THE SPOTLIGHT October 2019
Southern Lehigh High School 5800 Main Street Center Valley, PA 18034
Volume 63 Issue 1
Homecoming Court Crowned Under Friday Night Lights Play “Guess the Homecoming Court” on Pages 8 and 9 Photo Credit: Taylor Koch
Issue: Find out what students really think about the new advisory period on page 2.
On page 7, learn what it takes to become an undefeated field hockey team.
Do “VSCO girls” really deserve the hate? Read about some thoughts on page 12.
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
Advisory Period Brings Mixed Feelings by Alex Kane
Mrs. Marlo Spritzer
Editor-in-Chief Saskia Van’t Hof
Opinion Editor Saskia Van’t Hof
Features Editor Kennah Salvo
News Editor Alex Kane
Our World Editor Lucas Zhang
Entertainment Editor Noelle Nelson
Sports Editor Kate Miller
Aisha Durrani Nolan Sargent Amy Schwartz Gillian Wellington Owen Bishop Emily Mackin Evelyn Wang Lauren McCormick Lucas Werbisky Pennsylvania School Press Association 2019 Silver Rating 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
This advisory class is proud of their work for the door decorating contest. Photo credit: Mrs. Lauren Tocci
Stress relief. Favorite ice cream flavors. Door decorating. The conversations and activities that take place during the new advisory period may seem random, but they are all part of a schoolwide initiative to bring students together. Once every six days during the 42-minute Spartan period, an enrichment block in the middle of the school day, teachers lead students in a variety of activities to build a sense of community within the school, such as door decorating contests and roundtable discussions. Based upon a school-wide survey conducted last year, the administration noted that a majority of students lacked a teacher they felt comfortable enough to talk to outside of academics.They decided that the best way to connect students to teachers as well as their peers was to establish a new advisory period once every six days during Spartan block. “After we did some research, we felt that students would greatly benefit from having a ‘home base’ and having a group of students they would get to know,” high school principal Mrs. Beth Guarriello said. The new program replaced Freshman Academy, which was offered to ninth graders during their first semester. In the new advisory period, four students from each grade are assigned to a teacher who will be their mentor for their entire high school career. “I’m liking [having different grades in spartan advisory] more than I thought I would. You get so
many different opinions and pieces of advice that honestly have helped a lot.” freshman Julia Kashner said. ”“I figured it was gonna be such a transition and a change but everyone is so much nicer than people make them to be.” According to Mrs. Guarriello, the new advisory period is also aims to reduce confusion during emergency and fire drills, since students will always know who to go to in any drill or emergency. “So far I think [advisory] period is alright, but sometimes awkward since sometimes no one wants to answer any questions,” sophomore Gabby Lawler said, “but it’s better than freshman academy.” So far, the advisory period has resulted in a mixture of opinions from students. While some agree that the advisory period is beneficial, many others are struggling to
get used to the change. “It’s a good opportunity for freshmen to get involved with others in the school,” junior Max Wetterau said. “Other than that it sucks.” While students like the mixture of the grades, others agree that the meetings feel awkward and are too short and infrequent to accomplish what the administration wants. In response to the feedback from students, the administration says they are still in the process of modifying the structure of the period to best fit the student body. “We as an administration had planned to do more lessons but decided instead to make it more of a place for students to talk and build community,” Mrs. Guarriello said. The principals hope students will come to them with suggestions for how to make advisory period better for them.
Mr. Matthew Cooper’s advisory class partcicpates in door decorating. Photo credit: Mrs. Lauren Tocci
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Dr. Mykee Fowlin Promotes Unity Through Story by Saskia Van’t Hof
To kick off the school year with a message of unity, psychologist and and performer Dr. Mykee Fowlin spoke to the Southern Lehigh High School student body during an assembly on September 6th. A follow up to last year’s performance, Dr. Fowlin’s emotional speech on empathizing with other people’s struggles moved many to tears. “We wanted to encourage an environment of acceptance and inclusion, and for people to embrace everyone else’s differences,” principal Mrs. Beth Guarriello said. “Just like last year, I hope this assembly really made people look at people for who they truly are. I just think we all have a story, and we also have to take that into account.” This year, Dr. Mykee Fowlin’s speech focused on sharing stories of loss and trauma, and how they impact the everyday lives and future decisions of the individuals affected. In his distinct style, he delivered his speech in a combination of spoken verse and character impersonations. “At first when he started doing different characters I thought it was a bit weird,” freshman Josh Keller said. “But when I got used to it, I actually started to feel for the different people.” Intertwined with the overall theme of loss, Dr. Fowlin shared the heartbreaking stories of eight fictional characters: prisoner Mark Rizzo, 14-year-old Francine, brown student Kwame Harris, privileged high school student Chris Denton, disabled Tommy Anderson, and Mark’s brother Steve Rizzo. Many characters, such as Kwame Harris and Steve Rizzo, were inspired by people Dr. Fowlin knew in real life. “Whenever I use parts of people’s lives, I try to disguise it enough where it’s not directly their
story. I looked at the experience...and created around it,” Dr. Fowlin said. “Part of it is fictional. When I did the characters Steve and Billy (Steve’s best friend), the real Steve is not that reflective -- he’s not that person -- but it made me think about how we can bridge some of that gap.” The stories of the eight characters, many whose experiences take place during high school, struck a chord with many students in the audience. “It was really emotional,” junior Ruhbani Sidhu said. “It definitely hit home for me and a lot of other people. Everyone who was sitting around me was crying a little.” Dr. Fowlin is certainly no stranger to this sort of reaction from high schoolers. With a doctorate degree in clinical psychology from Rutgers University, Dr. Fowlin has spent years exploring the complexity of human emotion. However, it is the pain from his own high school experience that has shaped his presentation the most. “I felt so isolated when I was going through my initial part of depression that really hit hard in my freshman and sophomore year,” Dr. Fowlin said. “And the worst feeling was thinking that I was completely alone. It wasn’t true, but I didn’t know that because no one else was talking about it.” Dr. Fowlin hopes that through the stories of his characters, students realize that their peers struggle with the same sense of loneliness. He feels the most pride in his work when students tell him afterward how he made them feel less alone. To close the assembly, Dr. Fowlin left students with a powerful message of unity: “I challenge
After the assembly, Dr. Mykee Fallon talked to students and embraced them as they shared their own stories. Photo credit: Saskia Van’t Hof.
you to pay attention and to try to figure out how to help people to feel safer and less alone...I challenge you to go beyond the Instagram posts and Snapchat posts, and let people see your true self.”
Spartan Ambassadors: The New Faces of SLHS by Saskia Van’t Hof
A group of Spartan Ambassadors greeted state senators and local representatives at a recent visit. Photo credit: Hanna Ostrosky.
