THE SPOTLIGHT February 2020
Southern Lehigh High School 5800 Main Street Center Valley, PA 18034
Volume 63 Issue 3
Ecology Club’s Mission to Make Southern Lehigh Green Learn about how the new club plans to improve recycling on Page 4. Photo credit: Elle Silvestri
Issue: Find out how mini-THON is raising money for Cancer Prevention Month spent on page 3.
Mr. Castagna and Mr. Haupt celebrate one year of the “Spartan Life” on page 6.
How does China censor TikToks? Read more on page 11.
Southern Lehigh High School 5800 Main Street Center Valley, PA 18034 (610) 282-1421 x7122 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SLSDspotlight Instagram: @slsdspotlight Facebook: Southern Lehigh Spotlight
Junior and Senior Class Officers Plan Annual Winter Formal for March by Lucas Zhang
Mrs. Marlo Spritzer
Editor-in-Chief Saskia Van’t Hof
News Editor Alex Kane
Features Editor Kennah Salvo
Opinion Editor Saskia Van’t Hof
Our World Editor Lucas Zhang
Entertainment Editor Noelle Nelson
Sports Editor Kate Miller
Aisha Durrani Amy Schwatrz Gillian Wellington Owen Bishop Emily Mackin Evelyn Wang Lauren McCormick Pennsylvania School Press Association 2018 Gold Rating 2017 Gold Rating 2016 Gold Rating 2015 Gold Rating 2014 Gold Rating 2013 Silver Rating National School Press Association 2016 First Class Rating 2015 First Class Rating
Senior Alex Lycette discusses plans for the March winter formal with Class of 2020 advisor Ms. Erin Laney. Photo credit: Cameron Fisher.
Once Homecoming seasons comes to an end, for Southern Lehigh, a gap of over eight months lies between the homecoming dance and prom. The officers and advisors of the Class of 2020 and 2021, intend to bridge this gap with the organization of a winter dance. “The preparations have taken place in our 2020 advisory period with a group of 20 or so other students,” senior Fundraising Coordinator Paige Zamichelli said. “Together, we decided on the date, decorations, and when we are selling tickets.” Although preparations are currently in a preliminary phase, the organizers have already set forth plans and priorities for this
year’s dance. “This year we’ve have a date, we’ve got a time, we have a theme, we know what supplies we need, and we know what food we need,” senior class adviser Ms. Erin Laney said. “So all the little details have already been taken care of, and really it’s just about us figuring out when were actually gonna start getting the ball rolling.” Marketed as a winter dance coupled with a celebration of leap year, the officers are working building on the foundation of last year’s winter dance to expand and improve this year’s event. “What we’re going to do this year is to have a senior court, because for prom, it’s always a junior court,” Ms. Laney said. “We figured
the seniors would come out for one last hurrah before prom.” While turnout for the 2019 winter dance was lower compared to homecoming, the officers and advisors are looking forward to a larger turnout in 2020. “We hope more people are going to come because it seems like people liked the extra activities” senior class secretary Emma Herceg said. The winter dance is planned for March 6, from 7:00-9:30 p.m. at the high school. Ticket sales will begin February and the price will start at $10 during the presale, and will then increase to $15, then $20 during the week before and at the door.
Check out the website for the online issue and exclusive digital content! slspotlight.com
News Page 3
Mini-THON Involves Entire School District in Donations to Aid Lehigh Valley Cancer Patients by Kate Miller
Throughout the month of February, Mini-THON focused on raising awareness for cancer prevention through coloring book drives and fundraisers. Photo credit: Mini-THON.
February is National Cancer Prevention month, which mini-THON plans to promote through two projects: a district staff dress down day and the district-wide creation of chemotherapy kits. The purpose of the projects are to bring everyone together who has been affected by any type of cancer, since the effort will be districtwide. They will also provide the opportunity for mini-THON students and community members alike to donate money and time. “Throughout this cancer awareness project, our goal is to help the long process of chemo treatments with entertainment, warmth, and encouraging messages,” senior Lizzie Selman, Mini-THON president, said. The first project is a district staff dress down day on February 26th. The faculty at Southern Lehigh School District are asked to pay five dollars to dress down and wear purple in support of cancer awareness month. On February 26, Mini-thon is asking students and staff to wear purple because that is the color for all cancer awareness. Mini-THON students will also be making individual ribbons to send to the schools throughout the district for people who want to represent a specific cancer that has directly affected them. The second idea requires a much larger undertaking. The plan is to make and hand out little goodie bags for nurses and doctors who work in oncology units at Lehigh Valley Health Network and also make “chemo kits” for patients in the hospital. Each school will contribute one part to each bag. The high school will be in charge of collecting age appropriate coloring books/colored pencils. The middle school will put up a donation box for activity books like crosswords and word searches. The intermediate school will advertise a donation box asking for warm fuzzy socks. Together, the elementary schools will create “you got this” cards, but they each have their own collection assignment too. Hopewell will collect donations of lip balm and hand cream.
