thanks, J Cohen

7th Period: You’re my favorites :) Love, Drake Dear Parker, I always knew you were the one. Love, Dave Nuckles

Amanda, you can’t stop our everlasting gaze towards you. You voice is amazing, Gina…Cats To my third period English bunch, “Stick with me, Valentine. XOXO Mrs. Thomson

Dear Paloms, You’re really pretty and your toes turn me on.

Special Features

Reading Olympians: You entertain me at every meeting :) Love, Drake Bug, 14 on the 14th day of 2014? You know how to make a statement! Enjoy your special day :) Love, Ant To my beautiful Keira Marie – you are my super star and I love you so much. Happy 7th birthday! Love Mommy Haylee Gracious – I love my angel face so much. I’m so proud of all you are learning in kindergarten! Love, Momma Skylar Rosie – Mommy loves you so much. I love your cutie little smiley face. Love, Mommy To my sweet little Connor – You are my best little boy. I love your big giant hugs and kisses! Love, Ma 6th Period: You’re my favorites :) Love, Drake Happy Valentine’s Day to my eighth period bunch- you all make my heart burst! <3 Mrs. Thomson

R, you’re my life, my universe, my everything.

Brianna, you ARE the droid I was looking for - Jeffy

My precalc and java classes are the best in the world! Love, Mrs. Kirk Sabz, Christy, and Tony are amerzing Illeeeee!!

Dear Moose, nya-HAAA! With love, your Tinysaurus Rex

Roses are red, violets are blue, liam can I, dance with you? Love, Alyssa Lamont

George, tell me about the rabbits again. Bring Ketchup. Love, Lenny

Around this time last year God gave us a challenge. A challenge he knew we were strong enough to conquer. Now, the challenge is conquered and our relationship is stronger than ever. I’m so lucky to have you! Happy Valentine’s Day babe. –Bri

Dear Howler, write more awesome. <3 D & L-Dog

Pookie Bear, I’m addicted 2 ur luv. Wub, Hunney Bunny

Lenny, still like soft things?

Yearbook staff! You guys are doing great work! Keep it up! -L

T. Hubs, U r my hero! Can you write me a letter of rec.?

Thank you Joe for not only being my best friend, but for being the best boyfriend I could ask for. I love you more than any amount of words could describe. Love, skate, laugh. –Joe U Kay Kay, we in the library dropping that thun thun thun! Love your bestie, Jenna Kayla, my sister and best friend, Thanks for everything, love you! –Jenna To Brittney Seidel, I watch you from a distance. I think you are beautiful. From, anonymous. Summer will you go to prom with me? Mrs. Leventhal will you go to prom with me? –Mike Dear Playwickian, please see me. Love, the government.

To my English classes, T h a n k you for all of your hard work. Love, Mrs. McCreary Shea- Shea, Be mine! Love, Mr. Jack Shrek is love. Shrek is life.

Dear Matt Y., I love you. I get happy when I remember how we met during Frisbee and how you used to steal all the Frisbees from me. I remember when you asked me if I wanted a kiss, but it was actually a Hershey kiss. You are the best boyfriend anybody could have. I love you. Love, Ashley V. Happy Valentine’s Day to my little Katie-Kakes! I <3 my little Kitty-Kat. –TA We love you, and your school picture is lovely. Buy a yearbook and bask in all the pics! –Yearbook

Jackie, I am so proud and happy to see you grow into a mature and intelligent young lady. I couldn’t be prouder to call you my sister. Love, Amanda To Ms. Henry’s classes: Thank you for your hard work this year. It does not go unnoticed! -Ms. Henry To the most beautiful chem teacher in NHS- I am in love with you. -BDBM Rob: Thanks for the amzing meatballs. Love, Josh Ton, Prudence, and Coleslaw, Please don’t sashay away without me. Dear Sierra, Caitlyn, Troy, Jeff, and Kim, I love you guys so very much. –SM

Happy Valentine’s Day to my seventh period perfect peeps! XOXO Mrs. Thomson

Dear Andrew, Cousin lovin’ happened so fast. Yours truly, Ronnie and Sage

Hey August, it’s Valentine’s Day, but we’re still not friends.

