Greetings to all of our readers. This week we have a variety of topics. As usual, there are lots of things on our minds. We have decided to show our readers a photograph about our bulletin board: Hope 2008. We made this board to show that we were going to take a stand for fairness. We wrote our own thoughts about making the world a better place and put them on the board and invited anyone else to do the same if they wanted to. Enjoy February vacation; we will too.

Dr. W’s Sophomores

Bulletin Board Of Hope

By Reece Boyd

I helped to make the bulletin board Hope 2008 and when we began it was about the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement and President Kennedy. We were comparing those days with now when a black man is running for President. Also, we added something about racism because there is still a lot of racism around and it’s going on throughout the world. I wrote No Racism in big red letters but we decided to write No Racism in Portuguese too because there are kids in our school who don’t just speak English, they also speak Portuguese. Those kids have problems with racism in our school and also on the whole Island. A good example of that is the whole Brandy accident tragedy.

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Choosing To Participate

By Hannah Marlin

On Feb. 20, Dr. Weintraub’s classes went on a field trip to the Boston Public Library to visit an exhibit titled Choosing to Participate, which taught ways to help eliminate segregation, and racism. The exhibit included stories about Arn Chorn, a Cambodian man who immigrated to the U.S. from Cambodia during the war between Viet Nam and Cambodia, and his experiences coming to live in America. Another story in the exhibit took place in Billings, Mont. This story struck me strongly. In Billings, there had been underlying racism and Ku Klux Klan violence, mainly against Jews. The incidents happened around Hanukkah, when families were hanging menorahs and stars of David on their windows to celebrate the Festival of Lights. After many attacks on these Jewish families who were trying to celebrate peace among their religion, Billings started acting, as a community, against the Ku Klux Klan. The next day the newspaper issued colorful full-paged menorah drawings to cut out and tape to windows in households of all religions and ethnicities. After a few months the hate crimes stopped and Billings never had to endure the Ku Klux Klan again, thanks to caring people who weren’t even Jewish.

This is what the exhibit is trying to teach. It tells us that by making your mark and refusing to go along, you can stop violence and hate crimes against others by being selfless and kind. Try your best to help people you see who need help, and karma will kick in.

No Words To Explain The Horror

By Sarah Hall

On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, a day when most of us were getting candy and handing out cards and celebrating love, Northern Illinois University was experiencing something that no one ever wants to have to go through. At the university on that day a former student dressed in black walked onto the stage and opened fire with a shotgun and two handguns in a packed lecture hall. The first news said that there were 22 casualties; six students were in critical condition and others were still in the hospital in what was called a rapid fire attack. The gunman then shot himself after the rampage that only lasted a few minutes. Four died including the gunman at the scene and two died at the hospital with a total of six deaths and many wounded.

This article reminded me of the massacre at Virginia Tech in the springtime and also of the recurring school shootings in America. I wonder what it must feel like to be sitting in a class and all of a sudden someone pulls out a gun and goes on a shooting rampage giving you no time to react to anything. I can imagine the students thinking, “He’s going to shoot me. I’m going to die, or how will I get out of here alive?”

Events like this have no words to explain them and all you can do is hope that the injured students survive. They need to get heavier security or do something that can hopefully prevent things like this happening at schools, whether it is middle schools, high schools, or colleges. Something has to happen to stop these terrifying recurring events here in the United States.

The Real Meaning Of Valentine’s Day

By Solvig Sayre

Valentine’s Day has lost its meaning since those days in elementary school when we all gave out hand crafted Valentines. Most students would spend hours putting their affection in each card. Now it is mainly celebrated among the few that are dating and becomes a day of misery for the rest. It should be a day for friendship and community. The Guinness Book of World Records holds a record for the biggest hug. This past Valentine’s Day in Monterrey, Mexico, 9,402 children came together to give a minute-long hug, breaking the previous record of over six thousand children. At the end they threw up their coats victoriously showing the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.

Hard To Cope With

By Abbey Etner

This past fall my mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. At first it was a scary thought; my mom has cancer! However I soon found out that the type of cancer she has is the most curable, slowest-growing cancer there is, and it’s the only one that you probably won’t die from. In early November my mom had her thyroid removed at Massachusetts General Hospital. When she returned she had to stay in bed for a while, was very tired, and left with a slice mark right below her neck covered by a bandage that was left on for a few weeks.

