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Opinions Editor and Marketing Editor
“Cancelled due to COVID” is a phrase not so uncommon to hear nowadays. The senior class of 2021 experienced this first hand when administration officially cancelled prom.
“Basically, we’ve known all year that if things didn’t change,” Executive Council Adviser Mrs. Rachel Curry said, “traditional prom wasn’t an option.”
The Senior Executive Council originally also planned a class trip to Washington, D.C.. Since the museums and National Zoo are closed, school officials also cancelled this trip.
“I was cautiously optimistic that it wouldn’t happen, but we kind of knew it (senior activities) was ending,” Mrs. Curry said, “That’s completely out of our control.”
Principal Mr. Mark Shue said that Red Lion is following all guidelines put out by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and are allowed to have some after school events but not prom out of concern that gatherings could be a super-spreader events for COVID-19 that “Goal number one is to keep school open,” Mr. Shue said.
The Executive Council’s work raising money the past four years will not go to waste, however.
“There’s a survey out there that we’re waiting for results on about whether they want an after school activity,” Mrs. Curry said.
If the survey indicates that over half the senior class wants this event, Executive Council plans to move forward with the idea. This would be an after-school outdoor activity including food-trucks and yard games.
“We are waiting to see if anyone is interested in it,” Mrs. Curry said. “It will be something similar to what happened with homecoming.”
Mr. Shue says that there has not been much interest in this event from the Google Form Mrs. Curry sent to the senior class.
If this end of year senior celebration does not occur, Executive Council will purchase a gift for each senior. “I would like to have the gift be something that would be meaningful to the students,” Mrs. Curry said.
To celebrate their graduation, many seniors are attempting to have somewhat normal end of year celebrations in lieu of the prom. A group of seniors organized a makeshift prom called Romp on the Boondocks, a non-school sanctioned event and anagram for prom.
“It has been a very dim year for everyone,” Executive Council member and makeshift prom organizer Madison Daugherty said. “So, we decided to plan our own.”
The cancellation of prom came as a surprise to Thea Hennessy. “I was kind of excited for maybe an outdoor kind of thing, like they were talking about,” Hennessy said. “So it kind of blowed that they did cancel it, but I understand why of course.”
However, many students anticipated that administration would cancel prom. “I was disappointed,” Braden Reese de Leon said. “But it was expected.”
“It is a large venue with lots of outdoor space so we can spread out,” Daugherty said. “It also allows us to include other things that you usually would not have at prom, like a bonfire.”
The large outdoor venue also encourages social distancing and air ventilation. Adult chaperones will enforce COVID-19 precautions such as mask wearing and social distancing. All students attending must present a COVID-19 waiver in order to be allowed into Romp.
“We do want this to be a safe event,” Daugherty said. “We will have additional precautions set in place such as temperature checks and plenty of hand sanitizer.”
Many students are still concerned about the COVID-19 precautions at Romp. “I definitely am really scared about that,” attendee Hennessy said. “I don’t think it’s going to be 100% safe.”
Romp’s planners set the date for May 22, so many are concerned about a potential COVID-19 outbreak before graduation.
“I hope that everybody’s really careful and thoughtful because, if it happens close enough to graduation and there’s any sort of COVID spread,” Mrs. Curry said, “there will be students in quarantine or school will be shut down before graduation.”
Daugherty told The Leonid that Romp will follow all of the governor’s mandates. Since COVID-19 is highly contagious, the seniors planning Romp are aware that many students will not attend in order to reduce their exposure to the virus.
“We get it. Prom is not everyone’s cup of tea,” Daugherty said. “We are expecting upwards of 100 students or so. But we would love to have way more than that.”
Thea Hennessy, who is planning to attend Romp in the Boondocks, is apprehensive about contracting COVID-19.
“Honestly, that’s why I’m really on the fence about going,” Hennesy said. “On the one hand, I want to have a good time with my senior year but on the other hand, I definitely want to be safe.”
Braden Reese de Leon does not plan to attend Romp, but she says, “I think it’ll be fine as long as they take those precautions.”
In order to raise money for Romp, Madison Daugherty and Madisson Shellenberger organized a fundraiser on GoFundMe. This money helps cover the cost of the venue, DJ, food, and decor.
