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Volume CXIII, Issue 10 Tues., March. 12, 2019 The student news publication of Walnut Hills High School

pg. 3 NEWS- WHHS clubs and initiatives are working to combat the stigma around mental health

pg. 5 FINE ARTS- Art is a way for many students to destress and express themselves creatively

pg. 6 STYLE & CULTUREWellness Wednesdays have been one unique way to help students succeed

Lady Eagles soar to district title


The Lady Eagles celebrate as a team as they show off their recently awarded OHSAA District champion trophy and medals. After beating Huber Heights Wayne to win this title at the district level, they advanced to play Centerville High School in the regional nsemifinals, where they lost 54-39 in a hard-fought effort. Amiah Heard, ‘19 Ryleigh Sanborn, ‘21


The Lady Eagles high five just before the start of the regional semifinals game.


SENIOR Zuri Williams and Sean Kelly Darks, ‘20, scramble for a ball against two Centerville players during the regional semifinals game.

The Lady Eagles took home their second consecutive Division I district title on Saturday, March 2, just their third title in WHHS school history. The ladies played Huber Heights Wayne at Princeton High, winning by a score of 58-49, and improving their record to 25-1 this season. The win pushed the Lady Eagles onto the regional semifinals game--the “Sweet 16” round leading into the State Final Four--where they played a 24-2 Centerville High School team. In that game, which took place at Fairmont Kettering High School on Wednesday, March 6, the Lady Eagles lost 54-39, ending their dominant season. “We’ve been going at this since August,” SENIOR Zuri Williams said about the Lady Eagles’ preparation and love of the game. “I can honestly say that this was the best team I’ve ever played with.” Their accomplishments this year have

been hard to ignore and are shining moments for the WHHS basketball program. Following the Division I title game victory, SENIOR Kennedi Myles’ performance won her a nomination for the Enquirer Athlete of the Week award. Myles scored 21 points in the game; 13 of those points were in the fourth quarter alone. The 2018-2019 season has also earned the team their third consecutive Eastern Cincinnati Conference title. Sean Kelly Darks, ‘20, was named the Eastern Cincinnati Conference Player of the Year. Even with these individual achievements, it was the entire team performance that led to their success. “In the end, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a team and the most caring and competitive coach I’ve ever had,” Williams said. “I couldn’t ask for a better experience.” Though the Lady Eagles will have to bid farewell to SENIORS like Williams, the team is looking forward to working toward even greater success next year.

“In the end, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a team and the most caring and competitive coach I’ve ever had.” -SENIOR Zuri Williams


Sean Kelly Darks, ‘20, stops to shoot the ball over a Centerville player during the March 6 game.


Darian Burgin, ‘20, jumps to defend a shot by a Centerville player. Burgin’s energy has been a major spark for the Lady Eagles this season.


MARCH 12, 2019







Sofia Tollefson, ‘21 Being optimistic is hard. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is throwing us a bunch of obstacles and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. It seems like every turn we make, we run face-first into another challenge. And it seems as if everywhere, all the time, negativity and setbacks exist. Which is why it is so important to take a deep breath and realize we’ve got a lot of good in this world. We’ve got a lot of people who are trying their very hardest to make things better. And you know what? Things are getting better. On both a global scale and a local level there are people who have dedicated their lives to positively impacting the world. They are tackling issues from child mortality rates and ocean pollution to maintaining local parks and everyday kindness in restaurants. Here’s a list of reasons why I’m optimistic: 1. Child mortality rates are improving. According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the death rate of children ages 5-14 has dropped by more than 50 percent since 1990. And the annual rate of reduction for global under-five mortality rate increased from 1.9 percent (during 1990 to 2000) to 4.0 percent (in 2000 to 2017). UNICEF’s hard work is paying off: more children are getting the opportunity to live a longer life. 2. Our oceans are being cleaned up. According to The Ocean Cleanup, over 5 trillion pieces of plastic litter the ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California, is 1.6 million km long. It is estimated to hold 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. Luckily, Boyan Slat and his project, The Ocean Cleanup, are on it. They came up with the System 001. Using System 001, they plan to clean up 50 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just five years. 3. In October 2018, over 250 organizations (responsible for 20 percent of the plastic packaging produced in the world) committed to an initiative called the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

