Category Archives: viewpoint

This Halloween, Who Will You Offend With Your Costume?

Halloween, everyone’s favorite holiday. You dress up as your favorite characters and run around with friends, going door to door, hoping you pick the right house with the biggest candy bars.

But when does dressing up as your favorite character lead to offending other ethnic and cultural groups?
Now yes, we all know Halloween is for fun and shouldn’t be handled as it were politics, but just like in every fun activity, there’s guidelines in some shape or form.

I almost guarantee you that the night of Halloween, you won’t find anyone wearing black mask on there face, pretending that they’re an African American. But I can assure you that a common costume will be a Native American.

Now which one sounds worse to you? Obviously the black mask (or black face) sounds worse right? Funny enough, they are both just as bad.

To the average person like me I would never think of anything bad about dressing up as a Native American, but to see someone in black face would be outlandish to me. But that’s not fair, both of these costumes are doing the same thing, pretending to be of another race, they are just as bad.

This raises the question, “What if I wanted to dress up as Michel Jackson, or even Pocahontas, would that be considered morally wrong?”

Think about it, I understand that when we pick a certain person to dress up as, their ethnicity or race is the last thing we think about if at all. But you want to represent that person as you go to your parties or go around your neighborhood trick or treating.

I don’t believe it’s wrong to dress up as one of your favorite idols or even a famous celebrity. However, I do believe that it’s important to take in consideration how other people may portray the costume you are wearing.

Will they see their favorite Disney character Aladdin, or will they see you dressing up as an Arab?

By Elijah Banks – Contributor

Lack of Vaping Education Clouds the Dangers of Vapes

There’s nothing like walking into the bathroom and smelling the artificial scent of mangoes. Some may think it’s a new air freshener, but others know better. What they are actually smelling is the remains of student vaping.

Vaping is an epidemic taking over the country, especially among teenagers and young adults. As a high school student, I am surrounded by vaping every day. Students inhale e-cigarettes mindlessly, sugar-coating the dangerous reality of vaping.

Vapes are relatively new, and many believe they are harmless. Yet the National Institute of Health says e-cigarettes contain many toxic chemicals, including nickel, chromium, cadmium and carcinogens. Along with this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 805 lung injury cases and 13 deaths due to vaping as of Oct. 1. Thirteen may seem like a small number, but those were 13 beautiful lives that the world will never get back.

It’s horrifying to think that my classmates could fall to this fate. The most disturbing part is they vape without knowledge on how e-cigarettes break down their bodies. We never grew up learning the dangers of vaping as we did smoking. Schools advise students to not vape but never explain why. This results in teenagers carelessly vaping, thinking it’s safe.

Along with a lack of knowledge, one of the main reasons teens vape is for social appearance. For teens, vaping is the “next big thing.” If you do it, you’re automatically cooler, but if you don’t, you’re a boring goody-two-shoes. Once students pick up the vape, they’re hooked by the addictive nicotine and flavorings, and the cycle continues. We attempt to combat the vaping surge, but in the wrong ways. Beginning in July, Virginia raised the age for purchasing tobacco and nicotine products from 18 to 21. While this policy recognizes the dangers of vaping, it doesn’t help. Kids access vapes through older family members, siblings and friends and continue to vape in public and private spaces.

A better solution to stopping student vaping is to educate teenagers on the dangers of e-cigarettes, and how it’s not as cool as it seems. If students learned about the harm vaping can cause, and specifically that it can cause death, we would be a lot more hesitant to pick up a vape.

You may look at this issue and say, “This doesn’t affect me, why should I care?” However, it does affect you. You never know who will fall next — your children, your friends, your coworkers — even you. We need to take this vaping crisis seriously. We can’t keep looking at it as a passing trend, because it’s not. This is a real issue that is hurting and killing real people.

If you or a family member is currently suffering from drug addiction, visit http://www.QuitNow.net/Virginia or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

By Rachel Singleton – Editor-in-Chief

The Big Question: Is Marching Band a Sport?

Pro:

A sport is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as, “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against others for entertainment.” With that in mind, marching band does qualify as a sport.

Sure, we don’t necessarily make contact with other bands, but that doesn’t happen in other activities like track and swimming. We practice for two and a half hours three days a week during the school year. That’s saying nothing about the time we spend over the summer making sure all the newcomers know what they’re doing. Then there’s band camp, which takes up an entire week.

During practices, we stretch and warm up like most other sports. We take time to make sure no one pulls any muscles or experiences cramps. We also have to make sure we’re hydrated at all times, to maximize efficiency.

On top of that, everyone in the band has to be capable of carrying their instruments. That might not seem like a big deal, but keep in mind, some of the instruments, like the drums and sousaphones, weigh over 30 lbs. There’s also a proper form that has to be maintained for holding the instruments. From personal experience, I had back problems my sophomore year from holding my baritone, so injuries do happen.