Being the “new kid” at school isn’t easy. You have to juggle navigating classes and making friends, all while adjusting to a new school environment. That’s why the Spartan Ambassadors are committed to helping students through this adjustment by being a sort of “welcome wagon” for new families. Spartan Ambassadors are a group of students with a simple yet important mission: to provide new students with the support they need to thrive at Southern Lehigh. During the first week of school, the Ambassadors were easily recognizable, all wearing matching jackets. “I wanted to start [Spartan Ambassadors] because as a new girl a couple years ago, I understood the struggles of coming into a school where you don’t know anyone,“ junior Emma Hobby,
who created Spartan Ambassadors with the help of guidance counselor Mrs. Tamme Westbrooks. “We can really help make new students feel comfortable and at home.” Unlike other clubs like Aevidum, Spartan Ambassadors focuses primarily on helping new students with the adjustment to a new school. “In the long run, I hope Spartan Ambassadors create a great first impression for new families, and create a welcoming atmosphere,” principal Mrs. Beth Guarriello said. “They are our welcome wagon, the people welcoming new members to our community and hopefully making them feel good.” The students who are part of the Spartan Ambassadors filled out a survey where they talked about their interests. New students were
matched with ambassadors that shared similar interests as them, so they could bond through mutual hobbies, like band or art. “I would like them to take a much more active role with transitioning new students into Southern Lehigh.” Spartan Ambassadors advisor Mrs. Westbrooks said. “Traditionally, it has been a difficult school to transfer into, and we want to make it easier for students.” The Spartan Ambassadors describe their experiences helping new students with pride. From giving tours of the school to simply chatting about shared interests, the Spartan Ambassadors love getting to know the new students. They support teens who might just need a friendly face in the halls once in a while. Personally, I’ve had a great time being a Spartan Ambassador,” junior Michael Woods said. “Recently I was asked to give a tour to a new student, and I really enjoyed getting to know him and his interests.” Along with welcoming new students, Spartan Ambassadors have also been involved as tour guides for special guests. Recently, the Spartan Ambassadors greeted local representatives such as Pat Browne during a meeting regarding special education funding in our schools. Although the club is in its early days, their plans for the future are certainly ambitious. Among them are plans for a mixer, where students get to interact with and get to know the ambassadors. They are also involved in welcoming those who served in the military for Veteran’s Day. Only time will tell what else the Ambassadors have in store; but both students and administration agree that by providing new students with the opportunity to connect with others, everyone benefits. After all, everybody needs that friendly face sometimes.
Multicultural Students Adjust to Life at Solehi by Kennah Salvo
High school is hard. Moving is hard. It’s even harder when you move halfway around the world to go to high school, but it can also be eye-opening. Over the past several years, Southern Lehigh High School has welcomed several students from various cultures into the community; just a few being senior Sara Aaros from Finland, sophomores Derek and Diomar Torres from Puerto Rico, and junior Daisy Jung from South Korea. Sara is an exchange student who will be here until January, Derek and Diomar moved into the Southern Lehigh School District this fall after moving to Pennsylvania two years ago, and Daisy moved here last year in order to finish high school and attend college. Cultural diversity brings color, flavor, and beauty to a community; a lack of which Southern Lehigh has been criticized for in the past. “I think it’s a really valuable experience,” Southern Lehigh High School principal Beth Guarriello said. “I think our students here learn about different cultures and different customs.” Whether they want to come to the United States become more fluent in English or gain a cultural awareness, multicultural students find rich experiences as well. “I got to choose what country I wanted to go to, and I just always wanted to come to America have that high school experience here,” Aaros
said. “I wanted to see how it is, and it’s really common to come here to do an exchange program.” Aaros describes many differences between her Finnish schooling and her American schooling. In Finland, after ninth grade, students have a choice to continue with schooling or not, which most people do. This is similar to the concept of dropping out. At that point students choose between the equivalent of vocational school and academic schooling. “I thought I’d be feeling more culture-shocked, but we were prepared. The organization told us it was gonna be hard,” Aaros said.
Brothers Derek and Diomar learn to adjust to changes in weather and food. Photo credit: Kennah Salvo.
Daisy enjoys attending school in America. Photo credit: Kennah Salvo.
Sara finds many differences between American and Finnish schooling. Photo credit: Kenna Salvo.
They said they miss the food they used to eat in Puerto Rico -- dishes like rice, pork and fish -- but when they lived in Allentown, they found they liked the various restaurants that sold Do-
“Everything is very different: traffic is different, school is different, the food is different, but it hasn’t been a huge shock. It’s been more cool to see all the different things.” Some students, however, find the transition more difficult, especially those who do not know English. Ms. Megan Markwich teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) at the high school. She helps these students first and foremost to learn English, but also to navigate our school and culture. Derek and Diomar Torres are from Morovis, Puerto Rico. When they first moved to the Lehigh Valley, they lived in Allentown and attended Dieruff High School.
minican food. It was hard for them to acclimate to the cooler weather, though. “Obviously, the language barrier is a big difficulty, but also everything is so different. [Derek and Diomar] had class outside in Puerto Rico, so it’s challenging,” said Ms. Markwich, “We spend a lot of time at the beginning learning things like where their locker is and where the office is.” Jung seems to be enjoying life at Southern Lehigh, despite missing things like South Korea’s cheap healthcare and public transportation. She loves American popular culture, especially music and television. She especially likes the day-to-day mechanics of school life. “I really like gym class, too. We have just one hour a week in Korea, which is bad,” said Jung. “All the teachers are really nice and really good at teaching the students.” All students bring rich and valuable experiences to our school and students from other especially so. “We can learn so much from each other if we open ourselves up to welcoming other people to our school, to our metaphorical table,” said Mrs. Guarriello.
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Know Your Class Officers? Meet Them Here! by Kate Miller
School dances are a quintessential part of every student’s “High School Experience.” But behind every awkward slow song and loud dancing circle at homecoming, prom, or winter formal, there is a group of class officers working hard to make it happen. The class officers are very important to the student body because they fundraise for and organize all the fun activities that students can enjoy throughout the year. During the last week of September, class elections were held recently to decide who would be president, vice president, treasurer and secretary for each class. While every class had elections this year, a significant number of candidates ran unopposed.
Junior class officers: (from left to right) Cameron Hines, Jack Ziets, Erica Wang, and Michael Woods. Photo credit: Kate Miller.