Some of these organizations include Coca-Cola, Nestle, H&M and even the city of Austin. Through this initiative, they plan to eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging, innovate to ensure plastic can be easily reused or recycled and circulate plastic that has already been produced. 4. Tim Sweeney, Epic Games founder and Fortnite creator, is working hard to make sure that thousands of acres of land are preserved. Sweeney has purchased over 40,000 acres of land and donated $15 million in the name of wildlife conservation. 5. The U.S. Senate just passed the biggest public land package of the decade, according to the Washington Post. It’s a bipartisan bill that will protect over 1.3 million acres as wilderness, and withdraw more than 370,000 acres from mining. This land will be preserved for years to come so that the gen-

thinking of the citizens in her community who didn’t have a home to stay warm in; that’s when she decided to pay for 20 hotel rooms. Payne posted on social media, saying she would pay people to transport the homeless to the hotels. From there, the post went viral and Payne ended up being able to rent over 50 hotel rooms, thanks to generous donations. 8. Kelly Stewart, a Taco Bell cashier, proves that kindness isn’t restricted to money. Stewart has received an outpouring of support for her small random acts of kindness. She writes kind, encouraging messages on the backs of customer receipts. Even if we can’t write nice messages on the backs of receipts, it’s easy to slip a kind note into someone’s locker, or encourage a friend with a smile and supportive quote. I wish I could continue on in my list of reasons to be optimistic. Once you start looking for happy news it’s hard to stop, because there are so many stories out there! And if this isn’t enough, look around our school. We are surrounded by people bursting with optimism. Sometimes it doesn’t seem apparent, but just ask and you’ll find that most people have a reason to smile. For me, being optimistic isn’t an option, it’s a must. We have to believe in the good in our world, in the good of our classmates, our teachers. If you don’t believe it’s there, read this article again. Read every story on the Good News Network and Positive.News, watch the Google Year in Search from 2016 or a video of a dad and his son dancing to Let It Go. Look up random acts of kindness videos and cry at the wonderfulness of other people. Join the Community Action Team or Boo Radley or Rotary Interact at WHHS. Ask every single person you know to give you one good reason they’re happy. And then share it with me. Leave notes in room 2306 or comment on our social media. Tell the world. Optimism is out there, go find it.

What makes you optimistic?

Boo Radley club spreads positivity around WHHS

“Everyone should try to be more optimistic because it makes the world a better place.” -Anna Gavin, ‘21 e ra tions after us will be able to admire the beautiful nature that exists in the United States. 6. Of course, what the Senate and Sweeney have accomplished is amazing, but sometimes it seems like there’s nothing the rest of us can do. That’s not true. During the government shutdown, many parks struggled to maintain their trails. Luckily, people like Marc Newland and his 10-year-old daughter Erica Newland exist. They hiked trails in the Smoky Mountains with trash bags picking up garbage. 7. Candice Payne of Chicago decided to rent out 20 rooms for the homeless during the Polar Vortex. Payne says that when she woke up one morning and realized just how cold it was outside, she immediately called her employees and told them not to come in. She also started publishes inspiring news stories

All views shared in the Opinions section of The Chatterbox belong to their respective authors, and may not represent the views of the publication as a whole.

Marlene Montgomery chooses to be optimistic. “If I can make my words as positive as possible, I feel like it would help people more than anything else I could do,” Montgomery said.

Selaya Young, ‘20, is “happy about friends,” completing her schoolwork and the weekend coming soon. She spreads this joy and optimism in many ways, but Young mostly “love[s] to bake and then give it to people,” especially when she has free time in the summer.

Nathan Huang, ‘23, is optimistic about “having friends and having my family and having food to eat. I’m just lucky to have these. They make me happy.” To spread optimism, Huang suggests smiling more often and helping out “as much as you can.”

