The Paw Print 47:1

Page 1

Wilde Lake’s

THE PAW PRINT Spring 2020 • Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd. Columbia, MD 21044 • Volume 47 Issue 1

Ms. Leonard Unites School Around Ohana Vision BY SARAH RUBIN Editor-in-Chief Wilde Lake knew Ms. Leonard was different when she wore her high school Homecoming dress to school during Homecoming week. On another spirit day the same week, she wore a football uniform. Since day one, she has been Wilde Lake’s head cheerleader, and has already left an undeniable impact on the school. In the 2019-2020 school year, she has already raised expectations of students by encouraging them to take upper level classes, and has turned the school into the community’s center. She has raised teacher approval ratings, and united the school around her central vision of “Ohana.” Ms. Leonard began as Principal at Wilde Lake High School over the summer, ready to get started. One of these many propositions included, what she calls, the “Wilde Cat Way.” Ohana is a piece of a three-part vision she has - the Wilde Cat Way. “The first section is Ohana; that everyone understands that we are members of an extended community and family by being a part of Wilde Lake,” she says. She continues, “We are, at heart, an education institution, so the second part is our equitable learning community, where we create wonderful learning experiences for students, and also identify where there might be achievement gaps between students or student groups, and we address those so that we can eliminate them.” “And, finally, the third part is the

Ms. Leonard’s “Ohana” vision is represented by the intersection of the three ideas above.

“find your purpose” and “create your path” vision, and the goal is that every student that graduates has an actual plan for after graduation that is already ready to go,” she says. “So, whether that’s a college acceptance, technical school acceptance, military enlistment, or a high wage job offer [meaning it includes health benefits], when students earn their diploma, it’s more than high school as an end, and it’s the beginning of whatever might come next.” Ms. Leonard also brings up the boundary review process and the fact that it forces us to question how we can better connect everyone from different backgrounds. She says, Her

main goal with this is to delve deeper into the ways people are feeling about how this community is portrayed and perceived throughout the county, and what others’ perceptions are about Wilde Lake. Understanding opposing perspectives will help raise up the school, she argues, making it the best place it can be. Furthermore, she hopes that, through discussion, the reality of Wilde Lake will be revealed and negative stereotypes will be exposed. “There’s an old leadership construct,” she mentions, “Start, Stop, Continue. It promotes the idea of what we should start doing that could be helpful, what should we stop doing

Rise Up: Paving The Pathway To Success BY DEVIN GARCIA Staff Writer


his year, Wilde Lake is pioneering a new program that is encouraging students to rise up a level in at least one subject, to help them achieve their full potential. Wilde Lake principal, Ms. Leonard, has been the driving force encouraging students to rise up. In her previous position as principal of Hammond High School, she promoted the same program. During her tenure there, Hammond produced the largest number of Ivy League graduates in the state. “What we find is that students who take more challenging courses have the access to the critical thinking skills, the critical writing skills, and the critical reading skills that will help them meet success at whatever they want to do after they leave Wilde Lake, whether it’s college, trade or technical school, the military or a high wage job,” Ms. Leonard said. The program is designed around the principle that taking higher-level classes in high school will enable students to gain the skills necessary to take on difficult tasks in the future. Ms. Volpe, a U.S. History teacher at Wilde Lake, said, “I

think students should challenge themselves no matter what. Whatever life plans you have, you will have to face challenges, and hard classes can prepare you for the difficulties you face both in future education and in life.” The Rise Up program isn’t designed to move students up in all of their classes. Instead, they’re encouraged to choose a subject they’re passionate about and willing to work harder in. “In high school, I didn’t have the same skill set in math and English,” English teacher Ms. Kostelec said. “So, I didn’t move up in math, but I felt happier because I put more time and energy towards English, the subject I had an aptitude for.” Although moving up a level can seem daunting, many students are willing to give it a shot in one class. Wilde Lake freshman, Farshad Mobasheri said, “A lot of my teachers told me I should rise up a level in at least one subject next year, and I felt like I should take English honors because this year I took regular English and it was easy for me.” Ultimately, teachers hope that students will challenge themselves and rise up a level, because they want to see students become successful and always try their hardest.

What is Rise Up!? Rise Up! encourages every student to take one higher level course in one subject next year. Why Rise Up? Rising up gives students access to higher level critical thinking skills, preparing them for college and careers.

because it doesn’t make sense anymore, and what we should continue doing because it’s working well.” Ms. Leonard aims to increasingly engage the community, connecting with everyone more than ever before. “I find that one of the most important things is that everybody inside and outside of Wilde Lake knows how amazing our school is - that’s one of my main goals.” Having worked at Wilde Lake for 26 years, she moved around in the county for a bit for her job before returning. Ms. Leonard says, “The people are always the best part about the Lake; it has been since I was here as a teacher. They’re such amazing students, staff members, family members, and a community who just bring a whole lot of love and talent to this space. I love that we wrap our arms around people who may be in need spiritually, socially, emotionally, economically; I’d love to continue doing that work.”


Free and Reduced Meals Services offers much more to students and families than just a simple breakfast or lunch. BY SARAH RUBIN Editor-in-Chief


n the first day of school, students are bombarded with what feels like hundreds of different papers, all promoting sports, clubs, extracurriculars, and school-sponsored events. However, one of those commonly disregarded papers is far more important than students realize: The Food and Nutrition Services sheet. The National School Lunch program is federally funded, and all meals are made to be nutritionally balanced for students each day. FARMS includes menus meeting the requirements of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs set by the United States Department of Agriculture. FARMS is set to be a healthy alternative for students who may have little or no food to eat, and for families struggling to afford breakfast or lunch for their children who are HCPSS students. However, signing up for the Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS) program provides students with opportunities

far beyond discounted meals. What many don’t know is that when a student applies for FARMS, they are also then eligible for free or discounted tuition at Howard Community College, discounts on taking the SAT, ACT, and AP exams, as well as discounts for Howard County camps, sports, and childcare, extending through the school year and over the summer. Ms. Shaw, a guidance counselor at Wilde Lake, speaks on the benefits of Free and Reduced Meals. “It provides a service for kids whose families aren’t able to afford the school’s breakfasts and lunches on a daily basis,” she says. “We speak about it a lot in our meetings, because everyone should really be aware of its benefits.” There are many families eligible for the FARMS program and all of its benefits who are simply unaware of and all the benefits it can provide. For more information on how to apply, or other benefits of signing up for FARMS, go to or call 410313-6738. There is always someone available to help, as long as you reach out and look.




