Red & Black magazine is produced by the Introduction to Journalism students at Nation Ford High School as a culminating group project at the end of the semester.
Behind the Filters
New social media app promotes transparencyby Olivia Bennett
You feel your phone buzz in your pocket and check your notifications. You see the words “Time to BeReal!”. You yell, “BeReal” to your friends, gather them together, and ask a stranger to take your photo. This phenomenon is taking the world by storm.
The new French social media platform is climbing the app store charts as the leading social media for teenagers around the world.
With 10 million daily active users, the app has become worth $600 million. CEO of BeReal Alexis Barreyat says that he created the app as a response to the current social media landscape being “unideal and unbelievable”.
BeReal alarms users once a day to share a fast, unfiltered, unedited, perfectly imperfect photo of whatever they may be doing.
Using the front and rear cameras at the same time, the app gives users a two-minute time frame to snap the image.
The app prioritizes unforced and candid photos of yourself and whatever may be going on around you.
Many prefer BeReal over other types of social media because it is carefree.
“I think it’s good for people to see the unfiltered version of others and not only post the positive or fun things you’re doing but the bor-
ing things too,” Caroline Easler (’26) said.
An April 14, 2022 article “How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers” from the Child Mind Institute states that other social media platforms have had negative effects on teens by exposing them to unrealistic views of other people’s lives.
“Looking on Instagram seeing these ‘perfect’ people lowers my self-esteem and sometimes makes me feel like I’m not good enough,” Arianna Davis (’23) said.
Unlike other social media platforms, you cannot follow people on BeReal, you can only be mutually friended. You are unable to “like” other people’s posts, which reduces the anxiety some may feel, but there is also an option to capture a photo of yourself reacting to the image your friend has posted.
Users can also comment on their friends’ photos for a limited time each day.
“I like the fact that you don’t have to worry or care about how many likes or followers you have because the point of BeReal is to be in the moment and careless,” Alex Bentley (‘25) said.
BeReal works by notifying all users of the app once daily, every day at a different time but the same notification for each user. The notification reads, “Time to BeReal”.
If you miss the two minute window you have to snap the image, you have the option to post
The point of Bereal is to be in the moment and careless
After receiving a notification Sept. 2, at the Catawba Ridge vs Nation Ford football game, students gather with their friends to capture their BeReal apps.
a “late BeReal, ‘’ and you will not be able to see your friends posts until you post your own.
There are no options to edit or filter the photo in any way. The image can only be seen until the next notification goes off.
“BeReal is a better form of social media because you cannot edit the photos, which makes it real. It also teaches people to not be as insecure and care what other people think as
much,” Harrison Collette (‘25) said.
Over time your BeReal’s from each day are saved to your “memories,” which will then leave you with a collection of personal, candid memories that last a lifetime.
“I like that BeReal saves my memories so I can look back and remember all of the fun times with my friends,” Charlotte Overman (‘25) said.
Addition to Nafo
German Exchange Student Greta Fleissby Bethany Knode
Last hugs goodbye, tears, anxiety. On August 1st Greta Fleiss decided to say goodbye to everything she had known to go to a country full of mysteries and possibilities. She left Germany and embarked on a 20-hour journey by herself to America.
From a town called Essen, Greta spent most of her time with her friends and loved to be outside in nature. Sometimes she would visit her distant family by train and she cherished times like that. She would also go to the Baltic Sea with her family. However, it was time for her to go on an adventure on her own.
“My mom and sister went to the airport with me and we said goodbye at the security gate,” Greta said. Her plane ride was full of worries. “Not getting along with my host sister. Not finding friends. Being stressed” were just a few of her thoughts coming over she said.
She tried to remember why she wanted to come to America this year. “I wanted to experience it on my own and maybe learn English better,” Fleiss said.
do things at mine. it’s weird having the same classes each day,” Greta said.
Her host mother has been very impressed with how she has reacted to everything she has seen in America so far. “She has seemed to fit in well–except for thinking everything is either fancy or weird,” Host mom Cindy Knode said laughing.
While she has been here almost four months she has made some great memories. “The day in Washington when we went to the Capitol and Library of Congress and went to see “Dear Evan Hansen the musical,” she said was her favorite so far.
There are also some fun events coming up with her host family.
“Christmas will be fun and being able to decorate for it,” her host father Dave Knode shared.
She also looks forward to upcoming events, she says. “Prom shopping will be exciting,” host mom Cindy said. -Greta Fleiss
Once arriving with her host family, she started to feel comfortable. “She seemed very open with how this family runs,” her host mom, Cindy Knode said.
She has fit in easily with her family but had to make some hard adjustments. “The food is different and definitely the water. It’s disgusting,” Greta shared.
She immediately noticed how the culture was different. “The schools are totally different from how we
Yet homesickness is also not a stranger to her. She celebrated her sixteenth birthday only a couple of days after arrival. “We knew that she wished she could’ve been in Germany with her family and friends for her birthday, but we tried to make it just as special and memorable for her,” Cindy shared.
She deals with her homesickness in multiple ways. “I have my journal,” Greta said. She also calls her mom, sister, and her friends almost every day.
-It’s been hard for her to adjust, but she greatly has been enjoying Nation Ford and is excited to be a part of the NaFo family.
Left: After purchasing a cowboy hat, German exchange student Greta Fleiss enjoys a Zack Brown Band concert in Charlotte Spectrum Center in August. Center: Fleiss takes a selfie In her room in her hometown of Essen, Germany before coming to America. Right: Dressed up for the Homecoming dance, Fleiss poses for her pre-dance photo with friends in October.
The White Ship Disaster
The mostly forgotten sinking 900 years ago left England with its first de facto queenby Dvir Dvoretz
While the world has recently focused on the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year-long reign, a look back to another event that changed the history of the United Kingdom lies beneath the sea–a vessel that sank 900 years ago with the king’s only son. The White Ship, often coined the “medieval Titanic,” presented England with sudden crisis, tragedy, and later, civil war.
“No ship that ever sailed brought England such disaster. None was so well known the wide world over,” wrote William of Malmesbury, one of England’s greatest medieval historians.
and their father’s ancestral land in France, Normandy, of which Robert is duke.
In 1106, their conflict comes to a head on the battlefield, and Henry emerges victorious, capturing his brother and Normandy for himself.
With strong support from the nobility Henry quickly secures himself as king in England, and as duke in Normandy, but a decade after his victory, he is faced with innumerable odds.
No ship that ever sailed brought England such disaster. None was so well known the wide world over...
In a matter of minutes, a future king and his dynasty sank below the cold waves of the English Channel.
The lengthy prologue begins in August 1100, with two sons of the great William the Conqueror, the childless and troubled King William II, and his younger brother Henry.
The two, along with other nobles go hunting late into the afternoon of August 2nd, where separated from the party, William is accidentally shot and killed.
Henry acts quickly, and three days later is crowned king of England and is occupied with securing his new position for the next six years, engaging in bitter conflict with his oldest brother, Robert, over control of England
The king of France and his allies declared war against Henry in 1116, who with Normandy in possession, hopes to make his son William Adelin duke.
“For four years Henry had been fighting Louis VI to get the French king to acknowledge his son as duke of Normandy,” Charles Spencer, a historian, author, and younger brother of the late Princess Diana said.
In 1118, Henry loses his good friend Robert de Beaumont and later his wife, Queen Matilda, though has no choice but to push forward and win the war.
With a seventeen-year-old William by his side, Henry won a significant battle against the king of France in 1119 and made peace a few months later.
Together father and son could finally return home to England–there was much to celebrate, William would soon become duke of Normandy, and with great hope, eventually
Henry I sits on his throne sorrowly, with his hands together as he mourns the loss of his son William.
king of England, Henry, was very happy.
“Henry was a loving father who invested all his hopes in this boy, and we know from the chroniclers that he took great care of him… He was grooming him to be his heir in a very thoughtful way, engaging him in things as a young man,” said Spencer.
Late into the night on Nov. 24, 1120, a stranger approached King Henry. Here the story of the White Ship truly begins.
The stranger, it turned out to be, was Thomas fitz Stephen, the son of captain Stephen fitz Airard, who had manned the flagship Mora, owned by Henry’s father.
“The man pointed out that it would be his honor to take the king back because it had been his father’s great privilege to captain the Mora…” Spencer added.