Monteasia Richardson, ‘23, finds happiness in her everyday life. These things make her optimistic. “I really like cats. I really like good grades. They make me happy,” Richardson said. Richardson’s family also brings her joy. ALL PHOTOS: ISABEL NISSLEY/ CHATTERBOX

The Chatterbox Policy Statement The Chatterbox has been guaranteed the right of freedom of the press through the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The administration of Walnut Hills High School is thus bound to support and protect the Chatterbox’s inalienable rights as a free press. As an integral part of the Walnut Hills High School community, the Chatterbox has the responsibility to report in the most comprehensive and objective manner possible. Students,

parents, faculty, and administrators are encouraged to use this publication as a forum to express any ideas or concerns, whether they be personal or of local, national, or international scope. Journalists are required to work under established guidelines. Invasion of privacy as a means of news gathering is prohibited. Articles found to be discriminatory, libelous, or unnecessarily obscene (as determined by the editors or the advisor) will not be published. Finally, journalists are granted the right to keep private the name of

a source from whom they received information with the understanding that the source was to remain anonymous. The role of the newspaper advisor will be to provide counsel and criticism pertaining to the newspaper’s content and production. Although both the advisor and the administration hold certain powers regarding the Chatterbox, both must respect the paper’s autonomy. No student shall be prevented from joining the staff on the basis of sex, race, creed or national origin.


The Chatterbox Editorial Staff Matthew Youkilis, Editor-in-Chief

Amanda Anderson, Managing Editor of News and Features

Grace Berding, Managing Editor of Student Life

Ibrahim Munir, Managing Editor of Viewpoints

Caroline Horvath, Managing Editor of Visual Elements

Nick Robertson, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Allyson Garth, Business Manager

Emma Heines, Video Content Manager

Samantha Gerwe-Perkins, Adviser

Brian Sweeney, English Department Chair




MARCH 12, 2019


The stigma of mental health And how WHHS students are tackling it


Sammy Stenger, ‘20, participates in a discussion during a meeting of Bring Change 2 Mind. The after school club meets weekly to discuss matters of mental health and ways to support fellow students. Conrad Kleiner, ‘19 According to the World Health Organization, mental illness bears the biggest economic cost of any health issue in the world, with estimates of over $2.5 trillion per year, as of 2010. And yet, over 60 percent of people in developed nations, and even more in under-developed, receive no form of care whatsoever. What is the root of this massive gap between diagnosis and treatment? The answer lies in the viewpoint of mental illness still held by much of the Western world. Despite an increase in total awareness of mental health issues, there still remains a very palpable stigma against mental illness ingrained within Western society. In fact, multiple studies, including one published in the American Sociological Review, shows that the large majority of Americans have some explicit or implicit bias against mental illness, and that can have very real and negative effects on those who are afflicted. That stigma can mean difficulty in the workplace, finding a job or even in social circumstances when looking for friends or a relationship. In addition to the already existing mental struggle, this sort of ostracism can be overwhelming for

many who find themselves without support. Studies published in American Psychiatry show that regardless of education, stigma against mental health permeates through all levels of society, and even appears in professionally trained mental health workers. This perception is fueled by news stories that label attackers as “mentally ill” without any specificity into their condition, promoting the notion of mental illness as a violent affliction. On top of this, popular depictions of mental illness often trivialize or overly simplify the topic, such as the hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, which psychologists contested made depression look as though it had to arise explicitly from other issues, rather than a real mental illness that should work to be treated. Popular media is also guilty of portraying those with mental illness as a result of weak character, a portrayal that can be discouraging to those who may otherwise seek treatment. This sort of misunderstanding and even vilifying of those who struggle every day with mental illness is devastating to those who now



In February, Bring Change to Mind club placed “Positivitrees” around WHHS. Students placed kind notes on them to show support and spread positivity among their classmates. find themselves unwilling to seek out support for fear of being attacked. Combined with the fact that many with untreated mental health issues are more vulnerable to self-deprecation, the idea that 60 percent of those with mental illness don’t seek out treatment becomes clear. Steps are being taken to counteract this common viewpoint. Experts identify three important tools in removing stigma: protest, education and contact. The protest is refusal to allow news and media outlets to continue their negative portrayal of those with mental illness, and education is actively working to inform those ignorant of how mental illness manifests and what can be done about it. Most impactful, however, is contact: when people meet regular members of the community who happen to suffer from mental illness, it can go to great lengths. If you would like to be a part of this positive change towards mental health at