Ms. Keck: Continuing to Inspire Beyond the Classroom

Meditation and Mindfulness: Building Healthier Classrooms BY SARAH RUBIN Editor-in-Chief


our feet are firmly planted on the floor, pushing down. Your spine is straight against the back of the chair, posture perfect. Your eyes are closed, and you feel enveloped by the darkness, as if it were a blanket wrapped around you from head to toe. The room is silent except for the voice emitting from the speakers, asking you gently to relax, and patiently let your mind wander. This is meditation, and it’s practiced by all kinds of people all over the world. However, it’s also used by Wilde Lake High School chemistry teacher, Ms. Ridlon, who takes the time to meditate and practice mindfulness exercises with her students, giving them time to relax that they may not be able to attain anywhere else. Having moved to Maryland from Connecticut, Ms. Ridlon also brought along some other teaching practices, such as giving students varying performance tasks in place of multiple choice tests. “I found that when you give kids a choice, they second guess their answer, and it’s more confusing than it needs to be,” she says. “I think it’s awesome, because she does different types of it - from creative assessments to voice memos. For me personally, wanting to be a teacher, it’s what I think is the better option in comparison to normal testing,” says junior Bridget Tiffey. “It plays to each student’s strengths, which is amazing.” While in Connecticut, Ms. Ridlon worked at an inner city school, and she found that the

BY SARAH RUBIN Editor-in-Chief


stress levels were very high, so she searched for different ways to try and help her students as much as she could. “The hallways were a big trigger for a lot of kids because of the noise, fights, or drama,” she says, “ I looked into some things, and when I stumbled upon meditation, I thought it’d be a good idea.” She had already used it personally for the past six or seven years, but never in a group setting. “I reached out to another person I worked with who I knew was big into meditation and she helped me integrate it into the classroom,” she says. Ms. Ridlon also went to trainings from the Holistic Life Foundation when they were in Connecticut, where she learned different types of breathing techniques, and brought those to her classroom. “High school is a super anxious place to be, no matter what class level you’re in or what kind of stress it is,” she says. “Stress is stress, and it will affect you either

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way. Just sitting down and taking a second, not feeling rushed, and giving yourself that minute to breathe, I find is very helpful.” Junior Sydney Cox says, “People find it sort of weird at first I think - it’s a rather unorthodox thing to do in school as far as what students are used to in the past.” However, she personally really likes it because she has little to no time to destress at home or by herself because of how busy she is. “So, integrating that into our school day and our classes are extremely beneficial, and it gives me time to decompress before one of my more stressful classes of the day,” she says. You open your eyes, and breathe in the cool air. Feeling refreshed, the bell rings, and you move to your next room. In the classroom, especially in high school, meditation and mindfulness exercises can greatly aid students in reducing stress, and Ms. Ridlon is one teacher beginning to take these steps towards a healthier school environment.

cheerful smile on her face, Ms. Keck stands beside her door, waving at students as they pass her with happy greetings in the hallway. She welcomes them into her classroom, some slightly newer faces, but some from the past as well. Having moved to Wilde Lake from Harper’s Choice Middle, Ms. Keck is a friendly familiar face always excited to teach. After working at Harper’s Choice for the first six years of her teaching career, Ms. Keck felt like it was time for a change. “I’ve always wanted to teach high school,” she says, “...and I didn’t want to leave the community, because I love my students and their families.” Growing up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Ms. Keck found that school was like a safe haven for her. Though her older siblings didn’t have the same positive experiences with school that she did, she took note of that, and used it to become a teacher that provides a comfortable and supportive experience for kids. She says, “I’ve always loved reading and writing, and how it can teach you about people from different backgrounds, giving them a better understanding of one another.” Ms. Keck loves to have discussions with her students, whether it be about something they’ve learned in class, a book they read in their free time, or even just how they’ve been doing day-to-day. Ms. Keck loves to give them a chance to contribute their own ideas, and notices that teachers might even surprise themselves with what they can learn from their students. “I love building relationships with students, and seeing them grow over the years,” she says. Junior Maddy Feldwick is currently in Ms. Keck’s English class, but also had her as a teacher back in eighth grade at Harper’s Choice. “Ms. Keck has changed my life by being an adult I know I can always go to whenever I need her,” she says. “She’s so understanding and loving to everyone, and I can’t thank her enough.” Reuniting with students she’s taught in the past, and meeting new ones is one of Ms. Keck’s favorite parts being at The Lake, finding it to be a truly wonderful environment so far. She says, “I just love Wilde Lake’s spirit, and all of the excitement and energy that comes with it. Being a part of this community is such a privilege, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Step Program Allows “The Blounts” To Howard County including performing at job Express Themselves out fairs, cultural showcases, elementary schools, talent showcases, and pep rallies. The structure of the

The Step Team after their performance at Long Fellow Elementary School for their culture day celebration.


ating back to African slave dances and movement patterns obtained through popular R&B songs, step is more than just “stomping your feet”. Here at Wilde Lake, Step gives students an opportunity to use their body as an instrument to produce music, rhythms, and sounds. The Wilde Lake Step Program was founded three years ago by paraeducator Mr. Blount. “The whole basis behind starting the step team was allowing students to be themselves,” Mr. Blount says. “I believe that school generally slowly strips away expression, youthful energy, and above all, individuality. Step grants students the space to not lose themselves as they encounter the struggles of adolescence.” The team participates in various events through-

program is broken down into two groups: Green and Gold with a single captain. The captain works with certain members to create and teach steps. The program is hoping to expand to include a “Master of Arms” who will be in charge of leading stretches, drills, and other workouts. For many students, the relationships built in step surpass what is found on an ordinary team or extracurricular. Sophomore Tatianna Nelson, who joined step this year, has found her place on the team as she feels the program has welcomed her wonderfully into their big family. “Our step family is beautifully dysfunctional,” says Mr. Blount. “There are so many colorful personalities that are constantly at war with each other. But they find a way to meld into something special when the time comes.” The family-like environment has also given students the tools and drive to work through issues both in and out of school. Sophomore Valeria Garcia says “Step has given me the motivation to persevere through my challenges and overcome them.” Members of the team will jokingly refer to themselves as “the Blounts,” a reference to the father figure that advisor Mr. Blount provides to them. Despite the clashing personalities within the program, they all come together to celebrate the fact that students from all grades, backgrounds, and experience levels work as a group to make the team possible. “Step just fits me,” said sophomore Alexis Anderson, who joined the step team without any prior experience. Now in her second year, Anderson is considered a “veteran” and says that, “step is a very good extracurricular activity for me.” “All I want from the members of step is to learn that it is okay to be themselves and that they should always strive to be the best version of themselves,” Mr. Blount saind. “We often try to change or restrict people, and I want them to fight against that.”




