Solution against gun violence appears counterproductive



Following the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) just a few short weeks ago, government officials are left with the task of preventing an incident like this from occurring ever again. While I believe that the most efficient solution would be stricter gun control laws, there have been other solutions proposed by concerned parents and legislators alike. Some suggest there be metal detectors placed in schools, others want more security personnel present. Although some of these solutions have controversy associated with them, none is worse than the idea of arming teachers.

This idea has been proposed before by National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary back in 2012, LaPierre stated, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” However, this cannot be further from the truth. According to Vox, a study, led by a Boston University School of Public Health researcher, found that, “1 percent increase in gun ownership correlated with a 0.9 percent rise in the firearm homicide rate at the state level.” This suggests that the more people that have guns, the higher the gun death rate. With this research in mind, why would anyone think that arming teachers is an intelligent strategy?

Moreover, there has already been a case where a teacher who was armed fired shots in his classroom and barricaded himself inside for about 45 minutes. This report coming from NBC News stated that the teacher was in custody, but luckily no students were harmed. If events like this can happen only weeks after a mass shooting, some students may not feel safe knowing that there is a gun inside their classroom. In addition to the possible distractions the thought may cause while a student is trying to learn, there is also the frightening possibility that a student may get their hands on it, and another tragedy can occur.

Adding on to safety issues, there is also the obstacle of obtaining proper funding. There are schools all across America that have worn out textbooks, unreliable technology and insufficient supplies for the students. The government claims they cannot afford to help these schools, and are constantly cutting the budget for education. However, I hope the people in power realize that paying for teachers to take classes on how to handle a firearm and providing a firearm for each teacher will cost a large sum of money, money that they claim “not to have”.  Instead of spending all of this money to bring more guns into schools, why not invest in modern school supplies to make life easier for both teachers and students?

Lastly, a teacher’s main job is to teach. That is what they go to college to learn how to do. That is all they should be required to do. Teachers have enough trouble meeting the standards of the school boards, dealing with troubled children and whatever they may be going through in their personal lives. They have enough stress on their plate, and adding the responsibility of knowing how to operate a firearm, and having one in class is too much to add.

There is no doubt in my mind that many teachers will do whatever it takes to protect their students. That heroism was demonstrated by the teachers and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Feb. 14. There are so many ways to train teachers to avoid these situations that do not involve more guns in the classroom. Teachers should be trained to detect characteristics of possible mental health problems with their students and know how to handle them accordingly. Although there were many factors that contributed to the shooting at MSD, the main problem was an AR-15. Clearly, putting more guns in school is not beneficial for students or teachers alike.

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Dancing at Disney renews passion


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When I was a little girl, I obsessed over anything Disney-related. I would sit in front of my television screen for hours, watching different movies of princesses, adventures and talking inanimate objects, wanting to be part of that magical world. This past December, I was finally given that opportunity through my love of dance and performing.

On Dec. 15, along with 11 other girls from my studio, Meg Segreto’s Dance Centre, I flew from Fort Lauderdale International Airport to Orlando, to perform at Disney. I didn’t know what to expect from the experience at first; I had been to dance conventions before and even performed in some, but never had it been in a place that meant so much to me.

The next day, my three roommates and I woke up at 6 a.m. We were instructed by our teachers that we needed full performance attire for our dance workshop. From past years, I knew that workshops were taught by very experienced professionals, but when I met my teacher, I was shocked beyond belief. Our instructor, who went by Claire, was not only experienced in many verses of dance, but she was a Disney dancer. Throughout our three-hour workshop, I discovered that she performed daily at Magic Kingdom in the Palace Show just in front of the castle. Beyond the fact that her career was mind-blowing to me, she was incredibly sweet and her love for all things Disney, like my own, was vivid. She taught us a typical audition piece for Disney dancers; one they must master and perform if they wish to be in certain shows. We had a mock audition piece. Of the group, I was one of the few who was asked questions, such as if I was claustrophobic or if I had ever partnered before, and received a mock call-back, being able to perform the piece again. Getting this type of attention really developed my confidence because I aspire to go into this performing field when I’m older; the fact that I was recognized and chosen out of my group fuels my belief that I can have a chance of success in this industry.

