How free is speech in schools?

Just last month, a group of student journalists from Virginia and their advisers visited the Virginia Capitol Building to fight for their right to say whatever they want in their respective newspapers.

With the help of V.A. delegate Chris Hurst, they brought attention to HB2382.

“We were trying to ensure that student journalists have the freedom to determine the content that they are publishing,” English teacher and student newspaper adviser at TJHSST Erinn Harris said.

In Virginia, censorship from school principals and administration has sometimes been a problem.

This issue has been brought up in the courts multiple times, but in the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988), the Supreme Court decided that school principals can reserve the right to censor their students’ newspaper.

Since then, multiple schools in the state, both public schools and universities, have censored stories from students.

Many have even adopted a policy making principals the editors of newspapers.

In March 2015, the principal of Fauquier High School prohibited the publication of a story on dabbing, another way to smoke marijuana.

While this may seem like a non issue, it is frustrating to see school administration try to stifle students’ opinions.

In fact, it can be considered unconstitutional. The fact that it’s a school setting should not hinder people’s rights.

“These types of issues are why we went down there,” Harris said. “We wanted to ensure that all student journalists in Virginia have their first amendment rights and it is not just based on what county or school district your parents sent you to school.”

The bill did not make its way out of committee, and did not advance any further.

At AHS, this issue has never been a problem.

“For us, I do not think this has never been a problem. We do not really get censored, and the administration does not really care about what we say,” senior and newspaper editor Yabi Bereket said.

Still, sometimes teachers do get offended by what is put in the newspaper.

“I have seen teachers come up to students that have written a story about something related to them because they are mad, and sometimes even try to get stories removed,” Bereket said.

But none of this has ever really come to fruition.

Still, this begs the question: what other rights do students have and are they protected at AHS?

The outline of a student’s rights in a public school setting all began in Des Moines, IA in 1965.

Five students, whose parents had a background in civil rights activism, decided to wear black bands on their arms to make a statement about the injustices of the Vietnam War.

Once the school administrators heard about the mini-protest, they decided to make a regulation stating that any middle and high students seen with the arm band would be suspended.

Three of those students — John Tinker, his sister Mary Beth, and their friend Christopher Eckhardt — were suspended upon their arrival on campus.

Despite this small roadblock, these teens were able to make a change when it came to the application of the First Amendment in schools.

Four years later, the Supreme Court determined that students have the rights to freely express themselves in public schools, as long as it does not cause any disruptions.

But as students become more aware of social issues and become more open about sharing their beliefs, it is time to ask: is this right upheld justly at our school?

Before one even begins to answer the question, it is important to know one thing: in what manners does the court mean when it says that students can freely “express themselves?”

According to the ACLU, students should not be prohibited in what they wear, what they say, what they write, and how they choose to behave, as long as they are not disruptive.

Looking at that list, one factor stands out: the fact that we can express themselves through clothing.

The FCPS Student Rights and Responsibility has a long list of clothing and accessories that cannot be worn during the school day, such as hats, tank tops, skirts of certain lengths, spiked belts, and clothing with drug paraphernalia and gang promotion.

While some of these restrictions may seem unfair, the courts have recognized that school administrators need to maintain an environment that is safe for all students.

Administrators are charged with minimizing disruption in the school day as much as possible.

That’s why they try to limit sexually provocative and criminally related clothing.

When that is considered, it makes perfect sense that clothing that features a marijuana leaf or a gang sign would be
prohibited, but it may not be as easy to understand when it comes to clothing.

When it comes to what we say and write at school, there are not many restrictions.

“I feel like generally, most teachers allow us to express ourselves through words in any way we want to,” junior Abby Kitila said.

However, many students have gotten in trouble for using curse words.

The forbiddance of curse words in arguments or bullying is just, as a fight would distract other students in the room.

But nowadays, people – teens and adults – use terms that would be deemed ‘inappropriate’ by some in regular conversation.

It is just the way people talk nowadays, and it is not meant to harm anyone.

Still, many people get called out by teachers, and sometimes even receive referrals, for tossing around these words.

While minor, this can also be viewed by some as a violation of student’s rights.

The last right given to students is the ability to express ourselves through our actions.

For the most part, AHS is a model to look up to when it comes to this.

To examine this point, one just needs to recall the on-campus march against President Donald Trump’s election in Nov. of 2016.

Or more recently, the March for Our Lives Protest that was held on campus in March of last year,

Hundreds of students walked out in the middle of class, posters in hand, to walk around the stadium in support of gun reform.

None of the teachers restricted the students from leaving. Some even encouraged involvement.

The administration did not punish any students who participated, but went outside with students to make sure it was safe.

For this, the administration should be commended.

This type of behavior is exactly what the ruling of Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) encouraged: student expression without school restriction.

All in all, while there are a few unfair limitations placed on our expression at AHS, it is safe to say that our rights are respected most of the time, and at a further extent than at other schools.




