Take only memories, leave only footprints

Visiting my grandparents’ cabin in the woods every summer, I got used to hearing the phrase, “take only memories, leave only footprints”. I have found that this phrase is applicable to many aspects of my life.

 

When I leave the Chronicle room for what may be the last time on Tuesday afternoon, likely ending my illustrious three-year career as a journalist, what will I take with me to the next stage of my life?

 

I have a growing stack of Chronicles in my study, dating back from my first story three years ago about ACL injuries.

 

My acceptance letter to the Chronicle staff is still hanging on my bulletin board, alongside my prized silver key awards.

 

I have two t-shirts from Indiana University summer camps, one of which I’m wearing as I write this.

 

I have an unopened box of Twinkies with a picture of my face taped on that I received from Bryan as a secret santa gift from this year’s “Chronsmas”.

 

But all of these things probably won’t travel with me as I head to Ohio State this fall. So what will I really take away from my Chronicle experience? Nothing tangible.

 

I’ll take only memories and experiences, which I will cherish for the rest of my life. The Chronicle has taught me so many amazing things over the last three years, more than any other class I have ever taken or could take in the future. It is the only class I’ve been in where I can say that every one of my classmates is my friend. I hesitate to call the Chronicle a class, because it is truly nothing of the sort. It is much more like a home – a place that I look forward going to everyday and am sad to leave. A place where I have made some of the best friends I have ever had.

 

The Chronicle has equipped me with skills to be successful in life. I have gained interview experience, the ability to put my thoughts into writing, strong interpersonal skills, and a “get it done” mentality.

 

What will I leave behind?

 

I hope that the footprints this year’s senior class left behind lead upward. The incoming Chronicle staff is an outstanding group of individuals, and I am so excited for the future of the Chronicle. I am extremely thankful that I was able to be a part of something so incredible. When I applied to the Chronicle staff as a freshman, I was tentative at first. To anyone thinking about applying for the Chronicle, please do. It will be the best decision you will make in high school.
Thank you to all of the Chronicle members that I have ever worked with, past and present. Thank you to the editors who work tirelessly to publish on time. Most importantly, thank you Mr. Conner. Nobody makes him advise the Chronicle and oversee the creation of a monthly newspaper, and he certainly doesn’t do it for his own benefit. He does it for his students, to provide them an experience that they will value for the rest of their lives. Thank you Mr. C for everything you have done for your students and the Chronicle, and thank you to the Chronicle for everything you have done for me.

Snapchat and the Future

The year is 3000. You wake up from your nap, walk over to the window, and look outside. What do you see?

We love to think about the future, with all of its unpredictability and possibility, but when predictions begin to take shape in our actual lives, dread quickly ensues.

After watching season one of the Netflix drama Black Mirror and reading Juliana’s article about Snapchat addiction, it is scary just how close our society is to dystopia. In the first episode of the series, entitled Nosedive, society has become obsessed with social media “ratings”. On this futuristic social media platform, people upload photos and videos to their accounts, and their followers rate their photos on a scale from zero to five. Holograms project the users’ score directly in front of them, and with a click on a cellphone, scores can be seen in real time. These ratings govern people’s lives. They determine how much people pay, who gets priority in plane seating, and most importantly what other people think of them. People with low scores are shunned. False relationships are built on this number. In order to achieve a higher score, people try to only associate with other high scorers. They plaster fake smiles to their faces and fabricate kindness so that they are more liked and receive higher ratings.

After reading Juliana’s story, it seems this terrifying future is fast approaching. Snapchat streaks, with no actual value other than a number on a screen, are beginning to govern aspects of users’ lives. The fake relationships depicted in Black Mirror are eerily reminiscent of the fake relationships described in Juliana’s story. To keep their Snapchat streaks alive, “friends” send each other photos without purpose other than to preserve their number.

The episode ends when the main character, Lacie, crumbles under the relentless pressure she puts on herself to raise her score. She finally decides that she no longer cares about her score and what others think about her, and she is freed from its burden.

It is undeniable that our future will continue to be shaped by social media and its growth in society. Black Mirror and Juliana’s article are reminders  of the superficial nature of social media, of the pressure on youth to get people to like them, and that when predicting the future, it sucks to be right.

 

The more “Z’s”, the more “A’s”

One minute to go. The clock casts a green glow around the room, like one of those ghost hunter TV shows that only uses blurry night vision. Finally, the alarm sounds and puts me out of my misery. Four hours of sleep? I’ve done worse. It’s time for school.

Some say that sleep deprivation is just a part of high school, something that everyone goes through. It doesn’t have to be. Here is my modest proposal: flip the school schedules of the intermediate and high schoolers. This means that high schoolers would start school an hour later and intermediates would start an hour earlier. I’m sure for intermediate students this could be a change of nightmare magnitude, but once they reached high school, they could fully realize the benefits that it would bring.

