SMLS Hemline - Coming of Age and Youth as Agents of Change

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SMLS Literary Anthology Issue 2, 2022: Coming of Age and Youth as Agents of Change The Hemline team members are pleased to present to the SMLS community the second issue of our SMLS literary anthology: Coming of Age and Youth as Agents of Change. In this collection of short stories, poems, scenes, opinion editorials, and podcasts, student writers aimed to spotlight themes and issues pertaining to the adolescent period of life. Today’s youth have experienced life through a pandemic, but despite this, they are still doing amazing things all around the world. Our writing aims to show this, through both fiction and non-fiction. You will notice a “Coming Of Age in Fiction and Film” crossword puzzle, created by Mr. Fraser, toward the beginning of the anthology. Be the first person to complete the crossword with all answers correct, and win a $25 gift card to Indigo! Please email your entry to Ms. Vickman at: Finally, watch for some poll results placed throughout the issue where SS2-SS12 students share their thoughts on some questions created by Amanda Wessel. Enjoy the anthology, and happy summer, everyone!


The Hemline Team

Back row, left to right: Savannah Vaughan, Zeest Faisal, Amanda Wessel, Giulia Casha, Chieri Nnadozie, Emma Pont, Tamsin Carne, Rushmi Singh Front row, left to right: Chjara Morvan, Emily McMinn, Eva Liu


Table of Contents Title and author:


“Journey for Change” - poem - Eva Liu


Coming of Age songs - playlist - Giulia Casha


Coming of Age in Fiction and Film - Crossword puzzle - Mr. Fraser


Contemporary Romeo and Juliet excerpt - dramatic scene - Zara Ahmed


Youth working with Indigenous peoples - Youth Organization Spotlight - Amanda Wessel 13-14 HMCS Oakville - short story - Giulia Casha


“Girlboss” - digital painting - Emily McMinn


“The Call of Crows” - short story - Cameron Da Silva


“Maid Review”- television show review - Zeest Faisal


“Madrid and Her Madrones” - short story - Emily McMinn


“Plus Ca Change” - Call to action - Rushmi Singh


“Voluntourism” - Opinion Editorial - Tamsin Carne


“An Evening With My Mom” - Triptych - Tamsin Carne


Stigmas, Stereotypes, and Social Media - Opinion Editorial - Emma Pont


Helpful, Youth-Centred social media accounts - Expose - Emma Pont


“Growing Pains” - Opinion Editorial - Chloe Tebbutt


Spotlight on Youth Climate Activists - expose - Meera Baswan



Art advocating youth and equity issues - art and design - Meera Baswan


“When You Grew Up” - Creative non-fiction - Chieri Nnadozie


“Let The Flames In” - collaborative poem - EWC 4U class members


“How Vaping Is Impacting Our Generation” - Opinion Editorial - Khala Kamanga


Coming of Age With Lorde’s Music - album review - Nathalie Roy


“The Colour Black” - Podcast and script - Haasita Nellipudi


Hemline team members



Journey For Change Eva Liu

The rising sun shone softly on the lake shining through clouds and lit up the scene. The breeze, the wave, the morning fog accompanies the lake full of gold. Someone said to pull the curtain down, because the show is over. Someone said to close the door, because no one enters. But I said, wake me up if I am silent, because all is possible under the sun. In the wind I apologize, sorry for not being ordinary. One can finally see my star in the sky, burning dandelions, flowers blooming on stones, Distant clouds and stars with shining light.


Coming of Age Playlist Giulia Casha Coming of Age playlist in Spotify



Wake Me Up (Avicii) Netflix Trip (AJR) Wonderland (Taylor Swift) Something Wild (Lindsey Stirling and Andrew McMahon) Can’t Blame a Girl for Trying (Sabrina Carpenter) These are the Days (10,000 Maniacs) Growing Pains (Alessia Cara) One Last Flight (Austin Giorgio) Stargazing (Kygo and Justin Jesso) Stand Out (Sabrina Carpenter) The Nights (Avicii) Hideaway (Grace VanderWaal) New Soul (Yael Naim) The Climb (Miley Cyrus) I Lived (One Republic) Leave it All to Me (Miranda Cosgrove and Drake Bell) 100 Years (Five for Fighting) Fifteen- Taylor’s Version (Taylor Swift)


Coming Of Age In Fiction And Film Mr. Ian Fraser, SS English teacher


ACROSS: 1.Dunk, in sports 5. Cat calls 9. Victorious exclaim (2wds) 13. Foreign Currency 14. A lake, to the Scots (2wds) 16. Like Mastercard 17. Hill-making pests 18. Holocaust hero, _____ Schindler 19. Multicoloured precious stone 20. Sunbeams 21. Soft-spoken YouTube trend 22. "...Last Dragon" hero, knockoff 23. Famed Southern literary father 28. Mary Poppins' carpet ___ 31. Humid house 32. Oil-rich Middle Eastern nation, in part 34. Avoid this in wrestling (2wds) 35. Newtons, for eating 36. “Charged” tactical tool

DOWN: 37. 2005 Bollywood thriller, or Star Trek princess for Kirk “____ of Troyius” 38. Summing up, "All ___ ___", (2wds) 39. King’s Disease rapper and 2020 Grammy winner 40. Pasta sauce ingredient, plural en Francais 41. Famed American eagle species 45. Coding language 48. Weasley son of “Potter” fame 52. Grass-skirted BBQ, in Hawaii 53. Ring bearer, in Tolkien 55. 2018 Oscar Winner, Foreign Film 56. Pokemon trainer, or Grammy winning singer ______ DeMent 57. To look, scornfully 58. Thor’s dad in MCU 59. Less than the whole 60. In a game of Monopoly, “ ___ ___ jail!” (2wds) 61. MLB team at Citi Field

1.To burn the surface of 2. Harry’s Ravenclaw friend 3. Appealingly creative (adj.) 4. Soft green growth 5. Asian revolutionary “chairman” 6. Frozen sister 7. Stir-fry cooking companion, plural 8. Cheating 9. Novello music award namesake 10. To clean off 11. Foghorn Leghorn sentence starter (2wds) 12. Simba’s romantic companion 15. Used to calculate target heart rate 23. Colorado ski town 24. Police following strategy, _____ ____ suspect (2wds) 25 Tasty ocean fish, plural 26. "Get ___ ___ belly!" of Austin Powers 2 fame (2wds) 27. French port town famed in WW2 Normandy campaign

Good luck!

28."Catch the ___ ___ noon." public transit suggestion (2wds) 29. “Someone Like You”, British pop vocalist 30. More than half the population 32. Repetitive physical behaviour often displayed in ASD, verb 33. Elsa's companion, phonetically 35. Difficult oral hygiene 41. Reverse of Thanos’ “snap” 42. Energy field surrounding a living thing 43. Supervillain’s hideout 44. Evidence of sin in "The Golden Compass" 45. Core workout target 46. Egyptian queen, for short 47. “I’ll wager.” (2wds) 48. Before you sign the birthday card 49. What cowboys do on horses, past tense 50. Give off 51. Ackroyd, Radcliffe, Craig, together 54. Ontario town, ______Medonte


