Articles on this Page
- 03/27/15--09:31: _Friday Update- 3/27
- 03/30/15--07:41: _Colby Sawyer Schola...
- 03/30/15--11:04: _Colby Sawyer Schola...
- 03/31/15--11:16: _Walking Through A S...
- 03/31/15--11:31: _Iraqi Soldiers Cont...
- 03/31/15--11:33: _Boys Volleyball
- 04/01/15--07:54: _Don’t Be Afraid To ...
- 04/01/15--08:22: _March Crossword Puzzle
- 04/01/15--10:18: _Malden High School ...
- 04/01/15--10:19: _Aeromobil 3.0: The ...
- 04/02/15--08:59: _Meninism – Did you ...
- 04/02/15--09:23: _Malden High School:...
- 04/03/15--05:12: _A Preseason Look at...
- 04/03/15--05:50: _Asexuality & The Ri...
- 04/03/15--06:46: _Poetry Out Loud In ...
- 04/06/15--08:50: _Junior Varieties 2015
- 04/06/15--10:23: _Paris Fashion Week
- 04/06/15--10:31: _I Wanna Rock!
- 04/07/15--11:34: _How Social Media Ma...
- 04/07/15--12:07: _Venturing Out to Ec...
- 03/27/15--09:31: Friday Update- 3/27
- The Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program is now accepting applications for Summer Employment. The deadline for submission is April 10th. For more details and to apply, please go to www.cityofmalden.org/msyep and fill your application out online.
- Any Malden High School freshman, sophomore, or junior interested in learning more about representing Malden High School on the statewide Department of Education Student Advisory Council should see Mr. Brown for more information. Nominations and elections will be held soon.
- Seniors should be working on scholarship applications.
- AP Science Prep Session In Melrose on Saturday
- MCAS Schedule next Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
- Save the Date for Blue&Gold art gallery
- 03/30/15--07:41: Colby Sawyer Scholar: Nico Quesada Nylen
- 03/30/15--11:04: Colby Sawyer Scholarship: Kaitlyn Weng
- 03/31/15--11:16: Walking Through A Summer Wonderland
- 03/31/15--11:31: Iraqi Soldiers Continue to Resist ISIS Attacks
- 03/31/15--11:33: Boys Volleyball
- 04/01/15--07:54: Don’t Be Afraid To Be Tr(u)e
- 04/01/15--08:22: March Crossword Puzzle
- 04/01/15--10:18: Malden High School Offers Internship Opportunities for Seniors
- 04/01/15--10:19: Aeromobil 3.0: The Flying Car
- 04/02/15--09:23: Malden High School: Where Anything Is Posse-ble!
- 04/03/15--05:12: A Preseason Look at the 2015 Boston Red Sox
- 04/03/15--05:50: Asexuality & The Rise of Sexual Minorities
- 04/03/15--06:46: Poetry Out Loud In Review
- 04/06/15--08:50: Junior Varieties 2015
- 04/06/15--10:23: Paris Fashion Week
- 04/06/15--10:31: I Wanna Rock!
- 04/07/15--11:34: How Social Media Made An Impact (When the Mainstream Media Didn’t)
- 04/07/15--12:07: Venturing Out to Ecuador
As senior Nicolas Quesada Nylen spends his last weeks as a Malden High School student, he has locked down his college choice on Colby Sawyer.
In the college preparation chaos of senior year, Quesada Nylen, along with senior classmate Kaitlyn Weng, was awarded with the Colby Sawyer scholarship. As Quesada Nylen read the letter sent to his house notifying him that he got the scholarship, “[he] really thought [he] was dreaming.”
Although Colby Sawyer was not on Quesada Nylen’s list of colleges, after he heard about the school and visited the campus, it quickly became an easy decision that he would apply for the scholarship. The small size and affordable price of the school met the standards Quesada Nylen had set for his future school. Quesada Nylen plans on majoring in business during his time as a Colby Sawyer college student, with dreams to move on to culinary school and one day own a restaurant of his own.
Another senior year highlight for Quesada Nylen was being part of the MHS boys soccer team, who went undefeated in the regular season, won the Greater Boston League championship title and made it to the third round of states. Despite an ankle injury that didn’t allow Quesada Nylen to play for a major portion of the season, he expresses that “[he is] grateful to have worn a uniform and still be considered a part of the team.” Quesada Nylen also gives credit to his teammates and coach as the reason he will be playing soccer at Colby Sawyer this upcoming fall.
Along with being a member of the boys soccer team, Quesada Nylen had the privilege of being a Summer Searcher. Quesada Nylen describes his sophomore year trip to Wind River Range in Wyoming as “life changing.” Quesada Nylen grew to become a great leader in the Summer Search program for the underclassmen and says “[he will] always remember the two trips and what [he has] learned from the program.”
With the end of senior year close by, Quesada Nylen knows that “it is time to move forward.” Despite the fact that he will be living away from his family and friends, Quesada Nylen admits that “[he is] excited to live in a place other than Malden.” In his preparation for college, Quesada Nylen is “excited to see how [he] can leave a mark on Colby Sawyer.” Until then, he will be making the best of the time he has left at the place that has been home for the past four years, MHS.
Senior Kaitlyn Weng is a very involved student at Malden High School. As she graduates this spring and heads into the next step of her life, Weng expects to continue her education in college. Weng is one of the two students from MHS that was awarded the Colby Sawyer scholarship that the Colby Sawyer College offers at MHS. The scholarship pays for the four years of school, not including room and board.
Weng explained that this particular scholarship is mostly “based on community service, diversity, and leadership.” She claimed her initial reaction to when she found out she had received the scholarship is that she was shocked, and was “so happy [she] was jumping up and down.” Colby Sawyer offers this scholarship in order to build more skills for leaders.
Weng is anxious about going away from home for college, and since Colby Sawyer is in New Hampshire, the drive from Malden is long. She stated that college is “scary, because [she] is going away to a school without knowing anyone,” However, she will be attending school with the other MHS senior Nico Quesada Nylen. Weng and Quesada Nylen have been friends even before their acceptances, however Weng explains that she is “fortunate enough to have someone she knows going to school with her because [she knows] that [they] will have each others backs.”
Weng hopes to pursue Education while attending Colby Sawyer. At MHS she is involved in various activities such as volleyball, Captains Council, Special Olympics, Summer Search and Unified Sports. At her time in Colby Sawyer, Weng intends to join various clubs and become thoroughly involved, organizations like the Community Service Club and Relay for Life are two that interest her greatly.
This upcoming fall, Weng is “excited and afraid” from being independent from her family. Other than her Summer Search trips, she has not been away from her family all of her life. Despite being nervous, Weng is extremely lucky to have the opportunity to go to college with the majority paid for as a result of her hard work that she’s performed throughout high school, and now she begins the next chapter of her life at Colby Sawyer.
As the winter comes to a close and the snow seems to (hopefully) be stopping, Malden Public Schools, along with countless other school districts, is faced with the question of making up the weeks of lost time. Especially for those of us in high school, the time off has been challenging to cope with due to the volume of work that continued to pile up. Currently, the last day of Malden’s 2014-2015 school year is scheduled for June 24th and as the days get pushed further and further back because of inclement weather, the school year fast approaches the cutoff for public school, June 30th. So the question becomes this: is a preemptive solution to missed school time necessary, or should the school year run late?