Julianna Rush, You are gorgeous, funny and kind. Happy Valentine’s Day <3 –Anonymous

Hello Dean, My “people skills” are a little “rusty.” We’ve been through much together you and I. Destiny can’t be changed Dean. You and I share a profound bond. –Cas

Dear Angelique, Thank you for loving and supporting me no only today, but each and every day. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be without you. Love, Kerri

Dear Kerri, Congratulations on getting an audition at Curtis! Happy Valentine’s Day girlfriend! I hoped it’s filled with cats, chocolate, and feminists. –Angelique

Dear Angelique, Love you. All of the home. From, Kerri

Whoever is reading this: Hello, I’m S and you are gorgeous/ handsome.

We like selfies, yours are prime. Send us them! –Yearbook

Sarah Elwekil, You look like what pizza tastes like. Stay perfect, just for me! ;)

Lone Wolf: I hope you know you’re beautiful and strong *The Black Panther

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my English 9 students. <3 May

Amanda Usewicz, Baby you the best. Can’t wait for our third date! I love you.

8th Period: You’re my favorites :) Love, Drake

Dear English Dept., Thanks for everything. Sincerely, the mice. Dear you know who you are: hee-haw, woof, ribbet. Love, your half credit animals. Casey B., Cornelia from RISF misses you. When in doubt, set by the door. No comment needed. Dear Diana, please don’t take my rope away. Love, your bird. Dear volleyball team, I love you. You are amazing. Love, Coach.

Ton, Chloe, and Ronnie, What am I going to do without you next year?

Interact Members: Thank you for all you do to make our world a better place :) Love, Drake

Roses are red, violets are blue, order a yearbook, there’s one just for you! –Yearbook Shealyn, Please, please take me to college with you. Your loving cat, Mushie We love you, and your school picture is lovely. Buy a yearbook and bask in all the pics! –Yearbook

Hi Blaize! Can’t wait until you’re home. Love & miss you. Keep smiling! Love, Jackie Hi Jen, you’re beautiful and I love you

My 9th Graders: “If love be rough with you, be rought with love...” - Ms. Mann Carla is the most beautiful and best sister ever. Love, DA BWEAD Mrs. Bearss, We LOVE you- the village people To my students: Happy Valentine’s Day! -Mrs. Gever

Disclaimer* Love Lines are an opportunity for the student body to tell someone or multiple someone’s how they feel on Valentine’s Day. We can edit and even remove any message that is indecent, offensive, insulting, etc. If this occurs your money will not be refunded.

Love Lines is a tradition at Neshaminy High School. It was started so that The Playwicki9an could raise money for upcoming issues and so students could write messages to their friends, teachers, significant others, etc. They’re something that the whole school, including staff, participates in and all find enjoyable. It’s a difficult and complicated process, but the finished product makes the labor worth it.


Special Features

The Playwickian

March 19, 2014

March 19, 2014

The Playwickian

Special Features

Self- Harm Awareness Self-Harm: Why it goes unnoticed, untreated

Eyes wide shut at NHS

Challenge Day Survey

By Shealyn Miles Special Features Editor

By Shannon Byrne and Brianna Rayner Special Features Editor and Staff Writer

What does our society think when they hear the word self-harm? Lonely. Troubled. Freak. Depression and anxiety are often the root causes of self-harm. These are often labeled and set aside as a normal part of being a teenager and growing up. This is why these children are being ignored and thrown aside as over-dramatic teenagers and this is why they turn to drastic measures to relieve the pain. According to Mind.org, “Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, old memories, or overwhelming situations and experiences.” The orange ribbon is a symbol for selfharm prevention. The most universally recognized form of self-harm is cutting, however, the classification of self-harm is not limited to this method. Many psychologist say that self-harm is a way for troubled individuals to feel in control of their emotional pain by causing physical pain. It draws attention away from the internal pain by bringing about physical pain. People tend to confuse this cry for help as a cry for attention. For some selfharmers this may be true, but for others it’s the exact opposite. Most self-harmers are embarrassed and ashamed and don’t feel that they can receive help, or if they’re even worth the treatment. So they keep this part of their life extremely private and concealed. Another common misconception is that self-harm is a suicide attempt. This isn’t always the case. It may be a way to express suicidal feelings, but the reasons

for self-harm can be endless. Jennifer Coe, a guidance counselor from Neshaminy high school believes that there are “many different reasons why people self-harm. But I personally think people self-harm because when someone is so stressed or depressed they need a coping method, this is considered one of the negative techniques of coping, also known as ‘maladaptive coping.’” People have described self-harm as a way to express something that can’t be put into words, take away overwhelming feelings or thoughts, banish traumatic memories from their thoughts, to stop feeling disconnected or communicate that they’re experiencing severe stress. The way self-harmers are treated in today’s society needs to change if we are going to take any steps toward recovery and improvement. We need to stop judging these people and calling them selfabsorbed and attention-seeking. To stop making them feel alienated and alone and instead make them feel loved, cared for and safe. Providing help to struggling teens is the only way to solve these problems, not ignoring them and pretending they don’t exist in the hope they’ll just disappear. They’re problems don’t disappear with ignorance and neither will ours.