Male Mental Health Suffers From Standards of Masculinity



nce, a friend told me that he was tired of life. He has since been through therapy and medication, and has improved immensely, but it took a lot of support to get there. However, one of the most striking things I remember him saying was that he did not want to feel weak by asking for help. Societal standards for men often dictate that they should not express emotion or ask for help from others. Statistics show that 75% of suicides in the US are male, yet they are less likely to be diagnosed with mental health disorders, like depression. One Wilde Lake male student has been struggling with mental health recently, and often finds it difficult to reach out for help. His façade of a happy exterior has begun to crack, but it’s not easy to talk about his feelings. “There’s societal pressure not to let yourself feel,” he says. “It doesn’t feel like it’s okay not to be okay.” Even around people you know, it is not always easy to ask for support. “[My mental health] got worse within the last year, and especially in the beginning, I was embarrassed, even around friends who have experienced very similar things,” the student said, face shielded by the hood of his sweatshirt. School psychologist, Dr. Chandra McKnight-Dean, sees a number of students with different mental health concerns. She has seen that female students are more likely to self-refer themselves than males. “Society really hasn’t made it okay for boys to [express emotions]. So, they either hold it in or they act out because they don’t know what to do with their emotions,” she says. Her advice to anyone struggling with mental

health is that you can’t do nothing. “Especially in Howard County and Columbia, we have a wealth of support and resources for kids, in school and outside,” she explains. “So, definitely tell someone.” Kaleb Afework, Wilde Lake senior, has noticed some of his friends, particularly male, having trouble with mental health issues, but doesn’t always know how to help. “I have many friends who have struggled with

JumpStart Offers Alternative to Combat Soaring College Costs

mental health issues, but I often feel that I am powerless to help them. It is hard for people to express their mental health issues, because it’s almost taboo to talk about,” he says. Another Wilde Lake student had trouble discussing the topic and wanted to move to an area away from anyone who could hear, to be interviewed. Recently, he has felt happier, but reflecting on his past struggles brings back memories of feeling weak or helpless. “Maybe it’s a guy thing, but me personally, at least, I don’t want to feel like I need help from everybody to just function,” he says. “There are a select few people I have no problem talking to but seeking professional help, that’s harder.” All the students agree that the stigma on mental health makes it more difficult to express their feelings, especially in males. “If there were a place where you could talk with other people experiencing the same thing- having an example to follow- would be helpful,” one student says. Another explains, “If it is taught and accepted by schools and families that mental [illness] in males is something that you have to deal with, that’s how things become less taboo.” At Wilde Lake, a new group called Active Minds has formed, with exactly this purpose. The goal of this group is to destigmatize conversations about mental health. Students can learn coping skills, like meditating and journaling. Dr. Mcknight-Dean hopes that this group could help students begin to open up about their mental health. “Maybe then, people will see that, yes, they have something, and they will be able to come and talk,” she says. Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 Self-Harm Text Hotline: 741-741

Umoja: “I am because we are. We are because I am.” BY AMY BATMUNKH Staff Writer


According to the International Journal of Education Research, 98% of dual-enrollment credits, like ones earned at HCC, will transfer to a post-secondary institution, but only 42% of AP credits will. PHOTO BY: Rebecca Nason

BY REBECCA NASON Editor-in-Chief


n the spring of 2021 Bryan Cheung, a junior at Centennial High School, will become the first person in his family to graduate from college. He is earning his high school diploma and his Associates Degree in Engineering simultaneous through the JumpStart program. “I’m excited to be able to experience college life as a first-generation student while experiencing high school at the same time,” he says. As the cost of college continues to rise and more students look for alternatives to traditional four-year college, a new county-wide dual-enrollment program is offering a low-cost option. Students have the opportunity to choose from over a hundred courses at Howard Community College (HCC) that count toward both high school and college graduation. The program, called JumpStart, was initially introduced to reduce overcrowding at a few schools in the county. Due to its success, JumpStart has now been introduced at every high school in the county, and program options range from highly structured four-year plans to flexible options during student’s senior year. “JumpStart is a program that is constantly evolving,” Rebecca Morrow, an HCC academic and dual-enrollment advisor, said. “In 2019, JumpStart had a 48% increase in the number of students participating from the previous year and we expect the program to continue to grow.”

Students can participate in one of four basic tracks: high school-based college credit, HCC campus-based college credit, early college 30 credit, and early college 60 credits, which allows students to graduate with their Associate Degree. Cole Zeder, a senior at Howard High School, decided to give the JumpStart program a try to get a head start on college credits. He’d always planned to attend the University of Maryland (UMD) after graduation and an agreement between HCC and UMD guarantees graduates of the community college admission to the university if they maintain a 3.0 GPA. Furthermore, HCPSS students are eligible for 50 percent off HCC tuition, and tuition is waived for students who qualify for Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs). “I plan to attend HCC for another year or so to get basic credits out of the way for cheap,” Zeder said, “Then I’ll transfer to College Park.” Transfer credits weren’t Zeder’s only motivation for participating in the program though. Zeder’s only HCPSS class this year was the Applied Research Laboratory’s (ARLs) architecture course, because “I wasn’t enjoying high school at all,” he said. “Joining the JumpStart program gave me the opportunity to start over with new people.” “The JumpStart program has had a huge impact on my life,” Alec McNamara concludes. “The flexibility of my schedule and the independence it grants me has made a huge impact on my performance in school and the quality of my education.”

he kente is a fabric made of cotton and silk originating in Ghana. It is a royal and almost holy cloth worn only for important events. The kente decorates room 235 at Wilde Lake High School, but also graduating students who are members of the Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) in Howard County. Senior Godswill Enomanna believes the meditations practiced in BSAP meetings are very important and helpful. “The meditations are very beneficial for my mental health,” he says. “I feel like I can focus and they just keep me from crashing at the end of the day.” Not only does BSAP aid students in mindfulness, it provides a family-like environment has for his students. “I’ve noticed through mentoring and through relationship-building the students have been able to have more confidence and to take risks,” he says. Students involved in BSAP are deeply impacted by the tightknit “family” that the group is. Pictures of graduates that participated in BSAP line the wall at Mr. Nicks’ desk. Black student groups like the Black

BSAP advisor shakes hands with a student in his kente covered classroom, surrounded by photos of students who have come before.

