Opinions

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In efforts to raise money for the devastating earthquake in Nepal, the DGS Social Studies Department will be selling t-shirts in the cafeteria during all lunch periods starting Monday, May 11 through Friday, May 15.The shirts will be sold for $10 and are offered in three colors: black, red and blue. Over half of the money made from selling the t-shirts will be donated toward the fundraising of relieving the impacted areas in Nepal. DGS will be partnering with the Lions Club International Foundation to bring as much awareness to the cause as possible. These funds will be spent on materials and goods that Nepali citizens now lack after the earthquake such as food and shelter.

 

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on Apr. 25, which has caused destruction and loss of shelter for many. Over 7,000 people have died from this disaster, leaving thousands more hungry and homeless.

The shirt logo features the slogan “Pay atTENTion,” incorporating the Nepal flag to help raise money to purchase tents for the thousands that were left homeless from the natural disaster. The organization will also be leaving small jars at the ends of lunch lines for spare change anyone might have after purchasing lunch. There is also the option to donate online by visiting

https://www.lcif.org/EN/support-our-work/donate-now.php

 Nepal t shirt design

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A bill called the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA)  was recently amended by the Republican-heavy Indiana Senate and Indiana House. According to the “Indy Star,” it was originally passed with a 63-31 majority. This bill directly impacted the already inhibited members of the LGBT community. One of the reasons why this issue is so sensitive is because of the various beliefs, both religious and not, that are “against” members of the LGBT community having the same rights as heterosexual people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The original bill stated: “Senate Bill 101 would prevent state and local governments from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion unless the government can prove it has a compelling interest and is doing so in the least restrictive means.”

A lot of people interpreted this law to mean that if you own a business and you have very strong religious beliefs against the rights of LGBT, you have the right to refuse to serve the LGBT community.

In my opinion, this bill is hurting our core American values; it is open discrimination.  As American’s, we pride ourselves on having a democracy and equal rights. It is appalling that in 2015 people are still unaccepting and discriminatory towards any group of people.

In recent years it seemed as though progress was being made for the LGBT community because gay marriage has been becoming legal in states across the US, including Indiana since October 2014. This in itself is great, kudos to you Indiana. However, the un-amended version of the RFRA seems to be a giant step backwards.Though the bill was recently amended, the fact that it was even passed in the first place is just despicable, and shows that discrimination and hate is still alive and thriving in “the land of the free.”

Some people argue that businesses who adopt this new law will only be hurting themselves; they will lose business and put themselves in debt, so why not just let them dig themselves into a hole? This is what some expected when Memories Pizza, located in the town of Walkerton, IN, refused to cater a gay wedding. The owners said they would not refuse service in the restaurant, but would refuse to cater a wedding. While many people boycotted the store and were enraged, there was an overwhelming amount of people who supported the restaurant’s decision. When the owners set up a Go Fund Me account (pretty much a personal online charity,) they raked in over $842,000 in just a few days by those who supported this bill and what the restaurant was doing. The restaurant had originally closed due to the anger of their customers and the threats they were receiving, but with all the money they received they were able to reopen.

This law could snowball into something even worse, if you can refuse service to LGBT people, what is stopping you from refusing service to African Americans, Jewish people or those of other minority groups because you claim it is”against your religion” to serve them? There is no telling how far this could go.

This is no different than an African American being refused service because of their race-something that Americans spent years protesting and fighting against. The fact that a bakery can refuse to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple solely because they don’t agree with it is outrageous. Just because you personally don’t agree with something doesn’t mean that you can take away basic human rights from people.

The fact that it is 2015 and bills that allow discrimination are even in the realm of possibility is simply ludicrous, and it needs to stop. The bottom line is: respecting everyone is something that has been drilled into our heads since childhood; however, this “golden rule” seems to have lost its luster in modern times.

 

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Unisex bathrooms are a friendly alternative to traditional labels of “men’s” and “women’s.”

