If all goes well, we should be back on campus (in some capacity) in the fall. With that said, it must be acknowledged that activity periods, assemblies, and events held in the auditorium are not going to look the same. How would it be possible to put the entire high school and NCS community in an auditorium while all students enjoy their widespread social circles outside of school?
If the NCS schedule is not altered due to Covid-19, we have an hour and a half reserved every Thursday for activity period. As we all know, typically this involves a speaker or some special event in the auditorium. I suggest, instead, that we use this time for small groups and education.
The student body has a breadth of interests that are not confined to the classes offered at NCS. Similarly, the teachers have a wide range of expertise which they do not have the ability to show during class time. For example, does everyone know about Dr. Koss's skills in Spanish and philosophic intelligence? What about Mr. Lamas' background in journalism?
Through activity periods, we have the unique opportunity to dive into our instructors' academic interests. Instead of putting 200 students into the auditorium, why not, maybe once a month, offer mini-master classes from teachers? Mrs. Jones could host a play read for theatre students, and coding club members could work some problems.
I understand that students are involved in a multitude of activities, so this may force students to choose one "class" to go to. For that reason, maybe teachers could divide up weeks so that each teacher has the opportunity to take a break and perhaps just listen rather than leading the activity period group.
This is a really fresh suggestion that I have not fleshed out whatsoever, but I think that this could be a fun way to learn if we cannot bring in speakers or gather in the auditorium like normal.
Ahh! Another celebrity enters the political race! How fun.
A vote for Kanye West is a vote for Donald Trump, and I stand by that. A third party candidate will merely divide the Democratic, youthful prospective voters and prevent a Biden win. We cannot let that happen. This election is too important. The stakes are so, so high.
It is 2020, which means that it is time to tackle issues that are going to be pertinent as we head into the next century. Climate change, economic inequality, technology, poverty, et cetera. I do not want four more years in which mainstream news is flooded with our President's erratic tweets. I, like many others, want four years of purposeful progress, in which our leader tactfully makes decisions based on data and history, rather than decisions made capriciously and without regard for humanity.
Admittedly, Biden is flawed. He is not a perfect candidate, but everyone has skeletons in the closet right? At some point, we have to settle for the candidate who will do the best job. Biden is somebody who was recently in the White House. He is a somebody with a commitment to diversity in his cabinet, and somebody who is open to reinvention and new ideas.
Kanye West is NOT that candidate for eager, young voters. Why? He is an unstable, self-proclaimed genius who has no business leading the country. Do we really want him to have our nuclear launch codes? Somebody who claimed slavery was a "choice"?
Right now, amid a pandemic and impending internal doom, we need somebody to unify us. Biden, albeit that he has his fallacies, is a believer in bipartisanship and unity. Trump's presidency screams division, and Kanye, new to politics and missing all of the experience traditionally required, would continue that pattern.
Politics should not be a game of settling, and I think we can all agree that Biden is not perfect, but, nevertheless, I think he has the experience required and the adaptability to be successful. A win for Trump in November means four more years of nail-biting international relations, growing economic inequality, a dying planet, and much more. For all of the seniors who are voting this November, please be sensible, and instead of happily flaunting a 'MAGA' hat, think about the implications of Trump's actions. And, please, please, do not vote for Kanye.
Willis Hall Herald
I am increasingly impressed by the amazing activists surrounding me supporting the BLM movement. As we have learned by the story of Kionte Spencer and others, Roanoke, Virginia is not immune to police brutality. We are complicit in many ways, and I know that I have not done my best to support the BLM movement until the death of George Floyd. I would occasionally share a BLM post on my story, but, throughout my adolescence, I should have done more.
Kids are impressionable and eager to learn. No child is born racist, but, one’s upbringing may shape them negatively in that regard. I think that North Cross teachers should utilize their platform as a means of discussing issues that may not be discussed in the home. We have many opportunities for discussion, such as activity periods, assemblies, and advisory lunches. In the lower division, ‘Raider Roundups’ and assemblies can be utilized as a means of discussing racial injustice.
