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.
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.
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.
From Thriller to Commentary: How a series evolved into a display of the Human condition
By Max Vigue
Hajime Isayama’s manga series later turned animated show in 2013 (directed by Tetsurō Araki, Masashi Koizuka, Jun Shishido, and Yūichirō Hayashi) Attack On Titan has accumulated a wide spectrum of popularity.
It made waves with a debut in the East and nearly became a classic comparable to Game of Thrones in the West, it streams on streaming services such as CrunchyRoll and Netflix.
Attack On Titan is a show that can capture the attention of mainstream American. Season 4 will be adapting the later sections of the manga, developing beyond the initial premise.
Although Wit Studio (April 7, 2013-July 1, 2019) has built up the reputation of releasing these breathtaking adaptations, Mappa (December 7-Present, February 2020), which is known for its mosaic animation, now has taken the reins for finishing this saga.
Despite the mixed feedback, audiences are becoming more accustomed to Mappa’s unique style of blending 2D animation with CGI.
For a quick recap of the initial premise, Attack On Titan is set in a world where humanoid giants referred to as Titans roam the countryside of Paradis Island.
In response the people of the island built walls to protect themselves from the Titans; Thus enduring over nearly over centuries of peace until one day, a large Titan, referred to as the Colossal Titan, broke down the first wall.
With one of the walls, Wall Mira, broken down, the people of Paradis [sic] lost 70% of their territory. After retreating into Wall Rose, Eren Yeager (MC) swore revenge on the Titans to one day wipe them all out. Beyond the initial storyline, the show has evolved to become a much more complex narrative.
This series has always held a reputation for its stellar animation. Even after being taken under the wing of Mappa, it still maintains its aesthetic. For instance, The choreography of the action scenes throughout the course of the show have always been executed well. Each movement is animated smoothly, each shot is detailed and meticulously placed. When incorporated into the full sequence, an adrenaline-fueled experience is blasted on screen.
Mappa has also added another layer of depth to the series by uzliting rotoscoping technology. Rotoscoping really plays into the series’ gritty aesthetic of realism, allowing dialogue-heavy episodes come off as intensely introspective.
Attack On Titan, on its debut, was perceived as an action-packed roller coaster, showcasing a simple tale of man-eating beasts overtaking human civilization. But over time it has presented itself as a case study analyzing the human condition as a whole.
The story makes the audience realize that the world does not function under a hero’s journey plot. Every single character has their own reasoning for why they set course on a certain path.
All the conflicts are sparked due to difference in agendas, colliding with each other like atoms. No one will be willing to budge. Yet Isayama constructed the architecture of the story to make us feel empathy for all sides.
Even characters that were considered antagonists have their backgrounds explored in depth, conveying a message that even antagonists are still just humans in this world.
Protagonist Eren Yeager, throughout the course of the story comes to these realizations. At first he is hell-bent on wiping out everyone of one of the Titans ,seeing anyone who stands in his way as an enemy who is completely faceless. But the world forces him to evolve.
The more he learns about the truth of the Titans, about what the world out the walls is really like, and that some of his allies were actually his enemies the whole time, his perspective evolves. He is able to sympathize with his enemies and even conclude that they are the same people. He, however, comes to another realization: In this world you can’t stop out of pity or you’ll never be able to achieve your goals.
So despite his broadened perspective, he knows that he can’t abandon his overall objective. At the end of the day, even though his enemies might be the same in terms of situation, pain, and upbringing he still pushes forward. He will have to take them out by any means in order to achieve his goals.
Isayama’s once obscure dystopian action manga has evolved to become a commentary for the human condition in animated form.
Despite still starting off as a series an individual could enjoy for its action,it has transformed into a very thought-provoking work that will make Attack On Titan stand out, regardless of the studio behind it or its specific adaptations.
I would recommend this series to anyone who not just enjoys well-paced fight scenes, enjoys drama heavy plot, or introspective character arcs.
All those factors are just a surplus in the larger scheme of this story. It’s the world building, compelling themes, thought-provoking story telling, tear-jerking moments and overall spirit of the show as a whole which makes Attack On Titan unique.