According to kidshealth.org, intermediate-school-aged children, known as preteens, need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night, and they typically get it. Teens, however, only need about 9 hours of sleep per night to fully function, but many don’t get it. Is it their fault? Possibly. But this change is not intended for the students who stay up until 1 am each school night shooting aliens with laser blasters, and then start their homework. This change is for the students who would sleep if they could sleep.

Every MHS student can tell you about being pressured into taking AP and honors classes. But take more than 3 of these classes, throw in 3 hours of band or football, and you might get to bed at midnight if you’re lucky, provided that there’s no traffic. Students who champion grades over “Z’s” will tell you that they won’t sleep until all homework is complete. If the purpose of homework is to continue to learn at home, is that learning still effective at midnight, when the brain isn’t fully functioning because the student received 4 hours of sleep the night before, and the night before that? It’s not. Kidshealth.org says that among other things, sleep deprivation can lead to short-term memory loss, less focus, and inconsistent performance. At that point, the “learning” has become nothing more than checking boxes on a list.

Students involve themselves in activities after school and strenuous classes that cumulatively make piles of homework every night. They do this because they want to get into their dream college and be successful. Any student who is sane enough to take 4 or more AP classes in one semester may also rationalize staying up until 1 or 2 am to get an A in their classes. They will stay up HOWEVER LONG they need to to achieve their goals. This trait is what makes this special kind of student special, but the trait is also the bane of their existence. Starting school an hour later would help these students that have both after school activities and piles of homework to manage their load and perform better in school. The more “Z’s”, the more “A’s”.

Bearable

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article33250299.html

People with guns can kill people.

This is an unarguable fact, and one that is easily cast away. Cast away like the horrific stories that we have come to accept as a part our daily lives. As we near the third year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre and the second week anniversary of the slaughter of two news reporters, it is obvious that not enough has been done. But what exactly, CAN be done?

I did do my summer reading; all 207 pages of Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, and I’m proud to say that my horizon was expanded. According to Freakonomics, there isn’t much to debate over in the great gun debate. It said that there are more guns in the United States than adults and nearly two-thirds of U.S. homicides involve a gun. Remember that this book was published back in 2005. Guns basically last forever, so there is no point in attempting to halt their flow into the U.S. Making guns harder to get wouldn’t do much either. It’s as easy as seeing that guy down the street. In other words, the damage that we have already done to ourselves cannot be undone.

So if guns are not the problem, how is it possible to keep them out of the hands of people with the intent to kill? It’s not.

In my opinion, the only way to stop the random, heinous murders of innocent people is to take away the motives of the killers. In a majority of these killings that we have grown to accept, the killer wants to display their work. They want to be famous in the only way they can, by being outstandingly gruesome. During their lives they may have noticed that their good deeds have gone unnoticed, and their bad deeds have. Their killings are an act to make a mark in history, and we do exactly what they want. We notice them. We read their names and might say to our friend the next day, “Hey, did you hear what happened last night?” Yet after a few days, the deaths become a distant afterthought.

Videos, like the one posted by Bryce Williams, are lapped up by the public.

But to take away the killers’ only motive, should we stop publicizing these tragic shootings? The victims’ families seek a sort of retribution for the deaths of their loved ones. They want the deaths to mean something and their voices heard, but speaking out is subtly furthering the goal of the murder: for their own actions to be heard and acknowledged.

If we can bear that 20 elementary students were murdered in their school and do close to nothing about it, what else can we bear? When the time comes, what will we finally deem unbearable?

Never Would Have Known

Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, “It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” My almost full year on the Chronicle staff has changed this belief in me. The biggest, wildest, and most complex things of life are the real ones; the Chronicle is that and more.

After reading an article from the Chicago Tribune highlighting the tragedies of many high school newspapers’ demises, I was forced to look inward at what I have in Mason. Mason High School is a prime example as to what students can make together, given the resources and thought. What I have is truly one of a kind. In few other places around the globe does a band of astronomically different people have the opportunity to come together to make something amazing.

The benefits of student journalism cannot be made quantative because they are uniquely different for each, but I will try to spell mine out. These serve as personal evidence as to why this expanding slaughter of newspapers needs to be reversed. Each reason may be simple, but as a whole, they twist and tie together to form a complex knot.