He had been the captain of the Blanche-Nef, “White Ship,” which had only just been refurbished and he had begged the king to allow him to take him back to England. “Stephen, my father, served yours all his life by sea…Sire king, I beg you to grant me the same office in fief: I have a vessel called the Blanche-Nef, well equipped and manned with 50 skillful mariners,” the famous lawyer and historian Henry Smith William recorded in his book “The Historians’ History of the World.”
King Henry politely refused, instead preferring to sail back on his own ship, though instead allowed Thomas to ferry his great son William Adelin, two other illegitimate royal children, and 300 other passengers, consisting of heroes of the recent war and various nobles.
In the evening hours of Nov. 25, Henry and those on board his royal ship set off from the port of Barfleur, followed shortly by the passengers and crew of the White Ship.
“The ship probably set sail just before midnight. A large crowd watched them go: some were relatives of people who were sailing, but others just wanted to have a good look at this glamorous bunch of people on one ship. And
then they pushed out to sea.” Spencer described.
Often, most monarchs had tried to avoid sailing in the later months of the year, but the weather and wind were clear; however, it had become freezing cold.
Upon climbing aboard, the crew and passengers, excited by the presence of Prince William, began partying, which William gladly participated in, “The prince gave orders that they should have three muids. No sooner was the wine delivered to them than they had a great drinking bout, and pledging their comrades in full cups, indulged too much and became intoxicated,” reported Orderic Vitalis, another contemporary medieval English historian.
Among the drunken and partying crowd, the passengers begin to urge the captain to race the king to England.
“The cry goes out that they must try and catch Henry I’s ship before it gets to Southampton on the south coast of England, and beat him on the homeward journey,” Spencer explained.
With the sail dropped and a strong working group of 50 oarsmen, the ship traveled with increasing speed through the night before striking a rock, the Quillebœuf, hidden underneath the dark waters of the English Channel. The rock had been impossible to see in the night.
“The helmsman, I think, probably, lost all sense of how fast they were going–a combination of the very strong rowing team and the sail meant that they went much faster than they anticipated…” Spencer suggests.
The ship quickly began to sink, with all 300 people on board, including William Adelin, whose entourage had rushed him into the one lifeboat on board.
“The passengers and crew raised cries of distress, but their mouths were soon stopped by the swelling waves, and all perished together,” wrote Orderic Vitalis.
In the dark, William and his men began
rowing away from the destroyed vessel, as others struggled in the cold waters, among them William’s half-sister Margaret.
“William and his bodyguards had started to get him away when Margaret of Perche, William’s half-sister, sees him escaping and starts screaming for him to come back.” Spencer described.
William hastily ordered his men to turn back, but as he attempted to save Margaret, many others clambered on, and the small boat capsized, and everyone aboard, including the prince, died.
Meanwhile, some miles away, the royal ship carrying the king continued forward unaware of what had occurred. Of the three hundred people who had survived the initial sinking, there was Berold, a simple butcher; Geffrey de l’Aigle, a nobleman; and the captain, Thomas fitz Stephen.
Geoffrey and Berold had held onto a rock for dear life when fitz Stephen suddenly appeared from the water and asked them if the prince had survived. They broke the news and Thomas let himself join the fate of the others.
“...he allowed himself to die because he didn’t want to be the one to explain what had happened to Henry’s three children who had died. He just let himself drift under and was never seen again,” Spencer described.
Through some of the night, Geoffrey and Berold talked to each other, but soon, Geoffrey had become fatigued, and died of hypothermia in the cold water, as many else had.
Berold held on through the night and was rescued by a group of three fishermen the following morning, he was the only one on board the White Ship to survive, and immediately he told them the story of what had happened that fateful night.
The royal ship returned to England with no incident, but as there was no sign of the White Ship, many in the royal court already began spreading rumors, and had their worries confirmed when Berold’s account reached them.
“People quickly knew something had gone wrong with the White Ship, it was a clear night and there was no possible explanation except that it had sunk. Then the confirmation came when Berold was discovered the next morning…the news reached southern England within a day, but nobody wanted to tell Henry…,” Spencer said.
Finally, members of the royal court pushed a young child into breaking the news. The king collapsed with grief.
William was Henry’s only son, over the last several years, his father had been very proud of him, and believed fully that his son was destined to reign over England, all of what they had fought to secure had come crashing down.
Henry remarried in 1121 to the youthful Adeliza of Louvain, but together they did not produce a child.
However, William Adelin was not the king’s only legitimate child; in Germany, Matilda, his daughter, had been married to the emperor, who had died only recently of cancer.
The king had summoned her to return in 1125, and in 1127, had declared her his heir, a bold move in the sexist age that was the medieval times.
There were other choices, like William Clito who eventually died in 1128 anyways and the eldest son of Henry’s sister Adela, Theobald, however, Henry stuck through his decision.
Nobles swore oaths to Matilda in 1127, who after some strong convincing from her father, married Geoffrey of Anjou, the son of Henry’s former enemy in 1116, Fulk.
They had a child together in 1133, and Henry hoped that the crown would eventually pass through Matilda to her son, Henry, named after his grandfather. Just two years later in December 1135 Henry died.
“...Henry was asking for people to be loyal to her, to recognize her as queen, but really, she was a stepping stone, dynastically. By the time Henry died, she had some sons – the eldest one called Henry – and the king was really trying to use her as somebody to pass on the baton to his grandson. But he couldn’t do that without having her made queen,” Charles clarified.
The realm was taken by surprise at the death of the king, and while Matilda was in central France with her young husband Geoffrey, her cousin Stephen, the younger brother of Theobald, had been on the coast.
After hastily sailing to England Stephen was quickly crowned the same month Henry had died. Most barons simply had no interest in having a female ruler, despite the wishes of King Henry, but when some backed Matilda, civil war quickly began.
“Stephen was okay for the first years of his reign, but then Matilda arrived in 1139 with an army and a proper civil war began which saw Stephen and Matilda vying for the English throne for 19 years,” Spencer said.
In the 1150s, Matilda’s now teenage son, Henry called “fitzEmpress,” took over his mother’s cause and in 1153 ended the war, with Stephen agreeing to declare him his heir.
Stephen died in October 1154, just months later, and Henry fitzEmpress was crowned shortly after, as King Henry II.
“Henry’s grandson became Henry II and so it all came good – but after utter chaos. The Anarchy was aptly named. It was a complete bloodbath. It was about as tumultuous a time as Britain’s ever suffered and it all stemmed from the sinking of one ship,” Spencer said.
That fateful night had changed the course of history, the disaster that occurred removed a future king, and all of his possible descendants.
Had the young “flower of his nobility,” William Adelin survived, King Charles III, Queen Elizabeth II, and all of their predecessors dating back to 1135 would not have ruled over England.
Victory and Glory
Superstitionsby Aaron Genest
Black cats. Ladders. Spilled salt. Superstitions seem to be everywhere this time of year, even in Fort Mill among students and their families.
“My grandma’s always said that whistling in the house is bad luck,” said Dvir Dvoretz (‘26).
That superstition, which comes from Estonia and Latvia, is said to cause the house to burst into flames.
Superstitions range wide and strange because they came into being from trying to find a reason for the unknown–such as bad luck and irrational fears. Some irrational fears are a little more unusual to explain than someone’s bad luck.
“My Grandparents say, ‘Don’t clip your nails at night or it will cause bad luck,’” Shihab Sarar (’25) said, who is originally from Bangladesh.
If you hit your left foot, some believe your presence is not wanted or you are in danger.
More recognizable superstitions, like breaking a mirror, originated from Rome and later traveled across Europe, but today most people have forgotten the origin behind scary traditional folklore.
Check out the history behind some of your own superstitions–and don’t walk under a ladder. Bad luck lurks everywhere.
“My grandma’s always said that whistling in the house is bad luck.”
–Dvir Dvoretz (‘26)
How Phones Affect Sleep
Read more on how to sleep betterby Arianna Davis
It’s late at night, you’re tucked into bed, the moonlight is streaming through your window while your phone light is beaming on your face. Studies from SCL health have shown that the blue light that is emitted from your phone restrains the production of melatonin the body must produce or it can be more difficult to go to sleep and wake up the next morning.