The White House has recently added a gender neutral bathroom in order to prevent transgender people and others from feeling uncomfortable using the restroom. You would think that in this day and age discrimination would not be as prevalent as it used to be. Apparently this is not the case because transgender citizens are finding equality hard to find in some places. In Florida, Kentucky, Texas, Minnesota, Nevada and even Canada, bills have been passed to terminate their ability to express their gender freedoms.

 

What exactly is a transgender person? A transgender person is defined as a person who does not personally identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.

 

Originally in 2013, Canada enacted the C­279 bill in order to prevent discriminatory acts against transgender people. All that changed in February of this year.

 

An amendment was added to the bill that excludes transgender people from using gender specific locations such as: prisons, crisis shelters, locker rooms and washrooms. This part of the bill was added because they wanted to insure “public safety.”

 

If a transgender person has to go to the restroom they were assigned at birth, this puts them at a greater risk of being assaulted. There have been zero reported cases of a transgender person physically or verbally assaulting someone in the restroom. They are more likely to be hurt rather than someone else

 

Transgender people are more likely to be hurt because others who are using the restroom are less likely to accept them as the gender they identify as. About 70 percent of transgender in the United States have been reportedly harassed and denied entrance while trying to use the restroom.

 

Senior Jordan Jones believes that no matter what gender you are, you should be able to use which ever bathroom that you prefer.

 

“I don’t think I would mind [transgender people using the same restroom]. If they associate with a certain gender then they should be able to go with what they feel like and feel comfortable with it,” Jones said.

 

The original intention of preventing discrimination was completely compromised once this amendment was added. How can they say that they don’t want to discriminate, but then they turn around and do it anyway? One can only guess.

 

 

Junior Ari Ganahl believes that no matter what gender someone is they should be able to use any restroom they feel comfortable and safe in.

 

“If you have a transgender guy there is no reason he shouldn’t be able to use the guys bathroom,” Ganahl said.

 

Transgender students that attend DGS are allowed to use the restroom of the gender they identify with.

 

Assistant Principal Vince Walsh­Rock gives his input on how transgender students are allowed to use the restroom they prefer.

 

“For the students that have come out as transgender…we’ve given them options about bathroom usage. We make sure we continue to monitor their safety and checking in to make sure they feel secure about where they’re using the facilities,” Walsh­Rock said.

 

Gender neutral bathrooms have been taken into consideration for the students who don’t know which gender they may be. But for some transgender students, these bathrooms wouldn’t be as useful to many of them.

 

Freshmen Alan Wright explains how the neutral bathrooms would work for others.

 

“For a person who doesn’t identify with male or female, or identifies with both, a unisex bathroom is more of a better fit for them,” Wright said.

 

Many government officials need to wake up and smell the coffee because transgender people are being treated unequally right in front of their faces. Gender neutral bathrooms should be available for those who need it, and transgender people should be able to use which ever bathroom they prefer.

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About one in five people in the United States have at least one tattoo on their body. In today’s society it has become a norm, yet many of tattooed and pierced Americans still find themselves being discriminated against. Judging someone solely off of how he/she looks is something that I do not agree with at all.

 

The job industry has made it hard for those who have tattoos and piercings to get a job. Even though not all workplaces discriminate against those who have tattoos, many businesses have made it a rule that tattoos must be covered up and piercings must be taken out.

 

When I got my first job I was forced to cover up my tattoos unwillingly. It was one of the rules that I had to follow in order to get a paycheck. On my job interview I had them covered up because I felt like I would be automatically stereotyped.

Senior Chody Vanlenzuela believes that getting a tattoo would tremendously affect her ability to get a job.

 

“I feel like jobs do discriminate against people with tattoos, because they may not see them as professional,” Valenzuela said. “Businesses do this especially because they expect their employees to look a certain way.”

 

But why would someone go through all this trouble just to get a tattoo? Many ask this question because they do not fully understand that tattoos may hold personal meanings behind them.

 

English teacher Allison Helms shares her opinion on tattoos.

