Category Archives: Opinon

Should technology be allowed in school?

By Ryelee Stone                    

Opinions Editor

A pool of students stroll into their classroom while their teacher is sitting at their desk in the corner. As the students get settled into their own seats, they pull out their laptops since it has become their everyday routine.

In present times, schools are frequently using technology in the education system. Many schools now provide personal devices that students are expected to use daily in class and at home to complete assignments.

However, in the past few years, teachers use technology excessively in classrooms to the point where it is detrimental to both themselves and to their students.

Because of technology, students are becoming lazier. Looking up the answers to worksheets, reading short summaries of books, and cheating on online tests has never been easier. 

This topic is becoming more widespread across the country, so researchers began to dive into the subject. Joy Crelin reported in her 2017 article entitled “Tablets and Laptops in School: An Overview” in the Points of View Reference Center, that students are more distracted and are able to cheat at the fault of technology.

Students do not think for themselves as much compared to the adults who attended school just a decade ago. The younger generation’s brains are not challenged because all of the answers are at the touch of their fingers, they no longer have to think for themselves in certain situations. 

Another reason kids are not critically thinking is because they have lost the appreciation for education as a whole. Students used to be hungry for knowledge but with technology information is accessible in a matter of seconds, so there is not the same desire for knowledge.

People who disagree that students in today’s education system cannot problem-solve for themselves are simply ignoring this possibility. Technology is impacting how students learn and think, so society needs to agree on a reasonable solution to this issue.

Not only is technology a concern for educational purposes, but it is also affecting the health of students. There are students who are on their laptops in every class period when teenagers are supposed to have limits on the amount of screen time they are exposed per day.

The health of teenagers, and all generations, is a serious matter that needs to be taken into consideration at all times. The article entitled “Screen Time Guidelines for Teens” from 2020 on the KidsHealth website, which is reviewed by medical experts, says that teenagers need consistent limits on any technology use. Technology use in school falls under the umbrella of screen time for teenagers, so there should be limitations on device use in the education system.

Teenagers want screen time for recreational use as well as school, so all of their screen time should not be spent at school. Not all parents will set screen time limits for their children, so students will spend hours using technology at school and at home as a result.

Some see technology as a tool to have students be engaged in their work because it can be more entertaining and teach them new skills. There are a variety of different activities that can be completed because of technology that are very useful and can provide students with a different learning perspective on subjects.

However, there are teachers who simply find online activities to give to their students so the teachers can sit at their desks and do their own work. Students can then type into Google the assignment’s name and find multiple results for the answers. 

What happened to the days when teachers would communicate with their students throughout the entire class period and when teachers did not rely on laptops, iPads, and other devices to educate?

When teachers communicate with their students, information about various subjects can be clearer and explained better. This key communication also prepares students for the future when they will need to be able to properly talk and respond to bosses, co-workers, and other people.

Technology is a powerful tool and should be used in schools, however, it should not be used excessively. Only using computers for entire class periods at a time is not beneficial for students or teachers in the education system.

The administration of schools and other leaders in the education system should take the time to consider the benefits of using less technology in school. Not only will students think more for themselves without constantly using technology, but their educational careers and health will also improve.

A reasonable limit on how much time students are allowed to use technology per class period would be able to give students the opportunity to use technology, but it would not abuse this tool. This solution would provide what both sides of the argument want, the use of technology but not to an excessive point.

Even if students are only on their laptops for half of their class period as a limit then it would be beneficial to their health and overall education. In addition, teachers could make their lesson plans not solely based on technology and create hands-on activities.

Gym class: the unavoidable burden for student-athletes

By Julia Beiler                 

Sports editor

Across many schools in Pennsylvania, students are required to take a certain number of physical education classes in their four years of high school in order to graduate. It’s inevitable that all students need this required activity.

The state of Pennsylvania says that no matter who you are or what you are doing throughout the school you are required to take your necessary gym classes to graduate. It doesn’t matter if you march in the band or swing bats on a field, all students need to take gym. 