Sleep physician Kimberly Truong wrote an article about how phones affect people’s sleep. In the article she says, “Electronic back-lit devices like cell phones, tablets, readers, and computers emit short-wavelength enriched light, also known as blue light. Fluorescent and LED lights also emit blue light, which has been shown to reduce or delay the natural production of melatonin in the evening and decrease feelings of sleepiness.”
NaFo school nurse, Lori Stout says that she’s had teachers send students to her office just for them to sleep, which isn’t allowed in her office. “I think they just aren’t getting a good night’s rest. Some of them have jobs, chores, homework and with all that I just think they aren’t getting enough sleep.”
Sleep doctor Dr. Michael Breus claims that over 80% of Americans own a smart-
phone and 65% of them admit to checking their phone at night.
Physicians Brandon Peters and Keri Peterson wrote “It may be tough to stop and put the device away. This alone may lead to a delay in bedtime and reduced total sleep time. This may contribute to sleep deprivation if the needed hours of sleep to feel rested are not obtained. The stimulation may make it hard to shut down and fall asleep. The mind may be overly excited or activated.”
Staying up on your phone at night increases your alertness at night time, which destroys the melatonin and relaxing feeling that you need to fall asleep. If you spend time at night looking at your phone, that can decrease your alertness in the morning which means you’ll be more tired and less alert.
Want to sleep better and wake up refreshed? Put your phone on “do not disturb” so your phone won’t be a distraction. Another suggestion is putting your phone in another room away from you so it isn’t there as a distraction or temptation.
Using night time mode on your device helps with the amount of blue light being used. Invest in some blue light blocking glasses, to help your eyes if you need your phone with you at nighttime.
Book Bans Fire Up Debates
Parents vs. readers & authors spark debates in schools over books locally, nationallyby Addison Gollnick
Thousands of school districts around the country have banned books for various reasons. Some see it as a form of protecting children from the subject matter in these books, and others see it as censorship.
During the 2021-2022 school year there have been one or more book bans in 138 school districts across the country, according to the Sept. 19, 2022 article from Pen America. These school districts represent over 4 million students. When a ban occurs, the book in question is located and stripped from every place possible within the school campus by school officials..
The easy answer to why people want to ban certain books is because they believe it’s inappropriate for the audience for which it’s been made available, but It’s not always that simple.
“I think that people think by banning books they’re protecting people from certain
fter weeks of backlash from angry parents, and harassing comments in every inbox of every social media account he has, award-winning author Jonathan Evison finally gets the opportunity to turn all of his social media accounts back to public, as the people forget about him and his story, and move on.ideologies,” English Department Chair Rick Solt. “The sad part is that a lot of politicians are getting involved, and so are parents and community members without reading the book and understanding what it is..
“If you don’t want to read a book then don’t check it out. If you don’t want your child to read it then you can also tell your child not to read it, but to start banning books is a slippery slope. You start banning books, but where do you stop?”
Fort Mill School District has a committee of administrators and parents in place for when books become challenged. They [the committee] chose to recommend a book ban, but ultimately, the district office has the power to make the decision. This came about after the discovery of the book Gender Queer: A Memoir was found in a Fort Mill school’s library, and effectively pulled from every shelf in the district after being deemed pornographic.
Books in the curriculum at Nation Ford are banned in countless school districts around the country as well. Books such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Of Mice and Men” are banned because of their “vulgarity and use of racial slurs”. At Nation Ford,
Multiple library books that have been banned in other school districts acrss the country for various reason including “promoting witchcraft, too dark, setting bad examples, and language.”
teachers and students still use them as talking points.
“If we don’t look at ourselves, who we are now and who we were, we will never not be condemned to repeat our pasts,” Solt said.
It’s typically parents that are finding these books they deem inappropriate for their own children, but by taking it away from one child, you’re effectively taking it away from all of the children that want to read it in the school or district. But these same books banning parents don’t bat an
eye on the internet. “Sometimes they [parents] underestimate what students have access to… I think it’s a little naive to think that students won’t see these things online.”
The uprising in banned and restricted books not only affects the school districts they’re being banned from, but the authors of the books themselves.
“The first few weeks for me were very sketchy,” says Jonathan Evison, the author of “Lawn Boy,” the second-most banned book
in the nation. “I got a lot of sick, perverted, pedophilic notes from people–accusing me of being a pedophile and saying really graphic things about my daughters, which was creepy. I had to shut down my social networks for a couple of weeks”
Lawn boy is a semi-autobiographical book focusing on Mike Munoz, a young Mexican-American man who desires to live the American dream, but ends up mowing lawns for a living in the prime of his life. The book covers social distinctions, LGBTQ topics, self-discovery, and overcoming cultural discrimination.
The book was intended for Evison’s typical audience–adults– but because of “Lawn Boy’s” coming-of-age aspects, it attracted teenagers.
“The language in the book wasn’t what bothers people about my book. What bothers people is that Mike is a young person of color that lives on the a** end of capitalism, who is non-binary and has some very strong opinions about the American dream,” Evison said. “When he’s in the library, he’s asking ‘Where are the books about me?’. And that’s what these book banners are going to have–a whole other generation of people asking.”
about white, Christian cis-gendered people,” Evison said. “It’s no coincidence that the overwhelming majority of books that are being banned and challenged have LGBTQ characters or people of color as characters.”
Censorship is one of the largest issues young people face when schools decide to ban a book. The First Amendment stands to protect the freedom of speech, which further extends to books, but it’s not always clear what is exactly protected by the first amendment. The National Coalition Against Censorship opposes censorship, and promotes freedom of thought and expression. They encourage divergent perspectives and voices from everyone, including people that have been historically silenced.
Youth Free Expression Program Coordinator at NCAC Gianmarco Antosca has some concerns and advice about what he sees today.
When he’s in the library, he’s asking ‘Where are the books about me?’. And that’s what these book banners are going to have–a whole other generation of people asking.”
“‘Lawn Boy’ was ranked the second most banned book in the nation, not yet beating out the book “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe. Both of these books rose to the top of best-seller lists after being banned from schools across the country.
“Some people want to keep marginalized people–LGBTQ people, people of color–on the margin,’’ he says.
That’s where [book banners] feel the marginalized belong, he added “Because their idea of life and liberty in America is very much
“We do believe that schools and their communities have the right to decide which books should be included in school libraries. Generally speaking, we believe that parents should be allowed to decide what is or is not appropriate for their child, but that right does not extend to other children.”
“There will always be debate about what is and isn’t appropriate, especially when it comes to young people,” the group says. “There will always be challenges, and yes, likely there will be bannings. The best we can do is encourage more freedom, more conversations, and more open-mindedness.”
For the past 20 years, the rise in book bans has become unpredictable. While some believe it’s a good thing, meant for the protection of our youth, others think in unAmerican, narrowing the young peoples view on the world.
Is College Worth It?
For most, 4-year college degrees are going to be worth the moneyby Alex Bentley
It’s senior year of high school, and you are finally figuring out what you want to do after college, never having considered anything else but a four-year college. But then it hits you–you want to be a flight attendant. You don’t need to go to college for that, so why would you waste your time going to college and gaining massive debt for something you don’t even need?
And the truth to that question is, yes, it is worth it.
...a career is something that people should think about before they go to college.
Some might think otherwise, but in 30 years theres a chance majority of job without a degree requirement in the U.S. will be gone–taken by machines, and the job market is currently very competitive. You need better skills to compete for jobs, and the only way to do that is to get higher education.
However, a career is something that people should think about before they go to college. There is a social stigma around not going to college, as if that’s required to be successful in the U.S.
After high school, more than 60% of students attend a four-year college, and at Nation Ford more than 90% of students are going to a four-year university.
But the question on everyone’s mind is: is the time and expense worth it?
For some jobs, you wouldn’t need to have a bachelor’s degree to get the postition, but if you and someone who does have a bachelor’s are competing for the same job, nine times out of ten the person with the higher education is going to be selected.
Going to a four-year college is worth the money, time and effort. This is because you will need to get a high skill job for the future, and the only way to do that is to get a four-year degree.
Unclean bathrooms at Nation Ford put students in uncomfortable situationsby Elise Hay
Restrooms at Nation Ford recently have not been in the best shape. Bathrooms often have no usable sinks, no toilet paper, and no soap, putting students in an uncomfortable situation. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Some students don’t want to use the bathrooms and many say they find them disgusting. On Oct. 20, Talon reporters investigated all student bathrooms. They found that all needed cleaning, and a majority had missing or broken items that require maintenance workers to address. For example, N100 had broken toilets and hand dryers, and the sinks don’t stay on long enough to thoroughly wash hands. Paper towel dispensers are being removed in the school due to a decision made at the district office, and that may prevent some students from washing their hands, leading to the spread of bacteria and viruses.
