Voice of the students | November 2020


COVID-19’s impact on

academic integrity, Page 8

West Shore Junior-Senior High School | 250 Wildcat Alley, Melbourne, FL 32935


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Dilemma Social media changing the way we

process the world around us.

Winner Junior Lila Iwanowski finishes

first in district golf tournament.

Break a leg Theater troupe prepares for One Acts

despite losing longtime sponsor.


04 Our words

Tired of the pandemic? Then take it seriously


05 Letters to the editor

Directional hallways are a disaster

Campus Connect

06 Scholarly six

National Merit Scholar Semifinalists named


20 ‘Save Yourselves!’

The alien invasion 2020 needed

21 Blockbusted?

Theater owers hopeful despite small audiences

22 Ratcheted up

‘Cukoo’s Nest’ prequel warps into extreme thriller

23 The show must go on

Thespian one-acts adjust for new restrictions


10 [Re]making history

The 1619 Project’s complementary view

of America’s past stirs controversy

12 Taking to the streets

Teens join rallies, protests to make their

voice heard

13 Social media manipulation

Misinformation causes public polarization

14 Poliltics

First-time voters share their views



Pandemic protocols

Coronavirus upends fall sports routines

17 From gurney to greens

Golfer rebounds from surgery to finish first

18 The next wave

Crew team rebuilds with new athletes


Editor in Chief

Sophia Bailly

Managing Editor/Business Manager

Laith Rukab

Design Editor

Sami Ramadan


Mark Schledorn

Staff Writers:

Aytek Abdulla, Violet Chace,

Joshua Dexter, Gavin Litchfield,

Raven Morgan, Chloe Osborn,

McKenna Slaughter



Student News Source

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law, ads opposing any religious beliefs, ads written in poor taste, ads with racial or sexist comments, ads considered inappropriate by the staff, advocacy advertising or ads containing

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Pandemic won’t end until we take it seriously

Living in a county with more than

9,000 Covid-19 cases and the

highest ratio of positive to negative

tests taken in the state, one would

think students would take the pandemic

seriously. And yet, scrolling through

Instagram or even looking around campus,

there are myriad examples of students

in large groups, no masks and without a

care in the world. In fact, looking through

social media, it would be near impossible

to tell there is a pandemic at all.

Parties have not ceased, even with cases

in the 15 to 24 demographic rising by

over three times, according to the World

Health Organization. Students who still

attend large social gatherings might not be

severely affected themselves, but they are

putting others around them at risk. This

selfish outlook of, “if it doesn’t affect me,

it must not be important” is emblematic


of a greater issue. By potentially exposing

yourself to COVID-19, you are putting at

risk everyone around you and rendering

their attempts at social distancing futile.

This is also an issue for the local

Our Words

businesses that

provide the

area with such a

distinct, living culture. Many businesses

are attempting to wait out the lowered

numbers of patrons, but this can’t last

forever. Countries such as New Zealand,

which have successfully kept national cases

low, have been able to return to life as

usual, and their economies are working on

rebuilding. This cannot happen as long as

cases continue to rise, and the effects could

be long-lasting.

It goes without saying that politics

also have a hand in people’s opinions

of COVID-19, but it cannot be stressed

enough how irresponsible of an idea

this is. Allowing politics to control the

public opinion during a health crisis is a

dangerous concept, and one we need to

pull away from if this is to end any time

soon. No matter where you fall on the

political spectrum, lives are at risk and you

could potentially harm someone else.

With this in mind, it becomes clear

that it is better to take the pandemic too

seriously in retrospect than not seriously

enough. Ignoring the individual impact of

attending social events is inherently selfish

and reckless.

Deciding the social distancing guidelines

simply don’t apply to you could hurt you

or someone else. We are being presented

with a situation where one poorly thoughtout

decision in your youth could have

consequences that follow you forever. So

ask yourself, is that party really worth it?


Your Words


Lessons learned in quarantine

Empathy is lacking in 2020. There’s

plenty of sympathy. Parents feel bad

for their children missing out on school

festivities, such as homecoming and

Powderpuff. Students feel bad for their

teachers being forced to attend campus

during a pandemic, putting themselves

and their families at risk. Teachers feel

bad for the administrators having to battle

parents over contact tracing guidelines

and quarantine.

Sympathy is passive. It makes the victim

feel acknowledged, but not necessarily

understood. It’s empathy that’s active and

tells the victim, “I understand, and will

help in any way I can.” Deciding to follow

the rules and take COVID-19 seriously

doesn’t make you a goody two shoes — it

makes you a decent human being.

When sent home on Oct. 13 to

quarantine for 14 days, I was both

startled and distraught. My parents took

COVID-19 seriously since it first made

headlines in February. My sisters and I

tried to keep ourselves and others safe.

I will admit, we are not perfect. We still

attend school in-person and see relatives

and close friends. But we take masks and

social distancing seriously, and pay close

attention to who we allow into our contact

circle. There’s a difference between trying

to live your life safely, and simply being

reckless. So I kept thinking to myself, “If

only people were more empathetic. If only

others followed guidelines. If only others

took this seriously. If only I could be at



My Words


If only.

In this new normal, empathy is our

greatest weapon. Being able to think

beyond what your wants and needs are

is critical. Take caution in what you do,

where you go and who you see. Because as

safe as you try to be, there’s no telling how

seriously others around you are taking

the pandemic. Everyone needs to lead by

example. We can’t afford to have outliers

who treat COVID-19 as a joke, or don’t

think it’s “a big deal.”

Quarantine was out of my control. I

thought I’d followed all of the rules and

listened to every guideline. But at the

end of the day, I was still sent home. The

lesson learned: the only person you can

control in this situation — is yourself.

Hear it from someone who loves being

on campus: Being forced to learn from

home is miserable. So take COVID-19

seriously and follow what you’ve been

asked to do. If you need to get tested,

stay home. If you try your best to check

every box and still find yourself being sent

home to quarantine: then you can act as a

warning to everyone else.

One-way halls

just don’t work

strongly disagree with the

I implementation of one-way hallways

and stairways. They seem to push students

closer together rather than allow for social

distancing. If a class is right next to your

previous class, you would come close to

more people going the long way than if

you could walk a few feet in the wrong

direction. It’s inconvenient and timeconsuming.

Transmission of the virus is

already less likely outside while wearing

a mask, so the one-way walkways feel

unnecessary to me.

Enforcing the flow of traffic is inefficient.

In the areas where there is administrator

policing, the students are more likely to

follow the rules, but it isn’t working across

the entire campus. At the end of the day,

not many students follow the directional

hallways. I think this precaution is more of

a hassle than it is worth.

— Caroline Scott, 9

Digital arts gets it right

The school’s digital art program is

amazing and the programs they provide

are some of the best. Due to the recent

changes in learning at the school for

COVID-19, they also have to provide the

students at home with the programs used

in the class. Although I’m not sure how

they were able to provide the students with

the necessary programs, it seems the class

is still running as smoothly as it did before

the pandemic hit.