Firstly, my journalism experience has helped me to expand myself in high school. If I had never joined the Chronicle, I would never have known about the school’s transition from Microsoft to Google, or the robot building competitions that my classmates compete in. Likewise, my published stories help to get what I think is interesting and important into the hands of my peers. Without my stories, many students would never have known of their classmates’ work and perseverance that becoming an Eagle Scout entails, or of an epic Nerf Battle, pinning friend against friend for charity. Some may say ignorance is bliss, but there is no better feeling than seeing your classmate’s picture in the Chronicle and being able to congratulate them on their success, while relishing the high school pride.

There is no other class that I know of that can teach real-world skills through real-world interactions. The scariest part of joining the Chronicle for me was the constant threat of talking to someone that I don’t know. By forcing myself to face this fear on a daily basis, the Chronicle has made me more prepared for life, and not just in a future of journalism. Through countless interviews and discussions, my confidence in sharing my ideas to others has soared to where I could never have imagined.

Finally, and most importantly, the Chronicle staff has become a family away from home for me, and not just because I have a family member with me. The relationships that I have made with people I would never have known or even looked twice at are now important parts of my everday life. The Chronicle is a sanctuary where I can go to share and write my thoughts, and although they are often ridiculed, it is for the purpose of making me better. News lasts for a couple days; maybe even a week. But friendships know no time limit.

I hope that this information has provided enough reason to breathe life back into the dying breed of high school newspapers. Journalism has durastically changed my life for the better, so I guess Hugh Hefner and I really have a lot in common.

“Newspapers in school, all the way back to grammar school on the Northwest Side, and then the Steinmetz Star, they were major influences in school for me,” Hefner said. “I think that … papers, in particular, inspire students in that direction. Certainly it was true in my case.”

Buying The One-Way Ticket

The first Martians will be human.

On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong’s famous line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” rang from television sets and radios around the world to millions of tense listeners. In 2024, mankind will make another giant leap, stretching the limits of human settlement. The goal of this mission, named Mars One, is to establish a permanent settlement on Mars, a desolate inhabitable wasteland.

But at what cost? A crew of four will depart every two years for Mars, never to return to their friends, families, or planet. Many additional inventions and innovations will have to be made for the astronauts to have a chance at returning home.

“The technology to get you back from Mars simply doesn’t exist. We need to do this with the stuff that we have today, and the only way we can do that is by going there to stay.”

NASA projected that the one-way ticket for the four will cost the astronomical amount of $100 billion USD. To pay for the excursion, the mission will be filmed and projected on TV’s around the world, similar to Apollo 11 nearly half a century prior, except in the form of a reality TV show.

Watch the show’s preview:

CEO of Mars One, Bas Lansdorp, started the company in 2011 on a dream. With the help of a team of experts, he determined the feasibility of the mission using technical, financial, social-psychological and ethical components. In my opinion, the technology may be there, but the social-physchological and ethical components aren’t.

According to Mars One, over 200,000 people from around the world applied for the four positions to be among the first on Mars, and they have narrowed it down to a mere 100. I can’t even begin to fathom what could compel a person to choose this. The psychological implications seem impossible to over come. Mine are as follows:

1. Being in the same enclosed space for the rest of your life

2. Never seeing friends or family again

3. Never seeing Earth again

4. Knowing the whole world is watching your actions on a TV

5. Being in close quarters with the same four people for the rest of your life

6. Never eating fresh food again

7. Possibility of death

Yet hundreds of thousands of people are willing to die on Mars. Watch the video below of people who are willing to leave their families and friends forever. People willing to never watch the sun set or rise again. People who are willing to never hear a bird call or wind whistle for the rest of their lives.

When I first heard that over 200,000 people want to go on this mission, I immediately imagined what they must look like. They would have to have insane eyes, tilted glasses, and wild hair. They couldn’t have any friends or family and would have to be painfully antisocial. I didn’t foresee that these people looked like me and my friends. It’s a choice that each person makes for themselves. To me, it’s a decision between life and death. To others, it’s a decision between leading a dream and just existing on Earth.

Writing in Hieroglyphs

An ancient form of writing, reborn.

The art of writing in hieroglyphs, or writing in symbols, first appeared in 4000 BCE on ancient Egyptian pottery. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 brought about an entire new understanding of the complicated Egyptian writing system. Some may have thought this system to be impractical or unnecessary, but it has made a rigorous comeback in recent years.

7

 

Can you read it?

 

Thanks to the invention of Emojis, this once dejected art form has been given a rebirth. It is now possible to engage in an entire conversation with minimal usage of letters. So the debate over whether the technology we surround ourselves with helps or hurts us rages on. Every time I switch from texting to writing a graded essay, I have to flip a switch in my head. The switch determines whether or not every “you” comes out as “u” or every “before” comes out as “b4”. I’ve found that the more I text, the harder it is to choose the correct one, or is it 1 or won?