So far, three main solutions have been proposed by Superintendent David DeRuosi to solve the problem we are facing, with the first being the elimination of April vacation or other planned days off. The rationale behind this is that a vacation such as April vacation was just moved into January this year rather than occurring at its normal time. However, parents, students and teachers alike have voiced concerns with this course of action, especially considering the prime time of year that April is for travel. The idea of forcing those with planned trips to give up their reservations or miss out on their schoolwork seems counterproductive. This also seems like a system that would be easy to take advantage of, with students claiming that they have a vacation planned for the week of April vacation when in reality they just want to get the week off and avoid schoolwork.
Less drastic than this would be the extension of the school week into Saturday until the time was made up. Again, the idea is that students have had enough time off and so all those Saturdays were just shifted back a few months into January and made into an extended New Year’s vacation. Similarly, extending school into Saturday would bring up many problems for those who have arrangements already made for Saturdays or for those who wish to abuse the system and claim that they have events to attend when they in fact do not.
In my opinion, the third option that has been proposed is the best (should the school system choose to make up the lost time) and it consists of artificially and temporarily extending the length of the school day during the normal school week. For how long these extensions would last and for how many hours they would run I don’t know, but on the surface, this method would solve a lot of the problems that the other two faced (should the school committee approve the plan and get it past the teacher unions and other groups which would inevitably stand in the way of such action). Firstly, going an extra couple of hours (if that) during a normal week of school would pose no problems for most people. Of course many people have jobs they must get to, but exceptions can be more easily made when something such as a job, which is a central part of one’s routine, is involved as the changes can be looked at over the long term. On top of that, many students already remain in school for hours after the school day ends, participating in clubs or after school programs, doing homework or just hanging around with friends, and so there would be no major disadvantage to using that time they remain in school for school purposes. Secondly, students can not abuse the system as easily. A student who is already in school cannot leave at 2:15 and skip the makeup time like a student avoiding a Saturday or April vacation type make-up plan could.
While most students oppose this type of action, and I myself wouldn’t mind going into late June as much as I might mind having to go until 3:30 every day, I see only one viable option if the school system chooses to make up the days, and in the case that they do, I hope that everyone else can see the reasoning and benefits of the system that I predict they would choose.
Iraqi soldiers and allies continue to fight ISIS in the city of Tikrit, Iraq. Although fighting the opposition has become a large part of the their strategy plan, Iraqi soldiers also wish to restore some normalcy and to help the people who are trapped in Tikrit directly.
Because of the fighting generated by ISIS, 30 families were stuck for 10 months in Albu Safah, a Sunni village south of Tikrit. To help the families, “a powerful Shiite [Shia Muslim] armed group handed out food and supplies,” stated a CNN article written by Ben Wedeman, Laura Smith-Spark and Greg Botelho, to provide some sustenance. Although ISIS never entered Tikrit directly, the organization fired rockets over the city, causing chaos and instilling fear into the hearts of the residents.
The longstanding battle between Shia and Sunni Muslims was put aside to fight against a common enemy. The goal of the Iraqi army is to continue their journey for peace in areas that were hurt by an ISIS invasion; driving ISIS out of Tikrit is only the beginning of a long solution. The terror organization only inhabits a small part of Tikrit currently, but Iraqi soldiers have a good handle on the situation. Iraqi soldiers and allies figured that if they can help the small city of Tikrit, they can help Mosul, a much larger city in Iraq that ISIS has also invaded.
Mosul is currently under strict supervision, which makes getting out difficult. There used to be ways to see the doctor or get an education by handing over documents for cars and houses, but now, even that offer has been terminated. ISIS fighters have retreated to Mosul because of the recent attacks in Tikrit. People in Mosul are beginning to notice that ISIS is losing support day after day, yet it is still unclear whether Iraqi soldiers can keep their control in Tikrit, and start their way to take control in Mosul.
Although the ISIS opposition has brought some relief to residents in affected cities, the terror group continues to prove their dominance. The provincial capital, Ramadi, which is located 100 miles south of Tikrit, was attacked by ISIS presence. Faleh al-Issawi, deputy head of the Anbar provincial council, concluded that the assault in Ramadi was because of the Iraqi militant presence in Tikrit.
The tragedies did not end in the small city of Tikrit, where floating bodies were found coming down the Tigris River. The bodies, which were executed by ISIS, symbolized the savage nature of the organization, and its determination to inflict fear. The horror continued when hundreds of homemade bombs were detonated under the Iraqi army headquarters, which killed more than 40 Iraqi soldiers. However, the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS stated that the Iraqis were successful in fending off the ISIS attack, which will help weaken them in their future efforts to dominate other territories.
To read more about this refer to these websites:
The diverse opportunities offered at Malden High School continue to grow. For the first time in MHS history, the school now has a boys volleyball team. With the help of MHS Principal Dana Brown and Mr. Keefe, the Athletic Director, the interests of many people have been met with the start of this appealing new program. Matthew Sadowski, girls varsity volleyball coach and freshman guidance counselor, is now coaching the new team.
Despite their lack of experience on a coordinated volleyball team, roughly 30 boys, from all four grades, tried out for the sport. Volleyball teams usually take 15 players or less, but Coach Sadowski kept 19 players for the varsity roster because “[he] wanted to be able to grow the program and build a solid foundation for future seasons.”
With a good number of the players being members of other MHS sport teams, the team has displayed an impressive “athleticism and ability to respond to coaching,” expresses Coach Sadowski. During practices, Coach Sadowski is working on teaching the boys “solid fundamental skills” and observing the performance on the players to make the “best possible line up on the court.
On Mar. 27, 2015, the boys played their first match against Lowell, and despite a loss, the game was a close one, which left the crowd on the edge of their seats until the last minute.
For the rest of the season, the team has confidence that with hard work they will improve and “be able to compete at the highest level,” expresses the coach. Coach Sadowski is sure that “the sport has potential to grow and become very popular at MHS,” even considering that they will be competing against schools who are not new to having a boys volleyball program.
“Do your homework, go online, visit every museum, and intern. You just need to have a love for what you’re doing. It’s not about thinking that is it the cool thing. It’s about really believing in it.”
- Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue
It’s a cliche – but everyone is told to “be true to yourself” or simply to just “be yourself” at some point (probably around the time of high school) but it can be challenging because who even is “yourself” yet?
With senior year quickly ending, it is easy to put it this way – you do not truly learn what it means to be yourself until the experience is almost over. There is a sudden realization that your situation now is, most likely, much different from the one you entered with in high school because you actually did learn to be yourself. What exactly does this mean?
It means you have a better idea of what your hobbies and interests are; you know which sports are more enjoyable and fulfilling for you; you have had more experiences in dealing with crucial situations; and that you have learned who your genuine friends are because throughout all these changes they remained alongside you, or maybe you even picked up a few new ones along the way. In the end, after these four long (or quick) years, you have molded into a person that represents the real, authentic you.
