The Paw Print

Novi Middle School's Student Newspaper

Volume 21 Issue 4 / January 12, 2021

NMS IN THE NEWS

Big picture

Virtual Appreciation Card brightens the day for NMS Staff

By: Alexander Dyga


For generations, teachers have been given one of the hardest jobs on planet Earth: to educate the young, so that they are ready to face the world and shape society. Teachers create the future.


Covid 19 has impacted the lives of billions. Young, old, rich, poor, everyone has felt ripple effects of the pandemic. Far too many families have lost loved ones and even more have lost their only reliable source of income. Unfortunately, our nation’s teachers have been hit harder than almost any others.


“It’s been difficult to make connections with students virtually and to adapt to the new learning modalities,” stated Mrs. Schulze, an 8th grade history/German teacher.


Math teacher Miss Barnauskus recounted the struggles of preparing learning materials for both hybrid and virtual. These are only a few of the many challenges that educators have had to overcome this year.


As the holiday season approached, 7th grade students Henry Yim, Srijan Agarwal, Lorelai Raudszus, and Abhiram Gadde, saw the challenges their instructors were facing, and decided to find a way to thank the NMS staff for everything they do.


These four exceptional NMS Wildcats went on to organize a virtual “Holiday Appreciation Card.” This card collected student written thank-you notes to teachers, as well as a large number of inspirational quotes and holiday images. Notes were submitted via Google Forms by 7th and 8th graders from both hybrid and virtual. Over 140 messages were collected in total, each one holding a few words that brightened the day of whoever read them.


Teachers can not say enough about how much these expressions of gratitude meant to them.


When asked about her reaction to the Holiday Card, Mrs. Schulze responded by saying, “The time and effort that was put into the Holiday Card was touching. It's good to know that students understand and appreciate what their teachers do.”


Miss Barnauskas expressed very similar feelings, “It felt good to know that students appreciate all the hard work teachers have done this year.”


In short, this past holiday season was made a bit brighter for the NMS staff, due to the efforts of Henry Yim, Srijan Agarwal, Lorelai Raudszus, Abhiram Gadde, and every student who submitted a message for the appreciation card.


On behalf of the entire student body: Thank you for everything you do NMS teachers! Remember that we will always try to be there for you, just like you are always there for us!

What will learning look like in 2021?

By: Lorelai Raudszus


We walked into the school year of 2020-2021 with two options. Due to COVID-19 and the recent pandemic; our basic ways of learning have drastically changed. Consequently, students were provided with a choice: To learn virtually, or take the hybrid route. By now, these two schooling options are well-known.


As of the latest email, the superintendent of Novi’s school district, Dr. Steve Matthews says the regular virtual and hybrid options remain. This email was sent to all parents on December 18, 2020. Virtual will continue online-learning each week. Hybrid students, both group A and B, will attend in-person school half of the week, and the other half of the week will complete schoolwork, no Zooms. Wednesdays are the exception. However, this time-around, there is a twist.


Prior to December 4th’s email, the second semester of the school year was unknown. Virtual and Hybrid groups were learning as usual, and had become accustomed to the new learning environment. Then the email of November 24, 2020, arrived and included the NCSD Community Survey. This survey was only available to parents and is no longer active. Meaning, whatever information and questions the survey contained, are no longer accessible. The November 24 email said only this about the survey, “...we need some input from you as we plan for the second semester… If parents could complete this survey I (Steve Matthews) would appreciate it.” The link to the survey follows. As far as students know, this survey was nothing but a collection of information from parents to plan for the second and last semester of the school year.


Jumping to the email of December 4, 2020, we were at last alerted of the adjusted hybrid options and the new survey. This survey was named NCSD 2020-2021 Second Semester Learning Mode Commitment. It was meant for parents to complete only if they wished for their child to change learning modality. You were able to switch from hybrid to virtual or virtual to hybrid. If you were satisfied with your child’s current learning modality you did not need to complete the survey, for the survey was only made for those who wanted to switch.

Virtual learning stayed the same, no changes were made to the current virtual modality.

