Local Businesses Struggle
The Local Candidates
Students Behind the
Separation: The Effects
23 MAD LIBS
Mad Libs: Political Edition
Politics in the Social
LHS Hosts Events to
Engage Student Body
Divisiveness in American
Politics is Nothing New
Unity and Division
Social Conditioning and
the Gender Divide
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Contents by Olivia Poell
Cover Illustration by Dimitrios Mitsopoulos
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2 DROPS OF INK
Seeking Our Own Political
Voices, Not Those of Our
WHO WE ARE
Drops of Ink is a student-written, edited and
produced high school publication. Our publication
functions as a service to the school and greater
community of Libertyville, first and foremost delivering
open-minded, informative content that is
relevant to our readership. While not our primary
motive, Drops of Ink also looks to provide entertainment
to our audience. We aim to challenge
readers to see different perspectives and gain
knowledge of the world around us.
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Molly Muscatio Paige Vang
THE ORIGINAL INFLUENCERS
DOG ADOPTIONS INCREASE DURING PANDEMIC
NOT BE UP FOR
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DEPEND ON IT
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4 DROPS OF INK
DROPS OF INK 5
Over the course of a three-day period in
early October, 374 LHS students participated
in a “Mock Presidential Election” sponsored by
Drops of Ink. This survey revealed that 75.4% of
participants voted in favor of Democratic presidential
candidate Joseph R. Biden and his running
mate, Senator Kamala D. Harris. Republican
presidential candidate and current President
of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and his
Vice President, Michael R. Pence, received 19.8%
of the participants’ votes. Beyond the baseline
presidential vote in the mock election, the
survey also revealed certain differences in how
various demographics within LHS voted.
Information to Note
This survey does not reflect the beliefs or demographics of all
LHS students, just the 21% who chose to participate in the survey.
Furthermore, about twice as many females responded to this
survey as males.
Consistency Among Classes
The grade level with the greatest amount of participation was
the junior class, which made up 28.2% of the total vote. The senior
class lagged close behind, making up 27.9% of the vote. The freshmen
and sophomore classes made up the remaining 43.9% of the
vote. Voting trends were similar among each of the classes. Each
grade level overwhelmingly supported former Vice President Joe
Biden with limited support for President Trump.
The Gender Gap
Ninety-five percent of the gender distribution from the survey
was made up of males and females. Of these males, 50.4% were in
favor of Joe Biden, with Trump garnering 37.8% of their vote. The
other 11.8% of males voted for third-party candidates. These figures
are a far cry from the trends of the 2016 presidential election,
in which 52% of men voted in favor of Trump while 41% voted for
former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary R. Clinton, as noted
by NPR. On the flip side, 88.1% of female participants in the LHS
survey favored Biden over Trump. As noted by election polls from
NPR and the Pew Research Center, women typically vote in favor of
the Democratic candidate for president.
Students who identified as heterosexual voted 70.4% in favor of
Biden and 24.9% in favor of Trump. Meanwhile, 93.8% of students
who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community supported Biden. Just
3.1% of those in this same demographic favored Trump. Members
of the LGBTQ+ community typically vote for Democratic
candidates in major elections. For example, 78% of the LGBTQ+
community voted Democrat in the 2016 Presidential election,
according to NBC News. One factor that may be the cause of
these trends is the condemnation of the Supreme Court ruling
Obergefell v. Hodges in the Republican party platform. The
aforementioned case guranteed the right to marry for same-sex
couples in 2015.
White students -- who made up 72.5% of all voters -- supported
Biden’s candidacy by an overwhelming majority of 73.1%.
The support for Trump among this same demographic was 22.5%.
These percentages were close in proximity to those of the overall
presidential vote. Non-white students -- 27.5% of the total
voter base -- leaned more heavily towards the Democratic side,
with 83.5% of students from this demographic voting for Biden.
Support for Trump among non-white students was nearly half of
that of white students, at 11.8%. The voting trends of non-white
students reflected the results of the 2016 presidential election, in
which racial minorities leaned in favor of Clinton.
Liam Tucker also contributed to this story.
LHS HOSTS EVENTS TO ENGAGE STUDENT BODY
Ariella Bucio Amal Hasan
E-learning has not stopped LHS from encouraging school spirit
and bringing students together during these confined times.
Either through Zoom or carefully monitored in-person events, students
have been able to express their school spirit while getting to
reconnect with their peers.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated health risks and
restrictions, the usual homecoming festivities could not happen this
year. Junior Paige Bleck, a member on the Student Council executive
board, shared that instead of the usual homecoming week, Student
Council decided to do a “homecoming month.”
Toward the start of this, instead of an in-person assembly, this
year it was virtual. There was an announcement video for each day of
the week featuring cheer, choir, poms, guy poms and marching band.
Prior to the assembly videos, there was a senior drive-in movie,
where a large screen was set up in the back parking lot and students
were invited to watch “High School Musical” from their cars.
Hot chocolate, popcorn and goody bags were given to those who
During the event, the homecoming court was announced.
“I definitely think it’s just been super fun to get back to kind of
semi-normal in a safe way, and the school is allowing us to do that,”
said Annalese Chudy, a senior on the homecoming court.
Because this was an in-person event, many precautions were
taken in order to keep students and staff safe. Andrea Lara, a coadvisor
for Student Council, stated, “Lots and lots of attention was
put into how far the cars were parked and how many kids could be
in a car. The fact that we can still be outdoors, we know that that
makes it even safer, and everyone is in a mask.”
Similar safety precautions were taken at the in-person events
that followed the senior drive-in. These events included Homecoming
window painting, senior handprints and the reverse parade.
“[Window painting] was actually really successful,” Bleck said. “It felt
like how it would usually feel, which was nice.”