It may sound overdone or cheesy, but subconsciously, you actually do learn how to be yourself; however, it was probably not a smooth discovery. High school is not what is depicted on t.v. or in shows and movies. It is not full of overdramatized Mean Girls situations and it is not necessarily as entertaining as High School Musical (which is a little disappointing because who doesn’t remember the soundtrack like the back of their hand?).
The high school experience differs for everyone and sometimes it is much better to sit back and watch these unrealistic depictions of high school and be thankful for the one you have. The experience you were given is not as entertaining or theatrical as those portrayed on t.v., so it is evident to try your hardest to create an experience that will be memorable for you and that it will be one you will be proud of. And by doing so, you must depict nothing but what truly represents who you are and to fill your time doing things that will ensue happiness so that at the end of the day you can reflect and think to yourself that your experience was better than any high school depiction on t.v. or in books.
Imagine spending high school doing things that you involuntarily wanted to do, whether it was a sport, club, activity, or anything that appeared remotely interesting. Maybe it was just to simply try it or it was influenced by friends – if it does not appeal to you by the end then take the opportunity to look into pursuits that fascinate you. Otherwise you would have spent time on something that does not interest you as much as another activity that could have been valuable to you or had the potential to be valuable to you.
The idea of beginning something new is intimidating and even difficult because you may find that those around you do not have the same interest, but that should not suppress your desire to pursue it. It is never too late to begin something new because you could find yourself wildly passionate about it and even talented at that interest you were once afraid to persue. It is easier to then to “be yourself” when you are happily occupying your time with hobbies, sports, or activities that you truly enjoy. If it means having to take on something new by yourself it is worth the shot because while pursuing those interests you find yourself surrounded by people who are similar to you, which then enriches the experience altogether.
Take it for instance, as close friend of mine quit a sport he was committed to, even after being a remarkable asset to the team, because he did not find joy in it anymore. Although the decision was difficult, he knew that continuing would only lead to a built hatred for the sport and he also wanted to create more time to pursue cinematography. And now you may wonder if it was the right choice? I would say so because now he is planning on majoring in cinematography and got accepted into a college that ranks high when it comes to film studies.
You can only learn to “be yourself” if you allow yourself to take on challenges and chances without being concerned about what the critics will say. It is harder to mold yourself based on societal norms than it is dropping your fears and taking a courageous step towards what you want.
Before they leave their high school years behind them, MHS seniors have the opportunity to obtain an internship in a field similar to one they plan on studying. Eligible students will leave the high school during the day to work on their assigned profession. Under the instruction of a trained guide, seniors can get internships in Accounting, Business, Hospitality/Tourism, Medical Field, Social Work, Marketing/management, Athletic training/physical therapy, Environmental Science, Automotive technology, Real Estate, Computer Science, Medical secretary, and Outward bound/outdoor education.
The senior internship committee is led by special education teacher Patricia Laidley and guidance counselor Taryn Belowsky, along with MHS English teachers Pasquale DiBenedetto, Abbey Dick, Robin Doherty, Beverly Nyman, and Jill Suskind, science teachers Ashley Freeman and Brian Morrison, business teacher Beth Horwitz, Spanish teacher Mar Marjomaa, guidance counselors Susan Lessard and Victoria Lipinski, librarian Lucia Musilli, and Jenkins house principal Kevin Kilbride.
Students will begin their internship on April 8th and end their work on May 22nd. The guide is a specialist who is knowledgeable within the intern’s field of interest. Each intern is required to seek the assistance of a guide. The guide will work closely with the intern and will share his or her expertise and knowledge, in which both the student and guide will benefit from each other’s diverse ideas and perspectives.
After a week at an intern site, students are required to fill out log sheets to keep track of their performance and work hours, which they will then render into a four to five page paper and presentation.
According to Laidley and Belowsky, the paper will be required to have “a description of their internship and the steps taken to complete their project or tasks performed at intern site,” as well as “a description of the reasons why they chose this project or intern site, a description of any difficulties encountered during the course of their project or at the intern site and how they solved them” and “a conclusion of the final results of their project and what they have learned from the experience.”
The presentation can be displayed in many different mediums, such as a video, a musical selection, a thesis defence, a three dimensional model, or any other physical and written representations of their project.
A Senior Internship Exhibition will be held on May 27th, 2015 in the Finn Gym from 9:00 am to 12:00 p.m. Seniors will share their learning experiences from their internships in their aforementioned paper and presentation, detailing their various experiences and outcomes.
Because getting an internship is one of the best ways to prepare a person for the post-graduation world, MHS students are fortunate to have these opportunities at their fingertips.
In 1940 Henry Ford, the creator of the Ford Motor Company, said, “Mark my words: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.” For years people have associated the idea of flying cars with some futuristic world that they thought was possible in their own imagination, but flying cars may be coming sooner than we all thought.
The new and improved prototype, Aeromobil 3.0 was first introduced and flown in 2014 after the company finished improving from the 2.5 version, which took around 20 years to develop and determine its potential and feasibility. The roadable aircraft was created by Štefan Klein, and will be produced by Airomobil s.r.o. The newest version includes folding wings, which was an element that the earlier versions had lacked.
Aeromobil s.r.o.’s take on the idea of a flying car may be different than what most people would imagine a flying car to look like. This roadable aircraft can be driven on the road like any other car, but it is capable of flying like an aircraft when you feel that it is necessary.
When the Aeromobil is used as an aircraft rather than a car, pilots must take off from an airport before flying, but pilots are permitted to land in any area where grass or pavement is present at around a length of 1,000 feet. There is no official price to the Aeromobil, but it will be in the range of thousands of U.S. dollars. According to the company’s CEO, Juraj Vaculik, the aircraft is meant for “wealthy supercar buyers and flight enthusiasts.”
With an impressive maximum speed of 124 mph when in the air, this aircraft is predicted to eventually limit the need for airports, lower the amount of money spent on multiple roads for cars, and traveling faster to places that can’t be connected by a road. An important feature that is currently being added to Aeromobil 3.0 is a parachute system in case of an emergency, making it less likely that the pilot or second passenger on board will have to jump out of the aircraft.
There is still some work that has to be done to this flying automobile, but the company is planning to have it hit the markets some time in the next two or three years. As of this year, the company hopes that their product can start being available for sale in 2017 at the earliest.
Lately a new so-called “movement” called Meninism has been sweeping social media platforms, primarily Twitter. The Twitter accounts, like @MeninistTweet and dozens just like it, have quickly gained hundreds of thousands of followers, causing people like me to question what the point of “Meninism” even is. At first, I dismissed it. Oh yeah, another dumb Twitter account; it’s just a joke and it’ll blow over soon. But it didn’t. It just grew, with its followers continuously multiplying. Not only did it not blow over, but it did in fact blow up.
So if you’ve been living under a rock (or just off of social media, which is kind of the same thing) you might not know what “Meninism” is. Basically, it is a group of men mocking the feminist movement, frightened that it is threatening their masculinity. They mostly just post irrelevant and misogynistic tweets. A recent tweet from an account posted on March 8, 2015, says, “Today the clocks moved forward, so ladies, don’t forget the clock on your oven will be wrong for the next six months.” (@Meninist Tweet, 3/8/15 1:56 PM). This tweet not only suggests that women’s sole purpose is to be in the kitchen and cook, supporting gender roles, but it also infantilizes women, insinuating that they are incapable of changing a simple digital oven clock.
