USJ Oct 2020


The Union St.


Keeping us safe:

staff at Creek


Basketball fights

for social justice


Cherry Creek High School 9300 E. Union Ave. Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Adjusting to the

hybrid model


Vol. 6 Issue 1

October 2020






11 15

Kinds of masks

By Nate Meredith &

Jonathan Trigg



16 20

Life at Creek during COVID

By Hannah Edelheit &

Jane McCauley


The staff behind the scenes

during a pandemic

By Lily Deitch


Mulan Review

By Giovanni Machado


Basketball team stands up

for social justice

By Raegan Knobbe

How to find power in our


By Jane McCauley

Find more stories at







Hannah Edelheit &

Jane McCauley

News Editor

Carly Philpott

Feature Editor

Madison Seckman

A&E Editor

Bre Mennenoh

Opinion Editor

Giovanni Machado

Sports Editor

Raegan Knobbe

Managing Editor

Madison Seckman

Design Editor

Ethel Yagudayeva

Staff Writers

Lily Deitch

Lydia Foster

Breanna Medel

Nathan Meredith

Aila MonLouis

Adam Nowlin

Jane Parker

Natalie Swyers

Jonathan Trigg


Yoni Fine


The Union Street Jounral is a student publication distributed

to the students, faculty, and staff of Cherry Creek

High School. The paper serves as an information source

amd a two-way communication forum for both the school

and the community. Opinions expressed do not necessarily

represent the views of Cherry Creek High School

or the Cherry Creek Letters to the editor.

Letters to the editor are accepted and can be submitted

via email to

Letters cannot be anonymous and they may be edited

for clarity.

Letter from the editors

Let this issue be a standing reminder of the monumental moments

we have all faced this year as high schoolers, students, teachers, and

citizens of a democracy. We know this year has already been more

than memorable for everyone, and we’re excited to share what we have

put together in an attempt to capture this craziness.

Both of us have known each other since our first freshman English

class with our very own advisor, Yoni Fine, and both of us joined

journalism as sophomores. It seemed fitting that we would take on the

Editor-in-Chief position together, knowing how hard we’ve worked

both separately as individuals and collectively as a team over these

past four years.

We wanted to express our love and passion for this newspaper and

our newsroom first before getting into the details of what this year has

been like for us. Having new and old faces in IC703 has always been

a constant for the USJ, even through the mess of what these past six

months have brought. Teaching what journalism is and means to new

members and seeing some of them take on the responsibility of being

editors has given us the opportunity to see how journalism is continuing

to survive in our generation and democracy, even with print

newspapers being a dying industry.

In today’s world, it seems like truthful storytelling in the media is a

difficult and rare subject to come by, which is why we’ve dedicated our

news stories to be accurate and our opinion stories to be strong. We’re

determined to be the generation of journalists and truthtellers that

is continually reliable and factual that won’t just print about how the

world “is what it is.”

We’re so proud of our staff this year in all of the hardships and

struggles we’ve overcome both in and outside of the newsroom. It

hasn’t been easy for anyone, and we hope this issue helps display some

of that hard work.

Now more than ever, we’re proud to represent our school through

our writing and our dedication to providing the truth, no matter how

scary, how ugly, or how much we want to turn away from it.

Peace and love,

Hannah Edelheit &

Jane McCauley

October 2020



Cover-up: how Creek chooses their masks


Staff Writer

Masks are our new norm. It can feel

like a burden to wear one. But we’ve got


As we go about our day, we can look

around and notice the different masks

others are wearing. Some are wearing

disposable masks, while others are wearing

cotton masks or even gaiters.

Cloth masks seem to be the most

popular option at Creek these days,

with disposable paper close behind.

It’s fairly obvious that it’s mandatory for

those at Creek to wear masks but a few

factors when it comes to the mask they

wear are comfort, communication, environmental

issues, and individual expression.

“I like to wear cloth masks when I go

to the grocery store out in the community,”

Latin teacher Amy Rosevear said,

“but at school for the whole day I find

that the paper mask helps me breathe

and be understood by my students.”

Communication is key for all of us at

Creek, especially teachers and even more

for certain classes such as world language


“I think my students can hear my

voice better, which for learning a world

language is important because they have

to hear how the words are pronounced,”

Latin teacher Amy Rosevear said.

The staff at Creek don’t all have similar

views when it comes to the mask they

wear daily but they do have the same

concerns. Some wear what they deem as


Library coordinator Michelyne Gray

chooses to wear a cloth mask. “I don’t

feel as muted,” she said. “I feel like my

voice is able to project [in a cloth mask].

I feel better, environmentally, that I can

wear it, wash it and then re-wear it. With

disposable masks, I feel like it’s a little

wasteful. They don’t fit as well either.”

Students have similar concerns and

formed their own opinions.

“I like my [cotton] masks

for the way they look,” sophomore

Cooper Collins said. “I have

masks that support businesses and masks

from TV shows & movies. I have gotten

compliments because of my masks.”

Some students are thinking ahead for

the mask they wear due to the colder

weather conditions we will soon be facing.

“I wear cotton masks rather than disposables

and gaiters because they are not

good for the environment Cotton masks

keep my face warm during the colder

weather conditions,” freshman Addison

Summitt said.

Students at Creek don’t favor the

masks but in the end, they all understand

that the masks are here to ensure safety

for us all from COVID- 19.

“It’s annoying when walking a larger

distance for example from East to West

[Building] but it helps ensure safety for

our school,” freshman Ava Landy said.

4 | News


Why do you wear your mask?

Gaiters: how effective are they?



Staff Writers

At the start of the school year, Cherry

Creek School District gave out neck gaiters

to the entire district in order to prevent

the spread of the coronavirus. The effectiveness

of these types of masks was questioned

by a study from Duke University,

which claimed that the gaiters were actually

worse than no masks at all, although that

study has been contested.

The gaiters that were given out by the

district are made from a polyester/spandex

blend. This blend of materials splits

the droplets up into smaller particles called

aerosols, according to the Duke study.

“[The aerosols are] really tiny, invisible,

and buoyant, they don’t fall to the ground,

gravity doesn’t act on them,” according to

Kimberly Prather, distinguished chair in

atmospheric chemistry at UC San Diego,

speaking to CBS News in June.

This could mean the aerosol particles

will spread more, possibly increasing the

number of COVID-19 cases.

These studies came out relatively recently,

and the CDC reported that they do

“not recommend the use of gaiters or face

shields. Evaluation of these face covers is

on-going but effectiveness is unknown at

this time.”

Assistant Principal Kevin Uhlig said that

the district is following regional and national

guidelines about mask effectiveness.

“If and when Tri County or CDC says

no, those [gaiters] aren’t permissible, I’m

confident that the district will come back

and say, these aren’t allowed,” Uhlig said.

Until that happens, students are allowed

to wear them on campus.

A similar thing happened with masks

that had valves.

The vents on the front were intended

to make breathing easier, but the CDC reported

that these were unsafe, and told the

public to avoid them.

At that point, the district told administration

to ban them, and that kids weren’t

allowed to wear them at school.

The number of people wearing their

neck gaiters at Creek is low, but of the people

that do wear them, it’s often for comfort,

not to stop the spread of the virus.

“[The gaiter] just made things easier,”

sophomore Ciara O’Rourke said.

“I chose the surgical mask because

it’s lightweight and more or less

breathable when exercising.”