Take caution with your words

One quick scroll through my timeline on Twitter and I see at least three people cursing each other out and spreading verbal harassment in a back and forth manner.

People even go as far as to spread libelous things about one another. Hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, have liked and retweeted.

In doing so, they are spreading this hatred to their followers, and their followers followers, and so on.

This type of behavior isn’t unique to just my Twitter timeline. It’s seen by everyone constantly on all social media – Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat.

It isn’t exclusive to teens who are bullying either. These sorts of exchanges are common in all age groups and
professions.

Celebrities, and even politicians, can be seen having an argument that’s nearly crossing the line between healthy and toxic.

Slurs, bigotry, sensitive topics – nothing is off limits in these harmful conversations.

Most of these apps and websites have rules and regulations regarding hate speech and other things that can be
deemed abusive.

In the past they haven’t been very useful, but lately, they’re beginning to take a stand.

Last December, Tumblr put a ban on all adult content. Any photos, text posts, and accounts that had any sort of sexual content were removed immediately.

Over the past few months, Twitter has begun to suspend all accounts that use any sort of derogatory term. Still, hatred filled accounts that don’t use slurs have been allowed to remain.

Lately, Instagram has started an initiative to monitor users who visit pages or click on hashtags with highly sensitive content.

Why is this? Because not everything needs to be seen and heard by everyone.

The things that people put on social media and the media created in Hollywood, such as movies, films, and music, are readily available.

This means that anyone can see it, including young children and impressionable people.

It’s fairly easy for a five year old to go on Spotify or YouTube and listen to any number of songs with inappropriate words. Or they can even find pornography if they search for long enough.

This isn’t right or okay. Older students can deal with this information, but it shouldn’t be this easy for younger ones to come across it, too.

Viewing that sort of thing can desensitize children, and make them think things like drugs and violence are normal and acceptable. We should be working to protect children and preserve their ignorance to that sort of thing for as long as possible.

Additionally, it is not only kids that don’t want to hear and see inappropriate things. There’s lots of older people who have valid reasons as well.

Personally, I don’t care, but if someone has religious, moral, or cultural reasons for not wanting to hear about tasteless thing, then that right should be protected and respected.

Another problem with the notion of free speech is that people use it to excuse awful language.

Time and time again, people who have been accused of using racially or sexually insensitive language have attempted to use the first amendment to defend themselves.

Even school bullies try to use it as justification.

This is morally wrong. The writers of the Constitution did not give the American people these freedoms so that they can use them to spread hate about others.

These protections exist for people who have meaningful things to say, not for harmful vindication.

Time and time again, we’ve made multiple exceptions to people’s first amendment rights.

Spreading hateful messages should be made an exception to because why should we force people to have to deal with repugnant language?

Censorship may not be the best thing in the world, but it’s a fair solution in a world where people are beginning to care less and less about how what they say and write affects other people.




Limiting speech stifles students

You turn on the radio. Your favorite song by J. Cole is playing, but the audio cuts out at all the curse words.

You go to school and read a book with adult themes for your English class. Everyone dances around the odd situation, and the use of certain terms are prohibited by your teacher, even though they’re used in the book.

You come home from school and wait for a new episode of your favorite television show, New Girl, but remember that it only comes on after 9 P.M.

Why? Because the little kids are asleep and won’t end up watching it accidentally.

These are all examples of censorship, which is sadly seen everywhere nowadays. We have started letting other people determine what we should be able to hear and see.

How did we end up in a society filled with such disdain for the truth? Censorship is an inescapable part of all our
lives.

Since the beginning of civilization, people have been plagued by a never-ending battle, fought over what is deemed right and what is deemed wrong.

However, there is no reason in continually attempting to skew the truth by hiding the cold, hard facts with the intention of “shielding” or “protecting” the public.

It makes me wonder: what is the value in meddling with everyone’s rights and allowing them to believe that they live in a perfect world? A fantasy? There is none.

In today’s society, censorship is used in more ways than one could imagine.

The movies and television shows that we watch, and even the musical tunes that we listen to, appear to be filtered in one way or another. Most recently, censorship in music is possibly the most relevant form of censorship.

Popular songs, such as XXXTentacion’s “Sad!” and Drake’s “Nice For What,” whose lyrics are filled with curse words and messages regarding suicide, are becoming targets in yet another round of music censorship.

It is disturbing to watch as censorship slowly takes away the rights that we have been granted for hundreds of years.

When the United States was first established, the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution for a reason: to guarantee us freedoms and rights, such as free speech and free press.

With censorship, these freedoms are stifled and breached.

We need to express our ideas or beliefs however we feel appropriate. Why should outside sources influence our thoughts and actions?

We should be allowed to say whatever we want and let whoever we want to
hear it, hear it.