Really, “Meninism” just seems like a bunch of guys who are uncomfortable with the idea of powerful women. Something seems to be missing in their claim. Is it the lack of ability to differentiate between feminism and misandry, or is it the failure to recognize male privilege? The answer is both.
What meninists fail to realize is that their accounts mock a socio-political movement that is vital to our society. Yes, as a society, we need feminism, when women are currently getting killed, mutilated, raped, and sold into sex slavery and child marriages. We need feminism when every year over 60 million girls are assaulted on their way to school. We need feminism when 70 million girls worldwide from ages six to twelve do not go to school. This myth that feminism is a movement to destroy the power of males is absolutely insane and must be diminished. If these meninists state that they support gender equality — well good for you, you’re a feminist then. A meninist is just a synonym for a misogynist.
Even on International Women’s Day, a day solely dedicated to women and female empowerment overall, Meninist accounts could not keep quiet and let the world appreciate women. We saw tweets like “you can’t spell women’s day without men” and “since it’s national women’s day, does that mean they make twice the sandwiches they usually do?”. This suggests that women are not even to be considered as important members of society, which is basically just reversing all the steps that we’ve been taking in order to achieve gender equality.
Then there’s feminism, the movement that is supposed to be advocating for and promoting gender equality. By definition, feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” However, the word “feminist” alone has gained a bad reputation and a negative connotation.
What’s even more upsetting is that these accounts have quickly gained such a huge following. I suggest we all work together as a community to receive equal rights throughout, rather than uplifting a certain demographic. We are all humans before we are anything else, and we all deserve to be granted basic human decency and rights.
It is not unlikely for girls to classify themselves as meninists just to break away from the label of a feminist to emphasize that they aren’t a part of that movement. Whether this is for attention, societal approval, or just out of sheer ignorance, it is only contributes to the unflattering reputations that feminists have gained.
To me, this is extremely disheartening. Why is it a bad thing to support equal rights? Isn’t it a good thing? While celebrities like Beyonce Knowles and Emma Watson are embracing feminism by promoting and advocating for female empowerment, which I applaud, it is still not seen completely in a positive light. Someone stating they are a feminist is often just getting an eyebrow raise, a scoff, and a “Oh, so you hate men?”
As an advocate for gender equality, I support the idea that men should be all for equal rights. Men’s rights are absolutely important, and I do recognize these issues. However, in order to fix the problem, feminists and “meninists” can work together in unison to achieve equal rights if this is what meninists really have in mind. However, it really isn’t. Meninist Twitter posts disgusting and offensive tweets towards women, and insists that this is okay, when it isn’t.
Meninists should be fighting for transgender men, male victims of rape, gay men, men who are falsely accused of rape, etc. Ask a meninist what they think of this, and their response, a direct quote from a Meninist account, would be “Here, let me show you how the lawnmower works. #MeninistTwitter”. The truth is that these accounts do not actually care about men’s rights, but rather putting down women and promoting misogyny.
While meninists may be frightened that their male privilege is in danger, they fail to realize that there is absolutely no need to mock a movement purely dedicated to gender equality. To all of the so-called meninists out there: How would you explain to your future daughter that you advocated denying her of the rights she deserves when she finds your “Meninist” shirt?
Posse wishes to foster leadership, help students pursue their academic goals, and promote cultural diversity among college campuses. This year, Posse is providing seven lucky Malden High School students the chance to represent MHS as they attend their new schools this upcoming fall of 2015.
MHS Posse scholar Aryzona MacDonald will be heading to Danville, Kentucky after graduation. MacDonald is excited to begin her journey as a Centre College student. At first, MacDonald had not planned to even attempt to become a Posse scholar as she “did not think [she] had any chance” due to “so many kids from [MHS]” and all over the Greater Boston area that apply. However, that all changed when her “best friend made [her] go to the meeting.”
The interview was “really nerve wracking” for MacDonald, but “overall [the process to be a scholar] was good.” When she received the acceptance call, MacDonald expressed that she was overjoyed and “cried [because she] was so excited.” Centre College is a private liberal arts college that MacDonald hopes will accommodate and help her in transitioning from a golden tornado to a colonel. Centre has a similar tight-knit community that MHS also offers. MacDonald is extremely ecstatic about “a change in scenery” and “to try new things,” as she believes the experience is going to be a “culture shock.” MacDonald describes her posse as “fun, loud and energetic” and “really, really smart.” Though MacDonald is moving onto Centre, she will not forget her time at MHS.
Posse scholars Jesse Yu and Jasmine Nguyen will happily be attending Hamilton College. Hamilton College is located in Upstate New York. Yu explained that it is “kind of something [he] wanted, to go far away, Upstate New York is not extremely far away but it is enough for [him].” He also adds that he “felt comfortable, it was not necessarily easy, but [he is] in this program called summer search and basically every week [they] have a weekly interview.”
Hamilton College is known as an accepting college that strives to encourage individuality. Yu stated that he “[expects] a lot of support from [his group] and it’s just nice to know that you have people to lean back on when you’re in the middle of nowhere and you do not know anyone else.”
Nguyen also expressed excitement towards bonding with her “posse” and she “[expects] them to be the family away [that] they’re supposed to be.” Nguyen has yet to “know each [individual in her group] in depth yet, but [she] would say the bond between the ten of [them] is pretty great so far.” Along with moving on to great opportunities comes leaving behind the way you once lived, Nguyen is “not really fond of the idea, but sometimes you just have to let go of your past and embrace the future.” The whole experience feels surreal to Yu and Nguyen, and they will be dearly missed by everyone at MHS.
Denison University will be most delighted to welcome Posse scholars and Blue and Gold members Julie Lam, Sumya Mohiuddin along with Madina Khudaynazar. According to Mohiuddin, the overall process of becoming a Posse scholar “was not pressuring.” Students applying and seeking to become a Posse scholar had to participate in varied activities that worked to display students’ leadership and communication skills. Denison University is located in Granville, Ohio, which is quite different from Malden and a good distance away.
Khudaynazar explained, “[she] grew up in the city, so [moving to Granville is] going to be a huge transformation for [her].” Besides the difference in where they will live, the Posse scholars will experience a new sense of support through their Posse. With reference to the Posse attending Denison University, Madina stated “I’m so excited to learn from them and offer my diversity as well.” Khudaynazar also expressed that the benefit of being a part of this group was that “things we would not normally talk about [they] can talk about because [they] have people from all over the world.” She also adds that “just having that mentorship and that peer support, [she] think[s] is really important.
Union College, a private liberal arts college located in Schenectady, New York will welcome MHS senior Nahom Ghile as a fellow Dutchman come fall. Ghile was inspired to apply for the scholarship by “friends [from] last year who got the Posse scholarship and they told [him] how great it was.”
Ghile is proud to have won the scholarship, and stated that he felt “good to know that among all the people [that applied for Posse, he is] one of the lucky few who was able to get the scholarship.”