Hybrid learners continue to be attending in-person school half the week.


However, hybrid could change to in-person learning five days a week if, as the email stated, “...the metrics as defined by the Board of Education improve significantly.” To elaborate, the metrics examine at a minimum case count in the country, as well as district levels, and the percentage of Oakland County residents testing positive.


This is the reason for the survey. Due to this new arrangement, parents need to decide whether to continue with their child's current learning modality, or switch. You may choose virtual and learn in the safety of your home, or choose hybrid and ready yourself to possibly attend school five days a week. Which option has greater risks is up to you, or more specifically your parents, to finalize. New scheduling for those changing modalities has already been planned. The big switch starts at the beginning of the next card marking.

Music makes a notable impact on mental performance

By: Alyna Dohadwala


Be it classical, rock, or country, many of us enjoy listening to music. But what effects can it have on your brain?


General Mental Performance

Music has actually been shown to promote cognitive (mental) performance. For example, when exercising, people tend to be more motivated if they are listening to some fast music in the background. Also, despite seeming counterintuitive, listening to music while studying can also improve information retention. This is because music induces positive emotions, but doesn’t interfere with the formation of new memories. Listening to relaxing music has also been shown to reduce stress, and listening to classical music has been shown to help people have better quality sleep.


Effect on Mental Illnesses and Mental Health

As well as generally boosting cognitive performance, listening to music can have a positive impact on mental health/illness. It has actually been shown that patients in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, while usually unresponsive, when listening to their favorite music, they might start moving about, dancing, and singing. In patients with dementia, they will respond well when listening to music that is tied to their childhood and causes feelings of nostalgia. This demonstrates that music associated memories are affiliated with emotionally charged memories, which don’t fade out, even in patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Music therapy is also a beneficial tool to treat mental illness. It has been shown to help with depression and anxiety, and it can vary from listening to music, playing music, composing music, and more.


Want To Learn More?

Here are some other articles you can read if you want to learn more about some of the topics discussed in this article!

To Have or Not to have homework?

By: Ishaan Thurman


The issue of homework has been constantly debated in schools, and with coronavirus in the mix, new factors are added. But why should you choose either one? In this article we will take a look at some of the reasons for both sides, and opinions from the public.


Yes, we should have homework.

Many people believe that homework should be mandated. Below, are some of the many reasons why schools should have homework.


According to “Why Homework is Important” from Scholastic News, homework can teach students responsibility and initiative, as well as prepare them for the real world. It also states that homework can allow parents to be a part of their child’s education and check up on their progress.


Homework also helps you absorb and understand what you are learning. The National Center for Biotechnology Information(NCBI) states that homework can strengthen neural connections, because it is repetition and practice, the two main things that help strengthen them. This improves your memory and recollection of the skill. In these uncertain times, it can be harder for kids to understand the subject they are learning and can be more difficult for them to alert adults of this because smaller classes or Zoom might make them feel isolated or shy. This means that homework is even more important because it can help kids deepen their understanding of the subject or get other practice and clarification.


No, we shouldn’t have homework.

Others, though, are not in favor of homework. This is not just students either. Those not in favor include parents and even some teachers. This side of the argument has valid reasons as well, to why we shouldn’t have homework.


One reason is that homework can cause anxiety, stress, and in some cases, depression or other mental health problems. In the pandemic, this is even worse because the isolation is also bad for our socially minded brains.


Another thing that those opposing homework say is that homework takes up time for extracurricular activities and social interactions, meaning you would have to selectively choose classes or not be able to do other things. They also say that not all kids have the same requirements for homework, some don’t need as much homework while others could require more homework and assistance with it.


Comments from the Public

One anonymous parent said, “As long as homework is purposeful and relevant, I think it’s good.”


Another noteworthy comment from a Novi High School teacher, Emily Pohlonski, was as follows: “It depends on the circumstances. A reasonable amount of homework in classes such as Math or Band that need regular practice can be good for students.” She also thinks that homework should be purposeful and have the intent of furthering the students’ understanding of the subject.