Our country was built around the idea of everyone having a free, unchanged, uncensored voice. Therefore, censorship is impeding our progress as a society.

In addition, many argue that censoring music from messages of sex, drugs, and violence protects the innocent and youthful ears of children and teenagers.

Parents worry that their children would be exposed to derogatory language and images, such as porn and violence, that they think would ultimately be harmful towards their behavior.

However, do people really think that hearing swears words in a movie, television show or song would indeed harm children and teenagers?

Kids these days will ultimately find ways to watch pornographic content on the internet or even explicit versions of music.

The online world today is too vast and extensive to hinder children from being exposed to such content.

They always find a way to learn about the real world, which is inevitable.

Living in a prim, neat and polished lifestyle filled with rainbows and unicorns do not reflect the real world.

Our own president can be seen throwing around inappropriate terms. Sex scenes are unavoidable on television and movies.

The real world can be ugly and gruesome, but people have to learn to live with it and move on.

Kids and teenagers need to be exposed to these messages now to be better prepared for the time where they fully enter the real world.

It’s understandable that many people do not like the thought of children using profanity or of children
watching inappropriate videos.

However, the reality is that the world is not perfect.

The sooner that children realize the reality that perfection is not available to us in this world, the sooner we can begin living lives because of the imperfections.

I say this for all of my fellow teenagers: we can protect ourselves just fine, thank you.




Summer jobs teach students new skills

Need some money for college or new clothes. Why not get a job this summer?
Last summer, senior Hemen Besufekad worked at Papa John’s in Alexandria.
“I worked on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays,” Besufekad said. “On average, I worked for about five hours, and I was only paid $7 an hour.”
Despite the little pay she got, Besufekad was okay with her job.
“I didn’t work too much, and I wasn’t trying to make the money for anything serious, so I didn’t mind,” Besufekad said.
The application process for her job was quick and easy.
“I saw a sign that they were hiring, and I didn’t have a lot to do over the summer. I just went in one day and picked up an application.”
The application was like any other basic one. It asked for general information, references, and availability.
“If you’ve never had a job before, you shouldn’t freak out about references. They know this is your first job and don’t expect much. I just put down the extracurriculars that I participate in at school to show my work ethic,” Besufekad said.
After she submitted her application, Besufekad received a call from the manager asking to come in for an interview.
“The interview was as simple as the application. They asked basic questions: why do you want to work here? Why should we hire you?” Besufekad said.
After the interview, the turn around from prospective to employee was quick. The manager called within a few days and offered Besufekad the job.
While working, Besufekad dabbled in a bit of everything.
“None of the employees really have any specific titles, except for the managers. During my time there, I made pizzas, cleaned up the store, and worked the register,” Besufekad said.
When speaking of her summer there, Besufekad seemed indifferent.
“It was okay being there. Not perfect, but not terrible. It wasn’t a super fun job. I would have liked a higher wage, but the work wasn’t too hard and the people were decent,” she said.
One thing that made the job more enjoyable for Besufekad was the friends she made while she was there.
“My coworkers were very nice, and most of them were other high schoolers or in the same age range,” Besufekad said. “They were easy to talk to, so we all used to pass the time by talking about our lives and plans.”
Although she didn’t make much money, Besufekad did put her wages to good use.
“There isn’t anything that I really need, so I gave all my money to my mom to pay for bills,” Besufekad said.
Additionally, Besufekad was grateful for new work experience.
“Now I know small skills to use in future jobs,” Besufekad said.
For other prospective employees, Besufekad has one piece of advice.
“Don’t waste all of your money on dumb stuff like food or movies. Use it to help your family or save for a car. Use it for important things.”




Journeys provide new experiences

If you need a break from Annandale, maybe a vacation should be on your list of plans for the upcoming summer.
Family, fishing, and fun. These were the elements of senior Phillip Barlow’s trip to Clearwater, Florida this past summer.
“I went there with my older brother, and we stayed with my uncle for nine days,” Barlow said.
Barlow and his brother took a plane, and were met by their uncle at the
airport.
“My uncle is also our godfather, and it is always a lot of fun to spend time with him,” Barlow said.
While the main point of the trip was to spend time with his uncle, Barlow ended up doing much more.
“We went deep sea fishing and watched old James Bond movies,” Barlow said. “We also helped my uncle work on a car, his old 1973 Malibu.”
Planning a trip can be very stressful, especially if the traveler is unorganized or a procrastinator.
For Barlow, it was a quick and easy process, as he often takes trips to his uncle’s house.
“Not much planning or thought went into it. All that we had to do was buy plane tickets for us to be able to go there,” Barlow said.
Although his trip was easy to plan out, Barlow had some advice for others who might not be so lucky.
“Before you buy a ticket or plan a road trip, you should figure out where you are going to stay,” Barlow said.
Next, Barlow suggested that one should plan out activities to do on the trip.
“Your trip is not going to be fun if you don’t plan it ahead of time,” Barlow said.
Barlow, who has family members all over the country, takes many trips
during the year.
“I also visit other family in other
places, such as Illinois, Michigan, and
southern Virginia. I like to be anywhere outdoors,” Barlow said.
Despite how short his vacation in Florida was, Barlow had nothing but nice things to say about it.
“I really enjoyed my trip, and I would go back there again.”
A vacation can be the perfect way to unwind and relax from a stressful school year. You don’t have to go out of the country; all you need to do is find somewhere new to have new experiences.




