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JUNE 4, 2021



June 4, 2021

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The staff reserves the right to refuse or edit editorials and letters for libelous content, obscenity or material considered inappropriate for publication. The Talisman staff is aware of sound journalistic practice found in the ‘Code of Ethics,’ as part of the Society of Professional Journalists.


On page 4, staff reporter JJ Benefiel’s last name is misspelled. In a pull quote on page 11, there is a typo; It should be corrected to “To fit in, to not stick out, I lost my voice as an Asian American woman.” The girls soccer photo on page 13 should have been credited to Rey Betz, not Skye McDonald.

Cover art and editorial cartoon by Sam Rainville

Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

Dear Class of 2021,


afe to say we’ll always remember our senior year. Not because we finally became reigning champs of the homecoming assembly (even though seniors win by default) or we had a blast at prom, graduation, SPREE (the list goes on and on), but because our senior year was more or less nonexistent. We’ll never get a proper celebration for making it through these four years. Our high school career will end June 11 and that’ll be it. We’ll collectively close our laptops and walk away from Ballard High School. Technically, we’ll get graduation and SPREE, but it won’t be what we had imagined since we were wee little freshmen wandering the pods, not a clue what we were getting into. Fast forward to Sept. our senior year and we REALLY had no clue what we were getting into. SPS announced 100% remote learning and we were mentally preparing for one email after another: “Hey seniors! We hate to inform you of yet another cancelation #ag2bb.” Sitting in front of your laptop, staring at faceless profile pictures of your classmates, it was beginning to feel like this whole nightmare of a year would never end. But we made it through (barely) and are starting to see that light at the end of the tunnel. We’re counting down the days till the last day of school—nothing could stop seniors from doing that—and have an in-person graduation to look forward to. Can’t wait to walk across the stage in front of all my friends and family! Uh...I mean stand up in my seat and wave to the four people I invited!

“Our high school career will end June 11 and that’ll be it. We’ll collectively close our laptops and walk away from Ballard High School.” Whatever “normal” senior perk we get now is merely a scrap of things administration or we students managed to pull off. When Governor Jay Inslee announced all counties in WA move to phase three, no one had anything in-person planned for seniors. We were all expecting an online graduation, possible Zoom prom and probably no SPREE whatsoever. But hey, look on the bright side at least we get something, right? But let’s not forget in the beginning of the school year when everyone mutually agreed

boils down t0 the realization that there’s to forget about the class of 2021. People were bending over left and right for class of 2020— nothing we, or anyone, could’ve done. If you followed CDC’s guidelines and you did your virtual meet and greets with celebrities, news part, that’s something to be proud of because features filled with pity for “poor ol’ class you did a hell of a lot more than what the rest of 2020,” their entire fourth quarter *poof* of this country did. dismissed— and we got….? A t-shirt? Although it may feel like a chapter of our So I guess I’m wondering, where is life is incomplete, there is so much more our special treatment? Where is our ahead. Pat yourself on the back, close all compensation? Instead of spending our last those tabs on your computer and delete year together partying and solidifying high school memories, we spent it judging or being Microsoft Teams: you did it. You made it through your senior year in a global judged for a maskless post on Instagram, pandemic. crying because we miss our friends and family and drowning in classwork because why were we expected to prioritize school in a global pandemic? Seriously? Why were we expected to prioritize school in a global Editors-in-Chief Staff pandemic? Were we not Carmen Sarabia DiCicco Staff Tess Petrillo Editor-in-Chief told “your mental health Photographer Paige Anderson Editor-in-Chief comes first!” then BOOM Rey Betz Staff Photographer six hour and 50 minute Kim Staff Artist Editorial Board Xander school days filled with Sophia Pampanelli Staff Artist Sam Rainville News Editor busy work? Students JJ Benefiel Staff Reporter Will Shepard Sports Editor were fully prepared Claire Billings Staff Reporter Adria Cooper Features Editor Mollie Calkins Staff Reporter to offer suggestions to Danny Edwards A&E Editor Fia Franz-Knight Staff Reporter improve the schedule, Brett Richter Opinions Editor Will Glasby Staff Reporter in-person and remote Josie Laur Copy Editor Iris Gortney Staff Reporter learning but they were Skye McDonald Photo Editor Theo Heim Romero Staff Reporter ignored as if we don’t Frankie Trudell Business Manager Alex Larios-Quintero Staff Reporter understand what’s best Quinnly Mercer Staff Reporter for our personal mental Reese Pedersen Staff Reporter health. Adviser Erica Richardson Staff Reporter But then the ranting Michael Smith Claire Thompson Staff Reporter and the complaining


June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

High school cheerleader alum testifies at the Supreme Court in a social media case


Results could determine if schools can regulate student speech outside of class Tess Petrillo Editor-in-Chief

Brandi Levy was suspended for profane speech on her private social media, leading to a Supreme Court case that could determine the rights students have to free speech outside of their classes. (Photo courtesy of Danna Singer)


n 2017, Penn. Mahanoy Area High School student Brandi Levy tried out for her cheerleading team and softball team, and ended up being denied a spot on the varsity cheer squad and varsity softball team. Furious, Levy later posted a picture on her private Snapchat story about the decision with the caption “F*** school F*** softball, F*** cheer, F*** everything.” This has led to a case that could determine whether or not student speech will be regulated outside of school. A student shared the image with her mother and the high school’s cheerleading coach, who promptly suspended Levy from the team for the rest of the year. After trying to appeal to school officials to reevaluate Levy’s removal from the team and being unsuccessful, Levy’s parents filed a federal lawsuit against the school arguing that the punishment was a violation of Levy’s First Amendment rights as the post was distributed off-campus. Junior Darby Moore, a member of the Shingle yearbook staff, has looked closely at the issue. “I think that Levy did not deserve her punishment, because what she posted on Snapchat did not disrupt her learning or the learning of any other students at her school,” Moore said in an email. “Also, Levy has the right to free speech under the First Amendment. Sports are very important to students and being banned from cheer for a year is way too much of a punishment.” Sophomore Finn Keenan, another member of the Shingle staff, agreed that the punishment was unwarranted, in an email. “I don’t know what the

proper punishment should have been or be for Levy but as I believe the post did not threaten or disrupt anyone involved with the school, it definitely shouldn’t have been decided by the school district as a teenager’s use of social media should be decided by their legal parents or guardians.” This argument pertains to Tinker v. Des Moines, a 1969 Supreme Court case ruling that students do not shed their right to free speech upon entering a school campus, unless the speech is disruptive to school activities. The case arose when a group of high school students, lead by student Mary Beth Tinker, wore black armbands on-campus in protest of the Vietnam war and to show support of a truce; after the school prohibited the use of armbands, the students sued the school district citing their right to free speech and expression. Why is this case important to this day? “The Tinker v. Des Moines case is important to me because it ensures my right, as a student, to free speech,” Moore said. “I think it is important for all students to be aware of the Tinker v. Des Moines case because it ensures that students have the right to free speech in school. Without this case, schools could stop students from expressing themselves. Tinker v. Des Moines allows us to voice our opinions, which is a right that everyone should have.” Due to Tinker, the Penn. federal court that was confronted with the case by Levy’s parents agreed with the claim and ordered that Levy be reinstated on the team.

