CHS Chilli-Chatter #6

February 19, 2021

TikTok: Procrastination Station

by Lexie Walker

One of the most popular social media platforms at the moment is an app called TikTok. It features short video clips of entertainment, one right after another. This platform offers endless entertainment and constant, fresh content for viewers. Anyone with an account can also post content of their own. The relatable and talented people that thrive on this app make it a wildly popular one, and its addictive nature cannot be denied. TikTok had been popular with teens and young adults for a while, but recently it caught some media attention.

Originally owned by a Chinese company named ByteDance, TikTok was put under a national security review towards the end of last year. The fear was that user data would be sent to China and privacy was being violated; however, after many threats of a TikTok ban in the U.S., stake in the company was bought by American companies Oracle and Walmart. This government fiasco that ended in compromise saved a beloved pastime of teens across the country.

Within our own high school TikTok has a dominating presence. When surveyed, a vast majority of students admitted to having an account. With many individuals having hours of mindless entertainment at their fingertips, one might assume that it would detract time from students’ homework or other responsibilities. However, 46% of students said that TikTok distracts them from homework only sometimes, and 28% claim it is never a distraction. While that is generally good news, there are still 25% of students who believe TikTok to be a distraction all of the time. This may have something to do with how long students are spending on the app every day. That same survey indicated 31% of students spend an hour or less browsing the app, 24% spend between 1-2 hours, 27% spend between 2-4 hours, and 16% spend at least 4 hours on the app daily, if not longer. Another concern is that the 15-60 second videos displayed on the app are training students to have shorter attention spans. When asked if they noticed a difference in their ability to focus for long periods, around half of students said that TikTok has not affected their attention spans, and a quarter of students claim that it has shortened it.

While TikTok does seem to be absorbing a large chunk of students’ time and attention, a majority of students are not experiencing negative effects. In fact, half of students surveyed said that if they did not have TikTok, they would simply find an alternative distraction to fill their time, and over a quarter said that even if the app was deleted, they would not spend more time on homework. TikTok does have a notable presence in the high school, but it seems to be a harmless pastime, equal to watching tv or gaming.

Take a Break

by Kadence Shipers

If you are a student at CHS, you are most likely always busy Monday through Friday. You may feel pressed for time and rarely get to spend time doing the activities you love. But at some point, you must call it quits in order to maintain your mental and physical well-being.

Spending free time on the things you enjoy relieves stress, allows you to stay motivated, permits you to relax, and preserves interest within your work (according to According to The American Institute of Stress, 33% of people are affected by stress every day. Most people (91%) believe that having a hobby decreases the amount of stress they experience. It was also said that 77% of people believed stress affects their physical health, and 73% believed it also takes a toll on their mental health. When you overwork yourself, you are also overworking your body and your productivity ultimately has less value. It takes longer for you to do certain tasks and allows for greater error. Having more free time just increases the amount of success you will acquire.

As easy as it sounds, maintaining your free time can be surprisingly tough. Below are some tips in order to obtain more free time:

  • It is okay to say “no.” Just because your friend asks you to take her shift doesn’t mean you have to automatically oblige. Set boundaries for yourself and know that you and your priorities come first.

  • Set daily goals and aims to meet. Whether it be the hours you plan on working or the amount of time you spend on your homework, shoot for a goal that allows you to have some free time for yourself.

  • Take breaks in between tasks. Giving your brain a break from continuous work will allow you to reset and start fresh.

  • Use your time to get ahead. If you use your free time productively one day, you will have more free time for the days that follow.

Taking a break from the books will not affect your work ethic, but improve it. Students are much better off doing tasks in intervals rather than all at once. Your grades will improve, your brain will be restored, and your body will be free of tension. Taking a break is not slacking off; it is letting your body and mind refresh, so that you can always present your best work. Free time does not only distract you from your work, but also acts as an alleviation for your mind and body.