Liberty Bell will take donations of Haribo Gummy Bears and Dum Dums. Mini-THON plans to involve the community any way they can. In addition to the donations at schools, they are putting donation boxes at many local businesses to collect items like neck pillows and blankets. The club will start collecting supplies for the chemo kits in the beginning of February and stop on the 26th which is the day that mini-thon plans to make the kits and have the district wide wear purple day. “Not only are we able to have our entire school district participate in the donation part, [but] we will be personally helping those affected by cancer in the Lehigh Valley,” senior Paige Zamichieli, co-head of registration, said. “The chemo kits stand for more than just a bag with items in it; they’re a message to those in our community battling cancer that we are here to support them.” The project came from the minds of Selman and mini-THON adviser Mrs. Lauren Tocci. “Amongst the committee heads and the execu-
tive council for mini-THON, we combined our knowledge of friends and family members that we know who have been through chemotherapy or are currently going through chemotherapy, talking to them and seeing what they needed,” Mrs. Tocci said. Along with the chemo kits, mini-THON will produce a “Why We Fight” video. Seniors Alex Lycette and Lizzie Selman will team up to produce a video to spread awareness of the mini-THON project and get people to think reflectively about their own experiences of why they might want to take part of the month of donations, dressing down or simply wearing purple. For this effort, mini-THON has created the phrase ‘SL; No One Fights Alone’ as their slogan. “When you talk to people who have been affected by it, the sense of community needed to lift someone up in what can be one of the scariest times in your life is so valuable and important,” Mrs. Tocci said. “And this is a way we can show that in Southern Lehigh no one has to go through this by themselves.”
Senior Lizzie Selman, the president of Mini-THON, spearheaded the new project alongside advisor Mrs. Lauren Tocci. Photo credit: Mini-THON..
New Club Gets the Spartans Going Greener by Saskia Van’t Hof
Co-Founders Ale Huaman and Emily Mackin brainstorm ideas to make our school more eco-friendly. Photo credit: Elle Silvestri.
When sophomore Ale Huaman first learned about how much trash the school produced, she was upset, but not surprised. Over the past few years, the lack of recycling at Southern Lehigh coincided with an alarming growth in the amount of garbage. A new club, co-founded by Huaman and senior Emily Mackin, is aiming to fix that. This semester, interested students will be able to participate in the school’s first Ecology Club. The goal of the club is to make Southern Lehigh more eco-friendly by cutting down waste and implementing more sustainable options. The inspiration for an environmental club first came to Huaman after she noticed that many of her friends shared similar anxieties when it came to the negative effects of climate change. “The idea really stemmed from me wanting to actively do something about our growing climate crisis but not knowing how,” Huaman said. “This club has sort of become my outlet to give me peace of mind because I know that I’m having a positive impact in some sort of way. I think that this club is a step in the right direction.” After hearing that Huaman wanted to start an Ecology Club, senior Emily Mackin knew that she wanted to be involved. Together, the two students are turning their club into a reality for the new semester. “I really didn’t want to become a do-nothing, senioritis-plagued senior and let this chance pass me by,” Mackin said. “I saw the need for a change and a time for it, so I wanted to be at the front of it all. I wanted to help make that change and shift some of the wasteful habits out and allow new ones in that, if anything, give students a nudge to be environmentally aware.” The new Ecology Club’s advisor, Dr. Katie Quartuch, was also inspired by her students’ dedication to the cause. “I think it’s a very good thing that we have
students in our school that are motivated enough to start an initiative,” Dr. Quartuch said. “The environment and climate change has been a very important topic to many students as of late, so it is very empowering to see Ale and Emily try to do something about it.” Both Huaman and Mackin are already active members of their community, especially when it comes to the environment. Huaman’s family is involved in nonprofit work with Salvation Army, where second-hand clothes are given a new life instead of being thrown away. Mackin on the other hand, uses her voice in activism to talk about the environment directly. In September, Mackin participated in the climate strike in front of Bethlehem City Hall, where her passion for environmental activism blossomed. “I became much more conscious myself this year, and it’s just been important to educate people around me,” Mackin said. “Even though a lot of the blame is on big corporations and on bad laws, I felt that as a citizen and as a human being, I had to do something more within myself and community to be connected with the Earth.” The Ecology Club has many ambitious goals. Both Huaman and Mackin’s main focus is to cut down on the use of plastics throughout the school. They hope to eliminate non-reusable cutlery and dishes in the cafeteria, replace single use cups at the Coffee House by selling reusable ones, and incorporate compostable or reusable containers with the Family and Consumer Science department’s teacher catering service. “Educating my peers on how we can help the Earth, and implementing eco-friendly incentives at school will benefit us as a community,” Huaman said. “Also, the less trash we have to dispose of, the less the school district has to pay for waste management in the long run, so it’s a win win for everybody.” In addition to reducing the amount of plastic waste in the school, Huaman and Mackin also want to restart a compost bin, a short-
lived initiative run by ecology students several years ago. By composting, the organic materials would be put into a bin that decomposes and becomes fertilizer, instead of being put in the trash to become landfill waste. “There’s a lot more to composting than meets the eye, and making it a school-wide thing is a challenge,” Mackin said, “but I think there’s more people than not [who are] willing to help make it work, and that keeps me motivated.” As the second semester continues, Huaman and Mackin hope that their club will enact permanent changes within the school. Interested students can join the club during their meetings on every Day 6 of the Spartan Period cycle.
Senior Zach Terefenko calculates the number of plastic spoons in the cafeteria. Photo credit: Elle Silvestri.
