The Union St.
Keeping us safe:
staff at Creek
for social justice
Cherry Creek High School 9300 E. Union Ave. Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Adjusting to the
Vol. 6 Issue 1
Kinds of masks
By Nate Meredith &
Life at Creek during COVID
By Hannah Edelheit &
The staff behind the scenes
during a pandemic
By Lily Deitch
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
FRONT COVER BY HANNAH EDELHEIT
BACK COVER BY JANE McCAULEY
Hannah Edelheit &
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
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 &
TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT
OUR SCHOOL’S MASKS
Cover-up: how Creek chooses their masks
BY AILA MONLOUIS
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
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?
BY NATHAN MEREDITH
& JONATHAN TRIGG
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
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
PHOTOS BY CARLY PHILPOTT, BRE MENNENOH, AND HANNAH RIEWE October 2020
COVID creates new
BY CARLY PHILPOTT
& BRE MENNENOH
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
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.”
HOW TO ACCESS THIS FALL’S
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.”
6 | News PHOTO BY CARLY PHILPOTT
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
BY JANE McCAULEY
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
“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
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
IN THE MORIA CAMP:
the tented homes for the
refugees in the camp of
Moria on Lesbos are becoming
more homes and tents
are needed now because
the camp’s own refugees
started a fire over COVID
PHOTO COURTESY OF PIKIST
“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
PHOTOS BY JANE McCAULEY October 2020
Behind the Scenes
Creek’s staff members push themselves even harder to
protect students during COVID-19
BY LILY DEITCH
TIMELY SANITIZATION: Re-Juv-Nal,
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
MAINTAINING COVID PRECAU-
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
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
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
“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
“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
“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
“Everything has changed - I disinfect everything
including the tables and chairs,”
Every time she comes back from work, she
has to make sure she is being careful about
PHOTOS BY MADISON SECKMAN
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 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,”
Debbie Kinemond’s Bus
Kinemod waits in line six feet from
others, with her mask on, to get her
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.
Drops off her keys and book and
Then comes back mid-day to do it
The Cherry Creek S cialist.
Two seniors create a pamphlet to spark political conversations
BY JANE McCAULEY
“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
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
PHOTO COURTESY OF MELISSA CHU
from people who agree and praise their
work and also from people who disagree,
reaching out to have conversations
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.
A NEW WAVE OF SOCIALISM: senior Ramsey
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
BY MADISON SECKMAN
Student perspective: how learning
from home has become a nightmare
EMPTY DESKS AND EMPTY MINDS:
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
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
PHOTO BY HANNAH EDELHEIT
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
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.
Teachers face new challenges
with hybrid learning
Separate cohorts complicate teaching
BY HANNAH EDELHEIT
& JANE McCAULEY
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
“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
“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
PHOTO BY JANE McCAULEY
PHOTO BY HANNAH EDELHEIT
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
- junior Aveline Hwang
“It is hard to go back and forth
from school. It’s too much
change. I need consistency.”
PHOTO BY MADISON SECKMAN
PHOTO BY LILY DEITCH
“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
COURTESY OF MOLLY ROJEC
COURTESY OF GAURI THALIYIL
Katie Vasquez: TikTok Famous at Creek
BY BRE MENNENOH
& NATE MEREDITH
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
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
UP TO THE MILLIONS:
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
PHOTO BY BRE MENNENOH
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
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
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
– Carly Philpott, News Editor
BY GIOVANNI MACHADO
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 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
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
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
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.
Shut Up and Dribble?
Creek Basketball says ‘No thanks’
BY RAEGAN KNOBBE
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Arden Walker (left) and Julian Hammond
PHOTO BY RAEGAN KNOBBE
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
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
other parts, that’s
the one you want
to attend to.”
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
“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.”
Tennis tops Regis
Creek tennis wins State for the first time in three years
BY GIOVANNI MACHADO
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
PHOTO COURTESY OF CASEY DENNIS
Cavo, the #1
lead the Bruins
to a State Championship
a three year
drought. In the
state final, Creek
PHOTO COURTESY OF ARAM IZMIRIAN
STATE CHAMPS: Creek tennis has a 43rd state championship
under its belt after an exciting win over Regis on Saturday,
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
BY RAEGAN KNOBBE
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
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
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.”
PHOTO BY RAEGAN KNOBBE
SPEED RACER: Senior Parker
Wolfe is the fastest high school
boys’ cross country runner in the
BY THE NUMBERS Parker Wolfe - Speed Stats
BY THE NUMBERS
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
BY CARLY PHILPOTT
20 | Opinion PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CARLY PHILPOTT
A word to the wise: never ignore the warning signs of an
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
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
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
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
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.
BY JANE McCAULEY
Finding power in a
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
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.
STUMBLING IN THE DARK:
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
PHOTO COURTESY OF JANE McCAULEY
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
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
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
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.