Student Union (BSU) and Black Student Movement (BSM) were created in universities throughout America during the 1960s, a time where the country was dangerously divided by race. These groups wanted to bring attention to the problems they faced as black students, like integration and even admissions processes. The BSAP in Howard County was established in 1986 to eliminate the achievement gap between black students and the general student population. Goals of BSAP include helping black students become college and career ready, excel as leaders, and overcome

the challenges of the 21st century. The colorful and meaningful kente cloth that is worn by graduates all over the nation is a reminder not only of ethnic pride, but of Mr. Nicks’ room 235, a place where students can ensure they aren’t overwhelming themselves, and strengthen their bond with their peers and Mr. Nicks. As a wooden “Family” sign greets anyone approaching Mr. Nicks’ desk, the importance and effects of BSAP are clear. “It not only gives me knowledge,” Godswill says, “but a family of culture that I’ve never experienced before in my life.”

Wilde Lake: The Center Students Reflect on Redistricting


Bold Redistricting Plan is Re


n Facebook, Twitter, and even along the paths of Columbia, parents have made their opinions on redistricting clear. Armed with signs, t-shirts, and angry Facebook posts, their voices can sometimes overshadow those of the students. For many students, parent conversations about real estate prices and test scores gloss over the issues they are most worried about: disrupting their sense of community and having to leave friends and teachers behind. Will Brewster, a sophomore from River Hill, rarely talks about redistricting with his friends, he says, except sometimes to discuss the ridiculous comments made by parents. “I’ve heard a lot of things about redistricting,” says Brewster, “...but none of them affect my opinion of other schools.” Libby Kitzinger, another River Hill student, reinforces the idea that the negative images portrayed in the community are unnecessary. Her worries related to redistricting are more focused on her social life. “No one is upset about the new school they are transferring into, but more about the school they are leaving,” she says. Her main concern about moving to another school would be being separated from her friends and community, especially her soccer team. “There is no problem with the teaching or athletics at any school,” Kitzinger explains. “However the change, for example, from one team to another- while the teams may be the same level, the bond between players and coaches will have to be rebuilt.” While many students voiced their concerns about moving to Wilde Lake, just as many do not want to leave. Wilde Lake sophomore, Ariana Fernandez, believes that redistricting would be difficult for her because meeting new people can be challenging; she does not want her social life to change.

“I’ll be separated from all my friends that I’ve grown up with, and I’ll also be separated from all the teachers I’ve formed relationships with. I don’t want to be moved to another school just to please some numbers, or to satisfy some statistic.” - Ariana Fernandes Ella Hollida, another sophomore from Wilde Lake, would likely not end up being redistricted under the current plan, but her brothers could be. “I would be pretty upset if my brothers would have to move to another high school other than my school,” Hollida says. “I would be pretty upset if they couldn’t go to the same high school and have some of the same experiences I did.” Her time at Wilde Lake has been positive, and she wants her brothers to have the same experience. “Wilde Lake is portrayed in a very bad light. Things are being said that are rude and cruel towards a school in the same county,” she says. From students all over the county, one thing is clear: moving kids from their schools and communities is an area of concern. At schools such as Mt. Hebron, students express their worries through testimonials to the Board of Education. Jacob Hoff, a Mt. Hebron sophomore, is mainly worried about disruptions in his community, Valley Meade. “My neighborhood has attended St. John’s Lane, Patapsco, and Mt. Hebron since they opened, Hoff says. “That’s been over 50 years. We are one community.” Another Mt. Hebron student, Logan Dunn, believes that high school is an important time to establish connections with others, and kids should not be moved in the midst of it. “High school is not the time to be moving kids,” Dunn explains. “We’ve worked hard on our relationships with counselors, teachers, and students.”

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Howard County pologons, with school boundary lines. BY REBECCA NASON Editor-in-Chief


ollowing countywide uproar, on November 21 the school board elected to revise Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano’s bold redistricting plan. The proposed plan didn’t simply address overcrowding, which is the traditional function of redistricting. Instead, it also aimed to more evenly distribute the number of Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs) students at any given school in order to address economic inequality and segregation in Howard County schools. However, community backlash, largely from River Hill families, pressured the county to change the proposal. Under the final plan, no students are moving in or out of Wilde Lake High School. Wilde Lake Principal, Ms. Leonard, supported the redistricting proposal. “Research has demonstrated that attending diverse schools is advantageous for all the students

in that school,” she said. “And that’s true whether that student has more resources or fewer resources.” However, River Hill sophomore Libby Kitzinger was opposed to the redistricting plan, saying, “Quite often no one is upset about the new school they’re transferring into, but more upset about the school they are leaving. Howard County is filled with good schools, however, once you get attached to a community, it can be upsetting to many that they will no longer be going to school with the same people, coaches, or teachers.” Although many families are upset about the emotional toll that redistricting could take on their children, the fact that, according to the New York Times, more than half of the nation’s students attend segregated schools is impossible to ignore. Board member Dr. Jones, said that, “While Howard County as a whole is diverse, it is true that, given FARMs rates, schools are segregated. That is not a claim or an opinion or a feeling, it’s a fact.” According to New York Times journalist,

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However, Eric ally renowned ed New York Time alumni, is unsur sion. After cover Landry college effect of drinkin students from F “The [education low a group of st Wilde Lake to g Hill.” “I don’t like h ilies seem to thi good school,” W Smart said. “I j come together, aren’t as bad as t regardless of our

Redistricting: A Past BY SARAH RUBIN Editor-in-Chief


edistricting has been a prevalent issue in Howard County since before 1993, with parents and students alike fighting tooth and nail for the right to an education. With officials constantly rethinking the lines they’ve drawn, families have often gotten separated, or moved away from the friends and teachers they know in the middle of their elementary to high school career. More than just being moved around, redistricting is often a result of gerrymandering; keeping certain ethnic groups or people of specific socioeconomic groups in the same schools. Many parents have been fighting for this to change - for people to stop discriminating against students based on things out of their control, and to give everyone the opportunity for an equal education. Though there have been numerous court cases that set the precedent for districting in schools, and laws against segregation, this sort of biased boundary setting is evident all over the country. Large cities such as New York have struggled with issues of racial redistricting, but many people have found it ironic that Howard County, a patently tolerant county, is facing these same issues. At Glenelg High School, 73% of the student body is white as of the 2019-2020 school year, whereas at Wilde Lake, that same percentage measures to 25%. There also arises the issue of busing. During a visit to Wilde Lake High School, Joan Hash, a former student of Harriet Tubman High School, explained that in the past

Image of the 1993 Wilde Lake Paw Print newspape there was only one high school for all of the African American students in Howard County, and two for the white students. With only one bus to transport all of the African American students in the county to the high school, the ride could often take over

of a Redistricting Battle


n, who wrote a piece on reHoward County, “Some of of the plan really believe it’s and I think for some indinot be,” she said. “But the re very deep implications nd race to what this plan

f the board’s decision, Ms. hopes for solutions. “We creasingly segregated as a based on patterns of housveloped in Howard Counseveral decades,” she says.

n addressing rcrowding, if multaneously e opportuniddress equity, n opportunity uld take ge of.”

ca Green, who is a nationducation journalist for the es and a proud Wilde Lake rprised by the board deciring stories from the T.M. admission scandal to the ng lead-tainted water on Flint, Michigan she said, n] system would never altudents from a school like go to a school like River

how some River Hill famink that Wilde Lake isn’t a Wilde Lake senior Viviana just wish everyone would because we [Wilde Lake] they seem to think we are, r income level.”