The activities that take place in the class

are extremely helpful in learning how to

use all the tools properly while being able

to express your creative side as well. One

of my favorite activities was where we

picked our favorite music artist and then

design an album cover for that artist with

your favorite songs as part of that album.

It was one of the most fun activities in that

class in my opinion, and I’m excited to see

what the other digital arts classes will hold.

— Armani Catti, 9


Campus Connect



Seniors Monica Castellanos and Aislinn O’Neill managed the illustration and production

of a children’s book, “Maddy May Rides a Bicycle.” The project took about six months,

beginning in January, and ending in September, due to COVID-19. The children’s book

was a collaborative effort, drawing on the talents of Jim Finch’s art students.


“I think it would be really

cool to have directed the

creation and management

of a book in your resumes

for college applications.”


Total number of West Shore

students quarantined because of

possible exposure to COVID-19 as

of Oct. 19.

“E-learning isn’t all bad but

it’s hard to stay focused and

actually want to learn when

you’re not in the classroom.”

— Ana Gent, 11




State Amendment 2 would

increase the state minimum wage

incrementally from $8.56 currently

to $15 by 2026. Proponents say the

current minimum wage doesn’t align

with the cost of living in the state.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce

and the Florida Restaurant and

Lodging Association say the increase

could lead to job losses and worker

hours being cut .





Thirty middle-schooler Minecraft

enthusiasts meet virtually each Thursday.

“Out of context [the hardware depot

and bank] seems off, but the bank and

hardware depot were made as a part of

the town we started in order to form a

currency and economy, so everyone got

some gold to start with and they could

buy and sell stuff in the hardware store,”

eighth-grader Catalina Pelli said.




Oboe player Nathan Foo

recently was selected to the

National Association for Music

Education’s 2020 All-National

Honor Ensembles. Foo had been

slated to join 556 musicians

from 49 states to participate in

a convention in Orlando this

month. Because of COVID-19,

the convention will be virtual.

“It feels good to

represent the band

being among the first

to ever do this. I had

never thought I could

display my talents on a

national scale.”

— Nathan Foo, 12


Following Maureen Fallon’s sudden

retirement, Breana Davey stepped in

as the new full-time theater teacher in

October. “I chose to teach in Brevard

because I have ties to Brevard. I went to

school here,” she said. “It’s been great

so far, West Shore is really welcoming.

Everyone is super-helpful and I love the

kids, I love the staff. Everything’s been

great so far.”

The popular whodunit video game came out

in 2018 but only recently gained traction

when it was popularized by streamers and

influencers. Crewmates do tasks and try to

expose the imposters while the imposters

try to eliminate the crewmates. Everything

in the game is anonymous which creates a

mysterious atmosphere.

“I like playing because it’s an

extremely exciting game to play

with friends or groups of people. It’s

also enjoyable because it’s always a

mystery when playing the game.”

— Jackson Ehlers, 10


A study from ranks

Skittles as the best Halloween candy in

the state of Florida, with Reese’s peanut

butter cups coming in second and

Starburst placing third. However, at least

one senior disagrees.

“My favorite is Reese’s because it’s freaking delicious.

Chocolate by itself is usually too much for me, but

chocolate with peanut butter adds a flavor I love.”

— Shannon Kay, 12



The National Merit Scholarship

Corporation released recently

the names of national

semifinalists. Six West Shore

6students earned the distinction.

Brayden Cheek

“Pick the right

answers, don’t be


Reily Afflerback


examples from

previous exams can

help you.”

Sean Regan

“Do a ridiculous

amount of practice


Abigail Johnson

“I wasn’t stressed or

anything. I was just

taking another test.”

Julien Wakim

“You don’t want

to be tired taking

the exam. When

I’m tired, I’m


Christopher Jenkins

“Taking multiple

practice tests to

understand the types

of questions they ask.”



E-learners face

skeptism over

academic integrity




Ratio of on campus

learners to e-learners

at the beginnng of the

school year


Ratio of on campus

learners to e-learners at

the end of October


Number of students who take

some classes on campus and

others from home



As the student clicks on her online algebra test, she realizes she didn’t study

enough. She doesn’t feel prepared and becomes stressed. She takes a deep

breath and thinks for a minute, then comes up with a solution; she opens up a

new tab, without any way of getting caught, and types in a Google search to find the

algebra formulas she needs. She passes the test with flying colors, but her advantage

over the other students in her class makes her feel guilty.

With the new school year offering the option to learn and work from home

follows multiple opportunities to cheat on assignments and tests, students across

the nation are coming up with their own creative ways to do so. Because students

are no longer closely monitored in person, they now have the freedom to open up

another tab and search the web to finish assignments, without putting forth much


“I think that cheating is unfair and not morally correct,” Eighth-grade e-learner

Lillian Gustafik said. “Someone studied hard [for] the test, and here is someone just

lying to themselves that they are smart and are doing the right thing just so they

can get a better score.”

Despite opportunities to dash through schoolwork and still earn a high grade,

West Shore aims to protect its reputation for having an honest and hard-working

student body.

“I wouldn’t say that cheating is ever expected,” Algebra 2 teacher Patrick Pittenger

said. “I always expect students to try their best and learn from their experiences.

I would agree that students have much more autonomy this year, especially

e-learners, however I don’t think that the expectations have changed.”

While on-campus students may be skeptical of e-learners cheating their way

through assignments and lessons, Gustafik said such skepticism is unfounded.

“I feel that it is unfair that [people] would think that just because we can cheat,

that we would,” Gustafik said. “It’s very unfair, as I would never cheat.”

Although the school’s faculty and staff trust students to show their knowledge and

not what they found through a quick Google search, the policies and reprimands

are still upheld, in case the honor code is broken.

“According to the West Shore handbook, you can be suspended from one to

10 days depending on factors,” guidance counselor Hannah Smith said. “Many

teachers, if they suspect cheating, have their own policies for first-time offenders,

zero on the assignment, the possibility of re-doing it with points taken off, et cetera.

The policies have not changed. Yes, it is a pandemic, it’s hard, but in the face of

adversity is when we dial in resilience and grit.”

While the stakes seem to be high for students to complete tasks unfairly, it is

possible that the stress and competition of keeping up with the school’s expectations

could push them to eventually take the risk anyway.

“West Shore does have high standards and there is also the possibility of removal

from the school if a student does not maintain their grades,” Pittenger said. “These

factors may encourage students to try to take an easier route to get a grade they

didn’t earn, however those are not the students that I have met at West Shore.”




Principal Rick Fleming said it means

more for students to do their best and

honest work, in regards to long-term


“What we’re trying to get across to

students is that when and if you do cheat,

you are only cheating yourself,” Fleming

said. “The content you are missing,

although you may get a decent grade in

the class and your GPA is high, when you

hit the next level of rigor, whether that be

the next level of math, whether it’s here at

West Shore or at college, you are cheating

yourself out of content that needs to be

mastered. At some point, it’s going to catch

up with you. You may get away with it

today, you may get away with it tomorrow,

but you’re not going to get away with it at

some point in the future when you have

to demonstrate those competencies and

those skills necessary for completing that

next level of [a] difficult subject matter.”