of people in developed nations receive no mental health care when needed*

WHHS, the Bring Change 2 Mind club is one place to start. They meet every Wednesday after school in room 2115. The club grew out of the Youth Council for Suicide Prevention at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and continues to grow at WHHS. Meetings consist of education on different types of mental illness, and then working toward a project at WHHS to promote education or awareness of different aspects of mental illness, such as the What Lifts You Up project last December, where members hung cut out paper balloons and allowed students to share what made them grateful in the Arcade. Acts like this are essential for promoting positivity in the school environment, and the club is always looking for new members. On top of that, if you think a friend is struggling or they’re coming to you with problems, don’t be afraid to refer them to WHHS’ school psychologist Susan Flowers. Her door is always open for emergencies, and if you’re just looking to set up a time to chat or discuss any problems you might be facing, she is more than willing. If you or someone close to you is considering selfharm in any way, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255


MARCH 12, 2019




Gatorade sponsors Athletic Department, adds new vending machines


The facts and effects of JUULs

Hajra Munir, ‘23 Kaylee Robbins, ‘24


There are two Gatorade vending machines placed throughout the school, one in the Arcade and one next to the locker rooms under the Junior High Gym. The machines were installed in December 2018 as a part of a sponsorship between the WHHS Athletic Department and Gatorade. Bobby Keegan, ‘22 Before winter break, WHHS added new vending machines sponsored by Gatorade that feature numerous Gatorade products. The new machines have Gatorade energy drinks as well as protein shakes, protein bars and other Gatorade products. The vending machines came at the end of the second quarter. However, they were originally scheduled to arrive before the school year started, but couldn’t due to shipping issues. The Athletic Department at WHHS is sponsored by Gatorade. Outside of the new vending machines, WHHS athletic teams are also provided with Gatorade products. The sponsorship began

when the company called the Athletic Department looking to offer WHHS more products through the sponsorship. The Athletic Department accepted their offer in order to add more snack options for the students of WHHS. All of the money that is made from the vending machines is collected by the trainers and the Athletic Department and goes straight to WHHS athletics. None goes to the Gatorade company themselves. Gatorade’s new line of energy drinks, Gatorade Zero, was released in June 2018. The drink is a sugar and carb free version of the regular drink, and the Athletic Department is looking to add this product to the vending ma-

chines in the future. The Athletic Department also plans to add more protein shakes and regular energy drinks to fill up some of the empty spots in the machines right now. A large benefit of the new machines is that athletes can have a refreshing snack or drink before or after practices. But even if you do not play a sport, these new vending machines can still positively impact you and your time at school. The two new machines located in the arcade near the patio and near the locker rooms are just the beginning of WHHS’ sponsorship with Gatorade, and we may see more moves like this in the future.

Jr. High Swim takes podium


The WHHS Junior High Swim Team became the city-wide champions after winning first place in seven events. Three of the 27 WHHS junior high divers also placed in the top 10 city-wide. Bobby Keegan, ‘22 With seven first place event finishes, the WHHS Junior High Swim Team became the city-wide champion on Jan. 12. For the first time in school history, the boys came in first place with a score of 443, blowing out the second place team, Kings, by a margin of 80 points. “I was really surprised to win the championship because we had a lot of issues throughout the season, but when only 3 teams showed up to the championship, I was not expecting to lose,” Matthew Dillon, ‘23, said. The girls also put on an in-

credible performance with a third place finish and a score of 251. “It was quite the accomplishment after all the ups and downs throughout the season” Lila Flynn-Tombragel, ‘24, said. The two teams combined for a total of 814 points, good enough to take home the combined victory. Swimming can sometimes be looked at as an individual sport because most of the time the participant races by themselves; however, in this win, every part of the team needed to be there for each other. “I think part of the reason why we won was because we had

our whole team at the end of the lanes cheering for each other while all the other teams didn’t cheer as hard,” Dillon said. The winning continued in the junior high with the diving team. Out of 27 participants, WHHS had three divers in the top 10: Elleka Boeres (third), ‘23, Brynn Halbeisen (fifth), ‘24 and Milo Shrive (ninth), ‘23. “I was excited but I was surprised as well. We had very good coaching all year and I expected to do well, but coming in first overall was huge,” Shrive said.