Joan Hash Unveils Forgotten History of Harriet Tubman High School BY SARAH RUBIN Editor-in-Chief



Joan Hash. Photo by Sarah Rubin

“The story of Harriet Tubman High School is a story of denial, defiance, and deliverance,” she says. The school’s students only ever got the “leftovers” from the two other high schools in the county at the time - Glenelg and Centennial. All textbooks, lab equipment, and any other classroom necessities were received as hand-me-downs from the other schools, only after they’d gotten new supplies. Students at Harriet Tubman had to fight each day for the opportunity to get an education, going to rallies and protests just to be allowed to continue going to school.

Hash also mentioned that participation in extracurriculars, though highly encouraged, was unrealistic for many students, as the distance to and from the school was too great to travel for families with already limited resources. Some morning bus rides to the school alone took close to or longer than an hour, as there was only one bus to carry all the students that went to Harriet Tubman High. However, she also mentioned that the atmosphere in the school was great, even though they didn’t have a lot in terms of materials. “Sometimes struggle is good,” she says, “... because it teaches you to appreciate.” Since graduating, Hash has gone on to become a renowned chemist, and she enjoys speaking at school when the opportunity arises. She says, “I enjoy telling personal stories so people can connect, and hopefully take something away from the life that I’ve led.”

and Present Problem

er, regarding the redistricting controversies. an hour. With the increased population of Howard County, there are now many more schools and buses. However, numerous people believe it would make sense just to go to the closest school to their home. Even so, this view ignores the population

BY REBECCA NASON Editor-in-Chief

edistricting- although often presented as a merely numerical issue- prompted emotional, and often angry, responses from seemingly many. However, with the rampant use of social media and large amount of press coverage the issue has, arguably, been blown out of proportion. Questions concerning the definition of diversity, however, seem impossible with the inevitable descent into name-calling and squabbling. Despite this division, school leaders are calling for unity and active dialogue. A major issue for many is the definition of diversity. In spoken testimony given on September 26th in response to CR112, which calls for the integration of Howard County schools, Clarksville resident, Ninghai Sun said, “Kids of different colors, including mine, take the same bus to the same school and study in the same classroom and play games in the same playground. I’m confused where the segregation emphasized in CR112 is coming from.”

illed to the brim with exhaustion, she got up for school at five in the morning. The bus ride was long, and she used it to get some extra rest, or sometimes to catch up on homework. In school, the days were long, with some classrooms that lacked resources, and others that were moldy and falling apart. Though she wanted to learn and try new things, simply existing was enough to deny her those privileges that some other students could take advantage of. Joan Hash, one of the fifty students from the final graduating class of Harriet Tubman High School in Columbia, Maryland, came to Wilde Lake on February 20, 2020, to speak to students about the challenges she faced growing up in a completely segregated Howard County. Though it seems like that would be a long time in the past, she graduated in 1965, which was only fifty-five years ago.

“The story of Harriet Tubman High School is a story of denial, defiance, and deliverance.” - Joan Hash

Redistricting Controversy Brings Angry, Ugly, Racist Rhetoric

density of different parts of the county. When drawing school lines, high population has to be taken into account, meaning that some students may have to travel to a farther school in order to balance out the population. Additionally, moving students around from school to school could have quite a large impact on their mental health, never minding the difficulties of just being a teen in past or current societies. When a child forms a bond, especially at a young age, that is one of the most important things to them, as it should be. Bonds with friends are similar to bonds with parents in that they give a person something to connect with, someone to relate to, and increases their endorphin levels, which in turn improves general happiness and well-being. However, when that bond is forcibly taken away, and students are shoved into a new environment surrounded by people who may already have formed these lasting bonds, it can be stressful, anxiety-inducing, and even lead to symptoms of depression. There are many things to consider when taking on the subject of redistricting - there always have been. Many of these questions of the past have arisen now, with all the talk of redistricting once again in Howard County. Nevertheless, only time can tell which changes will be made, whether it’s for better or for worse.

“I can’t speak to what causes people to post on social media or post negativity on social media, that’s certainly an individual choice. But posting on social media is exclamatory statements, it’s not engaging in dialogue and it’s not engaging in learning and what we are doing [through restorative circles] is choosing to engage in dialogue and learning.” - Principal Leonard Board member Dr. Jones took a different stance on what diversity means, citing that, when looking at data on FARMs rates and socioeconomic factors Howard County schools are undeniably segregated. While this rhetoric is possible in the controlled, three-minute time slots allotted in testimony given before the board online the conversation gets a lot uglier. Although cyberbullying is seen as an issue for younger generations the Facebook group Howard County Redistricting Opposition arguably often falls into the category. A user marked as a rising star by the group, posted on November 2nd “Who wants to be led by imbeciles? Anyone with a brain will research and avoid [Howard County].” “I can’t speak to what causes people to post on social media or post negativity on social media, that’s certainly an individual choice,” Wilde Lake Principal Ms. Leonard said. “But posting on social media is exclamatory statements, it’s not engaging in dialogue and it’s not engaging in learning and what we are doing [through restorative circles] is choosing to engage in dialogue and learning.” “I know what River Hill families are hearing and feeling- the name-calling that has started to circle around on social media and even here as people are leaving our stadium,” said River Hill Principal, Ms. McKinley, “As soon as anybody says that River Hill is racist, then absolutely, Wilde Lake families don’t want to come to River Hill. Meanwhile, River Hill families are saying ‘I’m not racist, my school is diverse.’ And that’s where we’ve spun out of control” Ms. Leonard is urging students not to return insult with insult. “It is so important for the Wilde Lake community to not make sweeping statements and engage in similar communication to what it feels like we’ve been subjected to,” she said. Although the proposed redistricting will not happen, the scars left on these geographically close communities will be visible for years to come. “Neither school is a simplistic surface that both schools have been portrayed as. We have to understand the relationship is complex because it’s people, and people are complex,” Ms. Leonard said. “My job as a school leader is to create a space where people can build bridges beyond the conflict that has been fomented.”