Now, about three months after surgery, she soon will start radiation treatment and other tests and treatments. I know that this story is not the worst it could be, and I am extremely sorry for those going through worse things. Even knowing that other people may have worse things happen to them, my mom being so sick is still hard to cope with, but I know it will be okay.

Dress To Impress

By Vicky Segal

High schools everywhere are contaminated with what seems to be a disease: the disease to change yourself for others, be someone you aren’t, dress how others do and forget who you actually want to be. I have been lectured about this my whole life by parents, siblings and counselors. Everybody has been pushing it into my mind that I can be who I want. So why don’t all people do that? From being on the other side, feeling like I have to do something or I have to act a certain way, I learned to be myself. But I still see people day after day struggling to keep this fake identity. After awhile that identity you’ve pretended to be . . . it becomes you. And after awhile you’re someone that you wish you never knew.

I always laughed when people would say peer pressure because I was so sure I’d be strong enough to resist any pressure, but I proved myself wrong. I’ve come a long way since then — but many people are still carbon copies of what they have become or are becoming, not who they know they are inside.

I realized that peer pressure is so much more than I thought. It’s not how it’s portrayed in those comics in the D.A.R.E program. It’s not always someone just sticking alcohol or drugs in your face. It can be so much more than that. I guess that I didn’t realize that before and I can only hope that people realize it before you look in the mirror and wonder how you got there, what happened? It may be extremely corny to some but it’s true that you really do need to believe in yourself. That’s really the best you can do and to know that your opinions matter and you are your own person. Even the littlest things that may not occur to you as peer pressure — well they are. When people are drinking and you don’t want to be the one not doing that, when people are smoking and you’re so against it — but somehow you end up doing it? I’ve seen all this happen — not just in high school but for a long time, even during most of my middle school years. I don’t know if there is anything that grown ups can do to really help this situation because the more teenagers know they are not allowed to do something, the more they feel that they want to do it. They really just need to realize on their own that their choices are wrong, that those choices can lead you down a bad road. They need to realize that bad choices aren’t just stupid mistakes anymore. We’re not five years old. The real world doesn’t start after high school. We teenagers are living it, so figure out who you wanna be!

Is Cloning Safe?

By Chris Davies

Would you like to eat meat or drink milk that came from a cloned animal? The FDA has now said that meat and milk from most cloned animals is okay to eat or drink. The fact that we now have the technology to clone animals is awesome. However, I would not consume any products that came from a cloned animal. Before making this decision, the FDA had to gather information for five years. Some people are disappointed that the FDA made this decision in what is a very short time period because they cannot know what the long-term effects will be. I believe that there is no need to clone animals because they sexually reproduce and it’s not good to mess with nature. When many people hear for the first time that we can clone animals, their first reaction is “cool,” but if you really think about it, you can see it’s unnecessary. When they clone the animal they take one of the eggs from the female, take a DNA gene from the male, inject it into the egg and put the egg back in the female so that it will grow correctly. When the baby is born, it’s a clone of the animal they took the DNA gene from. They do not put the animal through a machine and out comes two of them. I think it would probably be safe to drink the milk or eat the meat from a cloned animal, but it would be too weird for me to do that.

End Of An Era — Fidel Steps Down

By Eric Fletcher

On Feb. 19, it was announced that Fidel Castro had resigned as the leader of Cuba. This is huge. Castro has been the dictator of Cuba for the past 49 years and the American embargo of Cuba has been in effect for almost as long. Hopefully now, with Castro out of power, the embargo can be lifted and we Americans can enjoy the exports of Cuba again. Imagine being able to legally smoke a Cuban cigar or stir your coffee with Cuban sugar. As long as export income benefits the country, and not one person, then Cuba will probably not be in poverty anymore. No one can lose! Since the communist theory of government in Cuba is clearly on life support, the thought of a capitalist Cuba is like a breath of fresh air. Sure, not a lot of people like the idea of capitalism and I respect socialist ideas, but just look at Cuba. Everyone who doesn’t work for the government is living in poverty or has migrated to Miami. Socialism is a great idea, but equal sharing of government profits to all citizens is begging to fail eventually. Now with a Cuban socialist out of power, either another socialist will take Castro’s place or democracy will take effect in Cuba. It’s impossible to tell what will happen for the future in Cuba. Only time can tell us that. Besides, maybe now we can print some Castro T-shirts and destroy that God-awful Che Guavara T-shirt fad.