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Student Government Update - September 30th, 2014

 

This week, Student Government has been working on a variety of activities and events.

  • Our Issues committee has been discussing senior privileges such as the parking in our school lots. In addition, they are trying to get more freshmen involved in Student Government. We need more freshman applications!
  • The Community Service committee is planning their annual leaf raking, scheduled for October 17th. 
  • The Public Relations Committee is working on their bulletin board of events along with announcements for Spirit Week.  
  • Activities Committee is organizing and planning Spirit Week, Homecoming week and many more upcoming events.

We have been working hard, and plan on making this school year full of fun activities and involvement.

Students Sleep Out in Solidarity with Homeless Youth

A dusting of snow covered our sleeping bags, our backpacks, and our heads. At 5 o`clock on the morning of Friday, March 28th, Annie Cooper gently awoke the 29 students sleeping on the cement outside the guidance lobby. We had arrived the previous night with flannel shirts, down jackets, and wool socks; we had laid out our sleeping bags on cardboard on the ground. Amidst animal crackers, goldfish, and hot chocolate, we were barely experiencing a night in the life of a homeless teen - it felt more like a slightly uncomfortable sleepover than anything. We were graced with the fantastic music of Adam and Hannah Turner of Moose on the Loose, making the experience that much more enjoyable. The night took a somber turn when Annie introduced an incredible woman who had been homeless in high school and had used the resources of Spectrum Youth and Family Services, as well as her own determination, to escape that life, raise a family, and grow her own business. As the night wore on, our energy levels slowly sunk. Despite our exhaustion, sleep did not come easily. The temperature dropped. Layers were added. We slid deeper into our sleeping bags. The less we moved, the colder we became. Streetlights buzzed and wind shook the branches. Slowly, we fell into an uneasy sleep. Waking up at 3 o`clock in the morning, my hat off, my fingers numb, I could only wait for the sun to come out - nothing seemed more appealing than the heated school. The next time I awoke, snowflakes had settled on our eyelashes and our makeshift camp had become white with snow.

Sleepy-eyed and delirious, we shuffled into the gym. No one went back to sleep. We brushed our teeth in the bathroom, washed our faces, tried to get our hair to look half-decent. In the cafeteria, bagels and cream cheese were waiting for us. One of the students left early to go to band practice. Regular students trickled in. The first bell rang. Sleeping on the cold cement was one challenge, facing a full day of school was another. And the most fascinating part: unbeknownst to us, some of our own classmates do this every single day.

One night of sleeping out didn`t fix homelessness, nor did it give us a true understanding of the challenges faced by those sitting at desks next to us. It did, however, expose us to the struggles of so many people around us, forcing us to delay our judgments and understand the true strength of students for whom this is a reality.

Students Sleep Out in Solidarity with Homeless Youth

The EHS "Greeting Center" - Pointless or Precautionary?

Since the greeting station in the main lobby has opened, there have been a variety of feelings in regards to this new security precaution. Most students, months later, still have no idea why the greeting center was put in place. Kim Smith, the security official stationed at the greeting center, says recent school shootings across the country are the reason this new security practice is being used. PBS.org reports that in just the 2013-2014 school year alone, there have been at least 11 school shootings across the United States, most of which go unpublicized by the media. Those who have to sign-in at the greeting station are "usually parents, though the men who come in to fix the printers or the ceiling lights, for example, would have to sign-in here as well." Smith has the visitor sign in, takes and locks up their car keys, and hands them a badge to wear while they`re in the school. Smith, among other faculty members and students, believes the greeting station has helped EHS become a safer place for everyone in the building. Responses to the greeting center have been mixed, but remain steadily positive. Biology teacher Kelly Hill says "Generally, I like the idea. It`s good to have someone there." A student that wishes to remain anonymous agrees, saying "I think it`s good having someone monitoring who comes in and out of the school." With the greeting center allegedly being such a success, it wouldn`t be a surprise to see even more safety precautions come up in the near future.