6 6 ARTS Tradition and Family in Guys & Dolls: Bringing Back the Past the Dance Department BY AMAIYA SANCHO Staff Writer


ach May, the Wilde Lake Dance Department puts on a Spring Dance Concert, where every group gets multiple opportunities to perform, and showcase their learned and improved upon skills. During this annual concert, the seniors in the Dance Company class perform a dance all together as a “sendoff.” This tradition has gone on for years, and every student in the company looks forward to it, whether they’re a freshman, senior, or somewhere in between. In past years, there have been enough seniors in the class that it makes sense for them to have an entire dance to themselves, and they’re able to fill the stage with their reflections through dance. This year, however, is a bit different. In the DCo class for 2019-2020, there are only two seniors. This distinction has made the arrangement of the traditional senior dance change drastically. Instead of a dance for just the seniors, this year, everyone in the class will be a part of the dance, no matter what grade they’re in.


Students from the Spring Dance Concert in 2019. Though the Dance Company has always felt like a family to the people in it, most can admit this change does feel a bit strange, including both seniors in the class - Alexis Jones and Laura Krell. Although the difference in dance structure is a little odd, Jones still believes that the senior dance will serve its original purpose. “Although we only have two seniors, I think changing the set-up of the dance to have everyone in it this year will bring the class together. It’ll make the dance more emotional and have more meaning with the underclassmen sending us off.”

BY MARIAN ISAILOVIC Staff Writer “I think my favorite part of the show has to be the people,” says sophomore Lulu Hassanein. “It’s really great to be around everyone that you’re really close with, and it’s like a really incredible family environment. Plus, it was a really fun show with the music, sets, and costumes.” Guys and Dolls is set in 1950s New York, where Nathan Detroit (played by Senior Tristan Webster) is a poor New Yorker who regularly runs an underground gambling game to make a little extra cash. In search of a new place to hold his game, he ends up needing a thousand

dollar deposit for his friend’s place. For this, he goes to Sky Masterson (played by Senior Collin Geter), a fellow gambler with great luck, because he’s been known to take wild bets in exchange for money. Nathan ends up betting Sky that he won’t be able to take the leader of a local church mission, Sarah Brown (played by Junior Laura McHale), to Havana with him the next day. While Sky pursues Sarah, Nathan struggles with the issue of avoiding marriage with his fiancee of 14 years, Miss Adelaide (played by Sophomore Lulu Hassanein), who doesn’t know about the illegal gambling games. In the end, after much conflict, Sky and Nathan become honest men and marry their “dolls.” Hassanein admits, “The plot, at first, I was like ‘Oh

this is... interesting’ because I didn’t think it’d apply so much to today’s society. It just seemed really misogynistic. But it turned out to have more meaning than I originally thought.” To put it simply, Guys and Dolls was definitely a show of its time. So, while I could address the issue of the frequent displays of misogyny the show addresses, the truth is that Wilde Lake’s production exceeded the expectations I had going into the show, so I would much rather talk about that. All of the actors and actresses had wonderful voices, they danced around each other as if it had been rehearsed for more than just a few months. Each person was dedicated to their role, and truly brought the characters and their conflicts to life. There was also an abundance of jokes that may have gone over the younger audience member’s heads, but still had the auditorium filled to the brim with laughter. Also, everyone working behind the scenes, whether it be crew or pit, did their best to make sure everything ran smoothly, and it was easy to be seen by anyone watching. “We have a good chunk of seniors graduating this year,” says Tristan Webster. “But there are also many talented people becoming upperclassmen. And I’m sure future shows will be fantastic.”

Thriving Fine Arts Programs Lose Funding

Advertise your business with “The Paw Print” To buy this ad space, contact the Wilde Lake T High School Journalism program.

Mr. Crouch, Wilde Lake High School choir teacher, directs his chamber choir class.


his year, the choir department increased in size from 88 to 130 students. At the same time, according to Mr. Crouch, the choir director, its budget was cut by $300. This represents a trend of schoolwide budget slashes, forcing departments to lean on patron donations or student fundraising. The choir department uses its budgeted money to buy new sheet music, maintain concert attire, and bring in guest musicians. “The arts are kind of thriving at Wilde Lake right now,” says band teacher, Mr. Green, “and it’s only more challenging for us to financially and spacewise support the growing need and desire, and we’re looking to continue to offer as many opportunities for everybody. Inclusiveness- that’s what’s important.” In fine arts departments around the country, teachers are defending what they do. Both Mr. Green and Mr. Crouch agree that the arts provide a

learning experience that is different from the typical core classes. “I think fine arts teaches us how to be people. They teach us how to work together, and look at each other for our similarities,” Mr. Crouch says. A choir and theatre student, Sydney Cox feels that choir provides her with a creative outlet. “It’s awesome to just be able to sing for 50 minutes,” Cox says. “The feeling of creating music and having the ability to create something that can impact other people in a way that normal speech can’t is what makes choir so special.” Chloe Angel, choir president at Wilde Lake, has been involved in choir since she was in elementary school. She feels that having a leadership position in the group and working closely with Mr. Crouch has provided her with a unique viewpoint on the effects of budget cuts. “It is really disheartening that they’re taking [funds] away, because it doesn’t just affect what we can read and what new things we can use as learning examples; it affects what music we can make all together,” she says.


7 Friday Night Games Shine Light on School Pride Wilde Lake High School Football has First Playoff A Win in Nine Years



s students lineup outside of the auditorium to purchase their tickets to the Friday Night Basketball game, they anticipate a showdown. They expect the Cats to give their all as they fill the stands with excitement. From the moment the game begins to the very last minute, the fans can be heard cheering on their team and booing the opponents. This is the atmosphere of the Wilde Lake community held in one place, capitaved in one moment. In his freshman year, senior Justin Martin and his friend group, started the tradition of coming to every home game they could to support the basketball program.“I love basketball. You‘ll always find me in the front row commentating the games and yelling at bad calls,” says Martin. “Each game I know I’m definitely in for a show whether the team wins or loses”. A typical Friday night game includes students pictured in unison getting frustrated with referees, chanting “Airball, airball” after an opponent misses their shot, and jumping up and down when a player scores a three-pointer. “The games give me the perfect opportunity to express my wild personality,” says Junior Lucas Michael. “It’s fun to be able to come together with my friends and scream on top of my lungs for one of the best basketball teams in the county. They’re worth me losing my voice over,” Michael says with a laugh. Junior Ella Tsunami credits the strong support system and welcoming atmosphere the student body provides to one another. “I think one of the most important things that is hidden is how inclusive we all become once we step into that gym as a fan, player, coach, or parent,” Tsunami says. “As a fan, we know the players


The student section is seen reacting to a missed shot from a Wilde Lake Player at a home game vs Centennial. The Cats unfortunately fell short on January 15th with a score of 57-51.

depend on us to fuel their energy and I think we can all take pride in that.’’ Although the games bring a sense of community to the fans, the fans themselves are encouraging to the players, who appreciate their presence and find them endlessly supportive. “This is my final year here and even though the faces in the stands have changed, the number of people coming out hasn’t,” says Senior Kwanku Boampong, who plays center for the Wilde Lake basketball team. “It means a lot when people come out and support us and believe in us to make a name for

Wilde Lake. It definitely helps our energy on the court and it makes the hype of the game ten times more fun.” With a month left in the season, the Wilde Lake community is anxiously awaiting another tremendous season. Fans and players alike are hoping that the hard work and talent of the team can carry them to states and give them a good playoff run. However, senior point guard Stanley Lowe acknowledges the fact that the key to all of this lies within the fans. “We need the support of our student section there with us all along the way,” he says.