One High School student voices his concerns as to why we shouldn’t have homework. “I think we shouldn’t have homework, or at least not nearly as much, because a lot of people have extracurricular activities and I know as a high schooler, I need sleep, and if I have too much homework it can deprive me of sleep.”

The Realm of Positive Thinking

By: Rebecca Borlace


We’ve all been told to think positive, especially now that we’re almost one year into quarantine. But how much does it really help?


First things first, what is “positive thinking”? Most would describe it as being happy, or thinking encouraging thoughts, but that’s not all there is to it. Research reveals that thinking positive in your everyday life can actually help you to build life skills and create value in your life.


Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, conducted a study where she showed five groups of people video clips and had them write down their responses to a situation on paper afterward.


Group 1 was shown video clips that evoked feelings of happiness and joy, Group 2 was shown clips that evoked feelings of satisfaction, Group 3 was shown clips that made them feel neutral, and Groups 4 and 5 were shown clips that made them feel scared and angry, respectively.


Then, each test subject was asked to imagine themselves in danger and write down their response. The study showed that Groups 1 and 2, who were shown positive videos, wrote down more than those who were shown to the negative or neutral groups.


To understand why this previous situation is so important, we need to know more about negative emotions. Imagine you’re put into a high panic situation, take being attacked by a bear.


In this situation, your brain processes feelings of fear which is a negative emotion. Now, it’s nothing new that feelings of fear make your brain react in a certain way, in this case probably running from the bear; this psychological reaction is your fight or flight instincts kicking in. This means when you feel threatened, you either attack whatever is scaring you, or run away from the threat.


This is ‘need-to-know’ because the way our body responds to a threat is by releasing adrenalin; making your heart beat faster and your brain work harder. This is relevant to negative emotions because as mentioned before, feelings of fear make you respond in a certain way. So, when you’re getting chased by that bear, because your automatic response is to run, you neglect other options.


You could have climbed up a tree, and stood perfectly still, hoping the bear wouldn’t think of you as a threat. You also could have used a rock or stick nearby to distract the bear’s attention before making a break for it. But you didn’t stop to consider any of these options because your brain already had the response to the situation. Negative emotions narrow your view on the situation.


To revisit that experiment I mentioned earlier, the groups that watched positive videos wrote longer answers that included more actions they would take than those who watched negative videos. So the people in the positive groups stopped to consider more possibilities than those who had feelings of anger and fear. This, helping them learn how to deal with sticky situations better than those who had negative emotions.


Now you know the science behind how thinking positively affects you. You can go out and be the most positive version of yourself... or, maybe not. As with the science behind thinking positively, there’s also science backing up that thinking positively is inherently in your genetics.


A study by the University of British Columbia has shown that a previously known gene variant can cause people to perceive emotions more vividly than others. So next time your dramatic friend is ranting to you about something you think isn’t a big deal, take a moment to consider that maybe your genetics is causing you to see things differently.


This is important because people with this gene variant perceive negative emotions more vividly as well. Professor Rebecca Todd of UBC’s psychology department says that “These individuals may be more likely to pick out angry faces in a crowd of people, outdoors, they might notice potential hazards -- places you could slip, loose rocks that might fall -- instead of seeing the natural beauty." For these people, because they perceive negative emotions in more detail than other people, it’s harder for them to simply “think positively."


Your ability to think positively could be decided by birth, but that’s all just one study. So what should you do to make sure you’re not missing out on all the benefits of thinking positively? Our genetics don’t necessarily decide who we’re going to be. If that was the case, it could be considered morally ethical to kill children at birth depending on if their genes say that they’ll grow up to be a murderer or criminal, but I won’t be exploring that philosophical rabbit hole today.


In the words of former FBI agent Jim Clemente, "Genetics load the gun, personality and psychology aim it, and your experiences pull the trigger.” Of course, he was talking about serial killers and this is about positive thinking, but the quote still stands in terms of the importance of genetics and personality.