Senior class officers are Emily Jordan as President, Alex Lycette as Vice President, Emma Herceg as Secretary, Jenna Grober as Treasurer, and Paige Zamichieli as Fundraising Coordinator. Junior class officers are Cameron Hines as President, Jack Ziets as Vice President, Michael Woods as Treasurer, and Erica Wang as Secretary. Sophomore class officers are John Kachurak as President, Bryson Davis as Vice President, Andrea Kieper as Treasurer, and Andrea Prince as Secretary. Freshman class officers as Karansher Sidhu as President, Nolan Sargent as Vice President, Cohen Resch as Treasurer, and Evelyn Wang as Secretary. Throughout the four years of high school, students participate in many activities that are sponsored by the class officers. Each grade’s class officer takes on different events and roles in the school. The senior class officers focus on planning graduation as well coordinating a senior gift and
Freshman class officers: (from left to right) Evelyn Wang, Cohen Resch, Karansher Sidhu, and Nolan Sargent. Photo credit: Kate Miller.
a senior trip. They also must fundraise so they plan on doing a dodgeball tournament because of the success it brought last year. The main duty of the junior class is prom. With their location and date finalized, the class officers will be working with Prom Committee to decide on a theme and begin decorating plans, in addition to fundraise for the event. The sophomore and freshman class officers are in charge of picking a place for their junior prom as well as beginning fundraising. “I got a whole bunch of ideas but our class is currently working on a ‘Donut Day’ now where we sell Krispy Kreme donuts for a dollar which we plan on doing once a month,” sophomore vice president Bryson Davis said. In addition to prom, class officers plan many other activities. Last year, the 2020 class officers and the 2021 class officers collaborated for the first time on a winter “Sadie Hawkins” dance. They plan on hosting another winter formal this year with the hope of growing and improving the dance. By coordinating with their respective faculty advisors and members of the administration, the class officers also have a say in what happens during the school year. “I want to be able to have some kind of a say in how our class [functions]” senior secretary Emma Herceg said. “I think it is important that we all have a better school spirit and I wanna try and get that up.” As representatives of their peers, it is also important for the class officers to communicate with their classmates and fight for what the student body wants. “I get to talk to kids and know their decisions first hand,” sophomore secretary Andrea Prince said. “I can be like ‘Hey, these are what the kids want’ and the president and vice president act upon that.” The newly elected class officials hope to start their school year by making the school more inclusive and build a sense of community. Junior class officers are Cameron Hines as President, Jack Ziets as Vice President, Michael Woods as Treasurer, and Erica Wang as Secretary. Sophomore class officers are John Kachurak as President, Bryson Davis as Vice President, Andrea Kieper as Treasurer, and Andrea Prince as Secretary. Freshman class officers as Karansher Sidhu as President, Nolan Sargent as Vice President, Cohen Resch as Treasurer, and Evelyn Wang as Secretary. Now that the officers have been chosen, it is time to find out what they actually do during the year. Throughout high school, there are many activities that the student body participates in that is sponsored by the class officers. A prominent example is our school dances like homecoming, prom and the winter formal. The assignments become more specific per class as it breaks down. Each grade is in charge of specific events The senior class officers focus on planning graduation as well coordinating a senior gift and a senior trip. They also must fundraise so they plan on doing a dodgeball tournament because of the success it brought last year. The main duty of the junior class is Prom. As sophomores, they chose the location and date but now it is time to start planning by deciding a theme and then decorating. They also run fundraising campaigns. The sophomore class officers are in charge of picking a place for their junior prom as well as fundraising. “I got a whole bunch of ideas but our school
Sophomore class officers: (from left to right) Andrea Keiper, John Kachurak, Bryson Davis, and Andrea Prince. Photo credit: Kate Miller.
our class is currently working on a donut day now where we sell Krispy Kreme donuts for a dollar which we plan on doing once a month,” sophomore vice president Bryson Davis said. The freshman class focuses on fundraising to spend on future activities. Class officers run fundraising campaigns in order to raise money for fun activities. Every student at southern lehigh is required to pay class dues or they will not walk at graduation. Class dues start as $30 during freshman and sophomore year then they rise to $40 at junior year and by senior year they are $50. Class officers plan many other activities. Last year the 2020 class officers and the 2021 collaborated on a winter “Sadie Hawkins” dance and they plan to hopefully do it again this year. The class officers are in charge of what happens during the school year so it is important that the people who take on that challenge are determined. “I want to be able to have some kind of a say in how our class is and I think it is important that we all have a better school spirit and I wanna try and get that up,” senior secretary Emma Herceg said. Class officers have to be connected to the student body so they know what they want. “I get to talk to kids and know their decisions
first hand and I can be like hey these are what the kids want and the president and vice president act upon that,” sophomore secretary Andrea Prince said.
Senior class officers: (from left to right) Paige Zamincichieli, Emily Jordan, Jenna Groeber, and Alex Lycette. Photo credit: Bridgette Lang.
Four Fall Teams Claim Undefeated Seasons by Kate Miller
Southern Lehigh’s fall sports have been
dominating the field, course, and court. Their collective record for this season is 133-17-3. While all of the teams are doing amazing this season, a few stand out because of their unbeatable records. Congratulations to the girls and boys cross country teams, the field hockey team, and the girls volleyball team for being undefeated in their leagues. The cross country team has a reputation for being one of the fastest with front runners, sophomores Alexander Kane, Dominick Lisicky, and Lauren Meinhold, junior Alexander DiCesare and senior Jenna Groeber. They left runners from Catasauqua, Palmerton and Northwestern Lehigh in the dust with a record of 24-0. “I think it’s really awesome,” Groeber said. “It feels really nice and great to be on an undefeated team because it just shows how all our hard work throughout the summer, throughout the season is really paying off.”
An undefeated team needs to be strongly bonded. “We create an environment where everyone is pushing everyone else on the team,” DiCesare said. “When one teammate becomes better than the other, the other one strives to become better than the first.“ The boys cross country team recently placed second in the District XI playoffs and will continue their season in the PIAA Championship in Hershey on Nov. 2. Groeber, who placed eighth among the girls at districts, will join them. The field hockey team is also undefeated this fall, with an impressive record of 20-0 after they blowing out East Stroudsburg South 8-0 in the District XI semi-finals. “My favorite moments have to be when we’re playing the really big games: the Northwestern, the Moravian, or Bangor games,” senior captain Theresa Stoudt said. “When we have to face really big teams like that we work together really well because we push ourselves and we push our teammates.”
Field Hockey Team celebrates another Colonial League victory. Photo credit: Southern Lehigh School District Instagram.
The top girls cross country runners proudly display their trophies after winning the Colonial League Championship. Photo credit: Southern Lehigh School District Instagram.
The Spartans face the Bangor Slaters in the District XI Championship after previously beating them 2-1 earlier in the season. With only two seniors and fairly young team, the girls will battle hard in the finals of the championship. The last undefeated team is girls volleyball who are still undefeated in the league even after an unfortunate non-league loss to Bishop Shanahan. They entered the postseason with a 14-1 record, and placed first in three tournaments: Freedom First Kill, Wilson Bulldog Invitational, Solehi Varsity Tournament. “Everyone being such close friends contributes to how we play on the court,” senior Cortney Kylish said. “We just work well together so I guess that contributes to how well we play.” The girls faced Notre Dame in the Colonial League Championship 3-0. They have been training hard for districts. The regular season has come to an end for most of the fall sports, but their postseason is far from over.
Members of the girls volleyball team were all smiles after their Colonial League win. Photo credit: Southern Lehigh School District Instagram.
Top boys cross country runners claim gold at the Colonial League Championship. Photo credit: Southern Lehigh School District Instagram.
Spartan Football Commands Colonial League
by Gillian Wellington
Senior Captain Eric Vingom encourages his teammate. Photo Credit: Alise Downey.