By Amanda Usewicz Staff Writer Challenge Day at Neshaminy High School had been going on for a long time, but not this year. It had been a program that helped teens open up to their problems and get help if needed. Challenge Day was also supposed to reduce bullying and teasing in schools. It is an award-winning day-long program for middle and high school students. Last year was the first year that Challenge Day was offered to 8th graders for the middle schools in the Neshaminy School District. Above is a chart showing how many people would or would not like to have Challenge Day back from two Homerooms in each grade out of a pool of 200 students. As you can see from the chart, the majority of people believe that we should bring challenge day back.

Semicolon Project: Fruition to fraud By Julianne Miller Circulation Editor

Time for a world-wide wake up call Art

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en By Colleen Harley Copy Editor

With so much going on in the world nowadays, it’s easy to get wrapped up and lost in all different kinds of news stories. From the crises in Ukraine and Syria, to the problems with climate change, people are getting lost in translation. Every country has their own individual issues, but there is one thing that goes on all around the world that should never go unnoticed. Self-Harm and suicides are serious issues that take a backseat to so many others when it should be at the forefront. Not everyone is ignoring the problem. One major awareness project is deemed “The Butterfly Project.” Started anonymously on the social media website, Tumblr, the project is aimed at helping people of all ages take the first steps toward recovery and a higher self-worth. The way the Butterfly Project (butterfly-project.tumblr.com) works is selfharmers draw a butterfly on their wrist or anywhere else that you have previously self-harmed. The next step is, naming the butterfly, and it should be named after a lost loved one, or someone who wants you to get better. The butterfly has to fade on its own, there’s no scrubbing it off or you haven’t done the project correctly. Also,

if you harm yourself before the butterfly has faded, you have killed it. If you do not self-harm before it fades, it has survived and flown away. Even if you do not selfharm, show your support and draw one on yourself, it might just save someone’s life. Another symbol of support for victims of self-harm is the orange ribbon. The orange ribbon is the universal symbol for self-harm awareness. March 1 is designated as Self-Injury Awareness Day, or abbreviated as SIAD worldwide. This day promotes people to be open in talking about their problems with themselves and what made them want to harm themselves physically. On this day every year people from different organizations meet with these victims of self-harm and talk to them about what they can do to help themselves from doing the action. But how many countries or places in the world really recognize it and use the day to make self-harmers not feel so alone? Places all around the world are aware of people harming themselves due to depression, anxiety, stress, panic and all other sorts of problems going on in those individuals lives. This is an extremely relevant issue not only in Bucks County, but across the country and nations around the world that needs to be recognized further. There needs to be more publicity highlighting what causes self-injury and what people can do to help themselves and others. Also, there should be more publicity on highlighting that self-harmers are not alone and there is a “light at the end of the tunnel.” More walks, and events need to be held in honor of stopping, or lowering the rate of stopping self-injury because nobody deserves to feel the pain that most of these people are going through. Also, more magazine and newspapers across the world need to be writing stories or articles on people who were previous self-harmers success stories about how they overcame their battles.

Shea and I wanted to do something on self-harm awareness because our school used to sponsor programs to prevent self-harm, but they cut all of those programs last year. We felt that of all the things they could cut these programs should not be one of them. We even had a friend of ours write an anonymous letter telling us about their recovery. However, we weren’t allowed to publish it for fear of “triggers.” Our school district made a habit of getting mad at us for trying to help people.