Following our audition piece, Claire sat the group down and asked us basics about performance resumes. I learned a lot from this session, like what an appropriate headshot looks like and what information to exclude from your resume, such as your age. I found this very helpful as I have had to submit artistic resumes these past few months for auditions into colleges’ arts programs.

During the last hour of the workshop, Claire taught our group a second piece, one that Disney dancers would learn and perform in the parks. When the dance was completed, Claire surprised us by informing us we would be performing both the dance we just learned with the audition piece for a small audience. Initially, I thought that was surprise enough, but when we were already in position, the house lights went dim, pink stage lights lit up, and the magical Disney voice began to speak, counting us down to begin. However, nothing compared to my shock when four seconds into our routine, Goofy popped out from a side door and began to do the dance with us. I was a backup dancer for Goofy! This was definitely the highlight of that day, topping an amazing trip to Magic Kingdom that afternoon.

The following morning, my group and I went to Disney Springs and walked around the plaza for a couple of hours before we needed to get ready to perform. I remember walking past the stage hours before the performance, and at that time it was empty; it wasn’t when we performed.

After a nice provided lunch, my friends and I went back to our bus and were taken to a behind-the-scenes dancing station just outside of Disney Springs. At the trailer location were three dancing studios and a bathroom. Here, we prepped for our performance by warming up and applying finishing touches to our look: adding firetruck red lipstick to our mouths, putting earrings the size of dimes in our ears and putting on the infamous Rockette costumes we would be performing in. For months in advance, my dance group and I had been practicing Rockette style dances and kick lines to be ready to perform for friends, family and Disney-goers who had a piqued interest in our act.

When we were brought back by bus to Disney Springs, heads were turning. Even in Disney, it’s not every day you see children waltzing around in reindeer and Rockette Santa get-ups. The instructor of the program brought us to the stage, a harem of visitors following our line, and allowed us to pass behind the curtain. At that time, they let us know we had ten minutes before show time; this was when I put on my silver-sprayed heels and set up my glittering headpieces for my quick changes.

Overall, the performance was spectacular. My knees were buckling before I had taken the stage, but once we were all in position and the music to our first of three dances began to play, all my nerves dissipated, and I put on a brave smile, allowing myself to do what I do best: dance. Every dance was executed without flaw, not one person kicking out (a term designated for the action of a dancer kicking at the wrong time in a precision piece.) Though the sunlight partially blinded me, I could see all the people’s faces alight with the joy my dancing was bringing them. Several people took their phones out and were recording the dances to be watched over and over again in the future, a memory to last a lifetime. I helped make someone’s Disney experience with my beloved talent.

Reflecting on this experience, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I had the time of my life, doing what I love most in the world, in my favorite place in the world, while providing people with the feeling that simply is Disney. This experience helped me build my confidence in multiple ways by allowing me to get out of my shell an express my utmost affections for the art I’ve come to call home. I find myself almost jealous now at the fact that I am graduating and will not be able to participate in this opportunity again with my studio; however, I say almost because I’m excited for those who are stepping up into the space I leave to have this experience.

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In My Opinion: Stages of grief result in feelings of acceptance



There is a saying that goes: “If a tree falls in the forest, but there is no one there to hear it, did it even make a noise?” We all think that it did, due to the simple laws of physics, but what if in that moment, the exact second that large, bulky chunk of wood hit the floor, all laws we are so convinced to be true, didn’t apply? What if the tree fell like a feather, weightless, and there was no one there to see it. Would we start questioning everything we believe in? Would it even change

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In My Opinion: Fear of new president fueled by media



As I scroll through the home page of the New York Times, I can’t help but think that the United States is rooting against itself. No one has ever gone to war hoping to lose, yet, that is what many Americans are doing regarding Donald Trump’s presidency.