A few days later, Student Council gave seniors the chance to leave
Senior Jane Arnold, wearing a can costume to promote the canned food
drive, hands off a Student Council souvenir at the Homecoming drivethrough
Senior Cate Sanders signs and leaves her handprint on the mural wall
dedicated to Class of 2021 seniors.
their handprints and signatures on the wall outside the new dance
studio and multipurpose room building, where the old pool used to
Amanda Comeaux, another co-advisor for Student Council,
explained how the mural of handprints would be like a time capsule
for the class of 2021 because they are intended to last as a memory
to look back on.
On Saturday, Oct. 10, the original date of the homecoming dance, a
reverse parade was set up at LHS. Around 19 clubs and sports teams
were assigned a space around the school campus and anyone from
the community was welcome to drive by.
After these homecoming festivities, there are still more events in
the making. To kick off the yearly canned food drive, the junior class
is hosting a “trunk or treat” event on Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.
This will allow kids from the community to go trick-or-treating on
the LHS campus with an entry fee of canned goods.
Mrs. Comeaux explained that this is a very important event for
people in need: “Especially during this time when a lot of people have
been hit, we find that it’s a really important time and event to collect
food and help support our community.”
According to Ms. Lara, another Halloween-related event being
planned is the pumpkin walk, which will take place on the same day
as the “trunk or treat” event. There will be a pumpkin carving contest
and students will bring their pumpkins to school to light them up
with glow sticks. The students will then get to see the pumpkins all
lined up as it gets dark and maybe even have the fire pits at Butler
“We keep bringing up the phrase ‘Stand Together,’ and that’s really
just what we want to do,” Bleck said. “We want to bring everyone
together. We want to make LHS feel like home again, and I feel like
we’re just doing the best we can to make everyone feel like we are
still LHS, we are still Wildcats, we are still one.”
6 DROPS OF INK
LOCAL BUSINESSES STRUGGLE BUT SURVIVE
Ellie George Kate Barry
The Liberty Restaurant has drawn back many of their regular customers with abundant
outdoor seating. They utilized their large parking lot to create this new space.
Since the shutdown of restaurants and retailers in March due to CDC guidelines
in response to COVID-19, most American businesses -- particularly small businesses
-- have taken a hit, including those in Libertyville.
Heavily relying on foot traffic and walk-ins, many downtown Libertyville shops
had to dramatically adapt and change their business tactics to be successful in this
new world of social distancing. Without having a blueprint for managing a global
pandemic, the small business community has been under a lot of pressure.
“It started off rough,” executive director Jennifer Johnson of Mainstreet Libertyville
explained. “We didn’t really know how to approach it at first.”
This was the case for businesses across the country. According to the U.S. Census
Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey conducted on August 20, 83.5% of the local
food sector and retail businesses experienced a negative impact from COVID-19. In
addition, 51.4% of those business owners surveyed have the expectation that it will
take more than six months for their business to return to normal.
These numbers can seem alarming and discouraging, but Johnson said local residents,
aware of how businesses have been impacted, have tried to help Libertyville
businesses: “With having such a tight-knit community, our local businesses were
[relatively] lucky, even though the numbers don’t show that.”
Donations through the Mainstreet Libertyville website became more popular
during quarantine, Johnson said. She said many people got together and donated
available money to local businesses to help pay employees as well as for other costs.
In addition, the Lake County Small Business Recovery Grant Program was developed
Businesses could apply to see if they were eligible
to receive grants to cover occupancy costs and other
related expenses. Proof of severe loss of revenue and
business was required to apply. If accepted, businesses
received money to cover up to four months of
mortgage, rent and utilities costs.
Johnson went on to describe the different efforts
Libertyville restaurants and retailers took to “stay alive”
“All shops downtown had to find their advantage,”
she explained. “Outdoor seating, online orders, curbside
pickup, catering menus. Everyone had to change
aspects of their businesses in order to stay afloat.”
Restaurants like O’Tooles and The Liberty utilized
their large outdoor areas and patio to seat people
outside. This allowed for social distancing and more
For The Liberty, a manager who asked for her name
not to be used explained that the idea of using a big
tent in their parking lot “was pretty obvious, honestly.
We have [such] a big parking lot that wasn’t being
used. It really helped business and we got to see our
With the main crowd of The Liberty being older, a
population at higher risk for COVID-19, getting those
customers back was more difficult than for some
other restaurants downtown.
“Making everyone feel safe and comfortable was
our top priority,” she explained.
Other restaurants, including Mickey Finn’s and
Cluckers, adapted their takeout and catering menus
to fit a family-style meal.
Junior Jasmine Seay is a hostess at Milwalky
Taco, and explained their new QR code menus: “We
changed the menus to QR codes to keep [everything]
sanitized,” she said.
Customers are given a slip at their table that they
can scan with their cell phone cameras, and it shows
them the menu on their phones. This significantly
reduces the amount of cleaning and sanitizing that
Milwalky Taco would have to do with reusable menus.
“We take the virus [very] seriously. Our workers are
all safe about what we are doing outside of work as
well,” Seay explained. “It’s a little stressful, but our customers
are [pretty] understanding and for the most
part follows the rules. That’s all we can really ask for.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused lots of
small businesses to change the way they operate,
including those in the downtown Libertyville area,
Johnson explained that the main factor that kept so
many local businesses open was “the undeniable and
consistent support from the people of Libertyville.
We couldn’t have done it without them.”
The Local Candidates
This election, Lake County voters have the chance to weigh in on 15 ballot items. They can vote on the president, legislators, judicial
retention, countywide offices, a state constitutional amendment and the potential merging of two offices. Here is a rundown of a few
of the choices voters get to make. Unless otherwise stated, all quotes are taken from the candidates’ campaign websites.