Binge or Bust: WandaVision

by Emma Rule

This week on Binge or Bust is WandaVision. WandaVision is exclusively on Disney+ but is free with a subscription. This ongoing show follows the Marvel superhero couple Wanda Maximoff and Vision as they go about everyday life with a few twists and turns. Everything seems normal until strange things start happening in their town, Westview. The television sitcom cast is pretty star-studded with Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, and Evan Peters.

A downside to WandaVision is that it is pretty loaded with callbacks and hints about the Marvel cinematic universe. I have seen nearly all the Marvel movies so I am able to pick out the “easter eggs,” but if you aren’t well versed in Marvel knowledge, things might not be as poignant. The plunge into strangeness happens at a good rate that keeps you on the edge of your seat while luring you into a false sense of security.

The plot follows Wanda and Vision as they try to live normal lives through the decades. The era changes nearly every episode; the first episode is in the style of a 50s sitcom and the second is the 60s. Each episode is the style of the next different decade. This shift changes the set, clothing, hair and makeup, and the language dialect. This change is a nice variety in the setting of the show. The actors really devote themselves to their characters and the alteration of the era. Olsen and Bettany both portray the cliche sitcom couple extremely well.

As this series continues, I hope the story and the weird events continue to escalate as new episodes are released every Friday. I also hope that Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are able to maintain the level of suspicion, intrigue, and conspiracy that have been demonstrated thus far.

All and all, WandaVision is an engaging show. Although it is helpful to be familiar with the Marvel universe, it is not mandatory, and I think that everyone can find something in it to be fascinated by. This is a show that allows you to come up with theories about what is afoot in the town of Westview, and I think that is something that everyone should participate in. The mystery will not disappoint and hopefully, that is something that will last. I highly recommend this new miniseries/ sitcom. ‘Til next time on Binge or Bust.

FBLA Forges On

by Leah Lourenco

One local club is finding a way to persist through the time of Covid-19. The local chapter of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) had only 19 members at the time of its founding in 1958. Since then, the organization has grown to 61 members, two of whom hold a district office. The FBLA organization has nine goals that encourage its members to have quality character, strong leadership skills, and goals. One of the local FBLA advisors, Mrs. Sondra Sturguess, talked about the effects that she has observed of participation in FBLA on students. Mrs. Sturguess says that the greatest change she sees is an improvement in confidence. Members interact with each other, take leadership roles, interact with other chapters, and present in front of judges. All of these activities lead to an increase of the confidence of FBLA members.

The chapter president, Emma Burk, spoke about her experiences during her involvement with the FBLA organization. Burk has been a member of the FBLA organization for all four years of high school. Once she enters the workforce, her goal is to be a nurse practitioner. She believes that being in FBLA has given her valuable skills in communication and teamwork--tools she will need later in life. Burk has also been involved in FBLA competitions reaching the national level. She mentioned the great community and friendship she found in her fellow competitors and her event partners. The experience that FBLA competitions has given Burk is something that she would recommend to anyone.

Competition season for the local FBLA chapter is currently in full swing. Of course, there are precautions being taken due to the current state of the Coronavirus pandemic. District competitions are almost over after being held completely online. The only remaining events are those that are judged as a live Zoom performance. Many of our local chapter members are already looking toward state competitions. In the past, state competitions have not only included the competitions themselves, but also speakers, ceremonies, interactive workshops, booths, social events, and other activities. This year, however, the state FBLA competition, workshops, and ceremonies will also be held virtually.

Not only are members looking forward to their state competitions, but FBLA week is also quickly approaching. The week of February 14 will bring different activities, including a service project where members will construct spring-themed door hangers for a local nursing home. The FBLA organization will continue to foster positive skill and relationships in its members going forward.