According to Gustafik, cheating violates

West Shore’s goal of “academic excellence.”

“If [e-learners] cannot get good grades

or good test scores, then they shouldn’t

be in West Shore, as they can’t handle

what they need to do so they can succeed

morally,” Gustafik said.

Cheating yields psychological

implications, according to Smith.

“The way our brains works is that we

need to see information a few times to

develop a new schema,” Smith said. “The

more you exercise that schema, the more

organized your brain gets; thus creating

a network of tightly organized networks

that can quickly retrieve information

and knowledge. By not exercising your

brain, you’re not learning, you’re not

allowing your brain to organize itself into

those networks, so down the line you are

actually hurting your own knowledge


While teachers have to keep an eye on

their students for dishonest completion

of tasks, they do assume the best of

each individual first until the trust is

potentially lost, according to Fleming.

Teachers continue to hold students to high

standards because they believe they can

meet them through perseverance, with full

confidence that they can achieve academic

success using their own skill set.

“I would say [it is] our accelerated

graduation requirements and what we

require of students from an academic

standpoint, as well as the Senior Project

that holds our students to a higher

standard in terms of what we expect,”

Fleming said. “By being held to a higher

standard, and having the majority of

their time taken up either doing work

or preparing for college or things like

that, I think [those things] set us apart

individually between us and some

comprehensive schools about the focus

on the future of our students and their

personal intrinsic focus as well.”






1619 Project

hasn’t impacted

BPS curriculum

— yet

“The 1619 project is an ongoing initiative

from "The New York Times Magazine"

that began in August 2019, the 400th

anniversary of the beginning of American

slavery,” according to the 1619 Project

website. “It aims to reframe the country’s

history by placing the consequences of

slavery and the contributions of black

Americans at the very center of our

national narrative.”

This differs from how history is currently

taught, with the Sunshine State curriculum

requiring an overview be given of all

perspectives from certain time periods.

“It’s a big ask, and a big difference from

how we teach now,” said AP United States

History teacher Athena Pietrzak. “The AP

gods, or gurus, or whatever, tell me what

they want me to cover, and I do my best to

fit it all in the time we have. We’re taking

things like slavery as a theme, and teaching

10 I NOVEMBER 2020

them through the time period. We’re not

particularly focused on one perspective

from beginning to end.”

The 1619 Project has been surrounded

by controversy since its creation, notably

by historian Leslie M. Harris, who said she

fact-checked it before its publishing. Her

corrections were largely ignored.

“The job of historians is to investigate

and not only look for clues to our past but

also to seek to understand and interpret

them,” said Kimberly Garton, curriculum

supervisor for social studies at Brevard

Public Schools. “History is alive. For the

1619 Project, the biggest positive is that

all of the written and collected works can

force us to think. I think that some of the

curricular elements of the 1619 Project, if

used in conjunction with other materials,

could really help students think about the

connections between current events and

American History.”

Pietrzak said she tries to provide a

balanced perspective on the controversial

periods of American history.

“I always say education is power," she

said. "So many people don’t know how

important slavery was in the founding

of our nation, and I think that’s a shame.

Having this sort of knowledge in your

background is so important.”

In September, President Donald Trump

issued a statement promising to remove

federal funding for schools that taught

material from the 1619 Project, and issued

his own 1776 Commission in response.

The comission has yet to release material.

“Teaching about the history of America

and what facts, opinions, and perspectives

to include is always going to be dramatic,”

Garton said. “Remembering is not an

easy road to travel. The particular drama

surrounding the 1619 Project and the 1776

Commission comes from the fact that

these two ideas stand very far apart on a

spectrum of the American story. Drama

also comes when the ideas behind these

projects are taken up into the political


Sophomore Warrick Floyd said the

significance of the 1619 date is being

overly emphasized by the project.

“I don’t think [The 1619 Project] is

accurate,” he said. “I’m definitely for

recognizing African Americans, but I don’t

think the date 1619 signifies anything

about America. I believe that 1776, when

the Declaration of Independence was

signed, is the founding of America. On the

other hand, with the 1776 Commission,

I’m not entirely sure what patriotic

education is. I support nationalism, but I

also understand the extremes it can go to.”

The 1619 Project also aims to teach

about racism and capitalism in the modern

day, and traces much of it back to slavery

in America. Floyd said he sees an issue

in the way this could influence students’


“History should include a lot of things,

the number one thing I am against is

revisionist history," he said. "Parts of

history should never be left out because it

does not fit a specific agenda. Should the

date 1619 never be taught? I don’t think

so, it’s just another date, another time

stamp in history. I think it shouldn’t be


Pietrzak said the 1776 Commission

could set a dangerous precedent for the

influence politics has on education.

“I think the issue here is that we

absolutely need to be funded,” she said.

“Without federal funding, teachers don’t

get paid. I see a problem with current

conditions in the way we teach things, but

this is a borderline control of information.

I think allowing the president, or

government, to decide what can and can’t

be taught in schools is absolutely not OK.

It doesn’t matter if I agree with it or not.

I think knowing the history before you

decide where you stand is an important

part of being an American patriot.”

According to the Pulitzer Center’s

annual report, the 1619 Project is taught in

over 3,500 classrooms around the United

States, but Pietrzak said it's unlikely to

arrive on campus.

“Neither of these projects are able to

get any attention this year because of

the pandemic,” she said. “Our history

department meetings are on Zoom, there’s

very little communication. Because of that,


even when things like a new project get

mentioned, we have no time or resources

to implement that. Add to that business

that it’s my first year teaching AP, and

it's impossible to even consider adding

something like that. It’s a shame our hands

are tied with the 1619 Project. It’s not even

a possibility because of the decision that

we’d lose funding if we taught it.”



Teens awaken to social activism



George Floyd, a black man from

Minneapolis, Minnesota, was arrested on

May 25 for allegedly passing counterfeit

money. He was dead within minutes.

Some claim racial profiling and

subsequent police brutality were the

cause, while others say his death was

the unfortunate result of drug use and

underlying health issues. What most

Americans agree on, however, is that

his death was a tragedy that led to a

wave of national unrest.

Teenagers across the country have

witnessed this upheaval on the nightly

news and in their social media feeds.

Some have even been participants.

Amelia Knotts, a 17-year-old from

Oxford, Mich., said she felt safe where

she lives but knows that other cities

have been heavily affected by Black

Lives Matter protests.

“In terms of good cops versus bad

cops, I think that there are racist police

officers but that there are racist people

[in general], too,” she said. “I don’t

think that George Floyd was murdered

with racial motives. I think that the

[main] officer would have done the

same thing if [Floyd] was white.”

Andy Carlos, a 17-year-old, lived in

Melbourne before moving to Chicago

three years ago. He sees BLM protests in

his city almost every day.