Every Friday night, the stadium lights shine bright on the Southern Lehigh football field as the team comes barreling through the Spartan banner and roars of the crowd emanate from the stands. Their 9-1 record officially qualifies the Spartans as the only team in the Lehigh Valley to sit first seed in the first round of District XI 5A playoffs. Tied for first in the Colonial League, Southern Lehigh is the team to beat. “Our team’s biggest strength is the offensive and defensive lines. We have a very strong offensive line that has worked hard all year long and
has gotten stronger each week.” defensive coach Derek Bleiler said. “Rylee Craft and Eric Vignom are starters on both sides of the ball and have helped Southern Lehigh lead the league in rushing on offense, but also helped the defense in allowing the fewest points in the league. Noah Vogler has also become a passing threat which makes our offense even more dangerous.” When Southern Lehigh battled the Bangor Slaters, the Spartans claimed victory, winning 490. At Catasauqua, the Spartans crushed the Rough Riders 62-7. The offensive line dominated the
field in the game against Notre Dame, helping the run game to win back control and take home the victory, 62-27. “We all chose a goal and we all work together to achieve it,” junior Syncere Jackson said. “We all play each game for each other and for our goal.” The Spartans only loss comes from the Homecoming game against Northwestern. According to senior Eric Vingom, the Northwestern defensive line and offensive live came out in a different formation than the Spartans had anticipated. “We had prepared for everything needed, but we just didn’t know what to expect and we were not prepared for how Northwestern played,” Vingom said. “We did not think they were coming out like that.” The loss against Northwestern was hard on many players. However, the setback drove the team to be more determined as they look toward the future. The Spartans hope to come together and rise to the top to accomplish greatness for the rest of the season. “I think our biggest strength is the bond that a lot of our players have,” Coach Bleiler said. “Playing football is something that brings people together. A lot of these players have put in countless hours in the offseason and built a bond that carries out to the field. They trust each other and know that they can count on the person next to them when the game is on the line.” The Spartans defeated Salisbury 58-22 on senior night becoming Co-Champions of the Colonial League. Fans are ready and excited for the post-season as the team advnaces into PIAA District XI playoffs. They will play at home on Nov. 1.
Field Hockey Team Savors Another Season of Success by Alex Kane
From pouring rain to over one degree weather, the Southern Lehigh field hockey team has practiced through it all. Ever since Aug. 11, the team of 28 girls have fought hard through every practice, scrimmage, and game -- and the hard work has certainly paid off. Led by senior captain Tess Stoudt and junior captain Zoey Ritter, the Colonial League champions continue their season into Districts XI playoffs with an 20-0 record to their name. It has been years since the field hockey team has emerged from their regular season completely undefeated. “Personally for me, this season was different than years past because I felt like I was closest with the people I was playing with,” junior Mackenzie Reese said. “Freshman and sophomore year when you’re a varsity player it’s always upperclassmen, and so this year now that I am an upperclassman I feel like I’m close with everybody.” Many on the team attribute their success to their support for one another. Over the past two months, they have built unbreakable friendships. “We’re a really close knit team. In years past we haven’t been as close,” junior Casey Kramberger-Ganglion said. “I think that being more connected has made us stronger as a team.” This year’s group is also surprisingly young. Of the starting varsity players, only one is a senior, and six of the eleven are underclassmen. While the young team certainly makes for some challenges, it also gives the team an edge when it comes to seasons to come. “We’re definitely younger than most other teams, but I think that’s a good thing because
we’re going to have a ton of experience on varsity when we become upperclassmen,” top scorer sophomore Iris Gluck said. “And so far it’s worked out pretty well too.” Off the field, one of the team’s most important bonding activities are their daily spirit days. Whether they’re dressed to a theme on practice days or wearing their game day shirts on game day, their spirit days create unity both in their looks and as teammates. For their Colonial League, and PIAA district and state games, the team also prepares with a pasta party the night before to help get everyone in a good mindset and communicating. “It allows us to have a closer bond and more unity between all four grades not just as varsity and junior varsity,” junior Stephanie Kish said. When it comes to their field hockey skills, hard work and determination to win are a key factor in their success, a sentiment also echoed by the coaching staff. “I think the girls really want to work hard and do well and that is an infectious attitude,” said head coach Mrs. Adrienne Searfoss. Every practice, the team runs “repeats” and plays scrimmages on their grass field, nicknamed by the team as the “cow pasture.” “Since we’ve been practicing on a bad field, it makes it so that we’re stronger and we have more experience when we play on other fields because we know what to expect,” Gluck said. “Even though when we get to postseason, we don’t have the advanced skills that teams with turf have, we have that team bond and grit that makes us fight till the end and win.”
As the team prepares to advance onto the district championship and beyond, they are practicing harder than ever. “I think we wanted it more than the other teams; we practiced and played harder,” freshman Olivia Hafler said. “I think that’s only going to get stronger as we move on.”
Coach Adrienne Searfoss gives advice to Senior Captain Theresa Stoudt before a game. Photo credit: Kayleigh Livezey
Can You Guess This Year’s Homecoming Court? by Saskia Van’t Hof
1. This courageous, dedicated, and hard-working court member loves eating sprinkles by the spoonful, wearing fuzzy socks, and having some homemade chicken pot pie. Their favorite movies are “Big Hero 6” and “A Quiet Place”, and if they could be in any movie they would want to be in the “Hunger Games”. People might be surprised to learn that this person was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and that they peed their pants during computer lab when they were five. This person’s go-to-karaoke song is “I want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. Ever since they were little, they loved playing soccer on the Southern Lehigh team. All that exercise might account for this person’s hidden talent of being able to fall asleep anywhere, anytime.
This friendly, outgoing, and musical court member loves the smell of popcorn, ice cream on a hot day, and maple syrup on eggs. While most people might guess that this student would become famous for acting, musical theatre, or film, people might not know that they would also love to be a sports broadcaster. As a kid, this Spartan loved to sing and play sports. Carrying on the love for music, their go-to karaoke song is “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. If they could be in any TV show, this person would choose “Glee”. But if they had to choose just two things to watch, they would choose the movie “Blindside” and the TV show “The League.” When it comes to embarrassing childhood memories, this person remembers one time in church: “The priest asked my mom if I was housebroken, and I interjected telling him ‘No, my house isn’t broken.’”
10. This respectful, funny, and intelligent court member loves the smell of a new car, stringing lacrosse sticks, and watching DIY videos. This person’s favorite movie is “Moana” and their favorite show is “Friends.” If they could be in any movie, they would want to be in a comedy with Will Ferrell. If they could be famous for any talent, this person would probably be famous for modeling (~obviously~). One of this person’s favorite moments this year was hosting the homecoming pep rally. As a kid, this athlete’s favorite thing was to play sports with their brother, except for the time this court member broke their nose after being hit by their brother’s lacrosse ball. (That was not as fun.)
(From left to right) Emily Jordan, Sydney Hess, Taylor Monceman, Courtney Kylish, and Jenna Groeber comprise the girls half of the court. Photo credit: Eva Quici.