This show is a must watch for anyone, regardless of demographic. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy anime as a medium or not, the quality makes Attack On Titan a must-watch.
Last night as Red Lion faced Northeastern in the second game of the season it set a different tone than in years past. Stands stood nearly empty as the referee blew the whistle to start the game.
While there were few fans to cheer on the Lions, the team played with fervor, not unlike years past, the night ended with a score of 53-36.
Red Lion Varsity came in strong keeping a steady lead over Northeastern. At the end of the first quarter, Red Lion led 16-7, and at half-time, 23-19. By the end of the third quarter, Red Lion led 35-28.
Standout players included senior forward Davante Dennis, the high-scorer, with 18 points on the nigh. Junior forward Mason Urey scored a total of 13 points.
The game ended with Red Lion emerging victorious.
JV began strong with four points in under four minutes. From there they continued their streak. At half-time Red Lion lead 24 -19. Red Lion kept up their lead in the third quarter but was neck and neck with Northeastern in the fourth quarter.
With 12.5 seconds left, both teams were tied at 40 points. At 6.0 seconds Northeastern gained 4 more points allowing them to take the lead 44-40.
In the end, Red Lion JV lost 44-40 against Northeastern Senior High.
Governor Wolfe announced a delay of the start of winter sports practices and games Dec. 13 as COVID-19 cases rose in Pennsylvania.
Signs in the gym remind anyone at the events to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Players are required to wear masks as well. Spectators are not allowed to attend. They can watch events as they are live-streamed.
After resuming the season Jan. 4, winter sports are in full swing. Boys and girls basketball had their first game and scrimmage Jan. 8. The boys won their game. Wrestling had their first match Jan. 10, leaving them 3-2 overall.
Upcoming home games include girls’ and boys’ basketball against William Penn Jan. 15. The wrestling team has a match against Dover High School Jan. 14. Also, the swimming team has a meet against Central York Jan. 21.
The bell rings causing you to rush to your first period class. A closed door and white sheet of paper greet you with a message to check Google Classroom and head to the Commons for a study hall period.
This is not an uncommon occurrence for students across the Red Lion Area Senior High School. Teacher absences have spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a limited amount of substitute teachers are available to cover classes.
“We do a good job of controlling the exposure in the building,” Chief Legal and Operations Officer Mr. Gregory Monskie said in reference to the high number of teacher absences. “Part of the byproduct of us doing a good job is we have a lot of teacher absences.”
Many students find themselves having study halls or work periods instead of having a substitute teacher. “The main issue that goes back a number of years is a problem in the supply of substitute teachers,” Mr. Monskie said.
According to substitute teacher, Mr. Michael Scott Shelton, there are about three to four substitute teachers in the building every day. Last year there were enough substitute teachers to cover nearly every class. “As far as the teachers being out, it really provides us the opportunity to be here on a daily basis,” Mr. Shelton said.
“I don’t think there’s much the school district can do at this time, because the substitutes come from a third party called Substitute Teacher Services (STS),” Mr. Shelton said. “Their hands are kind of tied.”
STS provides substitute teachers for schools across Pennsylvania. Mr. Monskie says that nearly every school district in the county uses STS, and they are all experiencing a reduced supply of substitute teachers.
Substitute shortages are not a new problem. Schools across the country struggle with filling substitutes into absent teachers’ positions.
Mr. Shelton says the lack of substitutes is simply because of the pandemic.“It is actually due to COVID-19. There are some older subs that don’t feel comfortable stepping into full or half full school buildings.”
The supply of substitute teachers is decreasing according to Mr. Monskie. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, substitutes are more hesitant to come into school. “I think this is a systemic problem that has been going on for a long time that I think is being put under additional stress by what our obligations are in the current environment,” Mr. Monskie said.
“A lot of people don’t want to be substitute teachers right now and under these circumstances,” Mr. Monskie said. “On the demand side, we need to be more careful with our staff when they’re coming to work if they’re showing any signs of illness.”
People are supposed to quarantine when they are within six feet of someone who had COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes. While in quarantine, some teachers found their classes fell behind due to an inadequate supply of substitute teachers. Still, other teachers kept their classes on track.