“My own neighborhood has had

protests,” he said. “Other sections I go to in

Chicago, like Little Village and downtown,

have had riots, looting and heavy police

activity. I’ve seen a few protests first-hand,

and I have classmates that regularly attend

them. I also know people on social media

that have organized them. If you are a teen

in Chicago, you think protesting is cool.”

Some teens believe the BLM movement,

with calls to defund the police and the

unauthorized removal of historical statues,

has become politicized.

“Ninety-nine percent of people have

no problem with the phrase 'black lives

matter' because they do [matter], plain

and simple," Luke Johnson, an 18-yearold

from Melbourne Beach, said. "The

12 I NOVEMBER 2020

movement is where things get tricky [since

the protests] that turn violent very quickly

overshadow the ones that are peaceful.”

A couple of months ago, Sarina Barot-

Martinez, a 16-year-old from Laguna

Niguel, Calif., and her friend were

attending a protest at an intersection in her

affluent town when they had an aggressive

exchange with a driver.

“My friend and I were there peacefully

protesting,” she said. “At one point, a guy

pulled over, rolled down his window,

and started arguing with us. We didn’t

engage except to say ‘Black Lives Matter!’

He got out of the car and began to harass

my friend. Things escalated fast, and he

pulled a knife on her. Obviously we were

not trying to get stabbed, so we left for our

own safety.”

Karishma Patel, a 16-year-old from

Ellicott City, Md., said she hasn’t been

personally affected by the movement but

still tries to find ways to support it. In

August, Patel saw an opportunity to get

involved at a peaceful protest four hours

away from her in Virginia Beach.

“On the boardwalk, [we walked]

in support of the Black Lives Matter

movement,” Patel said. “It was one of

the most life-changing experiences. I’ve

seen videos and posts [of protests] on

social media but actually participating

in [one] allowed me to see the emotion

[and] passion in the eyes of the African


Americans I was marching alongside. It

brought my friend and I to tears because

people should not have to prove that their

life matters. Everyone around me was so

kind. It ended with speeches in honor of

African Americans who [were] killed by

police officers.”

Junior Logan Jenkins questions if

African Americans are the main target of

police brutality.

“I’ve personally talked to many people

who said that they thought thousands of

unarmed African Americans were being

killed on a yearly basis,” Jenkins said.

“According to [the ‘Washington Post’],

though, that number has not exceeded

two dozen in any of the past five years —

including 2020.”

— Editor’s note: For more on this story, visit




Sophomore Adrian Delia scrolls through his social media

feed, chatting with his friends and staying up-to-date on news.

But unknown to Delia and his friends, social media accounts

have a mind of their own.

A recent Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma,”

delves into the horrifying addiction social media platforms

cause. The documentary elaborates

on the social, mental and physical

impacts these platforms have; but

above all, one strikingly eerie topic

leaves viewers questioning their

social-media usage: the political

misinformation these accounts


“I’ve lost friends due to other

people’s political views because of

what type of information they tell

me,” Delia said. “I’ve seen different

political parties using their political

bias on social media to get young kids

to believe what they’re saying.”

While social media appeals to audiences as a base to

connect with like-minded people and share ideas and

opinions, is it possible that these platforms are out-of-control?

“I think people will get too far down a rabbit hole and

believe whatever they are told without looking at if the info is

true,” Delia said. “I’ve seen a rise of political topics on social

media, and I think it’s because we are close to the election.”

With 2020 ushering in an unexpected pandemic, national

racial reckoning, economic downfall and a controversial

presidential election, social media takes center stage.

“The speed with which information spreads on social media

is notably different from the way the media operated in the

20th century,” said Beth Rosenson, associate professor of

political science at University of Florida. “False information

can spread incredibly quickly and often people do not read

the corrections, if any are made. Sadly, most people don't

necessarily want to be challenged or informed. They want to

have their preconceptions confirmed and validated.”

According to Rosenson, political misinformation can

originate in other countries. One example of foreign political

interference via social media occured in 2016, when a

Macedonian teen, who requested to be named “Dimitri” in an

NBC article, posted false news.

“[Dimitri] didn't care who was benefiting,” Rosenson

said. “He got more hits on his stories when the stories were

anti-Clinton as opposed to anti-Trump. One of the stories he

Social media saturation takes growing toll

on physical, mental and civic well-being

ran had the headline ‘Breaking: Obama Confirms Refusal to

Leave White House, He Will Stay in Power.’ Fake news stories,

such as one saying the pope endorsed Donald Trump, came

not just from Russia but from individuals in other countries.

There is a lot of money to be made from the advertising and

traffic associated with fake news.”

According to Heidi Hatfield Edwards, professor and chair

of the communications program at Florida Institute of

Technology, political misinformation

can yield polarizing controversy.

“Even though there are scientific

guidelines and data out there, the

politicization of issues creates

problems when we make decisions,”

Edwards said. “If we don’t have the

right information, we may go down

the wrong path.”

According to Edwards, social-media

platforms maintain ever-changing

algorithms, intended to produce

content appealing to individual users.

And with twenty-four-seven direct

access to any topic or issue of interest, users remain captivated

by the glowing screen of their feed.

“[Social media] has certain characteristics that makes us

want to keep going back,” Edwards said. “We post something

so we want to see what people have liked. It gives us a little

bit of a high, when we see people are responding to us. It’s

interactive, so in that way people are able to engage with the

media, rather than passively being fed information. People

don’t always know who they are getting information from.

Something can go viral without anyone actually even reading

what is in the actual post.”

Independent fact checking organizations, such as Politifact

and Snopes can be used to expose incorrect allegations.

But these outlets do not help to purify the misinformation

spreading through social media.

“There is an infinite amount of information out there at

your fingertips,” Rosenson said. “The kind of gatekeeping

in the old days before the internet, where news outlets

were staffed by people with experience in journalism, is

over. Today, a lot of the people who share news have a very

partisan agenda and may have no commitment whatsoever to

providing accurate information.”

Identifying misinformation can require in-depth research.

“Individual citizens also need to take responsibility for

themselves and do the background research,” Rosenson said.

“Consume news from multiple sources. And if a story seems

outrageous, do the research.”




Q & A



Q: Who will you be voting for?

Two first-time voters share their thoughts on

the upcoming presidential election

A: I’m going to be voting for President Donald Trump.

Under his administration, the unemployment rate

for Blacks and Hispanics was at an all-time low.

Unemployment as a whole was at its lowest since 1950.

GDP growth had consistently been over 3 percent,

barring the pandemic. Taxes were cut for individuals

and companies. The wage for the average American

increased by $5,000. Crime had significantly

decreased, until the pandemic. Life has been really

good for the average American and business owner,

barring the pandemic. I also don’t support the

platform and the ideas put forth by the Democratic

Party. In my mind there couldn’t be a clearer answer.

in government and Biden being the more moderate

candidate will help solve that. I tend to oppose Donald

Trump because I feel like he’s created a culture that

celebrates the far, far right movements and I don’t

think that’s beneficial to the country currently, when

we have such a divided government we can’t get

anything done. So I believe that he’s too far in the right

direction. I generally identify with the more of the

Democratic Party. However my views on economics

tend to be a little bit more conservative.