Some other sanitation issues plagued restrooms on Oct. 20, such as the faucets cutting off early, and on top of that, there was no hand sanitizer in some.
The cleanest restrooms were the Auxiliary Gym, N500 or C500.
Assistant Principal Michael Abraham says that teachers are supposed to check the restrooms to see if they are stocked with necessary items, but apparently that is not happening.
A main reason restrooms are so messy in the first place is the students themselves. No cameras are permitted in the restrooms for privacy reasons, and so
the situations in restrooms are not supervised. Even if there is a teacher in a restroom during class changes, there is no supervision during classes.
Teachers also say student restrooms are dirty and that the staff bathrooms often aren’t much better.
If there is a problem with the bathrooms, teachers or administrators can go on the district website to fill out a maintenance report. This form allows faculty to select the issue and name the hall the bathroom is in. If faculty or staff submits a report that toilet paper is missing or broken, then the response must be fast. Students should report problems to teachers, and the supervising teachers should also report problems or they can’t be addressed as soon as possible.
The custodians at Nation Ford work two shifts: one works from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and another that works from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. They clean lunch tables, messes, and spills that happen throughout the day. The school has a contract with an outside company for the cleaning service, and that leaves the school without control.
We could blame the school for not checking custodians’ work or blame the custodians for not doing a good job, but a better solution for the school to hire their own janitorial staff, not an outside company, pay them more and give them benefits; then we can see if they do a better job cleaning the restrooms.
The bathrooms are frequently not clean. That must change.
Results of an investigation of restrooms on Oct. 20, 2022.
When asked about the state of restrooms, 8 of 10 students said bathrooms weren't clean.
Roughly 75% of bathrooms were not clean and had missing including toilet paper, paper towels, soap, and or broken items, such as hand dryers These problems are ongoing.
Why are restrooms in poor shape?
Working as a custodian is not a job many people want Few of them work at NFHS, and they don't get benefits from the school district
No Paper Towels or Hand Dryer
What's wrong in the restrooms?
This pie chart shows the state of the restrooms observed Oct 20 2022
Custodians World Wide
It's not pleasant work; many work second shift Better compensation might help motivate workers
Repairs or replacements have not kept up with demand
Students make messes
School custodians are expected to work over the summer and late at night They get payed an average of $29,000-$37,800 a year; that is lower than the average wage in the U S
Disturbed by ‘Dahmer’
‘Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Story’ contains disturbing material inappropriate for audiencesby Yasmine Anakkar
Throughout September and October the show “Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Story” has been discussed all over the internet. Whether the show was a good way to tell the horrific story of Dahmer or not, it has a grip on our generation nevertheless–and it’s a negative and disturbing topic for a show, which follows Dahmer throughout his life during the series of horrendous murders from 1978 to 1991.
Dahmer was charged with 17 confirmed murders committed in Milwaukee, Wis. He committed heinous crimes, including cannibalism, and he murdered his victims in gruesome ways. Two years after Dahmer was caught, he was killed in prison by fellow prisoner Christoper Scarver.
necrophilia and pedophilia. The show dramatizes the experience of Dahmer’s victims, yet, inexplicably, the show seems to be from the point of view of the character Dahmer. According to Deadline, the show “has racked up 299.84 million hours of viewing during its second week on Netflix’’.
This show is unlike any series we’ve seen this year–it contains highly graphic and disturbing scenes as actor Evan Peters portrays Dahmer.
After Dahmer was killed five movies, shows, and documentaries were produced based on him. Finally in late September 2022, the show “Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer story‘’ came out on streaming Netflix.
“Monster” is unlike any series we’ve seen this year–it contains highly graphic and disturbing scenes as actor Evan Peters portrays Dahmer. Throughout the show, audiences see disturbing scenes containing cannibalism,
“Monster” should not have been produced or released because of easy access kids under 18 have to the show. There will be a slight curiosity in watching the show because of how much it’s trending, whether the show is appropriate or not. The show can cause people sympathize with Dahmer in some scenes, contradicting the producers’ stated goal of making the show about the victims, not Dahmer.
This show should never have been produced or aired because it also romanticizes a serial killer. TikTok is filled with many memes and “edits” of Dahmer, showing him in an attractive light, which, again, can cause people sympathize with the main character as opposed to victims. This situation has happened with other serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, and Paul John Knowles again having the same exposure on Tiktok.
Overall this show is available to all ages and children; parents cannot prevent every child from accessing the show or online discussions of it.
Shows and movies that are disturbing like this should not be available via streaming services or the internet because children are exposed at a young age, such as inappropriate and explicit content on video games, TV shows, and more. According to Childsafe Media, “Harmful effects may result from sensationalization of violent behavior, exposure to subtle or explicit sexual content, promotion of unrealistic body images, presentation of poor health habits as desirable practices, and exposure to persuasive advertising targeting children.” Watching explicit content at a young age can lead to violence and psychological issues that are most likely to occur in boys.
Any highly graphic and explicit material, including the Dahmer Netflix series negatively affects viewers as well as society. Viewing this harmful content should NOT be normalized in society today.
The Other Side of ‘Dahmer’
Gruesome true crime Netflix series may have positive impacts on viewersby Bethany Knode
On Sept.21, 2022 Netflix released “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” to the public. Within a week it it went from being in the top 10 on Netflix to #1 with 196.2 million hours viewed. At least 56 million households have watched the show from start to finish. That’s 56 million households that determined that the show was good enough to watch all 10 episodes. That’s because it actually is a good show for those who can handle the disturbing events.
cautionary tale about what can happen when we ignore obvious signs of needed health care.
Teens and adults had more of an understanding of how and why he did what he did.
The show is one of the most accurate representations of Dahmer that the world has seen. The reason some people find this show awful isn’t because it’s too “inappropriate”; it’s because of how realistic and intense it is. The series does a good job of showing the intensity of Dahmer’s mental illness and the horror of his victims, who were portrayed in a way that people were able to see their backstories.
The series also illustrates how his mental illness manifested itself, yet even the police did not pay adequate attention to him or to those in his low income neighborhood; Dahmer is also a
While the show is disturbing enough to warrant an 18+ rating (it is in some scenes gruesome), it is still appropriate for its main audience. The ability to handle the disturbing scenes and story depends on the person. Every episode comes with a warning that shares and informs audiences on the content: “substances, language, violence, nudity, gore, sexual violence, smoking”. When it comes to TV shows, it’s up to the individual whether to choose to watch or not.
Regardless of content, the artistic elements are solid. Along with being a good actor, Evan Peters, who plays Dahmer, truly committed to his role. He was able to successfully portray how Dahmer’s mind would’ve worked before, during, and after his murders.
Teens and adults can have more of an understanding of how and why he did what he did.
Overall, this show has contributed more information so the public can have the understanding of the true Jeffrey Dahmer case.
The Innocence Project
Change the criminal justice systemby Adrian Fischer
They were innocent.
So far, 375 people have been freed from prison due to being falsely accused. The Innocence Project has worked since 1992 to free the innocent. The group was established to prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone, and their work is “guided by science and grounded in anti-racism,” according to the group’s website.
We must take steps to ensure that justice is actually done, not only for defendants but for the safety of the public.
Lives are being ruined because of the corrupted system. People who were accused of committing a crime are serving time in prison for actual killers.
Lives are being ruined because of the corrupted system.
People were accused of committing a crime are serving time in prison for actual killers.
The criminal justice system is broken, and it is evident in today’s society. Changes must be made.
The Innocence Project analyzes DNA evidence to determine what factors contribute to wrongful convictions and how the criminal justice system can be improved in the future.
Why is the Innocent Project necessary? Shouldn’t our justice system work in the first place?
First, convictions should not rely heavily or solely on eyewitness testimony. People who are falsely accused are ending up in prison, all because of the inaccuracy of
Clearly, the criminal system is biased. For example, poor people sit in jail more often than rich people. Black Americans go to jail more than every other race. Therefore, the justice system can improve the prisons and policing.
The Innocence Project uses biological evidence to help solve cases of people who have been falsely accused. Overall, criminal investigators should look over the evidence more than once, since 1 out of 20 cases result in wrong convictions.
