Category Archives: Blog

Viewpoint: How the experience of quarantine affected my mental health

By: Laela Thibault

Guest Columnist

Mental health is a serious subject, but it should not be taboo. It is something that everyone deals with, and everyone’s feelings and emotions are completely valid. It tends to be difficult for individuals to come out and talk about their experiences or how they are feeling, but it could be therapeutic for some. 

Even coming out with your own experience could help someone else come out about their mental health as well. Therefore, I would like to share my personal experience. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine played a significant role with my mental health. When COVID-19 became a peak issue, it was during my junior year of high school. 

During my junior year, my motivation was low, my sleep patterns were terrible, and my work was not getting done. I was continuously falling into bad habits when it came to school. My grades were getting worse, and I kept getting disappointed at myself. 

I communicated with people I was close to during the school year. I did this in order to be open about my feelings instead of just bottling them up. It was a whole different story when quarantine started though. My mental health was back on a decline.

Considering that my motivation was horrendous while I was in school, absolutely no schoolwork getting completed while I was at home. I felt like I became the worst version of myself, and being isolated with my own thoughts and feelings, I constantly put myself down. 

I started to not sleep at all and I was not taking care of myself like I knew I should.. I stayed in my room, in my bed, and barely spent time with my family. Based on how badly I procrastinated, I almost had to repeat my classes. Fortunately, with the help of my teachers, I was able to pass.

Quarantine during my junior year was a dark, dark period for me but in the end, I still made it through. 

In conclusion, I just want to make it clear that it does end up getting better. Now I am in my senior year, and I am genuinely happy and enjoying myself! 

You should not be ashamed of how you feel because your own feelings are valid and they matter. YOU matter and you can get through any struggle or challenge that comes your way. 

Speak about your own experiences when you are ready because it could help someone else. Opening up more discussion about mental health could make society take it more seriously because it is serious and needs to be talked about. 

Trying to fit in as the new kid

By George Keene                    

Staff Writer

First day of school at Red Lion Senior High school in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, on August 24, 2020. Photo taken by Susan Keene

“My name is George, and I’m new to Red Lion this year.”

I repeat the same line time and again, the only difference is the name of the school I am attending. The feeling of not knowing anybody and anything will never go away.

No matter how many times I am new, I get butterflies in my stomach and a feeling of discomfort and not belonging. I walk into school the first day knowing nothing and no one, hoping to make a friend or two, and not wanting to stick out. 

I have moved around my whole life. I was born in Dubai and have lived in 6 countries across 4 continents. I have attended 3 international schools in Egypt, Malaysia, and most recently, Kenya.

I have also attended 3 public schools ranging across the east coast of the United States and the experience is all but similar.

The experience of being a new student, however, is very different at an international school from a public school.

When I am a new student at an international school, which is an English speaking school overseas with an American curriculum, there are hundreds of other kids just like me, transient kids who are used to the feeling of being new and alone. This makes it easier for new students to fit in, because all the kids have had similar experiences. They know what it is like to be in my shoes.

The main reason as to why it’s easier for me to settle into an international school is because of sports and workshops. The international schools I have attended in my life have had fewer students than Red Lion, and it was easier to make the sports teams, and being on the sports teams helped me make friends.

At the beginning of every year, the schools would also hold new student workshops for all the new students where you could meet the other new students and some students who volunteered to show you around and help you out the first couple weeks. These little things helped me settle in and make friends. On top of that, it was easier to talk to people and relate to them because I had similar experiences as them so it was easier to fit in.

When I am a new student at a public school, nobody is like me. 

There are fewer new kids, and most of the kids have attended school in the same district their entire lives. They don’t know what it’s like to be me, the new kid. At public schools, the main reason it’s harder to settle in than at international schools is the fact that there aren’t the same opportunities to make friends.

The sports teams are harder to make because the level of play is higher and there aren’t any workshops or chances to meet the other new students. You’re thrown into a big pool of fish and have no idea where to go, who to talk to, and who anybody is. Most of the kids have been friends for a long time, because people move around less at public schools. I also am unable to relate to most of the students because we aren’t all that alike. I have seen things they have never seen, like the Pyramids in Egypt. 

As if being a new student isn’t hard enough, COVID-19 made it a whole lot harder. I have always been shy and it’s always been difficult for me to introduce myself to people. So, on top of that fear, I now have to worry about catching this highly infectious disease from my peers around me. In the middle of this mess, however, COVID-19 has given me the opportunity to connect with my old friends peers from all around the world through technology.  

I am a student of the world, even though I am physically located in Red Lion. Some people think that the more you move around and the more times you are a new student, that it gets easier, but it doesn’t.