 

“For me they [tattoos] are more of an artistic expression,” Helms said. “…A lot of tattoos are about recreating something emotional.”

 

The reason why I got a tattoo was because it was my way of showing my personality. I’m a creative person who enjoys all forms of artistic expressions. Having a tattoo allows me to express my creativity to others around me.

 

But, I didn’t realize getting a tattoo would automatically stigmatize me as rebellious. Well I wouldn’t call myself a rebel personally, considering the fact that I do have a tattoo; I don’t know if anyone would consider staying in on a Friday night and reading a good book as rebellious.

 

Senior Rae Kovarsky believes that tattoos should be allowed if they are not disturbing the workplace.

 

“If they don’t interfere with your work, then that’s OK. They should be allowed because it is a freedom of expression,” Kovarsky said.

 

Body modification has been around for decades upon decades, but it still has some stigmas against it. In the minds of some it is considered a way of showing personality, in the minds of others its considered being deviant.

 

Many teenagers plan to get tattoos and piercing in the near future, which means that jobs will encounter people just like me. With this in mind, many people need to more understanding and less judgmental.

In case you couldn’t tell from the dozens of posters around the school and the thousands of tweets from students, DGS decided to forgo the typical Winter Dance this year and replace it with the more casual and relaxed Southfest. The hype for this event was enormous, with all the announcements, advertisements, emails and pictures, it seemed like there was no way to escape from having this event shoved in your face.

Despite the possibly overbearing publicity, I think that with more attendance and a slightly tweaked approach, this event has the potential to be something very cool.

Walking into the fieldhouse, the atmosphere was kind of like a wanna-be club. There was a huge glowing archway that you had to walk under, a DJ accompanied by the usual sporadic and blinding multicolored lights and even a VIP section separated from the rest by a velvet rope. Along with the typical dancing, there was also an inflatable “Wipeout” type game, enough food to feed an army, a photo booth, bags and even Wii games.

In the beginning it was pretty awkward; I didn’t exactly know what to do with myself. There weren’t a lot of people dancing until around halfway through the event, and from what I saw, a lot of people spent a good chunk of time just standing around and talking until they got more comfortable.

I think one of the main reasons it felt kind of awkward was the lack of attendance. Due to the fact that this event was held in the fieldhouse, and that the attendance was lower than anticipated, there was a ton of empty space. If there were more people in attendance, this event would have been way more fun; it would have had that nice there-are-so-many-people-here-I-can’t-move-and-everything-smells-like-sweat vibe that we high schoolers love.

Southfest was definitely different from any school dance I had ever been to–and that was the point. Social Studies Department Chair Christopher Esposito gives us some insight on why the Winter Dance was cancelled in the first place.

“We track how many students come to the dances, and over the last six or seven years we went from a dance, a turnabout, that had 1,200 people down to last year–under 700,” Esposito said. “So what the students were telling us from attendance was that they didn’t want the event anymore….We tried to re-imagine it….Personally, I think this is the best overall event we have ever put on for the students of DGS, hands down.”

From what I can tell, the feelings about this new event were split down the middle. Junior Brandon McDaniels shares how he thinks Southfest missed the mark.

“There was a lot of hype building up to it over the past couple weeks, so I kind of expected it to be a really big thing that everyone would have been at, but it just wasn’t. However, it did begin to pick up a little as it went on, but it still didn’t live up to its hype, or to my expectations,” McDaniels said.

On the other end of the spectrum, freshman Lindsey Herrmann had nothing but good things to say about the event.

“I [had] a really good time, and [I would definitely come again next year]…there are a lot of different activities and things to do,” Herrmann said.

Junior Andrew Steichen felt that his expectations were blown out of the water.  “It exceeded my expectations indefinitely….I really enjoyed everything about Southfest. There [were] a handful of [other] options this time around besides the dance, and I think everyone found something for them,” Steichen said. “Would I go again next year? For sure.”

I went to Southfest banking on leaving after 45 minutes, and 95% of the reason I attended was because it was free. Since my expectations were set pretty low, I ended up being surprised by having a decent time.