Recently, a new device has been raising some eyebrows from people of all ages. That device is known as the JUUL. Many at WHHS know JUULs as e-cigarette devices that look like a USB drive that many people, sometimes in the bathroom or in class, use. Most of the time when you see this happen at school, however, the users are underage. In the state of Ohio, you must be 18 years or older to purchase one. When it comes down to all the factors such as price, ingredients and health, people have varying opinions about the topic. On average, someone who JUULs spends around $180 a month on supplies. This is about $58 dollars less than other ecigarettes, accoding to a survey by LendEDU, and many people are turning to these devices to keep them satisfied throughout the month at a lower cost. 48 percent of users factor the price of JUULing in with their monthly finances, according to LendEDU’s survey. A JUUL has five primary ingredients, according to their website: glycerol, propylene glycol, nicotine, benzoic acid and food-grade flavoring. Ciga-

rettes, however, have around 600 ingredients, according to the American Lung Association. While JUULs are known to be unhealthy, people have varying opinions on whether or not JUULs are better than regular cigarettes and their impact on teenagers. Two out of every ten seventh and eighth graders at WHHS have either JUULed at least once or do it on a regular basis. “It’s not good for your health. But honestly, if people want to do that to their body, then it’s their body. They can do whatever they want with it,” Sofia Smith, ‘24, said. Smith believes that people have the option to do what they want and no one can stop them. But others disagree. “It is not the smartest thing to do to yourself because it can seriously mess with your health,” Sophie Christian, ‘23, said. Christian believes that JUULing is a serious problem, especially for students her age. Christian strongly thinks young kids should work to quit JUULing. Many students have mixed opinions on JUULing. Some may think it is very bad and should be banned though others feel it is an individual decision. No matter what, it is important to never be pressured into doing something you don’t want to do.

“It is not the smartest thing to do to yourself because it can seriously mess with your health.” - Sophie Christian, ‘23



MARCH 12, 2019



Creativity and relief


How WHHS students use art as a way to relieve stress

Art can be more than decoration. “Boiling Over” by Gabriel Grimaldi, ‘22, is a visual piece that portrays an abstract representation of being overwhelmed. Amiah Heard, ‘19 There are many ways to deal with stress. Some people attend therapy sessions, listen to music, take it out through athletics or vent to friends. Others find relief through art. Resources to Recover, a website dedicated to providing information on mental health, defines art therapy as an application of the visual arts in a therapeutic context. Listed benefits of art therapy include raising self-esteem, promoting stress relief and

Grimaldi’s work has been shown at WHHS’s Fall Art Show. Grimaldi has also been featured in the Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition.

emotional release and fueling self-discovery. “I think art can calm you down when you’re feeling stressed. It’s a way to relieve what you’re feeling. A lot of people I know make ‘relief’ art,” Eva Whittenburg, ‘22, said. Angelina Backers, ‘20, said she commonly uses creating art as a coping mechanism. “[Creating art is] really nice when you’re super sad. [It gives you] something else to focus on,” Backers said. When asked about how he believes creating art can affect or benefit mental health, Gabriel

Grimaldi, ‘22, said, “Creating art helps you face your inner struggles and holds up a mirror to how you see yourself. [You can] use creativity to face the insecurities you have in your head.” One of Grimaldi’s most cathartic pieces is titled “Boiling Over.” The abstract colored pencil piece displays a girl in several pieces. “[“Boiling Over” is] a piece just about feeling stressed out and wanting to just release yourself from your worldly stresses and just create a surrealistic view of what can be next for yourself,” Grimaldi said.

Grimaldi is an AP Studio Art student. As a freshman, he is one of the youngest students in the class. Grimaldi received a Silver Key for his drawing and illustration piece in the regional 2019 Scholastic Art Awards. WHHS Art students have found a way to de-stress themselves while doing something that they love. Art therapy allows self expression through both creativity and emotion.