Mr. Thomas Wise, school choral instructor, quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19 last month. “I would lie if I didn’t say more teachers are out now than they were last year, but it’s not a ton different. It’s really not. We’re lacking subs, period.”
Mr. Wise said his choir class did well while he was absent because the students stepped up and moved at a normal pace.
According to Mr. Wise, his music appreciation class needed more one-on-one attention. “They were actually reading stuff and doing work,” Mr. Wise said, “I would have to make sure that they were doing it, and it was not the same as lecturing.”
Technology provides opportunities for instruction that may not have existed in the past. Many teachers choose to use Google Meet with their students in order to give their students instruction time. Teachers “are able to teach synchronously with their students,” Mr. Monskie said, “and we are able to provide some in class supervision of the students so that that can continue.”
Both Monskie and Shelton agree the best thing for students is for a teacher or substitute to be present in the classroom.
“I think anytime the full time teacher is out,” Mr. Shelton said, “students aren’t quite going to get what they would if they were there.”
Many classes go to study halls and complete worksheets while their teachers are absent. Mr. Shelton feels teachers leave adequate lesson plans that keep their students on track. “I think a substitute in the room is much better than having kids just going into a study hall,” Mr. Shelton said. “I think they get a lot more accomplished if they’re in their classrooms.”
With a depleted supply of substitute teachers, the district struggles to fill absent teachers’ positions.
Since many classes cannot have a substitute in the room, many teachers are sent to oversee classes with absent teachers. Mr. Wise has had to provide coverage. “It’s not a whole lot different than last year because I’m covering study halls,” Mr. Wise said. “So it’s not a huge change.”
“I think they (the school district) are doing as best they can. And I’m glad we’re having school, so I’m not gonna complain,” Mr. Wise said.
Mr. Monskie said that the teacher absences are indicative of the district doing a good job with exposure to the virus. “I would caution you not to only see this problem as a symptom of people getting sick,” Mr. Monskie said. “It’s a symptom of us preventing people from getting sick.”
Grace Frain and Elizabeth Rogers work outside the LGI because of absent teachers and few substitutes. They find the work from their classes is sufficient and keeps them busy. Taken by Shana Carey
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just as Red Lion athletes were ready to tip-off their winter season, high schools across Pennsylvania heard the news that K-12 sports would be suspended until early January.
The suspension runs until 8 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2021. Gov. Tom Wolf announced this and other changes during a press conference on Thursday in an effort to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The release noted that there has been a significant increase in cases among schools. Pennsylvania has seen an influx of cases since October with the number of daily cases and hospitalizations seeing record highs in the last few months as well as deaths per day, reaching the hundreds.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine explained the decision. “The virus continues to strain our health care systems, and the dramatic rise in cases among all age groups, including among school-age children, is alarming.” Levine said. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 37,500 cases among children age 5 to 18, yet 9,500 of those cases occurred in the past two weeks.”
This postponement is in hopes that daily cases go down over the next three weeks, making it safer for high school students to participate in winter sports. The release noted that because of the increase in cases among schools that it “increases the risk that asymptomatic participants will spread the virus at a game or practice, in the locker room, while traveling to and from events, or at team meals, parties or other gatherings.”
Dec. 10, 2020 marked the fifth time that Pennsylvania recorded 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day since Dec. 2, 2020. Before Oct., Pennsylvania had not reported more than 2,000 new cases per day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker and the Mayo Clinic, Pennsylvania has an average of 9,898 cases per day in the last seven days as well as recording that 78 people out of every 100,000 in the state have COVID-19.
The number of hospitalizations has also risen to 5,877. Until Nov. 18, the highest number of hospitalizations was 2,800, on April 17. Since then each day has marked a new record high. Pennsylvania has the third highest number of hospitalization in the country after California and Texas.
This announcement comes one week after the Red Lion Area School District Board of School Directors approved a revised plan for health and safety for interscholastic sporting events at the Dec. 3 school board meeting. The plan lays out when and what materials get sanitized as well as how to keep coaches and athletes safe by social distancing when possible.