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In My Opinion: Society fails to respect teachers



Most people have one teacher who has impacted their life in such an extreme way that they will never forget them. It is rare to find someone who cannot name at least one teacher who went the extra mile to help them, brought excitement into lesson plans or simply was always there if anyone needed to talk about anything. Teachers spend more time with students than most parents do, and undoubtedly make an impact in this time spent with the kids.

It is my senior year in high school and with college just around the corner the biggest question I seem to be getting is “what do you want to study?” When I say that I want to be a teacher, the response I receive is not as pleasant as it should be. I get bombarded with doubts: “they get paid nearly nothing,” “the school board treats them poorly,” “are you going to be able to tolerate the kids” and most upsettingly “why don’t you study something with math or science?” Receiving an education is the single most important factor in living a successful life, and although it is deserved, teachers do not receive the respect that should come with the vitality of education.

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In My Opinion: Kaepernick brings light to racism



In the past two months, one of the nation’s biggest headlines has been San Francisco 49ers’ backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who, in protest of racial injustice, has not stood for the National Anthem before games.

Kaepernick, along with fellow NFL players who have joined his movement, has received every response imaginable for his continued action, ranging from praise to hateful condemnation.

But the hatred has overshadowed the support.

According to ESPN, a poll by E-Poll Marketing Research recently named Kaepernick the NFL’s most disliked player. The social justice activist beat out alleged rapist Jameis Winston by a margin of 7 percent. The top five was rounded out by Ndamukong Suh, who has been fined multiple times for dangerously violent play; Tom Brady, an accused cheater; and Ben Roethlisberger, another accused rapist.

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In My Opinion: Life should not revolve around social media



One year ago, I made a social mistake that changed my life forever.

I thought I was invincible. I thought I could say whatever I wanted to without offending others, or people seeing and realizing it’s about them. I thought there were no consequences as to what I said, regardless of how other people felt. This overpowering feeling, this feeling of superiority and pride, was the reason I was brought down.

One year ago, I applied for an officer position for a club in which I had been active member — and a previous officer of — for all of high school. I did all the work I was asked to do and knew that I would be able to handle a second term. I was passionate and charismatic and I thought those characteristics alone would take me far.

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Opinion: Religion should not serve as bias

morgan comiteBY MORGAN COMITE


Marilyn Monroe, one of most celebrated actresses, was Jewish. The champion boxer, Mike Tyson, converted to Islam. Actor, Kevin Bacon, is an Atheist. But do we know these people for what religion they believe in? We recognize these people as who they are, not what they believe in.

According to Merriam-Webster, religion is the “belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power.” Because religion has always been a part of the world, it is the foundation of our very existence; however, this should not define a person. It does not guarantee success, good moral character, or level of intelligence. It is a belief, a preference, which is solely ones choice.

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Opinion: College decision letters should be kept traditional



On Dec. 16, 2015, I sat in Starbucks while studying for my government midterm anxiously awaiting my decision from my dream school, Boston College. The school released on Twitter that they would be delivering acceptance letters through email and as I saw the open tab on my computer change from “Inbox – 0” to “Inbox – 1,” I knew my future was here.

For the last four years, seniors have been preparing for college decisions nationwide and even worldwide. The college application process — which really begins freshman year — is stressful. All the work that we have completed, all the grades we received, and all the finals and midterms we take come to a decision we receive through an email or through an online status check. These results can be generated in seconds.

In a technological era, we are infatuated with the idea of getting our admissions decisions as fast as possible, rather than waiting. Back when my parents were applying to colleges 30 years ago, they had to wait for the admissions letter to come in the mail. Now when I receive my letter, while beautiful, it is not as special because I already checked my decision online.