‐ junior Eli Freyre De Andrade

“I have a preexisting health condition.

I know there’s other people

around me who also have preexisting

health conditions that are

invisible, and so I want to do whatever

I can to protect them because

I know what it feels like.”

- senior Gabriella Arnold

LATER, GAITERS: Freshmen Ian Youngblood and Riddic Pollard pose

with gaiters. Both said that on a normal basis, they wouldn’t wear the


“I wear my mask to protect myself

and others. I know that if I get

[COVID-19] I’ll probably be fine but

if I unknowingly pass it to a high

risk person they might not be fine.”

- sophomore Giselle Marians


COVID creates new

opportunities for

Creek theater



News Editor & A&E Editor

For many Creek clubs,

finding ways to meet and

continue with relative normalcy

has been a challenge,

but theater has found just the

right way to make this year


Towards the end of the

summer, theater director

Alex Burkart decided that

rather than its usual fall play,

the Creek theater program

would be producing and performing

a radio show.

“Radio dramas cater well

to the present COVID-19

world,” Burkart said. “Staging

can be done with relative distancing;

they are also easy to

share digitally, as its origin audience

listened from distances

via radio-waves.”

The show is called Vintage

Hitchcock, and it is a combination

of three murder-suspense thrillers. The shows consist of

The Lodger, a love story that quickly spirals into a suspenseful

murder mystery; Sabotage, revolving around the multiple different

terrorist attacks and bombings at the hands of the tedious saboteurs;

and The 39 Steps, an international spy ring story.

“The world of Hitchcock also allows us to focus on the suspense

genre, which we have not recently explored here at Creek,” Burkart

said. “The radio play script itself leans more into melodrama, but

it’s fun to resurrect the classic and thrilling work of Hitchcock.”



Vintage Hitchcock will run for two days in late

November, most likely around Thanksgiving, but

the exact date hasn’t been decided upon yet. It will

be performed live twice, both times starting at 7 pm

and running for an hour and a half.

It will be pay-per-view on Broadway On-Demand’s

website. Admission prices will be $5.

For updates, follow @troupe1730 on Instagram.

The show will be performed

twice in late November,

and will run for

about an hour and a half.

COVID restrictions and

cohorted separation meant

that changes were necessary

to not only how theater performs,

but also how it prepares.

Rehearsals are by cohort,

meaning that the final

performance will be a combination

of several smaller


And, instead of the classic

audition style, students

were asked to audition virtually.

Relying only on their

voices to see if they will

make the cut.

“I’ve been in theatre for

the past 3 years at Creek.”

junior Alex Mitchell said.

“What we’re really doing is

getting creative and improvising in the ways that we have fun and

make art; no matter what challenges we face.”

For the students, this situation has presented a new set of challenges,

from finding ways to stay connected to developing friendships

with newer theater members.

“It’s been more difficult than in the past to foster community, especially

with our limitations,” said theater president Jen Failinger.

“Our incoming member amount has been lower than in the past.”

The split between the cohorts has been especially difficult, says

EMPTY STAGE: the theater will remain empty for the remainder

of the semester as the radio show will be recorded and

listened to remotely. “We wanted to keep making theater,” said

theater president Jen Failinger. “It’s such a big part of our lives,

and we knew we had to find some way to do art.”


Burkart. “The biggest challenge is missing the students so much,”

he said. “In theater we love being able to see each other and interact

with one another every day.”

Regardless of this, the members say that the sense of community

is still apparent in theater. “Despite not seeing the people that I do

in theatre anymore,” Mitchell said. “We’re all just trying to adapt

and grow together which I think is what makes us even more connected

and allows us to grow together.”

“We are all so close that we still feel super connected and like a

community with the people we have gained,” Failinger said.

Sophomore internal spirit officer Hayden Noe agreed. “I think

that communities have to come together in times of crisis,” he said.

“I truly believe that Cherry Creek Theatre has made the best of

these horrible times we are in.”


The refugee crisis in Europe




What other global issues

should we know about?

For half a decade, refugees have fled

from poverty, conflict, and persecution in

countries like Syria and Iraq and scattered

into the homes and streets of many European

countries to seek safety.

Traveling by boat in the Mediterranean

Sea is one of the fastest ways to get to these

borders, which is why so many families

and migrants have ended up on islands

like Lesbos off the coast of Greece.

However, in overcrowded facilities

like Moria on Lesbos, the safety refugees

thought they had finally found was no better

than the places they were trying to escape

from in the first place. Instead, issues

like COVID and increasing homelessness

are adding fire to the flames, quite literally.

After a small group of angry migrants

set fire to their own camp in Moria in

retaliation of quarantine restrictions in

mid-September, the flames engulfed what

was left of the asylum-seekers’ shelters.

The fires left an already overcrowded

camp with thousands more homeless families

and migrants.

“People were just extremely upset. Not

only about the overall poor conditions

of the camp, but because they felt that

COVID was being used to hurt them even

more,” Matina Stevis-Gridneff, a reporter

from the New York Times podcast who

was in Moria, said in The Daily on Sept.


This refugee crisis has been going on

since 2015, and there are no signs it will

slow down anytime soon. Initially, many

European countries like Greece and Germany

welcomed these migrants into their

homes to share shelter and food.

The journey many of these refugees

have made was slow and dangerous. Sea

sickness while on the boats for days on

end is common, and it is estimated that

about six people die every day while at sea.

In Greece alone, about 77,000 refugees

await in these camps and facilities to move

somewhere else in Europe.

Countries like Germany that have already

reached over a million refugees are

considereing the idea of closing their borders

and not letting any more people enter

the country.

Even the US has limited the number

of refugees allowed into the country. Last

year on Sept. 30, 2019, the Trump Administration

set a cap of 30,000 refugees. This

year, the cap is 18,000.

Organizations like The UN Refugee

Agency, UNHCR, and the International

Rescue Committee are helping to fight

this crisis and supplying the refugees with

homes, food, and help.

European countries, organizations, and

citizens continue to help fight this battle,

but those who are in the heart of it know

that these transitory facilities like Moria

will continue existing as long as there is

no where for these refugees to go.

“There’s always going to be these places

where hopes end rather than begin,” Stevis-Gridneff



the tented homes for the

refugees in the camp of

Moria on Lesbos are becoming

overcrowded. Even

more homes and tents

are needed now because

the camp’s own refugees

started a fire over COVID

quarantine restrictions.


“The Muslim situtation in

China because I just found

out about it, and there

wasn’t a whole lot about it.

This has been going on for a

while, and it’s really disheartening.”

- senior Ben Seep

“We’re all really focusing

on the future, and one really

blurry thing in the future is

how the climate is going to affect

our lives as adults. That’s

what I’m really focusing on.”

- senior Hannah Meg


“The Black Lives Matter movement

is one of the biggest things

that people should be talking

about. I know some people are

afraid to talk about it, but it’s one

of the things that really matters.”

- junior Nadya Posmachnaya


Behind the Scenes

Creek’s staff members push themselves even harder to

protect students during COVID-19


Staff Writer


the chemical teachers are using to

spray down desks, is mostly composed

of ammonium chloride variants

which are effective cleaners. Teachers

are required to spray all desks in

their classroom before the next class



TIONS: ABM worker Araseli works

to clean the school after hours. The

custodians must go up and down

each row of desks, spraying and wiping

them down, in addition to their

COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s lives

‐ that isn’t news to anyone. Whether it be the

loss of a loved one or even just the loss of

our old lives, COVID-19 is something that

is on our minds throughout the day. When

we go to school, we see our teachers who

show up in class and put themselves at risk

to give us an education. But, what about the

hundreds of other Creek staff members who

risk coming to school every day and enable

us to learn safely?