With the arrival of social media, judges have contemplated whether or not Tinker needs to be amended, in order to prevent students from engaging in harmful activities, such as cyberbullying online, while still allowing them to express religious views or political opinions. Keenan shared his perspective on whether or not social media causes disruption within the school in an email. “I 100% believe that social media can affect and disrupt schoolhouse activity,” he said. “However, it is something where there is no strict guideline that determines whether a post is disruptive or not, and how punishment, if any, should be given out. One analogy that I have been using is if a social media post was worthy of the proposed punishment, which I don’t believe this was, shouldn’t school fights, graffiti, or standard walkouts be punished the same as well? I think that if anything, fights or walkouts cause more disruption than any social media post I’ve ever seen.” Moore stated a similar opinion on the use of social media. “Students have always spoken out and been annoyed with school, and social media is just another way for students to express themselves,” she said. “In extreme situations, students might discuss comments made outside of school during class, which could be disruptful, but most likely it would not. Students deserve to have the right to post whatever they want on social media outside of school.” Now what do the results of this case mean for the future of free speech in public schools? “If the court decides social media should be regulated, then students will not be able to post their opinions and express themselves online,” Moore said. “If the court decides social media should stay unregulated, then students will continue to have free speech. Even if there’s a rare case where social media disrupts learning, I think it would be crazy for schools to regulate all social media that students post.” Keenan elaborated on the ways that schools will restrict student online presence. “Throughout the country, different school districts will have different perspectives on what could be considered disruptive or offensive, which could even lead to public schools and their districts beginning to side with a certain political party and their beliefs,” he said. What seemed like an unimportant case has caught the attention of the highest court in the nation, and opened up a conversation of the bounds of free speech with the new social media realm. However, this could also be a case of an older generation overreacting to a technological aspect they don’t understand, by taking it away from the younger generation. “We kids are the future, so why should the government withhold our ability to speak up for what we believe is right, just because we haven’t hit an imaginary marking of adulthood?” Keenan asked.



June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

Students now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines What getting vaccinated means for school safety Sam Rainville News Editor

Free vaccine clinics were available to students May 18 and 20. (Finn Keenan)

Students line up for COVID-19 vaccines. (Finn Keenan)


s COVID-19 vaccines in Wash. have opened up to younger age groups, more and more students are going to be able to become vaccinated. However, this brings up the question of whether or not Seattle Public Schools will require students to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Seattle Public Schools’ current vaccine policy is that K-12 students must meet the immunization requirements for their grade, as outlined by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). According to Nurse Laurie Tirtanadi, there isn’t any current indication that the COVID-19 vaccines will be included in these requirements. The school district’s vaccine policy must defer to Wash. state law, meaning the district cannot choose whether or not students have to be vaccinated. At this point, Wash. has opened COVID-19 vaccines to people ages 12 and up, but has not made them a requirement for students to return to school. Regardless of overall vaccination status, students have returned to in-person school under a hybrid model. According to Tirtanadi, this isn’t necessarily a problem for in-person classes to run safely. “If they [students] follow the health screening protocol daily and stay home when they are feeling unwell, plus follow the health and safety precautions at school, the risk is mitigated,” Tirtanadi said in an email. Additionally, Tirtanadi explained that the vaccines don’t guarantee 100% safety from COVID-19, and because the vaccine is not required it’s important to focus on the other ways to remain safe. “I would advocate for continuing these precautions: repeated hand washing throughout the

day, social distancing, wearing a mask and to stay home from school if you feel unwell,” Tirtanadi said. One of the most important aspects to safety from the virus is herd immunity. Tirtanadi explained the frequently-heard term. “Herd immunity occurs when enough people become immune to the disease to make it unlikely to spread,” Tirtanadi said. “As a result, over time the community is protected. The CDC estimates the population needs to be about 70% immune for herd immunity to occur. Immunity can occur either through vaccination or through natural disease.”

Graphic by Sam Rainville

Now that the various COVID-19 vaccines are approved for students 15 or younger, herd immunity within Seattle schools could become more achievable, and students could potentially look forward to a more familiar school year. Tirtanadi expressed her hopes for the future as vaccines continue to roll out. “The more students, teachers, staff and community members are vaccinated, the closer we are to herd immunity and subsequently a decreasing infection rate,” Tirtanadi said. “I am looking forward to a future where COVID-19 is but a memory!”

June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)


2021 AP tests to alter format amidst difficult year


As May rolls around, students prepare for the changes that have been made JJ Benefiel Staff Reporter Students taking the test digitally are not allowed to go back to answered questions and they also cannot move back-andforth between unanswered questions. Also, the College Board has made “Four Steps to Take Digital Exams” ( adjustments ith the school year coming to a close, many so that the students are getting ready for the Advanced questions they provide consist of content that cannot Placement (AP) tests they have spent the be searched on the internet, in a textbook, in notes, or entire academic year preparing for. in study guides. Last year, the tests looked different than they had It is also required for students to download an AP in the past. With the unprecedented changes due to testing application for their digital tests this year. COVID-19, there had to be several adjustments to Since the exams from last year, the College Board accommodate them. made some changes to make the test more accessible. Some students signed up for the 2021 AP tests For example, the test last year required the internet, early on in the year without knowing what to expect. but with this test, even if there is a disruption in When the new format was released for digital testing, connection, students can continue working. some students reached out to cancel their tests. In an email with Michael Broom, the Building The content and style of this year’s AP exams Testing Coordinator, he said that several students are supposed to match what it once was before reached out to cancel their tests this year because COVID-19, meaning they are longer and multiplethey were able to receive full refunds. choice questions have returned. Senior Ruby Eaton chose not to take any AP


exams. “I decided not to take any because I didn’t feel like online school would adequately prepare me for the tests,” Eaton said. “And my mental health has not been great because of online school so I didn’t feel capable myself either.” “I stand by my decision for cancelling,” Eaton said. “I don’t think I would have done well on the tests with both the way my teachers tried to prepare me as well as my personal study habits this year.” However, despite the test’s new changes, other students decided to go forward with taking the test. Students like senior Colin Moore have opted to take the AP exams. “I decided to take the AP tests because that’s what I’ve done for all AP classes I’ve taken in the past,” Moore said. Moore explained that this year he feels less prepared for the upcoming exams. “I feel like I haven’t been fully prepared yet because I still have half a month before I take them. I also don’t think I will be nearly as ready for the tests as I would’ve been if COVID-19 hadn’t happened.” One common theme between students who have decided to take the AP exams and those who have decided not to is that because of online school, a lack of motivation has made it hard to keep up in these college-level classes. In order to prepare for AP exams, Broom recommends to “check your email for AP testing update from College Board, listen for AP testing news from your AP teachers, follow instructions for downloading the AP testing app and start practicing now.”