After his acceptance, Ghile felt relief, as he knew for the next 4 years of his life things were all set financially. Ghile’s family is also proud of him in winning the scholarship to the point where they were “jumping for joy.” Ghile is excited to spend the next 4 years with his “posse”, which he feels is “very energetic…they love making jokes [and] they are very family-like.”
Ghile will miss the many wonderful memories filled with fun and lasting relationships with all his friends and teachers at MHS, but is excited to begin a new chapter of his career.
Most fans are counting down the days until April 6 for Opening Day, anxiously waiting for the first pitch to be thrown. The Boston Red Sox start their season off with a six game road trip against the Philadelphia Phillies and their long time rival New York Yankees. But the real fun starts on April 13 when the Red Sox return to Fenway Park against the Washington Nationals for their home opener.
Last season the Red Sox finished the season with a 71-91 record being 25 games out of first place in the American League East. Being apart of Red Sox Nation is a roller coaster of a ride these last few seasons. Starting in 2011 having one of the most disappointing team, crashing and burning in September right before the playoffs, losing 20 out of 27 games. That bad streak continued into the 2012 season where under new manager Bobby Valentine finishing their season 69-73, 26 games behind first place Yankees, giving the Red Sox their worst season record in 47 years. Then shocking the world, the boys of the summer went from “worst to first” winning the World Series in 2013, giving the Sox their third championship in nine years, in which David Ortiz was a part of all three. The team went into the 2014 season with the high expectations that came with being the returning World Series champions. However the season was yet another let down being 25 games out of first place in the AL East.
During the offseason, the Red Sox made power moves getting big name players. Signing San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval who was a free agent for a five year $95 million contract. On that same day the Sox signed free agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who started his Major League Baseball career in Boston in 2005, for a four year $88 million contract. Then recently on March 13 they signed Cuban prospect 19 year old infielder Yoan Moncada for $31.5 million.
Along with the addition of those players, this season we will see a healthy and returning Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino, and Mike Napoli who are key fielders and swings the Sox needed. Last season Victorino only played 30 games before he had to receive surgery on his back ending his season. Victorino had been a switch hitter, hitting from both sides of the plate, but after the surgery he feels that it will be best for him to just hit right-handed. Napoli had a surgery to help his sleep apnea condition he faced. Pedroia underwent season ending surgery on his hand in Sept. which he had injured earlier in the season sliding into a base.
A bigger benefit the Red Sox have is a healthier and sturdier version of Ortiz who gained more muscle. Mookie Betts who is returning to the Red Sox for his second season in the big leagues is in a battle to make it as a starter among the many outfielders the team has including Victorino, Rusney Castillo, Ramirez, Brock Holt, Daniel Nava, and Allen Craig. As of now Betts is looking like the potential starting center fielder and the leadoff hitter for the Sox due to his outstanding performance in Spring Training.
Being a diehard Red Sox fan since birth makes looking forward to this new season even more exciting due to the new faces and teams potential. The team has a chance to go from worst to first again this season, maybe even win it all and take home another World Series trophy. The wait will soon be over, the first pitch will be thrown and baseball season will be in full swing.
There are several reasons why Daryl is among the most popular characters in the AMC television series The Walking Dead’: He’s brave, he carries a mean crossbow, and according to his fanbase, he’s incredibly attractive. Some viewers bring up an ironic point, though: his more-than-platonic relationship with Carol and sexless persona may mean something more than a drawn-out romantic plotline: he may be asexual.
You read that correctly. Asexual. Most commonly referred to as the means by which plants reproduce, this term has a variety of applications in science and biology. It is also the sexual orientation of not being attracted to any gender.
What does this mean? The ambiguity is on purpose. While some asexuals are disgusted with sex and intimacy, others are indifferent or even fascinated by it. Some choose to be in a romantic relationship while other asexuals avoid it at all costs. It is hard to capture the experience in one story, but as education grows, it is becoming an important perspective within the LGBTQ+ community.
A survey ran by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network found that about 1% of people, when asked of their sexual orientation, opted to select “none of the above.” Considering that asexuality is still an unknown, we can expect this number to rise as the public grasps this concept. If this statistic is accurate, there are a few dozen at Malden High School who probably don’t know it yet.
Granted, it is difficult to define sexuality alone – for many, it’s not as simple as choosing to open a “male” or “female” door, or even accounting for who is “good-looking.” While we are thankfully supported by an upstanding guidance and adjustment staff at Malden High, we lack an all-inclusive education about sexuality and gender, which are some of the most common triggers for identity crises and household issues. For many, it begins in high school.
In its purest form, what sexual orientation consists of is a gut-feeling, automatic reaction to a certain body form, and it does not exist in millions of DNA. It is called sexual attraction. Those who feel sexual attraction may not be able to explain it, but they know what it feels like. It has been described as a “hunger,” a “burning” when placed in proximity with another person. It tends to be a distracting, unavoidable thought when triggered by the object of desire.
Anonymous Malden High students have described sexual attraction as “wanting an extra level of intimacy, a deeper level to explore a person.” Positive descriptions call it “exhilarating” while others say it is a “pain” when one cannot act on their feelings.
Meanwhile, there are other forms of attraction that those who do not feel attraction compensate for, and they are often mistaken for sexual attraction. Thinking someone looks nice, pretty, or even “sexy” can exist without a “hunger” for them. (Most famously is the chant of the heterosexual man: “I’m not gay, but he is a handsome dude.”) Some people enjoy “sensual acts” like kissing, hugging, and cuddling without having sexual desire for them.
Most importantly, many people have feelings, crushes, and romantic relationships with other people of all genders without sexual attraction ever crossing their mind.
It’s important to think of this as a spectrum. While most asexuals have never felt sexual attraction, some feel it in specific or rare circumstances but consider it a negligible factor in their lives. These people are referred to as “gray-asexuals,” as to say they are in the “gray area” between being asexual and otherwise. Also, many asexuals (and non-asexuals) identify as aromantic, meaning they do not feel the desire to develop a romantic relationship that the average person crosses in their life. This is not exclusive to asexuality but it is possibly more common in general, putting average people who are disinterested in romantic relationships on the spectrum. Any combination of attitudes can exist on physical intimacy, romantic relationships, the beauty of other people, and sexual attraction.
Like all orientations, it is not an active choice to be asexual – unlike celibacy or abstinence, which is the deliberate self-restraint of sex. It is a combination of biological and environmental factors that shape one’s identity. The only choice that exists is whether the subject accepts his or herself or decides to come out.
The real struggle for many asexuals is reaching a level of acceptance for their own identity. “Sexual behavior is normalized in society, which can be a burden on people on the ace spectrum who feel like they are forced to have or want sex in order to be ‘normal’,” says officer of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) and junior Shannon Kilduff.
Hence why asexuals have often used the term “broken” to describe themselves before finding out asexuality is a common and normal trait. Surveys taken by those who identify as asexual frequently report to have considered or attempted suicide – as many as 70% in some. As these statistics are only conducted by AVEN and smaller sites, this could be a wild overestimation – still, it forces one to take seriously the impact of not “fitting in” with the status quo.