In conclusion, thinking positively comes easier to some people than others, and it’s ok if you aren’t the most positive person, but thinking positively has so many benefits, some while I hadn’t even bothered to cover due to the length of this article. So next time something bad happens to you, try to make a conscious effort to think on the bright side of life.


Sources:

Pay more in order to retain, not lose teachers

By: Samuel Xie


It’s not news that teacher pay is lower than it should be. Low salaries have called teachers to march at state capitals around the country. A sizable salary is an obvious and important way to acknowledge the hard work teachers do each day, but there are even more research-backed benefits to increasing teacher pay.


First, increasing pay will help more people want to become teachers. A majority (76%) of responders to a TIME poll said they agreed that many people won’t go into teaching because it doesn’t pay enough. This means fewer graduates of teacher education programs, and fewer teachers looking to fill the increase in demand for teachers.


Another reason why teachers should get paid more is because increased teacher pay has been shown to reduce turnover (which in turn, increases student performance). Turnover, teachers who leave their job, is about 16% each year, and around 8% of teachers annually leave the profession entirely as opposed to moving to another school.

An interesting example to prove this point comes from weareteachers.com. Teacher turnover is lowest in the Northeast (10.3%) where teacher pay is higher and there is a greater investment in education.


Starting teacher pay, which now averages 36,600, would have to rise to $57,000 to make the difference to increase students' minds.


The bottom line is that we should pay teachers more, not less.


BEYOND THE BLUE ROOF

Covid vaccine bottles and needle in front of an American flag

Vaccines could be our way out of the pandemic

By: Anirudh Kundurthy


The COVID-19 pandemic has sadly taken millions of lives around the world. Since its first outbreaks in the U.S back in February and March, scientists worldwide were dedicated to create a vaccine.


In August, Vladmir Putin, the Russian president, had announced that his country was the first to approve a COVID vaccine. This vaccine, however, had not undergone phase 3 trials, drawing scrutiny from health officials worldwide.


On December 11, the U.S. FDA issued an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) for Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine The same actions were taken on December 18 for Moderna’s vaccine. Vaccine rollout in the U.S started on December 14 and so far the U.S has administered over 8 million vaccines. States leading in vaccine distribution per 100 people include West Virginia at 5.06 vaccinations per 100 people, and they are followed by South Dakota at 4.98 vaccines per 100 people.


By the end of 2020, nearly 30 countries worldwide had approved and administered a COVID vaccine, many of them approving it in the last two weeks of the year. Within the last ten days, a multitude of countries have approved a vaccine, from small countries such as Cyprus to more well known countries such as France. At present, more than 25 million people have been vaccinated around the world!


According to Yahoo! News, Israel leads the world in vaccination rate with 20 vaccinations per 100 people. They also reported that the United Arab Emirates comes in second with just under ten doses per hundred, and Bahrain coming in third. Both the U.K. and the U.S. are just short of 2 people per 100 injected. France has been criticized for a slow rollout, only administering 516 jabs in 6 days, with a stunning 0.07 people per 100 who have been vaccinated. India, the second most populous country in the world, is expected to begin their rollout on January 16.


Since the vaccine became a hot topic around mid-2020, misinformation has been a constant. There have been numerous outrageous claims made, one of them even being that the vaccine would alter your DNA. In times as perilous as these, it is crucial that people can separate false claims from facts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set up a webpage for questions about the vaccine's effects, which anyone with questions should visit.

Nation's attention turns to Capitol break-in

By: Arvind Salem


On January 6th, as Congress was certifying President-elect Biden’s victory over President Trump, a mob broke into the capitol and disrupted the proceedings. The Senators were forced to stop the certification and wait for the violence to die down.


Many Democrats and Republicans condemned the attack and called it an act of “domestic terrorism”. Four people died, including one person shot and three people dying of a medical emergencies relating to the break in. The national guard was eventually called in to quell the violence and the Capitol returned to normalcy.



For many Americans, this is a sign of the division that plagues the nation and a direct attack on our democracy. The certification of votes is a cornerstone of the democratic process. This is the worst damage the Capitol suffered since the British attacked Washington D.C. in the War of 1812.