“Our vision for this event is more lowkey and relaxed, so there is no formal ticket process,” Daugherty said. “Any of our council members will be more than accommodating to get a ticket to any senior who reaches out.”
Romp is more casual because it is planned by students rather than the Executive Council. “It is not a school-sanctioned event,” Daugherty said, “so it is 100% student-planned.”
Many people are concerned about the behavior of attendees to Romp. “I feel like they’d be just much more reckless because it’s not associated with the school,” de Leon said.
Members of the community will chaperone the event. “Though this is not school sanctioned, we expect behavior as if it were,” Daugherty said. “We expect nothing less than respectful behavior.”
“Our biggest motivation for planning this event,” Daugherty said, ”is to give our seniors a sense of normalcy before going off to college or into the workforce.”
Hennessy intends to go to Romp with a small group of friends before graduating. On the other hand, de Leon will not attend Romp because she wants to have a small get together rather than a large party.
“I don’t want to go because I feel like my friends probably wouldn’t go either,” de Leon said, “and I’d rather have a small gathering of friends than try to have a makeshift prom outside of school.”
“Our goal is to host one last hoorah before saying goodbye to our classmates,” Daugherty said.
Administration fears a potential outbreak from Romp in the Boondocks. “We do not support a large gathering of students that could potentially lead to a COVID outbreak that could close the High School,” Mr. Shue said, “Please think before you act.”
By Kaitlyn Resline
Leaders motivate, inspire, and guide. Sometimes they stand out in front and sometimes they get out of the way of their talented teammates. Whatever the style, Red Lion Student Council will sponsor a leadership week to recognize leaders from many different clubs and organizations.
RLASHS’s Student Leadership Week takes place from April 19 to 25 to correspond with the National Student Leadership Week.
“What we do is we want to celebrate the other student leaders besides Student Council in both our school and in the community,” Haley McCartney, treasurer and head of fundraising committee for Student Council, said.
This year’s theme for Student Leadership Week is “Leadership Unlimited.” McCartney said the theme reflects this past year, how to keep moving forward, and know that leadership is unlimited no matter the circumstances.
Since RLASHS closed last school year before Student Leadership Week, this year, Student Council has planned more activities than ever.
They plan to send cards to junior firefighters, send emails to sport captains, create a LEAD mural with photos of sports captains and club officers, and host a banquet for club leaders.
The banquet will take place Thursday, April 22, during AP and sixth period. Student Council used to hold a catered breakfast in the commons, but this year student leaders will receive goody bags of prepackaged items in the auditorium.
They also have a spirit week and a quote of the day for every day during Student Leadership Week.
Student Leadership Week ties into Student Council’s “why statement,” which is “To be the leaders that serve our school and community by doing all that we can for others, so that students can feel heard and grow from our help,” McCartney said.
“The reason for leadership week is, well, why aren’t sports captains known as leaders, why aren’t the FFA or National Honors Society, why aren’t they getting recognition?” McCartney said. “So that’s why we implemented this national week into our school, to support all of the student leaders.”
By: Laela Thibault
Communication is a very vital skill in the real world. In school, I’m taking a communication class that teaches me everything involved with communicating along with self-confidence and self-worth. A positive of being in this class is that I am able to learn a strategy to improve one’s mental health and physical health which is a gratitude journal.
A gratitude journal is a journal where one focuses on their happiness and writes different things that they are grateful for. Sometimes this can just be done for fun, but it is usually a way to improve self-esteem, improve mental and physical health, and help cope while trying to increase happiness, If you just choose a topic to write about then the rest should be easy. Here is an example:
I can not limit myself to one person who makes my life better. I could go on for days and days about everyone who genuinely makes me so happy in my life, but this is based on my friends and my family. In terms of my family, I could not ask for a better support system. There are not enough words to describe how thankful I am to have my family in my life. At my lowest and at my highest, they were always there for me, and they continue to make me the person I am. They have done so much for me, and someday I want to return the favor. I love them so much, and I want nothing but the best for them and what they achieve. I admire their hard work and drive while they still give themselves time to have fun. Our dysfunctional, close relationship proves to me that I rely on them about anything and for that, I am forever grateful.