Senior SPREE and graduation planned with new guidelines Principal clears the air on the updated agendas for the two events Xander Kim Staff Reporter


he finale of this exhausting past year is [activity], and you head home and get back to school culminating in senior SPREE and graduation at about 6 a.m.” Wynkoop said. for 12th graders, who are lucky to get either In terms of COVID-19 restrictions, because SPREE of these events when last year’s seniors got neither. isn’t a school sponsored event, it is only limited Principal Keven Wynkoop clarified the details about to state regulations which say that a maximum of the events. 200 people for current gatherings. Past attendance Senior SPREE is “an all-night party after graduation for the graduating seniors,” Wynkoop said. “It’s something that originally was organized by parents, because there were a lot of problems in the 80s and 90s with teens and dangerous behaviors on the night of graduation. There were actually some students who passed away drunk driving—that’s why it came from parents originally and it’s been around ever since.” While SPREE is technically run by parents and is not a school sponsored event, the has had “somewhere around 150 to 180 seniors,” administration still works with the PTSA for the Wynkoop said. In addition to people opting out this event. year because of COVID-19, he isn’t worried about In the past, senior SPREE has always [gone] to two them going over. different venues that remain secret until the seniors Wynkoop presumes that masks will be worn at actually get there. “There could be video games, laser all times, except for when the seniors eat. But at the tag—I’ve seen everything over the years. And then end of the day, “people are going to need to make after a few hours there, you leave to go to the other their own decisions about whether they’re ready to be

indoors.” A senior SPREE ticket will cost $180 (If you want to buy one Wynkoop recommends using the link in the PTSA Instagram account) and the buses leave from school at 10 p.m. on June 16, after graduation. Graduation itself will start at 5 p.m. that same day at Memorial Stadium, and will go until around 7 p.m. “Every senior could have up to four guests,” Wynkoop said. “They will have assigned seats and it’s going to be randomized.” Usually, the stage faces one set of bleachers and is in the middle of the field, but “this time the stage will be down in the end zone and family members will be on both sides of the stadium,” Wynkoop said. “The seats for the graduates will be all spread out over the entire field, six feet apart in every direction.” There will be a graduation rehearsal for seniors, although Wykoop doesn’t yet know what it will look like. “It might be a massive Teams call or we might even do something on our field to simulate it because at the end of the day, a football field is a football field.” Finally, for graduation itself, the seniors are going to have their names called, stand where they are sitting, wave and then sit back down. Graduation will be livestreamed.


June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

Successful senior to attend film school Netflix to hire interns from University of New Mexico Adria Cooper Features Editor


ill the next great cinematographer be among the class of 2021? Senior Ella Tipping may be just that. Next year she will start studying Film and Digital Arts at the University of New Mexico. This is quite the great opportunity for Tipping as Netflix is set to expand their studios to Albuquerque where they will bring in film students to be interns. In an interview over text Tipping reflected on her career goals: “My career goal at the moment is to work as a cinematographer on a TV show but of course a big time goal is to be involved on a big movie set.” So, being close to a Netflix studio would help her reach this goal. Tipping is already on her way to being a standout in the film industry. “This year I have been nominated in the North West regional Emmy awards for best cinematography,” Tipping said. Her film “It’s All Fun and Games,” was released as a Nomination on May 14 and the winners will be announced on June 5. But how did Tipping get to this point? She started her journey in film in middle school but says she “started taking it seriously” her sophomore year. “At first it was really just checking a box on a piece of paper thinking it could be cool, but once I really started using the cameras and telling stories it made me realize it’s something I have a real passion for,” Tipping said. Not only is Tipping successful at Film, she also enjoys it. “I’ve always enjoyed filming horror movies as it’s such a fun genre to edit,” Tipping said. Even during the busy time with the school year ending and graduation approaching, Tipping is still cranking out the films. “Right now I’m working on a film called ‘A Letter to No One in Particular’ written by my classmate Jackson Kutilek,” She said. With summer break approaching,

Tipping will have more time to work on her passion. “My plan for the summer film wise is to expand my portfolio and hopefully film some things I’ve never been able to try.” Be sure to look out for the award winners for the Northwest Regional Emmy awards on June 5 and definitely watch out for Ella Tipping as she continues to succeed. Who knows, maybe someday you’ll be able to say you went to High School with a famous person.

“My career goal at the moment is to work as a cinematographer on a TV show but of course a big time goal is to be involved on a big movie set.” A portrait of Ella Tipping, the future cinematographer Photo courtesy of Ella Tipping

Ella Tipping in action with former Ballard student, Sandro Rios

Photos courtesy of Ella Tipping

June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)


Freshman v. Senior POV


Students compare their experiences during this abnormal school year Brett Richter Opinions Editor and Carmen Sarabia DiCiccio Photographer


n many ways the freshman experience this year was not what the class of 2024 expected. Switching from middle school to high school is always a big change but factoring COVID-19 into the transition definitely added more pressure. Freshman Phoebe Howe talked about how she felt coming into in-person this year. “It kind of felt nerve-wracking at the beginning because I didn’t know the building but it was really nice to see everyone and not a set of icons on Teams.” Grading has been a big issue this school year, with teachers and families disagreeing about how the grading system should be Freshman, Phoebe Howe. Photo courtesy of executed. In particular, freshmen Howe. encountered a struggle to adjust from middle school grading. Some say that coming back to in-person school has helped improve their grades. “It’s way more helpful being able to be with teachers and with other students and being able to get help, rather than being alone, and feeling like you don’t have anybody to help you out.” Freshman Miller Piercy said. Moving from classes being online for seven and a half months to attending school for more than just three hours a day was an interesting move, mainly for cohorts A & B who now attend school in-person twice a week. “I definitely enjoyed being back Freshman, Miller Piercy. Photo courtesy of Piercy. in school cause you know, in the morning I used to just wake up, throw on a pair of sweatpants and now I can actually put an outfit on and go to school, and enjoy it.” Freshman Emme Rousseau explained. With freshman year coming to an end, most freshmen are already planning out what they want their sophomore year to look like and what new things they want to experience that they couldn’t this year. “I’m really excited to be a sophomore… hopefully putting this behind us and starting fresh, and you know being able to learn again, that’s all new, and we’re all in person it’s just easier for everyone,” Rousseau said. Freshman, Emme Rousseau. Photo courtesy of Rousseau.


Senior, Cameron Donnelly. Photo courtesy of Donnelly.

Senior, Ruby Eaton. Photo courtesy of Eaton.

Senior, Vangie Laufert. Photo courtesy of Laufert.

his school year has been hard for everyone, but as seniors, the usual explosive excitement leading to the end of high school has been more of a slow fizzle. As senior Cameron Donnelly puts it, “in my mind, I was ready to leave school... I kind of just show up, I’m doing my best, but I’m over it.” Even though it seems seniors feel that the return to school is anticlimatic in most regards, many can agree that the chance to see friends again makes it more than worth it. “It’s been nice to see my friends again, and old teachers and things like that. But it’s also definitely been a little bit strange,” Ruby Eaton, senior, commented. Strange definitely is a good way to put it. And though many aspects of this year are strange, that traditional annual disease we all know, senioritis, has come around knocking and it makes a killer combination with online classes. “It’s [a] different type of learning. In those morning sessions, I don’t really pay as much attention because they’re way too short. In the afternoon, when I’m in person, I definitely learn more… but when we’re online in the afternoon, no one pays attention to you,” said Donnelly. “...I think senioritis would have hit regardless,” added Eaton. Many seniors, instead of looking forward to another year of high school, are ready to fly the coop. For those going to university, COVID-19 presented another issue. “I got into a few other schools out of state, but I wasn’t able to tour them… I couldn’t see myself going to a school that I hadn’t been to before,” Eaton said. All-in-all, with the vast majority of senior year over, the class of 2021 seems to be looking more towards the future than trying to recreate the past. “It’s disappointing that we can’t do all the fun stuff that we missed out on… so it’s a mediocre senior year experience, which is acceptable, I guess,” said Vangie Laufert—which sums it up pretty perfectly.