‘The Spartan Life’ Marks One Year Anniversary by Alex Kane
Whether it’s talking about teaching, school sports, or Star Wars, the Spartan Life podcast always ensures a lively conversation. A podcast started between math teacher Mr. Ryan Haupt and English teacher Mr. Joseph Castagna, the “Spartan Life” is celebrating its first year anniversary. The origins of the podcast come from a shared interest of two teachers who might never set foot in the same classroom. Mr. Haupt teaches math, and Mr. Castagna teaches English and public speaking. “Mr. Haupt and I are both big podcast listeners, and we had flirted with the idea of doing a podcast for two years,” Mr. Castagna said. “After Mrs. Guariello became the principal, she was looking for ideas to improve the climate and culture of the building. A podcast celebrating the many things going on around the building seemed like a natural fit.” Each episode is intended to highlight a student, teacher or staff member. Along with Mr. Castagna and Mr. Zeisloft, the guests cover a wide range of subjects. Each podcast episode also contains a news segment that shines light on interesting activities going on around the building. High school principal Mrs. Beth Guariello believes that the podcast has been a force for good throughout the school and provides a number of benefits both for the listeners who experience it and the staff and students that help produce it. “I think for those students who do listen to it, it builds a sense of community. It provides a forum to highlight students, staff, and activities that may have gone unnoticed or uncelebrated,” Mrs. Guariello said. “The public speaking students have started to become more involved, writing questions, etc, so it gives the
Mr. Joseph Costagna and Mr. Ryan Haupt, both podcast enthusiasts, host “The Spartan Life.” Photo Credit: Alex Kane.
public speaking class a chance to produce their own work.” Producing the show is no easy job either, with the entire process taking over a week to complete for each episode. Mr. Castagna says the hardest part of producing each episode is finding good content. To select what story to cover, The Spartan Life considers the events going on at Southern Lehigh. For example, around the time of Mini-THON, they might interview
the students on the Mini-THON committee. The podcast is fairly popular, with the average episode receiving 150 plays and the more popular episodes reaching 600 plays or more. So pop in those earbuds and give the latest Spartan Life a listen. The next podcast episode is slated for launch around the middle of February.
Ms. Dellavalle Steps in for Mrs. Kane in PE by Noelle Nelson
For many teens, the four years that we spend at the high school contains little consistency, except for the health and phys ed classrooms. When health and physical education teacher Ms. Megan Kane departed for maternity leave, we never expected anyone to be able to fill her shoes. However, the interim health sub, Ms. Marissa Dellavalle has exceeded our expectations. “I always wanted to teach because I love kids and had a passion for wellness,” Ms. Dellavalle said. Before coming to Southern Lehigh, Ms. Dellavalle earned her bachelor’s degree from Kean University in health and physical education. She worked as an elementary school physical education teacher for three years in New Jersey. Ms. Dellavalle recently decided to make a change in her life, moving from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, and landing a long term substitute job.. “I was excited and relieved to get a position at Southern Lehigh,” she said. “It’s my first po-
sition in a Pennsylvania school district.” Outside of school Ms. Dellavalle loves to do any activity in nature including, fishing, going on boats, and riding jet skis. She has always loved to spend her time in the outdoors and has been passionate about playing sports from a young age. She values taking care of her health and helping to teach others to do that as well. Being passionate about health from such a young age, made it clear that continuing to promote overall wellness was the right path for her. “She is so nice and always open to talk,” junior Meghan Inglis said. “I think she’s a really great health teacher.” Since Ms. Dellavalle has been at Southern Lehigh, she has continued to represent the ideas we stand for. She is kind, caring, and a wonderful teacher. Even though students will be happy to see Ms. Kane come back to school, we certainly won’t forget the good Ms. Dellavalle has done at Southern Lehigh. Ms. Marissa Dellavalle teaches the Personal Fitness class. Photo credit: Kennah Salvo.
Dance Team Stuns Audiences Everywhere by Lucas Zhang
The dance team is all smiles after preforming in the Coopersburg Halloween Parade. Photo credit: Ms. Jessica
Swartz. From early morning practices to the memorization of numerous complex routines, the grind never stops for Southern Lehigh’s dance team. Under the leadership of Coach Jessica Swartz, senior captain Alaina Trzaska, and junior captain Gabrielle Sisselberger, the dance team performs both jazz and hip-hop routines at a wide range of events across the entirety of the school year. “We perform at all of the home varsity basketball games,” junior Aidan Silvestri said. “We
also performed at the Homecoming Pep Rally, the Coopersburg Halloween Parade, and this past year, we performed at [the homecoming] football game and [the Headstrong] lacrosse game.” Membership on the team in itself is a commitment to practice, as well as coordination and teamwork. For the team, practice is vital to successful performances. “Considering practice is extremely important for dancers, we try to never miss one,” junior captain Gabrielle Sisselberger said. “In the begin-
ning of the school year, we practice Tuesday and Friday afternoon. As we get into the actual season during fall, we practice Tuesday morning in the high school gym from 6:30-7:15 in the morning, and we continue our Friday afternoon practice.” Practice, coordination, and teamwork is crucial to accomplishing the synchronized routines which the team performs. Figuring out the choreography ultimately contributes the greatest challenges for the members. “It’s definitely hard to learn all the dances that we rotate through for performances.” senior Hannah Ostrosky said. “We don’t want people to see the same routine over and over, so we are constantly learning new dances. It can be hard to keep all the choreography straight sometimes and to make sure every dance is up to par to be shown.” Despite the early hours, the constant training, and the complex nature of performing their routines, being part of the team is worth it. “The most rewarding thing about being on the team is definitely the bonds we have built,” junior Elle Silvestri said. “The team is super close, and we all look out for each other.” And for the team, the community they’ve built could not have been possible without their leadership. “All in all it’s a great time and the girls are all really close, and Senorita [Swartz] might be the sweetest person there is,” Sisselberger said. “We love having her as a coach.” Strong leadership coupled with a committed and tightly knit team guarantees that the dance team will continue to offer sensational performances for the foreseeable future.