The thing that threw me off the most, however, was the dress code-or lack thereof. The only guidelines for dress was that you had to wear black, there were no specifics on formality. For me, and many other girls, this was a fashion nightmare. Most people ended up wearing nicer clothing, but in the days leading up to Southfest, there were definitely a lot of frantic “OMG what are you wearing?!?” texts flying around.

Although I’m sure a lot of students enjoyed the freedom of being able to come casually, I would have liked it more if there was an established dress code. I’m sure the girl in a $200 dress and six inch heels felt out of place hanging out with people in leggings and tank tops decked out with black war paint.

Science teacher Jennifer Wolf answers the question that we have all been wondering: Will we have Southfest again next year?

“I think we’ll have to wait and see what student response it to this…it really depends on what the students want, but I wouldn’t rule it out,” Wolf said.

Overall, I think Southfest is a really different and fun idea, and with more attendance and a few small adjustments, it could be the event that students wait for all year.

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Prom is a magical time for high school seniors across the country. It is a time to end high school with a bang and start a whole new chapter in your life. But why spend so much money on it?

Prom is a once in a lifetime experience, but many girls take it to a whole other level. In 2014 CNN reported that the average amount spent on a prom experience was $978. That’s a down payment on a used car.

I understand that this is a once in a lifetime type of experience, but is it really worth that much money? Back in the 90s, prom was a big deal to students just like it is today, the only difference is how many details are looked at.

Librarian Kim Pakowski remembers back to her prom in 1991 here at DGS. Besides the date of prom, the overall experience is the same now as it was back then. The expectation for prom is something that has also stayed constant through the years. Pakowski feels what you choose to believe is what makes the night a hit or miss.

“I think like anything, there’s always the potential that the reality isn’t as great as what your expectations were…you’re spending a lot of money from what I understand. I think things are much more expensive now than what they were back when I was a student, so I think there’s a huge investment in one night. If you go into thinking that this is going to be the best night of your life, then there’s always that chance for disappointment,” Pakowski said. “I think if you go into it realistically as an opportunity to dress up and be with your friends and have a good time and try and avoid any negativity, it can really be a fantastic night, but it’s not the end. There’s so much more, and there’s so much after that there still is a lot to look forward to in high school. I think you have to keep it realistic.”
Prom is something that will last forever in ones memory There is no need to spend money like crazy in order to preserve it. Whether you spend $200 or $1,000 on everything you think you need for prom, a memory can never be bought.

Many seniors have been preparing for prom since the beginning of 2015 in order to get every detail right or until perfection. Something as big as prom has many details to go through and decisions to make regarding what you and your group want to do. As understandable as that is, do you really need four or five months to make sure one dance is the best ever?

Senior Tiffany Nguyen has been one of many high school senior students throughout the school preparing in advance for prom.
“I have been preparing for prom since January only because…I knew I had to alter my dress more than two times,” Nguyen said. “I’m looking most forward to getting together with the rest of the seniors that I never knew were seniors before, and prom pictures, but mostly after prom.”

Understandably, the most exciting part for many is what students choose to do after prom. Some are renting houses with friends to stay the night, some plan to go downtown and enjoy the day after. That is something I understand spending more money on, a day that you and your friends can spend together, but to spend nearly $1,000 on a dress, transportation and flowers that will be dead in a week for a five hour event, I do not.

Seniors should remember not to worry so much about how they want the night to be and focus on what it actually is. Prom is meant to be a time to say a goodbye to your peers that you’ve been together with for four years, not a time to spend money frivolously. Prom is something I believe you have to live in the moment for. There is so much more to remember from your four years of high school than just prom.

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Within only the past couple of years, there has been an immense uprising in the use of technology not only in classrooms and education, but in our everyday lives as well.