A solution to stop people from being put in jail who didn’t commit a crime is to educate law enforcement about this project. The Innocence project should focus more on making sure the evidence is right before the case goes to court.
Not many people know what it is 1. 7 out of 37 students who took a survey said they never heard about the Innocence Project
How the project works
The Innocence Project works to free the innocent inmates who were accused of a crime that they didn't commit
Why law enforcement should be educated on the project
Law Enforcement should be educated on the Innocence Project because there are wrong convictions that evidence proves, and law enforcement are the ones who find the evidence
Surge of Students Flood Fort Mill
Overcrowding of school district must stopby Harlen Rembert
Residential areas continue to pop up, taking up space that could be used for facilities, such as schools, as well as allowing more and more people to move into the area, thus worsening the problem. The construction of new housing must be stopped if the resources of the town are to be kept intact for current and future use.
Meanwhile, schools specifically are struggling to keep up with the constant influx of students.
The Fort Mill School District has recently planned for the construction of three new schools following the acquisition of $50,000,000 of impact fees from the county. Although the impact fees are certainly helpful, building a school such as Catawba
verywhere you look, a new subdivision is creeping into the woods, or an apartment complex is sprouting up from the ground. Every day, the roads become more congested with traffic as people move to Fort Mill and the surrounding areas. There are many benefits to the variety of people being drawn to live here, but with populations growing at such an alarming rate, we are soon going to hit our capacity.Ridge costs an estimated $119,000,000, and expenses not covered by impact fees must be paid for with taxpayer dollars.
These costs are not likely to shrink any time soon, as the number of children and teens the district must serve continues to grow. The 2020-2021 school year saw a decline in enrollment numbers due to the pandemicthe first decline in over 10 years.
However, by the following year, numbers had surpassed pre-pandemic standings with 17,862 students enrolled during the 2021-2022 school year. Current enrollment numbers now reach over 18,000.
So why does the number of students in the FMSD continue to climb?
The answer is simple: migration. The American Growth Project found that Charlotte is the eighth-fastest growing city in the U.S., with surrounding areas such as York County projected to have a population greater than 289,000.
All of this growth is spurred by economic prospects. The Charlotte metropolitan area has gained an estimated 32,000 jobs so far in 2022 alone, making the city and its surrounding areas, such as Fort Mill,
a prime destination for those seeking new employment. As people move to the area, they bring their children with them, adding to the number of students local schools must serve.
However, despite the economic prosperity, growth can still be detrimental, even to those who have moved to the area for job opportunities. French teacher Megan Gillespie moved to Rock Hill to teach, and she has already seen the impact of the swell in migration.
“There’s been a good amount of growth,” Gillespie said. “People have outgrown Charlotte and just move into the suburbs, and then you get suburbs of suburbs. Those
students have to go to school somewhere.”
Students indeed have to go to school somewhere, but there is only so much space. In addition to the new schools added in the past few years alone, the FMSD has announced that at least six new schools will be needed within the next decade.
Housing developments continue to compete with schools for space, and quaint suburban neighbors invite the migration of families whose children need to go to school.
Economic growth at the cost of a ballooning population is simply not sustainable. If children are to come first, population surges must come to a halt.Infographic by Harlen Rembert
Social Media Makes Us Narcissistic
Studies show more people have narcissitic personality traitsby Cooper Wyman Chase
Social media is making us egotistical. It’s not hard to spot this on social media. There’s a line between confidence and vanity. Self-esteem differs from narcissism in that it represents an attitude built on accomplishments we’ve mastered, values we’ve adhered to, and care we’ve shown toward others.
Egotism, conversely, is often based on a fear of failure or weakness, an unhealthy drive to be seen as the best, and a deep-seated insecurity and underlying feeling of inadequacy.
Multiple studies show that more people are showing narcissistic personality traits.
people between the ages of 18 to 25 believe their generation is the most narcissistic and entitled living generation. Most of the people in Gen Z are more concerned about what they post on social media and how many followers they have versus spending time with friends and family.
Filters and appearance affect cultural thought and new posts of someone who fits the beauty standard along with people and their equally “perfect” lifestyle. Most people on social media don’t talk about a genuine lifestyle, instead bragging about filtered plot points created to exaggerate their ‘importance’.
Millennials are more likely to value money, image and fame over community, affiliation and self-acceptance.
One study found an increase in extrinsic values (the motivation to do a task to get something in return or avoid punishment) over intrinsic values (the motivation to do a task for someone’s own enjoyment) between Gen X and Baby Boomers.
Millennials are more likely to value money, image and fame over community, affiliation and self-acceptance.
New research also shows that
The root of this problem is the overuse of social media. One solution? Instead try involving yourself in community activities.
If people use social media less, they won’t be looking at those “perfect” Instagram models or the people with a “perfect” lifestyle to compare themselves to.
Hopefully, then people will become less obsessed with how they look and more concerned with how they act and treat others.
Epidemic of Students
Too many students going to nurses during classesby Destiny Dunn
Cases of COVID-19 may have slowed, but the problem of students visiting the nurse have reached epic proportions. Some visit the nurse once, multiple times, or some even visit daily.
“Between both health rooms we average: 50-60 visits daily, 275-300 visits weekly, 1,000+ visits monthly,” says Lori Stout, one of Nation Ford High’s two nurses.
A lot of reasons can be used for going to the nurse, and many are used as excuses for students to leave. Illnesses, injuries, mental health, daily medications, diabetic visits, restroom visits, and feminine products are what Stout says are the most common reasons for visiting the school nurse.
So many use excuses like feeling sick to get out of their classes, and we can not deny them access to nurses.
This high number of visits to nurses’ offices is too frequent for students to be seriously needing a nurse, especially considering there is only so much time that can be given per student, and there are only two nurses.
Nursing staff are struggling to find a way to stop students from visiting the nurse often, but there isn’t much that the school can do about issues like this as there is no way of knowing whether students are actually in need of the nurse or if they would just like to have a bit of time outside of their classes.
“There are definitely some students that use the health room as an ‘escape’ from class–those students are typically the ones we see very frequently,” Stout says. “This is our major issue in this scenario. So many use excuses like feeling sick to get out of their classes, and we can not deny them access to nurses.”
It seems like there can’t be much of a solution to the problem, though the school has put a rule in place to hopefully solve this dilemma: “We have asked that no students be allowed to come to the nurse without a pass from their teacher, so we know that they indeed have permission to be in our offices, con-
tinued education regarding appropriate reasons to visit the health room,” Stout said.
Faculty received an email about the problem. The Talon newspaper ran a story suggesting feminine products be placed in the bathrooms so the nursing staff does not need to deal with more visitors. That solution would help the nurses focus more on the people who need their assistance–and not just their supplies. Nursing staff get too many students only coming for a peppermint
or ice, and that’s too much stress when they have their own work to do, including taking care of the very ill or special education students.
This overuse of requests to see the nurses needs to stop. Students cannot keep leaving class for the nurse over nonessential reasons, and meanwhile, others need serious attention. Ideas like putting female products in the bathrooms help, but students themselves solve this problem first to assure proper attention from the nurses.
Don’t let the name fool you–surprises await you in this graphic novelby Chris Arnold
Japanese manga series/Animated series “Bleach” was written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. The adventure/supernatural story follows teenager Ichigo Kurosaki, who inherits his parents’ destiny after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper from another Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki.
A few aspects of this series that a lot of people find interesting is the main character, Ichigo, as well as the supporting cast and the incredible world building in this story.
This first arc of Bleach takes place after Rukia is forced to go back to Soul Society (the afterlife and where Soul Reapers live) to await trial and execution for giving Ichigo her powers.
After being defeated by Byakuya, Ichigo loses the powers and trains to regain them. Once successful, he, along with Chad, Orihime and Ishida head to Soul Society to save Rukia. However, standing in their way is the Thirteen Court Guard Squad who won’t let them pass without a fight.
As all of this goes on, a dark conspiracy is going on in the background that involves a traitor within Soul Society.
All of the different backstories of these characters and each different arc gives audiences a new villain and new characters, as well as new power-ups.
A new character is introduced in each season, and we learn more about the main character in these different arcs. Every time we learn something different about the story.
The ending to this series is truly something else. I like how all the events in the narrative come together in the incredible world that Kubo made, making each new arc better and better as the series goes on.