Contemporary Romeo and Juliet Scene: Act 2, scene 2 Zara Ahmed

[Enter Juliet] She is on the phone with her mother, who did not come with Juliet and her father. Juliet: I’m happy that Dad decided to bring me with him to the business convention. Mrs. Capulet: I’m glad to hear that. Juliet: This weekend is going to be so much fun! I get to see a whole new city. I love Amsterdam, it’s my home, but Miami is a whole new level of beauty. [Romeo enters on the balcony below her apartment] Romeo: This view is extraordinary, almost as beautiful as that girl, Juliet. Whose eyes are as blue as the vast oceans with the possibility of losing yourself deep in them. Her hair flows like silk framing her face beautifully. It reminds me of laying in haystacks, where you can feel so cozy and comfortable after hours of being there. Her smile brings light through the room and brightens up even the stormiest of nights. The sun nor the moon can even compete with the brightness within her. Her cheeks… oh, her cheeks, which are as soft as a pillow and as she blushes, it reminds me of a field of peonies. I could go on for an eternity talking about her. [Juliet moves to the balcony]


Juliet: Mom, it was nice talking to you, but I have to go. Dad should be back soon and we are going to explore the convention. [Romeo looks above him to see Juliet] Romeo: (quietly) What a coincidence that my angel has appeared above me, just as I was talking about her. [Romeo looks at the reflective building in front of him] Oh, how she lays her hand on her cheek, her sleeve covering her small, smooth hands. Oh, I would love to be her sleeve, brushing up against her cheeks and on the corner of her soft lips. Those lips that I had the pleasure of touching with mine. She is just staring into the distance, she is not speaking, but she is saying so much. I can tell what is on her mind. Juliet: (sighs) I am so bored, I really wish that I could talk to Romeo. He has not left my mind since we have kissed, I wonder where he could be? Wait, I can’t be thinking about him! He is a Montague, for god’s sake! Oh, Lord, but now I can’t forget about him. We are destined to be together. I mean, he doesn’t have to be a Montague, he could give up his name for me. If he did that then we could be together for the rest of our lives. I mean, if he changed his name, it won’t change who he is. A rose smells so sweet, but if it were named something else, it wouldn’t change its value or its shape. Romeo: (quietly) Should I tell her I’m here or should I just let her keep ranting on about Me? Juliet: If he doesn’t agree to change his name, then I will change mine. It is a sacrifice . I am willing to make. I would give everything away for him. Romeo: Juliet, I am in love with you, so I will not be a Montague any longer. This is the start of a new chapter. Juliet: Romeo, where did you come from and what are you doing here, so far away from Home? Romeo: Juliet, I am sorry to eavesdrop, but if I am being honest, I don’t want to be a


Montague. It breaks my heart that I even have the name. It makes me hate myself more because I am the child of your father’s enemy. I will not be forced to hate you, because I love you so deeply. I swear– Juliet: (interrupts) Don’t swear; I think it is a bad habit to swear by anything. Now you must go before my father returns and catches us talking to each other. Romeo: Please don’t leave me so unhappy. Juliet: Unhappy? Why are you unhappy? Romeo: Well, I want us to promise to love each other before I go. Juliet: Well, Romeo, I promise to love you. [Romeo climbs up on a chair and Juliet crawls to the opening in the balcony] [They kiss] Romeo: Ok, I know that your father is getting back, but we should set a date to hang out. Juliet: Give me the time and place and I will be there. Romeo: How about two days from now, which is when we will be back in Amsterdam? Mr. Capulet: Juliet, I’m back! Juliet: I will be there. Bye, Romeo.


Meet The SMLS Youth Raising Awareness For Indigenous Rights Amanda Wessel

The Indigenous Foundation (TIF) is a youth-run organization that is striving to uplift, advocate for, and raise awareness about Indigenous rights. Through its various social media platforms, TIF has managed to amass over 60,000 followers, reached over one million people through various podcasts, posts, and articles, and has raised over $9000 through its T-shirt fundraiser. The TIF collective is made up of over thirty members, all of whom contribute through different subteams. The Indigenous Foundation was founded by two SMLS students, Meera B. and Sena Y.. They were inspired to start the Indigenous Foundation while working on a Civics project last year. While researching for the project, it became apparent that there was a severe lack of awareness for issues that are detrimental for Indigenous communities. Meera and Sena decided that they wanted to do more research on these issues and create a space where information about these issues could be shared, and to help uplift Indigenous voices. The Indigenous Foundation consists of four different subteams, each focusing on a different method of spreading awareness about Indigenous rights. The podcast team regularly hosts conversation and interview style podcasts about important topics surrounding Indigenous rights. The columnist or writing team focuses on creating written content for TIF’s social media pages and website. The projects team focuses on planning events such as fundraisers and speaker series. Finally, the graphic design and social media team focuses on curating and


designing content for The Indigenous Foundation’s various social media pages. The goal of the Indigenous Foundation is to spread awareness about Indigenous rights and issues on a global scale. There are many ways you can help them to accomplish this. You can donate to their fundraisers, continue to support their content (such as interacting with posts, articles, and more), and share important information and causes they spotlight to those around you.

For more information, you can visit The Indigenous Foundation website.


HMCS Oakville Giulia Casha

Sea salt splashed in his eyes making hot tears trail down his cheeks. No one would notice; water was surging over the deck at such a rate that no living creature was dry. Those who were no longer living had long since been tossed overboard, their troubled souls fueling the chaotic waves. He watched as the ships came down one by one in a mass of fire. The HMCS Oakville barely stayed above the waves. He walks slowly up the incline, cane in one hand, the arm of his grandson in the other. It is fall, and the leaves have all shed their green skins in favour of red and gold. The wind ruffles through the leaves, making them sway like the arms of a blazing fire. His grandson faces ahead, eyes always looking forward at opportunities beyond the horizon, but he looks back, watching as the fiery leaves dance in the wind. *** “5, 4, 3, 2, Fire!” The depth charges dropped, attacking the unseen enemy beneath the waves. The ship shook but held steady, as did the men. The American Seaplane attacked from above, the hum of its engine barely heard over the roaring of the sea. He held his breath, waiting to see if the U-boat would surface. Commander King barked orders in preparation. He moved with the rest of the cadets, preparing for the battle that was destined to come. The Lake is calm today. The slight waves give it the appearance of a wrinkled sheet. He imagines his wife attempting to take an iron to the water and laughs under his breath. She was a nurse in the war, and she never lost the habit of making everything look perfect. She always says that a


well-made bed is something even the most damaged of people can appreciate. He still remembers being wheeled next to a pristine bed of perfectly fitted white sheets, with the most beautiful nurse he had ever seen standing beside it. She had smiled at him, and now he wakes up to that smile every morning. When U-94 surfaced it felt like it brought half of the ocean’s waves out with it. A great giant canister of grey metal rising out of the inky black water. The men around him cheered, but his commanding officer’s face was still set in an expression of steely determination. This fight was far from over. They bombarded the mighty submarine that had brought down so many ally ships over the years. Only one had been able to avoid sinking, and none had escaped unscathed. The captain called out orders and the navigational team moved with the precision of a swarm of bees. The boat moved steadily forward in preparation to ram into the mighty war machine before them.

It never fails to amaze him how Oakville somehow manages to keep its natural beauty despite the ever-growing city right next door. The outlook is just ahead, the sun peaking over the horizon. His grandson looks bored and ready to arrive, but he wants to enjoy the walk just a little bit longer. The birds sing a somber hymn above in the sky, saying goodbye to the land before they migrate south for winter. They mourn for what they will have to leave behind. *** The ship hit the submarine with a mighty clang. The impact vibrated throughout the entire vessel. He held onto the rails for dear life, knowing if he fell overboard he would not find himself on that deck again. They managed to push U-94 a fair distance, but the damage done to the boat was not enough to put it out of submission. They would need another hit. The captain prepared to strike again. The collision was just as harsh as before, but finally it was clear U-94 was going nowhere. His son is waiting for him at the top of the hill. He stands fully grown with a kind smile and crinkled eyes. His young wife stands beside him, eyes full of love. His grandson had been named after himself, something in which he hopes the boy will someday find pride, but his son was named after his best friend. The man who stood next to him as they signed their names to join the Navy. He sees the spirit of the man in his son. The same kind heart and wise mind. He hopes his companion looks down on him fondly, eyes twinkling like the stars he loved so much.