Morning Call 2019 Fall Sports All Stars and Final Team Ranking Boys Cross Country
Girls Cross Country
First Team: Alex Kane Second Team: Alec Di Cesare, Dominik Lisicky
Second Team: Jenna Groeber
Girls Tennis Second Team: Erica Wang, Evelyn Wang Doubles Team of the Year: Wang Sisters
First Team: Mackenzie Reese Second Team: Iris Gluck Final Rankings: 4th Southern Lehigh
Rifle Wins NEPA Rifle League Championship by Kennah Salvo
Spartans line up to practice their aim. Photo credit: Hamda Qaisar.
In a room with fluorescent lights and no windows, a group of students lie on the ground, gazing intently towards the far wall. Holding completely still, the only sound in the room is the in and out of breath, and the occasional loud pop. Though it may be an unfamiliar scene to an outsider, this is just another practice for the Southern Lehigh rifle team. “I guess you could say it’s one of the few sports that requires patience,” senior Richie Gilmore said. “In another sport, like lacrosse, for example, you have to make a move right then. In rifle you have time to prepare yourself and you can decide when and when not to shoot, which I guess adds to the mental piece as well.” Rifle is a very unique sport; for one thing, the team practices in at a rifle range, rather in a gym
or outside. Instead of running around like traditional sports, athletes lie as still as possible on their stomachs. “It’s the most physical non-physical sport there is,” rifle team coach Mr. Robert Gaugler said. The Southern Lehigh rifle team ended their regular season with a record of 8-1, and won the 2019-2020 NEPA Rifle League Championship. “I am proud of my team. I love seeing students succeed and grow in the sport,” said Mr. Gaugler. In rifle, there are a few requirements to join the team. First and most importantly, each student is required to undergo a psychological evaluation. In addition, they have to make sure they are eating right, so that their body is able to
maintain steadiness while shooting. “You have to change up your diet a bit,” Mr. Gaugler said. “Consistency is the main thing to watch there, make sure you’re not all over the place.” Once a student is a part of the team, students are required to follow specific procedures. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the team holds practice where they do shooting and concentration drills. These are designed to improve an athlete’s accuracy. “We can’t eat sugar before matches because it could cause our heart rates to go up,” said sophomore Veronica Comfort. “You have to be perfectly calm and still so the shot isn’t shaky.” It is also required that students take a small break before they shoot to come to a place where they are calm, cool, and collected, not only for the obvious safety reasons but also to help better their concentration and performance. “Waiting time in between when we are shooting at practice is very relaxing,” said Gilmore, “Some people meditate. Mostly you just take some time and let yourself drift into the state you need to be in to shoot.” Between practices and meets, the team spends time together to bond. “The kids will go to the movies, or go ice skating or something, just to feel connected as a team,” said Mr. Gaugler. Because the nature and structure of practice is different from most sports, the students also form bonds during that time. “We kind of bond when we’re waiting to shoot; there’s a lot of down time in practice,” sophomore Veronica Comfort said. “We just sit around and talk.” After all, the team that bonds together, wins together.
First Team Midfielders: Kyle Hoff Second Team Goalkeepers: Jack Cyr Honorable Mention Goalkeepers: Tyler King Defenders: Gavin Bealer Final Top 10: 7th Southern Lehigh
First Team Defenders: Jenna Grober Second Team Midfielders: Emily Jordan Honorable Mention Forwards: Emma Singley Midfielders: Bella Touzeau Final Top 10: 6th Southern Lehigh
Girls Volleyball First Team: Mackenzie Feight, Cortney Kylish Second Team: Brianna West Coach of the Year: Donald West Team of the Year: Southern Lehigh
Football Co-offensive player of the year: Asher Smith Football Team of the Year: Southern Lehigh First Team Offense: Asher Smith, Eric Vingom First Team Defense: Hunter Hughes Second Team Offense: Riley Craft, Christian Colasurdo Second Team Defense: Michael Bodner, Cameron Fisher
Upperclassmen Reveal Their Favorite Classes by Saskia Van’t Hof
“Meisters is my favorite class because I like all the music that we sing and it’s also really fun to go out into the community and sing with all my friends in Meisters. When we did the Night Lights project, it was really fun to perform in front of people and with all of the different schools. I’ve had some of the best memories of high school during Meisters, and I’m really going to miss it when I graduate.”
Junior William Corvino
“I think Public Speaking is just a really fun class. You have to follow guidelines but at the same time Mr. Castagna doesn’t force ideas down your throat. The class I had was really great because of the people I was surrounded with too. It felt like we were a team together. No one hated on you even if you had stage fright or if you felt like you failed a speech. I feel like I grew a lot from the beginning of the year to the end. In my first speech I was really stumbling and I didn’t look anyone in the eyes, but by the end of the year I would stroll up there and I knew I could get it done without stressing about it. I would definitely recommend everyone should take it. “
Senior Alli Brown
“My favorite class so far is definitely AP Chemistry. I enjoy chemistry and I really enjoy learning the theory behind all of the Honors Chem stuff. It’s definitely the most interesting and the most engaging of the classes I’ve taken. It’s also really cool that I can both apply my advanced knowledge and learn the basics of other things I’ve been taught. I really recommend it.”