Q: What do you find most

promising about about your




A: Former Vice President Joe Biden; I think the largest

problem based in the U.S. currently is the polarization

A: I’m excited to see — assuming he gets into office —

who he nominates for his cabinet. I’m optimistic based

CORONAVOTING COVID-19 makes election feel urgent



At the start of the pandemic in

March, sophomore Gabby Cintron

watched President Donald Trump’s daily

COVID-19 briefs and those presented

by local officials to see what she could

do to keep her family safe. She heard

that masks were soon going to be

mandatory but she couldn't purchase

them because the government directed

most masks and PPE to frontline

workers in hospitals.

Fast forward to today. Masks and PPE

are readily available, but the pandemic

continues to play a prominent role in

our daily lives. Cintron said both local

and federal officials have politicized the

virus too much.

"How COVID-19 has been handled

alone was not enough to change my

view,” she said. “It was everything as a

whole that made me change my view.

Due to corona, I felt the public got more

information on what was going on in

the government. When people started

to say how past politicians could have

handled the virus better, it just made me

think how political people are making a


During the peak of COVID-19,

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave daily

announcements on COVID-19 statistics,

information on re-openings, and how

to stay healthy during the worldwide

crisis. Since then, Cintron said, state

and federal officials have the pandemic a

political rather than a safety issue.

Sophomore Emily Oliver said citizens'

14 I NOVEMBER 2020

on things he’s said that he’s going to elect a bunch of young,

progressive and modern people who will hopefully make

strives in the government.

A: The thing that I find most promising about Trump is

that he keeps the promises he makes when campaigning.

He is the first president in recent history to keep all of the

promises he made on the campaign trail. Most of the time

politicians say things just because people want to hear them

and it will get them votes, but Trump isn’t like that. He is not

a politician, so he doesn’t make promises he doesn’t intend to

keep when elected. In keeping those promises Trump reflects

the American peoples-those who elected him at least- ideas

and wants on how the country, at least the executive branch,

should run domestically and foreignly. Trump is giving a

voice to people that feel like the government is not responsive

or cares about the people who elected them, through keeping

all his promises.

Q: What is your biggest reason for

opposing the other candidate?

A: The biggest reason I oppose Biden is because he is just

being used as a cover for the Democratic Party. It very

much seems like Biden is not the one pulling the strings and

making the decisions. Things like reading off of teleprompters

for a “town hall”, and Biden claiming he doesn’t support

the Green New Deal, when his campaign website very

clearly states that he does support it. Even his own running

mate referred to the next administration as the Harris

administration, not the Biden administration. When you put

them all together it creates a picture in which Biden is this

puppet for the party.

A: I tend to oppose Donald Trump because I feel like he’s

created a culture that celebrates the far, far right movements

and I don’t think that’s beneficial to the country currently,

when we have such a divided government we can’t get

anything done. So I believe that he’s too far in the right


Q: Why do you think it is important for

people to vote?

A: Twenty-twenty has been a pretty big year and there

has been a lot of changes as far as COVID-19 and how to

deal with that, and just the presidency in general. A lot of

people haven’t liked Trump, especially regarding the racial

problems that we’ve been experiencing. Twenty-twenty has

been a pretty turbulent year so I definitely think having a

presidential election just to top it all off is going to be pretty

important with showing how the future is going to unfold in


A: I would caution people from voting just to vote. I think

it’s important that if you are going to vote that you research a

lot of information about what you’re going to vote on. Most

of the time the bills that are voted on have something else

attached to them that most people don’t read or know about.

So I think that everyone should be informed as much as

possible when voting.



safety is the No. 1 priority right now, but

that some officials have gone overboard.

"I believe that certain precautions

are being taken that could be a little

extreme,” Oliver said. “While being

election year, it seems like all parties in

politics just try to please the people with

safety tips rather than talk about what

they are going to do for our county."

With the election just days away, one

of the ways Florida officials have tried to

keep citizens safe is by providing voters

with various options, including mail-in

voting and in-person voting.

Sophomore Faith Collins said she

wants others to be able to vote safely.

"People who cannot go out should take

advantage of the mail-in voting because

it is important to vote, but we should

also keep our citizens safe," Collins said.

Brevard County’s Supervisor of

Elections Lori Scott’s job is to register

voters, educate them about election laws

and qualify candidates and conduct


"The challenge we face in the election

office is the spread of misinformation,

especially via social media,” Scott said.

Such misinformation is spread through

apps and sites including Instagram,

Twitter and Facebook. Another

challenge officials face, she said, is voter


“Election laws, including laws

pertaining to voting-by-mail (absentee)

and mail ballot voting, vary greatly

from state to state and this can cause

confusion,” Scott said.

Scott encourages teens to get involved.

“When pre-registered voters turn

18, they are automatically activated

on the voter rolls and sent their voter

information card,” she said. “Young

people can also start researching

candidates and issues before reaching

voting age. Young voters may also want

to reach out to candidates running

locally to assist with their campaign.”




Sophomore rebounds from surgery to place first in districts



Sophomore Lila Iwanowski

steps onto the golf course,

takes a deep breath and

swings. She is less than four

months out of a wheelchair,

the shot is good enough

for first place in last month’s

women’s golf Cape Coast

Conference tournament.

“This is actually the first

tournament I’ve won for [an]

18-hole [course],” she said. “It

wasn’t my best game, but it

was still really cool to win. I

keep having to remind myself

that winning CCC is a big

accomplishment. It’s hard

because it feels like I could

have done better, but I’m still

proud of myself for winning


The girls' golf team achieved

second place against 16

teams made up of three to

five girls each. To win overall,

Iwanowski had to out-play

every individual.

“This is the first time

that I’ve coached an overall

winner,” Coach Jenny Pazderak

said. “I started coaching for

Lila in seventh grade when she

arrived at West Shore, and she’s

always worked really hard. Her

drive to succeed is incredible,

and it shows in the way she

plays. She wants to be the best in everything that she does. She

has the skill, and the mindset, and when those two things line up,

she’s basically unbeatable.”

But that drive to excel hasn’t been easy for Iwanowski, who was

diagnosed with hip dysplasia, a condition which causes the hip

to frequently and painfully dislocate, in December 2019. She had

surgery in February which kept her off the golf course until July.

“My recovery was tough,” Iwanowski said. “Everybody knows

about the time I spent in the wheelchair, and with the walker,


Lila Iwanowski shot an 81 at the 1A-7 District golf championship.

but after that was tough. I did

my own [physical therapy]

because of the pandemic, and

it took me a really long time to

get back to a full swing. That

was super-frustrating for me.”

In addition to golf,

Iwanowski holds a black

belt in Taekwondo. She also

participates in HOSA (Future

Health Professionals), drone

team, is dual enrolled at

Eastern Florida State College

and maintains a 4.0 gradepoint


“She’s absolutely incredible,”

sophomore Aidan Meyers

said. “She manages to do so

much, and is still such an

incredible friend and person.

