We’ve compiled ten of the stories that we feel represent the best of our reporting for the 2017-2018 school year. We hope you enjoy! They are, in no particular order, as follows:
Ms. Sarah Clauss
Tile Project at 2017 Youth Rally
Art has long been a tool of revolutions — think of Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag or the marching songs of the Civil Rights Movement. Now, the environmental movement is sweeping our nation and it’s doing so in style.
Prior to the Youth Rally in Montpelier last year, students from all around the state decorated tiles cut from repurposed cardboard boxes. Sarah Fadem, a college student working for the environmental organization, Our Climate, organized the project. She asked participants to design their tiles based on the prompt: “What does climate change mean to you?” At the rally, all of the tiles were pulled together to form a giant maple leaf, a classic symbol of Vermont. However, the most intriguing part of this project wasn’t the scale of the finished product or even the use of recycled materials; it was how it captured a multitude of individual voices to push forward one common cause.
To get an artist’s perspective on how environmentalism and art intersect, I turned to CVU’s Emma Ramirez-Richer, an AP Art student and a leader of the EnACT club.
CVC: How do you see art and environmentalism intersecting?
Ramirez-Richer: “I’ve seen a lot of yard art and other large scale sculptures being made of recycled materials. I think that here in Vermont, people don’t want to let ‘junk’ go to waste and try to make something new, enjoyable, and funky. There is also a lot of beautiful photography and landscape paintings. Not just here, but around the world. This type of art really intrigues me. I love seeing natural features of the earth from around the world. Another type of art I think is surprisingly powerful is graphic design and logos when used on stickers and shirts [such as the EnACT carpool stickers designed by Ramirez-Richer]. This kind of art can become widespread and trendy, especially in Vermont!”
CVC: Why do you think that art is so effective as a persuasive tool?
Ramirez-Richer: “The sheer size of it is powerful. Size is kind of the universal world for power. There was power, importance, and tons of support behind the Youth Rally. The intricate designs within the large maple leaf [of last year’s Youth Rally tile art project] represent that individuals have their own take on the large issue.”
CVC: As an artist, do you feel more motivated when there is a movement behind what you are creating? Are there times when having such a serious focus feels intimidating?
Ramirez-Richer: “Yes! It’s absolutely intimidating to create art that is purposeful. It’s hard to incorporate subtle messages into art. It’s very easy to make art with a very ‘in your face’ message, if that makes any sense. I’m not a huge fan of shoving a message, especially a more negative one, onto someone. However, it is rewarding when my viewers feel the emotion I want them to feel.”
Ms. Elyse Martin-Smith
Flynn Show Choir creates the perfect trifecta of singing, dancing, and acting for grades 4-12. On May 17-18th, the Flynn Show Choir had their performances in the FlynnSpace for the spring semester. These shows always sell out in the first few days that the tickets are available. One thing that is even more stunning than the talented performers is the sense of community that Show Choir creates, which is continuing to grow.
Flynn Show Choir consists of four groups; Juniors, Treble Teens, Mixed Teens, and Selects. Each group gets more difficult and advanced as you go on so that each skill level gets the most out of their time, just challenged enough so they can improve. This makes it so each group is unique in its own ways. To participate, you audition in the fall or the spring and are placed in one of these groups.
Mr. Zachary Hark
To sum up how I feel about all of the gun violence in America, I am here to say this: I believe that life comes first, and guns come second. There. I said it. I believe that we, the citizens of America, need to produce stricter gun laws, and, more importantly, outlaw semi automatic guns like the AR-15. The AR-15 is one of the most popular semi automatic guns around today.
Many people say, “oh it’s not the gun that does the shooting, it’s the human,” and yes, I agree with that, partially. However, when the second amendment was written, there were no semi-automatic weapons around, which made it much harder for mass shootings to occur.
I believe that Edward Stack took a very good approach to solving the issue. Edward Stack is the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods and his corporation recently took a huge stand on gun sales. The store is no longer selling high capacity magazines and is also not selling guns to consumers under the age of 21.
I applaud every student activist in Florida who is taking a stand. Young people are finally having their voices heard on huge platforms such as CNN, NBC and many more. Political representatives are finally hearing us out and even though we may be young, we have lots of valid points and ideas to make.