It can be hard for an asexual to fit in with his or her society in a world that is sex-obsessed and centered around repopulation rituals and finding one true love, but it has its perks, too. Many asexuals, like Lord Verys from the HBO TV series Game of Thrones, see themselves as objective figures focused on their own goals than the wonders of the human body. In truth, it is not a blessing nor a curse to be asexual – it is an experience that wields hundreds of emotions across the board, from disgust or indifference to passion and a desire to forge lifelong friendships.
“Being gay is no longer the minority,” Kilduff continues. “[The GSA] is so much more than gays and allies… there are a lot of valid identities that need to be addressed.”
Critics of asexuality say that it is a “special snowflake” term that makes average people seem oppressed, but this thinking invalidates the experiences of millions of people who have felt this way. In any case, asexuals do not often claim to be directly persecuted – many only ask that their feelings and lifestyles are accepted by their loved ones. The true adversity they face is when people erase asexuality from discussion by claiming it is not real or acceptable, creating a toxic environment for those who are attempting to make a valid identity for themselves.
But why do we need all these labels? A valid question. A word can never describe someone perfectly, and even if it does, it may not stay that way forever. My answer to this question has always been this: Sexual orientations are not “labels.” They are communities. They are words to associate a group of people with similar experiences to make them feel more secure in their identity.
It is true; no one “needs” labels. But people do need assurance. If you know someone who might be asexual, or suspect it of yourself, visit AVEN.org or visit Malden High’s GSA, which has resources on asexuality, bisexuality, gender identity and more.
After another year of Poetry Out Loud at Malden High School, junior Heresa Guerrier recently moved on to the state finals. Although Guerrier is not moving on to the next round, MHS is still proud to be represented at the state finals by her stellar rendition of “Ecology” by Jack Collom.
Sean Walsh, the English Language Arts Teacher Leatheder at MHS, explained that the performers at the semifinals were successful due to “their ability to embody the poem and clarify what the meaning is.”
Walsh also believes that “there were some great performances of poems that [he has] heard a hundred times.” This Poetry Out Loud season, as always, had a wide variety of types of poems, and every performer brought something unique to their poem when performing. Students were able to put their own individual spin to their poems, making each performance stand out.
Guerrier, who moved on to the semifinals at MHS last year, explained that “[she has] geared towards poems that have some kind of rhythm to it.” Guerrier feels that her poem choice this year really “matches her personality,” which may have been why she was able to illustrate the meaning of the poem for those in the audience through her performance. She believes that she picked the perfect poem for herself before, but she still had “to show everybody who [she] was, though [she did not] succeed” during her classroom performances in her freshman and sophomore year.
David Londino, Guerrier’s current English teacher, expressed that Guerrier “got off to a really good start,” and “very little had to be changed.” Like Guerrier, Londino believes that “her poem selection this year made a huge difference.”
Poem selection was also integral for the two teachers involved in the 2015 finals, David Holland and Evan Mauser. Each took a vastly different approach, with Holland choosing to memorize and present a “longer” poem complete with custom changes to better reach the audience “and humor in it.” Mauser presented his in a short but powerful 10 lines.
For each, the content of the poem was the primary motivation in their choice to perform it, and in putting their beliefs and personal connections above the competition, they embodied the model that they hoped students would incorporate in their own lives.
While most students would not care to compete at the schoolwide or statewide level, all those involved agreed that the most important part of Poetry Out Loud is to better understand oneself and to establish or improve ones public speaking skills, confidence, understanding of poetry and its context with respect to their own interpretation.
The Givenchy runway is always illustrious with their extreme beauty moments. This year at Paris Fashion Week, Riccardo Tisci created the illusion of faces pierced with Victorian, antique jewelry. The pieces glued on the models gave an urban tribal feel. Tisci cited “Victorian Cholas” as his inspiration this winter, creating a combination of his goth aesthetic Latin street culture that he has long adored. Along with the edgy beauty and urban influences, the collection also possessed a dark romance feel. There were eloquent coats, and velvet dresses with Victorian prints, some even embroidered with a Catholic cross, dresses with medieval corsets, and a series of beaded gowns and jackets with a couture appeal.
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Lineisy Montero Feliz made her modeling debut on the Prada runway in Milan, leaving the audience to marvel about who the new beauty with the exclusive short haircut and high cheekbones. This year in Paris Fashion Week, she went on to walk for the most notable shows: Balenciaga, Céline, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu. Montero Feliz is a fresh new face causing buzz on and off the runway.
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This year, Valentino began his runway with suits, followed by a beautifully dark and romantic collection. It elated and inspired, and suddenly the music shifted. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson charged the runway as Derek Zoolander and Hansel. The appearances induced a roaring audience, the atmosphere full of excitement and laughter. This surprise was a spark of energy everyone needed to conclude the week, and the ultimate catwalk walk-off.
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Always anticipated, Kenzo’s shows during Paris Fashion Week were bold and prominent. Not solely for Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s collections, but also for the exhibition that comes with them. This year, the duo amazed the audience with three-story high rotating columns that moved and reflected around the vast warehouse space, resembling the movements of skaters on a rink.
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This year, the house of Lanvin celebrated its 126th anniversary. It feted the legacy of its founding designer, Jeanne Lanvin, with a retrospective at Paris’ Palais Galliera. The reminiscence of the brand’s roots heartened its current creative director, Alber Elbaz, to think about his own birthplace, Casablanca, and everything Morocco is capable of evoking. There was strong influence of the Sahara in his collection, such as tassels and passementerie, Berber stripes, bracelets, leather harnesses and snakeskin yokes, the shagginess of goat hair, and the gleam of gold.
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This year, designer Hedi Slimane connects with his edgy audience by tapping into the independent music scene. Slimane used elements of Los Angeles’ aesthetic and inspiration from the daring and fearless youth. The clothes in the collection tap into a moment in music history: punk. His army of models barged down the runway, which rose from the floor on what appeared to be some sort of chain and machinery, wearing black leather jackets, leather leggings, lampshade mini-skirts with stiff crinolines, shredded stockings and different furs. There were tight black mini-dresses with metallic shimmer. They bared one shoulder, some embellished with a single giant bow, colorful waist details or nothing at all. All of Slimane’s clothes were bold.
Ah, Rock’N’Roll, a nutritious part of any complete teenage angst. 10 grams of rebellion, 30 grams of energy, 20 grams of loud. May contain: Challenges to societal norms, strong language, ripped jeans, and soy products. Okay, I am not usually one to beat the dead metaphor horse, but rock culture is an essential vitamin and mineral that Malden High School is seriously malnourished of. It is said that Rock never truly dies, and while that may be true, it is definitely on its last legs at MHS. Born in the 50’s and still kicking, Rock has been a part of American culture for as long as there have been people fed up with social norms and teenagers with Restless Heart Syndrome (a very serious condition among most teens that drive them to make decisions with their hearts and not their heads.) Rock is still very much alive today, but the question is: for how long?