Because online decisions have been more common, I do not know, and will never know, what it will be like finding my decision through a letter. I always have seen scenes in movies and television where high school seniors will open a letter with anticipation finding out whether they have been accepted or rejected from their dream school. While opening an email may not be as special as ripping open a letter from the mailbox, I’m sure my heart sank just as much as seniors’ hearts sank a couple years ago.

It is inevitable that college decisions will be released online now and in the next few years, and many schools have made this change. Boston College, for example, began emailing decisions this year. Up until last year, the school decided to stay traditional and send all admissions decisions through the mail. Vanderbilt University sent some regular decisions straight through the mail rather than through an online portal. State schools such as the University of Florida and Florida State University sent admissions decisions through an online portal saying “Congratulations! You have been accepted” with the rest of the information coming through the letter in weeks to come.

Online college decisions may not be as exciting, but a decision is still so. I have still been accepted to every single school I applied to so far. Each time, I jumped and screamed and cried just like any other high school senior would have regardless of where he or she saw the decision.

No matter how a decision is released, whether online, through email, or through the post office, an admission decision is something to be proud of — regardless of the result. Never will I forget the moment I opened up my PDF’d letter from Boston College saying, “I am delighted to offer you admission to Boston College,” and while I’m not going there, that feeling is one I will always remember.

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In My Opinion: Senioritis is inevitable after years of stress



I’m not much of a runner, but I’ve been competing in the longest marathon of my life: high school. As I reach the last semester of my senior year, I see the finish line glistening less than a mile ahead of me, I can hear the cheers of those waiting to see me finish and yet even with such a short distance left, I know it’s not over. I know that these last few yards still matter, but why do I have to run to get there? After three and a half years of working as hard as I possibly could, why is it so bad to walk the rest of the way?

A couple months ago, I was accepted into my dream school, Northwestern University, early decision. Ever since my acceptance, countless friends and family members have asked when I’m going to stop studying for tests and completing my homework. I thought I would never fall victim to the senioritis plague, but every time I crack open a textbook to study for one of the many assessments I have every week, I can’t feel the same motivation that I used to in school. It’s not that I don’t care about my grades anymore, but after three and a half years of endless studying and minimal hours of sleep, there’s not much fuel left in my tank to give my last semester of high school my all.

Now I’m not saying that every senior should get senioritis and I am certainly not encouraging it. However, I think that senioritis is a normal and healthy reaction to years of pressure to build the perfect college resume. Balancing loads of AP classes with extracurricular activities certainly can put a strain on any student.

As more AP and AICE classes are added to the Bay’s curriculum, the stress that students face has built up, and the need for time to relax becomes even more prevalent. A 2009 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that nearly half of all teens, about 45 percent, said they were stressed by school pressures. In fact, high school teens have been reported to feel more stressed out than adults. According to “The Huffington Post” while adults rate their stress at a 5.1 on a 10-point scale, teens rate their stress levels at 5.8, which far exceeds the healthy stress level of 3.9.

The amount of stress put on students makes catching senioritis inevitable. It is also reported that 31 percent of teens report feeling overwhelmed as a result of stress, 30 percent say that they feel sad or depressed as a result of stress, and 36 percent report feeling tired or fatigued because of stress.

Of course it is important for seniors to not give up completely. They should still work to pass all the of their classes so that they can maintain their college acceptances and graduate. Seniors shouldn’t just give up on their classes completely and stop doing homework; however, they should spend less time stressing about school and more time enjoying their last few months of high school before they have to leave for college. These last few months should be a time for self-reflection for seniors. It should be a time to avoid the stress of high school while still putting in some effort to get passing grades in their classes.

As I reach the finish line and finish my last few months of high school, I’ve realized that what is most important is being proud of the work that I’ve done. I know not to let senioritis make all those years go to waste; yet I know it’s okay if I don’t put in all of my effort when finishing the rest of high school. It’s been a hard race to run, but I know that even if I walk the rest of the way, I’ll have my head held high and look back on a race I was proud to run.

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