The cast is very unique and diverse, and among the villains you will find some of the best characters ever written. After each chapter you will crave more. This is not a story about the main character alone; in each arc, different characters develop into more than minor roles in the story. At first, you might not like some of them, but at the end of each arcs you will love every one of them.
“Bleach” is absolutely worth the time and money for its amazing writing and world-building.
Boba shop on Steele Creek Road in Tega Cay thrives for good reasonby Gabriella Supsura
When I first walked into Jtea it was smaller compared to Kung Fu Tea, but they definitely made the most out of the area, even though it’s not a chain franchise, it lives up to the standards. It was extremely clean in the restaurant, and it also had quiet background music, which makes it a great atmosphere to study and focus. They had two tables inside with two chairs per table, as well as a bar seating area near the window, which had two chairs as well. Outside, they had an additional setting area with two tables and two chairs outdoors.
The color scheme offers a relaxing light place to relax with light wash wood and white throughout the shop. The wooden tables and chairs makes it a super comfy and cozy atmosphere. Even a chalkboard with handwritten specials adds a very personalized and interesting detail. The menu also includes options for different chips and an additional food menu.
Jtea offers options of a square rainbow jelly topping, normal boba, strawberry-popping pearls, and rainbow-popping pearls. They sell slush bubble teas, milk teas, yogurt bubble tea, coffee, tea, and different latte drinks. One that interested me was the Sea Salt Coffee Boba, which I’ll have to try next. They had lots of variations of delicacy coffee which also interested me. I ordered a Pineapple Colada slush with Rainbow Square Jelly.
When I stepped up to order, the employees were very helpful and made sure I got what I wanted. They asked me questions specific to
my drink to make sure I got what I asked for. They use Apple Pay Pad where I was able to add the tip discreetly and was able to choose the option of how I wanted my receipt on the pin pad.
There were three people in front of me, and the service was incredibly fast. I got my drink within five minutes of ordering which was surprising knowing that there were three people in front of me,. The employees call out your order at the window and also give you a color-coordinated straw that matches the color of your drink, which I thought was very personalized and thoughtful.
When I tried my drink, it was creamy with a lot of flavors. The jelly boba was firm and chewy with a sweet taste, there was red jelly, orange jelly, and white/clear jelly.
Each one has a strawberry flavor, which isn’t too sweet and doesn’t overpower the colada drink. The drink tastes sweet and creamy and well blended. When I have gotten boba from various places, they can never blend it just right, and all the juice gets sucked out, leaving me with flavorless slush.
My drink from Jtea was a perfect ratio from liquid to jelly. Each sip left me with two or three jellies in my mouth which is ideal for me.
Even when I got to the end of the drink, there was still enough jelly left, and when I finished the liquid of my drink, there was no jelly left which proves it was the perfect ratio from liquid to boba. My total came out to be $8.37 for a large, but definitely worth the money.
WORTH THE HYPE?
Tik Tok-famous Crumbl Cookies miss the markby Marissa Ball
Looking for a sugary sweet gift for a sweet-tooth or cookie lover? Over the past few months, Crumbl Cookies has grown in popularity and has received varying reviews from people across the country.
After trying them, it was decided that they were actually a really good treat. Inside the shop smelled delicious, like a true bakery.
Customer service was great, and the employees who helped were very enthusiastic and nice. The options of the cookies every week are super creative and are a great concept.
The building itself was nice, but the floors were covered in dust and needed cleaning badly.
After purchasing the cookies and trying them, we realized that it was very
expensive for a single cookie. At approximately $3.94 per singular cookie, it was overpriced.
The cookies we tried were the regular chocolate chip and the peanut butter nougat (featuring Snickers). The chocolate chip was super sweet and chewy. It seemed like an under-baked cookie that was huge and loaded with sugar. Same with the peanut butter nougat, but it was a little more under-baked than the chocolate chip.
They could definitely use some more time in the oven, and a lot less sugar. They were larger, softer, and less baked than a typical Chips Ahoy cookie.
It’s very hard to even eat half of the cookie due to its sweetness. Overall, it’s a good treat, but mainly for special occasions.
A delicious collection of just a few of the cookies Crumbl has to offer. They run for $3.94 each and $15.99 for a 6-piece box.
Fall Drinks Compared
Starbucks wins against Dunkin’ Donutsby Addison Gollnick & Yasmine Anakkar
On August 30 Starbucks’ seasonal fall drinks were released, following Dunkin’ release on August 17. Starbucks released six items including the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte, Owl Cake Pop, Apple Crisp Macchiato, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, and finally the Pumpkin Scone. While Dunkin’ also released six items this fall season including the Pumpkin Spice Latte, Nutty Pumpkin Coffee, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, the Blood Orange Dunkin’ Refresher, Maple Bacon Sandwich, and finally, the Pumpkin Spice Donut. Starbucks’ service is always an all-around positive experience, and while their most popular drinks are sometimes unavailable, they always try to accommodate your needs. Starbucks first launched its famous Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003, and it’s become a fall staple ever since. The latte is a great fall choice–the highly praised combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and of course, pumpkin spice is all present, hot or iced. The price for a Grande is $5.75, but it’s worth every penny. Overall there was nothing wrong with the drink, from the taste to the quality of the drink, and it’s 5/5 star experience. The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew was a smoother and better-tasting version of iced coffee, and the pumpkin cream, which is made with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and Starbucks brand pumpkin spice syrup is topped
with pumpkin spice powder. It’s a fantastic addition with a great balance between the taste of coffee and pumpkin sweetness. For $5.25 you can buy a Grande, and it’s a safe 5/5 star pick for those wanting to try something new and seasonal.
Starbucks may be a bit overpriced sometimes, but it is 100% worth it for the quality. “
Starbucks’ fall pastries did not disappoint this year. The Pumpkin Loaf is a familiar fan favorite, and it’s clear why. The loaf is perfectly moist and has great flavor, and the addition of nuts on the side added great texture. We give it a 4.5/5; the slight deduction was due to it being a bit too moist. The Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin was a surprising item to see on the Starbucks menu. The combination of cream cheese and the sweet muffin was unexpected for a lot of customers, but it turned out to be pleasantly surprising. The cream cheese and muffin mix give it the slight taste of pumpkin cheesecake. Although together they taste great, the muffin alone is perfect. It’s a great single-serving size, and for only $3.45 it’s a great snack for the fall, which lands it at 3.5/5 stars.
The final item we sampled was the Pumpkin Scone. For $3.45 you can get one scone, which is massive. It was more than one person could eat in a single sitting. The scone texture was fantastic and the icing on top was a great addition. The only issue with the scone was the very high-calorie count. One scone was 500 calories, but then again, it should
not be eaten in a single sitting. Overall it was delicious and earned its 4/5 star rating.
The experience at Dunkin’ Donuts is one you would expect from a fast food chain; it was quick. At the time of order, there was no one in the drive-thru line and the employees were in a hurry. This season, Dunkins Hot Pumpkin Spice Latte makes a return. For only $3 you can get a Dunkin’ medium Pumpkin Spice Latte, but the latte wasn’t the best quality, to say the least. It wasn’t made with the best ingredients, and it tasted like the pumpkin spice wasn’t present at all. Dunkin’ will do, but overall, the drink was disappointing, and the 2/5 star rating reflects that. The next drink was the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, and while visually appealing, the cold brew itself was disappointing and low quality, making it difficult to drink. The pumpkin cream was smooth and tasted more like a pumpkin than the pumpkin spice latte, but it still had a very light flavor. The drink was overall just disappointing, resulting in its 2.75/5 star rating.
While the drinks were underwhelming, Dunkin’ fall pastries made a name for themselves this year. The Pumpkin Donut was the perfect quick and easy donut for the fall. For only $1 the donut is worth it–the taste of the pumpkin and the glaze was perfect. Overall, there was nothing wrong with the donut, giving it a 5/5 star rating. The Pumpkin Muffin was also great, the top part was the best, and the crunchy streusel added great sweetness and texture. For only $1.79 it’s a good deal, earning its 5/5 star rating.
Starbucks is better than Dunkin’ in quality, service, cleanliness, and taste. Starbucks is the blueprint, releasing their products earlier than Dunkin’ lattes and coffees. Historically this has been the case: the iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte was released earlier in 2003 than the Dunkin’ 2007 release of their own version. Starbucks invented the pumpkin spice latte and was successful with it gaining wide popularity during the autumn season. Starbucks has never disappointed when it comes to creating drinks while Dunkin’ copies Starbucks word for word.