She’s so kind, and she doesn’t

judge or make assumptions

about people. She’s really

understanding. I think it’s

kind of unfair that anyone

could be so talented and such

a genuinely kind person all at


Those personal traits carry

over into sports for Iwanowski.

“She’s a real team player,”

Pazderak said. “She’s always

trying to lend a hand to her

teammates, and she’s a really

good leader. It’s never meanspirited.

She just wants to see

everyone around her do really

well. I think that’s part of what

makes her so special to this


Meyers said he’s excited to see what she accomplishes next.

“I’m really proud of her,” he said. “I think her growth has been

incredible, and it’s so inspiring to see someone like her do really

well. She’s worked her way back up from being unable to walk,

you know? She’s so humble about it. She always thinks she could

have done better, but I really think she’s doing something special

this season. I think it’s only a matter of time until she goes on to

do even more spectacular things.”

16 I NOVEMBER 2020

Pandemic shakes up fall sports



In a year where it seems almost

everything is banned, it might come

as a surprise that the fall sports season

ever happened. While the Florida High

School Athletic Association gave a

return to sports a green-light, new rules

and regulations had to be put in place

for the safety of the participants.

Those protocols included mandatory

temperature checks before any

participation and enforced social

distancing among teammates. And

the most controversial rule of all: the

requirement to wear face masks at all

times except during vigorous workouts.

Swim coach Kyle Berry called the new

regulations a necessary evil.

“I do not believe that the regulations

are too strict,” Berry said. “Our job

as coaches is to protect our studentathletes,

now more than ever.

Regulations can always be relaxed as

things change.”

Berry added that the changes exposed

improved ways to run practices

brought about by social-distancing


“In order to abide by the socialdistancing

rule, we will have four

swimmers in each lane, two on each

side of the pool,” Berry said. “During

a normal year we have six to eight in a

lane, however I have found that four per

lane gives the swimmers much more

practice space. I may even continue this

practice when we are back to normal.”

Although Gov. Ron Desantis has been

cutting back guidelines, sports teams

have been shut down for not following

rules set by the district.

The school district in coordination

with the Brevard Department of Health

has placed Melbourne and Merritt

Island high school football teams in

quarantine for not following regulations,

resulting in a surge of positive cases.

In addition, all Eau Gallie High School

sports were temporarily suspended

when BPS closed the school for a week

due to an uptick in exposures.

Other COVID-19 impact included

limited capacity for meets and games,

a shorter season and reduced junior

varsity opportunities. But junior

cheerleader Ashley Hilmes decided to

make the best out of the situation.

“The changes do not ruin the season

for me,” Hilmes said. “I am just happy to

be able to do my sports.”

Because some team members attend

school each day while others learn

from home, less time is available for

building chemistry through sharing

time together.

“The team aspect has remained as

strong as ever,” said senior Layla Auter,

who is captain of the swim team.

“However, I definitely miss seeing

the team outside of the pool, and as a

captain, it’s a huge bummer because I

love seeing these guys. Sadly it’s been

hard to meet all of the new swimmers

and really get to know them, but this

team is so supportive and caring.”

That separation becomes even more

frustrating when an athlete must

quarantine. Junior cross-country

runner Alex Hilmes missed two weeks

due to COVID-19 exposure despite

testing negative himself.

“It ripped a hole through my season,”

Hilmes said. “It’s a lot harder and more

boring running without the team. My

quarantine period definitely negatively

affected my season.”



Josh Dexter, 10

Years of Varsity: 3

Average: 203

Approach: right-handed

Favorite Ball: Motiv Villian

"I've practiced so much to

this point and every day I'm

getting better. Soon I'm going

to start local tournaments

so hopefully my practice will

pay off."


Sam Oliver, 12

Years on Varsity: 4

Personal Best 17:07

Season best 17:11

Highlight: First Place

at Hawk Invitational

“Though I’ve had to

push hard through many

workouts individually, it’s

really my team that’s been

keeping me successful this



Grace Kirschner, 12

Years on Varsity: 3

Kill Percentage: 32.2

Save Percentage: 83.3

Ace Percentage: 16.7

“Our team fought during a lot

of games and had a whole

lot of fun when we could win

after pushing through the



Katelyn Owl, 12

Years on Varsity: 6

Team Status: Captain

Best Times

• 25.3 50 freestyle

• 100 butterfly 59.6

“I’ve made so many friends

through swimming and I’ve

gained people skills to use

in the future. The swim team

has really made me a more




Alex Bercea, 7

Years on Varsity: 1

Season Averages:

• Par 3 - 3.4

• Par 4 - 4.8

• Par 5 - 5.3

“I am proud of him honestly.

He is representing

boys’ golf very well.”

– Lila Iwanowski (10)


18 I NOVEMBER 2020



Space Coast Crew is in a reloading phase after losing 21 of 78 high-school rowers to graduation last spring.

Crew team looks to youth movement



As junior Anastacia Devlin and her

teammates reflected on the end of last

season, they realized that Space Coast

Crew had just gone through a dramatic

change. More than a quarter of the

high-school crew team graduated, along

with their capable leadership and strong

contribution to team performance.

“[The team] honestly feels a lot smaller,

especially because it’s my fourth year on

the team,” Devlin said. “And a couple of

the guys that graduated last year were on

the team the same year that I joined. It just

feels really small when I think about all of

the people that left.”

Twenty-one out of 78 high-school

rowers graduated and the club is now

learning to adjust to a different team


“We lost a [quarter] of our team, but

then ironically we got a [quarter] of a team

that joined in from the eighth-graders

coming up as freshmen,” said Bryan Little,

director of rowing and head coach at

SCC. “Really, we’ve flexed from being a

really mature team to a more novice team,

a younger team. It’s got its pros and its

cons, but I wouldn’t say we’re rebuilding. I

would just say we’re reloaded.”

Little said he believes SCC is lucky.

“I mean if we were rebuilding instead of

reloading it would be much different,” he

said. “If we had lost 20 seniors but gained

20 novices, or brand new kids, I think

it would be a whole different story, and

right now we have a lot of experienced

freshmen, and that’s really helping us.”

Devlin said she also believes having new,

experienced freshmen on the team is an


“I love having more girls on the team,

because I just want the team to get big and

get fast,” Devlin said. “There are already a

couple of freshmen who are getting really

strong and getting really good.”

Little said that while SCC lost many

of its leaders last year, he is confident

the team will continue to find internal

guidance from rowers.

“We have Thomas Eastwood right now

who’s stepped up to the plate on the men’s

side, who’s a team captain this year,” Little

said. “And then you also have Anastacia

Devlin, who’s stepped up as a team captain

with Riley Gilman on the women’s side.”

Junior Joseph Derenthal also said he has

seen teammates step in and lead.

“A lot of people had to step up to

become team captain and basically just

leaders of the team,” Derenthal said.

“There’s definitely a big hole in the team

because there were like 20 seniors last year

[who left].”