Students enriched through internships

If there’s a certain subject that you’re interested in, and you need to add things to your college application, then an internship or volunteering opportunity might be the thing for you.
Junior Emily Shawish has been volunteering at the National Aquarium in Baltimore since June.
“I had been looking for internships and camps to do to make me more well-rounded, and I’ve been a member of the aquarium for a couple years. When I saw the internship, I immediately wanted to apply,” Shawish said.
The application process for the job was tedious. First, Shawish had to mail in an essay explaining why she wanted to volunteer at the aquarium.
“I have always been interested in marine biology, so the essay wasn’t too hard,” Shawish said.
Next, Shawish had to come in for an interview.
Questions ranged from basic information to in-depth ones having to do with marine science, climate change, and animals in general.
The last step of the application process was to give a presentation on a topic.
“The point of the presentation was so that the administrators could see how well I could communicate with an audience,” Shawish said.
While the internship was for an aquarium, applicants could give a presentation on anything. Shawish, who is a member of the school’s orchestra, decided to do hers on music.
“I brought in my violin, played two short pieces, and talked to them about the impact that music has on our day to day lives.”
Shawish was accepted in the early winter, but she still had a lot of work to do.
She had to go to trainings during winter and spring.
“I didn’t start the actual volunteering until June of last year, but the trainings took place months before then,” Shawish said.
The trainings served as a time for Shawish and other volunteers to understand their responsibilities.
It was also a chance for the administrators to see what the volunteers were capable of.
Shawish worked as a volunteer exhibit guide. Her role was to be on the floor, and be there to talk to visitor and answer any questions that they may have.
“The exhibits guides are there to help enrich the guests’ experience and to make sure that they leave with a better understanding of marine science,” Shawish said.
This includes having conversations with visitors in order to engage them and getting them to understand the problems that the environment is going through.
“We’re supposed to make them think,” Shawish said.
When she first started in the summer, Shawish volunteered for two days a week. Her shifts were about four hours long.
“By the end of the summer, I had already worked for 116 hours,” Shawish said.
Now that the school year has started, Shawish’s hours have been cut back. She now works every other Sunday for four hours.
“The shorter hours are beneficial because it makes it easier to balance with school and other activities, like sports,” Shawish said. “But at the same time, it makes me kind of sad because I love being there so much.”
Ever since she started working at the aquarium, Shawish has further developed her love for marine science.
“The aquarium is easily my favorite place in the world. Everyone there is so passionate about marine science and protecting marine life. Seeing people like that every day makes me want to make a difference in the world,” Shawish said.
One other pro that Shawish mentioned was being able to see animals all the time.
“I loved the fact that I could go to any exhibit I wanted. One time, I was even allowed to go in and play with the dolphins.”
This summer, Shawish plans on continuing her work at the National Aquarium. She has also applied to Governor’s School, and is also looking at other summer programs related to marine science.
“My advice for other people looking at internships and other programs would be to apply to everything that you can. Through an internship, you can make connections with people who can help you later in life. It also looks great on college applications,” Shawish said.