 

The increase in the use of cellphones and other electronic devices has consumed our attention and taken away important time with family and friends. It’s also diminished the meaning of moments happening around us that we are now taking for granted. Having your eyes glued to your phone takes your attention away from the things going on right around you, causing you to miss out or not fully appreciate a moment to its full potential.

 

DGS Social Studies teacher Kristyn Campos explains that some of the most important memories are to be experienced in person.

 

“Some of my best memories from high school and athletics are not saved in photographs, they are in the experiences I had before all of this technology took over,” Campos said.

 

Social media is always on the mind; the obsession with constantly updating social media actually can become an addiction of sorts. This isn’t really a surprise though; how many people can you think of that are updating their Twitter every 5 minutes, or are entirely dedicated to at least one Instagram post a day? We all have that one person in our Snapchat friends with a 200 second Snapchat story that, let’s be honest here, we aren’t too interested in watching. It’s seems as if you don’t let people know where you are, what you’re doing, and what you’re thinking then it’s almost equivalent to you falling off the face of the earth.

 

There is constant attention being paid to the number of likes, retweets, and reblogs people receive, too. DGS Social Studies teacher Bryan Szweda believes we have lost the ability to enjoy the things we are doing.

 

“There have been studies done that have shown that we have grown so attached to our electronic devices that symptoms of withdrawal can become present when they are taken away…There seems to be a rise in narcissistic behavior by many people in posting the amount of personal information/large number of photos on social media.  Posting information or photos, and having people like them can become an addicting behavior where people are constantly checking to see how many likes that they have gotten,” Szweda said.

 

Posting to social media and using your phone isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there just has to be a balance of how much you spend time on it. In recent years, kids are being more and more socialized to depend and use their phones as comfort in social settings that they aren’t confident in or feel uncomfortable.

 

Sophomore Vivian Pierropoulos reacts the same way in these situations.

 

“ I feel like whenever I’m in an environment where I don’t know many people, I tend to just be glued to my phone rather than socialize and possibly meet others. Phones give us a sense of comfort so that’s what I use it for,” Vivian Said.
Technology has become a big part in the everyday actions of our lives. Chances are the first thing we reach for in the morning is our phones to check in on social media sites and keep ourselves in the know where a typical morning usually started with reading the paper enjoying your cup o’ coffee in years past. Being glued to our phones can come with the cost of missing out on great things happening right in front of us. It’s time to enjoy a car ride with all the windows rolled down, savor a meal instead of snapping a picture of it, and losing yourself in the moment at your favorite concert. All we need to do once in a while is stop staring at a screen and start to pay attention to the incredible things right in front of our faces that make life extraordinary.

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Flipped classrooms are becoming more and more popular, especially as technology gets more accessible. This perceived progressive step in education is unnecessary and confusing; it is harder

to stay focused and engaged on a video when you are at home than it is at a lecture in a classroom. Watching videos outside of class takes more time than regular homework, and creating the videos is more time consuming for teachers compared to an in-class lesson plan.

Flipping a classroom doesn’t guarantee learning, especially since many students require one on one contact with the teacher as they are lecturing. Flipped classroom and science teacher Scott Parker explains how some students require more direct contact with teachers than a flipped classroom allows for.

“There are times when a direct lecture is good, and some kids need that. There are times when you need to get information to the kids, and they need to have that interaction in class with the teacher,” Parker said.

Using videos to lecture limits the learning ability of students who learn best when a teacher lectures in person, and who need to ask questions as they think of them. Junior Jacqualine Jiju says that the needs of students differ when it comes to the order of when they are able to learn and when they can practice what they’ve learned.

“Some kids do well with learning a lesson then going back and asking questions while others need the practice as they learn it the first time,” Jiju said.

Teachers have also h

ad complaints about the set-up of flipped classrooms. According to teachhub.com, teachers are less able to grasp how much their students understand if they lecture from a screen.

“I know as I’m teaching, I get direct feedback from my students by looking at their faces and gauging comprehension,” teacher Harold Webb said.

Although flippe

d classrooms seem like a step towards an improved way of teaching, both teachers and students see it as time consuming and discriminatory towards the different learning needs of students.