President Trump claimed that he wanted a peaceful protest and that the mob was out of their control. Meanwhile, Democrats, headed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, look to impeach the President due to what they perceive as his incitement of violence.

Holiday attacks on the Jewish Community

By: Eesha Kodali


The 2020 holiday season was definitely an interesting ride, but certainly not a smooth one. This year, on top of every other unfortunate event that’s happened, the Jewish community went through an appalling 8 days of Hanukkah.


Thursday, December 10th, started off the 4-century long tradition for the 15 million people that follow Judaism, across the Earth. Night one started off with the one and only Anne Frank memorial - in the United States - attacked, and several synagogues vandalized.


This was followed by several cyber-attacks at a Jewish school in New York. CBS12 quoted the aunt of a student, “It’s scary and this is not a world I want my children growing up in. Anti- Semitism should not be normalized and if it’s not stood up against it will be,” she said.


However, this was not the only hate crime over the holidays. In Lexington, Kentucky, a man was run over during a menorah lighting at the University of Kentucky Jewish Center.


But these Anti-Semitic attacks occurred nearly everywhere, not just the USA. In Ukraine, a man filmed himself toppling down a public menorah while shouting slurs [jta.org], and Barcelona had graffiti-clad buildings blaming Jewish people for causing Covid-19 [eurojewcong.com].


Coming back to the States, Laconia State School (NH) representative, Dawn Johnson, shared a link from a neo-Nazi website to her Twitter. This link held several images conveying anti-Semitic stereotypes of the Jewish Community which “... is a slander and it's profoundly inaccurate about the Jewish community,” Temple B'nai Israel Rabbi Dan Danson argues [nphr.org].


Although the holiday season was filled with hate, hopefully we can all emerge as more knowledgeable people and be better in time for next December.

100 Days into the future with Joe Biden

By: Hitesh Tirumalasetti


On November 3, 2020, the presidential election took place and Joe Biden was elected as the 46th president of the United States. Many might have heard his speech, as well as his promises, on TV. The new president plans to accomplish a lot during his first 100 days in office, especially in the areas of COVID and the economy.


Covid-19:

In response to the novel Coronavirus, “Biden has said he'll start working to install ‘an effective distribution plan’ for a potential COVID-19 vaccine on the first day of his presidency. His plan would spend $25 billion on vaccine production and disbursement, and calls for a vaccine to be free for all Americans” (Npr.org).


Additionally, “Biden also said that he plans to ask Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, to stay in his post as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a job he's had since 1984”(Npr.org).


Economy:

In terms of taxes, “Biden has pledged that on his first day as president he will raise corporate income taxes to 28% — compared with the current 21% rate set by the GOP-led tax cuts of 2017. Also, this promise falls under Biden's larger proposed tax plan, which stresses that Americans making less than $400,000 would not pay more in taxes”(Npr.org).

New Buzzwords increase In popularity during these unusual times

By: Henry Yim


During these unusual times, unusual words have emerged. Can you guess what some of these words are? A website called Google Trends helped identify which words most increased in popularity in the last year.


The interest rating is out of 100. The before rating is the highest popularity rating in the last 16 years. While, the after rating is the highest popularity rating of 2020. 0 is not popular at all and 100 is extremely popular. Keep in mind most of these words are related to recent global events.


1. Unprecedented

Definition: never done or known before.

Popularity Rating Before: 42, Now: 100, Michigan Popularity Rating: 37

---Due to the novel COVID-19, there were situations that many generations had never faced before. For example, wearing masks and social distancing. So, many people were calling this an “unprecedented situation” because this disaster was so unique compared to previous ones.


2. Stimulus

Definition: a thing that rouses activity or energy in someone or something; a spur or incentive.

Popularity Rating Before: 22, Now: 100, Michigan Popularity Rating: 53

---Congress spent months discussing stimulus checks and many people were desperate for them. It was no wonder that stimulus was the 3rd most popular news story searched by Google users.


3. Pandemic

Definition: an outbreak of a pandemic disease.