He could see James across the deck. When their eyes met, he smiled the same grin he had when they discovered they had been assigned to the same ship. His closest friend raised his eyes to the stars before returning to meet his gaze. He understood the message. The stars were beautiful that night. Commander King begins selecting men to join him in boarding the Nazi vessel. James was called third, he was called ninth. Commander King, Sub Lieutenant Lawrence, and Petty Officer Powell along with eleven cadets surged forward and tread onto U-94. He and James boarded side by side. Two Nazis emerged from the bridge, eyes wild and movements frantic. Commander King ordered them to stand down, but instead they surged forward. Two bodies slid off the side of the submarine. He wonders if the trees ever mourn the loss of their leaves. Their green children grown from a bud being torn away for a lonely winter. Maybe, they gladly let the leaves go, hoping the wind will carry them where they can spread their seeds and grow. Soon, the red canopy above him will be clear and the sunlight will stream through reflecting on the white snow. The path he walks now will become icy and the children will use it to play on their sleds. But for now, the path remains bare, and the trees keep their leaves. His grandson begins to pull his arm lightly, but his eyes remain on a single leaf as it falls from a tree and twirls to the ground. The German men soon surrendered when they realized their U- boat was done for. Everyone was anxious to depart the sinking U-94, but the Commander wanted to investigate for anything of value. There was a call for volunteers to go into the vessel. As soon as he saw James’s hand begin to move, his own was in the air. They moved through the ship in twos, he and James making their way to the small med bay to salvage any useful supplies. They had only just gathered the first aid kits when they heard the call. Abandon ship. He sprinted faster than ever before, James at his heels. He barely remembers climbing the ladder, but soon they were top side. Canadian soldiers and Nazi’s alike jumped into the sea and swam towards the HMCS Oakville. He looked at James whose eyes were on the sky. He saw his companion’s lips mutter a prayer before they jumped. The entire time James’s eyes remained on the stars. It was black and silent beneath the water; the waves throwing him forwards and backwards. When he finally reached air, his breaths were deep and greedy. James did not resurface. There, in all its glory, sits the HMCS Oakville Memorial. His grandson guides him to a bench before running off to play with a boy he recognizes from school. The monument stands tall, glistening in the sun. Behind it lies Lake Ontario, whose waters look so different from the harsh ocean on the night that brought the HMCS its fame. That day went down in history as the day a Canadian naval ship sunk the great U-94 with the help of an American fighter plane. No one


remembers his brave best friend who volunteered to enter the sinking vessel. No one knows of James, the soldier whose eyes are forever full of stars. He sits before the monument, memories mimicking the storm of the battle. The sun reaches out with its light one more time before it dips below his line of sight. A weary soldier tilts his head back and waits to see the stars.


Girlboss Emily McMinn


The Call Of Crows Cameron DaSilva

Darkness. A void of emptiness was all that surrounded him. He was walking, but his feet remained idle. His eyes were overwhelmed, but still looked into the void which stared back with its own sinister grin. He was alone, but he felt the universe’s eyes peering into his soul, questioning when the young boy would have enough courage to pull himself up and face Goliath. His back was pressed against the cold pipes which lined the side of the shop. His family always shared stories of the alleys, the whispers which found their way into unsuspecting ears, the ones which taunted the bold and made the weak flee. Town numbers had begun to deplete more with each day brought by the scorching sun. Graves now contained entire families, houses now left victims to the dust that had claimed the throne of the town. Somehow, against all odds, the boy survived. He still rose each night despite each obstacle thrown his way. Be it strength or luck, he clung to the lifeline cast towards him, too desperate to let go. Cold air had begun to seep into the atmosphere which surrounded him; the only warmth found would be that created when he pulled his legs closer to his chest. When he closed his eyes, he pictured himself seated in front of a warm fire wrapped in a patched blanket his mother sewed for him. He envisioned the smell of wood morphing to fire and ash, the way its golden light projected onto his face. The feeling invoked comfort as its heat kissed his forehead and held him in a tight embrace. But he had ventured too close to its entracing dance and found himself getting burned, his mind forever left charred, his palms scarred with his distant memories. His clothes were damp and dirty, his skin left coated in the poison which filled the air. The smog had already affected him, and he could feel his lungs grow heavy. How he struggled to take each breath. He felt like a caged bird, coated in a thick oil as filthy as the streets he now claimed his home. Pessimistic was a word which could be used to describe him, but it was not enough to encompass all he had truly been through. In actuality, he was just broken. Each bit of his soul had been shattered, each piece placed in an imperfect manner. As each moment of his life came crashing down, it shattered like glass into a thousand shards, each with edges that cut


him deeper than he had ever thought possible. The blanket which had kept the child warm was lit aflame by matches of betrayal, one which could no longer protect him when the winter months came to harden his soul. The sound of wings fluttering beside him encased his mind in a strange warmth. A bird’s claws wrapped around the makeshift wooden cane the boy had put to use. Silhouettes of the back bird’s outstretched wings were all that could be seen in the darkness. The animal’s beady eyes glistened as it examined him. They continued to remain still, as if time had frozen itself for the strange bond to be built. The gentle thump of his heart was slowly growing louder with each ticking second, the silence between the pair matching the sound. Curiosity and fear clouded his judgment. Crows, creatures as cunning as the fox and as ravenous as sharks. Death now stared at him mere feet away from his grasp. It did not move to claim him, nor did he move to greet it with his own gentle smile. A distinct hush sat between the pair, one which was not petrifying, but rather, inviting. Its small head craned toward the boy before its phantom caw shrieked. The echoes of the chilling sound made the boy flinch, only inducing what could only have been a laugh from the bird. By the time the boy opened his eyes once more, the bird was gone and the cane now rested dormant on the ground beside him, the only proof of the moment found by the few marks left in the dense wood. A breath the boy was not aware he was holding finally escaped his lips as his body released itself from the tight hold. His attention was immediately cast to the sky, noting as seven shadows darted against the reflection the stars had cast upon the sky. Crows danced in the skies above him and their chorus erupted into the atmosphere and danced in the clouds like royals at a waltz. Their wings caught the wind like a sail, and each gracefully sung their coarse voices until it was all that echoed throughout the town. It was a game, one which provoked him to play along, controlling the boy as if he was a puppet on strings. But it did not seem like that, not after his hands fumbled to pick up the cane and follow the bird's calls, at least. His steps were out of sync with the rhythm created by the birds. The noise ruined their beautiful melody, and created a riff in the savage song produced with each bat of their wings and small wails. The birds, however, did not seem to pay much attention to his mistakes, instead crafting them into each new beat of the verse. His left foot began to ache as the pace of the birds increased. They had escaped the city, but he was still confined to its tall walls and looming buildings. For what felt like hours, he stood at the edge of the town, watching as the last bird flew out of sight. The road had faded into dirt and gravel, the only sign of humankind left were the old marks of tires and deserted gas masks, which he was certain once had faces attached. A plain of nothingness was all he could see for miles. Crops covered in toxic dust caught the eye


quickly. What lurked beyond the wheat was unknown; he had no desire to learn what creatures remained other than the black birds. Many saw the birds as animals of murder, those of dark origins which did what they could to feast on the soul. But those who saw the creatures as such were those who were truly left blind to their beauty. They flocked like humans, held trust twice as strong, and their desires left open and curious for all to explore. Crows remembered the eyes of those who respected them and those who crossed them just the same. In many ways, they were the same as the souls which roamed on land, they ruled the sky just as humans did with dirt and smooth stone. In that moment, the boy felt as though he and the birds were one in the same, both chasing something they could not obtain; freedom from this world. He felt that if he were to close his eyes, he would be flying in the flock, joining in their melodies and chanting their chorus. But for now, he let their calls echo in the sky, his thoughts melting into the abyss.