“Rehearsal is a place you can go to forget about everything else for two hours,” Sophia Rooksberry, ‘22, said. “It’s just you and your friends enjoying each other’s company within those four walls.” While it does serve as a separation from the school aspect of WHHS, it also keeps the aspect of the large amount of people, making it a great place to hang out with or make new friends. “There is always someone to talk to, and it is such a diverse group of people that I learn so much from everyone,” Lucia Johns, ‘22, said. On top of there being a diverse group of people involved with a show, everyone is

striving toward a common goal, to put on a great show for the audience. Whether you are the lead role or an ensemble member, you face the same challenges and rewards that every other person is facing when it comes to theater. “Whether onstage or backstage, everyone becomes so completely vulnerable, which helps them deliver an amazing performance and form long-lasting friendships,” Rooksberry said. But theater isn’t just a place where you can discover things about other people. “I recently performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Johns said. “I learned so much about myself and my abilities, and I

was only able to do that because of the support around me.” Whether you are working backstage on crew, watching from the audience or being dramatic onstage, theater can serve as a place for hundreds of people to feel like they are a part of something big, and the fact that every part is so integral to the success of the show means that no part is more important that the others. “I am grateful to the department for being a sanctuary for me in the stressful halls of Walnut,” Rooksberry said. “And I hope I stay a part of it for the rest of my time at Walnut.”


The community within theater Owen Cummings, ‘21

Theater is a powerful thing. It can make you laugh, and it can make you cry. It has the ability to withstand hundreds of years and still remain relevant, and it can alter the government’s decision to take Alexander Hamilton off the ten dollar bill. But its most distinct quality is how it can be a form of expression for those who didn’t have one before, and how it can bring hundreds of people together over one subject matter, be it on or offstage. Theater at WHHS has the same impact on people, as well as serving as a break from the stresses of high school.


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MARCH 12, 2019




Wellness Wednesday


Bringing student well-being into the classroom


This year, English teacher Margo Fisher-Bellman has incorporated discussion about mental health with Wellness Wednesdays. Even before she began Wellness Wednesday, Fisher-Bellman tried to bring positivity into her room visually. “I wanted my room to even have those words visible so that somebody could read them every day, even though that’s incredibly superficial,” she said.

Delaney Owens, ‘21 English teacher Margo Fisher-Bellman has brought student wellness into her classes by setting aside class time every Wednesday to discuss, practice and learn about mental health and wellness. Fisher- Bellman first had the idea for Wellness Wednesday in July 2018. “Ever since I had been at Walnut, I had noticed the pretty significant stress and anxiety of students… I wanted something to be visible in my classroom,” Fisher-Bellman said. “I was actually riding on the Megabus back from visiting a friend in Chicago, listening to The Hate U Give audiobook, and I thought, you know what, I need to do something,” By the time she arrived home, she had started planning and ordering materials. Throughout the year, Wellness Wednesday has included guided meditations, breathing exercises and other anxiety management techniques. Students tried a month of habit and sleep

tracking inspired by bullet journaling. Fisher-Bellman has also implemented a table top game developed by former WHHS students, which prompts groups of students to talk about mental health and their own experiences. “I think what’s really awesome, because I do it with tenth and eighth grade, is seeing even younger students take the risk to meditate in a classroom,” she said. Fisher-Bellman has also used Wellness Wednesday as an opportunity to educate students about the science behind mental health. “With students at Walnut being so academically oriented, and parents wanting rigor, I was concerned that there would be backlash among students or parents that they wouldn’t want it,” she said, “So I created a pretty significant rationale to begin with. I tried to do a lot of science based stuff to begin with, just because I thought that that might appeal more, and so we can see why we’re doing what we’re doing. But I haven’t had any pushback.” One of the first topics that the

class discussed was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a psychological theory that arranges a pyramid of basic human needs. Maslow placed physiological needs at the bottom, followed by safety, love and belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization at the top. Fisher-Bellman connected the theory to students, explaining that students can only focus on self-actualization, growth and fulfilling their potential once the other needs have been met. “I think that when you take something like meditation and illustrate the hard science behind it, like why this might be helpful, I think

In a survey conducted after first semester, 100 percent of her students said that they wanted to continue Wellness We d n e s d a y. A l -

for more depth, which I like, but it did take getting used to.” Inspired by Fisher-Bellman and their own experiences with wellness at WHHS, a few other teachers have adopted similar practices. Although the practice of Wellness Wednesday may not be viable on a school-wide level, Fisher-Bellman believes that some elements, like homework breaks, could work on a greater scale. Fisher-Bellman also supports the work of 1N5, a local organization that aims to improve the culture of mental health in schools. About a week after she stepped off the Megabus and began to p l a n Well-

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a motivational theory. Needs lower in the hierarchy must be met before those at the top.

that really speaks to Walnut kids a lot, because they want to understand,” she said.