Popularity Rating Before: 20, Now: 100, Michigan Popularity Rating: 70

---This was definitely a new word and was barely used during the last 50 years. The word pandemic is virtually only used when the World Health Organization declares a disease a pandemic. COVID-19 is definitely a pandemic and it has spread throughout the world at an alarming rate. The word pandemic has been used commonly with the word “coronavirus” and it is the 4th most common definition people searched up this year.


4. Asymptomatic

Definition: producing or showing no symptoms

Popularity Rating Before: 6, Now: 100, Michigan Popularity Rating: 73

---COVID-19 can spread among people without showing any symptoms. This is called being asymptomatic. Many experts were saying that this disease was asymptomatic and it seems that many people wanted to know the definition of the word resulting in it becoming the 4th most popular word definition searched by Google users.


5. Masks

Definition: a covering made of fiber or gauze and fitting over the nose and mouth to protect against dust or air pollutants, or made of sterile gauze and worn to prevent infection of the wearer or (in surgery) of the patient.

Popularity Rating Before: 15, Now: 100, Michigan Popularity Rating: 81

---Masks were absolutely necessary for containing the spread of COVID-19. CDC guidelines recommended it and eventually all states had mask mandates. Masks suddenly became very popular and people were scrambling to buy them from stores. Masks weren’t just something part of your halloween costume; they became essential to many people.

ENTERTAINMENT & OPINIONS

notecard saying I can't do it but with scissors cutting off the t in can't

Resolve to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions this year

By: Samaara George


Did you know that 80% of new year's resolutions actually fail? Most people start their year off with high hopes of accomplishing their goals but end up not fulfilling them. You may ask, how do you accomplish your goals then? This is the right place.


The biggest mistake people do is making too many resolutions for the year. They might be stuck on one and never get to the others. Try to make 1-3 resolutions that mean the most to you. Don’t rush when you are on this step because you have to look at a resolution that you can actually accomplish. Maybe it is something you want to stop doing or something new you want to start. For example, maybe you want to read more books or become more fit.


The most common new resolution is to lose weight or workout more. Once you have these goals in your head, write them down on a piece of paper, on your phone, or wherever you will see them the most. Psychology Professor Dr. Gail Matthews led a study that showed if you write down your goals, you are 42% more likely to accomplish them.


Focus on how to accomplish these goals and who can help you. For example, if you are trying to get a higher grade in one of your classes, you should do the homework, study for quizzes and tests, and maybe ask your parents or sibling for help.


Once you have written all these down think of someone who can keep you accountable. This person might be your parent, friend, or sibling. The person you choose must be somebody you trust and will help you reach your goal. This person should check-in with you every 1-2 weeks and see how you are doing with your goal.


Now that you know all the steps to accomplish a New Years Resolution, put your mind to it and go do it!

How to Solve A 3 by 3 Rubik’s Cube: The Ultimate Guide

By: Apoorva Rai


Types of Pieces

The first step to solving a Rubik’s cube is knowing what type of pieces there are, there are 3 different types of pieces. The pieces at the corners are called corner pieces, they have 3 different sides, which all have 3 different colors. The pieces between the corner pieces are called edge pieces, they have 2 different sides and have 2 different colors. The pieces at the center determine which color that specific side of the cube will be when it is completely solved. There are 6 center-pieces, one for each side and they do not move.


The Daisy

The first step in solving the 3x3 Rubik’s cube is making a daisy. You will have to play around with the cube a little for this part. The daisy (flower) has a yellow middle and white petals which eloquently represents the yellow centerpiece surrounded by 4 white edge pieces. The pieces that are around it will vary which is why they are in grey, the orange and blue pieces shown are just for reference and are center-pieces which will not move.


The White Cross

After you get the daisy, you notice the edge-pieces (petals of the daisy) have 2 colors. Make sure the daisy portion of your cube is facing up towards the ceiling and look at the area I have circled in orange in the picture above. The petal of the edge piece is right next to a center-piece, which is probably not matching for you as it is in the picture. We have to try to make the side of the “petal” the side that is most probably facing us if you make sure the daisy faces the ceiling, is the same color as the center-piece below it. To do that, you turn both of the bottom two layers to the right and check if the new color matches the color on the colored side of your “petal”.