Recent data from the Medical Expenditure

Panel Survey shows that between 42

and 51.4 percent of all school employees

across the country meet the CDC definition

for being at increased risk of severe

COVID-19 complications.

Even more school employees live in a

household with people at high risk, according

to the same survey. As schools open up

and school workers go back to their jobs,

there’s a lot of work behind the scenes. We

see our teachers, but there are so many other

workers that we may not even appreciate.

Here’s a few of the departments and people

who work in the background every day.

They have taken on the year with more work

to keep everyone safe, and COVID-19 has

impacted them all in their personal and

work lives.


When bus driver Debbie Kinemond walks

into school to get the bus ready, it’s almost

like a normal school day, just like she has

been doing for more than 20 years. But this

year, Kinemond, who is also the Assistant

Director of Transportation for the district,

has a job that is anything but normal.

To maintain the students’ safety on buses,

CCSD has had to implement a new

COVID-19 transportation plan.

8 | Feature

“Capacities are now half of what they

were,” Kinemond said. “We changed spacing

on the buses, kids are wearing masks, drivers

are wearing masks, [and] we disinfect the


Requirements for the drivers change as

health department guidance changes, and

bus drivers now have responsibilities that

they never had in the past. This new role for

the drivers can be stressful, but they are willing

to adapt to the extra challenges.

“I put up with that,” Safety and Training

Manager Susan Nowland said.

The additional responsibilities and added

stress of working in the school transportation

department during COVID-19 is in addition

to the personal stress workers feel on

the personal side. Nowland is one of many

Americans who suffered economic stress

due to family members who lost their jobs

during COVID-19.

“I feel very blessed that I still have a great

job,” Nowland said. “And, that I know that

the district is fighting very hard to keep me

and everyone else.”

The pandemic changed Nowland’s worklife

significantly and it gave her more to think

about personally. While she is worried about

catching COVID-19 herself, she is most worried

about spreading it to her elderly mother

that lives with her.

“That would be my biggest fear: to bring it

home,” Nowland said



The workers in the maintenance and janitorial

staff had similar issues.

Amy Johnson, an assistant for facility/

attendance, has taken a new role this year

of distributing PPE (personal protection

equipment) due to COVID-19. In addition

to Johnson’s usual tasks that she followed before

COVID-19, she is also now responsible

for making sure teachers have all the materials

needed to teach in a safe environment.

Each day Johnson oversees things such as

sanitizing wipes, the district approved cleaner,

rubber gloves, paper towels, hand sanitizer,

and proper masks are dispersed throughout

the campus.

“It takes a huge portion of time to make

sure that everything is coordinated and gets

out to everyone that needs it,” Johnson said.

She also is a mother to an eighth grader

and a junior so she has experienced

COVID-19 as a parent too. Johnson sees

how hard it is for her kids to adjust to learning

in COVID-19.

“As parents, we just feel for you guys,”

Johnson said. “[I] know that you guys are

doing the best that you can.”

Other workers in these departments have

also had a lot of extra work to shoulder. The

maintenance and janitorial staff is usually

busy, even without COVID-19, since they

are in charge of cleaning the school. Now,

they are responsible for a whole new operation

- every room must be disinfected every

evening and again every morning.

To keep up with health and safety standards,

they must do extra rounds and clean

more frequently. Maria D. Martinez, a custodian,

explains her experience with the

COVID-19 situation.

“Everything has changed - I disinfect everything

including the tables and chairs,”

Martinez said.

Every time she comes back from work, she

has to make sure she is being careful about


TRANSPORTATION SAFETY: Cherry Creek bus driver Albert R. sprays and wipes

down his bus before the students on his route arrive.

not spreading COVID-19 to her husband.

“Things in my house are completely different.

I have to disinfect everything when I

come back from work,” Martinez said.


This year, the administrative support staff

has had to pitch in by taking on new tasks

and getting creative about how to do their

jobs for the school in the COVID environment.

Rosann Bryant is an Assistant to Assistant

Principal Marcus McDavid. Their office

oversees student field trips but that work was

mostly placed on hold as COVID-19 started.

In its place, Bryant took on new tasks left

behind by teachers and administrators that

transferred to the Elevation School. “This is

the new normal for offices across Creek that

have to jump in and make sure everything

still gets done,” she said.

“There’s a lot of people doing things

that just don’t come up every year, but in

COVID-19 - you know we’re all tapping in,”

Bryant said.

Bryant also explained that all staff and administrators

are “working hard to meet the

extra demands of this year.”

Like all employees, Bryant’s work at Creek

impacts her home life. Bryant worries about

getting COVID-19 and passing it on to her

88 year old father.

“I find that I am more careful about making

sure I check in on him regularly. And,

that he doesn’t feel isolated during this time.”

Everyone at Creek is trying to stay safe

and keep their families safe - that feeling is

what school workers are striving for.

“They need to feel safe coming here,”

Johnson said.

Debbie Kinemond’s Bus

Driving Routine









Kinemod waits in line six feet from

others, with her mask on, to get her

temperature taken.

Checks in and picks up her book

with route information and keys.

Opens up all windows for circulation

and heads off to pick up and drop off


Disinfects all of the seats.

Picks up the next batch of students

and drops them off at school.

Disinfects again.

Drops off her keys and book and

heads home.

Then comes back mid-day to do it


October 2020

The Cherry Creek S cialist.

Two seniors create a pamphlet to spark political conversations



“I refuse to believe that just because I was born with a certain

amount of melanin in my skin, I immediately am handed a White-

Card that lets me not get shot by the police, because statistics from

Statista, say that in 2018, 158 African Americans were shot and killed,

and 318 White Americans were shot. That is 2 whites for everyone 1


These were the words that sparked the idea in senior Nathan

Barnes to create The Cherry Creek Socialist,

a four-page newspaper with articles and

opinions supporting socialist ideals.

After Barnes saw those words published

in this newspaper in an opinion

article two years ago, he realized there

was a population at Creek that felt passionate

and strongly supported these


He also realized he could create an

outlet to convey his own political beliefs

and share them with other students.

So in early September, Barnes joined

senior Ramsey Headrick in making

a newspaper that expressed the other

side on the political spectrum.

Alone, Barnes conveys a voice in the

paper he deems as forceful and abrasive,

but joined with Headrick, he believes

they are a match like “a jazz band

where people with different ideas play in

tune to try to create a change.”

They believe their two voices combined

in the paper compliment each

other well both in expressing their ideas

but also in trying to create a moderate

voice that isn’t too overbearing for students

with opposing beliefs.

For Barnes, Headrick is key to helping

him and the paper convey a more

moderate and easygoing voice that will

draw people into how they actually interpret

socialism. For them, socialism

is more than just an ideology. It’s an opportunity

to get people and students thinking

about what their true beliefs and ideas are.

They believe the paper could open students’ minds up to the idea

of having more political conversations and discussions that they

might not normally agree with rather than just affirming the same

confirmation bias in conversations they hear at home.

“We wanted to dispel misconceptions and introduce socialism to

people who haven’t heard of it or considered it before,” Headrick said.