But why is it truly required in the first place? According to Shape America, that state requires all students to pass physical education classes. They also say that schools are not permitted to allow students to substitute their required gym classes with any other form of activity. This means that if a student is participating in a school sport, they are still required to take gym classes. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) states directly that, “Health and physical education provides students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to achieve and maintain a physically active and healthful life, not only during their time in school but for a lifetime.” 

Laziness, obesity, and inactiveness are what is supposed to be prevented by having to take gym classes. It is shown through student-athletes are already preventing these things, PDE also says, “Children who are healthy and physically active increase their chances of achieving to their highest academic potential and are better able to handle the demands of today’s hectic schedules.”

Gym classes are trying to exploit physical exercise within the students in the school. Although this makes sense for those who aren’t active, it doesn’t quite match with the large quantity who are already participating in sports. 

The stereotypes of, “All athletes are jocks” or “The smarter class doesn’t come from student-athletes” have been around for ages. Perhaps these stereotypes are true about athletes, but the time most students put toward their studies, these athletes are putting into practices and games. 

Athletes don’t need the added one-hour class of physical education to try and maintain their physical well being. That hour could improve their work management instead of managing extra exercise. That hour could help bring out the “student” in “student-athlete”.

According to Scholarship Stats, only around seven percent of athletes play at the collegiate level after high school, which is a one in fourteen chance. That means that on a high school varsity team, an average of one teammate will go onto the next level. With these statistics, the odds are not favoring a higher level past high school.

Knowing this, high school sports will be the most competitive level of athletics that most varsity athletes will participate in. These athletes are putting most of their time and dedication to succeeding in their sport because there won’t be another game or practice after they graduate. 

Let’s say an average team practice for five days of the week for two hours, that’s ten hours a week. If an athlete is already participating in at least ten hours of activity per week, why should that time be extended for them with a gym class?

Anyone who takes a gym class will get as much out of it as they put in. Knowing that they might have a game or a practice that night, might not motivate them to run a mile or throw medicine balls around in the gym. It takes the point out of having this class in the first place if these athletes aren’t going to put their effort in to begin with.

These days sports aren’t just in season for two or three months out of the year. Sports have evolved into year-round participation for most athletes. It’s no longer just a few months: it’s 12 months of the year dedicated to winning and competing. So when people suggest that their “in-season” sport will be over soon, they don’t see the depth of what sports are truly like these days. “Out-of-season” has turned into the usual and the norm. 

If the state is saying that students are required to meet these goals and student-athletes are proving to have already met these goals, why are these certain students still being required to take gym classes? The state needs to change these rules considering student-athletes are easily surpassing the components that go into a gym class. 

Harry releases new album with outstanding Style

By Daphne Riddle

Junior Editor-in-Chief

Harry Styles 2019 Album: “Fine Line”

Coming from a huge pop boy band in the early 2010s, Harry Styles would have never been expected to come out with such a vintage-sounding album for the second music release of his solo career. The album, however, stands on its own and has risen in the charts, becoming number one on the Billboard Charts within a few weeks of its release. 

The album, produced by Erskine Records, was much awaited by Styles’ fans, especially after singles such as “Watermelon Sugar” and “Adore You” were released prior to the rest of the songs. Both being very upbeat, melodious songs, the world was ready to hear what else the singer/songwriter had created. On Dec 13, 2019, Fine Line was finally released with all twelve songs, and fans around the world began to listen and comment. 

When going through the entire rock/pop album, it was surprising how many ballad-type songs were present. The first two released both had very positive tones, but the mood completely shifted with songs like “Fine Line,” “Cherry” and “Falling”. Styles’ emotion bleeds through the lyrics, engaging old and new fans with relatable grit.