If not then turn both layers to the right again, and again, until it does. Usually you will only have to do this 1-3 times. After you have matched the color of the petal and the center-piece you turn that whole side down two times.


Repeat this move for all the other petals, make sure you are turning the both the bottom layers at the same time or else this will not make a cross. To see the cross, you must flip your cube so that the yellow centerpiece is on the bottom and you will see the finished product.

Blast From the Past, Book Review

By: Zan Malan


Although last year was a bit crazy, some good came out of it. For example, we have two books from series that we all probably thought were done; the fifth book in the Twilight series, Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyers, and the prequel to the Hunger Games series, The Ballad of Songs and Snakes by Suzanne Collins.


The newest book in the Twilight series is the first book written from Edward's point of view. According to Time, “(Midnight Sun) is more complex, more sophisticated and less innocent than Twilight. Although it was Bella’s story that launched more than a decade’s worth of young adult sci-fi and dystopian heroines, it turns out the narrative power -- and compelling internal drama -- was on Edward’s side all along.”


Going further back in time, we get the prequel to the Hunger Games series, The Ballad of Songs and Snakes. From Seira Wilson, Amazon Book Review, “...The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place a decade after the war between the Districts and the Capitol, and even the "winning" side is still trying to recover.


For the tenth anniversary, the Head Gamemaker brings in students from the Academy to act as a mentor to each of the tributes, and one of these students is 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (President Snow when we met him in The Hunger Games). Snow gets assigned the girl tribute from District 12, an underdog to be sure, but Lucy Gray Baird is her own flavor of Katniss—very different in style and personality, but no less compelling. You want her to succeed. And I felt the same about Snow, who, while still arrogant and entitled, finds himself questioning the purpose of the Games and the treatment of the tributes.”


If you haven’t already read the Hunger Games series go read it and then read this book!

Dear Wildcat

By: Aditi Jethri Kompally


Dear Wildcat: I am have so much school work, but since I have been doing virtual school, I have been getting super lazy. I am even too lazy to organize my desk to make it neat and clean. Then I am further distracted by the clutter on my desk which only makes things worse. So what should I do?


-Lazy Lydia


Dear Lazy Lydia: It is difficult to be active when you are doing online schooling. I have similar problems. But don’t worry, I have some ideas that might work for you. Why don’t you set a specific time to clean, maybe on the weekend once you finish all your work and have no classes? You could write a reminder note to complete the task of organizing your desk once the school day is over so that you don’t need to spend a lot of time cleaning/organizing your desk later on.

__________


Dear Wildcat: I have a friend who is a virtual student but they never talked to me since school started because I am a hybrid student. I don’t know if I should call him because he might be busy or he doesn't like me anymore. I am starting to get paranoid and not doing any of my work. I want to know what I should do?


-Paranoid Pat


Dear Paranoid Pat: When you have time and are in a peaceful mind, try to call him or text him and see if he responds. If he doesn’t respond, wait for some time. Then try a second time, and if he still does not respond, then that might give you your answer. If you have a friend in common, you could try to get some insight from them as well.


__________


Dear Wildcat: There is a boy in my class who won’t stop talking. Whenever I talk to my teacher about it, she talks to him but the next day he does the same thing. I told him to stop too, but he will never listen to me or anyone else for that matter. I am so annoyed that I can’t even do my work in class, and since I am a hybrid student, it makes it a lot worse. So please help me see what I can do differently.


-Annoyed Abby


Dear Annoyed Abby: Why don’t you see if your teacher will let you switch seats with someone. Then if he still doesn’t stop, report this problem to the Principal or Dean and see if he stops and then leave it to the adults.

Netflix Shows To Watch If You’re Bored In Quarantine

By: Fiona Fortin


We have all been bored in quarantine and so sometimes Netflix is the answer. However, I always have trouble picking a show or movie to watch because I am rather picky about that kind of stuff. I did though, come across some great things to watch.