Before I can even begin to make my case as to why this news is extremely troubling, I must first explain just what exactly Rock is, and what it means to those who listen to it religiously. It is said that Rock is for those who were born kicking and screaming (actually, I just say that,) and really it was; it was created by and for those with furious fire in their hearts and crackling thunder in their voices. One can take any sample of Rock music from any age it has existed (50’s to the present day) and you find one simple purpose: to say something. Obviously one has to say something if a song contains lyrics, but I mean really say something. To move your mouth is to make sound, but to feel a burning fire in your heart whether it be born of passion or anger and shout to the world with the decibels turned up high or low is to say something. In all generations of Rock there is something always to be said, whether it be political, social, or emotional. In the 50’s you had the Beatniks, fed up with their conformist parents. The 60’s followed with an era of preachings of peace and free love. The 70’s exploded with a mix of rage and love in Rock. So on and so forth.
Rock is such an important aspect of American culture because it really is the voice of the underdogs, rejects, rebels, and otherwise unhappy or unaccepted people. More importantly, it is the voice of those who are unaccepted but are not afraid to be so. Our world is filled with more people than ever before in history, and with these people come more problems than ever seen before. If these problems exist, then Rock exists to challenge them, to bring them into the light, and shout out to the world in protest against them. It is so unfortunate and almost sad when one looks at many of today’s popular music artists and hears nothing but noise. Now do not get me wrong here, I am not one of those anti-pop pessimists who think every song has to have a deeper meaning or is not great unless there is a guitar present. I get it, songs can be fun, they can be great to dance to, they are allowed to mean nothing sometimes. The problem is, too many artists are beginning to say nothing almost all the time, and because of a catchy beat or famous singer, these songs will be the ones to rise to the tops of the charts today.
I am not going to criticize a specific song or artist, for sake of preventing myself from judging an artist too harshly on one song or creating a flame war in general. I will however, use an example of a great Youtube channel that takes real teens’ reactions to real music today. This channel would be React, specifically their videos regarding teens reacting to song lyrics with no context as to prevent bias. By the end of the lyrics of many recent pop songs, teens are too often confused as to the point or disgusted by how shallow the actual point is. These teens are often surprised to find that the songs they love can sometimes repulse them when actually understood. I mean really, how many times can we listen to the same song talking about money, the club, or how awesome the artist is before getting tired? Apparently the answer is A LOT. I say the same song, because essentially that is what many of the songs I hear today are. Different artists, different beats, same message: nothing. What is even worse is when songs that are downright abusive or offensive to people based on gender, sexual orientation, or race, yet the very people who are being abused love this music simply because they are too caught up in the fun beat to notice they are being insulted. I will get specific here, just because this issue bothers me so much I could write a rock song on it. The amount of objectifying or sexualizing or just plain disrespecting to women in popular music today is both astounding and disgusting. But I digress.
Point is, so many have fallen into this never ending trance of loving music for the sake of fitting in or just listening to what is popular, nevermind the song’s actual message or if it is actually anything different than what has been pumped out the past couple of years. This is why I hold Rock so dear to heart and never grow tired of it: rock always has a message and it is (in my experience) impossible to find two bands with the same sound. I am not advocating that people go out and drop all the pop music they listen to, I am not advocating that Rock is the master genre, or even that Rock is for everyone. I am advocating however, that everyone actually listens to the music they are enjoying next time it comes on the radio. Do not just hear it, actually listen to it. What kind of message is it sending? Is it offensive to you, to a friend, to an entire group found in society? Is it worth your time? Is it different? If any of those answers are negative, it is possible you may need your daily dose of vitamin R (no, not the Simpsons kind, but that is great too.) You do not even have to listen to actual Rock, I do not care, but I do ask you to consider Rock culture and its message. Everyone, especially us angsty teenagers, needs to keep what Rock stands for alive, and to fight what we do not seem fit. I am not condoning violence at all by any means whatsoever, but I am condoning fighting what is wrong with your heart and your words. And if you are one of Rock’s faithful listeners out there, whether it be grunge, hard, soft, alternative, indie, classic, or whatever it is you listen to, know that we are all in this together. By we I do not mean Rockers, I mean we of Malden High School. Do not let the spirit of Rock, the spirit of actually saying something, die. Go forth, challenge the world, be who you want to be, stick out like a sore thumb, spread the love, and for the love of Elvis Presley do not hear, listen. Do not sound. Say something.
Suzanne Barakat, older sister of Deah Barakat, gave a chilling speech regarding the three murders of her loved ones. She gave her speech on Feb. 11, 2015, one day after the shooting. Her words were filled with maturity and love. Although the shooting took place more than a month ago, let’s remember the lives of the three victims as full.
Sometimes, I understand, the problem is bigger than one event that may occur. Sometimes, the issue is not about a parking spot. Sometimes, the implications are unclear and unspoken because they are not in black and white for everyone to notice.
Sometimes, people are killed, but the second we move on, there is another killing. How many people have to die before we realize there is a serious issue we need to address as a society?
Craig Hicks is a suspect for the murders of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, that occurred on Feb. 10, 2015. From one side of the argument, Hicks’ rage came from a parking dispute. However, when a shooting that involves the execution of three active, young adults takes place, society cannot ignore the surrounding accusations.
It is a police officer’s duty to rightfully arrest, and the jury’s duty to rightfully indict. However, even if a decision is made that the majority can agree on, the problem does not end. Some of us are still blind to the problem that started it all.
It was before the indictment, before the arrest, even before the shooting. As a society, it is our duty to learn about each other and become comfortable with the infinite amount of cultures and religions that surround us. Hate and racism are still alive and thriving, some in more areas than others, and that is not going to change with a few arrests. We need to change in unison and realize that there are larger problems that we must address.
Where is the line between killer and terrorist? Why don’t we see Hicks the same way we see Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s, the suspect who is currently on trial for the Boston Marathon bombings? They both instilled fear into American citizens, (Bostonians and Muslims respectively.) Of course, the situations are different – the number of casualties differ, as well as the reason that the murders even happened.
Would the situation be different if Hicks was a Muslim American instead of a white American? Would his injustices be deemed a terrorist act without considering that this is just another act of violence?
If the media’s wrongdoing is still unclear, take airplane crashes for example. The first question is always: did the crash occur because of an accident, or was there criminal intent involved? If there was criminal intent involved, the second question depends on the culprit’s race. If he is white, the media has to determine what mental illness he has. If he is Muslim, the media does not have to determine anything, but rather assume that it was a terrorist attack.
Refer to Image 1 and Image 2.
The main problem does not even lie with the actual shooting. It happened, and now we have to trust our justice system to rightfully send Hicks to jail. It is the coverage in the media, or lack thereof, that is the problem.
When the media does a terrible job in covering these shootings, we, as a society, are still evading the overarching issue. When the media does a terrible job in covering the shooting, people don’t think it is important. The media should not be the only ones dictating what events are worth talking about.
Don’t get me wrong: the media is useful in many ways. By using it, we can stay updated with what’s going on in our world. However, there are still many flaws to the media including how it is affected by bias, and more importantly, as I stated earlier, how people rely on it to get news.
Because of the lack of representation in the media, the audience rarely gets the full spectrum of any news story, meaning multiple perspectives. In several media outlets, the Chapel Hill shooting is presented just like any other shooting, which would be fine, except this is not any other shooting.