The feeling of discomfort and not belonging never goes away, but I have learned to take these experiences and make an impact wherever I go, and to learn from those who are around me because their experiences are very different from mine. That’s how you grow and become a student of the world, not just by living across the world, but by meeting people who have and who haven’t.

Change is what makes your experiences as a new student different in international schools compared to public schools. International students understand change and are used to it, while public school students haven’t experienced enough change to feel any way about it and are not used to it. There is nothing wrong with that but that’s what makes our lives unique and difficult, and being a new student in a new country, a new state, a new town, is what makes me, me.

My journey to accept Sri Lanka and America as my home

By Amila Jayamaha

Guest Columnist

America is notorious for being considered a “melting pot.” It’s a country where everyone’s individualities get melted into one large label, “American.” This causes many immigrants to lose their sense of nationalism for their mother country, and makes it even harder for second generation immigrants to have a sense of patriotism for their parents’ home countries. 

I, like the common second generation immigrant, consider America to be my home and chose not to learn about my heritage as a Sinhalese person. However, after many years of discussion with my parents, and some trips to their homeland, I have a newfound appreciation for the country. This allowed me to come to the realization that I am able to consider both America and Sri Lanka to be my home. 

When I was younger my parents used to speak their native language in our house quite often, Sinhalese, and though I understood it well, I would never make any efforts to learn to speak it. I am to this day devastated with that fact. I realized how much I lost by choosing not to invest time in learning about my heritage when I first went to Sri Lanka at the age of 4.

 Throughout the 21 hour plane ride to the country, I was anticipating being extremely underwhelmed entering the country. I assumed all I would want to do would be to count the days till I got to go back home. 

After exiting the airport all of my senses were firing. I would smell the salt from the sea, feel the humid wind on my skin, taste the moisture in the air, and see and hear a bustling city in front of me. Needless to say, I was surprised by how excited I became when seeing the country for the first time. 

The drive to my grandparents home was the most fascinating and scary experience of my life. While I was able to look out the windows and see the large green mountain ranges where rice, tea, and other vegetables were growing. 

Driving in Sri Lanka is very scary, the yellow lines in the center of the road are a mere suggestion, and to drivers the speed limit is the minimum speed you should go. People race around the road overtaking and honking at one another, men herding cattle would suddenly go into the road causing a traffic jam. While I was terrified, I was also bursting with excitement for what else this country had to offer me. 

My first real outing in Sri Lanka led me to one of the many Buddhist temples scattered around the country. I was pleasantly surprised as to how interesting the history was at the temple. The large curved walls were painted with Buddha’s story of enlightenment and there were many statues of different monks and animals around the floors. 

However, what caught my eye the fastest was the 25 foot long sleeping Buddha statue made entirely out of gold, which I later found out was made over 1000 years ago. Hearing this story made me realize the historical value of Sri Lanka. After researching different aspects of Buddhism, I chose to convert to the religion. I had many supporters in the matter, because many of my family, including my mother are Buddhist.

 The next prominent trip I went on was climbing Sigiriya. This mountain stands over 1000 feet tall, and I had little to no support climbing up. While there are railings and stairs now, when I climbed the mountain, there were only steep rock paths that had no railings to catch you if you slipped. 

This added to my sense of adventure while in Sri Lanka, because while the trek was difficult, the view at the top of the mountain was amazing. Atop the mountain was the ruins of an old castle built by a Sri Lankan king who was afraid his brother, who he had pushed out to India, would come back to kill him. Thus, in his paranoia, he built the castle and created an irrigation system in the mountain that would allow him to flood the land in a 60 mile radius to keep invaders out. 

The stories this country had were so fascinating to my young brain, that it helped me learn to appreciate my culture. 

To this day, I continue going on annual summer trips to Sri Lanka to visit friends and family, and see different temples. I have begun learning to speak Sinhalese as well, so that I may someday be able to go to the country alone and experience a new sense of freedom in my motherland. 

After setting up a dual citizenship, I have finally accepted America and Sri Lanka to be my home and hope to embrace the culture that both countries offer. 

The Leonid editors weigh in on flexible instruction snow days

Kaitlyn Resline

Editor-in-Chief

I have mixed feelings about snow flex days. While I appreciate the fact that we will no longer have to make up snow days and lose holidays, I mourn the loss of the snow days of my youth. Having a random day off to go play in the snow excites me more than staring at a computer.

However, I felt relieved that the school district announced the snow day in advance. This meant that I no longer had to wake up early only to get a delay call, and get ready only to find out school was cancelled. Knowing in advance adds to the benefit of not having to make up days.