Students bring awareness to global warming

As environmental issues keep accelerating, many schools have created organizations that try to help and try to fix the issue.
At Annandale, this club is known as Green Atoms.
In previous years, the Green Atoms has been known for collecting recyclable items, such as paper and plastic bottles, from classrooms.
This year, the Green Atoms have a lot of new plans to try and accomplish, specifically when it comes to global issues.
Vice President of the club, junior Eileen Ngo-Tran, says that the club is trying to revitalize.
“We have roughly 83 people who currently participate in the club,” Ngo-Tran says. “At meetings, all of us have been trying to come up with new ways to help the environment, and make activities more engaging so that more people will join and help.”
In recent weeks, the club has had guest speakers come and talk to students about specific issues after school.
Earlier this year, the club held a session with a beekeeper who talked to attendees about the importance of having honey bees in the environment.
Just two weeks ago, Resource Director and tennis coach Hassan Mims held a session in the library.
“The people who came to these meetings were very interested, so hopefully we will be able to do more of these later on in the year,” Ngo-Tran said. “We are also trying to come up with some sort of incentive with science teachers, too.”
Another thing that the Green Atoms club is trying to do more is Ossian Hall cleanups.
Every once in a while, about a dozen club participants come together and clean the park and it’s parking lot.
They are joined by members of Science National Honor Society who are trying to fulfill community service hour requirements.
“We always have good turnouts for these cleanups. It’s very important that Ossian stays as clean as possible, so we’ll probably do more of the cleanups,” Ngo-Tran said.
Perhaps the biggest new thing that the club is doing this year is a plan to earn the Eco-School Award for Braddock ES.
The Eco-School is an award that is given to elementary schools for excellence in environmental action taken by the school.
Currently, the Green Atoms are working on the process with Braddock’s principal, Keesha Jackson-Muir.
First, they will have to get the program to conduct an environmental audit on the school.
“The audit that will be conducted will be on issues like biodiversity, climate change, consumption and waste, energy, healthy living, healthy school, teaching students about forests, school yard forests, sustainable foods, transportation availability, water, and watershed oceans,” Ngo-Tran said.
Currently, the program is in the process of auditing for waste and consumption.
The club intends to look at the infrastructure of the school, such as the presence of recycling bins and posters around the school.
“If there is a problem with one of the topics that are audited, then we’ll need to have an action plan to change the issues. One example would be reusing food or making sure that untouched food isn’t thrown out,” Ngo-Tran said.
Despite all these new changes and plans, the club is still doing the activity that it is known for: collecting recyclables around the school.
“We can help global warming if everyone takes their part in taking steps to be more eco-friendly,” Ngo-Tran says “We need to think about our planet’s future, and how our actions impact it.”
For people who want to join, the Green Atoms meet every Wednesday in Room 104 from 3:10 – 4:00 P.M.




Climate changing the world

In Sept. of this year, the east coast was hit with Hurricane Florence, whose aftermath is still affecting North Carolina and South Carolina today.
A month later, Hurricane Michael devastated citizens in Florida and Georgia.
Just last month, California was hit with fast spreading forest fires.
These are just a few of the dozens of natural disasters that took place in the U.S. in 2018.
All of these disasters combined have killed hundreds and displaced thousands. Damages that have resulted from the high winds, flash floods, and blazing fires are are believed to cost several billion dollars.
When all of this is considered, it’s only natural to wonder what could be causing the sudden outburst of natural disasters.
Most scientists agree that one major factor is linked to these occurrences: climate change.
Climate change is the change in weather patterns around the Earth due to an increase of the presence of greenhouse gasses, such as carbon, in the atmosphere.
Contrary to popular belief, climate change and global warming are not the same thing. Global warming is the increase of the Earth’s surface temperature, and is a cause of climate change.
Though there are some climate change deniers, there is strong and consistent scientific evidence that climate change is happening, and it’s happening rapidly.
Since 1880, Earth’s surface temperature has increased 0.9 degrees Celsius. The oceans are warming up.
Perhaps the most well known evidence of climate change is the shrinking of the Arctic ice caps.
A report done by NASA concluded that 95% of climate change since 1880 was caused by human activity.
When all this information is considered, how is climate change connected to extreme weather?
Climate change can be linked to floods, hurricanes, forest fires, and droughts very easily.
As Earth’s surface and atmosphere gets warmer, it is able to hold much more moisture. This moisture comes from rising sea levels, which are caused by melting ice near the poles.
This is why precipitation levels are so high nowadays, and why rain and snow can be seen in areas that are relatively dry.
All of these factors also increase the level of rainfall during hurricanes and tropical storms.
Scientists have also noted a link between an increase in the pressure of hurricanes and rising temperatures. A higher pressure means that the hurricane is likely to be deadlier.
NASA’s climate change study also stated that warmer temperatures only increase the length and severity of forest fires.
Climate change’s link to droughts is much more obvious.
In some areas, such as parts of the Southwest, Asia, and Africa, the number of droughts is expected to increase.
Why? Higher temperatures are increasing evaporation rates, meaning that water is being removed from Earth’s surface in these regions.
When all of this evidence is considered, it’s clear to see that there is an obvious link between climate change and the ever-worsening natural disasters.




