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Schedule Change

Writer: AJ Powell Editor: Maili Skollar

Is the Old Schedule Returning Too Soon?

At last, the old schedule of previous years is finally making its return in line with the criticisms of students and teachers alike. Among the disadvantages of the current schedule: there is the uncertainty of Fridays, the biweekly 5-day gap between seeing B-day teachers, and it being unfamiliar to the older students. Even though those particular problems are solved, one still must ask, is the old schedule returning too soon?

As known from hearing positive reactions in each class told about the change and from having interviewed a dozen students, most of the student population is either for or at least indifferent to the change. Despite the majority of 10th-12th graders being in favor of the old schedule, there are several caveats to the return of the old schedule at the beginning of the second semester.

One of the positive things that came from the new schedule, as Miriam Zetina, an 11th grader notes is that it benefits students who have jobs since it gives them a clearer schedule to work around. For example, what classes they must study and what homework to do. The utility of this beforehand knowledge of when classes will be couldn’t be more apparent for the computer science teacher. Ms. Khan, who will not be able to continue teaching here because her schedule interferes with her other job. The schedule doesn’t allow her to get to her work on some Tuesdays and Thursdays, subsequently preventing her from continuing to work at Riverwood.

Miriam also went on to say that “Changing things in the middle is going to make it seem kind of like a joke”, which couldn’t be more true since in a way the abruptness of the return makes it look as though the school wasn’t committed to its original decision and/or did not think it through sufficiently to the cost of potential student stress; but more tangibly, the change would directly bring financial hardship for some students and staff.

Perhaps the worst part of the change will be the effect that the new schedule will have on 9th graders who are only used to this schedule. Of course, it would not take too much conscious effort to conform to the new schedule, but it could potentially throw off the subconscious “flow” which most students get into later in the school year as they complete projects and prepare for assessments.

In all, the shift back to the old schedule is an overall welcome change by most of the student body, but it would be better suited to come at the beginning of a new school year as opposed to changing the structure of the schedule midway throughout the year.

Paris Peace Accord

Writer: Sahil Bashir Editor: Lauren Cohn

President Trump has surely had his moments. From declaring to build the wall along Mexico to the Russian investigation, Trump’s presidency is a spectacle to behold. However, his latest plan as president is quite a shock to environmentalists everywhere.

Trump has decided to remove the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. Signed by President Obama in April 2016, the Paris Agreement is a plan to deal with climate change through the decrease of carbon emissions and heat-trapping gasses.The goal is to keep the average world temperature from increasing more than two degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Corbin gasses can come from a variety of sources such as vehicles, factories, power plants, etc. Every country has signed the agreement, even isolated countries such as North Korea and Syria. Mike Pompeo, the United States Secretary of State, attempted to justify the action, explaining that this the Paris Agreement is an “unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses and taxpayers.”

There is still one complication that Trump must face. Due to the fact that it will take 12 months for the United States to officially leave the treaty, and Trump’s term ends in less time than that, he must be re-elected as president before he can officially carry through. Because of this, if another candidate is elected, they can easily rejoin the agreement.

Former Vice President Al Gore, now a global warming activist, has made comments on the event, as well as how the US has been keeping up with their half of the agreement. According to Gore, “… the US will not only meet but exceed the commitments it made under the Paris agreement.” He also praised the agreement, stating that “The Paris Agreement was a fantastic and historic breakthrough-every nation in the world committed to go to net zero global warming pollution by mid-century.”

So, what does this all mean for the United States and its people? On the one hand, the Paris Agreement is an amazing call to action against climate change. On the other hand, as long as the US continues to uphold their own against the issue, there should not be any problems. It seems that the future of America’s involvement in this global initiation is, at the moment, unknown.

Be The Voice Campaign

Writer: Tanvi Kulkarni Editor: Rachel Cohn

From the late 1900s, high schools in young adult movies have signed the petition to manifest an exaggerated version of the U.S. education system. Over time, however, the once distinct line between real life high school and the one in the movies has become blurred. Among the several things that they share, something that stands out is the distinct social cliques. From Mean Girls, High School Musical to the latest movies on Netflix, the one thing that is common in all high schools is the lack of diversity in social cliques.