At a school with almost 4,000 students representing different political

views, cultures, and ideologies, Barnes and Headrick realized the

paper could consist of fun, light, and digestible stories and articles

that could help get students thinking about what socialism really is.

The four page paper consists of the mission

statement, a general definition of what socialism

is and what it means to Barnes and

Headrick, and small articles about how

socialism is a growing movement in

not only America, but in younger generations

as well.

This is why they both feel it’s their

duty to inform and hopefully influence

Creek students now more than ever.

“Younger generations are trying to

burst that bubble of elitism that both

parties suffer from,” Barnes said.

Both seniors are also considering

starting a website that will contain longer

and more substantial information

in case students want more exposure

and access to what the paper is already


So far, they have received feedback


from people who agree and praise their

work and also from people who disagree,

reaching out to have conversations

and discussions.

Luckily, this is exactly what Barnes

and Headrick were hoping would happen.

“I’m open, and I love people contacting

us,” Barnes said. “We can debate and

hopefully change some minds.”

To Barnes and Headrick, socialism is

a an ideology that motivates them and

gets them excited to talk about.

With the paper, it’s a more convenient

and available option to share that excitement

with other people and help spark conversations

and discussions about left-wing politics.

“A lot of high school students don’t have full knowledge of what

socialism really is, so I think we’ve had some success at spreading our

message to people,” Headrick said.


Headrick holds the latest edition of The Cherry

Creek Socialist. Along with senior Nathan Barnes,

the two seniors have distributed two editions

this year and hope to create a new one every

three to four weeks. “With everything going

on in America, I got radicalized over the summer

and started doing research into socialism,”

Headrick said. “It’s really good to be more set in

beliefs, and it feels good to have this as a

method of political involvement.”

10 | Feature

Remote learning


Feature Editor

Student perspective: how learning

from home has become a nightmare


junior Madison Seckman comments on

how the normal Creek workload is already

overbearing - and even worse with the hybrid

model. “My grades have been slipping

from not being able to keep assignments

straight, and I’ve been stressed more than

I’ve ever been,” Seckman said. “I’ve been

grateful for the time I’ve had at school, but

trying to keep my work straight between

the two types of days is only making

things worse. Remote learning was never a

good idea.”

Creek students are feeling the increasing

pressure of a workload at home much bigger

than what they would normally have. It’s

stressing them out, and it needs to change.

The workload pressure could be removed

in a number of ways: giving less homework,

spreading out test days, or giving assignments

that increase learning rather than take

a lot of time.

“It’s really stressful because of trying to

find every assignment, figuring out when it’s

due, how soon you should work on it, and

juggling all seven classes online,” junior

Stefven Klein said. “It just kind of all merges


In a recent email from Principal Ryan Silva,

he wrote, “it is unreasonable for [teachers]

to feel they need to cover everything

they normally would. In most cases it is too

much for the students to manage when they

are only on campus two days a week.”

Silva’s directions clearly stated that students

should do “two hours of homework

(20 minutes per class)” per night, Silva said.

Unfortunately, for people like myself,

classes often assign more homework than

what can be accomplished in 20 minutes.

AP Spanish Language and Culture includes

in the course syllabus, “students commit

to an average of 45 minutes of homework

per night, every night.”

Since there are so many difficult courses

offered at Creek, students can load their

schedule with AP and honors level courses

that require a lot of work. Granted, they have

the choice to take easier classes, but I take

them because I believe these harder classes

will improve my college applications.

A study done by Stanford University

showed how high achieving students are

more likely to experience ”stress, physical

health problems, a lack of balance in their

lives, and alienation from society” (Stanford

University) because of larger workloads.

So, Creek students, like myself, who want

to increase their chances of getting into colleges,

are more likely to experience extra

stress and health problems.

This year, the stress is also coming from

lack of organization and big changes in what

learning looks like.

Stress is something I’ve always experienced

from trying hard in school, but I’ve

never experienced this much stress.

Every year I have to remember when projects

are due, all of my tests, and what I have

on my to-do list for that night. This year it’s

even worse. All of my teachers have different


formats to Schoology, - some of them don’t

even use Schoology - sometimes tests are

sprung on me the day before, and the calendars

are always changing.

“It’s a lot more work that you have to

search for, in a way. If you’re on Schoology,

teachers organize their pages differently, and

sometimes there are hidden assignments

that you don’t know about,” Klein said.

The missing organization makes it hard to

turn in assignments on time or properly prepare

for tests and quizzes. Preparing for tests

and quizzes is harder, too, because genuine

teaching is only happening two days a week.

“There’s not much of teachers talking online

- that’s more me doing [school work]

myself. I mean, you got some classes that

the teacher will talk for a certain amount of

minutes, and then you have to do the work

yourself,” junior Zach Macauley said.

Students are required to spend hours at

home working for school in a manner that

resembles homework more than an inschool

learning environment.

The workload from teachers is overwhelming

and causing students to stress

more than they already are this school year.

The assignments and hybrid model have

been a disaster and should be eliminated.

October 2020

Teachers face new challenges

with hybrid learning

Separate cohorts complicate teaching




Early August was a time of uncertainty

for everyone. The district had not told

teachers or students about a plan for

in-person learning and Conley Flynn

didn’t know how to prepare for her incoming


“It was definitely stressful not knowing

exactly what was going to happen and having

the constant change of plan,” science

teacher Conley Flynn said.

Hybrid learning has been difficult to

structure and adapt to. Teachers are trying

to assign work in a way that is easy for everyone

and it is becoming more difficult to

work with students when they aren’t actually


“I feel that we're all beginning to adapt

and adjust to try to optimize the opportunities

within that sort of hybrid model, but

it certainly again presents certain challenges,”

English teacher David Rowe said.

Teachers are still able to interact with

students; however, it is different from what

they used to do.

“I'm really happy being around the students

and seeing how you guys have adapted

to it,” Flynn said. “Part of the reason

why I wanted to be a teacher is because I

want to interact with kids, and so being

able to do that, I think, is great. Although it

is nerve wracking sometimes.”

The social scene has changed for Creek

as well because events that students would

expect every year, like homecoming, are

canceled. Campus energy has also changed

because our communication has changed

from a lack of facial expressions.

“There is so much that you lose in terms

of facial expression and in social energy

that I feel that I feel like my students are

making a genuine effort in terms of their

work, but I feel like they miss out on some

of the energy that you typically get socially,

Rowe said, “so I think it can really be a


Even though students and teachers are

trying their best to make the two-day system

work, it doesn’t come without challenges.

Managing two different sections of

classes has caused teachers to have to cut

out work.

“I’ve actually had to cut things that I actually

think would be beneficial,” said history

teacher Virginia DeCesare. “I usually

have a term paper, but I had to cut that because

I don’t have time to teach it.”

Organization for teachers has been hard

because they have to balance two groups

of students and make sure that everyone is

getting the same instruction.

“It's a challenge for both the teachers

and the students just staying organized in

a way that makes sense for everybody and

then figuring out how to teach this way is

a huge adjustment for the teachers,” Flynn


It has also been more time consuming

to grade and assign work. Technology has

complicated the work process for everyone.

“Grading online takes much longer than

grading a stack of papers,” DeCesare said.

“Somebody submitted a file that my computer

can’t read so then I have got to see if I

can read it on my phone.”

Both teachers and students are working

to make this system work as it has been difficult

for everyone.