Trump dumps on the Earth

On Black Friday, while Americans were busy shopping and eating Thanksgiving leftovers, President Donald Trump’s administration was up to something else.
The administration released the National Climate Assessment, a report on climate change.
Worked on by over 300 climate change specialists and 13 different federal agencies, the report was meant to be released this month.
The information in the report concluded that the Earth’s temperature is rapidly increasing at an alarming rate.
It also stated that human actions, such as the accumulation of factory waste, was the cause of the rise in temperature. The report went onto say that climate change has the potential to drastically affect the U.S. economy.
It’s believed that the administration moved the release date up to ensure that it would not recieve public attention.
Contrary to the administration’s theory, reporters and citizens alike latched on to the report in disbelief with what it said.
Within minutes of the report’s release, most news channels went from reporting on Black Friday deals to criticizing Trump for it’s early release.
Talk about the report was fueled once again on the following Monday when Trump was asked about the report. He responded by saying that he doesn’t believe in climate change, and for that reason, he hadn’t bothered to read most of the report.
White House spokespeople went on to say that the evidence in the report wasn’t completely factual, as it depended on models and data used and collected during the Obama administration.
Trump’s remarks aren’t
surprising, and they only support the belief that he and his administration meant to cover up the report because they
disagreed with its content.
Time and time again, Trump has shown his stance as a climate-change denier. A list compiled by Vox in June 2017 noted that he had posted over 115 tweets doubting the validity of climate change, just between Nov. 2011 and Oct. 2015.
On Nov. 21, just 2 days before the release of the National Climate Assessment, Trump tweeted to his nearly 57 million followers, “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?”
On Dec. 28 2017, he tweeted, “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that out country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”
But as a President, Trump has taken his skeptic beliefs from Twitter to the real world.
In 2017, he announced his plan to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement.
Trump defended this plan by saying that he “represents Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
Despite this statement, nearly 80% of Americans believe that climate change is real and needs to be limited, including Republicans and Trump’s own daughter, Ivanka.
The Paris Agreement, which was signed on April 22, 2016 by 195 foreign leaders, is an agreement between nations to attempt to lower greenhouse gas levels and work on decreasing the effects of climate change.
Trump’s declaration to withdraw is only symbolic for now, as none of the nations involved in the agreement can withdraw until Nov. 2020.
Still, Trump’s actions have encouraged other nations to consider withdrawing, such as oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
At the same time, the Trump administration has already taken actions that could accelerate climate change.
Just two weeks ago, the EPA announced that restrictions on the greenhouse gas emissions of coal companies would be loosened up.
Clearly, Trump doesn’t care much for the environment, and his policy is starting to move awareness of climate change backwards. the greenhouse gas emissions of coal companies would be loosened up.




Five tips on What to do at Home to Help the Environment

A breeze is blowing at your window and you can feel the cold radiating from your glass window into your room.
You look at your phone and check the weather app and see that it’s an astonishing 40 degrees.
After using your phone, you bundle up in a sweater and a pair of comfortable sweatpants.
Once the door opens, you feel the cold rush into your body and you are amazed about how cold it is.
Climate change is the cause of the very cold winter nights and blazing hot summer days.
The cause of climate change is because of the many fossil fuels that have been propelled into the ozone layer, attacking it at every minute.
Many superpower countries have been evaluated as the primary cause of climate change.
These countries like the United States, China, Russia and many more have pumped out fossil fuels for the last century, causing the sea levels to rise at least eight inches.
This isn’t an alarming subject about the bigger picture, global warming.
As of now, you can do many things to help Earth.
Here are five tips to prevent climate change in your own household.

1 Stop using gas on a weekly basis
Instead of going on the bus or going in a car every day to school, make a change and either walk if you live close enough to your school or ride a bike.
Any means of transportation that uses any fuel will be detrimental to the climate when time goes by.
Cutting down on it will furthermore make life a healthier home and earth a beautiful home for all of us.
This means that using a bike or even walking to school on a nice breezy blue-skyed day will be good for exercise.
If this isn’t a good choice for you, carpool with others and it’ll cut down on how many cars on the road by having a friend or a relative to pick up others and go to school together.
Also, switching to an electric car may seem pricey for others, but if it is in hands reach, going for an electric car from brands like Tesla will be good for everybody.
Just everyday transportation can really push towards the ozone layer depleting and cutting down on this helps later on.

2 Eat greens, not lean meat products
There are four simple changes you can make to your diet to reduce its climate impact.
Prioritize on eating meat-free meals to cut the slack on these innocent animals being slaughtered.
If this is not possible in your carnivorous meals and diets, when going grocery shopping, look for organic and local foods whenever possible.
These types of foods are really beneficial to your health and can boost vitamins and how you live your days.
After making these quick food switches, remember to not waste food, this is such a heartbreak because of the fact that in the United States, we lead the world in food waste.
Roughly fifty percent of all produce in the United States is reportedly thrown away.
This leads to 60 million tons worth of produce annually thrown away into your trash when it could be reused into different meals and recipes.
The United States is leading the world in the amount of food wasted also brings up the point of growing your own vegetables in your own household.
Growing food is very simple and easy.
Finding a spot in your backyard or even the front yard if needs be is a perfect spot to start growing simple fruits and vegetables that cuts costs when needing to go grocery shopping, a win-win situation.

3 Reduce, reuse, recycle
A simple thing to do at home is to recycle bottles and just any product that is able to be recycled. Instead of disposable water bottles, making a switch to a reusable water bottle will help too.
Whenever you can recycle paper, plastic, newspapers, glass and aluminum cans is a starter too.
If there isn’t a recycling program near where you live though, starting one would be an amazing option to help everyone in your community make it a better living area for everybody.