Students React: Undressing the Dress Code

Undershirt tank tops and knee-length spandex were a common sight in middle school, creating styles most of us would like to forget. Although the argument could be made that middle school students are generally lacking in the fashion department, the main reason for these precautions was to get around the strictly enforced dress code. A more liberal dress code - or lack thereof, apparently - has been a welcome change included in entering high school. With arising feminist issues and high schools like Vergennes Union banning leggings, school dress codes are becoming more controversial. On the other hand, a general consensus here at Essex is that the dress code is barely there. When asked how they felt about the dress code, students didn`t "see any issues with it" and claimed that "the dress code is basically non-existent." To quell any problems the administration may have regarding this general indifference, students agreed that "it`s appropriate," and "it just should cover massive amounts of stomach and massive amounts of cleavage."

However, there is an obvious imbalance of rules for girls versus rules for boys. The question of sexism caused mixed reactions. "It`s not [sexist], it just so happens girls wear more `revealing` clothes than guys." This led to the question of "what even is the dress code for guys?" And why do girls need to cover up more in order to avoid "distracting" boys? Female students asked about this agree that girls "shouldn`t have to put more clothes on." Arguments range from the fact girls "have more to cover" to "are we a piece of art? Yes. Does that mean they can stare at us? No... we are not a museum and every place other than a museum it`s considered rude to stare."

So what do you think? Is the dress code appropriate? Is it sexist? And, most importantly, is it even a thing here at EHS, or is it merely a list of technicalities?

The Professional Amateur

With the invention of television and the newfound media outlets through mobile devices, the focus on professional athletes has become even greater, and with it, the pressure on all those aspiring to achieve the same level of success.

Gone are the days when most athletes could enter a season unprepared and be successful with playing themselves into shape through the season. Now are the days where seasonal athletes are rare, and year round workers are the norm. Athletes from around the country looking to make it big start early, and don`t stop. Many athletes in sports such as gymnastics and tennis force their families to uproot themselves and move to academies around the country who promise to create a fine tuned athlete. But this kind of pressure doesn`t just occur at the level where athletes look to go pro, just look in our own backyard. Going through rosters of D1 state championship teams, one would be hard pressed to find many athletes who don`t train for their sport in the off season, with three sport athletes becoming more and more scarce.

Coaches continue to push for the sports season to begin earlier and earlier, forcing the VPA to set a date where coaches are allowed to start practices with their athletes. Just this year, a controversy emerged when Synergy, a local club soccer team, attempted to participate in a tournament during the high school season, an action that was quickly condemned by the VPA, who threatened to hand down "severe sanctions", if the club proceeded. Some coaches bend the rules by "supervising" instead of "coaching" practices before the season starts, scheduling "optional" practices for the team.

Expectations have been risen as well, especially at a school like Essex with a rich history of sports triumphs. No longer is a good season enough to satisfy expectations: it`s state championship or bust for many EHS teams.

More pressure, more expectations, more time, more of everything is being asked of teenagers who are at critical points in their lives where they are realizing who they are and working out how they carry themselves forward into adulthood. Is this the message that really needs to be sent, first place or failure? When did something that was supposed to be an extracurricular activity become a job? The line has been crossed when it comes to sports, athletes are being pushed too hard for too long. It is time for sports to become fun again, an escape from the stresses of everyday troubles, not another job that athletes have to endure.

Behind the Scenes at EHSPN

You`ve seen the episodes, you`ve connected with the characters, and you`ve lived through the scenes with eyes wide open. But what really goes on when the cameras off, well that`s the real story.

This past week I wanted to get in touch with a member of the classic Essex High School news channel, but I didn`t know who to contact. Who can be better than the lead anchorman Jack Donahue. Said to be the offspring of Lesley Knope and Ron Burgundy, J-Donns is the top reporter of his time. Jack Donahue made the story, The Hornet`s Buzz is just here to tell it.

Take me through how an episode for EHSPN is made.