Fair Tax Amendment
This proposed amendment would grant Illinois the ability to set a graduated tax rate. Currently, Illinois has a flat tax rate of
4.95%. In a graduated tax system, different income levels can be taxed at different rates. If the amendment passes and the
Democrats’ initial plan is enacted, the first $10,000 of income will be taxed at a rate of 4.75%, with successive income taxed at a
higher rate, until income beyond $1 million will be taxed at a rate of 7.95%. Those rates can be changed with future legislation.
Supporters of the Fair Tax Amendment believe it creates a more fair tax system. Illinois has a large state debt and deficit, and
they believe the Fair Tax Amendment would allow Illinois to raise more funds without increasing taxes on those most in need.
They cite that, initially, taxes will not go up on the first $250,000 of income. Opponents point out that the new tax rates aren’t
necessarily permanent. If the amendment passes, legislators will be able to raise taxes on those with higher incomes again. They
believe the amendment will inevitably lead to higher taxes on the majority of Illinois citizens and hurt the economy.
Richard J Durbin Jr. (D)
Richard “Dick” Durbin has represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate
since 1996. The second-ranking Democratic member in the
Senate, Durbin has fought to “defend and build on the Affordable
Care Act.” Durbin prioritizes creating jobs and fostering
economic growth in Illinois. He introduced the Dream Act into
the Senate in 2001, which protects the legal status of Dreamers,
and introduced the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice
reform bill signed into law in 2018. Durbin is the incumbent.
Mark C Curran Jr. (R)
Mark C. Curran Jr. is running for the Senate for the first time.
A former Lake County Sheriff and county, state and federal
prosecutor, Curran supports “building the wall” and merit-based
immigration reform. Curran opposes tax increases and prioritizes
reducing the national debt. He stresses that he is pro-life,
pro-gun, pro-law enforcement, pro-capitalism and supports
school choice and term limits. Curran is for “expanding choice
and competition in our health care system.” Curran claimed in an
email that he has been “showing independence” his whole career,
citing that he first ran for Lake County Sheriff as a Democrat.
Curran is the challenger.
IL 10th House District
Brad Schneider (D)
Brad Schneider represented the 10th District, which includes
Libertyville, in the House of Representatives from 2013-2015 and
again since 2017. Considered among the most bipartisan
members of Congress by Quorum Analytics, Schneider
prioritizes creating economic growth to aid the middle class
and is a member of the Small Business Committee. He supports
protecting the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Social Security.
Schneider is pro-choice, pro-environment and pro-LGBT rights.
He believes the U.S. must “combine a strategic defense policy
with diplomacy and development” and believes the U.S. should
remain influential in foreign policy. Schneider is the incumbent.
Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee (R)
Ramirez Muhkerjee is running for the House of Representatives
for the first time. A first-generation college graduate, she
promotes her background as an entrepreneur, not a politician.
Ramirez Muhkerjee prioritizes creating well-paying jobs,
improving educational outcomes and decreasing taxes. She is
a “pro-choice, pro-climate, moderate Republican” -- socially
moderate and fiscally conservative. Ramirez Mukherjee believes
in personal responsibility and that everyone deserves the
opportunity to succeed. She supports transparency and
accountability in politics. Ramirez Mukherjee is the challenger.
8 DROPS OF INK
IL 51st State House District
Mary Edly-Allen (D)
Mary Edly-Allen was first elected in 2018 to represent
the 51st District, which includes Libertyville, in Springfield. A
former teacher, she supports strengthening public schools
and “investing in our children’s future.” While in Springfield,
she co-sponsored Fair Maps legislation designed to limit
gerrymandering and legislation capping the price of insulin.
Edly-Allen supports gun-control laws, ethics reforms and
women’s rights. Some of her other priorities include protecting
the environment, creating a fair tax and protecting community
values. Edly-Allen is the incumbent.
Chris Bos (R)
Chris Bos is running for the state house for the first time.
He focuses on issues affecting voters’ daily lives, including
the safety of communities, supporting local businesses and
strengthening Illinois fiscally. Believing Springfield to be corrupt,
Bos supports ethics reform and term limits on House leadership.
Bos has called on Speaker Mike Madigan to resign. He opposes
the Fair Tax Amendment and other tax increases, arguing
instead that Springfield should look for “common sense ways to
consolidate expenses.” Bos is the challenger.
Lake County State’s Attorney
Eric Rinehart is running for Lake County State’s Attorney for
the first time. A public defender from 2003-2009, Rinehart is
running because he believes the prosecutor’s office is wasting
resources and time prosecuting victimless crimes. He vows to
“ensure every prosecution is smart, fair and just.” Rinehart plans to
increase the size of treatment courts and prioritize rehabilitation,
which will free up resources to better prosecute violent crime.
He supports increasing transparency and oversight on
prosecutors and lists specific measures to increase police
accountability. Rinehart plans to prioritize prosecuting violent
crime and will empower law enforcement to arrest violent
offenders. Rinehart is the challenger.
Michael G “Mike” Nerheim
Michael G. “Mike” Nerheim has been the Lake County State’s
Attorney since 2013. Shortly after being elected the first time,
Nerheim created an Independent Case Review Panel to review
possible cases of wrongful conviction and develop best practices
for future prosecutions. His Lake County Opioid Initiative,
including the “A Way Out” program, which allows those with addictions
to seek help without fear of prosecution, has connected
over 750 people to treatment, and saved over 400 lives, his
website says. It adds that, under his leadership, Lake County safely
disposes of 18,000 pounds of prescription drugs annually. In an
email, Nerheim revealed plans for a “mental health and substance
abuse center” to provide care to those suffering from substance
abuse, mental illness and homelessness, while also allowing more
resources to address violent crime. Nerheim has served as both a
prosecutor and defense attorney. He is the incumbent.
Ella Marsden Natalie Isberg Sara Bogan
Politics is constantly changing and adapting in order to adjust
to the modern world. However, its fundamental aspects have
remained the same from the time the United States was
founded nearly 250 years ago to today. For one, the party system
has remained a defining factor of American politics.