In terms of friends, I can’t even express the love I have for them. In person or not, everytime I talk to a friend, it never hesitates to put a smile on my face. If I am ever upset, I know I can count on them to make me laugh or make my day. The friends I have in my life all have one thing in common which is they are all beautiful inside and out. As we grow up, we mature and start to learn who our real friends are. Well I can proudly say that I was given beautiful friends who are literally the sweetest souls, in my opinion. Just like my family, I want nothing but the best for them and they always deserve happiness. My friends are the reason why our adventures, our memories, and our crazy situations will forever be cherished. I love them with all my heart and I am forever grateful for them being in my life.
It does not take much to make a gratitude journal. All you have to do is take some time to reflect on things that are good in your life and write it down. It can be good therapy to put yourself in a positive mindset by letting your mind overpower the bad thoughts with the good thoughts.
It may not work for everybody, which is completely okay, but if you like writing, consider doing this strategy to make yourself feel a little better. Also, do not hesitate to tell a friend or family member how grateful you are for them in person.
Writing a gratitude journal is a way to benefit yourself but there is nothing wrong with showing gratitude for someone as well! As long as we keep exercising the brain by finding different healthy ways to cope with something, improve our mental health, and our self-esteem, we can win the battle against the negativity.
Opinions Editor and Marketing Editor
If there’s one thing that the pandemic taught me, it’s that I am not the kind of person who can be cooped up in a room all day.
When Governor Wolfe established the first set of quarantine restrictions, I eventually grew tired of staring at my bedroom walls, and it became apparent that I had to do something for my own sanity.
So what do you do when you have a strong desire to leave your bed and get off TikTok, but a pandemic is stopping you from doing so? For me, the answer was hiking.
I can proudly say that I walked nearly every trail in York County within the matter of one month. Quarantine wasn’t so bad because I was constantly moving and experiencing new places.
This newfound love of the outdoors came with a price, though. I now see the mistreatment of our environment as an increasingly important problem.
I first noticed how prominent litter is in the modern world when I was attempting to get a bird’s nest out of my dryer shaft. Apprehensive that I would see an innocent bird carcass, I peaked down the tube to find something far worse.
A weak-looking nest held together with a long green string of plastic stared right back at me.
Not only did human development force this bird to use a dryer shaft as a sanctuary, but the bird was also reduced to constructing a home made of litter.
At this moment, I realized that waste directly affects the animals living in our environment right now.
People are so desensitized to pollution because it does not immediately affect them. It’s easy to throw a paper bag on the ground and never see it again because ittering doesn’t instantly hurt litterers.
But it does directly influence this generation of mammals while leaving long term negative effects on the sanctity of our planet.
With a world that is covered in concrete, it’s easy to feel pretty isolated from the natural world. For this reason, littering and depletion of natural resources seem like distant problems that will never affect us.
Next time, you are on a walk around Red Lion, look around.
On my 0.125 mile walk from the parking lot into the school, I saw nine pieces of garbage. Of those nine pieces of garbage, five were disposable masks, one was a half-full Fanta bottle, there were two disposable forks, and a plastic bag entrapped by a tree’s grasp.
When you aren’t looking for it, a plastic bag trapped in a tree branch isn’t that incredible to look at. The sad thing is, it isn’t that unordinary either.
According to the Department of Environmental Protection, an estimated 502 million pieces of litter scatter Pennsylvania roads.
This explains why I am met with several new pieces of garbage on the ground each time I go outside.
Now that I’m an avid hiker, every time I see a piece of garbage on the ground, it feels like a personal attack.
Problems fill the world to the brink, but this one resonates with me because humans are doing it to themselves. We are knowingly depleting our natural resources and harming our environment but continue to make few efforts to fix the problem.
So what should we do? Boycotting big corporations or passing Congressional laws are all really great ideas, but they seem like radical solutions. The only way to improve this whopping environmental problem is if every single person sacrifices a little convenience in their lives.
This means carpooling to school, turning off unnecessary lights, throwing trash in the appropriate areas, conserving your water intake, recycling, and even going to thrift stores.