Maid Review Zeest Faisal

Maid — streaming now on Netflix — is a 2021 miniseries which focuses on the coming of age journey of a single mother, Alex (Maragaret Qualley) and her daughter, Maddy (Rylea Nevaeh Whittet) after they leave an emotional and verbally abusive relationship. After being alienated from society by her ex-husband, Alex attempts to create a new life filled with poverty, lack of familial support, and job struggles. This series does an excellent job at bringing awareness as to what abuse looks like since it can come in many forms. Oftentimes, emotional abuse is overshadowed or simply not acknowledged at all, but Maid creates a safe space where individuals can begin to understand that emotional wellbeing is just as important and that this form of abuse can be just as traumatic to a person’s wellbeing. In addition, this show serves as a big eye opener to viewers when depicting how broken our system is, such as when Alex went to Social Services and was essentially told that because her ex-spouse never “hit” her, there was nothing that could be done to help her. The same system we fund and put our faith into is the same one that would let us drown in starvation. This is why victims of abuse take so long to leave their environment. For example, the character Alex was abused for two years because she had to face either having a roof over her head and be abused or taking to the streets. I loved watching Alex blossom into not only a loving mother, but also a fierce, independent young woman. She sacrificed her holidays to work, her social life, and dealt with employers who took advantage of her desperation, all of which molded her into the resilient young woman viewers see at the end. Maid is a beautiful coming of age story, and I would highly recommend this show to anyone. Whether you are viewing it for entertainment purposes or educational purposes, please look deeper into the lessons contained within.


Madrid And Her Madrones Emily McMinn

Peeling herself off of the cold, stern seats of the airplane, Sarah remembered it fondly: the sprawling city of Madrid with its domed roofs. She felt her feet caress the cobblestone streets as she skipped by fountains tinkling with crystal clear water. The sun was warm on her face, and she had to use her hand to shield her eyes from the bright light. Her sunglasses seemed to be doing nothing. As she roamed the town with her small school group, she came face to face with a stark white building that towered over her and seemed to glow in the sunlight. She looked up the white pillars and onto one of the turrets, expecting to see the reflection of the sky. Instead, she saw a girl in the window. The girl seemed to beckon Sarah, who stared up at her in awe. Sarah then looked around to find her school group, though when she turned back, the girl was gone. Perhaps she’d imagined her. She had definitely imagined her. After the girl disappeared from her view, Sarah thought it would be best to rejoin her group, as they were waiting for her a few paces away, yet she couldn’t bring herself to move. After a few minutes of her warring thoughts, Sarah finally found the strength to step toward her


school group. Before she could set her foot down on the burning stone floor, she heard somebody call out to her as they ran through the towering doors of the palace. It was the girl. Sarah had definitely not imagined her. Now on the same level, Sarah could see how her chestnut hair gleamed in the midday light and her eyes shone as if they had been blessed by the stars. The girl introduced herself as Carmen, her voice as smooth as water. Carmen explained how she lived in the small town and accepted Sarah’s invitation to tag alongside her for the rest of her school’s tour of the area. After an hour or two, Sarah could tell that Carmen was fighting off a yawn. “Do you want a real tour of the town?” Carmen asked, her eyes mischievously darting around the group. “As long as I’m back here by eight,” Sarah replied with a smile. *** They spent the afternoon laughing in the slowly-fading light. Carmen’s hand was warm in Sarah’s and a rosy red was painted on her cheeks, but Sarah knew that it was probably just the light. The lively music being played by a lone musician soon turned into a symphony as they twirled through the streets, leading strangers to join them. When the chorus had softened, Sarah put a donation in the first musician’s cello case. She noted that he wasn’t particularly tall, but he wasn’t short either. Everything about him was average, save for his musical abilities. He played as if he had picked up the cello one day and never put it down. He introduced himself as Tibor through his thick Hungarian accent. He thanked them for the donation and said he would play them any song they would like. Sarah gave Carmen a small shrug, and she thought for a


moment before requesting a song called “Madrone”. As the man—Tibor—began to play the low notes on his polished cello, Carmen held out her hand to Sarah, inviting her to dance. As they whirled around and around and around, Sarah could see why Carmen liked the song so much. There was no epic conclusion, but rather a soft melody that faded out. Though Tibor did not sing any lyrics, Sarah could still feel the rhythm in her soul. “What made you choose this song?” Sarah asked, and she could feel the curiosity gleaming in her eyes. “I want to show you something,” Carmen said, instead of answering Sarah’s question. After they exhausted themselves from dancing, Carmen led Sarah to the edge of the small town, where the uneven cobblestone tiles faded into the dirt. As they ran further away from the town, Sarah had to avoid tripping on rocks and roots. Carmen slowed her run to a jog when they reached a lone madrone tree that looked as though it had survived many storms. Carmen climbed the low branches and gestured for Sarah to do the same, her maroon skirt billowing in the slight breeze. Sarah cautiously made her way up to where Carmen stood and had to grab onto her hands for support as she lost her foothold. Carmen looked at their interlaced hands as she helped lift Sarah onto the large branch and gave her a small smile, which Sarah gladly returned. “When I stand up here, I feel as if I rule the world,” Carmen said, her eyes elsewhere. Even from the distance, Sarah could faintly hear Tibor playing his lonely cello. “Can’t you feel it?” Carmen asked, looking at Sarah with a smile.


“Is this tree dead?” Sarah asked, looking for new growth in the twigs that sprouted from the larger branches. “Dying,” Carmen corrected, taking her eyes off the town. “It’s the wrong season.” A comfortable silence passed between them, and Sarah resisted the urge to let go of the braided bark of the tree trunk that she clung to for support. As they gazed upon the stars that freckled the twilight sky and talked about sweet nothings, Sarah saw, as if for the first time, the way Carmen’s hair delicately fell in long waves, how her smile lit up her face and glowed in the soft opalescent moonlight that just peeked through the branches of the madrone. Sarah glanced at their hands, still interlaced, and looked toward the town that glowed with golden light. Then she felt the wind softly caress her cheek. And in that moment, she swore, they were infinite. *** Sarah brushed a lock of her coily hair behind her ear as she snapped back to reality. Carmen was nothing but a childhood fantasy that Sarah used to escape her ordinary life. Though now, as she stood in front of the stark white palace and looked at one of the turrets, Sarah swore she could see a girl in the window.

Works Cited Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. New York.Pocket Books, 1999. Ishiguro, Kazuo. Nocturnes. Faber & Faber, 2010.


Plus Ça Change, Plus C’est La Même Chose Rushmi Singh

The pandemic seems over; graphs of cases are falling, masks are no longer mandatory everywhere, and lockdowns have become a concept of the past. But, are things really looking normal again, with war tearing apart European countries, with fear of the next economic recession right around the corner, with the warmest decade ending and opening into one of the warmest years we’ve ever seen, and with record temperatures in India? The world is, indeed, not on track with the Paris Climate Accord’s goals. Is this simply the world we have been taught to see as normal, a world where we constantly repeat history’s mistakes? As the heirs of this Earth, current youth must be the generation that learns from the mistakes of our predecessors and use that knowledge to move forward to create a better world for the next generation of adolescents.