But as integral to the government as political parties may seem, a
two-party system is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution, and
George Washington even warned against their creation in his
renowned farewell address.
Why, then, do political parties in the U.S. hold so much weight in the
political process? According to the Library of Congress, the answer
extends all the way back to the late 18th century during the struggle
to ratify the Constitution. The nation’s first party system was made
up of Federalists fighting for a strong centralized government and
Democratic-Republicans (also known as Anti-Federalists) who
advocated for states’ rights.
This unintentional formation of two distinct groups fighting to
define the government and, consequently, the future of the nation,
set the precedent for politics today. The parties themselves have
changed a number of times since this norm was first adopted in the
late 1770s, yet its structure has remained a
consistent and influential part of American
The first major change in the U.S. party system
was the dissolution of the Federalist Party,
leaving the Democratic-Republican Party as
the only viable option for voters. Gradually,
the existence of only one major party created
a divide among voters. After President John
Quincy Adams lost reelection in 1828 to Andrew Jackson, the party
split: Adams became a prominent leader of the Whigs, or the
National Republican Party, while Jackson’s party became known as
the Democrats, according to Britannica. President Quincy Adams was
the last Democratic-Republican president.
Another major shift in political parties and alignment occured in the
late 1920s through the early 1930s, with the realignment of southern
Black voters from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. The
southern Democratic Party had historically suppressed the rights
of African-Americans, thus becoming an unattractive option for
Black voters. As the Great Depression disproportionately harmed
Black communities, Republican President Herbert Hoover failed to
implement economic reform to support those communities. Yet
this demographic continued to support the Republican Party rather
than realigning with the Democrats, according to the U.S. House of
Mississippi representative John R. Lynch, a Black Republican, explained
this phenomenon in the mid-1930s: “The colored voters
cannot help but feel that in voting the Democratic ticket in national
elections they will be voting to give their indorsement [sic] and their
approval to every wrong of which they are victims, every right of
which they are deprived, and every injustice of which they suffer.”
Elected in 1932, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democrat,
then implemented the New Deal, which offered economic
relief from the depression to Black communities and many others
throughout the country. This relief, while minimal, as well as the
Republicans’ refusal to pursue civil rights legislation, alienated Black
voters, who then began to shift to the more progressive
Democratic Party. An already divided nation was split even deeper
DROPS OF INK
Image from Flickr under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
One of the founders of the Federalist party was Alexander Hamilton.
Supporters of him and his party included John Adams and James Madison.
after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, according to the Heterodox
Academy, a non-profit advocacy group. This act prohibited
discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin,
making it the most progressive civil rights legislation since the end
of the Reconstruction Era (post-Civil War). The voter trends following
the passing of this act have shaped the parties today; many white
Democrats joined the more conservative Republican Party, while minorities
tended to flock to the more liberal Democratic Party. These
two parties were — and continue to be — dominant over American
AP Government teacher Matthew Wahl credits the existence of
this distinct two-party system to the winner-take-all voting system
present in the U.S. In this system, a single party or group (i.e.
Democrats or Republicans) can choose every elected official if they
gain a majority of votes — no matter the margin between the
winner and the runner up. This winner-take-all approach enables
large, powerful parties while smaller and
weaker ones are put at a disadvantage; Mr.
Wahl attributes the lack of traction gained by
small, third-party groups, such as the Green
Party, to this voting system.
Naturally, a system with only two widely
accepted options for voters to choose
between enables conflict and divisiveness —
not only conflict in policy but also conflict as a
threat to basic decency.
Today, the polarization between the two
sides is strengthened by the pervasiveness
of social media and the accessibility of the news: “[Social media] just
kind of puts people into their camps and really creates this divide,”
Mr. Wahl said.
But the hostility in today’s political climate is nothing new, Mr. Wahl
explained. Nastiness in politics dates back two centuries to some
of the earliest presidential campaigns; for example, during Andrew
Jackson’s campaign in the 1820s, the opposing party ridiculed his late
wife as a political tactic.
Mr. Wahl compared this sort of personal attack to the ones seen
today. He’s noticed that today, politicians and voters aren’t quite as
forthright about the dirty tactics they’re using, but these tactics are
certainly still being taken advantage of.
While it’s unlikely a politician would be ridiculed for being a widower
in the 21st century, it’s certainly common to see a tweet making
fun of a politician’s physical appearance — be it their weight, their
hairstyle or their outfit.
With the tension and divisiveness caused by the two-party
system, one might wonder what benefit this system serves and
how it has lasted nearly 250 years. A commission report from 1986
by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations on the
transformation of American politics credits the two-party system’s
ability to turn ideas into legislation as an explanation for its
continued existence: “No republic can flourish without enduring
political instrumentalities which transform the public’s wishes into
governmental actions, and despite shortcomings, American political
parties have historically fulfilled this vital function.”
Students Behind the Separation:
The Effects of Divorce
Sara Bogan Kajsa Murphy Paige Vang
Almost 40 percent of marriages end in divorce, according to Time
magazine. While this statistic disproves a near-universal
misconception that half of all marriages end in divorce, many rightly
perceive divorce as fairly common. As reported by Psychology
Today, people incorrectly assume that divorce has become
normalized, and therefore, has less of an impact on the children from
these unsuccessful marriages. However, divorce affects many LHS
students and their families in both negative and positive ways.
Senior Cade Apton was 8 years old when his parents filed for
divorce. As his mother returned to work and his father moved out
of the house, their family structure altered drastically. Apton said he
has not received communication from his father since right after
He recalled that his young age fostered an ignorance to the social
cues in the house. As a result, the split was more surprising to him.
Although Apton was upset, he tended to mimic the behavior of his
older siblings, who better comprehended the situation.