April 9, 2020

2021 Commitments

Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

Seniors that have committed to colleges for sports Will Shepard Sports Editor

Courtesy of Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce


eginning track and field 10 years ago, senior Eric Anthony views going to Western Washington University for running as just the next step in his long running career. “College is definitely the next step for me; rather than seeing it as an endpoint, I see it as a continuation of my story,” said Anthony. “I plan to run for the rest of my life, and college is just the form it’s going to take over the next few years.” COVID-19 however, sidetracked many athletes’ ability to play and be recruited by colleges, including Anthony’s. “Due to the pandemic I didn’t have any times or any race results for almost two years,” said Anthony. This setback forced Anthony to reach out to coaches and really promote himself to different colleges. “There was no way for me to get noticed by these schools unless I was being proactive,” said Anthony. “I reached out saying, ‘Hey here’s what I have been doing and I would really like to make your team,’ and I dropped a few [race times] and schools started to notice me.” Now that he has been accepted, Anthony is focused on improving himself, and getting better. “The best competition is in college, that’s what’s going to make me the best athlete that I can be,” said Anthony. “It’s not about beating other people, it’s about beating yourself and getting better as an individual.”

Courtesy of Lianne Kistler


ow coming to the end of her high school career, which saw her set a pole vault sophomore national class record at 14 feet, one inche, senior Lianne Kistler has committed to Stanford. However, Stanford was far from the only school looking to recruit her. “I was talking to around seven schools, and then three of them gave me an offer,” said Kistler. “Those included Virginia Tech, and UC Berkeley.” Due to her breakout sophomore year, Kistler was able to avoid the COVID-19 trap that ensnared many other high school athletes, when they could compete during their junior year. “I am super thankful that I got my marks in my sophomore year,” said Kistler. Participating in pole vault led Kistler to recapture her passion for sports, and continue them beyond high school. “I did Gymnastics for 11 years, but I never really saw, or really wanted to pursue that past high school,” Kistler said. “But through pole vaulting I was able to use the same skill set.” For other students attempting to go to college for a sport, Kistler recommends keeping in touch and being active. “Just take your shot,” said Kistler.

Senior Ryan Blokker holds the ball against Bishop Blanchett. (Skye McDonald)


ollowing four years of playing both baseball and football, senior Ryan Blokker has committed to the College of Idaho for both. “I went down [to Idaho] not expecting a lot, but when I got there the campus and the coaches were really nice,” said Blokker. “I thought it made a good fit.” Going into college, Blokker isn’t thinking about what is going to happen after college, and is just happy for the chance to compete. “I was given this opportunity, and it’s always something I’ve wanted to do,” said Blokker. “It’s awesome, it’s just another four years of the stuff that I have done since I was a kid.” Similar to BHS, a large part of the College of Idaho’s football program is based around the family, and building a bond with your teammates. “It’s definitely something that the coaches emphasized down there… They do a lot of team bonding exercises every week,” said Blokker. “Everyone that I met was well rounded and unified.” For other students that are thinking about heading to college for a sport, Blokker gives the advice to go somewhere that you can play. No one wants to be sitting on the sidelines, even if it’s at a huge, recognizable school.

Courtesy of Nate Leibold


fter working on baseball his whole life, senior Nate Leibold is still in awe that UCLA offered him a spot on their baseball team. “It’s been a while since I committed, but it still feels surreal,” said Leibold. “Every day I just feel grateful for the opportunity that I have.” For Leibold, having the validation of the scholarship provides even more motivation, and builds his work ethic. “A lot of the time you are just working, and you don’t know if anything will come of it,” said Leibold. “So when I got this scholarship it made me want to work harder, because now I know what I am capable of.” This work ethic will create more opportunities at the right school, which Leibold believes he has found in UCLA. “I really liked everyone I met down there, and it was a really good experience,” said Leibold. Leibold also is not going to back down in the face of anxiety or adversity, and faces the pressure of being a collegiate athlete head on. “I don’t run from my anxiety, I try to face it and deal with it head on,” said Leibold. “I think it’s really important to attack your anxiety and to just try to stay positive.”

June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)


Spring Sports Photo Collage A collection of images from the 2021 spring season Will Shepard Sports Editor

Boys Lax - Sophomore Aidan Bernard, Courtesy of Ballard Boys Lax Instagram Girls Lax - Senior Elise Cziela, Courtesy of Ballard Girls Lax Instagram Baseball - Senior Tam Bellefuil (Skye McDonald) Basketball - Junior Trinity Edwards, Courtesy of Ballard Girls Basketball Instagram Track and Field - ,Junior Maxwell Moriarty, Senior James Shepard (Skye McDonald), Senior Liann Kistler, Courtesy of Lianne Kistler Boys Soccer - Sophomore Eliajah Post, Senior Krisna LaFrance (Skye McDonald)



June 4, 2020 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)


University of California in Santa Barbara Maddy Bowles- Psychology and LGBTQ Studies Conor Stayton- Environmental Science/Policy

Nate Becker- Undecided Santa Barbara City College Gracie Guthrie- Undecided

University of California in Los Angeles Ellie Rice- Global Jazz Studies and Business Isabella Crone-Baron- Political Science

Scripps College Helen Liska- Political Science

California Polytechnic State University Pele Strauch- Environmental Management Olivia Holman- Business Administration Hayden King- Economics and Industrial Engineering Colin Moore- Mechanical Engineering Ava Arpe- Experience Industry Management

Stanford University Zoe Bumstead- Business Finance/Accounting Clara Mooney- Public Health or Human Biology Lianne Kistler- Community Health

San Diego State University Sofia Elenga-Real Estate Emma Farley- Food and Nutrition (dancing emoji) Jack Naramore- Biology Macy Finn- Kinesiology Ella Keating- Elementary Education University of California in San Diego Corinne Pickering- Marine Biology Evan Mount- Undecided


University of Hawaii at Manoa Iris Aukema-Gray- Psychology


Boise State University Maggie DeLeon- Elementary and Special Education double major Ella Shaw- Business


Pacific Northwest College of Art Sean Semick- Illustration Oregon State University Grey Colleran- Undecided Sarah Powell- Undecided Emily Carreno- Undecided Kaden Ripley- Graphic Design University of Portland Frances Magnuson- Undecided Portland State University Madison Jackson-Hite- Film double major and Undecided

Santa Clara University Sarah Tripp- Marketing James Shepard- Undecided California Institute of Arts Ben Finkelstiein- Music California State University Anyia Gillespie- Film Production Loyola Marymout University Lucrezia Baldaccini- Biology