“I'm really proud of the effort and how

everybody's doing their very best,” Principal

Ryan Silva said, “whether it's to adapt

to the new learning and teaching environment

or to wearing a mask all the time.”

TOO MUCH TIME: senior Apoorva

Maddhi studies Stat during her

remote learning day. The hybrid

system has been a difficult process

to adjust to for her rather than a system

of learning completely at home

or all online. “I don’t know the last

time I sat down and was actually

able to think,” Maddhi said. “Having

more time makes me procrastinate


12 | In-Depth



ADAPTING TO A NEW NORMAL: English teacher David Rowe wasn’t expecting the craziness surrounding 2020. Students

and teachers are adjusting to a new reality with socially distanced classrooms and hybrid learning. “I realize this is not the

sort of situation that anyone wants going into any year of high school, and I really feel that most of them come give me

genuine effort,” Rowe said. “That sort of positive spirit - I really appreciate that.”

“It’s a pretty good compromise.

You get some in person

learning, remote learning, and

the teachers seem to be doing

pretty well with everything all

things considered.”

- junior Aveline Hwang

“It is hard to go back and forth

from school. It’s too much

change. I need consistency.”

- freshman

Maya Friedlander



“While the hybrid system is

imperfect and possesses many

flaws, I think it’s a respectable

effort by the district to ensure

a sense of normalcy through

continued face to face academic


- senior Molly Rojec

“I mean, I would prefer in

person learning overall, but

considering the situation we are

in, hybrid learning is better than

full online school. Since we go

to school two days a week, I am

able to get clarification on my

work, which I wouldn’t be able

to do if we were full online.”

- sophomore Gauri Thaliyil



October 2020

Katie Vasquez: TikTok Famous at Creek



A&E Editor and Staff Writer

What was the main thing that inspired you to get on TikTok?

My 3rd period students last year asked me to start a TikTok. This

was when TikTok was fairly new and super big on the dances and

such, so we thought it would be funny. And that’s where it all started.

Are you a part of the TikTok fund?

So I got approved for [the TikTok fund] on August 26th. It obviously

depends on how many views I get each day so sometimes I’ll

make like $5 a day while other times I’ll make like $45 a day. In the last

month I’ve made about $450 so far! I just signed a deal, and I’m going

to get $3,000 for the next six videos with the Colorado Department of

Health and Environment. All I really have to do is post about wearing

masks and social distancing!

What does hate look like for you?

Lately there’s been quite a lot of hate and I don’t really know why

because, I mean, I’m just posting general stuff in the classroom.

How do you generally deal with the hate that you’re getting on

this platform?

Usually, if I see a hateful comment I will just delete them. In my life

I like to keep around only positive people, and if there’s ever hate in

my life I just try to get rid of it. I just dont need that. It’s my TikTok


Is there anything that you’d like to gain or any message that

you’re trying to spread?

Just to really try and spread positivity. I want other teachers to understand

that teenagers are teenagers, and they go through some really

tough stuff. I just hope that the teachers that see my “Teach Toks”

[on TikTok] appreciate that kids are going through some really tough

times and that they just have bad days. And to be aware of anything

going on if they’re acting differently or acting up, so that rather than

treating the kids as robots, we’re identifying their differences and understanding

that they all have different circumstances at home.

Do you want to say anything to your fans?

The kids at our school are all very supportive. Sometimes you have

a couple haters on there, and I always look to see who responds [positively]

and it’s always kids from Creek, my students that I’ve had before,

always there, defending me.

14 | A&E


Vasquez’s most popular

video, “First day of

school” has 2.4 million

views and counting.

The video alone has

over 445 thousand likes

which contributes to her

six million likes on all of

her videos combined.

Her students describe

her as charismatic and

outgoing which helps

her attract a younger



NEWFOUND FAME: Teacher Katie Vasquez has over 225

thousand followers on popular social app TikTok. Senior

Nicole Shetov described her as “one of the only teachers

I’ve met that I genuinely feel comfortable talking about

anything to.”

TikTok in politics

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump declared war on


Citing cybersecurity concerns, his administration announced

that if the American portion of TikTok was not

bought by an American company, it would be banned from all

app stores.

Issues first arose following a Tulsa Trump rally in mid-June,

when TikTok teens bought tickets to the event with no intent to

show up. The rally had a disappointing low attendance, which

was partially lamed on the TikTokers.

Whether Trump’s battle with TikTok is due to his personal

feuds with its users, security threats, or a mixture of both,

the app is in the clear – for now. Two US companies, Oracle

and Walmart, are currently in talks to take over US operations

for the app, fulfilling Trump’s demands and keeping TikTok on

American phones.

– Carly Philpott, News Editor


Opinion Editor

When Disney announced they were making

a Mulan live-action movie, I hoped and

prayed it would be good, considering how

mediocre the other live-action and adaptations

they had released in the previous years


Deep down I knew it wouldn’t be very

good, but I was excited anyway since Mulan

from 1998, in my opinion, is the best animated

Disney movie ever.

My expectations were low but holy God.

First of all, I feel like I need to make clear

that you don’t have to feel bad if you liked

the movie, but if you liked it it’s probably because

you haven’t watched the original animated

piece yet, and if you haven’t, I strongly

recommend you do if you get the chance, so

you can understand why so many people are

upset about the live-action.

Mulan was already an announced tragedy

since it would have to live up to the masterpiece

that its original version was, but the

movie kept on subverting my expectations

every minute that passed. Not in a good way.

First of all, I don’t understand exactly why

they decided to remove some key characters

from the original movie and add characters

that were somewhat loosely based on them.

Either remove them or don’t. For example, I

truly don’t understand the importance of the

character Chen Hanghui, a character loosely

based on Lee Shang from the original version

who was an essential part of the plot on

the animated version. You could remove all

Chen Hanghui scenes from the movie and it

wouldn’t change the storyline whatsoever.

Another thing they changed that I thought

would be okay at first was not having songs

which I thought would be fine since they

would probably be taking a more serious

take on the story.

They don’t.

They were certainly trying to make a more

serious story, but I don’t know what was the

last time I’ve seen such a failed attempt at

making serious scenes. There were moments

I actually laughed out loud that were not supposed

to be of comical purpose. One great

(or horrible) example of this is when Mulan

goes back to the army camp after being exiled

and dishonored for being a woman in

the army. When she gets back she tells the

Why Mulan (2020) is a cinematic disaster

general the enemy is planning on killing the

emperor, and the scene goes a little like this

(have in mind I’m paraphrasing just a little


General: “Why should I believe you?

You’re a woman! You lied to me. I must execute


*Long Pause*

That Chen Hanghui guy: “I believe Mulan!”

Another soldier: “I believe Mulan!”

All the soldiers one after another: “I believe


General: “Ok, you’re our leader now, go

stop the bad guys from killing the emperor.”

By the point, this scene ended, I was actually

wheezing, which I don’t believe was the intention

of the scene.

To give some credit where credit is due,

I’ve seen many people complaining about

the acting, but I honestly think it’s pretty solid

considering the horrendous script the cast

was given.

The villain is also another big problem

with the changes they made. The Villain this

time is a witch that can turn into animals, but

mostly an eagle, and I saw some potential in

that; it wasn’t that bad of an idea. But the execution,

on the other hand, could be so much

better. It is crazy how Disney creates such

an interesting character and doesn’t explore

her at all. All we know is that she is a witch

and that she fights for the bad guys, that’s all.