“I couldn’t really understand the
complexities of losing a parent or
something as big as that in life. It hits
you intrinsically no matter what”
- Cade Apton
“I couldn’t really understand the complexities of losing a parent
or something as big as that in life. It hits you intrinsically no matter
what,” Apton remarked.
The process of his parents’ divorce took slightly over a year to
finalize, and he said it almost required separate attorneys for each of
his siblings to negotiate visitation terms.
Apton stressed the importance of having some sort of outlet
when dealing with a divorce or other challenging times. As a travel
soccer player, Apton has utilized the sport as a way to relieve his
stress and to cope with the situation.
Another option for relief is confiding in a parent, teacher,
counselor or friend “if you have someone in your corner, which you
always do,” Apton commented.
He said he relied on his sister for support because they were
experiencing similar feelings.
Junior Chloe Frecking depended on her grandparents after her
parents’ divorce, which occurred in 2013 when she was 9 years old.
Driving the children between her parents’ two houses, her grandma
took care of them when there were difficulties. For example,
Frecking stayed with her grandma in March and April this year
because both of her parents needed to work during the pandemic.
Frecking expressed that she was relieved after the divorce: “It was
a lot more peaceful. I had to mature a lot faster because I was the
other parent in the house. Because I’m the oldest, that’s just how it
However, the new living arrangement was arduous for Frecking
and her siblings. Unable to recall specific details, she explained how
she suppressed a portion of her childhood due to the divorce.
Additionally, Frecking mentioned the issue of traveling between
her homes and sometimes forgetting her belongings,
especially when her father lived in Wisconsin. She also dislikes
dividing her clothes across two locations.
Mrs. Samantha Avila, an LHS social worker, emphasized that one
of the main effects of divorce on students is their ability to trust
others. Since many do not possess a parental example, they fear that
their relationships will lack stability too.
Frecking could relate to this: “I was never taught to rely on anyone
because things can change in a split second, like with [my parents’]
Looking at the positive side, she believes that the divorce has
established easier circumstances for Frecking and her sisters than
before in many ways. Appreciating the ability to design two
bedrooms, she was able to express some “creative freedom.” She
further explained that students with divorced parents shouldn’t
blame themselves for the situation.
12 DROPS OF INK
“Something happened between
their parents’ love for each other
that just isn’t working out now,”
Frecking said. “[The alternative] is
not necessarily going to be a bad
Apton shares a similar
outlook. While his parents’ divorce
is important to reflect upon, he
does not believe dwelling on the
issue is the answer. Instead, he
utilizes the situation as motivation
for future obstacles.
“I remind myself that if I was able
to get through that, then [a new
challenge] is just a barrier in my life
that I can jump over,” Apton said.
Apton appreciates his mother’s
sacrifices through the process. As
the head of the household, she
greatly impacts his life. Ultimately,
Apton and his siblings are happy
with their parents’ decision to
divorce, especially now that as he
matures, Apton better understands
“My perspective on [the divorce]
was that everything was for the
best and I think with most cases,
the reason why you are going to
resort to something is because
it needs a resolution,” Apton
“I was never taught to rely on anyone
because things can change in a
split second, like with [my parents’]
- Chloe Frecking
COVID-19 has created additional disputes between co-parents
According to The New York Times, the pandemic has created a
struggle between divorced parents on safety procedures. Frecking
remarked that her dad is more lenient regarding the safety rules,
while her mom expects her to carefully follow them.
Mrs. Avila explained that with students in divorced families, “this
time has been extremely difficult. Think about having to bounce
around during this and trying to stay safe but still wanting to see
your mom or dad.”
Mrs. Avila and Greg Loika, another LHS social worker, are
moderators of LHS’s support groups, including Changing Families,
a group that consists of LHS students who have a different family
dynamic than nuclear families, and the majority come from a
divorced home. Meeting weekly on a rotating basis, the social workers
provide prompts to spark conversation.
The support groups are beneficial, according to Mrs. Avila, because
students can give advice based on their own experiences. In addition,
the groups allow for students to widen their social circle.
She described it as a way “to own their story and work with it in a
positive way,” and to provide students with more autonomy and the
opportunity to advocate for themselves.
To join Changing Families, students can contact
Mrs. Avila at email@example.com.
“I remind myself that if I was able
to get through that, then [a new challenge]
is just a barrier in my life that I
can jump over”
- Cade Apton
politics in the
social media era
Note: This piece is a staff editorial, which is an opinion article meant to reflect the opinions of the Drops of Ink staff. Because of this, the author’s name does
not appear alongside the story, as the opinions shared in here are based on class discussions about the topic among the 40 DOI staff members. The staff is
composed of students of all grades from a variety of backgrounds and experiences; therefore, the editorial speaks to the publication’s view on a subject and is
not representative of each staff member’s exact view on the issue at hand.
There is no doubt about it — social media has seen a large
increase in political-related posts between the 2016 and 2020
elections. Whether you believe this is for better or for worse, it is
clear that social media has been increasingly used as a campaign tool
by politicians and their communications teams.
There are certain parts of political involvement in social media that
have been great, like the ability for candidates to share their views in
a more casual way or for people to organize political events.
Since social media is accessible to virtually everyone, it has become
easier to post your views on any topic to the world. On the flip side,
social media platforms show you content based on your posts and
what you view, which can lead to confirmation bias.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, confirmation bias is “the
tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting,
information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs.” So the
more you look at articles or posts that correspond to your personal
beliefs, the more likely you will be shown more articles that go along
with your thoughts.
Confirmation bias has been a negative effect of social media. It
keeps people from discovering other opinions and further divides
them. This divide has only grown more as politicians use social media.