9. This outgoing, creative, and kind homecoming court member loves fall, coffee, and Disney. People might be surprised to know that this student has lived in California, Florida, Texas, and Japan. She would most likely be famous for setting a new world record for most coffee consumed, or maybe for getting arrested with fellow senior Alise Downey. This student’s favorite song to sing is the “Riff Off” from the movie “Pitch Perfect.” This person loves to watch the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and the TV show “Friends.” If they could choose any movie to be in, they would love to sing ABBA songs alongside Meryl Streep in “Mamma Mia.”
8. This hard working, positive, and thoughtful person loves grilled cheese, the smell of sharpies, and the feeling of silicone. Their favorite tv show is “The Office”, and if they could be in any movie they would want to be in the “Hunger Games”. As a kid, this person loved to play outside. The most out of character things this person has done is give a speech, and if they were forced to sing karaoke, this student would choose Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”. People might not know that this person also plays multiple instruments. If they could be famous for anything in the world, this court member would be famous for making the best omelets.
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This thoughtful, friendly, and precise court member is the youngest of five and a trivia whiz. A fall fanatic, this student loves Halloween movies, fall scented candles, and stepping on crunchy leaves. This person has a never ending love for the movie “Forrest Gump” and the TV show “The Office,” and would love to be transported into the Percy Jackson series of books. As a kid, this student spent their time making dance routines with friends, and even today will never back down from an opportunity to sing “The Potential Breakup Song” from the TV show “Austin & Ally.” Since it’s been a few years since this court member has graced the stage, many people may be surprised to know that they once performed as Snow White in a play. That said, one of their most embarrassing moments also happened inside a theater: “I slipped and fell into a puddle inside a movie theatre because I didn’t see the caution sign. I had to watch the whole movie soaking wet!”
This lighthearted, considerate, hardworking member of the court loves the Olive Garden, Shirley Temples, and autumn. Some of this person’s favorite TV shows and movies are “Riverdale,” “The League,” and “The Kingsman” franchise. If they could be in any movie, they would want to be in “Ready Player One.” This person would be famous for being a professional impersonator, and people might be surprised to know that they love to shop. If this person had to sing karaoke, they would choose “All of Me” by John Legend. The most out-of-character things this person has done is compete in the Mr. Spartan pageant. As a kid, this person loved to play backyard sports with the neighbors, and is still haunted by that time “I peed my pants in third grade at school.”
This outspoken, kind, and fun member of the homecoming court is a big fan of pretzel M&Ms, mozzarella sticks from Copperhead, and – like many sleep deprived high schoolers – their bed. This student’s favorite TV show is “Criminal Minds,” and they will never fail to jam out to “Love Song” by Taylor Swift. If they could be in any movie, they would want to be in “Grown Ups.” Since they were little, this person loved dancing in their room and has not stopped since. One low moment in this person’s life was when: “My pants fell down in the front yard.” (From left to right) Christian Clausnitzer, Andrew Curtis, Kyle Hoff, Jared Glad, and Chris Andrews round out the boys half of the court. Photo credit: Eva Quici.
This tired, caffeinated, and sarcastic teen loves their baby cousin, cold brew, and monster trail mix. Their favorite things to watch on TV are the movie “Stand by Me” and shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Stranger Things.” This person would definitely be internet famous for being an “Instagram Baddie,” especially considering they belonged to the neighborhood “Scooter Club” as a kid. This person also performed in a talent show in third grade. Today, this court member loves to sing the “Riff Off” from “Pitch Perfect,” and if they could be in any movie they would choose the musical “Grease.” One moment that still haunts this student is when they said “athletic” instead of “nucleic” in their AP Bio presentation last year. (Sorry, Mr. Sinkler.)
6. This athletic, sarcastic, and observant court member loves the smell of gasoline, watching “So Satisfying” on Snapchat, and finding forgotten money in pockets. That said, people might not know that this person hates coins, especially the metallic smell they leave when you touch them. If this person could be famous for anything it would be for their baseball talents and ability to roll their tongue. This student’s favorite TV show is “Criminal Minds,” and their favorite movies are “Bad News Bears” and “Horrible Bosses.” If they could be in any movie, they would want to be in “21 Jump Street,” and their go to karaoke song would be anything from Big Time Rush. This former Mr. Spartan contestant spent his childhood playing outside. One of his most embarrassing moments was when “I thought I was invisible and I ran into the oven into the kitchen oven.”
Hong Kong Rising: Fighting for a City’s Future by Lucas Zhang
Tensions between protestors and the government have mounted as violence between police and protestors becomes more commonplace. Photo used with permission by Studio Incendo/Flickr.
While students at Southern Lehigh and across the United States marked the end of August by returning to school, classrooms throughout Hong Kong remained empty. High school students in Hong Kong marked the beginning of the new academic year by boycotting classes and joining ongoing protests against the Chinese government which have rocked the territory for over six months. The protests began last March as a response to a bill proposed by Hong Kong’s government that would have given the mainland Chinese government greater control over the legal system. They have gradually evolved into a battle for Hong Kong’s future, plagued by increasing fears of violent suppression by the Chinese government, as violent confrontations between the police and protesters intensify, and the Chinese military amasses outside of Hong Kong. Though primarily encompassing young adults, the protests have grown to unite all classes and creeds within the Chinese territory. High school students in Hong Kong have become one of the most recent groups within Hong Kong’s population to have joined the protests en mass. “I think it’s really important because it’s showing the government that they believe in their cause so much that they’re willing to sacrifice their education to show much they oppose the bill and how much they want change,” sophomore Ale Huaman said. In recent years, the Chinese government has steadily limited the freedoms which Hong Kong has enjoyed since the region was returned to China by the United Kingdom in 1997. These attempts have consistently resulted in opposition from the people of Hong Kong in the form of protest against China and Hong Kong’s government. The most recent major demonstration happened in 2014 during the so called “Umbrella Revolution,” organized in response to plans by the Chinese government to limit the independence of Hong Kong’s elections. The demonstrators in these series of protests
have given five key demands to Hong Kong’s government and by extension the mainland government in Beijing. The demands are: that the bill which initiated the protests be repealed, that the government no longer classify the protests as riots, the release and exoneration of protestors who have been arrested, investigation into brutality by Hong Kong’s police, and free elections in Hong Kong along with the resignation of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam. Despite the unity of the public, the demonstrations have been not free from danger. Physical confrontations between protestors and the police have already ended in violence, with high school students participating in the protests having been shot by police on two separate occasions. Increasing fears of a violent crackdown by the Chinese government, coupled with increased fervor among protestors has led to appeals for aid from the United States among other countries. “From everything I’ve read and listened to, most analysts feel it could go
either way [whether the protests would violently],” civics and government teacher Dr. Katie Quartuch said. “They feel like the Chinese government is unpredictable.” However, as of now, the United States has offered no more than condemnation of violence and hopes for a peaceful resolution to the situa-
tion. “If anything we ever interfered in, this would probably be the most important,” junior Michael Nagy said. “The protestors are fighting for the right to self-determination, and I feel as a United States citizen, there is nothing that represent our interests better.” History has shown that the Chinese government’s response to unrest and dissent has varied widely, and it is difficult to determine how the current situation in Hong Kong will end. However, as long as the will to fight remains within Hong Kong, and as long as the protestors are willing to stand against the government, the battle for Hong Kong will continue.