The worst part about the flexible instruction days is the work. I find myself having a hard time focusing to get any of the assignments done. On top of those, I have to finish long term assignments for classes as well. With no separation of work in my day, I spend a lot of time trying to sit and focus. I like using Google Meets to see my classmates, but once they are over, I realize it is lunch time, and I still have not completed any work that is due. 

The idea of flexible instruction for snow days is beneficial, but I enjoy an old fashioned snow day and in person instruction much better. 


Max Vigue

Multimedia Content Editor

The online school day is a relatively unexplored ocean of opportunities. However, this opens the flood gates to a whole new tidal wave of issues.  

The idea of an online school day, from what I have seen, is very unpopular with students. I yearn for the idle feeling of a snow day, which may now become a relic of a much radically different time. A snow day jumps out like a surprise, but a welcome one, as it is accompanied by a sensation of coziness and relaxation without departing from where you reside. A snow day turns a day out of the long year into an escapist fantasy, giving the mind a period of hibernation, allowing yourself to slowly recharge. 

Issues will present themselves as we continue to venture down the stream. Besides being unpopular with students, schools across the world grapple with students who have to battle frequent internet issues or no internet access at all. Since attendance is managed through Google Meet sessions, many students could risk receiving an unexcused absence. This issue could sink students down into an unnecessary spiral of stress. 

From my observations, many students cannot adjust to online learning as well as some others, as they shine through in their education by being in front of a teacher. For instance, my brother is able to soak up more information, and perform with a surplus of efficiency in a normal brick and mortar setting. 

Academia is changing more rapidly in this unconventional time, mostly for the better. But that does not mean we turn a blind eye to the potential set of issues that will emerge. In 2020 it’s live and die by the sword. 


Genevieve Turner

Sports Editor

A FID (flexible instruction day) day is a better option in the long run for students. While one might complain in the moment about having to do school work on a snow day, in the long run, it will save students time for summer break because there is no need to make up missed snow days. I diligently complete my work as well as manage my time, there should be no reason that others can’t do the same so they can also enjoy the snow day as well. 

Currently, while the world is in an unconventional time, many schools will still opt to do FID days on what would have been a snow day. These days help further education by there not being a gap between learning times. They also help with keeping spring break as long as it possibly can be because there is no need to make up snow days. The same is with the end of the school year. 


Shana Carey

Opinions Editor and Marketing Editor

Living in Pennsylvania, snowy days are far from over, but school districts across the nation are creating flexible instruction days in order to keep students’ minds sharp. 

After hearing Tuesday afternoon that I did not have to get up at 6 a.m.  the next day due to impending weather, I was jumping with joy, but tomorrow’s workload quickly set me straight. 

After nearly 10 straight hours of working, I found myself with assignments still due in just about every single one of my classes. Going into Thursday, I had to attend Google Meets with my classes in addition to my usual hybrid workload. Over the course of two days, I found myself busier than I have ever been in my entire life. 

Working remotely turned snow days from quality childhood memories to a major migraine. Sure, it’s nice to not have to make days up in the Summer, but there is something to be said about taking a day off and having an extreme snowball fight with a hot chocolatey prize.

What can be achieved from completing book reports?

Opinion Blog

By: Clare Mankin

Business manager

Book reports- we’ve all had to do them at least once in our lives. They’re one of many contributing factors to final grades, and are among one of the least favorite things students enjoy completing.

Earlier this year, I found myself in this very predicament that most, if not all, despise- writing a book report for my philosophy class. It was a major percentage of my final grade, and I had no idea what to write about.

The assignment given was simple, find a book that pertains to certain philosophical and/or ethical ideals. Easy, right?

Instead of trying to find a philosophical book written about a certain religion or lifestyle, I tried to find a book that would be considered outside the box for this assignment.

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen was what I had decided on and found the outcome of the assignment very enlightening in both ethical and moral stances.

Austen originally wrote “Pride and Prejudice” almost 222 years ago in 1797. The time period alone would initially cause a reader to think women held no real education or knowledge of the world, and therefore, couldn’t write a book with philosophical ideals.

Austen, however, defied this notion and relayed her message with surprising eloquence and modern-day thinking. Through her strategic, humorous, and dramatic styles of writing, Austen was able to mock societal prejudices while also revealing the true meaning behind a person’s pride.

Driven in her belief of human virtues, mainly those of happiness and self-worth, Austen is able to both educate and deplete any forethought of ignorance in 17th century society.

For a woman to speak out about her own personal views on the aristocracy of fine society was a form of taboo and very insulting. It was also unheard of.