“It means a lot when people come out and support us and believe in us to make a name for Wilde Lake.” -Kwanku Boampong

Varsity Cheer Ends Historic Season

The cheer team performing their pyramid. PHOTO BY Rob Trainer

getting to the county cham-

award at their first invitational

championships which determine who will qualify to move on in the state level competition, this is where the girls advanced to regionals. “I think this year the team was well prepared and performing stunts with a higher difficulty level than ever before. All of the girls in the fall season were also on the mat for the winter season which gave us a huge advantage in terms of chemistry, ” says Coach Townsend. Before this they were placed in the top three at their second invitational competition at Pikesville High School. They also won the “Best Dance”

didn’t advance at their regional competition, putting an end to their cheer season. Zarah Reeves, one of the captains of the team says “next year the girls just need to come back harder, especially with tumbling. But as a team, we definitely have improved, the chemistry is better, and skill level is at an all time high.” Senior co-captain Dani Fully reflects on the family dynamic the team has that is one of the main contributions to how far they’ve come. “It’s a great feeling not just being captain but just being a part of our team; it’s really cool to see

BY KOMORA BARBA & pionship and receiving useful at Glenelg High School. feedback from the judges.” The girls are pictured perAENILAH WATKINS After the invitationals, the forming a pyramid. Staff Writer & Web Editor girls compete at the county On February 6th, the girls


n January 29, the WLHS cheer team made history for the first time ever, as the varsity team qualified for and performed at regionals. Each season, HCPSS allows the cheerleading team to participate in up to 3 invitational competitions. Ms. Townsend, the head varsity coach, says, “Invitationals are a necessity if we are going to grow our program and become better competitors. They’re a great opportunity to perform a routine before

people go from strangers to close friends and how people who you never thought you’d be close to turn into your little sisters.” Fully also takes the time to reflect on her leadership role as captain. “I feel as captain my coach expected me to help communicate with our team; with her being an adult sometimes people don’t like to hear them out as well as you would your peers and just to help maintain everything, make sure it runs smoothly and do it in a respectable manner; Also if there was an issue she would be able to trust me and to take over the situation responsibly.” As of right now, the girls are still continuing to cheer for the basketball season. While many are upset when it comes to not advancing, others are taking the opportunity to improve. “I think our sport is definitely overlooked and no one realizes how much commitment we put into this. I want the girls to know that they should always keep their heads up high and never lose hope,” says Reeves. Fully concludes with a final message to her team. “If I have to think back on it, I’m not upset we’re not moving on to regionals, seeing where this team was 4-5 years ago and how much we’ve grown since then is really impressive; to even make it to regionals was exciting enough… I’m really excited to see what the girls will bring to the table next year. I can definitely see them making another appearance at regionals next year.”


his year, the Wilde Lake football team has amazed the school with their outstanding playoff run after coming in 5-8 overall and 2-6 in the region. After having barely made it into the playoffs as the eighth seed, their first game performance shocked the school as they upset the first seed, River Hill, with a final score of 14-10. “I was pretty overwhelmed when we beat them,” says Hugo Melgar, a Wilde Lake senior and varsity lineman. “It just felt so great.” Wilde Lake football coach, Mr. Henderson shares similar sentiments. “It was a magical moment,” he says. “I thought it

“It was a magical moment... I can’t put it into words, you just really had to be there to see it all come together.” -Coach Henderson was great for our guys, for the coaches, and for everybody. I can’t put it into words, you just really had to be there to see it all come together.” As they moved forward in the playoff run, the Cats found themselves against Manchester Valley in the second round. Despite their rough season, they prevailed with a score of 22-0. The team ended their season against Huntingtown High, a Calvert County public school, in the third round of the playoffs. Had they won, they would’ve been dubbed regional champs if they came out with a win and advanced to the semi-finals, just short of states. However, despite their loss, they still managed to achieve Wilde Lake’s first playoff win in nine years. “The team was really awesome this year, and it felt like we were a family,” says senior Sam Nason, the team’s kicker. “I feel incredibly sad knowing I won’t be seeing them on a daily basis, but this season was just so much fun. I won’t forget it.” Melgar shares similar sentiments. “It sucked losing against Huntingtown, we could’ve done better,” he said. “But I’m glad to know the future of Wilde Lake Football is in good hands.”



8 opinions A Buried History: LGBTQ+ Narratives Erased

was 11 the first time I heard the word gay. It was considered a bad word, an insult to someone being affectionate. Needless to say, it wasn’t something I was able to understand as normal - at least until recently. I realized I liked girls in middle school, but I tried to deny it. I grew up with half my family expressing homophobic views, all my female friends liked boys, as far as I knew, and being gay was treated as a shameful secret. But it’s not bad or weird, it’s just the way some people are, and that needs to be addressed in schools. I have never encountered anything that has shed a positive light upon the LGBTQ+ community in all of my 13 years of American schooling. It isn’t addressed in health class, there aren’t any books about it or even any books written by people in the community, and history class never once mentioned our rich, and sometimes horrifying, history. It’s likely you’ve never heard of Marsha P. Johnson, a leader of the Stonewall riots, or the fact that German soldiers placed in concentration camps on account of their sexual orientation were imprisoned even after the end of WWII to “atone for their sins.” In fact, Alan Turing, a mathematician who contributed largely to the end of WWII by cracking Nazi codes and furthering computer science, was prosecuted in 1952 for “homosexual acts” and eventually died as a direct result of government persecution. You probably haven’t heard of conversion therapy either, which is a pseudo-science supposed to “cure” homosexuality through methods of mental and physical torture. The practice has been condoned as ineffective and cruel