In this election, social media will be a key factor in determining
not only the results of the presidential election, but also local races,
according to the United States Department of State. It has become
almost essential for candidates to have a presence
on social media; however, the content they post
is more important than the fact that they are
In the case of President Donald Trump’s controversial
Twitter account, some believe it’s an
ingenious campaigning tool, while others think it
is only widening the divide in the United States.
His tweets often make promises to the American
people or are used to share news, which is
an effective way to communicate his ideas and
promote his campaign, especially with how much
news coverage they get. He often outlines a plan
for the future in his tweets, which he only sometimes
follows through on.
These tweets can also serve as a way to connect
to the people, which Trump has done well at times. In some of his
more general tweets, people can see their own views and relate, so
they would be more likely to vote for him.
Because of how widely spread his tweets are, though, they create
conflicts, like with other politicians and foreign countries. A study by
The New York Times found that one in eight of his tweets are
insults, showing how social media is being used to degrade people
and hindering the possibility of civil discourse.
Compared with other political figures, his tweets are far more
hostile and are often used to criticize and insult his opponents, such
as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi or former Vice President Joe
Misinformation has become one of the most prevalent problems
on social media, and the site most responsible for fueling this is
Facebook. During the 2016 election, they were heavily criticized for
the propaganda being spread on the site, which has only grown since
then, according to The New York Times.
On Sept. 3, Facebook took some steps to stop efforts to undermine
the 2020 presidential election. Their new policy does not
prohibit political ads but will not accept them in the final week before
the election, according to CNN. It is unclear how effective this
will prove to be, with early voting and mail-in voting already underway,
so this election may prove to be just as influenced, if not more
influenced, by Facebook.
TikTok has also helped to spread misinformation,
but there are also many videos on this platform
calling out falsified information or fake news.
Unfortunately, on any social media platform,
fake news posts are seen 70% more than posts
calling out or correcting this misinformation,
according to a study by MIT, leading people to
believe or even to repost the fake news.
Overall, social media is a revolutionary tool that
can help and hurt both average people and politicians.
There needs to be some form of regulation
on political posts and ads on social media, and
platforms should work to minimize misinformation
and fake news. Until then, all we can do is stay
on the lookout for falsified information and do our
research about what we see on social media.
14 DROPS OF INK
and the Gender Divide
Our whole lives are made up of choices: whether it’s
choosing to eat eggs or cereal for breakfast, to more
significant aspects of our lives, like where to go to college and what
kind of person we look for in a spouse.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that these important choices
stem from a subconscious idea, burned into our minds by society
since we were children. Wanting to be accepted and loved, we have
continued to conform to these norms, no matter how outdated and
misleading some are.
The pressure to conform is known as social conditioning.
According to Kara Bosman, an AP Psychology teacher, “Social
conditioning is social learning. It happens through observing the
world around us and how people around us behave.”
As a white,
girl, gender is the
most obvious part
of social conditioning
I can relate to.
entire lives, girls
and boys have been
different paths: girls
to the standard 1950s
housewife ideal and
boys to getting an
education and finding
a job. Although
have become less
obvious, the effects
of these ideas are still
My entire life, I’ve
had magazines telling me what the latest fashion was, how to lose
weight, what haircut looks best with the shape of my head, and how
to bake “fun foods” with an Easy Bake Oven. Sure, boys also had the
same things thrown at them year after year, but their magazines are
covered in planes, sports and Legos, inspiring them to be creative
The older girls become, the more we feel pressure from society.
We’re expected to look and act a certain way, and if we don’t follow
society’s norms, we’re “slutty” or “ugly” or “reckless.”
An LHS coach once told my team that we looked “sleazy” in our
uniforms. And now, I’m sure you’re wondering, what do those
uniforms look like? I am not going to describe them to you. Who
cares what they look like? How is it, in any way, okay for a man to
to a group of teenage girls that they look like sluts? What gives him
the right to comment on how we look?
After this incident, I talked to a couple other girls and
discovered that some of their coaches at LHS have commented on
girls’ bodies, too. One told me about a former LHS coach who
basically told her she was fat and “needed to stop eating
cheeseburgers.” Again, I am not going to describe to you what she
looks like. That doesn’t matter. A grown man should never comment
on a teenage girl’s body. We already hear enough about it on social
media and in school. However, because society has a picture of what
girls should look like, people think they have a right to comment and
Obviously, boys are also expected to act and look a certain way --
never be emotional,
be tall and muscular,
don’t care too much
-- and these
definitely still need
to be addressed.
The main difference
is that men
have society to back
them up. Women
are still fighting for
their rights to work,
be paid equally and
choose what to do
with their bodies.
First, women must
equal to men before
society addresses the
Gender stereotypes have been instilled in children since their early childhood and the issue continues
throughout their lifetime.
cultural change that
change must start from the moment a child is born. In reference to
all types of social conditioning, Ms. Bosman believes that “the more
parents encourage kids to be true to themselves, the more schools
and peers encourage individuality, the better.”
No matter how wrong these stereotypes are, they’re going to be
in our society for the foreseeable future. The best we can do in a
world in which marketing and social media control acceptance is to
start in the home. If parents try breaking gender boundaries by
buying their daughters Legos (not the kind that are made for girls
and have bigger pieces, as if we can’t put together a Lego with
smaller pieces) or allowing their sons to wear pink, that will help to
decrease the divide. If this is then adopted in schools, by encouraging
both genders to challenge themselves in STEM and English fields, we,
as a society, will be one step closer to equality.
AMERICA NEEDS MORE POLITICAL PARTIES
Christian Roberts Dimitrios Mitsopoulos Alex Clark
In the 1960s, the United States political system was a healthy, functioning
democracy. While both sides, Democrats and Republicans,
disagreed on most issues, they could usually find a common middle
ground, like during the signings of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and
1968, where Democrats and Republicans came together to pass the
In the 1960 presidential election between John F. Kennedy and
Richard Nixon, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 62.8 percent
of the population voted. High civic involvement is an indication of a
healthy republic, and the ‘60s saw some of the highest voter turnout
in American history. In fact, the turnout rate has been below 60
percent in every presidential election since the ‘60s.