Protestors have made appeals to the United States and the rest of the international community for aid. Photo used with permission by Studio Incendo/Flickr.
Global Climate Strike: The Youth Have Spoken
by Emily Mackin
Various youth led groups within the United States and throughout the rest of the world have grown in prominence as calls for action on climate change intensify. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
On Sept. 20 and 27, over 7.6 million people left their homes, workplaces, and schools to make noise in the streets to call for attention to climate change. As world leaders met at the United Nations Climate Action Summit to address the issue, civilians from around the globe took it upon themselves to advocate for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and efforts against the planet’s warming atmosphere. The inspiration for this global strike came after Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist, began protesting outside of the Swedish Parliament every Friday last year. In a matter of months, she became the face of a new generation of activists and was recognized as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2019.” As a speaker at the UN Climate Action Summit, Thunberg voiced her anger and frustration with the current state of government. “You are failing us, but the young people are starting to understand your betrayal,” she said to the leaders at the UN Summit. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you, and if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.” To highlight the possibility of an environmentally-friendly future, Thunberg also took a 15day zero carbon trip across the Atlantic by way of a racing yacht to reach the UN Summit. “[When I think of climate change,] the first thing that comes to mind is Greta,” junior Brianna West said. “I mean, she’s like such an icon for climate change activism.” Although Thunberg has been a catalyst for the movement, a number of other youth activists have rallied alongside her and are the unnamed faces that organized the strikes in major cities like New York and Québec. “I’m really glad to see the youth wanting to be involved. I feel like we do have a stewardship over our planet and we have to make changes,” Spanish teacher Sra. Joan Imms-Geiser said. “Clearly my generation, and the generation fol-
lowing, haven’t done enough. I feel like it’s really important that we listen and look to the youth because change often starts with them.” Jamie Margolin, 17, is also becoming recognized as a prominent young voice in environmental activism. As one of the founders of the organization Zero Hour, Margolin aims to educate communities about how capitalism, racism, and sexism affect the rapid loss of natural resources and land shifts. On Sept. 18, she spoke to the United States Congress alongside Greta Thunberg. “By 2030, I will be old enough to run for Congress and be seated right where you guys are sitting now,” Margolin said in her testimony to Congress. “I can’t wait until I’m sitting in your seats to change the climate crisis. You have to use the seats that you have now, because by the time I get there, it’s going to be way too late.” Isra Hirsi, 16, is co-founder and executive director of the U.S Youth Climate Strike. She addresses how people of color are being disproportionately affected by climate change and how more representation is necessary in the fight. “I definitely feel that the youth of society is making a larger impact on the strikes,” said senior Abby Carr. “I feel that with more social media influence nowadays the more [climate change] is becoming known as a problem to the people of all ages.” Uplifting black and indigenous voices is important for these activists who want to include those already facing effects and who have a deep understanding of the Earth from their upbringing. Among them, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 19, is working to prohibit fracking as well as pesticides and coal ash in public parks. According to the Earth Guardians website, he also creates music with his sister as a way to give others inspiration to use art as a “form of resistance to create change.” With so many uplifting youth voices leading
the movement for climate change, they place pressure on governments to think of future generations and how they will have to deal with the consequences of an already warming planet. “It makes me want to get involved,” senior Meliya Hart said. “Seeing someone the same age as me, or even younger than me, doing something so big and making a difference makes me want to make a difference too and shows me that I can.” Despite the lengths to which these youth organized and rallied for weeks leading up the UN Summit, they were let down by the forum itself. Many young activists that attended the event felt like their participation was degraded to a “photo op” rather than a serious and productive meeting. This wasn’t the first let down that activists like Thunberg and others have received for their efforts. Many young activists have been criticized for their naivety and lack of education, with Thunberg even enduring personal attacks on her Asperger’s Syndrome. “If you’re going to go after somebody that can’t have any control over that, that’s deplorable, actually,” history teacher Mrs. Jennifer Wlodek said. “However, if you’re going after the young protesters, or any young protester whatsoever, because they’re uneducated, that I think is legit. They have to be educated on what they’re talking about. They themselves have to see both sides.” Even with opposition, these young activists aren’t giving up the fight. They inspired a global movement of millions, calling for a collective effort on a global and personal level by people of all backgrounds to make a change for future generations. “A lot of adults just feel like it’s not a big problem, and a bunch of old people are probably like, ‘I’m not gonna be here, so it’s not my problem,’” senior Claire Cuvo said. “I think that it’s most important that [our generation sets] an example [to] try and bring about change before we’re older and the problem really becomes worse.”
Why Do People Make Fun of ‘VSCO Girls’? by Noelle Nelson
Oops! The hydro flask got knocked over and now everyone has started saying “sksksksks.” Why? The answer is an internet phenomenon and social trend known as VSCO girls. Coined as a term in 2017, a VSCO girl is defined as a girl that pertains to a certain aesthetic including messy buns, oversized shirts, scrunchies, hydroflasks, birkenstocks or crocs, and metal straws. A VSCO girl can also be characterized by excessive friendliness and a “Save the turtles!” approach to activism. The app from which its users are derived, VSCO, originally started as a forum with a positive message, allowing users to post pictures without comments or likes overwhelming them. The developers wanted to provide an outlet to relieve stress, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, and depression. With 75% of the users belonging to Gen Z, a commonality among the girls started to form as they expressed like fashion trends. However, VSCO girls did not begin to trend until January, 2019 when Greer Jones published the first video of it’s kind: “Becoming the Ultimate VSCO Girl.” “Sometimes people want to follow a new trend or style,” sophomore Liv Minutillo said. With the new style creating many imitations based on the iconic items, the look has begun to undergo scrutiny and mocking amongst the online community and real world alike. As this new label for a “basic” girl invades the halls of schools across the country, a new form of bullying has wreaked havoc on young girls’ minds everywhere. According to the app’s study in September, 2019, 82% of Gen-Z refrains from posting out of fear of what others may think. This original intent of positive energy has been changed by the negativity towards VSCO girl culture. Despite the app’s efforts, social media users tend to judge everything as long as it is different, resulting in a homogenous society of people wanting to blend in. “People want to fit in and one way to do that is mimic the VSCO girl aesthetic which is like the quirky, crazy, and swaggy girl” freshman Julia Bartron said.
The girls tennis team poses for a picture during their “VSCO girl” spirit day this fall. Photo credit: Southern Lehigh Girls Tennis.
A recent study by Matthew Pittman at the University of Tennessee found that social media creates an opportunity for teens to hide feelings and loneliness and to trick themselves into feeling satisfaction by posting a series of photos (Research Gate). These posts help them to feel more intimate with their peers and in turn makes them happier. With 88% of teens saying that they have witnessed cruelty on the internet, it is no surprise that VSCO girls are yet another target for people to mock. Social media is teaching us to be negative about the same things as everyone else. No one should speak destructively about a group of people, when the style has been around for years without the label. VSCO girls don’t deserve to have constant conclusions being drawn
about them based on their appearance. Just because this trend has replaced the “basic white girl,” doesn’t mean that that each individual VSCO girl is devoid of all originality. Clothing and accessories should not have the power to cause someone to be scrutinized when society doesn’t even know them. Nowadays, people cannot even wear a single piece associated with the VSCO girl look, because they may be accused of trying to copy the style and would be judged. “I would mock them because they try too hard, except for the people who are just naturally VSCO girls,” said junior Kayla Howie. “They’re chill, but it’s just a lot and I think it is overrated.” Now all that’s left to say is “And I DON’T oop.”