Northeastern University Saniya Busam- Undecided Ryann Murphy- International Business John Cousins- Biology and Political Science major and Global Health minor Smith College Josie Dolan-Edmondson- English and Latin Simmons University Iris Worrall- Africana Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies double major Wellesley College Maria Ordal- Sociology and History


University of Nevada Reese Pederson- Criminal Justice or Communications


Creighton University Ava Olsen- Nursing


Lewis and Clark College Aiden Wilkson- Undecided

Montana State University Paige Anderson- English Teaching/Writing Callum Kopf-Patterson- Kinesiology

Willamette University Grace Jackson- Biology

University of Montana Mercedes Tucker- Undecided

COLORADO Colorado State University Ella Clemens- Undecided


Colorado College Benjamin Murphy- Business Economics and Society, and History double major

Sarah Law Josie LaurPeter Fathi

Colorado University Boulder Norah Bunnell- Business/Marketing

Fordham Kendall Ra

Colorado School of Mines Malcolm Andersen- Mechanical Engineering

New York Wendy Zh


University of New Mexico Ella Tipping- Film and Digital Arts


Southern Methodist University Anna Fina- Finance


University of Arizona Mari White- Speech Hearing and Language Sciences major and Special Education minor Lily Kahan- Pre-Nursing Addie Svec- Psychology Arizona State University Dylan Gibb- Undecided Gavin Nichols- Sports Management Angela Gervassi-Saga- Exploratory Life Sciences Program


University Milo Opho

St. Olaf Co Tarkel Price

Macaleste Stella Gard


Savannah Rey Betz- F


Pennsylva Alex Brock


June 4, 2020 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

WASHINGTON Seattle Central College Silvia Boyanova- Web Design Sara Johnson- Nursing Owen McCabe- Undecided Stellan Rude- Theater

Tsunoko Serikawa Robin Stump Matthew Lovold


wrence - English/Undecided i- Undecided

and East Asian Studies minor Bridget Harshman- Political Journalism

adford- Visual Arts

Syracuse University Nolan Pittman- Sports Analytics

University hang-Theater double major


y of Minnesota oven- Physics

ollege ce- Biology and Music

er College dner- Undecided


h College of Art and Design Film and Television Production


ania State University kman- Pre-Medicine

Baker Nothdurft- Kinesiology Ana O’Donnell Zamora- Undecided Alielien Haslam- Psychology Carla Stirling- Digital Technology and Culture

Western Washington University Adria Cooper- Anthropology Frankie Sankey- Business Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce- American Cultural Studies Finn Eitreim- Computer Science Lulu Watanabe- Geography or Business Administration Al Johnson- Undecided Nate Peterson- Undecided Drew Semick- Geography or Business Administration Anni Carew- Marine Biology


University of Washington-Seattle Madeline Mott- Ella Babcock- Undecided Jaxon Vickers- Business Administration and Finance Ethan Barnes- Business Danny Edwards- Archaeological Sciences Tess Petrillo- Environmental Science Sidney Misner- Business Hugo Bodik- Engineering Alex Trebaczewski- Environmental Science Charlie Burns- Materials Science and Engineering Claire Junkins- Undecided Samara Bunn-Hartman- Art Emma Bauer- Undecided Vasilisa Karp- Architecture Kai Snevoll- Japanese Language and Literature Sam Hughes- Marine Biology Ian Semroc- Science and Music University of Washington-Bothell Houming Ge- Computer Washington State University Jilian Nielsen- Elementary Education Nathan Dracobly- Undecided Bachelor’s of Art Beck Santanella- Finances Sohpie Carolan- Business and Hospitality Management


Rose Hulma Institute of Technology Nolan Feeley-Wheeler- Computer Science


University of Wisconsin Zoe Seeman- Political Science Kelsey Hansen- Psychology


Loyola University Chicago Caileigh Sheldrake- Nursing Sophia Court- Nursing major and Spanish minor Sam Rainville- Anthropology


North Seattle Community College Evangelina Laufert- Nursing Julia Milam- Undecided Daniel Welsh- Medical Assistance Program Alexis Olafsson- Undecided Avery Wagar- Computer Science Tyler Ammons- Undecided JJ Benefiel- Microbiology Jacob Bragg- Fine Arts and Graphic Design Gonzaga University Andrei Whyte- Technical Theater Maya Bell- Nursing major and Spanish minor Edmonds Community College Adrian Cruz- Business Evergreen State College Amy Pottharst- Undecided Central Washington University John Kibelstis- Aviation Romello Black- Business and Engineering Pacific Lutheran University Davyn Waters- Business and Kinesiology Whitman College Dori Buttleman- Undecided Sydney Crow- Psychology and Spanish double major Nik Greb- Chemical Engineering Shoreline Community College Mason Stroud- Audio Engineering Big Bend Community College Grayson Mokulua- Aviation major and Flying/ Commercial Pilot minor



Tulane University Kristiane Maynard- Exercise Science and Public Health double major with a Gender and Sexuality Studies Minor Annbelle FalconerInternational Development and Public Health major with a French minor

University of British Columbia Cameron Donnelly- Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Science Skye McDonald- Faculty of Arts Sage Mazurek- Faculty of Arts

Louisiana State University Bella Angelos- Journalism

University of St. Andrews Jaden Jones- Chemistry


Knox College Hadley Mollman- Theater major and Scenic Design minor

Kent State University Brett Richter- Fashion Merchandising

DePaul University Gavin Bradler- Acting Jared Lam- Journalism major and Digital Filmaking minor

Oberlin Conservatory of Music David Nicolella- Jazz Drum Performance

Simon Fraser University Maxwell- Business

Oxford Cat Nguyen- Economics

Reporting and Design by Paige Anderson and Tess Petrillo Co Editor-in-Chiefs


Exceeded Expectations

June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

A review of Netflix’s ‘Shadow & Bone’ from someone who read the books Danny Edwards Arts & Entertainment Editor


have waited in eager anticipation for the release of Netflix’s “Shadow & Bone” for over a year. As a long time fan of the books, I can proudly say that I couldn’t be happier with the adaptation. Author Leigh Bardugo has created a truly magnificent world called the Grishaverse. In it, she has created countries and cultures and, most importantly, intricate characters that travel throughout the world in her stories. There are two book series that take place in the Grishaverse that have been combined for Netflix’s “Shadow & Bone.” This is the “Shadow & Bone” trilogy and the “Six of Crows” duology. The events of “Six of Crows” take place two years after the “Shadow & Bone” trilogy ends, but to create a more cohesive storyline, showrunner Eric Heisserer and Bardugo, who is an executive producer, decided to push the “Six of Crows” timeline back slightly. On screen, we get never-before-seen content for the “Six of Crows” characters. Their storylines are masterfully interwoven with those of “Shadow & Bone.” Both sets of characters are able to interact with each other, and although this is not canonical for the books, that doesn’t mean the show isn’t faithful. Quite the opposite, actually. “Shadow & Bone” is the epic tale of a young woman named Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and her childhood best friend, Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux). Alina is a mapmaker and Mal is a tracker in the First Army for a country called Ravka. Ravka has been at war with their neighbors for decades. They are surrounded by enemy countries to the north (Fjerda) and to the east (Shu Han). Directly west lies a large stretch of darkness and shadow called “the Fold” or “the Unsea.” Ravkans are cut off from trade and resources. They either have to cross the Fold or go into enemy territory. Few who cross the Fold make it back alive for it is filled with dangerous flesh-hungry monsters called Volcra. The Second Army in Ravka is made up entirely of people called Grisha. Grisha possess special powers they use to manipulate various elements or as they call it “practice the small science.” General Kirigan (Ben Barnes) of the Second Army, aka the Darkling, is a Grisha that possesses special powers of shadow. His ancestor created the Fold and he seeks to find a way to destroy it for his country. Alina Starkov has always been ordinary until a journey into the Fold unlocks a power that could change the world. While “Shadow & Bone” is an incredible journey filled with magic, saints and epic feats, “Six of Crows” is a little different. Here we move to a southern country called Kerch. The capital of Kerch is Ketterdam, an Amsterdam inspired city that is bustling with trade, merchants, gangs and crime. The gang we focus on is called “the Dregs.” They run “the Crow Club” and commit crimes up and down the filthy city streets. Especially heists. They love heists. In the “Six of Crows” duology there are six