These three songs seem to have a main focus on breakups and missing someone, which most people are able to connect to their lives in some way. Hearing lyrics such as “You’ve got my devotion, But man I can hate you sometimes” from “Fine Line”, “Don’t you call him what you used to call me” from “Cherry” and “And I get the feeling that you’ll never need me again” from “Falling” are so strong that no one could argue the evident pain that the song implies and passes on. A deeper meaning of guilt and regret can be seen in the raw, real melodies and toned-down instrumental parts. 

Many fans took a strong liking to one of these songs, “Falling,” which could be argued as the most powerful song on the record. The lyrics immediately grabbed the listeners’ attention by talking about the loss of a partner that was caused by “the drink and my wandering hands”. The chorus hit many people in a different way, and brings on many emotions when Styles sings “What if I’m someone I don’t want around.” This is definitely one of the top tracks on the album, and many fans would agree, or have already agreed. 

The other songs gave listeners’ strong feelings as well, whether they were positive or negative. Along with “Falling,” “Cherry”’s lyrics can bring out emotions, and make a heartbreak relatable. On the other hand, songs like “Canyon Moon,” “Lights Up,” “Golden” and “Treat People With Kindness” have such an upbeat tone that creates a smile anytime. The level of time and effort clearly put into each track shows the maturity that Styles gained in the time since his band, One Direction, went on hiatus. 

The record had a unique, vintage sound to it, which broke away from current pop music. A mix of old and new vibes gave the music its own flare that most people seemed to take an interest in, evident by the 478,000 album equivalent units were sold, downloaded, or streamed by December 19, 6 days after release. This album overall gives listeners a sense of meaningful music that makes them think and also provides some amazing music for any occasion, and most definitely gets a five star rating. 

Rating out of 5 stars.

Aaron Hernandez: The Shocking Truth Revealed in New Netflix Series

By Emily Ankers            

Editor-in-Chief

In the recently released documentary “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez,” the gruesome details of the NFL star turned convicted murderer are revealed and explained in the three-episode Netflix Original that was released on January 15 of this year. While the series has had an overall positive rating, some see some major issues within it.

The series, produced by Terry Leonard and directed by Geno McDermott, has been criticized for its unethical exploitation of his presumed sexuality. The documentary begins with its focus on Hernandez’s natural ability in football, his home life, and his overall personality. This quickly turns into accusations of Hernandez being a homosexual without any evidence except a personal testimony from a childhood friend.

This case in particular caught the attention of many because the accused was a tight end football player for the Patriots. He was well known for his natural talent at the sport and his successful run in the NFL after being drafted at a young age.

Hernandez, 23, with a daughter and fiance at the time of arrest, has since died, leaving the acustations to be made against him without any opportunity to defend himself. 

The focus on Hernandez’s sexuality is constant throughout the documentary, though it is not the only focus. The producers used the documentary to shed light into Hernandez’s behavior and demeanor throughout all his life. 

The documentary focuses a majority of its time on dissecting the character of Hernandez and the days and months leading up to the crimes. The heart wrenching scenes of individual interviews with family and friends of the victims was effective in taking away any sympathy for Hernandez.

As the majority of the series was personal interviews with journalists, criminal investigators, and friends, a clear image of whom Hernandez was and who he had become was painted. The shocking allegations made against the late Hernandez in the sit down conversations with an old family friend attempted to explain away Hernandez’s actions by stating he was a closeted homosexual man. 

The actual footage from the trials helped the viewer connect the situation with reality instead of a fantasy series. The series ended with the news report of Aaron Hernandez’s suicide after an unconfirmed source publicly bashed and mocked his accused sexuality. 

The information provided throughout the series regarding the case and early family life for Hernandez has all been confirmed and was presented in a way that showed Hernandez as a twisted individual instead of an all-star athlete that can get away with what he pleases.

The documentary was one that was captivating to watch as the viewer was able to see Hernandez unravel throughout his trial. The amount of detail revealed about the cases and Hernandez’s personal life left the viewer intrigued and horrified at what another human being is capable of. People should see this documentary in order to see that the people that are idolized can be sick and twisted individuals.