Nobody Needs Your “Help”: The Problem With Voluntourism Tamsin Carne

We’ve all heard the stories of celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Emma Watson, Prince William, Ben Stiller, and Bono volunteering abroad and making a difference in places such as Chile, Central Africa, and Haiti. While the humanitarian efforts of celebrities do often raise much-needed awareness to important issues around the world, they have also brought about a new form of tourism known as “voluntourism”. We’ve all seen the photos of the white wealthy celebrities in broken-down orphanages or schools surrounded by smiling, excited children of colour. The famous people are praised for their selflessness and they gain much respect from western audiences as they encourage others to follow their example and volunteer in a developing nation. Due to this exposure from celebrities, the voluntourism industry has grown to be a $2.6 billion dollar industry per year, offering volunteers the opportunity to travel while having a rewarding experience and making a difference, just like Brangelina. However, celebrities are not trained in building schools, caring for orphans, or teaching English, and neither are the vast majority of voluntourists. In the western world, it would be completely unacceptable for 18-year-old wealthy, British gap year students with no experience to build a school or a well, so why is it praised when this happens in developing countries? Annually, 1.6 million people travel to volunteer, each paying over $1000 per month and sometimes even per week to participate, plus the thousands of dollars that are spent on multiple flights to reach the destination. In the end, a trip to Haiti to volunteer would cost about the same as a week-long trip to a resort in the neighbouring Dominican Republic. While the trip to Haiti might make you feel like you’re changing lives, the trip to the Dominican Republic would actually be the more sustainable option, as it would help the country more in the long run. By volunteering to build a school in Haiti, you are simply giving money to a western volunteer


organization, taking work opportunities away from local skilled workers, perpetuating the white and/or western “saviour complexes”, and leaving the country with a poorly built school to deal with. By paying to relax on the beach in the Dominican Republic, you are at least contributing to

their local economy and keeping locals working in the hospitality industry employed. The truth is, if you truly wanted to help the people of Haiti or any other developing country, it would be best to take the money you would have spent on a volunteer program and an airfare and donate it to a reputable, professional, and local charitable organization instead. Foreigners' money is typically far more helpful to struggling communities than the foreigners’ skills or time, with the exception of skilled professionals such as doctors, dentists, or engineers wishing to help. While a voluntourist may have good intentions, the only person they are really helping is themselves, as they get to step out of their comfort zone and learn about themselves and their privilege. Aside from voluntourists being completely unqualified to do the work that they sign up for, they are, in some cases, helping to perpetuate the institutionalization of children in unsafe orphanages. Of the 8 million children around the world living in orphanages, around 90% of them are not actually orphans but are instead children who have been given up after parents have been falsely told that the child will have a better life in the orphanage. Instead, orphanages abuse, traffic, and underfeed children in order to entice wealthy westerners with photos so that they will donate or pay to come and volunteer. Orphanage tourism also leaves children vulnerable to developing further abandonment issues, as volunteers only stay for a short period of time before returning home. Voluntourists fail to address the root cause of why the community they are trying to help is struggling. Instead, it only perpetuates the idea that developing countries must rely on Western support in order to gain a higher quality of life. Social media posts from volunteers highlighting what an eye-opening experience they had teaching English in Ecuador paint the entire country with the brush that everyone is poor and uneducated, and while in certain small communities there might be some truth to that, to generalize and say that the whole country is like that is massively wrong and disrespectful. This leads to westerners developing an inflated, false sense of superiority over people from less privileged countries, especially countries where the population is predominantly non-white, and, thus, perpetuating dangerous and racist ideas that white people are superior to people of other races. Social Media has massively changed the way that people view volunteering in general. With the rise of Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, there has also been a rise in performative activism and by extension, performative volunteering. Everything online is about appearances and how one presents themselves through photos and videos. Volunteering at a local food bank or a homeless shelter is not considered to be particularly glamorous and photogenic, especially


when compared to the photos of Angelina Jolie surrounded by young students in Ethiopia in bright sunshine. Because of this, people are neglecting to help those in need in their own local community. Since the rise of voluntourism, it increasingly seems as though volunteering is becoming less about helping people in need and more about helping oneself and one's social media following to grow.


An Evening With Mom Tamsin Carne


Stigmas, Stereotypes, And Social Media: How Generation Z Is Breaking Ground On Long Standing Mental Illness Stigmas Emma Pont

Historically, people with mental illnesses have been seen as “insane”, with many past clinical treatment methods portraying them as such. These treatment methods included time in psychiatric asylums, therapies using extremely harsh drugs (such as LSD or ketamine), or even electroshock therapy. At one point in society, it was even believed that people who suffered from mental illnesses were witches, or possessed by supernatural demons. These perceptions of mentally ill people have, of course, faded. However, the stigmas and inner beliefs surrounding them, have not. For decades, children and adults alike suffered in silence, terrified of what might happen if they spoke out about their inner challenges. It was only until recently with the rise of Generation Z’s increased awareness that it has become acceptable and safe for people to speak up about their emotional struggles. When we think about the destigmatization of mental illnesses, many think of “Bell Let’s Talk” day, a day which attempts to help educate and create conversations surrounding mental illnesses. The entire point of this day is to destigmatize mental illness, yet there exist several flaws with this one particular day. Destigmatization should not just be the focus of one day. It should be something which society is working toward doing every single day. The problem is, the company has made it seem as though it is enough for people to care for just one single day, when the people who struggle with these mental illnesses must deal with them every single day.


With this, it is important to note that “Bell Let’s Talk” day was founded by Millennial business owners. Generation Z, however, has taken a different approach to the process of destigmatization. Sometimes known as the “iGeneration” for their aptitude with technology and social media, Generation Z has taken a much more technological approach. The use of social media has been and will continue to be a huge part of this process. A major tool which comes with social media is the use of “stories'', a feature adopted by Instagram which has been extremely helpful for spreading awareness. When someone posts an image, a user is then able to republish this image to their story for all of their followers to see. Personally, Instagram stories have allowed me to republish posts which destigmatize a variety of mental illnesses, but more specifically, Obsessive Compulsive disorder, or OCD for short. This is a mental illness which is especially stigmatized, due to its portrayal in the film & television industry by Generation X as well as Millenials. In this industry, OCD is typically characterized by the behaviour of excessive cleaning and the need to organize. For people who are actually struggling with OCD, it is characterized by belligerent intrusive thoughts, coupled with uncontrollable compulsions, which often have nothing to do with cleaning or organizing. Film and media’s supposedly “harmless” portrayal of OCD has, unfortunately, led to the same stigmas in our everyday society. Often, OCD is not seen as a real mental illness, or it is used as everyday terminology by people who are not diagnosed with the disorder. Phrases such as “everyone is a little OCD” or “I need everything to be organized… I’m so OCD” are harmful to the people who struggle with this extremely real, debilitating illness. These portrayals make it seem as though OCD is much less impactful than it truly is. Since sharing these instagram stories, I’ve had people reach out to me in hopes to understand more about the true meaning behind this mental illness, and have been lucky enough to educate those around me on these harmful stereotypes. These Instagram posts have allowed the conversation surrounding OCD to begin, and more and more people are joining the conversation every day. Other than allowing me to educate others, these same posts and stories have allowed others to educate me on other mental illnesses which have been stigmatized in the past. One mental illness which I now know much more about is Bipolar Disorder, which is another illness that is commonly stereotyped. Some common phrases used to inaccurately describe Bipolar Disorder are: “why are they crying? They’re so bipolar”, or “that kid is acting manic.” Bipolar disorder is often limited to stereotypes of rapid changes in moods or going from “normal” to “crazy” in a matter of seconds. In reality, this disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings, which typically occur over a longer period of time, typically called an episode. The stigmas associated with Bipolar Disorder are extremely harmful, as they prevent the conversation surrounding this mental illness to begin. From social media platforms, I have learned about the


different types of episodes one can have, along with how to support people who are truly struggling with Bipolar Disorder. Stigmas are dangerous games which have been perpetuated by older generations. They have made it so people are afraid to get a diagnosis or recieve help. They have shamed and embarrassed people to a point where they are afraid to speak out. With the rise of Gen - Z and their social media usage, people have felt safer to speak up and ask for help. Around the time when Generation Z would have started to actively use social media (2016), there were around 1 million calls per year to the National Suicide Prevention Line in the USA. After 2 years on social media of sharing and creating these posts, by 2018, this number had doubled. The stigmas are decreasing and the conversations are beginning. Use these platforms as a tool. Learn more, start a discussion, and most importantly, reach out if you’re struggling.