She has about four interactions with Mulan

in the entire movie, and some of them don’t

have much talking, just fighting.

That is until Mulan is expelled from the

army for being a woman, and the witch finds

her returning home and says a sentence that,

in my humble opinion, should be banned

from any bad guy vs. good guy interaction

forever. “You and I are not so different, you

know.” Then she proceeds by saying how they

are both women and how men will never accept

them as true warriors which, again, is a

very good idea for a theme of the story, but it

is so poorly executed that it pains me. Mulan

then decides to go back save the emperor, is

promoted to leader out of the blue, and then

the witch and Mulan finally meet again, and

their dialogue goes a little like this (have in

mind I’m paraphrasing just a little bit):

Witch: “Wait, you’re a woman and you’re

their leader?”

Mulan: “Yep.”

Witch: “I’m a woman and they won’t let

me be their leader, that must mean I’m fighting

for the wrong side!”

And then the witch sacrifices herself by

taking an arrow and saving Mulan’s life.

Do you see what the problem is here? A

lot of times it seems like the movie is talking

down to its audience. Like “you probably

didn’t pick up the last scene, so here is a fivestep

tutorial to understand my movie.” It is

so childish the way they establish, then re-establish,

then verbally re-establish themes just

in case the audience didn’t pick it up, especially

when you promise you’re making a

more “mature” version of Mulan.

But perhaps the worst problem with the

movie is the fact that in the original movie,

Mulan is just a woman who wants to protect

her father. She is no warrior. She constantly

subverts everyone’s expectations by

outsmarting everyone, including the enemy,

like when she shoots the last firework at a

mountain instead of at them so the firework

creates an avalanche that eliminates their entire

battalion. The point of the movie is that

everyone can be Mulan. But now? Well, forget

that, she is gifted by nature now, even at

a very young age she is amazing and skilled

at everything, so too bad, you can’t be Mulan,

no one can. She single-handedly defeats

a good portion of the enemy army through

her fighting skills, not her brain. I truly

don’t even know at this point if the writers

watched the original Mulan because why

on Earth would you change one of the main

themes of the story like that?

As someone who grew up watching Disney

movies, it pains me to realize that Disney

noticed a while ago that they don’t

even have to try anymore in order to profit.

They will keep on doing uninspired remake

after uninspired remake, and people,

like me, will keep on consuming because

of a nostalgia factor, and, unfortunately,

that seems to be the way Disney is shifting

towards, let’s just hope that it won’t

get to a point where they can’t steer back.

October 2020

Shut Up and Dribble?

Creek Basketball says ‘No thanks’


Sports Editor

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Arden Walker (left) and Julian Hammond


16 | Sports

In 2018, conservative pundit Laura Ingraham told NBA superstar

Lebron James to “shut up and dribble.” James refused to shut

up about racial injustice, and you can be sure senior basketball

players Arden Walker and Julian Hammond will also have something

to say.

Arden Walker, varsity football’s highly-recruited defensive

tackle, is also the starting power forward for the Bruins basketball

team. Julian Hammond, the accomplished starting quarterback

and starting shooting guard, has recently committed to play basketball

at the University of Colorado.

These high-profile athletes are taking cues from stars like Lebron

James and planning to use their platforms to promote change

in the Creek community.

“In the Black community we look up to [Lebron James], and for

him to speak out on racial injustice

in America, that’s powerful,”

Walker said. “We look for him

to do it because there are a lot of

athletes that don’t do it.”

Colin Kaepernick began

kneeling during the national

anthem at NFL games to protest

police brutality and racial injustice

in 2016. Senior Amanda

Ampiah, President of the Black

Student Union, remembers this


“It’s important to speak about

racial injustice because it could

happen to me or my family

members,” Ampiah said. “That’s

why it hugely impacted me, and

him raising awareness about the

whole situation is spotlighting

or highlighting things that go

unnoticed in this country.”

Hammond also remembers

Kaepernick kneeling, and he

agrees that athletes should fight

for what they believe in because

you never know who you might

influence to create change.

“There’s no reason why anybody

- [no matter] how big or

how small the stage is - shouldn’t

be able to stand up for what they

want to stand up for,” Hammond


People who disagreed with Kaepernick kneeling argued that

athletes should “stick to sports,” but that comment strikes Walker

and other athletes as ignorant.

“We’re human too,” Walker said. “That’s the reason why people

like Lebron are speaking out - because we’re humans, we’re included

in this situation. The people who say [“stick to sports”] - it’s an

ignorant statement to me because they basically labeled me as just

an athlete, and we’re more than just athletes.”

Varsity Boys Basketball Head Coach Kent Dertinger wants to

help his athletes keep racial justice issues and the Black Lives Matter

movement in the forefront of people’s minds.

“I know it’s something that my coaching staff and my players

have talked a lot about,” Dertinger said. “Our goal is to be there to

“When one part

of the community

is needing more

healing than

other parts, that’s

the one you want

to attend to.”

-Julian Hammond

support our players, our community, and a cause that we believe


But Black Lives Matter is not the only movement in America.

All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter also have many supporters.

Hammond is frustrated with these two movements because he

wants people to understand what it really means to support Black

Lives Matter.

“You can’t argue something that you would never have to deal

with,” Hammond said. “Of course every life matters, but when

one part of the community is needing more healing than other

parts, that’s the one you want to attend to, so to me it feels like it’s

a counter way of saying ‘oh you guys are focusing in on you.’ And

with Blue Lives Matter, you shouldn’t be killing cops, that’s an obvious

thing, but I feel like it’s just to say something in response to go

against Black Lives Matter.”

There is still uncertainty about

the 2020 basketball season due

to the COVID-19 pandemic, but

what we know for sure is that

Walker and Hammond will be

doing something to protest racial


“During the national anthem

we can all lock arms, both teams,

to show unity,” Walker said.

“We’re showing that there’s no

division. We’re all together.”

Hammond added that he is

“not going to stand for the national


The two athletes have the support

of Athletic Director Jason


“I think it’s been really good

for athletes in general to use their

platform and to speak out about

racial injustice,” Wilkins said.

“There’s been a lot of solidarity

that’s come about. That has been

a real positive.”

The Varsity boys basketball

team also wants to make warmup

shirts that say Black Lives

Matter or another phrase that

shows solidarity. Walker was

thinking about adorning the

warm-up shirt with the name

Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old

Black man who was stopped by three police officers in Aurora in

2019, put in a chokehold, and declared brain dead three days later.

He was “a part of our community,” Walker said.

But no matter what the warm-up shirts end up saying, the end

goal is the same: to keep Creek talking about racial injustice and to

improve the community.

“By the time that we are able to play the game, I hope it sends

a message to the people at Cherry Creek because there’s probably

some people who are ignorant to this idea, or they have a different

belief,” Walker said. “But I feel like my voice, and my other teammates’,

is powerful enough to create a movement or change.”

October 2020

Tennis tops Regis

Creek tennis wins State for the first time in three years


Opinions Editor

Even before we knew the toll the COVID-19 pandemic would

take, CHSAA was one of the first organizations to take action and

cancel all high school sports in the state of Colorado.

So when most school districts in Colorado announced classes

would be back in person in August, many people were unsure of

how sports would be affected, including tennis.