Junior Victoria Grube
“AP Psychology with Mr. Cooper was definitely my favorite class. One, Mr. Cooper is just an awesome teacher and makes everything very obvious and explains things really well. But also Psychology is very relatable to the real world so once I took the class I felt like I understood more of the world and why things happen. Every time we had class it was just really fun and interesting. If I could, I would definitely want to take it again.”
Junior Sooyeon Jung
“My favorite class was hands down Advanced TV Video Production. I like to edit videos, so this class really helped me grow my skills and play around with different types of filming. I did a lot of studio videos, and I also got to make a music video and lots of package stories. For some of my package stories, I made videos about the school Band and a package for Baking a Dfference. My favorite moment is always getting to see the finish product after I’m finished editing a video.”
Senior Brandon Rank
“I actually think AP Calculus was my favorite class. I’ve had Mr. Haupt for two years so I know him pretty well, so there was none of that awkward ‘I don’t know how to adjust to his teaching style’ feeling. It was a really nice learning experience for me because I could ask whatever I wanted to, so it was really easy for me to learn. A lot of people think Mr. Haupt is very hard on us, but I think that he does this to help us in the long run and prepare us for the AP exam. And, he has the best jokes.”
Junior Nate Woodruff
Page 10 Our World
TikTok Accused of Pro-China Censorship by Kate Miller & Emily Mackin
Beijing based video sharing social media app TikTok has come under fire for censoring content critical of the Chinese government as well as LGBTQ+ content on the platform. Photo credit: Lucas Zhang.
Over the last year, the popularity of the video-sharing social networking app, TikTok, culminated when it became the most downloaded app for IOS in 2019. Currently, the app has over 500 million active users in 155 countries. People of all ages are still joining the app every day as its popularity continues to stay on a steady incline. However, the increased publicity surrounding the app isn’t all positive. Near the end of 2019, TikTok became the center of significant controversy regarding privacy. As a Beijijng based company, the app has been targeted with accusations of censoring content criticizing the Chinese government. Seventeen-year old Feroza Aziz landed at the forefront of case against TikTok’s content restrictions when she published a video about the current mass interment of Muslims in China, disguised as a makeup tutorial. The views surged in days, and TikTok attempted to block her account, but reversed its decision shortly after frequent users noticed the deliberate censorship. After the controversy surrounding the company’s handling of Aziz’s video, more videos discussing discrimination against the Muslim minority became a normality on TikTok. “TikTok’s censorship really angered me,” said
sophomore Evelyn Blower. “It targets minorities and underrepresented groups, which made me feel like an app that is meant for everyone to create wasn’t giving everyone a platform to be heard.” “I remember hearing a lot in the news about this after I was already using the app, but it took me a long time to actually make an account, because I was scared,” senior Abby Haelig said. “I eventually did make an account because the news died out, and I didn’t think it was as big an issue anymore.” TikTok has set limitations in place, but they haven’t deterred people’s desire to share out more important issues; the company’s attempts have only spurred a greater motion for users to create dramatic, serious videos to capture the audience’s attention on potentially censored topics. For example, these efforts include videos about missing and murdered indigenous women in the U.S. The content on TikTok varies wildly from cosplayer trends to political views to some dark humor. “I sometimes see videos that are serious and are informative about what’s going on but most of the stuff I see is either funny videos or people
dancing,” senior Kailen Mulhern said. “I also see people turn serious situations into memes since that’s how our generation handles scary things.” Users also discovered TikTok to be banning LGBTQ+ content in many countries, mainly Turkey, and a majority of this censorship surrounded videos that contained messages of protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and promotion of differing sexualities. Controversy surrounding TikTok has expanded as the U.S. Army has banned the usage of the app amongst soldiers, claiming the app as a potential security threat. Many users are unlikely to stop using the video app, but the increasing number of headlines can raise more questions about privacy rights amongst frequent users. The outlook of the TikTok’s prosperity seems to be promising, with faithful users attentive to a new stream of videos every day, but with amidst accusations against the company, TikTok could see a minor decrease in its base of users. In the age where finding entertainment through interactive social media platforms, like TikTok is easy, this controversy is not likely to be a factor of people’s disinterest in posting on the app.
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China Under Fire for Detainment of Minorities by Alex Kane
The Chinese government has been charged with human rights abuses as a result of their detention of millions of Uyghur and Kazakh minorities in the western province of Xinjiang. Photo credit: Lucas Zhang.