I recently made a vow to purchase all of my clothes from thrift stores in order to reduce the amount of clothing in landfills.
Many people don’t know that manufacturing new clothing uses a tremendous amount of energy and water. However, thrifting is a useful tool to conserve natural resources and reduce water intake. Not to mention, the clothes are super cute and cheap.
Not only do I enjoy thrifting, but I also started a garden in order to avoid pesticide-infested veggies. Making this environmentally conscious choice has helped me to stimulate growth in my backyard and create a sanctuary for snails, caterpillars, and other little creatures.
Everyday environmental actions allow me to reduce my carbon footprint. Making the decision to be environmentally conscious didn’t inconvenience me that much, but it will have lasting positive effects on the environment.
If everyone makes a small change in their life to be more environmentally conscious, then this giant environmental crisis will slowly diminish.
The thing is – I want to enjoy hiking throughout my adulthood. I want to go swimming in a lake that isn’t heavily polluted. I want to walk 0.125 miles without seeing a piece of garbage.
And it all starts by putting litter in its place.
Opinions Editor and Marketing Editor
Roughly two out of five students in a Red Lion classroom are in poverty. The poverty rate in the Red Lion Area School District has continuously increased and hit an all time high of 43% this year. In order to combat this growing number, a local food pantry both educates and serves nearly 350 families from Red Lion and also Dallastown and Eastern York school districts.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, local poverty rates have increased, and more families turn to Community REACH for financial assistance, life skills training, and food and clothing distribution. “It’s definitely increased. I’d say at least 25%,” Executive Director Mrs. JoEllyn Hynson said. ”Every month the numbers keep increasing.”
Despite the growing poverty rates within the district, the Community Kids Food for Home Program is seeing a decrease in number of families registered. “We’re serving about 25 kids, but usually only about 10 families,” Red Lion Area School District Social Worker Mrs. Brandy Shealer said, “Before, we were serving hundreds of kids.”
The decrease in families that are registered could be due to the availability of food during the pandemic., “Even students who weren’t on free and reduced lunch are now getting free lunches and free breakfasts.” Mrs. Shealer said.
The intent behind this program was to make sure that all students got enough food to eat while they are not in school. “For the sake of argument, say we typically have 6,000 students,” Mrs. Shealer said. ”If you think that 40% of that 6,000 are actually in poverty, think how many students we should be serving in this program and we’re not.”
Families that need to sign up for the program should contact Brandy Shealer or Stacy Strausbaugh directly. Starting in April, all new families can also go directly to the Community REACH website. Anyone that contacts one of these people and is already on free and reduced lunch in Skyward is added to the program.
In the past few years, there have been many changes to the Community Kids Food for Home Program. “We decided to change the way that we distribute the food and have the parents pick it up,” Mrs. Shealer said, ”so that we could provide larger sizes, and more foods that the families could actually use.”
Parents that are a part of the program have responded positively to this change. “We’ve gotten good feedback from the families that have utilized it,” Mrs. Shealer said. “They were very surprised because we kept telling them, ‘don’t leave yet, we have another box.’”
According to Mrs. Shealer, JoEllyn Hynson at Community REACH helped to supply families with a healthier variety of foods. “We’re very fortunate to have such a wonderful partner in Community REACH,” said Mrs. Shealer.
At Community REACH, Mrs. Hynson organizes education classes, oversees the pantry, orders the food, gets donations, and targets employees. She is also very excited about starting a baby club where families within the community can access resources for their young children.
Community REACH serves more than food. They also offer life skills training classes to the public without needing to be a client. “We have people from Penn State come and teach classes and things like that,” Mrs. Hynson said.
The food pantry’s kitchen was remodeled for cooking classes before the pandemic. However, in person classes are not being held in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. “Now, we’re just trying to pick up the pieces and do what we can online,” Mrs. Hynson said.
This is not the only difference at Community REACH because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I guess the biggest change is our families are no longer allowed in the pantry,” Mrs. Hynson said. “When the family comes to the door to get the food, we push the card out and they load it up.”
To register for the food pantry and schedule a time to pick up food, visit https://www.commreach.org/ and click on the Community REACH logo. Any volunteers that are interested in helping the pantry can find more information here.