One Wellness Wednesday activity is playing Hey, Let’s Talk, a card game made to help start productive conversations about mental health. The game was designed by ArtWorks and Interact for Health.

though some students find certain activities less helpful or comfortable, the majority reported that they take Wellness Wednesday seriously and consider it to be worthwhile. Fisher-Bellman attributes this not only to students understanding the importance of wellness, but also simply appreciating a break in their day and homework schedule. Along with in-class activities, Fisher-Bellman has committed to not assigning homework on Wednesdays. Although the adjustment was not easy, the practice has benefited students’ wellness and success. According to Fisher-Bellman, when students fell behind in the past, they struggled to catch up. The day off has resulted in more spikes in quiz scores, indicating that students are recovering from setbacks and staying on top of work. “One thing it allows is a bit more discussion about what we have read in the past and a little bit more time for group work,” Fisher-Bellman said. “It feels like that slower pace allows

ness Wednesday, Fisher-Bellman was having breakfast in a cafe where she overheard a conversation about student wellness. That is how she met Nancy Eigel-Miller, the executive director of 1N5. The two stayed in contact, and 1N5 has extended its efforts to WHHS this year. Fisher-Bellman attributes the success of this partnership to the involvement of Assistant Principal Ashley Thomas-Morgan. As WHHS continues to pursue improved student well-being, Wellness Wednesday is one example of how progress can start in the classroom. Though it has become a weekly ritual, it began with one person’s desire to make an impact. “I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed and exhausted and sad and anxious. And I think that we don’t talk about it enough, and when we isolate it, we feel worse about it,” Fisher-Bellman said. “It just all felt like it was the right time.”




MARCH 12, 2019



The parents behind the papers


Kate Burroughs strongly believes in what the Writing Center does, and it’s importance to the students at WHHS. “This is the time for students to get the practice and enhance their skills,” Burroughs said. Abigail Jay, ‘21 The Writing Center, located in room 3301, is a facility at WHHS that exists to help students improve their writing, from essays to resumes to college essays. “The Writing Center is a judgement free zone, and everyone in there, from the staff to the volunteers, is there to help support the students wherever they are in their writing abilities, and to coach them to enhance their skills,” Kate Burroughs, a parent volunteer at the Writing Center, said. The Writing Center is directed by Dr. Cynthia Carlton-Ford, and is made up of people dedicated to helping students, from volunteers to retired teachers. Two of these volunteers, Gina Petonito and Kate Burroughs, are parents of current WHHS students. Petonito is one of the parents who volunteers in the Writing Center, and has volunteered since 2014. She first learned of the Writing Center through her son, SENIOR Abdul-Rahman Smari. She comes in once a

week, and helps edit students’ works, from college application essays to research papers. Petonito has been passionate about writing for most of her life. “I take workshops on writing, I study writing, I read books on writing, I go to conferences on writing, it’s really a big, big part of my life,” Petonito said. Petonito was an assistant editor of the multi volume collection American Legislative Leaders in the Northeast. She spent years editing these volumes, line by line. In addition, Petonito writes scholarly articles for academic journals and is currently writing a novel, titled Coming Home. These works that she writes herself, she also edits herself. “I would say that things that I publish, I probably


Gina Petonito has been editing writing for decades, and knows what universities and professors look for in essays. “I don’t like a lot of extra words. I like just the words that you need to convey the point, and I also work a lot on the correct word that best conveys the point,” Petonito said. edit eight times, at least,” Petonito said. Petonito first took an interest in volunteering at the Writing Center due to her experience in the services that the Writing Center offers: editing and writing tips. “I thought that I would volunteer my time and my expertise,” Petonito said. Outside of the Writing Center, Petonito is a sociology professor at Miami University. She spends a large amount of time teaching her students how to write in class. She is also a volunteer judge of the WHHS Science Fair. Kate Burroughs is the second parent who volunteers at the Writing Center and also a WHHS alumna. She has been volunteering there for a year and a half. Burroughs also learned of the Writing Center through her child, when her son was sent