North Cross is predominantly a school for the white and privileged. If we acknowledge that, we can start making changes. For example, this year, we really did not recognize Black History Month. In the past, we have had discussions on stage, or Mr. Hash has enlightened the student body. Dr. Proctor has not publicly acknowledged (as far as I know) that North Cross is a white flight school. Like the justice system and our city, we are complicit; but, as we all know, it is possible to progress.
As I am sure others have felt, this has been a time of education. Ever since the tragic death of George Floyd, I have made it my goal to educate myself about the injustices in society. Because North Cross is an educational institution, the school has the unique opportunity and power to transform students into civically engaged citizens. This is an important duty for our school. As of now, I am not sure that we are accomplishing this, but then again, did we know that we were supposed to be accomplishing something in this regard?
Here is my list of solutions for our institution:
-Instead of summer reading books such as The Princess Bride, make the division-wide book one that tackles a societal issue (ex. The New Jim Crow or Fly Away Home)
-Utilize assemblies and free periods for educational purposes, less for free study halls or recreational events. Show a documentary or movie!
-Diversify. Diversify. Our school administration is primarily white and male. We do not have a teacher of color in the Upper School anymore. This must change!
Chloe Hunt '21
May 3 was World Press Freedom Day. Now more than ever, it is important to recognize the integral role of journalists in our world. Journalists provide a ‘voice for the voiceless,’ and shed light on important events going on in the world. Journalists uncover the truth, and support democracy in the world.
Good journalism is vital to a society. Amid a culture of sensationalism and TV-driven news, we still see journalists in the world working to provide people with facts. Amid the constant berading from President Trump, journalists still prevail.
President Trump’s relations with the press are nearly comical. On March 20, famed reporter Peter Alexander asked Trump what his message was to Americans who are fearful of the virus. Rather than responding diplomatically and easing their fears, Trump replied, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter -- that’s what I say.” Throughout this pandemic, there have been countless examples of Trump lashing out at reporters. Here is an article with various examples.
I can acknowledge that some media sources are biased, such as CNN, which is paralleled by Fox News. Their viewers want to hear certain messages. One way in which this is apparent is how both sides are currently covering the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. While CNN plays the clip of Joe Biden firmly denying the allegations, Fox News often plays videos of Biden stuttering, or relates this issue to how Democrats attacked Kavanaugh.
Journalists have the power to sway audiences, especially now. People are lost and confused, and extremely impressionable. It is a journalist’s duty to report facts, and not to mislead the public. The Willis Hall Herald operates on a tremendously smaller scale, but some of the principles that apply to leadings newspapers apply to us as well.
While North Cross undergoes tremendous changes in terms of the renovation, personnel, and more, it is important to strive to voice the truth, while supporting our truth with facts. Oftentimes, in a small school, facts can be detrimental, or even misleading. Which facts do we choose to report? We do not ever want to offend our institution, but how do we get people to read the paper? The balance is difficult, and often not reached correctly sometimes.
This article about the vitality of high school journalism deeply impressed me. Journalists are more likely to have higher GPAs and perform better on standardized tests. Students who took a journalism class in high school are more likely to have higher GPAs in college as well.
Journalism teaches everyday skills as well, some of which are mentioned in the article. These include communication, writing, photography, marketing, ethics, and many more. These skills are invaluable, and important to learn at a high school level. Likewise, journalism incorporates elements of the core classes. Any subject field is applicable to journalism.
Scholastic journalism unequivocally matters in the 21st century. Please support journalism at North Cross; despite our small scope compared to big newspapers, we keep freedom and democracy alive on our campus, and that is important enough.
Classic rock is not dead, it takes a '60s band to make sense of time during Coronavirus - by Chloe Hunt
I will always remember the first song I loved as a kid. It was Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones; now, this song is nostalgic for me. It reminds me of a blissful childhood, and every single time I hear the opening lead guitar, I cannot help but smile. I forced both of my parents to play this song on repeat in the car, at home and everywhere.