There is no doubt that people are tainted with Islamophobia in America, which makes the deaths of the young adults seem insignificant. Islamophobia has instilled fear within Muslim Americans, yet nothing is being done about it. The media is making the situation worse by somehow dehumanizing Muslims, and putting them in a lesser category. The question remains: why did the media evade mass coverage of the shooting?
Stories were aired on television and published in major newspapers much later than the actual shooting occurred. Because of the lack of coverage, people from all over worked together to share the story through various social media accounts, including twitter. #MuslimLivesMatters became a huge trend the night of the shooting because apparently major media outlets did not think so.
How uncanny is it to wake up and learn about three devastating deaths through social media instead of through television? In hindsight, twitter did a much better job informing people about the deaths, (as well as the lives), of the three victims. They were all charitable and hardworking, and always ready to help people.
Let us band together and forget about the media’s horrible job at covering the loss at Chapel Hill, but rather celebrate the Internet’s reaction. Social media was able to bring this story out of the weeds and into the eyes of millions of people.
Let us keep the story of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha alive. There is no better army than the one that merges for the same cause.
If I could sum up Ecuador in a single word, it’d be vibrant. Much of Ecuador’s beauty is illustrated by its long, mountainous ranges and gushing waterfalls to the cities that possessed the country’s rich culture and history. There was never a moment where I felt bored — I was amazed by the people there, the food, and in particular how they led much more slow-paced and relaxed lives compared to ours.
Ultimately, my time in Ecuador was an enriching experience. Aside from being given the chance to become familiar with its regions and sparking a change with the people there, I had come to recognize of how vast our world really is — and so far, I had only seen just a small, wonderful part of it.
It was midnight by the time the plane touched the ground.Our travel had been long and tedious, as we endured hours of shaky turbulence. Sitting in uncomfortable cramp seats and experiencing motion sickness drained me both physically and mentally. Although, once I boarded off the plane and walked into the Quito airport, my exhaustion dissolved into soft buzzing excitement and relief towards the reality that after for what felt like an eternity, we arrived at our destination: Ecuador.
After retrieving our luggage from the baggage claim and checking through airport security, our group met up with the tour director: Lenin Ampudia, who was responsible for making sure our trip would run smoothly: such as making sure everything was properly booked, re-confirming with hotels and operators, organizing our meals, etc. Short introductions were exchanged; and we were informed of the plans for the following week before we boarded a bus to drive into Quito – the capital city of Ecuador — where resided our first hotel: Hotel San Francisco de Quito.
Accustomed to the sounds of wailing sirens in the distance; loud neighbors; and the other obnoxious noises that came late at night back in the U.S.A, I was awestruck at how seemingly peaceful Quito was — as if the silence had wrapped itself like a thick blanket around the city and lulled all its inhabitants to sleep. Combined with the colonial-like buildings that lined the rolling cobblestone streets that went on for miles; the crisp, cool air; and the far-off city lights, resembling the stars looming above, that winked in and out against the darkness, Quito overall possessed a charmingly quaint, Barcelona-esque look.
The city was inviting; and I was tempted to let my wanderlust take over. To me, it felt like Quito urged newcomers like us to explore and unfold the history and secrets that lied within each of its old nook and cranny, every crack and crevice. But unfortunately with our tight schedule, the opportunity to freely wander had to wait for another time. Despite having just landed, we had to travel again the next day.
Checking out of our hotel rooms, we loaded onto the bus and started on the move again around 8 AM. Alongside with Lenin, we met with another tour director: Robin Gallagher (and one more person along the way), who was joining us exclusively for the Amazon visit of the trip.
It was a 7-8 hour ride; we were heading to the river banks of Los Rios through the curving and winding roads that cut through the Andes Mountains region, the longest continental range in the world. I was mesmerized. The mountains were lush and magnificent, lavished by the sun’s brilliance as we drove by, rising and falling across the neverending green landscape that led into the clear-blue expanse — the passing scene was an ideal image for a postcard.
After picking up our last tour director, Macerio, we arrived at Los Rios in the late afternoon. The air was surprisingly hot and humid. We set on a motor canoe to cross the river, watching the surrounding scenery blur by as we glided past. The hum of the engine slowed as the outline of a staircase — leading upwards to what I expected was the Minga Lodge — peeped out from the thick foliage, and came to a complete halt near the bottom steps.
We climbed the stairs and pulled our luggage along a smooth, open-air pathway until we found ourselves at the reception desk. The Minga Lodge was nestled in the jungle wilderness, and the short walk rendered us a stunning view of our rich environment: there were an innumerable amount of plants and flowers that bursted with color; different insect species humming in an endless drone; animals unique to the forest; the unbelievably tall trees. Green, exotic life practically breathed and vibrated around us.
The lodge served as the base for the important component of our tour: the service project, which entailed working with local community members of the Amazon and experiencing their day-to-day jungle life.
Our stay at the Minga Lodge was short. We spent three days there, and the majority of it was spent working. As a group, we visited local farms nearby the lodge and learned how differently the people there lived through stopping at a indigenous community and completing tasks that they had to do every day: like fetching water from the river and learning how to build fences around plant gardens. The central focus of our work, however, was digging trenches in the jungle.
Due to the fact that human population was slowly growing in the Amazon, local resources — revolving around education, healthcare and agriculture — had to be increased in order to cater to all the people there. By digging the trenches, we helped speed up the process of developing a water system; which, would not only allow for the people to have running water in their homes, but also let them save time from walking long distances to retrieve it.
It wasn’t simple. Our tools were limited (we just had hoes, pickaxes, and shovels) and split into small groups.We sweated, despite that we were under the cool shade of the trees, and worked until our muscles became sore and our backs ached. Knowing that we were in a location that straddled the equator, it was vital for us to keep ourselves constantly hydrated.
Throughout the hours we spent digging, I think that by the end of the day, we collectively came to acknowledge the local community’s struggles and how much work they had to do in to sustain themselves. Compared to them, we were privileged to have easy access to things; they weren’t able to get water through the turn of a knob, or electricity through the flick of a switch like we could. And in a way, I felt guilty because of that. But accompanied with my guilt was appreciation, for realizing how fortunate I was; and a sense of motivation that prompted me to want to help the community as much as I could.
It was this portion of our trip that we learned what the term Minga meant. Minga, is about coming together and working towards a common goal that ultimately betters a community, regardless of your differences and interruptions in your own life. It might have not been prominent, but we left the Minga Lodge carrying the knowledge that we helped with opening better future opportunities for the indigenous people.
After we left the Minga Lodge, we returned back into the city, where the remainder of our trip was filled with more sightseeing and tourist attractions.
We spent an entire day in the small city of Baños, located north on the Tungurahua volcano, at the Hostería La Estancia de Dulcelina. Dulcelina held the entire vista of Baños, which was a popular tourist area with streets filled with countless of restaurants and shops. We took our time to do shop at the Town Square for souvenirs; then a visit to a waterfall before we headed back to the city of Quito, where we took a trip to a self-sustaining community deep within the Cloud forest and another shopping day at a traditional, local marketplace.
Our last day wrapped up by a fancy dinner, immediately followed by a drive to the Quito airport on the same night.