In the end, it doesn’t come down to which party you’re in or stand with. Instead, it’s an overall goal. The more lives we save now, the better. I do believe that someone in power will take a stand and will do something about this epidemic. It’s not if, but when.
Ms. Mya Rendall
Students Across America Demand Action Towards Gun Violence
As a child, I was taught that going to school would provide me with an education and that there I would learn about many interesting topics. That’s what almost all children are told; however, we aren’t told that one day we may never come home.
In light of the recent school shooting that took place at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed, students across America are protesting for a change.
The Second Amendment has been a controversial topic ever since it was created in 1791. It protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. At the time the amendment was established, it took a while to reload a rifle after shooting one bullet. Now it takes seconds to shoot a round off of an assault rifle. Guns have changed since the Second Amendment was established. Why shouldn’t the law?
Ms. Sofia Dattilio
“Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Take care of this place.” This is the mission that the CVU community strives toward. But what happens when we step into the community outside of CVU? Do these rules still apply? Do we remember who we are? Do we remember where we come from?
When CVU students step into the community not too far outside of CVU such as Jiffy Mart, Paisley Hippo, or Papa Nicks we need to be aware of how we represent our school, the greater community and family. We are CVU. We want to show the community we are respectful and that we care about those around us. We need to think about how our actions may affect others.
Imagine you’re working behind a cash register and a large group of teenagers come into your place of work. In a larger group, they are loud, they throw money down on the counter towards you, and they don’t say “thank you.” Quite disrespectful, right? Is this really what we want to show the community about who we are as CVU? All of these disrespectful actions happen right here in the town of Hinesburg.
Local businesses see how, when in large groups, students end up disrupting the community and engage in rude behaviours. Briana Dattilio, a 25 year old cashier at Jiffy Mart, says, “When they get into large groups, that is when they begin to be rude and hold up the line by talking and not respecting others who are in line by cutting them to be with their friends.” She goes on to explain that she automatically notices the actions of the CVU students and is often annoyed by the way CVU students make Jiffy Mart employees and other patrons feel.
Ms. Sarah Clauss, CVC Science & Environmental Correspondent
When most people think of famous scientists, they think of Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, or Isaac Newton. While these are three important contributors to our body of scientific knowledge, it’s not a particularly diverse group. While the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) was once dominated by white men, we owe our current understanding to men and women from all nationalities, ethnicities, and origins.
Nicole Gorman teaches AP Biology at Champlain Valley Union HS. Despite the quick pace of lessons and massive amount of content that she covers, Ms. Gorman always takes time during the unit on genetics to discuss Rosalind Franklin, the woman whose chromographs of genetic material — shared by a colleague, without Franklin’s knowledge or permission — led to Watson and Crick’s double helix model of DNA.
Although Franklin’s work allowed Cambridge University geneticists James Watson and Francis Crick to accurately model DNA, she did not receive a Nobel Prize. Franklin died at age 37, likely a result of exposure to X-ray radiation in the line of her research.
Ms. Gorman teaches this lesson for several reasons. First, she says, “I like to talk about the scientists that contributed to our understanding/helped to explain a variety of foundational concepts… One compelling reason to point this out is to encourage students themselves to ask, discover and explain.” She also thinks that it is an important lesson in collaboration; too many young scientists think that working together is not necessary. Lastly, Gorman takes this opportunity to talk about taking credit for the work of others. “The story of Rosalind Franklin is an interesting story about how this can and does happen,” she says.
Ms. Gorman also discussed why she thinks that it’s important for students to have a diverse set of academic role models. According to her, “role models are a source of inspiration. Inspiration from many different sources ensures that you can continue to be inspired as you grow and change over time.”
In addition, she claims that having a role model that a student can identify with allows them to imagine themselves making the same choices and moving in similar directions to that person. She says, “If your role model is someone you want to be, then this desire will drive the choices you make….even if they are difficult choices. The power of thinking you are similar to someone or want to be like someone is an excellent driver of engagement, [which] drives progress.”
Rosalind Franklin is just one of many inspiring scientists in her field. But in CVU’s AP Biology classroom, her story is inspiring the scientists of a new generation.