I often think about how the greatest of music is behind us. We still appreciate these legends and their contribution to society, but they are done producing music. Everybody knows that Ringo Starr’s solo career in the 2000s pales in comparison to his contributions to the Beatles, and it seems to be a universal truth that rock is dead. New rock does not have the same vibrancy and heartiness that the classics do.
That is what I thought wholeheartedly, until I heard the Rolling Stones’ new single, Living in a Ghost Town. This is their first original music since 2012, and I could not be more happy. Apparently the Stones began working on this single last year, but in light of Covid-19, they decided to polish it, and give it a new twist. In my opinion, this is their best new single. This song does not remind me of any past Stones album, but I love it. This single is bluesy, and it swings so beautifully, while retaining elements of a Rolling Stones song that we all love. The harmonica solos are especially unique, and one cannot help but listen to the song over and over again.
The lyrics are simplistic, but timely. Some lines really resonate with me, such as:
I’m going nowhere, shut up all alone / So much time to lose just staring at my phone
This is symbolic of how I feel during the day. Once I feel mentally exhausted after a day of online school, it is extremely difficult to muster up the strength to be productive. Instead, I pass a lot of time mindlessly scrolling through my phone.
preachers were a-preaching, charities beseeching, politicians dealing
This is what it feels like as well, and the Stones seem to encapsulate my anxiety. Every press briefing with the Trump administration hurts a little bit. When Trump continuously touts hydroxychloroquine amid overwhelming scientific evidence that says otherwise, it is difficult to be hopeful. It truly feels like we are living in a ghost town. I drove past Rivers Edge park the other day, and it was astonishingly empty. Then, I went to the grocery store to get some necessities for my mom. Aisles were empty, and the new system of living feels so apocalyptic.
What happened to civilization as we know it?
Here is one final lyric that sums up how we are feeling:
Life was so beautiful
Then we all got locked down
The Stones make the message clear, and it is simple. Before this lock down, we all took so much for granted. Life is beautiful and it goes by so quickly. It is important to appreciate what we have and embrace every moment, because now, we are living in a ghost town.
Furthermore, what parts of the dress code apply during special events like Spirit Week and jeans days? Why are students permitted to wear jeans but girls are still prohibited from wearing crop tops or “too short” skirts?
Dakota Whitlock ‘20 can only remember one or two time boys had to stay after morning assembly to discuss the dress code in his four years in the upper school. “It was really basic: just things like hair length, no piercing, proper collared shirts and tucked in shirts.”
On the other hand, female students have had one this year already–an elaborate affair where all the female teachers stayed behind to address skirt length in particular. Embarrasingly, Dr. Elizabeth Martin had come that day to talk about a service opportunity, was present for the whole meeting.
The biggest problems girls have with the dress code, already mentioned above, were only magnified by what can be seen as missteps. The reasoning behind the most recent crackdown–protecting the girls, maintaining a level of propriety, and parent complaints–raised eyebrows through the rows.
Aside from the aforementioned dress code issues, one area where students have a lot to say is the topic of formal dress.
Recently, we saw the introduction of blazers for the girls. Yes, this makes the dress code more equal. Yes, now all of the students look uniform. But, if that is our guiding principle of uniformity, where are the pants?
Currently, the formal dress code prohibits female students from wearing pants. Special issue Lands End skirts are required, and for cold days leggings or tights are recommended. But in Roanoke where temperatures easily drop below freezing in the wintertime, is that enough? Girls say no–even the thickest tights do not guard against the cold as well as khakis.
Aside from these practical concerns, restricting female students to skirts raises another question: is it even fair?
Boys can wear pants on formal dress days, and they look professional. Why is that not the same for girls?
Schools like St Anne’s-Belfield School allow female students to wear slacks on their equivalent of formal dress days, and many other private schools are doing the same thing to modernize their uniforms.
Will North Cross ever follow in these schools’ footsteps? That remains a question that can only be answered by senior staff and the head of school.