characters we follow. However, since the show wonderfully in the architecture and fashion of the focuses on events prior to the books, we instead aristocracy. observe three original members and two others on The outfits for the Dregs are less formal, but the screen. nevertheless impressive in individualization. Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), aka Dirtyhands, Everything everyone wears makes sense for their is the leader of the Dregs. He is ruthless, fueled by character. greed and my favorite character. The show was filmed in Hungary, and whatever Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman), aka the Wraith, production did, they did it right. I felt immersed in is silent on her feet and an incredibly skilled the world, transported into my favorite books. acrobatist. She collects information without anyone It feels so validating to have everything I pictured being the wiser. reading the books for the first time four years ago be Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), no alias, is a talented so incredible on screen. sharpshooter with an equally sharp tongue. He is Netflix remained incredibly faithful to the books, chaotic, bisexual and here to party. no doubt aided by Bardugo being an executive These three are given a job: one million Kruger producer. (Kerch currency) to kidnap Alina Starkov. They If you haven’t read the books you can still watch travel from Kerch to Ravka getting into trouble and the show. But I recommend reading the “Shadow & looking good while doing it. Bone” trilogy first, then the “Six of Crows” duology. The other characters from “Six of Crows” that we It will only enhance your experience. Also, the books see are Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan) and Matthias are really, really good. Helvar (Calahan Skogman). I was so excited to see these characters I feel like Nina is a soldier of the Second Army and a I’ve known for so long and I was not let down. Heartrender, a Grisha that can manipulate pulse Now I will wait in eager anticipation for season and blood flow. She is kidnapped by a group of two, I can’t wait to see more. Drüskelle. Drüskelle are holy soldiers from Fjerda, tasked with hunting Grisha and bringing them for trial and execution. To them, Grisha are evil witches that must be eliminated. Matthias is a Drüskelle, but unfortunate circumstances force him and Nina to travel together, putting them both in danger of banishment from their respective countries. I was extremely pleased with the ways that the “Six of Crows” characters were combined with those of “Shadow & Bone.” I didn’t expect the characters from both series to interact with each other, but now that I’ve seen it I’m so glad it happened. As the show has already been renewed for a second season, I can only predict that it will focus on the events of “Siege & Storm” (the second of the original trilogy) and “Six of Crows.” This wraps everything up nicely to be completed in a third season that will focus on “Ruin & Rising” (the third of the trilogy) and “Crooked Kingdom” (the second of the duology). Now let’s talk about the costumes. One of the things I appreciate so greatly about Leigh Bardugo is her commitment to aesthetics. Nothing is ever out of place. While many fantasy novels take on the aesthetic of medieval England, “Shadow & Bone” takes its inspiration from imperial Russia. The result is a beautiful array of garments, specific to each character but consistent in design. Soldiers of the Second Army, for example, wear a type of coat called a “Kefta.” Keftas can be blue, red, or purple. These colors recognize the order of Grisha. There are designs embroidered on the Keftas which colors correspond to a subsection of that order. Seeing these outfits on screen emphasized Bardugos writing skills, as they were just how I imagined when I read the books. Alina’s story mostly takes place in Ravka, a clearly Russian inspired country. This is reflected

June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT 13 A comedy for the ages

‘Middleditch & Schwartz’ is a fantastic three part special Danny Edwards Arts & Entertainment


isten, I know that when one reads the word “improv,” they might conjure images of cringe-worthy productions in a less than desirable theatre space. I was one of those people. When “Middleditch & Schwartz” was first recommended to me my initial thought was “improv? No way!” I took a chance, though, and boy am I glad I did. Almost a year ago, comedians Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz released this special on Netflix. If you’re bored in quarantine or just straight up depressed from the news, this is the perfect way to lift your spirits! You might recognize Thomas Middleditch from his leading role in the hit show “Silicon Valley,” or as that man with the bow-tie and the poor goldfish from that one scene in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Ben Schwartz is probably most known for his role as Jean-

Ralphio Saperstein in “Parks and Recreation,” as well as Sonic in “Sonic the Hedgehog.” The basic structure of each episode of the special is as follows: Middleditch and Schwartz will introduce themselves, and then ask the audience if there is anything coming up in their lives that they are excited or nervous about. People will yell out responses and they will pick one person to focus on. The beauty of the performances is that they are completely unique every single time. They spend a few minutes asking more questions and then use that audience member’s story as a basis for the next 52 minutes. If you’re still turned off by “improv,” let me try to remedy that. Turns out, improv is really funny when performed by trained professionals. In this two-man show, Middleditch and Schwartz enbody a

multitude of characters and use the entire space of the stage whilst only having two chairs as props. The director, Ryan Polito, also deserves a lot of credit. The cameras catch every movement and every perfect close-up that just makes the jokes funnier. The chemistry between the two is incredible and creates a wonderful push and pull performance. They often forget characters that they created and remember them thirty minutes later, but that is part of the appeal. These three episodes, “Parking Lot Wedding,” “Law School Magic” and “Dream Job” are only a snapshot of the many shows Middleditch & Schwartz performed across the country. I can’t recommend them highly enough. So please, if you need a laugh head on over to Netflix and watch the shows. You won’t regret it.

‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ is just alright The perfect combination of little substance and pretty faces


Tess Petrillo Editor-in-Chief

t was a dark and stormy night, and I had nothing better to do than aimlessly search through Netflix’s most recent additions, where I stumbled upon a little 90’s classic, “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” I saw that Julia Roberts was in a major role, so I had to watch. The storyline revolves around Roberts, fully embodying that independent woman trope, in her portrayal of Julianne “Jules” Potter, who is madly in love with her best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney), otherwise known as Russell-from-“New Girl”-but-tenyears-younger. Jules is a food critic, accompanied by her editor and incredible, gay, British, best friend, George (Rupert Everett), and her antithesis, Kimberly “Kimmy” Wallace (Cameron Diaz). That is basically all you need to know but I am going to elaborate. The whole premise of the movie is that Jules gets a call from Michael, whom she made a plan with to marry if they were both single at 28. She expects him to propose, and is horrified when really he is calling to invite her to his wedding and meet his fiancée Kimmy. Jules goes to win this guy back because she’s in love with him, and ends up doing many horrible things to break up their wedding. Kimmy is a 20-year-old college girl marrying

Michael, and Diaz plays the role perfectly. She’s a horrible driver, a billionaire rich kid, who’s obnoxious and hyperfemine; the typical antagonist of any late 90s romcom. As I said, Jules is an independent woman, down-to-earth and intelligent, and supposedly doesn’t need a man, which is exactly why she goes to this wedding to shame Kimmy and obtain Michael. Right? No, not right. This being the entire premise of the movie makes it slightly unbearable to watch, but what it lacks in plot and story-arc, it makes up for in costume design, casting and just random adorable scenes that will make you grin. Coming out in 1997, the costume designers definitely seized the opportunity to showcase the transition from 90s grunge to 2000s “Kaybug.” Kimmy’s bright colored skirts and preppy attire contrasted with Jules’ tiny sunglasses and loose pantsuits was a great way to show the transition in the 90s towards 2000s fashion, and I think was a very important aspect to the movie aesthetically. The juxtaposition between the aesthetic that surrounds Jules and the one that surrounds Kimmy not only shows how different they are but also the ways in which the characters thrive or fail in each other’s worlds.

I would not say that this movie is entirely superficial; screenwriter Ron Bass did manage to weedle in a few life lessons about self-reflection and vanity into the film, but I still don’t understand how he managed to write this piece and also win an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for “Rain Man,” but I guess that’s range. I can also appreciate the creators making Jules an incredibly unlikeable main character, something that is rarely done in rom-coms, making the watch a tad more unpredictable. Overall, I’d say this is the perfect comfort movie to indulge in on a quiet Sunday afternoon as you are mentally preparing yourself for the week ahead. It is light, smile-inducing and you can take pride in the fact that you’ve never flown out to your best friend’s wedding to sabotage it.

Cameron Diaz, Durmot Mulroney and Julia Roberts star in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”


June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

The wide world of sustainable fashion

How to look fashionable, without contributing to climate change Brett Richter Opinions Editor


n the most basic level, when asked the question: “is sustainable fashion good?” I feel as though most of us would nod our heads in agreement. I hope so, anyway. Because on the most basic level, it is good. Here is a quick fact: According to the Air Transport Action Group, “the global aviation industry produces around 2% of all human-induced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.” The fashion industry, on the other hand, creates a whopping 10% of the world’s carbon emissions and 20% of global wastewater. Obviously, this is a problem that needs to be dealt with. “Sustainable fashion” is the idea of creating a fashion industry capable of being sustained for decades to come, without human rights violations, illegal labor, insanely low wages and mountains of waste. One thing we are often instructed to do to combat this dark side of fashion is buying sustainably made clothing. Usually, these clothes use fabrics that are recycled, natural or cause less harm for workers and the environment. The clothing designs are often simple and classic, well-cut and meant to be worn over and over. Think of brands like Everlane, Patagonia and Reformation, to name a few. However, when shopping at any of these brands, one noticeable common feature is the price. It’s high, and not everyone can afford to spend $148 dollars on a white button up. Not to mention that many sustainable brands are not size inclusive. To put it in perspective, many brands only go up to a size XL in women’s clothing, which corresponds to a numeric size 16-18. And what’s the average size for an American woman? Well, according to the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education, it’s a—you guessed it—“size 16–18.” There are some brands trying to be more size inclusive, like Girlfriend Collective that goes up to a size 6X (38-40) and Universal Standard that goes to a

Photo by (unknown) via licensed under CC0 1.0

size 40. There’s also Kirrin Finch, which goes up to a size 24 and offers clothing made for a more androgynous look. The brand Hours sells sustainably and ethically made clothing exclusively for women’s sizes 14 to 28. Big Bud Press, an LA-based small business sells unisex clothing up to a size 7X (42-44), in much more daring styles that stray away from the normal “white tee and jeans” look. The upside to these clothing products is the quality. The fabric, stitching and cuts really are as high quality and flattering as possible, which may not be top priority for some, but that $18 white T-shirt you buy from Everlane will last you much longer than the $5 one from Forever 21, and uses sustainable cotton farming that causes much less harm to the environment than the typical pesticides. Basically, although exclusively buying clothing from sustainable brands would be a great way to go, it’s simply not realistic for the vast majority of people, and that is totally okay. Sustainably made clothing still costs more to produce, and therefore has much higher selling prices. It’s truly not a completely accessible part of the fashion industry just yet. So what’s the other option? Thrifting. But before you release that heaving sigh of relief I know you’ve been holding in this whole time— thrifting also doesn’t offer a perfect fashion pollution solution. Thrifting has gone from a social faux-pas to a trendy hobby in a pretty short amount of time. And just like anything else that “blows-up” this often results in higher prices and over-picked stores. I know I can’t be the only one who walks into a thrift store looking for one item and leaves with a bag full of stuff that I just had to get because “it’s an almost-new pair of Doc Martens for only $20!” only to end up re-donating half of that stuff later anyway, all while my closet grows exponentially. Or, maybe that’s just a personal problem that I have to face within myself. The point is, it’s a never ending cycle of thrift and donate, and it may actually be leaving thrift stores with too many donations. According to the executive director of Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART), “About 80% of the donations are carted away by textile recyclers….that means about 3.8 billion pounds of clothing that is

Graphic by Brett Richter

donated each year is recycled.” And fast fashion certainly isn’t helping thrift stores out either. A majority of things donated are from fast fashion brands, which tend to be of a much lower quality. Many of these clothes end up at huge warehouses (think of the Goodwill Outlet, AKA, “the bins”), where they are sold for much cheaper. In response to this, many thrift stores are now training their employees to look for “‘on-trend’ vintage—older items that line up with current fashion trends and can fetch a slightly higher price because they’re better made.” Basically, the “fashion focus” section. But where does this leave families that rely on thrifted clothing exclusively? In my personal opinion, thrifting still helps recycle perfectly good clothing, and is a much better alternative to purchasing from fast fashion brands. It’s a great option for people who want to be more sustainable with their wardrobes. It’s important to realize however that being able to choose to thrift is a privilege, and it isn’t going to single-handedly stop climate change. When it comes down to it: thrift consciously and in moderation. If you can afford to, try to buy basics and essentials elsewhere. When thrifting in the colder months, maybe leave that winter jacket. Alter the locations that you visit. And try to hold thrifted clothing to the same standards in the dressing room. Think: “even though this is a great deal, how’s the fit? Do I have anything like this? Will I wear it? If possible, would I pay full price for this item?” So go out there. Live long, prosper and be a conscious shopper.

June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)


AP (absolutely piss) testing Josie Laur Copy Editor


ear College Board,

What a year it’s been, huh? Longer than that at this point, actually, but the days all start to blur together. In fact, the days have blurred themselves right into May, which means that next month is June—and, with June, comes the AP tests. Lovely.