The picture of Hernandez shown in the image above is one of the official posters used by Netflix to promote the series. The poster shows a picture from Hernandez’s trial that has been altered.
A rating out of five stars.

“Rise of Skywalker” rises above the obstacles

By Kaitlyn Resline

Student Life Editor

“Star Wars: Episode IX- The Rise of Skywalker” directed by J. J. Abrams is the epic finale of what is called the “Skywalker saga” which began over 40 years ago. The movie concludes the journeys of Rey, Finn and Poe, as they try to take down the First Order and a new threat. 

Released on December 20, 2019, the movie has a running time of 2 hours and 22 minutes. The movie combines elements of action, adventure, and fantasy, making it appeal to a wide range of audiences. 

The movie starts off with the Resistance receiving intel that Emperor Palpatine, the main villain in the original Star Wars trilogy, has been revived. Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Damon (Oscar Isaac), are assigned a mission by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), to locate a sith wayfinder. This wayfinder is the only way to locate Exegol, where Emperor Palpatine is hiding. Along the way, they encounter several obstacles, mainly in the form of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. 

The movie had a lot to live up to, being the final movie in a beloved series. Unfortunately, it fell a bit flat. In “Star Wars: Episode VIII- The Last Jedi,” one of the themes is that there is always a new generation to bring hope and balance to an ancient struggle. This is signified by the final scene in the movie, when a young boy moves a broom with the Force. However, “The Rise of Skywalker” seems to depart from these themes when introducing a new villain, and almost a new plot. This creates a disconnection between “Rise of Skywalker” and the previous films. 

The shift in narration appeases fans who were disappointed with “The Last Jedi.” However, it made the movie seem as if it was trying too hard. Certain climatic scenes felt rushed or forced, and some details did not fit the established facts of the series. The plot could also be difficult to understand. 

While the plot left something to be desired, it was made up for with the acting and characters. Ridley, Boyega, and Isaac all portray their characters with raw, honest emotion. A viewer can notice the connection the characters have with each other are as strong as the Force. Their interactions are very realistic portrayals of how people that have been through challenges together would behave. Rey’s character is commendable because, despite her trials and struggles, she never acts inconsistently with her established character. She remains a true champion of good. 

The musical score by John Williams also fits well with the movie. It plays homage to the original theme, while also adjusting to fit the new story. As it plays through action scenes, it crescendos as the action intensifies. 

Overall, the movie is engaging to watch. It might not have the cleanest plot, but the acting and action makes up for it. At the end, it did not leave a feeling of dissatisfaction. It is recommendable to all fans of the series who want to receive some closure after the long journey.  The movie receives 3.5/5 stars, because its slight stumbles did not detract from its overall enjoyment. 

The promotional poster for the movie “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” 
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker . 2019. IMDb, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2527338/.

Disney takes its turn with a streaming site

By Ryelee Stone

Opinions Editor

Streaming services provide different shows and movies that can appeal to everyone at the touch of their fingertips. I have found a streaming service that brings the magic of my favorite childhood memories to life.

A new streaming service that was recently released is Disney Plus. This streaming service provides shows and movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.

Disney Plus was released to the public on Nov. 12, 2019. The founder of this streaming site is Disney, and the CEO, Bob Iger, was the one who announced the launch.

This streaming site is Disney’s way of participating in the world of online streaming shows and movies. Disney can bring in even more revenue while providing their fans access to their favorite shows and movies.

According to Disney Plus’ website, the cost of a subscription is more affordable than other services at a price of $6.99 per month, along with a seven-day free trial to allow people to test out the streaming service. There is even a discount of paying $69.99 per year that would save buyers around $13.

After a simple signing-up process, the main menu for the site is clean and easy to maneuver through. There is a search button like any other streaming site, but the shows and movies are divided into different categories.

There are the standard streaming categories to choose from, including the Recommended for You, Continue Watching, What’s Trending, and more. What is special to Disney Plus is that there are sections to pick selections from only Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, or National Geographic.