We also have our own competitions that we go to, where we perform the show in front of judges and against other bands. We don’t compete directly with other bands like contact sports, because each band needs the football fields to themselves to perform their show.

During our performance, we’re rated based on our marching technique, how visually appealing the show actually is, and how well the instruments sound. After all the bands perform, all the drum majors, conductors, meet up on the field for the award ceremony. Based on how well the band performed, they get a higher score, with the highest score placing first.

Like most other sports, there is a sense of competitiveness and good morale to make sure everyone performs at the best of their abilities, and has fun while they do it. Even sitting in the stands, we still have fun. We watch other bands perform, and point out some of the songs they’re playing. Some bands play songs from movies like “Aladdin” and bands like “Maroon 5”.

The definition of a sport has certain criteria to it, and marching band meets that criteria. Therefore, it’s a sport. We physically exert ourselves, we perform competitively, and we make sure we have fun. That’s a sport, and that’s marching band.

By Harrison Savignac – Contributor

Con:

Sports are a big part of many people’s lives today. A sport is an activity involving physical and emotional skill and power. A hobby is an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.

Based on this information, the marching band is then considered a hobby. Marching band is a group of people doing coordinated movements while playing an instrument. There are many reasons why people do not consider the marching band a sport. For example, they only have a military league and no professional league that goes on to compete.

Marching band is not an activity listed in the Olympics because it is not nationally considered a sport. Would you consider cooking a sport? Cooking competitions take place and they involve physical activity but this is also not considered a sport.

Marching band is mainly used to entertain people during breaks in sports games or in parades. It is used as a technique to create an atmosphere in many settings. The marching band is not the main attraction in almost all cases in any event.

Marching band may be physical activity and need skill but based on the definition of sport this is not enough. Playing an instrument is not a sport, and carrying an instrument is not a sport. So, therefore, the marching band should not be defined as a sport.

The marching band has formations and marches that use muscle memory but not muscle. The marching band is considered. Sports are full of competition and the marching band is more of an elaborate concert.

Band does not qualify as a sport so neither does marching band. The main goal of this hobby is to play the right notes not to score a goal or earn a point. People join the marching band to meet new people, build teamwork, and play instruments.

However, this does not disregard the importance of the marching band. They are some of the loudest people at the football games, and provide something to watch and become excited about.

Marching band is an activity that has a special place in our school. This, however, does not make it a sport.

By Julian Major – Staff Reporter

VIEWS on Vaccines

PRO

Measles, a highly contagious disease, is breaking out in various areas in the U.S, despite being highly preventable, thanks to vaccines. This and many other breakouts of diseases is a result of unvaccinated people and the parents who did not vaccinate them.


Vaccines have been around for hundreds of years; although historically, the first vaccines were more harmful than good, today’s vaccines are relatively safe, and our medical technology is highly advanced. But of course, any vaccine has the possibility of producing a reaction. The most common reactions are soreness in the injection site and a low-grade fever, but some severe reactions are what scare off parents, such as seizures. Yes, vaccines can cause a seizure, but it’s rare. One out of 3,000 people who get the MMR vaccine will have a seizure, and the chance of getting a seizure as a result of the DTaP vaccine is one in 14,000 people according to the CDC. These seizures are scary, especially when a baby experiences them, but they aren’t harmful. They are called febrile seizures and are caused by any type of fever, including a fever that was result of a vaccine. Most importantly, they don’t result in brain damage or learning disabilities according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


Overall, the benefits outweigh the risks. The risk of vaccinating pales in comparison to the possible results of not vaccinating. Pertussis, or whooping cough, a disease which causes fits of coughing, kills one out of 100 people it infects. Or, Diphtheria a bacteria that kills one out of 10 people it infects,according to the CDC. These diseases and bacterias are thankfully preventable thanks to vaccines.


Still, there are many people who refuse to vaccinate their child either for religious or philosophical reasons. The anti-vax movement, although not new, has been growing in popularity. And what anti-vaxers don’t understand is that their choice puts others at risk. Children who for medical reasons can’t get vaccinations are put at risk when they come in contact with an unvaccinated child who is sick, or cancer patients going through chemo, or even the elderly who have weakened immune systems. Herd communities or herd immunities keep these people from contracting these diseases. Herd immunity is where a largely vaccinated population helps keep the spread of diseases at bay. This is crucial, because not only do individuals keep themselves safe when they vaccinate, but they keep their community safe.


Preventable diseases are nearly gone because of vaccines, but they have a chance to come back because of people who choose to not vaccinate. It’s simply irresponsible to not vaccinate your child simply because you don’t want to. It can hurt you, your children, and your community.