For example, the famous Starbucks “Pink Drink” was released in 2016, and Dunkin’ followed in 2022 with the nearly identical “Pink Strawberry Coconut Refresher”.
Starbucks may be a bit overpriced sometimes, but it is 100% worth it for the quality. Dunkin’ has low-quality products such as Almond Breeze, while Starbucks uses their own brand of almond milk which tastes smoother and better with the espresso shots. Dunkin’ has only two types of espresso decaf and regular arabica espresso. However, Starbucks has many variations of espresso such as decaf, blonde espresso, regular espresso, and half-decaf espresso, and you can ask for a ristretto or long shots.
While Dunkin’ has options for pastries, Starbucks has more variety. Dunkin’ may be the best place to get donuts and munchkins, resulting in its overall 3/5 star rating. Starbucks is the place to go for coffee, frappuccinos, lattes, and seasonal drinks, giving it the win with an overall 4/5 star rating.
A Disappointing Sequelby Braeden Hoover
verwatch 2” is the new first person shooter by Activision Blizzard that everyone is playing. It overrides its predecessor, the original “Overwatch,” and made many changes to gameplay to bring it back to its former glory. They removed and nerfed many crowd-control abilities to make the game less frustrating and to allow for greater skill expression where you can’t simply stunlock enemies in place for an easy elimination.
Blizzard also made perhaps the greatest change yet–switching the game from 6v6 to 5v5. This change makes for less beefy health pools and shields and allows for other roles to have more of a significant impact on the game while also increasing the importance of the tank. Overall, the gameplay is new and exciting, and it feels better to play “Overwatch 2” than the original game. However, it is not without its downsides.
“Overwatch 2” switched to a freeto-play model, adopting a battle pass system and removing the loot box system which, while flawed, allowed
players to earn cosmetics by playing the game. You’d assume that they would introduce a new and improved system so that players can earn these skins (which were always free) more efficiently. However, you would be wrong. Blizzard now charges an exorbitant price of $20 per legendary skin–skins which most players had gotten free of charge.
You can earn a new premium currency, but it would take approximately 11 months of weekly challenges to earn enough for a single skin you could get within a week prior to the change. Now, in order to buy every skin inside of the game, it would cost you $12,080.69.
Aside from the blatant price gouging on cosmetics, the Blizzard team is still unwilling to listen to the playerbases’ concerns. A devastating meta is sweeping across the newer version’s competitive scene, with more than 90% of high ranking players using heroes such as Zarya and Sojourn. This imbalance has been ongoing since launch, and two months later, it has not been changed in the slightest.
The game also had potentially one of the worst launches in history. Players were forced to wait in queue for hours just to get into the game because the Overwatch servers could not handle the load, and they were not adequately prepared before releasing the game. The server would often suddenly end matches or boot players out of the game. Additionally, three heroes have been completely disabled for periods of time since release due to game-breaking bugs that were not smoothed out before the game dropped. “Overwatch 2” had an altogether terrible launch experience.
That’s not all. Blizzard has made too many false promises when it came to “Overwatch 2”. While they have delivered on new VFX and a new UI, as well as new character voice interactions, they have failed to release an integral portion of the game on time.
“Overwatch 2” was promised to have a PvE mode, where you would progress through the story and expand skill trees for a fresh and exciting co-op experience. However, this has been pushed back to 2023 and is not available on game launch. As a result, the game feels more like an Overwatch 1.1 than an “Overwatch 2”.
The Genius of ‘Better Call Saul’
Warning: Spoilers for “Breaking Bad”by Joey Smith
The spinoff of the Oscar-winning show “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul” centers itself around a young Jimmy McGill (aka Saul Goodman) and his journey to becoming an established lawyer. Jimmy, an ex con-artist, attends law school to be like his brother Chuck. But despite Jimmy’s efforts, his older brother still thinks little of him because of who he used to be, believing that he can’t ever change, and not to mention the fact that he attended online law school courses.
Not only does this show display Jimmy’s transformation, it also goes into depth on other fan favorites such as Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), the Salamancas, and the cartel; however, in the process the series introduces new characters who quickly became fan favorites, such as Nacho Varga (Micheal Mando) and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn).
the events in Breaking Bad are a very nice touch and truly show the damage Walter White has actually done.
Additionally, Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman gives one of his best performances in this show. You can clearly see how dedicated he was to his role–so dedicated, that after having a heart attack on set, he still came back.
...Kim Wexler’s scenes show how smart she really is and her ability to go by the book and do just as good as Jimmy.
Although Bob’s performance was entertaining, that doesn’t mean the rest of the casts’ wasn’t. Everyone on the cast gave incredible performances, so much so that they felt real despite portraying bizarre characters who were larger than life.
Now although this show is great, and arguably better than Breaking Bad, it does suffer from a slow burn start making it hard to enjoy the first season. However, as the pace picks up, later seasons are much easier to enjoy.
The segments that show the aftermath of
But what really sold the realism were the courtroom scenes, which were well-organized and entertaining. The scenes really show Jimmy’s creativity and ability to think outside the box. In addition, Rhea Seehorn’s scenes as Kim Wexler show how smart the character really is, as well as her ability to go by the book and do just as well as Jimmy.
Overall, this show is as good as its predecessor, and I would give it a 4.8/5 stars. It would be a five but the beginning was just way too slow. Other than that, it’s a really good show especially if you like “Breaking Bad”.
Cody Fry’s hit song, Underground, makes getting hit by a train sound almost pleasantby Trinity Gordon
Cody Fry is an American artist who composes and writes his own songs. He is most known for his song “I Hear a Symphony” which went viral on TikTok in 2021. His cover of “Eleanor Rigby” was nominated for a Grammy in the category of “Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals”. Cody makes a type of music that is called Symphony Sessions. These songs are done with an orchestra and a blend of different music genres. Songs by Cody Fry that were made in these sessions are “Photograph,” “I Hear a Symphony,” “Sailboat,” and “Underground”. His song “Underground” showcases his musical talent by combining pop music and orchestral music into something that works for the listener. It also has the most views out of all the Symphony Sessions with 1.4 million views on YouTube.
There are two versions of this song, one that starts with vocals and one that starts with instrumental music. The version being reviewed starts with instrumental music, with Fry conducting the orchestra. Their blend is very rich with the brass doing chords while the strings and woodwinds have the melody. It creates a whimsical mood before it goes into a large crescendo. Mood changes adding an uplifting feeling thanks to the crescendo and the brass. The brass keeps their tone clear while
playing at a higher dynamic. A slight criticism is that there could have been an addition of a suspended cymbal or wind chimes at the start to add to the original melody and help establish the whimsical mood.
Fry starts playing his guitar and singing after the decrescendo in the orchestra. Fry does a great job of blending his voice with the orchestra instead of overpowering them. A song that does a similar setup is Beyoncé with a marching band at Coachella in 2018. While an orchestra and marching band are different, the setup for both performances are similar with an instrumental start and vocals coming in later.
The difference is that Fry blends his vocals while contributing the mood and energy of the instrumentals and Beyoncé does not. The band seems to overpower Beyoncé’s vocals once she comes in and then backs down a bit once she begins singing “Run the World (Girls)”. The fluctuation of dynamics is concerning considering a typical high school marching band can do this feat.
The vocals tell a story about a man waking up in a subway and getting hit by a train. It is hinted at in the first line of “I woke up underground” and by verse five it is the clearest “Then a light broke through the / black / I was
standing on a track / That little light began to grow / There was no where I could go” (lines 26-30).
At that point in the song, the singer is face to face with the train and then is killed in the next verse, “That little light was closing in / And suddenly I’m floating” (lines 33,34). When he signs the word “floating” the French horns and percussion work together to make the sounds of a train. The French horns do an excellent job of sounding like a train horn while the percussion, mainly the timpani, creates the sounds of the train moving on the tracks. He also hits a high note on the word “floating”, his vocal skills are impressive as well as his range.
The way the story is told creates a vivid picture for the listener just with the instruments and his vocals. This song sticks with many people due to how it sounds, the amazing vocals, and their own connection to the feelings
of the character.