Austen’s ideals were a foreign concept during her time. However, today she is seen as an active opposition to the oppression and degradation of women.

If this book report were not assigned and if I hadn’t thought out of the box when it came to choosing my reading material, I would have never come to these conclusions.

I had always thought of classic romance novels to either be cliché or degrading towards the female sex, but this assignment has shown me that, even during a time period such as Jane Austen’s, traditional thinking and the oppression of women held no weight over speaking out about societal morals and ethics,

Book reports are important and even though you may not like them, you can learn a lot and form perspectives you might not have originally had. So, the next time you’re told you have to complete a book report for a grade, keep an open mind and try and see what you can actually learn from it.

24 hours to live simply

By Aubrie Wise

Junior Editor-in-Chief

To give up everything and live simply seems to be every 50 something retirees dream. However, is it really how everyone should live? According to Thoreau, it is.

Henry David Thoreau author of the famous Civil Disobedience, writes in his essay Walden detailing the time he gave up all distractions and technology in the 1850s to “live simply” at Walden Pond. He encourages others, in his essay, to do the same and give up all meaningless distractions.  

I, however, have a few issues with it. Thoreau speaks of giving up technology, and instead focusing on what you can learn from nature and the world around you, but not everyone can afford to “live simply.”

Life is busy and consuming, and a life without an iPhone seems impossible now, even when just a few years ago, I didn’t own one, and two decades ago, they didn’t even exist.

Moreover, an iPhone is just the tip of the iceberg for technology; there are laptops, TVs, video games, even my car has a digital screen in it. When Thoreau decided to live simply, the technology he gave up was the Post Office and the newspaper. Yet when I think of technology those things don’t make my list.

There are, in reality, so many things that are technology: cars, pencils, heat, electricity, and even light that comes from anything but the sun.

With that in mind, I decided to give up only the most significant technology of my time, just like Thoreau gave up the highest technology of his. For me, in 2019, that means my smartphone, laptop, and tv.

Let the 24 hours begin.

The day already started rough; it turns out, I can’t even wake up without my cell phone. My alarm clock was ditched long ago in favor of my multi-functional smartphone.

Instead, I had to rely on my mom, which was scary enough in itself to make me already begin to miss technology. It seems, giving up technology it “live simply,” is actually making life harder.

Then again, maybe “living simply” shouldn’t involve waking up at 6:30 am to take the SATs.

Up until 1:30, I spent the day locked in a classroom with the only technology around being my graphing calculator and pencil.

After that I spent the day at lunch and Target, doing my best to avoid all the digital screens that clutter every establishment from paying on a Kiosk at Chili’s to having to avoid the entire electronics section at the store.

The deprivation of technology, however, didn’t really hit until I went home. There I was sitting in my bedroom with absolutely nothing to do.  

I painted my nails, filled in an adult color book page, and read half a Percy Jackson novel, and twenty minutes later I was bored again.

My 24 hours without technology was almost over, and I still felt like I wasn’t any more of a Transcendentalist.

I hadn’t made a difference, and with it being 26 degrees out, I hadn’t even been outside for more than short moments sprinting to my car to avoid the outdoors.

That’s right; I actually avoided nature during my day as a Transcendentalist. What a joke I was.

Me, as an individual, without technology, had no power to influence society and make the world a better place.

Although the day may have been more “distraction free” since I gave up technology, it really wasn’t. I only replaced the time spent on my phone or watching tv with other distractions like painting my nails over and over again because I kept messing up.

I want to say I learned from the experience, to say how refreshing it was to put my technology down for 24-hours, but I honestly can’t.

I felt forced and pressured to be doing something all day with my time, that I realistically, just couldn’t accomplish. Instead, I filled my time with meaningless activities, besides taking the SATs, until it was time to go to sleep, just like I would any other Saturday.

Maybe my expectations were too high, perhaps the slight moments of relaxation and the release from the pressure of Social Media should have been enough to make the day “successful.”

Or maybe, I just know what it is like to give up technology, and actually, make a difference.

My day living simply like Thoreau wasn’t the first time I’ve given up technology in an effort to make the world, or just myself, better.

In eighth grade, for Lent, I gave up my cell phone entirely. It was hard, and a lot longer than 24 hours, but in that situation, it was for Lent and to strengthen my religion, which made it seem more worth it.

Another time I gave up all technology is on my Mission Trips. Twice have I been on a trip where technology was banned. Instead, the time is spent helping others all day and spending time together as a group bonding in the evening.

So maybe Thoreau wasn’t all wrong.

There are times when you need to eliminate distractions from your life and instead live simply, or better yet, purposely. Just maybe not on a Saturday in the middle of winter again.