By Nayeli Arellano – Sports Editor

CON

Sometimes I wonder how the world has changed since my parents and grandparents childhood. I think about the things they say and do that many would consider old school, like vaccinations. They are pointless and put unnecessary chemicals into one’s body.


In the past, people were fine without all the shots we have today. The world and its inhabitants survived for thousands of years without vaccines. Many illnesses that we have today did not exist in the past, and technology has prevented them from spreading.
Vaccinations work by injecting a strand of the antibody into the body which is just as much a risk. Many people respond badly to vaccinations because all bodies are different. People could get ill or have an allergic reaction to the chemicals.


While some vaccines may help, there are many things that can’t be prevented by a simple injection. People still catch the flu each year because the wrong strand is treated for or an unexpected case comes up. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine is 40-60% ineffective, which is a large number of people not being treated properly.


Most of the vaccines used today are new and contain data that has not had enough time to show overall effects. Some people can not be vaccinated due to other health conditions like immune suppression.
Vaccinations also do not last forever and you have to get treated again at other ages. This makes one wonder at what exactly it is doing to your body. If the effects are not long term, what promises that they will work in the immediate future.


Religion also plays a role in if you get vaccinated or not. Some religions think vaccinating is a sin because it is “opposing God of his punishment due to your sins.” For example, the Reformed Dutch Congregation has an objection to vaccinations. They decline immunization because it “interferes with divine provinces.” People should respect other individuals religious views and allow them to not vaccinate.


There are also many risks to vaccinating according to the National Vaccine Information Center. Some of these risks include brain inflammation, nervous system dysfunction, seizures, death, and shock.


Technology is so advanced that measles and other diseases should not be a problem. Vaccines affect your body, and that should be important to consider.

By Vania Rosales – Contributor

Wasteland, Baby! Provides Emotion

After an almost five-year hiatus, Irish singer-songwriter Hozier released his second album Wasteland, Baby! on March 1. Many know him from his successful debut, “Take Me to Church,” which hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although his newest album is a small step down from his debut album Hozier, and an obvious hit chaser, his distinctive voice sets a high bar and it’s truly an album listeners can get lost in.

Before the drop of his album, he gave fans a few sneak previews. “Nina Cried Power (feat. Mavis Staples)” was by far my favorite. In this song, Hozier gives homage to artists who have helped shape rock ‘n roll, artists such as Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Billie Holliday, James Brown, and Mavis Staples, who was featured in the song. Mavis Staples’ voice paired with Hozier’s resulted in lush harmonies and a rich blues-rock sound. Hozier has been known to use meaningful lyrics and in this song, he clearly demonstrates that. Lyrics such as, “And I could cry power/ power has been cried by those stronger than me/ straight into the face that tells you to rattle your chains/ if you love bein’ free,” highlight the central meaning of the song and the struggles suffered by those who shaped blues and gospel music during the Civil Rights Era.  

I must admit that there were a few songs in the album I just could not get into. I could tell he was trying too hard to make another hit and it spoiled the album. A clear example is “To Noise Making (Sing),” which is probably my least favorite song from him. It has a good message–the power of singing regardless of talent–yet it feels empty. It just sounds like he just wanted to make an indie song to clap to or play in the background of a coffee shop. Regardless, there are many songs that I could never get sick of if I were to play them on repeat. Hozier has such a profound voice and sound it’s hard to absolutely hate any of his music. “Wasteland, Baby!” is the perfect album to play when you just need a little inspiration and soul in your life.

By Nayei Arellano-Sports Editor

Captain Marvel Is Neither the best nor the Worst

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues deeper into the lore of its comic book origins, it would seem apparent that superhero movie fatigue would set in. It only took the DC Universe three films for viewers to get sick of its characters, but the MCU is miraculously still thriving with every entry it churns out, with many more on the way. The newest flick is Captain Marvel, which marks the first female-led solo superhero movie for Marvel. DC already threw their hat into the ring with the massively successful but hollow and safe Wonder Woman, and after the disappointment of that film, I had my doubts going into Captain Marvel.

Brie Larson (Room, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) takes on Carol Danvers–a woman with a complicated past who finds herself caught in a war between the shape-shifting Skrulls and the Kree. She must fight the Skrulls, figure out the murky details of her past, and save planet Earth while also gaining the confidence to be the warrior she is destined to be. Along the way, she finds young Nick Fury (a movie-stealing Samuel L. Jackson) and must figure out who to trust, for the Skrulls can shape-shift into anybody she assumes she can trust.

Captain Marvel breaks itself up into three sections: the space-epic the first twenty minutes promise, the buddy-cop action film which the bulk of the film is made up of, and the typical Earth-saving superhero movie of the last thirty minutes. Of these three, the best is easily the second, in which Samuel L. Jackson gives his best Nick Fury performance yet and the best moments of the film are contained. Jackson is the glue that holds the film together, and without him the majority of the humor would have fallen flat. While others gave fun and sometimes emotional performances, I always looked forward to the moments in which Jackson bantered with the other characters. In fact, the quality of the film exponentially increases when he first appears on-screen outside of a Blockbuster Video while investigating a supposedly routine case.