4 Use less A/C and Heat
Using less heat and air conditioning can lower the costs of bills in your household.
Adding insulation to your walls and attic and installing new weather strips around windows and doors in your house can lower your heating costs by more than 25%.
This altogether reduces the amount of energy needed to heat or cool your home.
Also, turning down your heat while you’re sleeping at night or even turning it off while you’re away during the day can really help cut down on these costs and also moderate the temperatures in your house as well.
Setting your thermostat just two degrees lower in the winter or higher in the summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
This will really protect the ozone layer.

5 Tell your story on what you’ve done to save
A healthy planet with stable climate isn’t all about political issues and a discussion of if its real or fake.
It’s about the families, the kids living on this planet, the vast communities and the future of humanity altogether.
It’s important that everyone hops on board on this wave to work towards solutions for our planet.
People tend to be more influenced by friends than by experts, so make sure to bring up the topic of climate change with friends and family.
Green Atoms bands up together to recycle and go to parks to do the same.
This club has many members and is looking for more.
These simple changes in the community can cause an impact and a movement.
Encourage yourself to use these tips in their daily lives to cut down and help the environment.




Why do people procrastinate on tasks?

Anyone who says that they have not procrastinated a little before is not being truthful.
Everyone has pushed at least a few assignments back a bit.
Maybe it is because you wanted to hang out with your friends, or maybe it is because you just really hate the class.
Doing a few things late is normal. Procrastination is not.
Procrastination is when people push multiple large tasks until the last minute.
It is a chronic problem that affects all parts of the affected person’s life.
Many students tend to procrastinate on completing homework and studying for exams.
This is a big problem, as it can lead to poor grades and high levels of stress.
While it may be possible to get away with procrastination in middle and high school, it can lead to big issues in college.
A report published by the Centers for Disease Control noted that 90% of college students procrastinate.
Of this percentage, 25% are chronic procrastinators.
The report also noted that there is a trend that suggests that these people do not end up graduating because of the insurmountable amount of pressure.
While some believe it is just lazy students who procrastinate, there are adults that deal with the issue in their day to day life.
Some adults wait until the last minute to do things like fill out forms and pay bills.
This can lead to massive issues such as job loss and debt due to unpaid late bills.
Nobody wants to work with or trust an adult who cannot manage their time.
Most people do not know what causes procrastination, and often chalk it up to bad character.
Often, procrastination is a sign of deeper issues.
The number one cause of procrastination is poor time management.
Most procrastinators were never picked up the ability to map out schedules, so they never get things done in a timely fashion.
Procrastination can be a sign of low self esteem.
Some people believe that they are bound to do terribly on an assignment or task because they do not understand it completely, so it is better to save time and just not do it.
Often times, these people have the knowledge, but the stress causes them to stop believing in themselves, which just sets them up for failure.
Another issue that can cause people to procrastinate is issues with paying attention and focusing on objectives.
Students who have poor attention spans and trouble focusing, often have the intention of getting work done, but their wandering mind inhibits them from fulfilling their aims.
Problems with focusing are only exacerbated by things like phones, video games, and social media.
It can be very hard to focus when phones and computers keep buzzing with notifications every second.
“A lot of the time, I will sit down to start my work, but I just can not,” senior Hemen Besufekad said. “I get distracted with my phone or thinking about other stuff, and I can not focus on what I am supposed to be doing.”
Some people even work to distract themselves.
These individuals will complete unnecessary tasks, such as doing an assignment due in weeks or offering their time to someone else.
This is done in the hopes of giving themselves a pass on doing the work that should be their first priority.
While there are many cons with procrastination, it can be a pro, too.
There are people who tend to do better on assignments when they procrastinate because the pressure encourages them to do better.
“Personally, my best work is done at the last minute,” junior Elizabeth Dula said. “The things that I procrastinate always have more quality, and I earn better grades on them.”
People who procrastinate tend to be extreme perfectionists.
They want to ensure that their work is in tip top shape before they turn it in.
Sometimes, this is a good character trait. It ensures that their work is always great.
These types of people tend to go through their work multiple times, so they notice more errors along the way.
At the same time, perfectionism can lead to trouble.
Since perfectionists seek to reach unrealistic goals, they are often met with disappointment when their work and grades do not meet their ultra high expectations.
Perfectionism can also lead to the belief that it is better to not do a task, rather than do poorly at it.
While procrastinating may seem like a good idea at times, it will just lead to more issues.
Chronic procrastinators report high levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
These are all terrible for both physical and social health.
They can lead to physical symptoms, such as coronary disease.
They also have the ability to lead to poor relationships with others
Other people, including employers and teachers, have a hard time trusting procrastinators.
Employers will not want to give procrastinators hard tasks that can move them up career-wise.
Teachers will expect poor work and effort. Both will not have sympathy for the person.
All the tasks that were pushed until the last minute will close in and drown the procrastinator in a wave of pressure and guilt.
The work will not be sufficient for a good grade, and most times, it will not be completed at all.
The CDC report also noted that 85% of procrastinators feel regret for not doing things in a timely fashion.
Once all this information is looked at, it is clear to see that while there are valid causes of procrastination, it has terrible side effects, so it is best to try to let the habit go.