Of the many freedoms this nation was founded upon, four hold a coveted position over the rest: freedom of speech, free press, the right to protest, and freedom of religion. Although they are rights many Americans take for granted, it is a blessing many others in the world do not have. Beginning in April of 2017, the Chinese government in Xinjiang began placing members of the local Uighur and Kazakh ethnic minorities into camps. The government claims the movement was an action taken as an attempt to dereadicalize them and provide them with vocational education. “From my understanding the Chinese government is saying they are reeducation camps to deradicalize Muslims,” civics teacher Dr. Katie Quartuch said. “Human Rights groups are saying that these camps are taking one out of four or one out of ten people into these camps. [And] that the camps were brainwashing the occupants of the camp.” Recently, humanitarian groups such as Human Rights Watch have alleged that the camps are actually engaging in arbitrary, random, mass detention, torture, and otherwise mistreatment of Uighurs and Kazakhs. The Chinese government says that these camps were to deradicalize them and prevent them from performing violent acts in the name of their religion, such as in March of 2014, when Uighur militants stabbed 150 people in a train stations, resulting in the deaths of 31 of the victims. “Basically, the Chinese government was putting Muslims [specifically the Uighurs and Kazahks] into camps for practicing what the Chinese government said was the wrong way of life,” said sophomore Aiden Tobin. “They used the camps to reteach the Muslims to live their lives. So they were using the camps to torture and horribly mistreat the Muslims.” Human Rights Watch alleges that detainees are hung from walls and ceilings, beaten, and shackled for prolonged periods of time. In addition, some detainees have allegedly been interrogated for an extended period of time, with sources associated with Human Rights Watch claiming
they were interrogated for a period of four days and four nights. Another source in Xinjiang has also said that detainees in the camps are afraid of being taken out of the cell for interrogation, fearing they’d be tortured. The source goes on to state that a fellow detainee showed them the scars they received after being hung from the ceiling for a night. The source also claimed that the detainees are chained to the bed and have their hands and feet shackled together. Human rights groups are claiming that the camps are actually just an attempt to repress Uighur culture and are intended to alter their cultural norms, to assimilate this minority into the Han majority ethnic group. “What they want is to force us to assimilate, to identify with the country, such that, in the future, the idea of Uyghur will be in name only, but without its meaning,” Ilham Tohti, a Uighur economist who had lived in the Xinjiang region until 2017, said in an interview by Human Rights Watch. “Definitely, one of the things is that this [the use of the reeducation camps] is essentially erasing a culture, making them more ‘mainstream Chinese’ and forget part of their identity,” Dr. Quartuch said. That the government is so powerful and people have no means of recourse [is concerning].” The Chinese government ratified the United Nation’s Convention Against Torture in 1988, and has also passed legislative prohibitions on the mistreatment of those who have been detained as far back as 1979. This commitment has brought further criticism of the Chinese government’s actions from the international community. Such criticisms of China’s actions have led to some advocate for the United States to implement sanctions on China. Another proposed US response is a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. “I do think the US should use its power to put pressure in foreign governments that are violating human rights,” Dr. Quartuch said. “I do know the US has been using sanctions to pressure the [Chinese] government. China says that the whole
thing is because of the trade war.” In a world ever increasing in complexity, the lines between right and wrong blur more and more with the passage of time. The eyes of the world turn towards Beijing, which seems to hold the belief that the end justifies the means. For those observing from the outside, the exact opposite may often be the case.
Estimates by State Department estimate that upwards of 800,000 Uighurs are currently detained Photo Credits:Lucas Zhang
How Marsy’s Law Could Affect Pennsylvania by Alex Kane
Marsy’s Law is a proposed amendment to the PA state constitution that would augment the existing rights of victims under the 1988 Crime Victims Act. It is named after Marsaline Nicholas who was murdered by her boyfriend in 1983. Her brother and mother later saw the killer, her former boyfriend, in a grocery store but had not been notified of his release on bail. If passed, the law would give crime victims additional rights including the right to refuse discovery requests. Discovery is where the prosecution “shares its notes” with the defense and lets them know what they’ll have to argue against in court. The aforementioned right to refuse discovery requests is concerning is because it’s difficult for an attorney to argue against evidence they don’t know exists. Other new rights that Marsy’s Law provides include the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence, have the safety of the victim and family considered when setting bail amount and release conditions, and the right be informed of all the rights the amendment provides. “I think it’s about protecting the families of victims,” civics teacher Dr. Katie Quartuch said, “so they are granted some kind of notice for dignity to let them know whether the perpetrator of their family members crime is on bail or awaiting trial.” Certain provisions of Marsy’s Law were already adopted in the 1988 Crime Victims Act, which granted victims information about their rights, and to be notified of significant actions involving their case. In addition, victims gained the right to make a comment to the prosecutor’s office or juvenile probation office on the dropping or altering of charges or plea changes. A number of students support the Marsy’s Law proposal. “I think that it’s good because I think that it’s good that the victims are informed so they can be prepared if the perpetrator comes back after them,” sophomore Christian Piper said. While this is a valid concern, the Crime Victims Act of 1988 already provides this right. There is concern that the proposed law violates the due process clause of the fifth amendment, which states that those accused of a crime are protected from self incrimination and cannot be
Supporters of the Marsy’s Law argue that allowing victims to hide personal evidence from their case would make the victims feel safer. Photo credit: Marsy’s Law For All.
charged with the same crime twice. “It’s a good law, it’s just that we have to ensure the privacy of the perpetrator and the victim’s family is protected,” sophomore Andrea Prince said. “I think then it can be successful. Publicity should be a key factor; we should make sure that the victim’s family doesn’t cause excess suffering for the perpetrator.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has challenged the law, based on their opinion that the proposed law violates both the 5th and 6th amendment rights of the accused. The sixth amendment states that a person must be given a speedy and public trial and allowed to confront
their accuser. Marsy’s Law could lead juries to convict the accused based on the assumption that the accused person is the perpetrator even if they are not. Marsy’s Law is unconstitutional and swings the balance of the court system in favor of the prosecution. This goes against the principles of our legal system, which is set up to protect people from excessive government power. Emotion is a very strong argument, one easily exploited by the prosecution to further swing the courts in their favor, yet again something that goes against the design of our justice system.