But a recent study published in June of 2014 by the British Journal of Developmental Psychology shows the exact opposite of what seems to be happening to me. The study says, “Zero-order correlations showed patterns consistent with previous research on textism use and spelling, and there was no evidence of any negative associations between the development of the children’s performance on the grammar tasks and their use of grammatical violations when texting.” This means that the thickness of the wall that separates a person’s texting and formal grammar may be different for everyone, or maybe it’s just me.

In August of 2014, Oxford Dictionaries added acronyms such as SMH (shaking my head) and YOLO (you know what it means) to the dictionary.  Last December, the dictionary added “man crush” and “duck-face”. Our language is constantly changing and morphing due to the new technologies that we communicate with.

This raises a nagging question for our generation: should we try to halt this drastic change in our language, or should we let ourselves and our language adapt as our world changes?

Can’t You See the Real Me?

When Pete Townsend first sang “The Real Me” in 1973, I don’t think he was talking about our Instagram accounts. When I look at my account, I don’t really see myself. But it has my name, right? It has past pictures of friends and family. It has summer vacations and winter hockey games, for all to see. And that’s the difference. Everyone only puts the pictures that they want everyone to see on their social media. It’s never the lost game or the bad hair day; never the rainy day or the old clothes. So when looking at other people’s Instagram, it’s important to keep in mind that our lives aren’t as perfect as they look from our little 2 inch by 2 inch pictures. It seems by chance we happened to forget to post the missed game-winning shot, or accidentally misplaced our embarrassing family pictures.

Atlanta Super Regional

In most sports or competitive activities, you can tell when you mess up. In football, you fumble. In tennis, you double fault. In basketball, you miss the shot. In marching band, the fate of 320 people rests in the hands of a line of judges. There are few other activities with this much subjectiveness. There are some aspects that are quantitative, like playing in time and staying in forms, but otherwise it’s up to the judges if they like the show or not.

Last weekend the William Mason High School Marching Band traveled eight hours in seven charter buses and thee semi trucks to Atlanta, Georgia, for a weekend of competition. Every two years we make a trip of this proportion, so the stakes were high. Mason won their class, AAAA, but fell to Tarpon Springs in the finals by five points, an astronomical score in band. Nevertheless, this year is the band’s best chance at placing top five in two weeks at Grand Nationals in Indianapolis. We are one of the only bands who’s rank has improved year after year of competition. We’ve trained hours upon hours, but the season isn’t over. Our 15 minutes of finals performance in Lucas Oil is still to come, accompanied by many more hours of practice.

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Women’s Soccer Team Defeats Loveland, 4-0

Duncan MacKenzie | Staff Writer

A little rain couldn’t extinguish the Comets as they took the field against the Loveland Tigers on Saturday night, winning 4-0. Under an overcast sky, the girls soccer team played from end to end, keeping the Tigers from the goal and snagging a few of their own.

The first goal came with ten minutes left in the first half. Senior Jill Vetere cranked in a shot that hit the crossbar before landing in the net. Soon after, another opportunity showed itself for the Comets. A Comet shot hit the Tiger’s crossbar, but this time bounced outwards. Senior Chandler Sloan was in the perfect spot for a header, but the Tiger’s goalie reacted quickly and pulled the ball down.

The next Comet goal wouldn’t come until early in the second half. Another header opportunity showed itself for Sloan, and this time she executed. The Comets scored the third goal of the game 14 minutes into the second half. Vetere appeared behind the Tiger defense with the ball. She used the breakaway chance to add another goal to the Comets’ score.

A beautiful pass from freshman Annie Metzger created the final goal of the game. Senior Rachel Holloway received the pass and ended the game at 4-0, Comets.

Last year, the Comets’ season game against Loveland was 3-0. They played them again in the Regional Semifinals, resulting in another Comet win, 3-1. Coach Andy Schur, head coach of the team, said he thinks that the roughly equal good scores as compared to last year can be attributed to the players on the field.

“I think that our girls on this field just love to keep playing and keep playing and so we kind of find a way to put a couple in,” Schur said.

Schur said he also thinks that the game will act as a confidence boost.

“Loveland is going to be good this year and I think that winning a game like this, four to nothing, is going to give us some confidence,” said Schur.

According to Schur, the team has a lot to be excited about. Three different players scored their four goals. A spread of skill is a great quality in a team.

“We have a couple of players up front who are really going to be focused on by other teams,” Schur said. “If we can convince other teams that we have other dangerous players who can create goal scoring chances, I think it’s going to make us really hard to play against.”

Even though the team feels good about their position heading into the season, Schur said it’s important to keep in mind that the journey has just begun.

“There are still a lot of really good teams on our schedule,” Schur said. “We’re going to have to play every game like it’s a state championship because that’s how people are going to play us.”