Eight tips to help you manage your time better

Everyday, people tend to put things off to the side.
Sometimes it’s those little things like cleaning up the house, doing chores, or delaying homework and studying.
But often times procrastinators avoid large and difficult tasks by putting distractions before important tasks to waste time. Procrastinators usually give them something to do before facing the fact that they have these tasks at hand.
Procrastination is a horrible habit to pick up at an early age and is detrimental later on.
There are many different ways like doing your work on time or manage your time wisely but here are tips to start now.

1 Use your agenda
Agendas are very useful to keep your tasks tidied up and have everything sorted out.
It’s easier to remember what you have to do if it is written down
“I think that having an agenda will really help you manage your time,” junior Sydney Wuhrer said. “I use my personal agenda for everything since the school didn’t give us agendas at all.”
At AHS, agendas used to be given out to every student but this year, they changed that policy.
The agendas are now given to the freshmen class and are also sold separately to upperclassmen for five dollars.
“As a freshman, I don’t really use my agenda,” freshman Stephanie Alvarado said. “I feel as if they should’ve given the agendas to every class and not just ours.”

2 keep a schedule
You should keep a schedule along with your agenda.
Once your teachers give you dates for when assignments are due, you should plan out how long it will take you.
Try your best to write down what times of what days you are going to work on an assignment.
If you write this sort of information down, you will feel more motivated to not only do your work, but do it in a timely fashion.
“I keep a schedule of what I’m going to do during the day,” junior Emily Shawish said. “I keep track of what time my practices are, and how long I’m going to spend on each assignment.”

3 Start with the hardest tasks first
Starting the day with your biggest tasks will lighten up the workload that you will have to do later.
Starting with the hardest and most challenging task first will relieve yourself of the most stress making the rest of the day more positive. Also, you’ll feel good about yourself and a sense of relaxation.
“If I had an essay due the next day, I would start it first,” freshman Jasmine Covington said. “It really helps that doing the hardest thing makes the rest of the day easier and my to-do list even lighter.

4 Smaller tasks first, bigger tasks later
Similarly, you should do small assignments, then larger ones. Breaking down tasks is quick and easy.
First, take out all of your assignments and break them down from sheets of paper, packets, and study guides.
Then, make a note of how long it will take to do each. If it takes less than ten minutes to do a sheet of paper, start on that.
Then proceed to tackle everything else.
“Once I get home, I do the homework that takes five to fifteen minutes first” freshman Jasmine Covington said. “Then, I start on my bigger tasks like packets or study.”

5 Limit electronic usage
Once you plop down on your bed, resist the temptation of using anything electronic.
With the amount of time you already get from going to school and going home, time management is key to getting your work done and getting the grades that you want.
Playing games and using social media will take up your time before you know it.
This is really hard when you use your phone for hours at a time.
This tip will really help you stop the urge of procrastinating by cutting down the usage of your electronics.
“I tend to use my phone a lot and it takes up a lot of time out of my day,” junior Kevin Calix said. “I see the outcome of it since I don’t do my homework.”

6 Stop thinking, start doing
Instead of contemplating about doing something and wasting time, start doing them.
This is the easiest and simplest tip that you can start doing now.
Simple and quick actions is really time consuming if it all adds up.
When you think about something, you’re wasting minutes and even hours at a time not doing the work that you should be doing.
“With all of these new game releases, I don’t like saving all of my work for later but I have to,” junior Lucas Tewolde said. “The amount of time that I have spent procrastinating is too much to comprehend.”

7 Do a power hour
First, take an hour out of what you are doing and do as much work as you can in that one hour.
This one hour is very helpful because once you get home from school the free time that you have seems like a lot but is very little if wasted.
This hour you have a wide variety of things to get done.
“Personally, I have gotten so much work done in an hour,” Tewolde said. “From study guides to homework, all done when I took an hour out of my day from everything, even including games.”

8 Change yourself
At the end of the day, all these tips are helpful.
However, you need to change yourself.
Procrastinating takes a toll on your life and how you manage your time.
Changing this habit can be very beneficial to your everyday life.
Stop beating yourself up about the past tasks.
Thoughts such as “I should’ve started this earlier,” or “I need to stop procrastinating,” are negative and will only make matters worse.
Instead of focusing on other things such as playing games or hanging out with friends, strive for excellence, creating excellence.
At the same time, make sure to take a look at yourself, and focus on getting your tasks done.