The cliques shown in the movies have made their way into the American High Schools making them even more like the aforementioned exaggerations in the movies. Just like in any other High School, Riverwood has developed its own very distinct and noticeable cliques. These said “friend groups” have created walls among the students. Walls that are too tenacious to break and too opaque to permit any interaction. Students have stopped getting out of their comfort zones and decided to stay in their original bubbles. This leads to situations where two classmates of two different cliques can go on without having any self-initiated interaction for the whole year.

Such distinct cliques have defied one of the very important factors of self-development: flexible social interactions. One of the important reasons for going to school, instead of being home-schooled, is that you get to meet people with diverse personalities and learn to interact with them. With rigid cliques, students have not only refused to interact with diverse people but have refused to acknowledge them all together.

These cliques seem harmless on the surface, but if you penetrate deeper, you will find where the toxicity brews. Social cliques end up being gossip hubs and places that initiate maximum assumptions or rumors about other students. These assumptions/rumors have become the core reasons for so many social issues (possibly) including bullying.

To reduce the humongous risk factors of rigid social cliques, the school has taken it upon themselves to break the walls to recreate the once friendly and diverse learning environment. Our principal, Ms. Kendra Smith, has taken it as her personal responsibility to form a sense of unity among the students. The teachers have joined the petition, creating clubs and social activities that help create unity and spread kindness. Examples of these groups are Students Against Destructive Decisions, Be the Voice Campaign and The No Place for Hate club. These student-based organizations that have the motive of spreading unity and kindness and are trying their hardest to achieve that goal.

The Be the Voice Campaign, the ongoing talk among the students, is a video-based campaign attempting to create a relatively clique-free environment. “‘Be the Voice’ campaign has attempted a ‘Life Saver’ activity and plans on executing more of such programs,” says Sra. Benitez, the sponsor for the organization. The “Life Saver” activity was an attempt to break down the cliques where they appear to be the most distinct: in the cafeteria. It was an attempt to mix up the students in the cafeteria, motivating them to interact with each other. The event was moderately successful and according to Sra. Benitez, students were easily able to create interesting and casual conversations with each other.

If we can talk to each other so easily when given a slight push, why do we stay so reluctant to step out of our comfort zones? “It is all about taking the first step,” said Sra. Benitez. The students are responsible for taking the first step towards forming friendships. These friendships help us grow into better human beings. In a world so diverse, it is crucial to meet different kinds of people and to be able to communicate comfortably with them. Maybe someone you just met will turn into a close friend.

So, the next time your teacher tells you to get into groups, step out of your comfort zone and pair up with someone you don’t know a lot about. Friendships form with these baby steps. We are not like the high school in Mean Girls or High School Musical, this is real life, and a real school, where race or social status does not bind us from forming friendships.

Athletic Signings

Writers: Jonah Glenn and Mat Fluker Editor: Mat Fluker

Wednesday, November 13th began the first of many collegiate signings for some of the nation’s finest athletes. Many of the top prospects declared their commitment to a college, eager to make an impact as they did on the high school level. This exclusive group included a few of Riverwood’s top tier student-athletes. This group included: Chase Engelhard – Tulane University (Baseball), Jason Miller – East Georgia State College (Baseball), Josh Peljovich – Colby College (Baseball), Davis Esslinger – Lafayette College (Tennis), Jadaja Baxter – University of South Florida – (Track), Kaylah Jackson – Austin Peay – (Volleyball). The excited signees were applauded by the full RICS auditorium at 9:00 am on Wednesday, November 13, as they were individually called up on stage.

On the stage, after applause ceased, they greeted Athletic Director Mike Mezzio and from there were asked questions about their high school experience and college hopes. Questions like: What will you be majoring in? Or what was your favorite high school sports moment? The athletes answered with ease and upon further applause from the crowd, they walked across the stage and into a new chapter of their young careers. Congratulations to all of the athletes!

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