Helpful Youth-Centered Social Media Accounts Emma Pont GEN - Z FOR CHANGE @GENZFORCHANGE

“Gen - Z For Change” is a non-profit organization which was created in 2020 during the American Presidential Election. They’ve now branched out, and currently create discourse on multiple subjects in which youth may or may not know how to get involved. Their goal is to promote political awareness amongst Generation Z, and as of right now, have amassed over 540 million followers on TikTok. They use their large platforms to tackle and spread awareness on issues from racial injustice to gender equality, and have been responsible for many civil rights protests. One example is the protests which occurred throughout the U.S. upon the introduction of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. MATT BERNSTEIN @MATTXIV

MattXIV is an influencer who runs his own Instagram account, mainly dedicated to posting infographics which are targeted toward Generation Z. They have created the infographics in order to spread awareness and shed light on LGBTQ matters, including educational tools which youth and adults are able to use in order to learn and also support the LGBTQ community.They introduce queer history topics in

37 order for followers to do more research and educate themselves. Most recently, they have made great strides as youth advocating social change, with an article written about them and their work for the infamous Paper magazine.


“Reasons to be cheerful” is a page which was not created by a current youth; however, their page aims to share stories of positive change and solutions in society. These stories have much to do with youth. Often, the mainstream news services can paint the world in a very negative light. This page is helpful and allows youth to have a more positive outlook on life and the world around them. The Instagram account is also a great mechanism for people who struggle with anxiety disorders, as sometimes, the direction in which we believe the world is heading can feel extremely overwhelming. This account can be used as a tool to ground and educate oneself.


Growing Pains Chloe Tebbutt

As children, we are usually told that we can be whatever we want if we work hard enough. We’re encouraged that the world is up for the taking, and that if we want it badly enough, we can achieve whatever we want. Now, as teenagers, things are not quite so simple. School and dreams and the very concept of achieving something important in life is always on our mind, but no longer our only priority. Popularity begins and ends sometime in Middle School or high school when everyone realizes they no longer have time to worry about meaningless things. Organizational skills become a bit of a blur, with most of us flying by the seat of our pants and hoping we can remember all we have to do. There are deadlines to meet, people to see, classes to attend, games to play, and lectures into which to tune in. It is balance that we struggle with the most. This is the biggest growing pain that teenagers face: not knowing when less is too little and more is too much. First, we worry about balance in school. We wonder if we are taking the best courses, if we are limiting ourselves, if we are taking unnecessary classes, or worrying about unimportant assignments. If we do not study enough for a test and do poorly on it, we study more for the next one, too much, in fact. We then realize we spent far more time than we needed to, overpreparing for something when we had nothing short of a million other things to do. Mostly, balance is about balancing time and effort, two foreign concepts that remain so despite our efforts to understand the secret to understanding it all. Next, we worry about balancing other areas of our lives outside of class work. Do we join the school basketball or school soccer team? Should we try out for the play or sign up for robotics? Everything is scheduled at the same time, so we have to make the right decision, or


else we may regret it later. Volunteer hours have to be scheduled, hours must be allocated to a ‘skill’ for our Duke of Edinburgh, and outside of school sports must be heavily considered, since the commitment will surely make us even more pressed for time. This is scary, because our time is precious - we are still so young, after all. One of the most important things we struggle to balance is our social life. Everyone has one, however present or seemingly non-existent. Yet, it is something that we are pressured to only do in our free time. If we have homework, we should not be at a sleepover. If we have midterms, how dare we go out for a coffee date with friends. The more school work or classes, the more sports or clubs or extracurriculars, the less free time we have, and the smaller our social circle becomes. The longer we spend without a social life, the more we worry about balancing school with actually living. We are always either having too much fun or taking things too seriously, flaunting our adolescent years like a shiny pearl necklace or resigning ourselves to our desks as though we already work nine to five jobs. There is no understanding balance as a teenager. We try and try to make sense of it. We may have dreams and hopes and plans for our future twenty, thirty, forty years from now, yet we also have to fret over not just surviving our teenage years but embracing them somehow despite the constant confusion, struggles, and most of all, growing pains.


Youth Climate Activists To Know And Support Meera Baswan

Xiye Beara: Xiye Beara is a youth climate activist with an Indigenous background. She lives in Mexico. She witnessed first hand the impact of climate change when an extreme flood hit her hometown, San Pedro Tultepec. Xiye intersects her climate activism with an emphasis on racial justice, especially for the visibility of Indigenous groups who have been fighting for a sustainable future. Xiye is one of the lead organizers of the “Fridays for Future” event in New York City, and she is the co-founder of Re-Earth Initiative, an international, non-profit organization aiming to be inclusive and intersectional.

Autumn Peltier: Autumn Peltier is a 17year-old Indigenous activist who is fighting for clean drinking water rights for Indigenous communities in Canada and across the globe. She comes from the Wikwemikong First Nation community in northern Ontario, and has witnessed how Indigenous communities in Canada have a severe lack of access to clean drinking water. She believes in the universal right to basic access to clean water. In 2019, Peltier was invited to speak at the UN General Assembly, during which she said, “I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: we can’t eat money or drink oil”. Peltier continues to fight the struggle to bring access to clean water for Indigenous People across the world.

Kevin Patel: Kevin Patel works to reduce air contamination and the impact of climate change in Los Angeles, California. As an individual who suffered severe heart issues caused by unclean air throughout his childhood years, he works to ensure others do not face the same issues he did. He has taken action to

41 create change in his state, including leading the “Zero Hour” initiative and founding OneUpAction International, an organization that supports and empowers marginalized communities and youth.


Youth Advocacy Artwork And Media Design Meera Baswan Below are some art pieces created in order to, through art-based media, raise awareness about issues and topics Indigenous groups face. Art is a critical form of expression and emotion, and is a way to visually convey the importance of shedding light on important issues.

No More Stolen Sisters: This artwork symbolizes the crisis of MMIWG2S, an epidemic that has been occurring for years, yet little to no action has been taken. The red handprint indicates the lives of countless Indigenous women and 2S folk who have been taken away from their families and communities. The phrase “No More Stolen Sisters” is a common slogan used for this movement, and conveys the urgency to stop this crisis.


Decolonization: This simple graphic depicts action items that can be taken to support Indigenous communities, and what the term “decolonization” truly means.