Around the time the site was launched, the continue watching section disappeared on the home screen. Disney fixed this issue two weeks after the launch, showing that their team is responsive to problems. 

Something for parents to be aware of is that when you open the Disney Plus app after setting up an account, you can pick whichever profile you want to get into. There’s hardly any challenge to unlocking the parent accounts and there’s not a strong child lock, but time will tell if this needs to be fixed.

A larger selection of shows and movies are available to choose from compared to other sites and R-rated movies are not provided. Disney Plus still lived up to the hype it received because of the quality of the shows and movies it provides.

I have watched classic childhood movies and shows from this site that brought nostalgic feelings while watching them. I have also binge-watched the television show “Boy Meets World,” and watching shows and movies on this streaming site feels normal.

Shows and movies that I watched with my family when I was younger are on this site, and it is an amazing feeling to revisit those simpler times. “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles,” and “Monster’s Inc.” are all the movies that I have watched recently with my whole family because we have a Disney plus account.

Disney Plus has made a great impression on me and I plan on continuing to use this streaming service for as long as I can. Netflix does not have access to all of the shows and movies that Disney Plus has, so it is a great service that provides new content.

The overall impression that I have about Disney Plus is that it’s an amazing streaming site that provides options that everyone can enjoy. If someone is curious about trying it out, they should because it is reasonably priced and is an overall smooth experience to use.

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.

Mary Poppins Returns: A fantastical new perspective on the “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” world loved by millions

By Clare Mankin

Business Manager

Mary Poppins Returns directed by Robert Marshall, is a new take on the cult classic, that can resonate with all generations. The movie is based on the Banks children, both young and old, and how overwhelmed with impossible issues they are.

Like in the original, Mary Poppins returns to Cherry Tree Lane just in time to help solve the family’s impossible problems with her perfectly impossible solutions. The film was released in December of 2018 and has a running time of 2 hours and 10 minutes with the combined genres of music, adventure, animation, family, and fantasy.  

The movie opens with Jack the Leerie (Lin Manuel Miranda) going around London turning down all the lamp lights while singing about the “Lovely London Sky,” setting up the plot by ending the song on Cherry Tree Lane.

This then spurs the introduction of the Banks family, a grown adult version of Michael and Jane Banks (Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer) along with Michaels own children, Little Georgie, Jack, and Annabel Banks (Joel Dawson, Nathanael Saleh, and Pixie Davies).

The beginning focuses solely on the hardships the Banks family has encountered in the past year and the start of the story’s plotline for a pressing and immediate issue that they are about to undergo. While these problems arise, Michael and Jane are trying desperately to fix everything, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) shows up to “take care of the Banks family,” and dastardly schemes are set in place that could wreck the family’s very foundation.  

The original Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke is considered a timeless classic by millions. The film that has occupied the imaginations for the past three generations was a cinematic masterpiece that transcended the way the world viewed film and Walt Disney himself.

This Disney classic has been shaping the minds of children everywhere for the past 55 years. This then begs the question, will the re-bute of the fantastical world be just as transcending and loved?

The sequel has led many to theaters, either to relive their favorite childhood memory or to create new ones with their own children. It has made an astounding box office gross of $329,125,452 worldwide at a production budget of $130 million. These numbers show how many people were looking forward to it, however, they don’t show that the public love it.

According to the New York Times, Mary Poppins Returns is a “Mostly charmless venture, is a modest update of the 1964 film — one that has brushed off the story, making it louder, harsher, more aggressively smiley.”

Rolling Stones magazine said that the films leading lady, Emily Blunt “Adds needed spice to the movie’s heaping spoonfuls of sugar” with all her “Drollness and dazzle.”

The movie itself holds a certain charisma that rivals the first and holds onto the classical sense of Mary Poppins herself in a more updated version. It inspires hope and the thought that the impossible is possible during dark, hopeless times.

In the end, this dive back into the fantastical world of a timeless classic has brought back childhood memories long forgotten and has created new ones for those of a new generation.

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