Devlin said she became a co-captain

with Riley Gilman because of how

important captains are for the younger


“I kind of just realized there needs to be

at least a couple girls on the team who take

initiative, otherwise some stuff just won't

get done,” Devlin said. “I think that having

captains is really important for the team

because, especially for the newer kids. It

can be a little intimidating for them to talk

to the coaches. It’s good because we want

to make them feel comfortable, and if they

have any questions that they are nervous

to ask a coach [about], they can come to


Little said he has high hopes for this


“Every year since I’ve started with this

team we’ve progressively [kept] getting

better,” he said. “The senior class right

now is really stepping up too and doing

their thing, and if [the team] can continue

to develop in the right manner and have

the right culture, we’re going to come out

of the woodwork here and just scare the

state of Florida.”



‘Save Yourselves!’ a welcome diversion



With all of 2020’s undeniable chaos,

“Save Yourselves!” — a film that pokes

fun at an alien invasion and the end of

the world — proves to be

surprisingly uplifting.

The film follows Su and Jack, a

technology-obsessed couple from


Brooklyn, who decide to take a week-long

getaway to a cabin in the woods. The trip

sounds like smooth sailing; but, the couple

agrees to a technology detox, turning

off their phones, tablets, computers and

AI assistants. While there are plenty

of humorous moments highlighting

humanity’s reliance on technology —

especially through the couple’s obvious

lack of exposure to nature — the irony of

the film is what brings the most laughter.

Starting out, I assumed “Save

Yourselves!” intended to emphasize

society’s need to disconnect from phones

and reconnect with reality. But, in an

ironic turn of events, Su and Jack’s

vacation of tranquility and self-discovery

is overturned by an alien invasion. An

army of furry, eyeless monsters, which the

couple refers to as “poofs,” are ravaging

and destroying the urban world. And

with their phones turned

off, the couple is oblivious and

defenseless. The film calls out

technological addiction and upholds the

importance of staying connected.

“Save Yourselves!” owes a bulk of its

success to the undeniable chemistry

between the lead characters. Su and Jack

define what a pure dynamic duo should

be, emulating yin and yang. Su is agendadriven

and stubborn, and her Type A

personality makes her more real of a

person. She doesn’t try to force herself into

the “perfect female heroine” role. Instead,

Su is simply human, with strengths,

weaknesses, hopes and fears just like

everyone else. Comparatively, Jack is much

more of a Type B personality and takes

pride in being more relaxed and easygoing.

Jack is happy just to be himself, even if his

abilities do not coincide with stereotypical


Character development is crucial to a

strong movie. And within only 93 minutes,

“Save Yourselves!” manages to bring out

a more adventurous and powerful side to

both characters.

The film also adds diversity, with

Su, played by Sunita Mani, being of

Indian heritage. While this may not

seem revolutionary, there is not nearly

enough Indian representation in film.

Hollywood sometimes casts minorities as

side characters, but rarely as leads. “Save

Yourselves!” is taking a step in the right



Who: Taylor Swift

What: released an unexpected album, ‘Folklore,’ written entirely during quarantine.

When : July 23

'Folklore' marks an unexpected change in genre for the pop-princess as an indie-folk, alternative album.

The sonic aspect of this album featured slow-paced instrumentals driven by piano and guitar was remarkable.

Swift’s incredible lyricism and storytelling enabled her to capture nostalgia, heartbreak, innocence, insecurity,

loss and love perfectly. Despite having zero prior promotion, Folklore continues to break records.

— Aytek Abdulla

For the complete review, visit



Kilynn Lobley, 9

• “Watch What Happens”


• “Hello”

(The Book of Mormon)

•“Oh Klahoma”

(Jack Stauber)

• “Looking Out For You”

(Joy Again)

• “Baby Hotline”

(Jack Stauber)

• “Somebody To

Love” (Queen)

“I just have a soft

spot for ‘Watch

What Happens’

from ‘Newsies.’

I really relate to



Adrian Mahindra, 8

• “Fortnite”

• “Among Us”

• “FIFA”

• “Call of Duty: War Zone”

• “Minecraft”

• “Overwatch”

“In a video game, I like

something that I can play with

friends and go

against them. ‘Fortnite’

would probably

be my favorite

game because I

can play

with friends.”


Danielle Sorgenfrei, 7

• “Flush”

• “Hoot”

• “Flipped”

• “Wonderstruck”

• “Holes”

• “Maze Runner”

“In a good book I look for

action and excitement, along

with relatable plots. I think I

enjoy Carl Hiassen’s books

so much


all of what

he writes

takes place

in Florida.”


Kirk Murphy, teacher

• “Blade Runner”

• “Maltese Falcon”

• “Captain America

Winter Soldier”

• “Three Musketeers”


• “The Sting”

• “Lord of the Rings:

Return of the King”

“These are

definitely movies I

can go back to

and watch over



Ryhann Martin, 11

• “Friends”

• “Parks and Recreation”

• “Game of Thrones”

• “Stranger Things”

• “This is Us”

• “Scandal”

“There’s no laugh tracks in

‘Parks and Recreation’ and

people who don’t like it just

have a bad sense of humor

and need to be told when

to laugh.”

20 I NOVEMBER 2020


Theater owners anxiously await

return of full-house audiences



Sophomore Deklyn’s Gardner eyes lose focus on the movie he

watches on his computer screen as he wonders if movie theaters

will become what drive-ins are to him now. Highly anticipated

films such as “The Batman” and “Bond: No Time to Die” have had

to push back release dates, delay production, or release directly to

streaming services. As with most aspects of life in 2020, the way

consumers are viewing new films has changed due to COVID-19

and health concerns.

“By releasing the movies to homes instead of theaters, it makes

movies more inclusive and could still make the production companies

money,” Gardner said.

In addition to the health benefits for viewers, junior Logan Gerhard

said he thinks streaming movies can be more cost-effective.

“I feel like it's a good option to have,” he said. “It’s cheaper, and

it allows people to see the movie without having to pay lots of


While streaming has its benefits for customers, local theaters

such as the Premiere Theaters Oaks Stadium 10 have taken a hit.

“If studios continue to skip theaters and head straight to video

on demand, cinemas will be shuttered permanently and even

more employees will be out of work,” Oaks owner Stephanie Hill

said. “After the extended closures due to COVID-19, movie theaters

are on the brink of bankruptcy as it is, and this could be the

straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Cinemaworld, another local theater, also faces challenges that

were especially severe at the beginning of the pandemic when the

state force the temporary closure of theaters.

“During that time, we had to furlough the majority of our staff,

a decision that was extremely difficult for us,” said Senior Vice

President of Operations Jim Deal.

During the temporary shutdown, the Premiere Theater Oaks

10 found a way to bring some movie magic to members of the


“We eventually decided to meet up on Wednesdays to give out

free popcorn to all of our customers ‘drive-thru style’ in order to

see each other and celebrate our Free Popcorn Wednesday tradition,”

Hill said. “Even though we were several yards apart, it was

nice to be together again.”