When You Grew Up Chieri Nnadozie

I remember the day you were born. Or rather the night. I don’t remember the date, but it felt like a Thursday. It was a Tuesday. I remember the day I met you. I was five and three quarters years-old and you had only been in this world for half a day. I was surprised when I first met you because your eyes were wide open when I saw you. I thought it was a given that all babies were born with their eyes closed. In my mind, that made you special. You looked at me and I held your gaze. Then you blinked because of someone's camera flash. The first time I held you in my arms was in our mom’s room by her bed. I carefully held you close to my heart and marveled at how light you were. You were a happy child. I remember when your smile was still toothless and would bring out your dimples. Your laughter was always a series of the brightest, most heartwarming giggles. One couldn’t help but laugh alongside you. I remember the day you ended up under the couch in the loft. Despite not being able to crawl, you had somehow managed to find a way to push yourself all the way to the couch in the back of the room. The only reason we found you was because of your giggles from under the couch. You were, and still are, mischievous. I don’t remember your first words, but I remember “stop it” were your favorite ones. Though when you said them, it sounded more like “stupid”. I remember when you were two. This was when you developed a temper. And I somehow always found myself on the receiving end of it. If I got too close, you would either bite or scratch me. You even threw a book at me. It left a scar. But that’s okay. I can’t help but laugh everytime I see it now.

45 I remember the times when you’d wake me up early on the weekends by jumping on me. You wanted to make eggs for breakfast but someone had to watch you while you did. I was fine with everyone saying that I spoil you. I never really had a reason to tell you no. That was until you told me, in a “know-it all tone”, that I was “allowed to tell you no”. So, I said “no” the next time you asked for something. You got mad at me. It was quite funny. I remember your first time on a plane. You begged me for the window seat. So I gave it to you. Before take off, I took a picture of your excited but nervous smile. The flight was short, but we did experience some turbulence. At the time you didn’t know the word for turbulence, so you just called it “bumby air”. I remember the day you learned how to tie your shoes. You were so proud of yourself; you even wanted to show off to my friends by asking to tie theirs. Lately, I remember the times I said “maybe later” more than the times I said “yes” to playing with you. It’s only worse because I only now realized you stopped asking as much. I don’t remember when I started saying “I love you”, but I wanted you to know that someone loved you. Lately you’ve been saying it back too. Sometimes I feel bad for laughing at your expense. Only sometimes, though, because you always laugh at mine. You’re a sore loser, and even worse winner. You have a terrible attitude. I secretly find it endearing how it only takes one win to make you feel on top of the world. You think I’m weird and goofy, but you can’t help but laugh at my shenanigans. You're extremely bold. Or maybe a little too shameless. You won’t hesitate to let people know what you think, which is funny, but I still think you could use a bit of tact. I’m sorry for all the times I got mad at you for getting on my nerves. Unlike me, you don’t do it on purpose. I don’t remember the day you started talking back, but now you’ll argue anything and everything. I’ve come to realize that arguing with you is like arguing with a wall. No matter what happens, you’ll alway be my younger sibling. I’ve watched you grow up but sometimes I forget how old you’ve become. I just hope you haven’t outgrown me.


Let The Flames In Cameron DaSilva, Leila Rehan, Emily McMinn, Chierika Nnadozie, Madeline McGraw, Haasita Nellipudi, and Wendy Bai

To follow is a collaborative poem produced by writers in the 4U Writer’s Craft course. The piece was inspired by the documentary titled ‘Writing With Fire”, directed by Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas. This award-winning documentary about journalists running the Dalit women led newspaper, Khabar Lahariya, spotlights courageous women who use wit, intelligence, and compassion while risking their lives to expose some of the most critical issues of our times. The poem aims to capture how these women have inspired the next generation of youth writers to break traditions, stereotypes, and use writing as a tool for change. Journalism is the essence of democracy It keeps those in power in check Journalism is a dangerous job, It puts a target on your back It

killed 40 journalists

No faith in what she does If my own husband will not believe in me, who will? I will Our voices are being suffocated by the men who think they are superior We fear for our lives, but it is our duty to b

r e a k the WALL


They need to hear our voices Everyone wants an educated girl but won’t let her work after she’s married Then what's the point? A woman shouldn’t work, The only way you will silence me will be to kill me Holding a mirror to society The mirror’s reflection is not that of clear water but deep flames as society burns we follow and are covered by flames we yell for help but the flames crawl into our mouths burning down the truth of it all

The phone was my gun and the words were my bullets, I lined up to take my shot at the world, knowing I had no margin for error There was no loud bang as the weapon sounded, but the uproar could be heard from miles away Speaking up left blood scars on our bodies Yet, It also left red roars on the world. Being a woman can be a chain but also a change. Trails of fire burning from their fingertips, Their words, like matches, Their posts, like gasoline. The fire they write with, Lighting up the dark.


How Vaping Is Affecting Teens In Our Society Khala Kamanga

A vape, also known as a Juul, is an electronic cigarette. Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling nicotine containing aerosol, or vapor. This practice is negatively affecting teenagers in our society the most. It is affecting their schooling and their brain development as well as causing them to have constant damp lungs which could lead to severe health problems, and possibly even death. Middle school and high school are some of the most challenging years of life. They really do help to determine the direction one will take. Some teenagers may find peace, comfort, or a little buzz in vaping and a way to temporarily get out of the stresses of life. Many teens think that vaping is safer and better than smoking cigarettes; in fact, it may be worse. According to, nicotine can slow brain development in teens and affect their memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention, and mood. These issues will compromise the ability to perform well in school. The majority of North American individuals who vape are teenagers; however, instances of some middle schoolers participating in this is on the rise. If students can’t focus in class, recall what they have learned, or have some level of self control, it's going to make succeeding academically even harder than it already is. I understand peer pressure because I am a teenager. Some adolescents feel pressured into doing various activities or actions that they don't want to do, because their friends are doing it, or because it will make them appear cooler or more popular. According to CTV news, a new study has revealed a 74 % increase in youth vaping in Canada between 2017 and 2018. This is unbelievable, especially considering that it is illegal to vape under the age of eighteen. Also, according to the same source, the number of teens that vape between the ages of sixteen to nineteen jumped from 8.4% to 14.6%, in the year 2018. Statistics Canada’s Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey, 2021 found that among youth aged 15 to 19, 13% were still vaping in our country, despite increased awareness of this problem in recent years.


As mentioned earlier, vaping can cause serious health problems and conditions over time. Vaping can cause pneumonia. Vape contains toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer. Vape is water vapor. When water vapor gets into someone's lungs, it has no way of getting out. This causes it to build up and make your lungs become very damp. Studies show that adolescents and adults who vape are developing lungs similar to the lungs of people who have cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal, genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. At this time, there is no cure. CF is an ongoing infection of the lungs where the level of severity differs from person to person. The infection will cause destruction of the lungs and the loss of lung function normally leads to death. If teens keep vaping and, therefore, developing infections in their lungs, then death is a very possible outcome. It might not happen right away, but it probably will happen with time. One particular story about a mother whose vaping habits resulted in death really stood out to me. We often hear about youth vaping, but we don’t hear about adults vaping as often because they tend to smoke traditional cigarettes. This 52 year-old mother from Georgia smoked regular cigarettes for most of her adult life, but then started vaping, in particular illegal THC cartridges. She immediately started having health problems and died just two days after she was hospitalized for pneumonia. Adults are supposed to be our role-models, and it is important for them to stress to today’s youth the harmful consequences of vaping. Teenagers often don't know that vaping is bad for them because it is not advertised as such. However, both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes contain nicotine, which research suggests may be as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Two-thirds of JUUL users don't know that JUUL always contains nicotine. Many e-cigarette users inhale more nicotine than they would from a regular tobacco cigarette. According to JUUL manufacturers, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of twenty regular cigarettes, which is mind boggling. As previously mentioned, vaping is not advertised as a bad thing. In a lot of packaging, some vaping companies/manufacturers do not say that nicotine is included in the product. How are teens supposed to know what is in these products that they are putting into their bodies? Many JUULS and vapes even come in kid-friendly flavours such as candy and fruit. This is luring kids to these bad products. The companies are marketing to teens and young adults with their flavors and not telling them the extremely toxic or addictive substances that are actually in the vape. Therefore, vaping is causing serious, life-threatening health problems, which are incurable in many cases and which need to be prevented. Parents: do you really want your children dying of something that you can just take away? Also, vaping is affecting the development of the adolescent brain, leading to difficulties in school and in life in general. There are many things parents can do to help educate themselves about vaping, such as going to information meetings at local schools or community centers, or just going online and reading even a few of the many research articles that explain the consequences of vaping. Parents


should discuss the risks of vaping with their children. These simple actions could really help your teens and the youth in your community. It may even save their lives.