To create an episode for EHSPN, they go through three general steps. They start off with watching the most recent episode. Donahue said, "We just critic it and talk about all the stuff that kind of sucks about it." After that the EHSPN crew thinks about what they want to put into the next episode. On a huge board they plan out what is going to go where, who is going to interview who, etc. After all of that, they "very slowly" make the new episode. Jack Donahue added that it`s very hard with a class almost full of seniors to even get anything done.

Is EHSPN work split evenly, or does the role you have depend on how much you must

Work is split up, but not always evenly. While everyone edits, it is impossible to avoid having some people do extra interviews or skits. Being anchorman Donahue get`s a lot of screen time, but he can`t help giving credit to some people behind the scenes. "Everyone edits, but we got Adam Potast, Kayhl Cooper, and my boy Bej, those are the three main editors." Bej is the nickname for EHSPN member, Jack Whitney. This nickname is inspired by his resemblance to B.J. Novak, the actor who plays Ryan Howard in NBC`s The Office.

Do you feel confident leaving EHSPN behind when you go to college?

Donahue feels confident leaving EHSPN, especially with the four juniors who are a part of it now. Once again he mentions his boy Bej, as well as Listo (Liam Astore), Dee Barnes (Derek Barnes), and Slick Rick (Rick). Donahue feels with EHSPN`s success this year, more people will join Movie Production 2 next year.

What are the different jobs within EHSPN?

You got the anchors, holding down the ship, editors, and filmers. Everyone films. When you film something you usually are the one who edits it. Along with those three major groups everybody helps to set up lights as well as brainstorm ideas.

Who is a better anchor, you or your co-anchor, Courtney Gleason?

Donahue answered this question challenging Courtney stating, "Me! Evidence, watch EHSPN. If there was something in the year book like most likely to succeed, I would be named most likely to be an anchor." 

Jack Donahue ended the interview saying if he could anchor with any person it would be Tom Brokaw, Bill O`Reilly, or John Stewart. If after reading this article you suddenly want to be apart of EHSPN, just start taking Movie Production and you will. This is good to considered especially if you love making movies, being on screen, or just need an extra elective.

Behind the Scenes at EHSPN

ADVICE: What class president Moira Taylor wishes she knew as a freshman

1) DO go see teachers for help or extra review. I was always too scared to go see a teacher my freshman year and I could have succeeded much more than I did. Going to see a teacher for extra help can get you that one-on-one learning time that isn`t offered in class and can help your confidence and success in your entire class. It also helps build a 4-year relationship with your teacher - I stayed after class a lot with my freshman English teacher - although I had her all the way back in 2010 she was the teacher I went to for help with my college essay.



2) DO take opportunities that come your way even if you`re not sure about them. I joined student government my freshman year even though I had NO idea what student government did. Year by year I became more outspoken with my opinions around our school and got the opportunities to become a student representative on the Communications Task Team on the CCSU board, I`ve presented twice at the annual Vermont School Board Association meeting, and I`ve developed some great relationships with faculty at EHS and board members throughout the community. The potential every student has is amazing.

3) Freshman year counts- I didn`t try as hard my freshman year as the following three and starting off high school on somewhat of the wrong foot. That first spark can really leads into your next three year and help you with that motivation your sophomore and junior year- plus that awesome freshman year GPA will help you senior year when you`re struggling to stay motivated...

4) that being said.... HAVE FUN! I didn`t have nearly enough school spirit as I would`ve liked- go to sports games, participate in spirit week, go to dances, meet upper and lower classman and make the most out of being a high schooler- you`re only here for 4 years and everyone says "Oh, high school flies by..." and BELIEVE THEM... fastest 4 years of my life. And also believe everyone that says you will change within these four years. But remember to embrace change- don`t be afraid of it.

P.s- there is no pool on the third floor, I`ve looked, and your second year in high school is spelled `sophomore` not `sophmore.`

ADVICE: What class president Moira Taylor wishes she knew as a freshman