Staff Editorial: Graduation Gown Choice Matters
Sarah Jacobson and Bridgette Lang were among the young women of the Class of 2019 who wore blue instead of white. Photo credit: Bridgette Lang
Blue and white graduation gowns are back, hopefully for good. As of the beginning of this school year, Southern Lehigh administration has reinstated two gown colors at graduation. Thanks to senior Rachel Kressler, who presented a proposal to the superintendent and advocated for the change, every student will now be able to choose either a blue or white gown for the graduation ceremony in 2020. While it may seem like a small decision, the gown is a significant and symbolic part of graduation day for many students. Sure, it’s a piece of clothing that students will only wear once–but it’s a piece of clothing that represents over twelve years of education. This decision overturns last year’s choice to only provide blue gowns at graduation. Up until the 2017-2018 school year, the school provided blue gowns for boys and white for girls. However, last year this changed in an effort to be more inclusive, and all graduates were
required to wear blue gowns. While the “blue gowns for boys and white gowns for girls” rule creates a tricky situation for nonbinary, transgender, or gender-nonconforming students, requiring all students to wear the same color is not the answer. Last year, many graduating seniors were frustrated with the decision. In particular, many girls who preferred the traditional white gowns felt like the school disregarded their opinions. Therefore, having both colors available to everyone is the best option. By permitting seniors to choose between blue or white gowns, it allows for all students to feel like they have control and freedom. Now, any student can choose between white or blue, as it should be. Graduation, after all, marks the first real step into adulthood. Students, as young adults and as graduates-to-be, should be able to make their own decisions regarding what they wear to the ceremony. Even if some people think it’s a trivial cause, having a choice is better than being denied one.
Opinion Page 13
Being Labeled ‘Gifted’ Isn’t Always a Gift by Saskia Van’t Hof
While Southern Lehigh High School gifted students are offered many enriching opportunities such as visiting the United Nations, some gifted students may experience programs that are very different, and even damaging. Photo courtesy of United Nations, used with permission of Dr. Katie Quartuch.
The idea behind gifted education programs seems simple: children who are academically advanced should be taught at an accelerated rate and in a way that’s better suited for their unique brains. But in practice, being taught in a different way often means that gifted students are kept separate from their peers. So the question to be asked is, are gifted programs harming their own students by separating them from their friends and shielding them from failure? Currently, 3.2 million students nationally take part in gifted programs. In Pennsylvania alone, the number is over 72,000. The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act defines gifted and talented students as “students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” Academically, there is no doubt that gifted students benefit from such programs. Gifted and talented programs can challenge accelerated students in ways that traditional classrooms cannot. While a gifted student may resort to causing trouble or not paying attention, in the right environment, they can thrive. “Well, when done correctly, I think it can provide a challenge that helps kids not hate school,” gifted education teacher Dr. Katie Quartuch said. “But my son’s in a different school and is in gifted, and I feel like his program is hurting him more than it should.” The problem occurs when some gifted programs fail to nurture gifted students socially, emotionally, and mentally once they are labeled as “gifted.” Since the beginning of gifted programs, schools have built their curriculum around the idea that children are either born with exceptional intellectual ability or they are not. Rather than anything to do with a child’s effort, giftedness is perceived as a genetic trait. However, this mindset that gifted children are “born” smart can actually limit their poten-
tial. According to research by psychologist Carol Dweck, a fixed mindset forms when someone believes that their intelligence is inherent. Most gifted students tend to gravitate toward this belief because they have also felt assured in their biological ability. It becomes harder for them to form a growth mindset, the belief that intelligence and talent can be developed, because they lack the experience when it comes to overcoming academic obstacles. The praise and positive reinforcement gifted students get for their intelligence can also be mentally demanding and draining as they grow older. Gifted students are told they are special, so they believe it. While these students are no doubt smart and talented in their own ways, the pressure to maintain the standard of a “gifted” student can be taxing on young children. Students are held to the expectation to always be good at everything and prove they are “gifted.” “When you’re surrounded by people who are all gifted, and you can see how a lot of them have done amazing things or think about things in a unique way, but you don’t see that in yourself,” junior Sarah Lindley said. “It does make you feel a little bad about yourself because you’re like, ‘I made it into this program; why aren’t I like them?’” In addition, since many gifted programs teach their students in a nontraditional way, students may not experience dealing with academic challenges. Without proper study skills or experience with failure, many gifted students struggle the first time they face the harsh realities of high school or college academics. “When I was taking gifted in middle school, we did a lot less work than the regular classes did. Everyone else had to read three books when we only had to pick one,” junior Anna Kim said. “They already had such high expectations; they didn’t guide us in the same way. They don’t teach us to study; they just expect us to know everything.” According to a study by the Institution of Education Sciences, students who reported a lack of challenge in high school were less likely to be
able to handle the challenge of college coursework. Contrary to the myth that intelligence alone will guarantee success, gifted students are more likely to struggle than “average” students. Another unintended consequence of gifted programs is the isolation of students from their peers. Oftentimes children as young as kindergarteners are taken out of their regular classes and put in a special gifted classes and programs. Over time, this can result in a sharp social division between students in accelerated classes and students in regular classes. “I still sometimes struggle to remember the names of certain people in my grade, because ever since sixth grade we’ve been separated and I’ve never been in classes with those people again. So it is definitely a little bit of removal,” Lindley said. “I think we are close within the people we found in the gifted program, but generally as a whole it’s a lot harder to enter that social sphere once you leave it in middle school.” Such divide between academic groups only strengthens the “cliquey” nature of high school. Combined with the stereotype that gifted students are arrogant know-it-alls, it can be difficult to break free of the status quo. “As far as my classmates go, I try not to make a big deal out of being advanced,” freshman Cyrus Desai said. “I don’t want to alienate any of my classmates or make myself unapproachable because they think I’m somehow ‘too smart for them.’” This divide between “gifted” students and “average” students raises another question. When they focus resources on gifted education, are schools inhibiting “average” students from reaching their full potential? Are students with just as much potential, but without the gifted and talented label, pushed in the same way toward success? At the end of the day, gifted programs are complicated. While their goal is to give kids the best shot in life, they often unintentionally damage students as well. Every student, gifted or not, should be given just as much support from their school to succeed. A label shouldn’t change that.
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
Netflix Original ‘Tall Girl’ Fails to Stand Out by Amy Schwartz
“Tall Girl” follows the story of Jodi, a 6’1” high school junior, as she finds love in others and in herself in this new Netflix original. Photo courtesy of Netflix.