“We missed out on a lot of team traditions such as our trip to

Pueblo and our invitational,” senior Braden Mayer said. “But we

are gonna win State this year so that should make up for the craziness

of this season.”

As it turns out, Mayer’s prophecy would come true.

“[I’m] so happy to bring the title back to Creek where it belongs,”

Mayer said after the State Championship. “That’s 43 state

titles in the last 48 years.”

Despite all the bonding issues that come with any environment

in which social distancing is required, the team managed to, after

three years, bring the state trophy back to Creek.

“It was one of the best feelings of my life,” Mayer said. “The joy

of winning with my team, bringing the title back where it belongs,

and sharing a State Championship with my dad was one of the best

moments of my life.”

Tennis was one of the few fall sports that weren’t moved to

spring. But from the beginning, coach Arthur Quinn knew this

wouldn’t be an ordinary season.

“We have a fairly socially distant sport,” Quinn said. “But we





Senior George

Cavo, the #1

singles player

for Men’s

Tennis, helped

lead the Bruins

to a State Championship


a three year

drought. In the

state final, Creek

defeated Regis



STATE CHAMPS: Creek tennis has a 43rd state championship

under its belt after an exciting win over Regis on Saturday,

September 26th.

have taken steps to ensure that our pods were in order and we

didn’t have any line drills or game courts that would violate safety


Although it was back, the tennis program had some restrictions

on how their season would be, compared to previous years.

“Our match schedule was reduced from ten matches and two

tournaments to nine matches and no tournaments,” said Quinn.

“But this was really nothing for us, we were fortunate to actually get

to compete and have a season. Not all sports were.”

Despite being an independent sport, tennis requires certain

bonding within the squad so that the team can function at its best,

and at these times, safety measures may often get in the way of


“I feel that it limits our team from bonding and makes it extremely

different than last year, senior Blake Holst said. “COVID

has just limited contact as players can’t touch anyone or balls when

playing matches. Practices are easier because we can be more carefree

but it still requires masks and distancing.”

As it turns out, even in these crazy times Creek’s tennis team was

able to bring the trophy home and make history once again.

“The players have been very professional,” Quinn said. “Acting in

a responsible, positive, and conscientious way to the fluidity of the

situation. I’d expect nothing less from our program or our school.”

18 | Sports

Born to run

Senior Parker Wolfe broke the state record in the 5K


Sports Editor

Born to run? It sure seems so.

Senior Parker Wolfe is dominating

this cross country season, setting a

state record in the 5K on Saturday,

September 12th, when he won the

Heritage Distance Classic on the

Liberty Bell Course, running an

blisteringly fast 14 minutes 30


Dig a little deeper, and

you’ll find that Wolfe was indeed

born to run… and fast.

“It’s definitely genetics,”

Wolfe said. “I would never

be able to run without my

mom’s genetics.”

If you found yourself on

CSU’s campus back in 1993, you

would hear about Wolfe’s mom, Debbie

Maass, CSU’s female Athlete of the

Year who earned All-American Honors

in the mile run for track with a 4

minute 45 second mile.

Parker Wolfe’s sister, freshman Baylor

Wolfe, an up-and-coming member of

Creek’s cross country program, won the

JV Bruins 5K on September 5th. Baylor

Wolfe has nothing but high praise for

her older brother, and when he won the

Heritage Distance Classic, she was definitely

there for it.

“I was trying to run around to see as

many places as I could to watch him run,”

she said. “It was really cool to see his time,

and I was amazed by it because I can’t even

imagine running that fast, so I was really, really

excited and happy for him.”

The Liberty Bell Course is mostly flat and

ends with a mile-long downhill-stretch

on asphalt. When Wolfe reached this

point, knowing he was hitting his pace, he

really started thinking about the state record, which

he knew was 14 minutes 38 seconds, set by Cole

Sprout in 2019.

“I started kicking it as hard as I could because I

knew I was really close to [the record],” Wolfe said.

“And then once I got close enough to the finish line,

I just coasted in, because I knew I was fast enough to

break it.”

Maybe Wolfe got his speed from his mom, but

Head Coach Ethan Dusto doesn’t think it’s all genetics,

and he is very impressed by Wolfe’s work ethic.

“Parker has a lot of talent, but he is an extremely

hard worker,” Dusto said. “To be a successful runner,

you need to find a balance between what your goals

are as an athlete, what kind of punishment your

body can handle, and what you can mentally sustain.

He has done an excellent job of finding this balance

and taking his training seriously.”

Wolfe plans to continue his record breaking success

through the State Championship on October

17th in Colorado Springs, where he hopes to win

an individual title and break the course record of 15

minutes 12 seconds, also set by Cole Sprout in 2019.

Most of Colorado’s high school running talent

graduated last year, leaving Wolfe in a great place to

bring home some hardware to Creek before he continues

his running career next fall at the University

of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wolfe recognizes

his elite abilities compared to other runners in Colorado.

“I’m kind of the only one left in the state in 5A in

terms of good competition,” he said.

But Wolfe knows that cross country is ultimately

a team sport, and he wants to see the team succeed

after the disappointment of missing state in his

sophomore year and not winning state his junior


“My bigger goal is hoping the team does well, so

I’m hoping that we can place top five at state.”


SPEED RACER: Senior Parker

Wolfe is the fastest high school

boys’ cross country runner in the


BY THE NUMBERS Parker Wolfe - Speed Stats


Finish Time Place

1st 15:22.70 Colorado 5A Region 1 Final

1st 14:30.10* Heritage Distance Classic

1st 15:30.30 Centennial League Warrior 5K

*State Record


October 2020


News Editor









A word to the wise: never ignore the warning signs of an

emerging fascist.

I was 11 years old when Donald Trump was elected. He

pledged to fortify our borders against the immigrants he

blamed for crime in our country. He fanned resentment

against certain religious and ethnic groups. He vilified the

press and openly fantasized about taking revenge on his opponents.

He demeaned entire regions and demographics,

making it clear he only spoke for those who pledged loyalty

to him.

The warning signs were all there.

Not enough voters saw them.

I was only 11, but I saw something wrong with where

this was going, where Trump wanted to take us. I saw deepened

divides and ignorance and unwillingness to read anyone

else’s story.

Above all else, I saw a self-centered man who had no

intention to work for everyone. Who openly mocked people

with disabilities and stood accused of rape, racism, and

fraud. This man was about

to become the leader of

“We’re four years into

Trump’s presidency, and

what he’s done in those

four years is disturbing and

problematic and deserves to

be treated as such.”

the nation where I was still

growing up. I was terrified.

I’m 15 now. I’m still terrified.

Many Americans say

that Trump shouldn’t be

compared to fascist leaders

of the past. The common

argument seems to be that

Trump cannot truly be

compared to dictators like

Hitler or Mussolini, and

that to do so is to blatantly

ignore history.

It is indisputable that Trump has not reached the pure

evil of those leaders, and many of them are on a level that

he most likely won’t reach. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t

also awful, or that he can’t also cause irreparable damage to

our country. If we as a nation ignore the warning signs of an

emerging fascist leader as we have done in the past, we will

only walk further down the path of authoritarianism. We’re

four years into Trump’s presidency, and what he has done

and attempted to do in those four years is disturbing and

problematic and should be treated as such.

Fascism combines authoritarianism, ultra-nationalism,

and the demonizing of minorities and “outsiders.” We know

the threat fascist leaders pose; we’ve fought them before.