Others give quality performances, such as Jude Law as the protagonist’s former mentor and Ben Mendelsohn as the leader of the Skrulls. However, the standout supporting character is Lashana Lynch as Danvers’ friend from her complicated past, who shocked me with the most emotional and subtly-acted scene in the film. I haven’t seen her in anything thus far, and I hope to catch a glimpse of her in the future–preferably with better writing.

Unfortunately, the weakest link in this film when it comes to acting is Larson herself. I don’t believe she performed badly, especially when I have seen her be so radiant in other films. For the first half of the film, her character is kept at a distance from the audience, which creates confusion when it comes to the feelings they should be exerting towards her. Luckily, the second half clears some of the confusion that the first half establishes, but the feeling of connection with Carol Danvers’ emotions never comes flooding in, and I never felt that I got a glimpse into what she was thinking at a certain moment. The reason supporting characters like Nick Fury steal the show is due to the lack of understanding we have of Danvers’ inner workings. This makes it that much harder to empower her and to send a strong message, even though the writers still succeed in doing so by the end of the movie.

By far the biggest issue I have with Captain Marvel is the pacing. The directors, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, never seemed to be able to hold a scene for the correct amount of time so the audience could embrace the full impact. In the first third, when the film introduces Captain Marvel’s life on the Kree planet, the audience isn’t given enough time to fully understand the impact it has on her disposition. Because of this, when certain plot elements are introduced later in the film, it was hard for me to grasp how profoundly these events mattered to her personal life. On the flip side, the third act of the film seems to hold each scene about thirty seconds too long: just enough that the audience gets tired of the point that the writers reiterate. If the time spent on these useless and long scenes had been spent on developing the essential storylines near the beginning, then we’d have gotten a better film that trusts the audience instead of spoon-feeding them the morals and themes. That being said, Captain Marvel is an unabashedly fun movie that will give the majority of viewers what they want. While plot stereotypes are included, character stereotypes are avoided by the writers. Diversity is spread throughout the story; the movie satisfies both those who want to see Captain Marvel as an empowered and unique female character, and those who want an entertaining superhero movie without any overt political opinions included. While Captain Marvel is nowhere near the best the MCU has to offer, it is also far from the worst–this is especially astonishing given that this is the twenty-first film in the ever-continuing saga. Before every Marvel movie, I always think it is finally time for fatigue to start setting in when it comes to superhero movies, and I am wrong nearly every time. While I do wish more time had been spent in editing the film to perfection instead of adhering to the typical chichés, it can’t be denied that Captain Marvel is escapism entertainment at its finest, which is all this movie needed to be while audiences wait for Avengers: Endgame to hit theaters.

By Joel Alexander-Student Life Editor

How to Train Your Dragon’s Nostalgic Final Trilogy

The dragon fantasy PG-rated movie, How To Train Your Dragon, made the third movie to the twelve-book series that is based on. They are about a boy named Hiccup, whose family and village are the center of everything when it comes to hunting down the dragons.

The two allies must work together to save their world’s from being destroyed by their enemies. As he and his village grows with more dragons, their land gets crowded and they become a greater target for their enemies. They always have a plan to escape from what situation they get into and they come up with a backup plan when it’s needed the most.

Hiccup becomes to be the leader of his village when his the time comes and he realizes that Toothless, his dragon, also needs a partner as he already has one. He also leans to let go when time comes and Hiccup only wants what is the best for his scaley retiled best friend.

They didn’t put The Hidden World in the title for nothing. Hiccup played by Jay Baruchel and his partner Astrid played by America Ferrara go to find Toothless when he was not returning home and they fly into a waterfall. They find countless different dragons that they never discovered before and they soon see Toothless with a white light fury, who becomes to be his mate that he always wanted and finally found.  

A great series can’t end without fighting the antagonist and having an ending that will surely make this trilogy the greatest to those dragon lovers.

Many people say that books are always better than movies, and sometimes they can be right about that. The book series has been around since the early 2000s and it has gained a great amount of popularity since its first release by Cressida Cowell. This PG-rated film brings back those memories that you have from being a young child and liking the fantasy world. If you watch all three movies together, then you might be able to see how each character has changed since the beginning and their true colors will show. I recommend this movie and the other two to anyone who wants to feel like a child again and wants to feel like how it once was when they were five years old again. This movie might even have you believe in things that you may once believe in at the end and bring your younger sibling, so that they may too also enjoy that moment of cherishing of time traveling of being a child again.

By Yohali Arias-Martinz