Consumed by an age in which emotional detachment is prevalent, the average teen may find solace in the notion that there is someone to reach out to in times of need. With suicide being the third leading cause of death among American youth, one would assume that the risks of self-harm would be spoken of regularly. Unfortunately, here at Neshaminy, it seems as though efforts to address these issues have been dwindling. As a public institution, it is the responsibility of the staff to be aware of students’ needs beyond academics. It is impossible for a student to flourish intellectually at school if their personal needs are not being met at home. That being said, there should be an outlet for teens to rely upon to avoid further discontent beyond what may be going on at home. Because victims of self-harm are not easily recognizable, their practices, more often than not, continue, unnoticed and untouched. Therefore, the school community should offer programs continually throughout a student’s entire high school career. C u r r e n t l y, s u i c i d e prevention is addressed in a required heath class for students their sophomore year. While this is certainly beneficial, it is limited. A senior may have forgotten their health class that had taken place two years prior. When it comes to suicide and self-harm prevention, reinforcement of support is key. Several of Neshaminy’s clubs and events that

April 16 is widely known as the Semicolon Project Day. The project was a day in support of those suffering from depression, self-harm, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or the loss of a loved one. Participants would draw a semicolon on their wrist to show their understanding and support for others. In writing, a semicolon is used when an author, “could have ended the sentence, but didn’t.” For this project, the semicolon represented one’s life and how important it is to not give up and to keep going. “I feel that Project Semicolon is a great way to show support… It’s not about how big or small the situation is, but how you chose to keep going when you could have just given up,” senior Sam DiFrancesco said. The alleged story is that Project Semicolon is now a scam. The original founder and rightful owner of Project Semicolon, Ron Sharpp, stepped down from being the front man to deal with “family distractions,” and left the project in the control of loyal volunteers. Sharpp began working on the project in March, 2013 because it “hit close to home” and he wanted to “offer hope” to those in need of a positive resource. During his absence, a teen from

the UK, Matt Wills, supposedly claimed the rights to the project and reached out to former co-founder, Amy Burg, to continue Sharpp’s work. Having “no reason not to trust him”, Burg agreed to the partnership and continued the project. “Matt got addicted to fame and was… not equipped…to run the organization,” Sharpp said. Deceptively, Wills began to bully the staff because of his desire for fame, leading Burg to leave the project. Wills continued on to open up a clothing line through the project’s resources, but because he was not legally in control, all proceeds from the sales went directly to him, thus resulting in a scam to the buyers. Sharpp, unable to again claim rightful ownership because of other distractions, responded by saying Wills is “not a major threat to the movement… but a threat to individual lives,” and hopes to regain control of the project with the intent of including the Christian faith as a foundation. The project is supposedly still in control of Wills and the volunteers. Sharpp is still focusing on himself with the hope of being able to access control once again, and Burg is no longer involved with Project Semicolon or in contact with Wills. Matt Wills has not been able to be reached to neither confirm or deny these events.

had been favorable among students in past years have, regrettably, been taken away. Neshaminy had been home to S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions.) Back in 2006, the club had implemented a yellow ribbon week (the yellow ribbon is symbolic for suicide prevention). During the week, students were given yellow ribbon cards to use or to give to a friend with the message that it is okay to ask for help. The program was established in response to the four suicides in Neshaminy’s class of 2006. The club disbanded after the former adviser, Jessica Cohen, had resigned and no one volunteered for the position. Neshaminy also had a very popular event in the month of March known as Challenge Day. It’s purpose was, not only to give students a chance to talk about their lives, but also to hear about the lives of their classmates, giving them a better understanding of one another. An extension of Challenge Day, was the Challenge Day club. This gave students an opportunity to meet every two weeks to discuss the issues that they may be having. “It was a chance to talk about what was going on in your life, and look at it in a positive way,” former adviser, Kate Livingstone said. Livingstone would make sure that every meeting would end on a positive note. The club members were hoping to improve the club this year by inviting guest speakers to address specific issues such as anorexia, depression, etc., but funding had been cut. It is clear that the high school’s efforts to support victims of self-harm are deteriorating. Self-harm is not something that is going to disappear, and incoming students should know that they are entering an environment that is going to offer them a place of peace, not a place of ignorance.

Ribbon Graphics/ Holly Muska

Places for help... *1-800-SUICIDE – Hotline for people contemplating suicide. *1-800-334-HELP – Self Injury Foundation’s 24hour national crisis line *1-800-DON’T-CUT – More info on self-injury *http://www.selfinjury.com – Referrals for therapists and tips for how to stop. *1-800-273-TALK – A 24-hour crisis hotline if you’re about to self-harm or are in an emergency situation. *http://www.kidshelp.com. * https://twitter.com/ProjectBuddy- twitter page to prevent suicide, self harm, and eating disorders.