Now, in 2020, the United States political system is on the verge
of complete downfall. The 2016 presidential election saw only 55
percent of the population vote, and while voter turnout is expected
to be high in this election, many people do not seem excited
about their choice of candidates. This could be in part due to the
nastiness of the campaign, the candidates’ ages and the disgustingly
large amount of sexual-assault cases that have been brought against
president Donald Trump (26) and his opponent, Joe Biden (8).
This is the problem we’re faced with now: people are no longer
voting for candidates who they feel represent their values; they’re
voting for the lesser of two evils. Why should we have to choose
between a candidate who sponsored a 1975 bill that would limit the
power of courts to order school desegregation and a candidate who
has openly bragged about sexual assaulting women?
In a country with over 300 million people, I believe we deserve
To make matters worse, the two-party system currently in place
is entirely centered around beating out the other party and passing
a partisan agenda. There’s no middle ground, no negotiating. Just a
complete lust for power. This can be seen when Republican Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that if a Democratic president
wins in 2020, he will refuse to pass any law that is somewhat
progressive for the next four years. These are just small examples in
the massive sea of ongoing political warfare. The guilty party is not
trying to do what’s best for the American people; they simply want
the opposing party to lose. The polarizing, zero-sum politics are
dividing the country further than anything we’ve seen since the Civil
War. Frankly, if something doesn’t change, we could be looking at
the removal of the United States as a global power.
While third parties garner a small amount of votes every election
year, like Libertarian Gary Johnson in 2016 gaining 3.27 percent of
the national vote, in the winner-take-all system, it is impossible for a
third party to truly emerge.
These parties don’t attract enough voters for simple reasons.
Often, voters don’t want to gamble on their vote being wasted
when they know a third-party candidate won’t win. Plus, voting for a
third-party candidate could potentially help the candidate you dislike
the most. This traps people into voting for the two big parties,
which furthers the problem even more.
My solution to this problem? More political parties. While George
Washington argued for no political parties in his 1796 farewell speech,
that is simply impossible at this point. The development of political
parties is almost inevitable in a functioning republic. If we’re going to
have these partisan groups, let’s have ones that fit each American’s
interests. Let’s get people in office who actually represent us and
give other parties the chance to hold major positions.
Since 1950, only eight U.S. representatives and three senators have
come from a third party, these being the Green and Libertarian parties.
With the dissolution of the two-party system, these third-party
groups would have the chance to hold higher positions, ones that
they’ve never gotten the opportunity to.
In a multi-party state, each group would have to work together
to effectively govern, meaning more viewpoints are heard. The
implementation of a system like the ones seen in New Zealand and
Germany would be beneficial to the American people and their politics,
which will ultimately save the future of our country.
16 DROPS OF INK
SEEKING OUR OWN POLITICAL VOICES,
NOT THOSE OF OUR PARENTS
Lily Hieronymus Amanda Black Hannah Sachs
When we were younger, our
parents made all of our decisions
for us. Whether it was which
shoes we wore or what time we
went to bed, how we lived our
daily lives was up to them. We
were dependent on them, trusting
that the decisions they made
for us were in our best interest.
As we got older, this dependency
began to fade. We started
to do things on our own and
develop our own opinions about
what shoes we wanted to wear,
what time we should go to bed,
and eventually, which political
ideologies we would uphold.
Sometimes, these newly formed
opinions wouldn’t line up with
our parents’ views, and that’s
okay. Disagreeing with your parents
isn’t the end of the world,
and it definitely shouldn’t turn
you against each other.
In recent years, the internet
and social media have become
information hotspots. Controversy
is always trending, so it’s
no surprise that younger generations
have become increasingly
involved in politics over
the years. While this increased
involvement can be a good thing,
it can also cause our parents to
wonder if our research is taking
us in the right direction.
Social media especially can be a
polarizing source of information,
so it’s natural for them to worry
about whether our views will
be negatively affected by this
polarization. But the problem
starts when this concern for
our well-being clouds out any
possibility of productive conversation.
We need space to learn
from our mistakes and expand
our views, but we can’t do that
if our exposure to social media
causes immediate concern and
disagreement when discussing politics.
Our parents want the best for us, and our political involvement
is no exception. But we have to be prepared to accept the fact
that we may disagree with them on some issues after doing our
own research. Our engagement online and our exposure to the
polarization of social media does not stop us from finding other
sources and still ending up with differing views.
Doing your own research beyond just headlines and Instagram
infographics is so important, and finding sources other than the
ones your parents use in their arguments is essential. Developing
confidence in your own political views cannot truly happen until
you’ve been exposed to more than just these sources. But if you
come out on the other side in disagreement with your parents,
don’t let it turn into an issue that prevents any future political
conversations from happening.
Avoiding discussing politics with your parents in order to
prevent tension eliminates any chance of productive conversation.
Understanding and challenging opposing views allows us to expand
our ideas and gain the confidence to discuss politics beyond the
comfort of our own living room, but if we don’t even have these
discussions in the first place, there’s nowhere for us to take our
The comfort we gain from agreeing with our parents stems
from the idea that disagreeing with them will always cause painful
conversations and heated arguments. In reality, we can take a step
back and understand that having the confidence to challenge your
parents’ beliefs without fearing that all of your conversations will
turn into a screaming match is
what will lead to real progress.
Allowing this fear to prevent
us from standing by our views is
a step backwards, as it stops us
from having open-minded conversations.
If we’re worried about
the outcome before we even
start talking, defensiveness and
deflection will prevail. Unhealthy
conversations like these only
confirm our fears, and they lead
to an endless cycle of fear, avoidance
It doesn’t really matter
whether you agree with your
parents or not; you shouldn’t be
afraid to do your own research
and develop your own opinions.