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The holiday season is quickly approaching and we all know that this means; we open not only our hearts, but also our wallets to show how much we care. Picking out gifts for all the people on your checklist can leave you feeling stumped, but it shouldn’t mean you resort to throwing money around just to have a gift to give. There should be meaning and thought behind it, so dig down deep and look in your heart to give a thoughtful gift this year.

 

When it comes to gift giving, parents can be tricky to buy for. If spending a fortune isn’t your thing, parents love getting things you clearly put a lot of thought and time into.  Sometimes, the best gifts aren’t things at all, but acts that mean more to your parents than you think, like cooking a nice dinner or setting aside quality time. Parents love sentimental gifts that are from the heart; stick with something you know would put a smile on their face. If you have a little more cash to spend, have a professional  picture taken of you and your siblings to hang in the house, or make a coupon book with things like “one free car wash” and “one day off from cleaning.”

 

Buying for friends is tough. Do you get them all the same thing like a keychain that says “best friends” and call it a day, or do you get each one something different? I think it means more to a person if you take the time to think about what they personally would like and what would mean most to them. Buying an individual gift for friends can get pricey. If you’re on a budget, you can never go wrong with a handwritten letter or a simple DIY gift that’s from the heart, like home baked cookies/desserts or a frame with your favorite picture inside. Websites like Groupon and Etsy offer unique gift ideas and coupons that help spark your creative side when gifting.

 

Getting a gift for your significant other raises a big question. Does spending a bunch of money make it more meaningful? When you want a gift to mean a lot to your girlfriend/boyfriend, there is no specific guideline to follow when it comes to spending money. Spending a small amount on something like making a collage of your favorite pictures together or dinner could mean just as much as getting a pair of concert tickets that you know they really wanted. Money doesn’t mean a better gift; go for something that you’ve put a good amount of research and thinking into, whether this means spending money or not.

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The average English classroom essentially consists of reading a book at home and discussing it at school; it has been this way for ages.

The flipped classroom model essentially is a new trend where students watch a lecture at home, then discuss the lecture as well as do the assignments associated with it at school.

The flipped classroom is the same thing as your current English class. As much as some people hate English, this style of teaching has worked for as long as English has been taught in America.

What perplexes me the most while talking amongst my peers is the perceived dislike of the flipped classroom style, even though they have not taken the time to discover how the system works or even what it is. Most students have, instead, waited for someone else to tell them to like it or not.

While looking around my English class each day, I notice a large number of students who seem to be enjoying the class, but if asked if they liked the flipped classroom, a vast majority would say no. Why is this?

I believe an old adage applies here, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

And maybe in this case we should apply it to a greater scale.

Sandra Largen, a Biology 400 teacher at DGS, believes the flipped classroom provides students with a unique learning ability–to learn at one’s own pace.

“If students actually take the time to watch and take notes on the screencasts, this approach is very effective. Students are provided with an opportunity to take notes at a pace that works for them. They can pause the video at any time and draw diagrams or listen to sections that may be confusing a second time,” Largen said.

A flipped classroom style of learning doesn’t hold back a student’s ability nor does it inhibit the learning of students. In reality it has furthered their learning.

A student achievement study done at Niagara Falls High School showed that students not only improved after the classroom was inverted, but nearly 20% more students reached mastery of a class most students would never think to associate with the flipped classroom–Advanced Algebra Two.

Not only that, but in a survey done by Knewton.com, only 13% of students failed the math class, whereas before the flip nearly 45% of students failed. 

The flipped classroom is going to further our knowledge, the facts don’t lie. However, by deciding that the flipped classroom is inherently evil because you had one bad science, math or even an English teacher however many years ago is a weak argument.

With technology at their fingertips, lessons are quicker and easier for students. Now class time can be used for meaningful discussion and help sessions. I, for one, can’t wait for my classes to be inverted–and the statistics behind it say you should too.

Contact Wes at

wdav0758@csd99.org