In mid-September, the new Netflix original “Tall Girl” suddenly took over every social media platform as it became an internet phenomenon. Suddenly, everyone was talking about milk crates, Swedish exchange students, and size 13 Nikes (Men’s size 13 Nikes). There are certainly many jokes and discussions being made about this movie, but is it worth the buzz? And is it any better than your everyday teen rom-com? “Tall Girl” is about 16-year old Jodi (Ava Michelle), a junior in high school who also happens to stand at 6’1”. Many people at her school bully and and make jokes about her height, only adding on to her insecurity as a “tall girl.” Her only friends seem to be her older sister, Harper (Sabrina Carpenter), her best friend Fareeda (Anjelika Washington), and a boy in her class named Dunkleman (Griffin Gluck), who carries his books in a milk crate instead of a bookbag. Like in any romance movie, “Tall Girl” also has The Boy. This one happens to be a Swedish exchange student named Stig (Luke Eisner) who is just as tall as Jodi -- a fact that automatically makes him the perfect guy for her. While most Netflix original teen rom coms drum up some buzz, “Tall Girl” really seems to fire up those internet bloggers. Among the thousands of discussions and memes, two main controversies surrounding the movie always seem to come up. First, in a world with possibly more pressing concerns, is height really the issue a movie should be championing? This issue is heightened due to Jodi being portrayed as a Caucasian, upper-middle class, conventionally attractive girl with two caring parents. Secondly, even if Jodi’s struggle can be relatable to some, is she truly a good role model? In a very Grease-style makeover, Jodi begins to wear flattering clothes and change herself for a boy, something that people definitely view as a negative aspect to her character. However, all questions aside, it’s a teen romance movie. It’s not particularly realistic, with corny quips and the classic David vs. Goliath battle. Some (including myself) would argue that it’s also not particularly good. Aside from the bullying which I find neither accurate nor relatable, the focus on the movie’s subpar love triangle instead of on Jodi’s growing self-confidence takes away any potential or uniqueness the movie could have achieved. The plot isn’t especially remarkable, nor is the cinematography something to be admired at great lengths. In general, it seems that “Tall Girl” will slowly fade into the background and become yet another movie Netflix churned out in hopes of being original. But if you need a cathartic, almost satirical movie, go and watch it. The movie certainly won’t win any Oscars, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a teen romance movie every once in a while.
Forty Years After Its Release, Listeners Aren’t Ready to Abandon Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ by Owen Bishop
Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” tells the story of a rockstar isolating himself from society. Photo courtesy of Amazon.
Pink Floyd...Where to begin? After years of listening to their classic albums, I am reminded of how emotional and addicting their music is, especially their album “The Wall,” celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Produced in 1979 towards the end of Pink Floyd’s career, “The Wall” is the brainchild of lead singer songwriter Roger Waters. What makes this album memorable for me is that unlike typical albums, “The Wall” is a rock opera that follows a main character named Pink, a burned-out musician whose isolation from society is symbolized by a wall. The 27 songs cover themes such as isolation, drug use, and the evils of the world. Notable songs like “Another Brick In The Wall,” “Mother,” and “Hey You,” channel Pink’s anger at the world for hurting him and destroying his sanity. As the album progresses into its second half, Pink loses control over himself and goes into a depression. “Don’t Leave Me Now,” “Goodbye Cruel World,” and “Comfortably Numb,” capture Pink’s loneliness after the world turned its back on him. In the final and most grandiose act of the album, Pink goes completely insane. The wall that Pink has been slowly building around himself
finally isolates him completely from the world. Rather than loneliness, he finds comfort and ecstasy in his isolation. Suddenly, Pink comes to his senses in the song “Stop,” and in “The Trial” he orders himself to tear down the wall. Pink emerges from the rubble of his wall and, in a moment of brief clarity, he is content with being free of his fear. He approaches a world of hate, misery, loneliness, and fear. As Pink and the listener alike lose all hope, a new song begins quietly in the background, almost undetectable at first. Transitioning from “Outside The Wall,” a peaceful and gleeful finale to the album and life of pain, “In The Flesh?” begins again. Finally, we realize that Pink’s story doesn’t have an end. Just as the old wall was torn down, his new life begins with him building a new one. Here the listener fully recognizes the message of the album. Waters’ idea is that the pattern of building and tearing down one’s wall is cyclical, and you can never break free of the misery of your own life. It’s dramatic plot, along with the quality of the music and overall consistent theme make the album one my favorites. The Wall deserves a 9/10.
Arts and Entertainment
Teachers Share Favorite Halloween Movies by Saskia Van’t Hof
Photo courtesy of MGM/UA Entertainment.
Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
Poltergeist (1982) “Don’t sit too close to the TV.” - Mrs. Sheryl Ciotti
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) “The scariest part is slowly realizing that she’s not making it all up. That she’s not crazy.” - Mr. Thomas Beaupre
Photo courtesy of Buena Vista Entertainment. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) “An evil circus comes to town.” - Mr. David Doughtery
Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
Photo courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures.
Psycho (1960) “It’s not gory, but it’s the anticipation, the surprise of what’s going to happen that I like.” - Mrs. Adrienne Searfoss
Friday the 13th (1980) “This movie is the reason why no one is allowed to walk alone” - Mr. Richard Dreves
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) “It’s a Tim Burton movie. Isn’t that all you need to know?” - Ms. Rachel Saber
Photo courtesy of Compass International.
Photo courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures.
Halloween (1978) “Halloween completely changed how horror movies are made. It redefined fear as something that could be located to any suburban community, utilized terror in the most subtle and realistic ways, and made the average teenager the ultimate Final Girl.“ - Mrs. Lauren Tocci
The Ring (2002) “It was the first really scary movie that I saw when I was in eighth grade, but I remember barely even watching the movie because it scared me to no end.” - Ms. Erin Laney
Photo courtesy of TriStar Pictures. The Hitcher (1986) “It’s about a college kid that picks up a hitchhiker whose a psycho killer. He manages to shake him the first time, but then the psycho killer keeps following him.” - Mr. David Long
Odds and Ends
Spartans Show School Spirit During Pep Rally Photo credits: Annie Maurer
The junior class performed a choregraphed dance number to the song “Dancing Queen.”
Senior Kyle Hoff was crowned Homecoming King by Principal Mrs. Beth Guarriello.
Senior Hope Clauser in a reannactment of the wedding scene from the tv show The Office.
(From left to right) Juniors Raul Ochotorena, William Scharf, Orlando Crooms, and Luca Prando before their performance.
The sophomore class performed a dance number to the song “Cotton Eye Joe”.
The cheerleaders opened the pep rally with an impressive routine.
Answers to “Guess the Homecoming Court” on page 7: 1) Jenna Groeber 2) Christian Clausnitzer 3) Emily Jordan 4) Jared Glad 5) Taylor Monceman 6) Chris Andrews 7) Courtney Kylish 8) Andrew Curtis 9) Sydney Hess 10) Kyle Hoff
The Spotlight is the student news publication of Southern Lehigh High School in Center Valley PA.