CHS Social Clubs
By Fatimah Alyaqoub
The bodies of water which comprise 70% of the Earth’s surface play a central role in regulating the climate. It’s become routine to expect a record-breaking hurricane annually. Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, and Irma, have all destroyed the lives of many Americans, and climate change has only increased the frequency of these deadly storms. Drastic changes to our environment cannot be solved by a single citizen, however, if the entire population begins to work towards decreasing the threats that the oceans and environment face, then progress, though slowly, will surely be made.
At CHS, Ocean Club is attempting to increase awareness of the dangers facing the ocean, and is taking action to alleviate those dangers.
Lauren Crimmins and Katie Lynch are two members of Ocean Club.
“Everything in the ocean has been living for millions of years and with the human race using natural resources and abusing the environment, the ocean has taken a hard hit,” explained Lynch, “Within the past year, overfishing, plastic pollution, and commercial whaling have become more prominent,” continued Crimmins.
Lynch went on the explain the harm that air pollution, shark finning, and the production of plastic have caused, among them “a patch of garbage the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific”.
Though hurricanes may be the most obvious effect of climate change to the human species, “organisms that the Earth has never been without” are being killed by human pollution, stressed Lynch.
Not only is the ocean and its organisms under threat, but the general environment also is. “Ecosystems within the ocean largely pertain to many aspects of the environment,” Lynch explained. Thus, harm done to the ocean will also affect other aspects of the environment.
With all these dangers in mind, Ocean Club members, including Crimmins and Lynch, have taken the initiative to educate the student body and doing everything they can to lessen those dangers.
“We are working on promoting the ocean in our school and encouraging people to understand the global problems and effects that humans have on the ocean,” said Lynch, “not accepting global warming is due to ignorance and a misunderstanding of what it is”, and thus educating is one of the club’s main goals.
Though the club has just started this school year, members have already taken action. Along with creating posters to educate their peers, members have also organized a fundraiser both to alleviate pollution and to raise money. “Plastic does not break down,” explained Crimmins, but a company by the name of 4Ocean sells bracelets which are made by plastic found in the ocean, and Ocean Club sells those bracelets to CHS students as a way to fundraise and decrease the amount of plastic in the ocean.
Increased recycling in school is another goal of theirs, “if we can start using reusable water bottles, stop using plastic utensils, and recycle more, it can make a huge impact”, noted Crimmins.
Though the issue of climate change is largely caused by large corporations, efforts taken by average people, all added up, will eventually bring change. The smallest thing such as using metal straws instead of plastic ones can progressively bring a positive adjustment to the climate.
“If everyone made an effort to use less plastic,” Lynch remarked, “the oceans and all marine life would flourish the way that it used to. Let's take action!”
Junior Statesmen of America
“You talk about someone who’s a loser,”
There seems to be a lack of civility in America’s current political atmosphere. Most Americans would not be surprised to learn that the above quote was spoken by their president. The lack of civil discourse seems to be a norm in modern politics. If the president can speak in a demeaning manner to those who are respected by the general public, it creates an atmosphere where it is acceptable for everyday citizens to disrespect anyone that they may disagree with.
Despite the unfavorable current political environment, CHS students with political interests willingly enter the Distance Learning Lab every Tuesday to discuss profound topics. Controversial subject matters such as the #MeToo movement are difficult to discuss even among adults with years of experience regarding social issues, yet there are a number of high school students that are poised enough to civically converse about such issues. Those students are the Junior Statesmen of America.
“Our club's goal is to enhance our school's ability to partake in civil discourse and real-life debates,” said Maddie Gooley, the director of expansion on the cabinet of JSA, “in doing so, we strive to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing Canton High School students for possible leadership in political and social climates.”
Massachusetts election maps typically depict an abundance of blue, yet Canton isn’t exactly the most “progressive” of towns. So, not surprisingly, CHS students form a population which consists of many varying points of view.
“The conversations we have can get heated, and some debates get a rise out of people,” explained Gooley, yet there always seems to be a “common ground” which the majority can agree on.
“If there is a difference of opinion, we try to argue our way with facts and rhetoric,” continued Gooley, and in doing so, JSA members learn to defend their arguments with logic instead of abandoning the debate and calling the opposing arguer “a loser”.
JSA meetings aren’t the only places which stress civility. Many CHS teachers require civil discourse during class discussions. Whether it’s Mr. Connor’s civil discourse sentence-starters or Profe McDonald’s rubric for class conversations, students are expected to address opposing points of view in a respectful manner on a daily basis.
Social media platforms such as Twitter allow teens to be able to interact with the opposing side in manners which are severely disdainful, however, students involved with JSA learn that the only way to benefit an argument is to to accommodate it with facts, thus refraining from personal attacks towards their opposer as it is in no way beneficial to their goal.
As civil discourse continues to be an emphasized component of the youth’s political conversations and as socially involved teenagers continue to treat the opposing perspective with respect and use nothing but logic to argue against the adversary, civilly might just reappear in the upcoming generation of politics.
Friends on Friday
By Guest Writer Lydia Prendergast
You may have briefly heard of it, whether it be over announcements, at an NHS meeting, or during club showcase night: Friends on Friday. Friends on Friday is infiltrating CHS with a positive purpose. This club, a more recent addition to CHS, has introduced a new idea as well as had an incredible impact on both Canton High students and friends at the Pappas Rehabilitation Center, which is located right here in Canton.
Student-run by junior Sydney Weng, with Janet Labelle as the adult supervisor, the club became approved for action around May of last year. However, it really got up and running at the beginning of this school year. Sydney Weng explained that Friends on Friday is a program at the Pappas Rehabilitation Center where students are “given the opportunity to connect with children and young adults who have physical and developmental disabilities.”