Three Albums Alike In Dignity: Coming Of Age With Lorde’s Music Nathalie Roy

"Solar Power Converted Me", by Michael Feelsok

In 2012, Lorde, or Ella Yelich-O’Connor, broke through the music industry with her hit single, “Royals”. Since then, the New Zealand native has released three critically acclaimed albums all focusing on a specific stage in her life. Pure Heroine, released in 2013, focuses on teenage angst and growing pains, and “Melodrama” (2017) paints the picture of early adulthood as well as the ecstasy of being in love for the first time as well as the dramatic lows of platonic and romantic rejection. Most recently, released in 2021, “Solar Power”, depicts the end of early adulthood through forgiveness and connecting with nature. While “Royals” became an instant hit with its mystic lyrics and catchy bass, Lorde, at only age 15, was writing other songs about growing up as a teenager with her producer, Joel Little. Most people know the other hit from the album Pure Heroine: Ribs, which perfectly describes the melancholy of growing up with a best friend by your side. Pure Heroine is home to many other beautiful, bittersweet songs, recounting the all familiar story of having unequal and unrelatable friend groups (“The Love Club”, “White Teeth Teens”), discovery of political opinions and conflicts (“Buzzcut Season”, “Team”), and, of course, relationships with best friends (“400 Lux”, “A World Alone”). Due to Ella’s age and common themes within her works, she became a teenage sensation, dubbed “The Voice of a Generation”. However, when she grew up and changed, so did the themes in her songwriting. Four years after Pure Heroine, Lorde released her sophomore album, Melodrama, in 2017. In her hiatus, she spent time away from social media and partying, while instead growing up and figuring out what her place in the world really was– again, all phases of experimentation and coming of age. Of course, Melodrama’s content depicted these themes. The hit single from the album, “Green Light,” is essentially giving listeners the okay to move past stages and people who no longer serve our best interests.


Melodrama also has songs telling the story of falling in love for the first time (“The Louvre”), and, subsequently, falling out of love for the first time (“Hard Feelings/Loveless”) and then getting over the breakup (“Supercut”). There are also songs of rejection by love interests and friend groups (“Writer in the Dark”, “Liability”), and, of course, the joy of partying as an adult for the first time (“Sober”). The album finishes with the song “Perfect Places”, where Lorde seems to realize that, although cathartic, partying every night may be a thing of the past for her. After another four year hiatus, Lorde has come back into the spotlight with her third album, Solar Power. Although it was not as well received by the public as her past albums, Solar Power is an album about self-growth into adulthood accompanied with the colourful landscape of the outdoors. Songs tell the story of her changing opinion on fame (“The Path”, “California”, “Leader of a New Regime”), grief (“Big Star”), falling in love again, but also breaking up (“The Man with the Axe”), tumultuous friendships (“Dominoes”), and regret (“Stoned at the Nail Salon”). The album is also filled with themes of appreciation of nature (“Solar Power”, “Oceanic Feeling”, “Fallen Fruit”). This natural imagery is so crucial to the album, as Lorde finds solace in going outside and growing up beside the growing trees. Now, in 2022, Lorde has established herself as one of the most prominent artists of our generation, speaking to universal experiences that we all go through. As we anxiously await her fourth album, we know that we will grow up alongside her music for many years to come.


The Colour Black Haasita Nellipudi

To follow is a podcast script inspired by John Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed: Hello, my name is Haasita Nellipudi. Welcome, everyone to “The Color Black,” where we will talk about how this not-so-simple colour manipulates our not-so-simple lives. Black is the colour of the rich, poor, and all in the middle, but why does our world revolve around this colour? Our world revolves around this colour, and it has for thousands of years. Black was one of the first colours used by artists in neolithic cave paintings. It was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as the colour of the underworld. In the Roman Empire, it became the colour of mourning, and over the centuries, it was frequently associated with death, evil, witches, and magic. Nowadays, black has so many different meanings associated with such dark emotions. Black is so versatile; if it weren’t for black, we wouldn’t be able to read, fashion would lose all its power to flatter, and I’m sure there is only one cat this unlucky, isn’t there? Black represents regality, power, elegance, and sophistication. Black has so many hidden meanings. It isn’t even on the colour wheel, nor is it a primary, secondary, or tertiary colour. Black is an intersecting of all colours, absorbing all light on the spectrum.

54 For many people, black evokes positive psychological emotions, including attractiveness and elegance. This colour oozes sophistication, hence, why so many people choose to rock black clothing when attending a fancy event. Take the Grammys into perspective; this year, many celebrities rocked black, such as Olivia Rodrigo in a form-fitting black dress, Kelsea Ballerini, who wore a high-slit black gown, and, of course, Billie Eilish, who served gothic glamour in an all-black look with dark sunglasses. High-end brands like Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Christian Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry all utilize black in their logos. When it comes to high society, the colour black has long been associated with power, from priests’ attire to judges’ gowns, tuxedoes and even credit cards, like the Amex Centurion, which is a black credit card which shows off sophistication and, honestly, in most cases, intimidation. With intimidation comes all the negative connotations with this mind-boggling, crowd-pleasing, emotionally-complex colour. This eerie and complicated colour has been tied to death and all things evil. Throughout history, it has evoked strong feelings of anger, aggression, fear, and sadness for many people, depending on the situation. It does for me. The connection between black and negativity is most clearly seen in language. Just listen to all these expressions that most of us, myself included, use: Black Monday, Black Plague, Black magic, Blackball, Blackhole, Black-hearted, Black mood, Black sheep, Blackmail, Black market, and Blackout. Not only does the slang that we use every day integrate the usage of the colour black, but so do many of our everyday items. Take a look at your shoes. There's a pretty good chance that they are black. Looking outside, many people have black cars. Even Apple has made the black iPhone a staple whenever they release a new phone. Most of us have at least purchased one piece of black technology or accessory. If I were to talk about them, it could probably take up the rest of this podcast.

55 And nothing says "bad guy" quite like the colour black. Though black is worn (and often preferred) by people from all walks of society, it's often seen as the stereotypical colour for criminals and villains. Why do you think the colour of choice for villains (think Dracula and Darth Vader) and other shady movie and TV show characters is almost always black? With all of this being said, black is used everywhere for the colour of our cars, shoes, formal wear, and casual wear. For that reason, I give the colour black a 4.4-star rating. Thanks for listening (reading) “The Color Black.”


Hemline 2021-2022 team Tamsin Carne (cover design) Emily McMinn Emma Pont Giulia Casha Chieri Nnadozie Rushmi Singh Meera Baswan Eva Liu Zeest Faisal Zara Ahmed Cameron DaSilva Haasita Nellipudi Meera Baswan Amanda Wessel Khala Kamanga Nathalie Roy Ms. Vickman, faculty advisor