In addition to volunteers, anyone can donate directly to Community REACH. They are looking for baby items, new or dry cleaned clothing items, and food for the Community Kids Food for Home Program.
The pantry is looking for foods like cereals, pastas, spaghetti sauces, peanut butter, jelly, applesauce, and fruit snack packs. However, Mrs. Shealer said that money is the best way to donate to the program. “You and I might be able to take $1 and get a sale at the grocery store for like two cans,” Mrs. Shealer said, “but Community REACH can access the food banks and they may be able to get 10 cans for $1.”
The goal of Community Reach is to distribute food, resources, and advocacy within the Red Lion, Dallastown, and Eastern area. “This is where you need to be putting in your efforts because they are directly in our backyard. They’re in our borough,” Mrs. Shealer said. “They’re serving our community, and we need to make sure that we support them.”
By Kaitlyn Resline
The tired high school student is a troupe played through many novels and movies. The camera zooms in on a student that has just pulled an all-nighter and now has to prepare for school. To make it through the day, the student grabs a cup of coffee on the way out of the house.
The Leonid tested the reality of this troupe in a recent survey about caffeine use. It turns out, for the majority of those surveyed, caffeine is a real part of their day.
The survey consisted of 408 students at Red Lion Area Senior High School. Freshmen made up 28%, sophomores made up 19.9%, juniors made up 27.3%, and seniors made up 24.8%.
77.7% of students surveyed report that they drink caffeine.
The common types of caffeine beverages consumed were tea, coffee, energy drinks, and soda.
“I used to drink coffee because I needed to stay up to do work,” senior Kehnun Sebesta said. “Now I just drink tea because I find it to be more beneficial and less harmful for my body.”
With teens juggling busy schedules and multiple demands at one time, high school students are the fastest growing population of caffeine users, a study conducted by Medical News Today said.
In the study 83.2% of teenagers consumed caffeinated beverages regularly, while at least 96% consumed them occasionally.
This study was done on a smaller scale than the one at Red Lion, with 166 participants primarily in grades 9 and 10.
Majority of students in Red Lion reported drinking one to three caffeinated drinks a day while only 9.7% reported drinking four to nine drinks.
In comparison, the study by Medical News Today “44.6% of respondents drank caffeinated beverages one to six times per week, 11.4% consumed a caffeinated beverage every day, and only 4.8% never consumed drinks containing caffeine.”
Red Lion student caffeine users are consuming more caffeine than this study.
The Medical News Today study says participants’ main reason for consuming caffeine was to feel alert, which would help them study better.
Similarly, the Red Lion survey found common reasons people drank caffeine was because it tastes good, they wanted to feel more awake, it helped with focus and concentration, and they had to stay up late.
Mera D’Aquila, a senior at Red Lion, said she drinks caffeine to stay up late and do assignments. She believes it helps her think more clearly when she is only getting four to five hours of sleep a night.
“Sometimes there will be nights when I have a lot to do,” D’Aquila said. “I’ll tell my mom, ‘can we just please go to Starbucks and get a coffee because I think I’m in the need tonight.’”
D’Aquila thinks she would drink caffeine less if her schoolwork was not so stressful.
The FDA has cited that 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, or four to five cups of coffee, is not a dangerous amount of caffeine to consume. However, different people have different metabolizing rates of caffeine and respond to the effects differently.
Common side effects listed by MedlinePlus of consuming too much caffeine includes shakiness, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, rapid heart rate, dehydration, anxiety, and dependency on caffeine.
Although 80.3% of students report never having any unintended side effects of drinking caffeine, 19.7% report having side effects from caffeine consumption. Among these side effects students listed headaches, shaking, jittering, and nausea.
Some students said that this happened when they would not consume caffeine for a period of time.
Caffeine withdrawal can occur when a person consumes caffeine on a regular basis and then suddenly stops. Symptoms of this include headaches, drowsiness, irritability, nausea, and difficulty concentrating.
The FDA recommends a gradual cut back of caffeine consumption to avoid withdrawal symptoms. If unsure how to do this, a person can talk to their health care provider about how to cut back.
By: Laela Thibault
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.