The first show I recommend is “Survivor." This show is about a group of people being divided up into two teams and going to a remote island where they must provide shelter, food, and fire for themselves. This show incorporates competitions and elimination nights to eventually have a winner. I have watched tons of seasons and this is truly one of my favorites. It is very exciting to watch!


The show, “Alexa and Katie” is also a great watch on Netflix. If you are looking for a new show, it has four seasons. It begins with two best friends, Alexa and Katie, going through high school together with ups and downs and drama in the middle. The show is always evolving and it never gets boring. If this sounds appealing, go watch it!


“Good Witch” will always be one of my all-time preferences! This show includes six seasons, and maybe even a seventh coming! It starts off with Cassie and her daughter, Grace, greeting their new neighbors Sam and his son to town. So much happens in between that always makes the show enjoyable. Now the title might deceive you--this isn’t a show revolving around witches. Quite frankly there are none in this show. Give “Good Witch” a try! It won’t disappoint.


“What a Girl Wants” is another great movie to watch. It’s an older film and came out in 2003. This movie is about a teenage girl who sets out to find her dad she has never met before. She goes to England and tries to fit in with her family, but it’s much harder than she thought. I love movies like these and they never get old!


If you want a break from original movies and shows, watch some great documentaries about people you love. I know Taylor Swift, Arianna Grande, Princess Diana, and Shawn Mendes have some very fascinating documentaries that you can watch.

Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid--The Getaway

By: Abhiram Gadde


Greg Heffley and his family are getting out of town. With the cold weather and the stress of the approaching holiday season, they decided to escape to a tropical island resort for some much-needed rest and relaxation. A few days in paradise should do wonders for Greg and his busy family, but the Heffleys soon discover Paradise isn't everything that it's supposed to be. A case of food poisoning and some venomous critters threaten to ruin the family's vacation. Can they make what’s left of their vacation worth it or will this Island Getaway end up in disaster?


The book Diary of a Wimpy Kid is amazing because it has a mix of comedy and adventure. The book is written by Jeff Kinney and it is full of hysterical events throughout it. If you like the Diary of the Wimpy Kid series, then this book is for you!

History of corsets is a mix of myths and facts

By: Rebecca Borlace


Corsets, the infamous tools of women’s oppression from the 1800s. I’m sure we’ve all seen them at one time, but how much of what we know about corsets is historically accurate?


Corsets have been said to cause fainting, poor digestion, shift organs, cancer, scoliosis, the list goes on. So if corsets are so dangerous, why did people still wear them?


Well, there’s no concrete evidence that corsets are the cause of all these side effects. Fainting was an old trick that women used to use to get out of awkward situations. Corsets did, however, cause poor digestion, shift organs, and eventually weaken the back muscles--though not to the point where it would endanger the wearer’s life. Even the claims of cancer and scoliosis have been proven to occur because of other causes.


In the article, Did 18th Century Corsets Really Kill Women?, by Ross Pomeroy, says that Dr. Rebecca Gibson, a Visiting Assistant Professor in anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, "found that the average corseted waist size was 22 inches, which is positively tiny compared to the average female waist size in England or America today – roughly 32-35 inches. But consider that just fifty years ago, the average female waist size in the U.S. was a mere 24-25 inches.”


Dr. Gibson also found that while researching, bodies that showed signs of having worn corsets regularly typically live longer than those who don’t.


So if corsets weren’t painful enough to kill a person, why do many people think that they are? Well, the claims aren’t entirely false. Recent photographs show that corsets that were tied too tight or don’t fit the wearer perfectly can alter the bone structure of the wearer, even occasionally bending the ribcage.


One of the main contributors to corset’s bad reputation is the years of criticism. Wearing corsets had been looked down upon by many ever since the era of tight-lacing. However it only really turned into a debate in the19th century when more and more women started speaking out and writing letters to newspapers expressing their views on corsetry, some good, some bad.