Parasite’s recent Oscar wins are important for representation, not only within diversity, but also among the social classes. The movie’s Best Picture win shows that the Oscars are not just an awards show for American films. Throughout our nation’s history, we have maintained a uniform culture as if it were law, but more and more other culture’s are beginning to bring their social contributions to the United States. This diversifying of social culture is incredibly necessary, as our society is closed off and reluctant to learning about other cultures, almost in a xenophobic manner. The win for the South Korean film is a promising start to a more diverse and inclusive Oscars, but there is still a long way to go. At this year’s Oscars, movies such as 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Joker (all centered around white male narratives) dominated almost all of
the nomination categories. Actresses and actors of color were incredibly underrepresented, with Cynthia Erivo being the only black nominee for her role in Harriet. Additionally, in the director’s category, females were cut from any nominations, despite this year being a “banner year for female filmmakers.” Parasite winning Best Picture is historically groundbreaking in that it breaks the unfair trends that have been previously set by the Oscars. The cast and crew was definitely deserving of winning the award, but the win for Parasite also counts as a win towards all of underrepresented people of color that are not acknowledged by the Oscars. As Parasite fans across America celebrate the Oscar win, the fight for genuine equality in Hollywood should be acknowledged as well.
Letter to the Editor: Oscar Win for ‘Parasite’ is More Than a A Ploy for Diversity in Film by Anna Kim At the 2020 Oscars, the South Korean film Parasite took home the most awards, including Best Picture, Directing, International Feature Film, and Original Screenplay. Because of this, Parasite has gained a significant amount of buzz within the past few days. The movie’s wins are groundbreaking, not only because the movie won four Oscars, but also because Parasite is the first international film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. At the same time, I have seen a fair number of people complain that Parasite’s Oscar win was nothing more than a tactic for the Oscars to seem “more progressive.” While it is true that it was a history making moment, dismissing the movie as a ploy for the industry takes away from Parasite’s brilliance as a movie. From its cinematic directing to its poignant message, Parasite deserved to win Best Picture.
Opinion Page 13
Is Technology Fueling Overprotective Parenting? by Noelle Nelson
With the increased use of technology in everyday life, many parents are using various apps to monitor their children. Photo credit: Burst.
Parents in this century are facing a challenge that they never had before: the internet. With the revolution of new apps and devices, many overprotective parents, also known as “helicopter parents,” are beginning to use technology to monitor and control their children. Originally coined by the metaphor that a parent hovers like a helicopter, the term helicopter parent can be found used in context as early as 1969 in Dr. Haim Ginott’s best selling book, “Between Parent and Teenager.” Ever since the book’s publication, the term has been used to describe any overprotective parent who is excessively involved in their child’s life. They make sure that their child is always doing what they are supposed to be doing, is always following rules, and is safe at every second. Technology has made this monitoring easier by offering helicopter parents apps such as mSpy that can track a child’s location. According to Pew Research Center, 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, so many parents feel that extra precaution is needed since their children are able to communicate to anyone at any time and have access to material they’ve never had before. The Journal of Pediatrics also disclosed that 30% of teens have met up with a stranger they met online after the first initial contact, causing parents alarm that there may be predators, criminals, and scam artists seeking out young adults everyday.
Moreover, the increased use of global technology allows parents to see the world in a more negative light and to expect the worst for their children. Social media has created easy access to information about the dangers of the world, making helicopter parents think their children are in danger, and causing them to instinctively do whatever possible to shield them from these advertised threats. In fact, helicopter parents are often so concerned over every little detail of their children’s lives that they focus on everything and anything that involves their child. This includes their friends, clubs, sports, and schoolwork. “My parents always check my grades and make sure I am a good person and becoming the best version of myself,” sophomore Leah Hundley said. Society has changed so much that helicopter parents are even willing to abandon common practices of their own childhoods in favor of more overbearing methods. For example, from 1970 to now, the rate of students driving to school has increased from 16% to 70% (Heart Foundation). Parents feel the need to make sure that their kids are arriving safely to school, rather than allowing them to walk. The rise in this overprotective method of parenting is creating more harm to teens than intended good. Teens often feel that they need to rebel against the strict structure that is placed
upon them, and want to express themselves or do things their parents don’t allow them to do. By creating more rules and regulations on their children, helicopter parents are creating a society in which adolescents are more prone to become more defiant members of society. “You know how there’s that Catholic school stereotype about how they always misbehave because their parents have such strict rules and values?” junior Victoria Grube said. “Yeah that’s what’s happening to our society,” In addition, by shielding teens excessively, helicopter parents may create an environment in which these young adults won’t know what to do when they become adults, or they may experience a “culture shock” to the reality that people can be cruel and selfish. Adolescents may also become excessively vulnerable and anxious to all the risks that their helicopter parents had been concerned about, resulting in continued dependence on their parents. They may even have difficulty assessing risky social situations. The bottom line is this: helicopter parents feel the need to create extra rules and regulations to prevent their teens from harm that now exists. However, that is not creating an environment that is best for children. The only true way to protect your child is to educate them and allow them to see when danger might be coming their away.