Friends on Friday was created with the goal of creating a program that is enjoyable for Pappas students who feel most comfortable in smaller, friendlier social environments. “The club acts as a communication system between Pappas and the high school, where students are able to positively contribute to the program in some aspect,” Sydney states.
The success of the club so far this year has been incredible. Over 40 people have signed up to attend, when they can that is, weekly Friday meetups. Sydney has done an incredible job at bridging the gap between Pappas students and CHS ones, as friends begin to connect between the two locations and interest is continuously sparked surrounding the club. “There has been more laughter and positivity” from each side, and the “genuine expressions of joy from both parties continues to contribute to the friendly environment that is Friends on Friday.”
Sydney Weng shows that Friends on Friday is an incredible club to join. I myself have been to various Fridays and can wholeheartedly agree. So, if you haven’t already, check out this inspiring CHS club and join in on the fun!
The word ‘journalist’ covers a broad spectrum. At this moment, there is a journalist somewhere in the ravaged lands of the Middle East, trying to keep her eyes on the camera, but she finds it hard to give her full attention while the sounds of bullets consume the background. Yet she has no other option but to persist because she knows her job is important; to inform the people on what is happening in the world. Another journalist is somewhere in Germany, covering Angela Merkel's migration policy, because he believes that the obligation for people to endure gives them the right to know. In America, there is a man working for the Lansing State Journal, covering Bath High School’s volleyball team because he believes that the significant accomplishments of teenagers should not be overlooked.
All these journalists have very differing goals, yet they are all united in their occupation of journalism.
At Canton High School, students with interests in journalism form Spectrum, or as many know it, the CHS Newspaper. Max Macort, writer and editor of Spectrum explains the goal of the CHS Newspaper, “A lot of attention is given to large multimedia news organizations - the CNNs and Foxs of the world - yet there is still something to be said for small, local newspapers. A paper like the Canton Citizen does so much for the community, and I’ve always thought that Spectrum should be more in that mold.”
“In a lot of ways local papers are just as important as national papers; they build community and bring awareness to less recognizable issues,” Max explains, “Who wouldn’t want to read an article in which their neighbor, uncle, friend, or themselves is featured?”
Max believes that Spectrum allows students to both write and learn about community happenings, all while gaining valuable writing skills. “A lot of kids - and adults - don’t understand how to write objectively and to the point,” he explained, “by having a school paper, it gives kids the opportunity to work on these skills, which I believe will serve them well no matter what career they wish to pursue.”
Another valuable skill which students gain through the school newspaper is the ability to communicate. “Whether it be between writers and interviewees, writers and editors, or amongst layout editors,” everything done in Spectrum is dependent on the interpersonal interactions.
I asked Max if he thinks that it’s more important to teach journalism today, in our social media driven society, “News has moved away from the objective, just the facts style of writing, and has gravitated toward the huge TV and social media personalities that dominate news,” he replied, “in this way consuming media has become more difficult in that one has to decide whose perspective they best align with.” Nevertheless, he believes that news coverage will ultimately return to its objective roots.
With the influence of clubs like Spectrum, successful news writing will undoubtedly persist for generations to come.
2018 will be remembered in history as a year of many exceptional manifestations in America, both good and bad. One of the many movements which sprung up this year was the #METOO movement. This movement began when sexual assault allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein took place, leading hundreds of other women to speak up about their own allegations. Although the movement focused on giving sexual assault victims a voice, that was not it’s sole ambition. The #METOO movement represents the fight for the end to all of the inequalities, biases, and prejudices against women that have accumulated over centuries.
Long before the #METOO movement became mainstream, young women at CHS found a way to delve into issues regarding feminism. In 2016, seniors Meryl Prendergast, Roni Polsgrove, and Olivia Stevens decided to establish “feminist club” at their high school with hopes of educating students about feminism. Meryl Prendergast’s younger sister, Lydia, became a leader of the club after her sister graduated.
Lydia explains how the club hopes to teach students “what the word feminism actually means”. She hopes to make people aware that feminists don’t “hate men”, that feminism is merely “the radical notion that women and men are equal”. Lydia believes that it is crucial to teach high school students about feminism so that ideas of equality can stick with this generation and hopefully make the world a better place.
Feminist club meets every other Thursday in room 411. The meetings consist of conversations about current events regarding feminism. Although the club is a small part of such a large movement, they hope they can spark change at a local level.
Last year, Lydia and the club members sold bracelets and pins to raise money for a women’s shelter in Boston called Rosie’s place, they hope to do the same this year. However, their primary goal is to educate people at CHS, “Most ignorance comes from lack of knowledge,” Lydia explained, “we just want to educate”.
I asked Lydia if she believed that it’s more important to educate people about feminism now, in 2018, in the alarming political climate these days. She replied, “Of course, it is extra important to have a feminist club now, as our country is so politically divided and our own president treats women as if they are objects unworthy of rights.”
Even after the #METOO movement which led men in all walks of life to be more mindful of their actions against women, there is still more work to be done. Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman by the name of Christine Ford, was confirmed to a life-time job on the highest court in the United States. Of all the successes of the Feminist Movement in 2018, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh was a major disappointment to all feminists in America. Lydia affirms, “Rapists run free, and white men are placed so highly above everyone else.”
Lydia along with the other leaders and members of feminist club at CHS hope that their club can educate this new generation so when it becomes their time to lead the country, they can prevent misogyny and prejudice against women in all walks of life. In order for that to happen, Lydia hoped that more men will join the club because the fight for equality cannot be won without male allies, “Coming to the club is actually an eye-opening event for many of them.” Lydia explains, “We want boys to know that this club is not restricted to just girls, and we actually want more to join and learn about feminism!”