My article was about the warning signs of Self-Harm and why it’s victims don’t get the attention they deserve. I have very personal experiences with depression and I never received help when I needed it. The fact that people feel this way and people think they’re begging for attention needs to change and that’s why I wrote this article.

What does our society think when they hear the word self-harm? Lonely. Troubled. Freak. Depression and anxiety are often the root causes of self-harm. These are often labeled and set aside as a normal part of being a teenager and growing up. This is why these children are being ignored and thrown aside as over-dramatic teenagers and this is why they turn to drastic measures to relieve the pain. According to Mind.org, “Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, old memories, or overwhelming situations and experiences.” The most universally recognized form of self-harm is cutting, however, the classification of selfharm is not limited to this method. Self-harm could include burning your skin, pulling out hair, scratching or hitting yourself, poisoning, overdosing, etc. Self-harm also includes eating-disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating. These all can come as a result of being unhappy with yourself or your life. Many psychologist say that self-harm is a way for troubled individuals to feel in control of their emotional pain by causing physical pain. It draws attention away from the internal pain by bringing about physical pain. People tend to confuse this cry for help as a cry for attention. For some self-harmers this may be true, but for others it’s the exact opposite. Most self-harmers are embarrassed and ashamed and don’t feel that they can receive help, or if they’re even worth the treatment. So they keep this part of their life extremely private and concealed. Another common misconception is that self-harm is a suicide attempt. This isn’t always the case. It may be a way to express suicidal feelings, but the reasons for self-harm can be endless. People have described self-harm as a way to express something that can’t be put into words, take away overwhelming feelings or thoughts, banish traumatic memories from their thoughts, to stop feeling disconnected or communicate that you’re experiencing severe stress. The way self-harmers are treated in today’s society needs to change if we are going to take any steps toward recovery and improvement. We need to stop judging these people and calling them self-absorbed and attention-seeking. To stop making them feel alienated and alone and instead make them feel loved, cared for and safe. Providing help to struggling teens is the only way to solve these problems, not ignoring them and pretending they don’t exist in the hope they’ll just disappear. They’re problems don’t disappear with ignorance and neither will ours.


As many of us high-schoolers know, stress is a part of everyday life and is generally seen as a negative part of our lives. However, as much as stress can harm us it can also be a good thing. Stress, according to Dictionary.com, is a physiologic reaction by an organism to an uncomfortable or unfamiliar physical or psychological stimulus. When the brain perceives a new stimulus, the sympathetic nervous system (which maintains your body’s homeostasis) releases three chemicals into your system: epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine and cortisol. These chemicals work together to initiate your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. This process when it’s frequent or intense can put you on edge and also make you sick. Stress in concentrated amounts can undermine your immune system and dry out your digestive tract which can lead to various harmful disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. Stress also impairs your memory and leads to serious anxiety issues. It even eats away at your chromosome which can accelerate cellular aging, making you look much older than you are. If the stressor is perceived as threatening and/or daunting your body initiates the ‘flight’ response and, as a result, you become excessively stressed. For example, you’re preparing for a presentation in one of your classes. You’re so stressed that you can’t sleep, this is a threatening stressor. Norepinephrine dampens the adrenaline coursing through your body and now you can’t remember what you were going to say and you become exceedingly anxious so you’re presentation suffers. According to psychologist Wendy Berry Mendes in an article from Psychology Today, “Duration is key, but so is your perception of the external event. Do you frame the stressor as a challenge or a threat?”

Stress was something that Shea and I had a lot of experince with being Seniors on the eve of finals and national exams, so we thought this topic was rather fitting. Stress can have serious effects and we think that many teachers and students don’t understand how bad it can be if you have too much.

My article was about the benefits of stress. I wanted to express that stress isn’t all that bad. A little bit of stress keeps us motivated and aware of our surroundings. While stress can be bad, many need it to function and get things done.

The edge that the adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol gives you doesn’t only do bad things for your body. In small and manageable amounts these chemicals instantly make your heart beat faster, increases blood pressure, heightens your senses and blood glucose. This invigorates us and gives us the energy to take on the world. The stressor that motivates us is called a ‘challenge’ stressor this stressor acts as a motivator. If we use the same presentation example, except this time you got enough sleep and the adrenaline in your system is dominant. It gives you the boost of energy and confidence you need to give your presentation successfully.

Shannon Byrne Final Portfolio  
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