"So what are your plans?"

by Dimitri Dickerson

As the Class of 2021 reaches the end of their senior year, the time has come for them to confirm their decisions for after high school. The most common paths taken after graduation are attending a college, attending a trade school, taking a gap year, entering the military, or entering the workforce. The CHS senior class was asked in a survey which of these options they had chosen. The results reflected similar results to past years: 80% going to college, 10% going to a trade school, 5% joining the military, and 5% going directly to the workforce.

Three seniors who answered the survey were interviewed to represent three of those paths. What will they be doing during the next academic year and why did they choose this path?

Chloe Funk, one of the students attending a college next year, will attend State Fair Community College using her A+ and will be transferring to the University of Missouri-Columbia to work towards a bachelor's degree. Her plan is to study optometry. When asked why she was pursuing this area of study, she believes it will never be obsolete and that it doesn't contain the exposure to blood that other medical professions do.

Brandon Kiser, a student attending a trade school next year, will be attending the Grand River Technical School to take Computer Networking Technology. Brandon originally wasn’t quite sure of what to do after high school, but after a tour of GRTS, he fell in love with the Computer Service program which shaped his decision for the next academic year.

Donald McCracken will be taking a gap year and working before attending school. He reasoned that this would give him a chance to save up money for college and allow him to recharge after suffering from academic burnout. Donald stated that “. . . [I]f I were to go to college right after high school my full effort wouldn’t be there.”

While 2020 may have been a hectic year, the students of 2021 are already planning ahead to next year’s academic season. No matter what path they have chosen, we can only hope that they will have great success in their future endeavors.

Down the Runway with Bri and Morgan

by Claire Ripley

CHS students have a wide variety of hobbies, but two of our students, sophomore Bri Foli and junior Morgan Newman, participate in pageants. Foli started at 4 years old, after seeing her mom and older sister compete. Newman was 3 years old when she competed in her first local pageant; after a few years of defeat she took a break and started competing 3 years later and has been ever since. Newman has competed in Missouri and Kansas attending Princess of America Pageants as well as Nationals in Branson. Newman has taken the crown in multiple pageants: Miss Heartland, Miss Midwest ambassador, Junior Show Me State and a couple of appointed titles. Foli has competed in 5 states: Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida, and California, and has won multiple pageants including Little Miss Missouri, Miss Chillicothe Preteen, Miss Spirit of St. Louis Outstanding Teen, Miss Missouri Jr. Teen, Miss Missouri Teen.

Pageantry is a very complex hobby and is more than expensive dresses and fancy makeup. Competing takes skill, time, dedication and passion. Foli said, “All pageants are not like the show Toddlers and Tiaras; most pageants are natural and focus on growing confidence and life skills. When people ask me if they are pretty enough to compete, it shows me that several people think pageants are just a beauty competition; pageantry has shown me and many other girls the significance of reaching for goals and going for the things you want to accomplish in life, it is more than just having a pretty face, but having a pretty heart.”

Preparing for a pageant takes a lot of hard work. Both girls have coaches to help get stage-ready for the pageant. Newman has 3 coaches who have helped her come out of her shell and have taken her to places she once dreamed of being. Newman states a big thing for her is to be prepared mentally; she likes to take “self days” to focus on herself and make sure she is in the best mindset going into each competition.

Every pageant is a little bit different; most pageant systems have a required competition that include an interview with either a panel or round robin, formal wear, introduction which is public speaking about yourself on stage, and on stage question. There are also some optional competitions like talent, casual wear, runway, actress, and photogenic. Some pageants have scouts and agencies watch girls compete and then call them back to talk about potentially working with them; Bri Foli has personally met with a few different agencies that are based in New York and California and says it has been a great experience to talk to professionals in the fashion and modeling industry.

Foli and Newman improve with each pageant. They have learned to become more confident in themselves and do many things they probably wouldn’t be able to do today if it weren’t for pageant experiences. Both said their favorite thing about pageants is doing something they love, with people they have learned to love. Pageants are a way for people to make new friends that will last a lifetime.

Morgan Newman
Bri Foli