In 2019, the Trump Administration made plans to grant federal contractors the ability to use “religious exemptions” as an excuse to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in the workforce and urged the EEOC to undo the workforce protections of LGBTQ+ employees that were administered in the Obama-era. PHOTO BY: Devin Garcia

by every major mental health organization, and yet it’s still legal in 32 states. Furthermore, in the United States, approximately one third of all transgender people who were seeking medical treatment were turned away, 70.1% of students in the community faced discrimination from their peers, 29 states allow employers to fire their employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and approximately 1 in 30 LGBTQ+ youth are left homeless and without help due to rejection from their families. In fact, according to the Human Rights campaign, about 40% of

Conflicting Views On College Admissions

View One - Breadth Does NOT Equal Depth:

The buzz word of college applications is “well-rounded.” Every school is looking for a well-rounded student, and although I am one looking back, I wish I wasn’t. I’m in three honor societies, five extra-curriculars, volunteer at least once a week (usually more), and work part-time. I’m also a straight-A student, and I often find myself wondering what I could have achieved if I had applied myself to one thing, rather than everything. Not everyone can play a sport every season, be on the debate team, sing in the choir, fix elderly people’s computers, and build a revolutionary new app. It’s simply not possible. Colleges are encouraging students to overschedule their lives, creating breadth instead of depth and having an untold negative impact on student’s mental health. I love some of my extra-curricular activities, but all too often what I love is pushed aside in favor of what will look good on my college transcripts. I don’t miss activities - it doesn’t matter if I’m sick, or hurting, or just plain tired. I’ll go, get it done, and then cry in my car afterward. College admissions officers should place more weight on applicants’ GPA and less on the volume of their extra-curricular activities. When students are reduced to how well they know the college admission process and how many activities they managed to squeeze into their schedule junior year the countless hours of hard work they invested in their schooling are discounted. Yes, I don’t want to be reduced to a number, but by urging students to over commit to things they aren’t even slightly interested in colleges are reducing me to just another number- how many hoops I was willing to jump through to get what I want.

View Two - Who I Am Is More Than A Number:

For me, a large part of the stress in regards to applying for colleges comes from the fear of my grades or test scores not being good enough. No matter how much I study, or how good I feel like I did initially, I always begin to second-guess myself, and fret over not doing as well as some of my peers. Numbers don’t reflect how much effort I put in to each assignment, how much trouble I was having with my mental health at the time, or the difficulties I was having in communication with particular teachers. They don’t show the excitement I had over a project, the multitasking I had to do with six tests in one week, or the activities I had going on afterschool. So, when a college says that the interview, essay submissions, or resume is a large part of their application process, it eases my worries more than you’d think. There’s depth to me as a person - an individual - and I think one of my biggest fears is someone dismissing me based on grades from sophomore year or my score on a standardized test that practically the whole country takes. I try and pride myself on how different I am from other people, and sometimes that can be really difficult, especially as a teen nowadays just trying to fit in. Which college you go to can affect your entire life and career, and to be judged not on who I am, but on what I score? That seems to be one of the most stressful and horrible fates of all.

homeless youth are LGBTQ+. Perhaps most suggestively, President Trump has recently legalized faith-based discrimination towards the LGBTQ+ community. And none of this compares to some other countries where LGBTQ+ people can be sentenced to death or subjected to cruel punishments, like being stoned, if anyone even suspects them of homosexuality. It often seems like all of these issues are avoided by the education system because they don’t want to address the distinct otherness they seem to believe this community brings. They think it

will confuse the children and that we don’t deserve to be accepted openly. But they’re wrong. If I had been properly educated, I wouldn’t have hated myself for so long for liking other girls, I wouldn’t have thought of myself as wrong because I couldn’t imagine myself as the dutiful wife for a boy like I was told I should and would be, and I definitely wouldn’t have thought that I couldn’t be gay until I at least tried being with a boy. Only my sister and friends helped me see differently. If the education system had properly taught my parents, and generations before them, I wouldn’t have had messages like “Gays are the reason the world’s messed up” or “the only role you’ll have when you grow up is the perfect housewife to your husband” drilled into my head. Even now, I sometimes feel guilty because I won’t be able to meet the expectations I’m held to. Teaching children about the LGBTQ+ community won’t harm them or somehow turn them gay. If those tactics worked, I would have been straighter than an arrow, given all the heterosexual media and lessons I grew up with. No. Teaching LGBTQ+ history will save youth and adults years of denial and self-hatred. It will help prevent students from hating people different from themselves, and one day stop them from continuing the cycle with their own kids. The only thing that educating students about the LGBTQ+ community will do is create a more tolerant, less hate-filled society, where young people know that they, too, have the right to exist. And in all honesty? I’m just sick of the paradox of being hated for love.

Becoming an Adult in Generation Z BY SYDNEY LOWRY Staff Writer I don’t know how to file taxes. I don’t know how to keep a good credit score, manage a budget, or often deal with my mental health. I am 18, a legal adult, and often feel like I will be leaving high school without knowing how to be successful in life. I am grateful for my education and the chance to learn about multiple subjects, but I wish we could learn more practical things. Learning to make mac-&-cheese in FACS and taking required technology courses is helpful, but not enough to help us be self-sufficient. In a survey conducted by H&R Block, when Americans were asked whether they would rather take a class about tax preparation or calculus, 87% said they’d want to learn how to do their taxes. While calculus and chemistry are challenging and stretch my mind, everyday skills should be in the curriculum as well.

My parents will joke with me about how I have to learn how to do things around the house to be an adult. But, for teenagers today, growing up comes with an understanding of an ever-changing world of technology that is vastly different from what older generations had to face. Not only do we need to learn how to cook meals or do our taxes, but we are expected to be proficient in computer programs and social media early on in our education. Jobs may expect experience with basic programs in entry-level positions, and these skills need to be learned quickly. Life after high school is becoming more and more competitive. Students are having to take on more responsibilities and extra curriculars just to get into college or land an internship. Along with the pressures of growing up, it can become overwhelming, and courses in high school need to adapt to fit the needs of today’s generation, allowing kids to better phase into adult life.

I am grateful for my education and the chance to learn about multiple subjects, but I wish we could learn more practical things.


The views expressed in this issue are not necessarily those of the staff, the students, the administration or the school board. Letters to the editors are encouraged. The Paw Print reserves the right to edit any submissions.

Adviser...............................................................................Ben Townsend Print Editor-in-Chief..............................................Rebecca Nason, Sarah Rubin Web Editor-in-Chief..............................................................Aenilah Watkins Copy Editor..........................................................................Sydney Lowry Writers................................ Komora Barba, Amy Batmunkh, Carly Damain, Devin Garcia, Marian Isailovic, Sydney Lowry, Ayonna Ramey, Amaiya Sancho, Nadyne Segbe

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