While national chains such as AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas

have shut down indefinitely, Cinemaworld and The Oaks

have begun to reopen with new safety and cleaning protocols.

However, audiences remain small because some customers continue

to avoid the big screen for health or comfort reasons.

“As a consumer I like being able to just watch a movie at home,

however I hope movie theaters still stay so people can go out to


The Premiere Oaks Theater 10 hs seen audience sizes dwindle.

the movies together,” Gerhard said.

Despite industry hardships, Deal remains confident that cinemas

will not simply cease to exist.

“Movie-going is a social experience,” Deal said. “For all of the

naysayers, there is nothing like seeing a movie with an audience

— the gasp of a twist-ending or the jump during a horror film.”

According to Deal, theater owners have expressed optimism

because an anticipated surplus of 2021 releases should be more

than enough to lure audiences back.

“Twenty-twenty-one is shaping up to be a terrific, if not record

breaking, year at the movies,” Deal said. “The summer of 2020

was a bust, but certainly all of those films, along with a bunch

that were already in 2021, are going to make one heck of a year at

the movies.”

Gerhard said he’s looking forward to at least one of those rescheduled


“I am really excited for the ‘Black Widow’ movie because she

was one of my favorite Marvel superheroes,” he said.

After showing only flashback films for a short period of time,

theaters such as Premiere Theaters Oaks Stadium 10 now offer

some current movie releases including “The War with Grandpa”

and “Honest Thief.”

“Now that we have new movies on the big screen, we are hopeful

that our local customer support will continue to grow,” Hill




Netflix puts gruesome spin on ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’



The new Netflix original series “Ratched”

follows a nurse who manipulates her

way to the top of a psychiatric hospital. It

tells the origin of nurse Mildred Ratched

from the 1975 film “One Flew Over the

Cuckoo's Nest.” Through unusual and


sinister characters, the show

explores a gruesome world

of discovery surrounding mental illness in

the late 1940s.

Created in part by Ryan Murphy,

“Ratched” features his unique and

somewhat obscene style. Viewers

unfamiliar with his work, such as

“American Horror Story,” may find the

amount of extreme violence excessive.

Murphy consistently finds ways to give

viewers a kind of history lesson by

graphically displaying the inhumane

treatments used in a time when mental

illness was a foreign idea and patients were

treated like lab

rats. The series

feels more

like a season

of "American

Horror Story"

than it does

like a prequel

to its source

material, so

fans of “One

Flew Over

the Cuckoo's

Nest” might be


“Ratched” portrays its subject in a way

that contributes to a stigma surrounding

mental health. Because the show is rated

TV-MA, it targets an older audience that

should understand the unrealistic portrayal

of characters with mental illnesses such as

dissociative identity disorder and posttraumatic

stress disorder.

In contrast to thegrimey and more

realistic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's

Nest”, “Ratched” features a cartoonlike

exaggerated aesthetic of the 1940s

asylum. The production and costume

designs make the show unforgettable.

The cinematography along with unusual

lighting choices help develop a sense of

understanding for what the characters are

going through. There are multiple scenes

where green or red lighting is cast over a

sequence to build up or influence tone.

The creators also fit in clear references to

classic horror including “The Shining”

and “Psycho,” proving they know their


Sarah Paulson outshines the rest of the

outstanding cast, bringing her own twist to

the classic title character.

Despite a few writing choices and some

predictable plot moments, “Ratched” is well

worth watching if you are a fan of drama,

horror or psychological thrillers.

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District One-Act casts

adjust to restrictions

caused by coronavirus



In the dew-filled mornings of theater

districts, sophomore Grant Newcombe’s

medals clink against his chest as he

excitedly walks with the others to watch

their fellow troupe members perform their

respective events.

For avid participants, districts is a wellanticipated,

annual event. It’s a chance for

students from throughout the county to

compete and showcase their talents from

monologues to pantomimes. One of the

events performed at districts is the One

Act, an entirely student-directed show.

The middle-schoolers will perform

“Bedtime Stories (As Told by Dad) (Who

Messed Them Up),” a comedy centered

on a father telling his children bedtime

stories and straying away from the source

material. The high-schoolers will perform

“Oz,” a comedy/drama that serves as a

cynical parody of the beloved story, “The

Wizard of Oz.”

However, due to the ongoing pandemic,

several changes in the rules and structure

of this competition have been instituted.

In order to maintain safety, socialdistancing

and other COVID-19

regulations will have to be enforced.

According to senior Ethan Rebec, director

of both of the One-Acts, performers will

wear masks at all times, keeping six feet

apart when they are not in the scene, and

will have their own scripts so no one has

to share.

Senior Genevieve Archibald, who is

performing in the One-Act, said the

changes will make districts frustrating.

“Singing with masks on is hard because

you can’t catch your breath,” she said.

“It will also make dance rehearsals hard

because many people will be short of

breath while dancing. A critical part of

the One-Act is the ability to project and

masks make it even harder to do so. We

will have rehearsals about projection and

articulation, though, so none of the show

will be lost to the masks.”

Newcombe said he worries the quality of

the performance will suffer.

“I think social-distancing during

rehearsals is logical. However, with the

masks, it is harder to hear people and

see their facial expressions,” he said. “It

will definitely make things more difficult

because staging-wise, we are required

to stage the play so that no one touches,

which will make stage chemistry much

more difficult. It will also be much harder

to see someone’s characterization, so the

director will have a harder time helping

and giving tips to the actors.”

But senior Meghan Matthys said she

doesn’t see a downside when it comes to

social-distancing during rehearsals.

“COVID-19 is a very big issue and can

even be deadly for some people,” Matthys

said. “I think it is worth it to socially

distance if we are able to save a life in the

process. I don’t think it will negatively

affect our performance at all and it actually

may allow people to feel safer when

coming to rehearsals.”

Additionally, the performances will be

recorded and submitted to judges rather

than being performed live. The final

submissions are due Nov. 3.

“Recording a submission will make the

performance easier to master because you


Drea Cumba (12) , Grant Newcombe (10) and Meghan Matthys (12) rehearse for “Oz.”

can record it as many times as you wish

so that it is perfect,” Newcombe said.

“However, it takes away from the overall

experience of it, and the troupe will not be

able to support everyone’s events. It will

not be the same enjoyable experience, but

it will likely improve the quality of our


Although the one-acts are directed and

run by students, adult presence is required.

After former theater instructor Maureen

Fallon retired suddenly in August, English

teacher Thomas O’Bryan stepped in.

“We are unable to practice without a

sponsor, so he has always shown up for us,”

Newcombe said.

This year, the competition will be broken

into regionals, rather than one district.

“Winning will be more difficult this year

than any other previous years because we

will be up against four times the number

of schools as we normally would be,”

Archibald said.

Despite these changes, the students said

they feel confident.

“I’m feeling super-confident that we

will do well this year,” Matthys said. “Our

whole cast is so talented and I think we

definitely have a shot at qualifying for

states or even winning Best-of-Show.”



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