The Spotlight is published six times annually by the student members of its staff. Its purpose is to present news concerning Southern Lehigh High School and the Southern Lehigh School District, as well as to provide a forum for student opinion. Editorial content of The Spotlight expresses the view of the paper and not necessarily that of the Board of Education, Administration, or faculty of the Southern Lehigh School District. Bylined editorial content and letters to the editor represent the opinion of the writer only. All contents are copyrighted by The Spotlight. Advertising and subscription rates are furnished upon request.
Arts and Entertainment
What SL Teachers are Currently Watching
by Noelle Nelson
Mrs. Bonnie Organski: The Voice Photo Credit:Universal Studios Productions
Mr. David Dougherty: The Dragon Prince Photo credit: Netflix Productions
Mrs. Sheryl Ciotti: Living with Yourself Photo Credit: Netflix Productions
Ms. Erin Laney: Mindhunter Photo Credit: Netflix Productions
Mrs. Kaytlyn Byers: Hart of Dixie Photo Credit:Warner Bros. Television
Miss Jessica Swartz: Succession Photo credit: Home Box Office Productions
Mrs. Beth Dottery: Ozark Photo Credit:Netflix Productions
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review by Evelyn Wang
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars saga was a shaky investment for filmmaker George Lucas when he couldn’t obtain the rights to a “Flash Gordon” film. After quickly becoming a blockbuster hit, with two sequels and a prequel trilogy to come, Star Wars established itself as a cultural phenomenon. The final installment of the newest trilogy, “The Rise of Skywalker,” was marketed, as well as expected by fans, to be a conclusion to the Skywalker Saga, a tale that has spanned over 40 years and captured the hearts of generations. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” opens with Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) following a Sith artifact and transmissions from a revived Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) to a mysterious planet, where he plots the downfall of the Resistance in exchange for the death of Rey (Daisy Ridley), the last Jedi. Resistance fighters Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) race to stop the First Order from taking over the galaxy, and Rey prepares for her inevitable confrontation with Kylo Ren. The previous film, “The Last Jedi,” was considered to have deviated from traditional “Star Wars” morals. “The Last Jedi” became a topic of discussion over its tones, plot, character arcs, and the idea that it betrayed fans. As for the latest movie, one thing is for sure: along with being a film that no one will hate, “The Rise of Skywalker” becomes a film that, perhaps, no one will love. “The Rise of Skywalker” is an extremely fastpaced movie, almost to the point where it feels like two movies shoved into one. The beginning wastes no time in revealing the return of Palpatine, and it doesn’t stop there. Steps are taken in opening doors that “The Last Jedi” had previously closed, retconning some of the reveals, and sidelining concepts and characters introduced in the previous film. At the same time, the film struggles to differentiate itself from the originals. I felt as though the characters end up enduring the same struggles as their parents and predecessors instead of battling a new conflict. Another drawback is that the movie fails to deliver the emotional elements during what should be its most impactful moments. Whether it’s because of some dramatic fake-out meant to draw a brief sentimental response before being resolved with a cheap plot twist, or some inexplicable Force ability that would’ve been very convenient in the past films, I felt that the movie was using the wrong methods in its attempt to meet expectations. Additionally, the movie seems to pay little attention to many of its characters. Previously established storylines are completely abandoned, and new characters are introduced but seem to
The newest installment of the Star Wars Saga follows the story of the Resistance as they fight against the First Order after it is discovered that Darth Vader did not kill Emperor Palpatine. Photo credit: Walt Disney Pictures.
have no clear purpose. Despite all this, “The Rise of Skywalker” does deliver in some aspects. As with many of the other installments of the saga, its visuals are stunning, and composer John Williams incorporates themes and leitmotifs from the other movies in an equally impressive score. The movie ends on a calm, yet poignant note. While the characters may not create much sentiment, given we’ve
spent so little time with all of them together, they do convey the undeniable spirit of action. Overall, “The Rise of Skywalker” faced a Deathstar-sized task, and fulfilled it passably. Every movie has its faults, and this one was no exception, but it also gives fans a glimpse of the past, touches their hearts with visual effects and musical scores, and leaves with one final message: Hope (and the force) will always be with you.
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Odds and Ends
Upperclassmen Reveal Their Favorite Classes by Saskia Van’t Hof
Junior Courtney Bridges
“For me, my favorite class was AP World History which I took in junior year. First of all Mr. Zeisloft is a great teacher. If we ever had a problem whenever we would go through something during class, Mr. Zeisloft would break it down to make it very simple. We also had a lot of fun going through the different cultures and examining them and having discussions about them. Even though I want to be an engineer, it’s great to understand where other people come from and how that contributes to their being.”
Senior Grace Hambly
“I love Ceramics because I love Mrs. Donald and making ceramics is just really fun. It was a new type of class for me because you don’t have to work on worksheets you can just make cool stuff with your hands that you get to take home. They actually have a purpose and that’s really cool. Like I use one of my ceramic pots to hold all of my makeup brushes and it’s great. I also made a vase that I painted like Monet’s ‘Lily Pad’, so that was really cool.”
Senior Princeton Bijou
“AP Psychology was a really hard class, but it was fun. It was the kind of class that made me want to put in the work. I also had a really good group of people which also made it a really fun class. And if it was taught by any other teacher besides Mr. Cooper, it definitely would not have been as enjoyable as it was. I felt engaged in the class– I wasn’t just doing the work to complete it. And now I’m going to be majoring in neuroscience, so I realize how important the class was because it introduced me to a new topic that I love.”
The Spotlight is the student news publication of Southern Lehigh HS in Center Valley PA.