“By being here, even my writing has gotten better because of the kids pushing me with their ideas, interesting thoughts and conversations.” - Kate Burroughs, Writing Center Volunteer

to the Writing Center as a seventh grader. She wanted to contribute to the school that her children attended, and volunteer in some way. “The Writing Center was a good fit for me to work directly with the students doing something that I enjoy, which is writing, and that is incredibly important,” Burroughs said. Burroughs loves helping the kids at the Writing Center, and also gains a lot from it. “I’m not the writer that I was two years ago, before I started here. Because by being here, even my writing has gotten better because of the kids pushing me with their ideas, interesting thoughts and conversations that I’ve had with them that have made me think about how I write something,” Burroughs said. Outside of the Writing Center, Burroughs is an attorney. She is currently General Counsel and Vice President of Client Services for Sales Genesis, a company that she started with her husband. Burroughs and Petonito are integral parts of the Writing Center, and provide invaluable help to hundreds of students in their writing.

Being fair to natural hair


What My’Dia Cruz,‘22 and Yazmeen Campbell, ‘22 like most about their natural hair is the versatility and expression. “I like that I can do whatever I want with it,” Cruz said. “If I want to go to the beach all I have to do is get box braids.” Chyna Smith, ‘22 On Feb. 20, 2019, the New York Committee of Human Rights declared that companies are forbidden from discriminating against individuals based on their hairstyle. Black men and women have been discriminated against for wearing their natural hair throughout U.S. history, but only now a law has passed preventing further discrimination. Though it may not be the most appar-

ent form of discrimination, unfair treatment against African Americans for their hairstyle commonly plays a role in implicit persecution. Many black women have normalized getting relaxers and straightening their hair to look “professional,” believing hairstyles other than their own lead to a higher chance of being hired. Tanya Ficklin, a WHHS guidance counselor for grades 10-12, shared her thoughts. “I’m excited that [the law] was passed. But

I’m very frustrated that it had to be passed. I don’t think it’s fair that natural is something that you have to have a lot [of] permission to be who you are,” Ficklin said. Ficklin also considered why this discrimination still exists. “It’s very frustrating. I think it goes back way way back to when we first (we being the African American people) began to assimilate. That became the natural, that became the norm, that became the expected,” she said. “And then when we

decided to express ourselves and love ourselves it became an issue, and now in order for us to be who we are, you have to have a law that says you can be you. We don’t have to have a law that says you can mimic someone else, so I’m frustrated that it has to be laid out but I’m excited it took place.” Nevaeh Ward, ‘20, also shared her thoughts. “I think it’s ridiculous how late it is [but] I am glad the law was passed,” Ward said. Ficklin also discussed the idea that black women have to straighten their hair to be seen as professional. “I don’t have a negative feeling. Either way, my thing is whatever is comfortable for you is comfortable for you,” Ficklin said. “If natural is what works for you. And if natural is straightening your hair, it is what works for you. I think it’s unfortunate that our sense of beauty is attached to European beauty and not attached to who we are.” Ficklin continued with this idea of individual choice with people’s hair. “It truly depends upon the person and if you can manage your natural hair or not,” Ficklin said. “Let’s be honest: it’s not something easy to manage for everyone just like straightened hair is not something easy for everyone to manage. It has to be what works for you.” Ward said, “It didn’t occur to me that it was problematic, but once I started to notice that it is, it bothered me and opened my eyes a little bit about the situation.” No matter one’s opinion, the New York law is a significant step in combating discrimination against African Americans.


MARCH 12, 2019





Escape the Maze!

What are your plans for spring break?


“I am going to take a tour of University of Pennsylvania over spring break.” - Abby Schwartz, ‘20


“I think I am going to New York over spring break.” - Lily Koontz, ‘23


“I am going to Washington D.C. to visit American University and Philadelphia to visit Temple University.” - Anna Carli, ‘20


“I am going to South Carolina to visit my family.” - Madison Barnes, ‘21

Spring Word Search!

Easter Flowers Springbreak Pollen

Ocean Vacation Water Allergies


Profile for WHHS Chatterbox

The Chatterbox - Mar. 12, 2019 - CXIII.10  

The Chatterbox is the student news publication of Walnut Hills High School, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Chatterbox - Mar. 12, 2019 - CXIII.10  

The Chatterbox is the student news publication of Walnut Hills High School, Cincinnati, Ohio.