If Trump was an emerging fascist then, he’s a full-blown

fascist now.

Recently, the president has been using federal troops to

quash largely peaceful protests, and then parading a story

of mob violence that only he can save us from. This is a

dangerous threat to our free speech as a nation and should

not be ignored. Not only does this pose a direct threat to

the lives of protesters, it also is direct propaganda. When

protests get violent and deadly because of military involvement,

Trump uses the situation to prove that those who disagree

with him are inherently “un-American,” and furthers

this mindset that all protesters of a certain type are “thugs.”

From the beginning, he has preached American superiority.

Trump wants us to believe that America is forever

superior, and when things go wrong, he won’t hesitate to

blame it all on specific demographics of people. This form

of scapegoating only results in persistent divisions between

people and endless discrimination.

Trump has a very odd habit of cozying up to dictators

and corrupt leaders – he praises international leaders like

Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Recep Erdoğan, Rodrigo

Duterte, János Áder, and Jair Bolsinaro, who all use authoritarian

tactics to varying degrees, and who govern countries

that are not our primary allies. Meanwhile, Trump leaves

our actual allies high and dry, dipping in and out of crucial

international agreements and

refusing to make decisions

that would benefit someone


Perhaps most dangerous of

all, Trump has managed to pit

his base against everyone else,

creating an “us versus them”

narrative. He winks at white

supremacists, never denouncing

them as terrorist groups,

despite their repeated attacks

against minority groups. He

makes it clear that if you do

not agree with him, he does

not work for you. If your needs

are anywhere outside of his own, he does not work for you.

He does not work for any of us who believe Black Lives

Matter, love is love, and science is real, or for my grandmother,

who suffers from cancer and could die if she contracts

COVID-19, or for my generation, who will have to

deal with the consequences of our current climate degradation,

or for any of us in the West, as we witness our worst

wildfires yet and desperately need serious efforts to address

the climate crisis.

Trump works for himself, promoting values that do not

belong to the rest of us. That is what he fights for, not us.

He would like for us to believe that he is the savior we


Instead, he is a fascist working against our country and

against our people.

The signs are there.

They’ve always been there.

And it’s time to pay attention.

October 2020



Finding power in a

powerless time

It’s been easy to feel helpless in high school. I’m sure most of us

have experienced some of the aftermath of events that we had no

control over - that sinking feeling of losing all power or sense of direction

in our lives. Especially now more than ever, losing our high

school experiences and memories to a pandemic has been more

than challenging.

But for the first time, we actually have the ability to make a

change and take back some of that power we’ve lost. The best part

is that it’s simple - wear a mask when you can’t stay home, and for

god’s sake, don’t go out and party, and vote if you’re eligible.

I’m sure many other seventeen year olds like myself are feeling

the same frustration of being too young to vote, and not feeling

like there’s anything we can do. But there’s still so much action we

can take without even submitting a ballot or stepping into a polling


According to Hackensack Meridian Health, we are one of the

most influential generations to help prevent the spread of COVID.

I don’t think this is a very surprising topic for many of us because

we all know the impact we can make with our social media

accounts and how powerful our influence in and out of school is.

But I also think that the responsibility that comes with this role

is undermined when we take advantage of that fact that we can

do whatever we want without thought to the other people in our


I know we want things to go back to normal. I know no one

wants to hear any more lectures about doing the “right thing” and

how you shouldn’t go to parties. I also know that just makes people

want to party more.

But it’s different now. Not only are other lives at stake, but our

control over our democracy, our communities, and our homes

filled with our loved ones are at stake.

When we knowingly go to a party, and we don’t wear a mask, we

endanger the parents or grandparents of the people who sit near

you in your classrooms. The students who sit next to you chose

to come to school because learning at home full-time might be an

impossible situation for them.

When we knowingly see others go out without taking any precautions

instead of staying home, we endanger the lives of our

teachers and their families. They come into school for our well-being

and for our education.

Now is not the time to “take the chance” that you won’t get

caught or you won’t have any consequences. Now is really the time

to take the extra precaution of staying home whenever you can.

Only go out if you have to, and wear a mask.

We finally have the opportunity to make sure we’re the generation

that pushes other people to be the responsible ones taking

every extra step possible to stop the spread of this virus instead of

being the bad example that’s being criticized.

Consider what is on the line right now. Consider the people who

are really endangering everyone by trying to cross it, and consider

what kind of power you have to stop it.


Working from home during

remote learning days is hard.

As with most Creek students,

forcing herself to stay home

rather than going out has

been a difficult process. But

it’s also been a price we’re willing

to pay if it means students

can eventually go to school

full time next semester when

there are fewer COVID cases.

22 | Opinion



The hybrid system is failing.

We as individuals, as a school, and as a community have

struggled exponentially these past two months alone trying

to acclimate to this new system we now call learning.

It doesn’t seem like learning when most of us only see each

other through computer screens or when we can’t recognize

our friends and teachers without seeing the bottom half of

their faces.

But we continue trying to learn through this uncertain

time, trying to fill our brains with whatever assignments we

are given. We may not be absorbing the information, but at

least we turned it in before 11:59PM.

But this is the kind of thinking that is only hurting students,

not helping us learn.

For us, and many other students, a lot of the confusion and

frustration that has occurred this past quarter is from the

general lack of organization and structure between students

and teachers.

Each teacher has a different plan with a different amount

of work on different websites and pages to search through.

Some teachers dock late points, and some don’t. Some change

the assignments we’re supposed to turn in when we’re already

at home, and most of the time, nothing about assignments or

the workload is ever clear.

The cherry on top is that teachers aren’t even assigning too

much work for their own class. It’s the fact that the work from

all of our classes together isn’t manageable, especially while

trying to search for everything and understand it at home,

where all of this is being dumped on us.

We’re not asking teachers to have all the answers and to

be able to get this right on the first try. This is the first pandemic

we’ve experienced, and no one should have that much

responsibility, especially the teachers, staff, and administration

when we know how hard they’re working and how much

they’re risking during this time as well just for our well-being

and education.

We also know Creek is

known for being rigorous ART COURTESY OF FAITH McCURDY

with its workload, and

teachers have a job to do.

But constant confusion and frustration in this hybrid model

wasn’t something anyone wanted either.

Having a hybrid system has been a great opportunity for

students who still want an in-person experience this year instead

of just staying home full-time. Plus, it’s been an option

for students who feel that learning home full-time isn’t possible

for their learning style either.

But this system also means that consistency and clarity

will never be an option for anyone either. And for students

who are already struggling to stay focused and organized, this

model is only exasperating these problems.

Trying to balance the work we’ve been given in this kind of

system is also an impossible task when there isn’t a consistent

foundation for students to navigate the mess of trying to find

all the assignments like an Easter egg hunt and going back

and forth between school and home.

The result is that school has now become a matter of just

finishing assignments in time rather than learning and getting

a valuable experience out of this year.

As unfortunate as it may be for students right now, the best

option for the mental health of students and teachers is staying

home full-time for the rest of the semester, so everyone

can come back full time for the rest of the 2021 school year.

Students would follow their whole schedule from 8:20 to

3:30 online during the day and finally keep some consistency

at home and clear communication with their teachers.

For now, what students need is solid consistency from all

teachers on what is due and when, and more than anything,

understanding that our work shouldn’t be held in the same

regard as any other year because let’s be honest with ourselves,

this isn’t any other year.

October 2020

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