Disagreeing with your parents
isn’t the end of the world, and
having those tough conversations
is a necessary part of becoming
confident in your views.
Don’t let fear discourage you
from branching out and forming
your own opinions.
Showers—a time to clean off, relax, and maybe even sing a little. Everyone
takes them (hopefully), and most people have a specific point in their day when
they choose to do so.
Many people think that there’s no right or wrong time to shower, and that as
long as you’re getting clean, it doesn’t really matter what time of day it is. I firmly
disagree. I am a strong advocate for morning showers, and once you’re introduced
to the evidence, you’ll see exactly why.
What’s a better start to any given day than a nice, warm shower?
For me, not much.
I wake up and instantly hop in the shower. The feeling of the
toasty water waking me up and rinsing my fatigue and morning
grumpiness away in seconds is simply incomparable bliss.
It’s essentially like being born again.
Don’t get me wrong, coffee is a great picker-upper, but there’s
nothing quite like being able to just wash off the sleep (and the
intense bedhead for some) that gets me up and ready for a new day,
and experts agree.
Dr. Janet K. Kennedy, a clinical psychologist and sleep expert in
New York, told New York Times magazine that morning showers
also make a big difference for those who have trouble waking up, as
they boost alertness and stimulate the senses.
Additionally, Dr. Shelley Carson, a psychology lecturer at Harvard,
said to Time magazine that because a shower lowers cortisol levels
(which lowers stress) while you’re awake and active, your brain is able
to think without being pressured, which leads to new and creative
We all know that the best thoughts are shower thoughts, and now
we have science to back it up. Not only do morning showers give us
a fresh start to the day, but they give us extended imaginations and
Not only that, but for bearded readers, I have a perk for you
too—a hot, steamy shower can help soften hairs for a much more
comfortable morning shave.
It’s clear that morning showers rank superior to night showers for
a multitude of reasons. However, there is a small case to be made
on the side of the monsters (also known as night showerers) that I
should address and debunk.
The heathens who shower at night may think that it’s necessary
to wash off your day before you go to bed at night. After being out
and sweating all day, night showerers claim that washing the grime
off is essential, and to skip a shower before bed is simply unclean.
Science, once again, knocks this argument down a peg. Night
showerers, you’re not sleeping in your sheets as fresh as you think
Dr. Gary Goldenburg, a dermatologist in New York and a professor
at the Icahn School of Medicine, points out a glaring counterargument
to this misconception.
“Humans tend to perspire at night,” Dr. Goldberg noted to The
New York Times. “When you wake up in the morning, there’s all this
sweat and bacteria from the sheets that’s just kind of just sitting
there on your skin.”
Still want to wake up without showering?
Not only is it less hygenic to shower at night, but much less
healthy for your scalp and hair. Dr. George Cotsarelis, professor of
dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, noted to The New
York Times that going to sleep with wet hair is bad for your follicles,
as laying against a pillow can trap moisture into your hair.
“You have different layers to each follicle, and the inner cortex can
swell with water if not dried properly,” he explains. That swelling can
cause the hair cuticle to rupture, and over time, lead to extensive
For those who can’t sleep without a shower, or feel that their
night routine is incomplete without being able to clean off and relax,
I have a best-of-both-worlds compromise: shower twice. Showering
twice a day is generally okay for your skin, stated Dr. Goldberg, as
long as they are not too lengthy.
So if you are a monster/night showerer, I strongly urge you to
rethink your routine, as it could do wonders for your cleanliness, hair
health and most importantly, your shower thoughts.
18 DROPS OF INK
OCTOBER 2020 19
20 DROPS OF INK
OCTOBER 2020 21
crossword: unity & division
This crossword puzzle focuses on events and ideas that have contributed to division or unity around the world in 2020.
2. Climate disasters along the West Coast that have harmed many
4. A political group symbolized by a donkey
7. Platforms where people often share personal content and get
their news from (2 words)
11. A lack of fairness; many people struggle with this around the
12. Abbreviation, in initials, of the Supreme Court Justice who died
13. An event that occurs every four years. U.S. citizens above the
age of 18 have the right to participate in this
14. An ongoing, devastating global event that has occured in 2020,
which has affected the health of many as well as the normal daily
routines of others
1. An event held involving political candidates and a moderator
3. Something that is coming soon, according to scientists, to help
the COVID-19 pandemic; however, many Americans are skeptical and
do not trust this
5. A view on something, not necessarily based on facts. Sharing
this may often lead to conflict and disagreement
6. A political group symbolized by an elephant
8. An over-generalized belief or label placed on someone and/or a
9. Many people in 2020 have participated in this activity to fight
for what they believe in, hoping the end result will be a change for
10. A style of work or learning that many people have adapted to
around the world to accommodate to changes from the pandemic
22 DROPS OF INK
Have you heard that ______________ is running for president? With the election only days away,
this candidate plans to ___________ alongside President Donald Trump and former Vice President
The candidate has many goals they hope to achieve once in office. Rather than __________________
verb ending in “ing”
the economy, building a ________ between the United States and Mexico, investing in ____________
energy or raising the minimum wage, this candidate ensures that _____________ ___________ will be
granted to all Americans.
Furthermore, this candidate promises to give ________________ to all children as well as hosting
socially distant ____________ parties on Friday nights at the White House.
type of food
The first presidential debate between the Democratic and Republican nominees was ____________.
Tensions between both candidates escalated quickly. “Will you ____________, man?” said Biden as
he lost his _________ to President Trump. _________________ did not show up at this event.
Both Trump and Biden can agree, possibly the first time since _________, that having ______________
as president would be disastrous for America.
Although the outcome of the election is still unknown, American voters are encouraged to go to
the ___________ and fill out a ballot.
photos from Wikimedia Commons