Not everyone connects to getting hit by a train, but the feeling of being submerged in complete darkness, in some world they don’t recognize. They try to search for a way out, an escape to this darkness. The light at the end of the tunnel could be a sign that things could be coming to an end or a glimpse of hope through the darkness. The darkness can be associated with anything: depression, drugs, toxic relationships, grief, stress, and more. This interpretation makes the song relatable to many people.
Fry is a fantastic artist whose creativity shines through this piece and is the only person who makes getting hit by a train sound so beautiful. His songs get interpreted in a ton of different ways which makes them relatable and all the easier to enjoy this song. He puts his listeners through a story that is worth the listen.
Hidden Coffee Shop
Location: Quindío, Colombiaby Daniela Garces
Imagine being on top of a mountain that grows coffee with a view of the local village, and finding a beautiful little coffee shop hiding inside the coffee plants.
Café San Alberto is an almost hidden coffee shop on the top of a mountain that grows coffee in Colombia. They make their coffee right from the plants that surround it, so you know the coffee is always organic and fresh. In addition, Cafe San Alberto is located right on top of the mountain, so you get the opportunity to see a beautiful view of the village of “Buenavista.”
Equally as breathtaking as the view and location of the cafe is the actual coffee. The specialized baristas make the coffee in different ways such as “jarra chemex, cono de goteo, sifon de vacio, and prensa francesa.” These are all different ways that the same coffee beans
are made to taste different. In fact the baristas make the coffee right at your table explaining to you the method they are using to make your coffee. At Cafe San Alberto they also have iced coffee options such as granizados (frappes), gwoteo frio (cold brew), and miel burbujeante which is sparkling water with honey and a shot of espresso.
However, if you are not in the mood to try something different, there is always the traditional cappuccino, latte, and macchiato. There is also a variety of pastries to try, with some being authentic Colombian pastries, while others are more universally known.
If you ever visit Quindio, Colombia I would definitely recommend you visit Cafe San Alberto and the Buenavista village. It is an unforgettable experience that I’m sure you will enjoy.
Café San Alberto is not only another coffee shop—it’s the coffee, the views, the experience, and the atmosphere.
Steel Behemothby Devan Pittman
The film “The Iron Giant” is adapted from Ted Hughes' Cold War fable of the same name. A giant alien robot crash-lands near the small town of Rockwell, Maine, in 1957. Exploring the area, a local 9-year-old boy, Hogarth, discovers the robot, and soon forms an unlikely friendship with him. When a paranoid government agent, Kent Mansley, becomes determined to destroy the robot, Hogarth and beatnik Dean McCoppin must do what they can to save the misunderstood machine.
“The Iron Giant” is a very unique movie, regarding its animation specifically, even with it being made in 1968. Most of the characters & backgrounds are hand drawn and animated.
However, the main character in the movies, the Iron Giant itself, is animated using traditional animation, with computer-generated imagery. The understaffed crew of the film completed it with half of the time and budget of other animated features.
Its 3D model was created in Maya, rendered in Renderman, and then imported in Cambridge Animation Systems` Animo. The Giant was designed by filmmaker Joe Johnston, which was refined by production designer Mark Whiting and Steve Markowski, head animator for the Giant.
This story has a simple premise, but the characters really make it out to be emotional for the audience and most people tend to agree.
‘The Iron Giant’ shakes the ground for a new generation, uses new technology
Big Shoes To Fill
Baseball brothers share strong bond, rivalryby Caroline Easler
Since his T-ball days, Jackson has been on the diamond, lacing up in the shadow of his big brother Avery who graduated last year. Now with Avery gone to study business and marketing at Winthrop, Jackson is now stepping into the spotlight. A more serious temperament on and off the field, he plays outfield for the Falcons. Friends of Jackson talk about his individual and confident personality.
“Jacksons very introverted and enclosed before you meet him, then when he opens up, he is very sarcastic and funny,” said Zack Zolkos (‘25).
The funny thing about the brothers is their personalities are complete opposites. Teachers and friends of Avery talk about how much of an extrovert and talkative he is.
“He’s very social, and gets along with pretty much everyone,” said teammate Hunter Mac (‘24) “He’s talkative and was very inspirational in both sports and
t’s the bottom of the seventh, two outs, runners on second and third. Jackson ‘The Dawg’ Childs (‘25) up to bat. Crack! The ball soars to left field, the winning runs come in, and with a walk-off hit,Childs wins the game.school”.
Growing up the Childs brothers spent a lot of time arguing and learning how to be better through each other.
“Growing up we fought a lot, but baseball helped us bond,” Jackson said.
Avery played for the Falcons throughout high school, as well as on a travel team. Being good at baseball only pushed Avery harder. By his junior year, Avery had perfected his best pitch.
“Avery’s submarine pitch is one of his greatest strengths,” said head coach Jeff Stack.
Being raised in a baseball environment only contributed to Jackson’s love for the game. “If my dad and Avery never brought me towards baseball, I would have probably continued playing soccer,” Jackson said. “They have had a huge impact on my baseball career.”
Although they both share the love for baseball, Avery ended his baseball journey after playing in high school.
“Jackson has more motivation and has the better chance of continuing his baseball career in college,” Mac says.
After finally stepping into the spotlight Jackson has a heavy weight on his shoul-
(Above) On the bench, Jackson and Avery Childs as youngsters wait for the game to start. The boys played together growing up and pushed each other to be better.
Photo courtesy of the Childs
ders, only getting heavier as he continues to play baseball.
“Sometimes I have to live up to other people’s expectations–especially with us both playing outfield,” he said. Playing with Avery all of Jackson’s life has shown him what it means to be a real team player, and Jackson still thrives to become a player like Avery was.“He has good mental toughness and is one of the most hard working players I’ve ever seen,” Jackson said. While Avery had more experience playing for varsity, teammate Liam Quinn (‘24) believes Jackson has some advantages. “Jackson is faster than Avery, and Jackson’s stronger than Avery, mentally and physically just has much more motivation,” he says. On the baseball field teammates and coaches brag about Jackson’s attitude and motivation towards the game. “I like playing with Jackson more, because of his attitude, and he has much more confidence and
motivation than Avery while playing,” says CJ Smith (‘25), a teammate of both boys. Jackson has a great attitude towards the game, but players say Avery’s leadership skills are unmatched.
“Avery is an amazing team leader and always inspired all of his teammates to be better throughout the seasons,” said Zolkos. Off the baseball field, Jackson and Avery bond over more than baseball. “They have very similar tastes in everything that they do baseball, golf, sports teams, etc.–so they find a lot of common ground with that, ” their mom Holly Childs said. While keeping it in the family, Jackson and Avery don’t plan on stopping baseball anytime soon. Although they may not always be playing on a team, they’ll continue to enjoy their passion with their old teammates and friends. They admit their sibling rivalry will continue to be a big part of their lives for many years to come.
The Amazing Ameos
Brothers Owen and Josh take the fieldby Elise Hay
Imagine you’re standing on the field with your biggest game of the year. You hear the crowd cheering, and you are so nervous you can’t stand still; but then you look to your right and you see your brother there beside you. Now you feel calmer and excited to win your game.
Owen and Josh Ameo are brothers who play football and lacrosse together at Nation Ford. Owen (’23) has played lacrosse for 12 years and football for four; Josh (’25) has been playing lacrosse for 10 years and football for five. They both play attack in lacrosse, and Owen plays defensive line in football, while Josh is receiver.
They’re very competitive with each other.
“I feel motivated to be better than him,” Josh says about his brother.
On the field, you can see how well they work as teammates. “They are really good at working together,” Hunter Nikola (’24) said. “It’s almost like they know where each other is going every single time,”
After high school Owen is playing lacrosse at Roanoke College. Josh wants to follow in Owen’s footsteps and go to four-year college on a sports scholarship.
If you are around them at the same time, you know they have a very close relationship. “Their love for each other is unconditional,” football coach Mike Allen says. “It’s pretty obvious that they are brothers, and they love each other.”
Peers describe them both as respectful, caring and cool people. “Owen is always the one trying to get everyone going and excited–and if everyone’s not excited he gets pissed,” Nikola says. “Josh is a funny person, and he cares about everyone and how they are doing.”
Of course, every relationship has bumps and bruises.
“Even though they might get on eachother’s nerves, they love each other and are very respectful,” according to Coach Allen.
At the end of the day they are here for each other and bonded to each other in a special