Cartoon by Sam Rainville

As you may have once been students yourself, you may be aware that the big standardized tests come with an innate level of stress. There’s cramming to be done, old study guides to find and friends to freak out with. You study, you don’t retain anything, the test happens and whomp bang done, have a happy summer. It’s a pretty simple rinse-and-repeat formula that students have endured for generations. This (my) generation of students, however, has encountered an unexpected wrench in the plans: the global -pandemic. Now, when the quarantine lockdown began last March, the decision was made to change the AP tests from full-length tests to shorter and simpler versions, to accommodate for the four months of school we’d miss and the economic/mental/physical damages that came along with a global pandemic. Because we wouldn’t have completed a full year’s worth of instruction, the logic was that we couldn’t take a test that relied on knowing a full year’s worth of knowledge. I approved. I ask you, College Board, what happened to that idea? As I said, it’s been a year, and we are now weeks away from the start of the 2021 AP tests. This year, not only are they full-length, but they’re also in a “lockdown browser” that prevents us from leaving

the test page, and we can’t go back to previous pages to check our work or fill in an answer that we bypassed the first time—something that we have been encouraged to do by the school system since our kinder years. If you changed the tests to be easier than usual because we missed four months last year, why would you make them harder than usual when we have missed a full year? Are we technically back in school? Yes, and in online school for a while before that, but I guarantee that I have not learned a year’s worth of curriculum in any of my six classes. I’m going to be generous and say that I’ve learned a semester’s worth of each—at most. This push that we have been seeing from the school system to get things “back to normal” since the early days of the pandemic is understandable, but also extremely frustrating in practice. Things aren’t normal, and I promise that standardized tests are not the first things that people want to come back. Anyway, can I come complain to you when I fail because I accidentally clicked the “next” arrow too soon and now an entire page of questions remains unanswered? Let me know! All the best, Me.

‘Pose’: Subculture representation done right (CONTAINS SPOILERS) How to properly involve people from the community you’re portraying Theodore Heim Staff Reporter


he captivating FX drama series “Pose” puts a face to a mostly-untold story of the LGBTQ+ people of color living through the HIV outbreak, the popularization of “vogue” (dance originated in the ballroom scene), and the increasing violence rates towards their community. In the ballroom scene, competitions with many categories like voguing, runway and beauty are held. Gay and transgender (trans) people of color found a haven at balls, where they could express their creativity freely. Many LGBTQ+ kids were kicked out and left homeless, but within the ballroom community could find their chosen family, called a “House.” The show follows Blanca (MJ Rodriguez), a trans woman starting her own ballroom house after she finds out that she is positive for HIV. She recruits three new house members, founding the House of Evangelista. While the characters of the show are spending their nights preparing and attending spectacular balls, the HIV outbreak is quietly taking the lives of many and instilling fear into the whole community. Blanca decides to keep her status from her house, and lives the rest of the show without knowing how long she has left. Even though “Pose” is a drama, a lot of these scenarios are very much real. That is what makes the series so powerful, the fact that most of these storylines aren’t really embellished. The writers for “Pose” also showed a dedication to the story when casting personalities of the ballroom community, especially trans women of color. It’s no surprise that producers Janet Mock and Our Lady J helped to write and direct some of the most impactful episodes.

Elektra Abundance is one of the most significant characters of the show, because of her sharp wit and glamorous presence. She is played by ballroom legend, Dominique Jackson. Mock and Our Lady J write one of her most satisfying scenes, where Elektra and her friends are asked to leave a restaurant by an entitled white woman. Elektra verbally tears her apart; “We fought for our place at this table, and that has made us stronger than you will ever be. Now pick your jaw up off the floor, go back to your clam chowder and shallow conversations.” It’s definitely worth searching up this scene even without watching the show. Watching Elektra tear a fragile Karen apart is extremely satisfying. Lead director Ryan Murphy and writer Mock co-wrote the episode where a primary character is murdered, Candy

(Angelica Ross). Candy is an outspoken character that wants to change things for her community. She is killed in a motel, and forgotten about for a few days. Her friends realise something is wrong, and they go to the motel to find her themselves. Possibly the saddest episode of “Pose,” the show forces the viewer to deal with her death very abruptly. What might seem like just a surprise murder story, is actually a very sad reality carefully

retold by Murphy and Mock. “Pose” is written by and for trans people. In an interview with lead actresses MJ Rodriguez and Indya Moore, Rodriguez breaks down the problem with cisgender actors playing trans roles. “If [playing a trans role] is a way of challenging yourself as an actor, then I think you should let us challenge and play some cis roles,” Rodriguez said. When a community is underrepresented, it is easily ignored.“Pose” is so important as a show because it can make people empathize with a demographic that needs to be heard, while also being very entertaining.



June 4, 2021 Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)

SATIRE: Back to school essentials Josie Laur Copy Editor


t’s that time of year again—wildly fluctuating Teachers one and three have the same attendance temperatures, allergies out of control and the policies, as do five and six, but two and four are temptation of summer vacation starting to loom different from each other and all the others, and hey, in the distance. That’s right, it’s time to go back the wind may blow tomorrow and it will change all to school! In March! Just what everyone needs, again. especially for a grand total of 18 in-person classes (16 (As a side note, does anyone know how I’m for seniors, but who’s counting?). This newest reincarnation of our daily schedule is really exciting on a lot of levels, as I’m sure many of you are aware. It’s a sign that we’re actually starting to come back to normal, or at least a semi-recognizable version of it. Many of us are meeting our teachers for the first time, we’ve been reintroduced to the ritual of “raising your hand” (what, speaking in class? Me?) and we’re finally actually able to exchange awkward greetings in the hallway with someone that we vaguely recognize. And wow, the schedule! Back to having to check it every ten minutes? Sign me up! We have to get to school by a certain time and it’s required that we attend class but also it’s okay if you’re not there on time and it would be great if you attend virtually if it’s not your in-person day so that you don’t get marked absent but also don’t worry about coming to class because it’s just virtual! Cartoon by Sam Rainville

supposed to eat? Or when? Or where? What about taking a drink of water? If someone figures it out, please let me know. You can reach me @ AnotherConfusedStudent on every social media platform out there—although I’m most active in Schoology comments.) The going-ons within the three 70 minute classes are probably my favorite part of it all. Webcams and blown-out speakers galore—is someone from the virtual world speaking? Can’t tell! That’s okay, they won’t be able to hear my response either. At least we have our mutual garbling to sustain us. Finally, at the end of those additional, magical, 210 minutes, it’s time for us to efficiently wipe down the desks and leave the school with help from the utterly convenient one-way stairs. Keeping people safe in a fun way—just my type of jam. If you pass someone, you can try smiling—but possibly they’re glaring back at you. Hard to say. At long last, tired students (me) make it back home. For some, the clock reads 5:30 p.m., the exhaust from the bus is clinging to them and they can’t wait to finally eat their lunch. And, just think! We get to do it all again tomorrow!


“My morals don’t bend for chicken”

“I don’t know, man, loose corn just makes me uncomfortable” “One powerful rat: Charles Entertainment Cheese”

“Tax fraud is sexy”*

*The Talisman does not condone or endorse tax fraud

“So I was reaching into his backpack and was greeted by a bushel of oranges”

“I didn’t make an outfit chart for nothing” “I don’t comsume dog based media”

“We need to get an ultrasound” “You mean surroundsound?”

“I’m too tired to bop to the top” “Is oil homophobic?”

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Talisman issue 3  

June 4, 2021

Talisman issue 3  

June 4, 2021


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