Nellie Dawson is a new geometry and trigonometry teacher in the math department at CVU. To get to know her more, let’s start with how Nellie, a young woman from Western Massachusetts, knew she wanted to spend her life here in Vermont even before the beginning of her junior year of high school. An avid skier, she came to Vermont on a college tour with her older brother. Luckily for UVM, Nellie chose to attend (even though her brother did not), thus beginning Nellie’s pursuit of a teaching career here in Vermont.
Image courtesy of Carol Fox
After graduating with her teaching degree in mathematics from UVM, Nellie got a job at Lamoille Valley High School. For two years, Nellie gained experience in teaching, finding that there is a large disconnect between proficient math students who enjoy mathematics and those who see math as a waste of time. “They’re stuck in the same class,” said Nellie, who later admitted that one of a teacher’s great challenges is to be able to connect with different types of students and their various learning styles.
HINESBURG, VT– With all the recent winter storms and snow days that the Chittenden County area has recently experienced, some seem to be skeptical of the idea that the Earth is actually warming.
According to the National Weather Service, the Burlington area just experienced its greatest snowfall in the month of January since 2010 (41.3 inches) and only the second instance of 40+ inches of snow in January in the past 40 years.
Image from EPA.gov
However, the notion that snowstorms disprove the concept that the world is getting warmer is misguided and simply false, based on the statistics on climate and weather changes.
According to the 2017 Climate Science Special Report, “global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years.” This report also states that the planet is in the warmest period “in the history of modern civilization.” The report notes that the global average sea level has risen by 7-8 inches since 1900, with almost half of that growth coming since 1993.
The midterm elections that occurred this past year brought high tensions, partisanship, and voter turnout, as it was hailed as some of the most important elections in the past few decades. The controversial Trump presidency has raised political activists from all sides of the aisle, from those searching for political justice and those staunchly defending the current administration. Regardless of political affiliation, this election was historic. Marked by historic voter turnouts and bitterly partisan elections, the nationwide race for the House of Representatives and the Senate was undeniably ripe with tension and brimming with historical importance.
The composition of the House of Representatives after the midterm elections is 233 seats Democratic, 200 seats Republican, and two seats still undecided. This means that Democrats, who were the previous minority party, recaptured majority for the first time since 2009. Gaining 34 seats, Democrats brought forth a huge wave of political activism, unifying under a message of progress and inclusivity.
The Democratic party elected the first two Muslim congresswomen, as well as the first two Native American congresswomen, one of whom is the second ever openly lesbian member of Congress. New Yorker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at 29 years old, and Texas elected their first ever Latina representatives. Along with other historic elections such as Jared Polis being the first openly gay governor from Colorado, there was a record number of women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who will be joining the congressional body this year.
Could you imagine the devastating effects of having your home destroyed by flooding or a powerful hurricane? Could you imagine constant heat waves, like in Vermont where they are used to skiing the snowy slopes? Could you imagine getting only so much water per person, per day, because your supply is drastically low? If we continue on the path we are on in terms of global warming, this could be our reality in less than fifty years. Many people don’t realize how quickly our futures and the futures of our children will be permanently altered because of climate change. One question we should ask ourselves is: What is going to happen and how can we fix this?
According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, “between 1958 and 2010, the Northeast saw more than a 70% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events (defined as the heaviest 1% of all daily events).” This battle against climate change hasn’t just begun, but in fact climate change has been a problem for quite a while.
Based on this trend, scientists have begun to predict what weather changes may happen in the near future. NASA says that “heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised.” This is the opposite in the Southwest, where they predict increasing numbers of droughts.
In our highly polarized political climate, controversial issues seem to highlight the news every day. It seems as though both sides of the political debate are so far apart that they both are unable and unwilling to hear the other perspective. Students grades 5-12 are continuously trying to find their own political views through consuming media and exploring existing opinions.
Image courtesy of the BBC.
How should schools, the places designed for learning, help in that process while also providing different and unbiased perspectives to allow for students to discover what they believe? According to Pew Research Center, “A decade ago, the public was less ideologically consistent than it is today. In 2004, only about one-in-ten Americans were uniformly liberal or conservative across most values. Today, the share [of those] who are ideologically consistent has doubled. 21% express either consistently liberal or conservative opinions across a range of issues – the size and scope of government, the environment, foreign policy, and many others.” So, how does this disparity affect schools and students?
The way to arrive at truth is to listen with an open mind and to state opinions with the intention to help students understand their point of view, not to instigate disputes. Students and teachers must practice freedom of speech in classrooms, maintaining a neutral platform that questions all perspectives and allows for objective discussions.
The annual Kevin Reill Memorial Basketball Tournament was held this year on Friday, December 14th at CVU, with teams from across the state participating in the tournament to help them jump into their season with strong competition.
Teams from CVU, Burr and Burton Academy, North Country Union High School, and Lyndon Institute vied to take home a win. Four games were played for both the girls’ and the boys’ teams. CVU won both of the tournaments over Burr and Burton in the finals.
Beloved Athletic Director, Kevin Reill
The Kevin Reill Memorial Basketball Tournament is more than a way for teams to prepare for the season. It is about commemorating Reill and the work that he did for CVU and youth sports statewide. Reill was the Athletics Director at CVU for 28 years before passing away in 2014.
The tournament is a way to remember Reill and what he stood for as a person. Dan Shepardson, a longtime friend and colleague, states that “Kevin was an advocate for co-curricular, and in charge of increasing the quality of them.” Reill is remembered for his dedication to the needs of kids. He also strongly supported all students to be involved in co-curriculars at all levels from varsity to intramural.
The fantasy football playoffs are in full swing as managers attempt to end the 2018 season on a high note. Fantasy sports stretch from the NFL to NASCAR and are able to reach just about every sports fan in Vermont, and even in the world. Whether it be competing just for fun against friends, or playing for cash rewards, fantasy sports has something to offer everybody. It creates a social phenomenon that can’t be ignored with its domination of lunch-time conversations, small talk in the hallways of CVU, and beyond.
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of fantasy sports, the rules are simple. The basic idea of a standard fantasy league at CVU is as follows: Each manager drafts a lineup that they work with throughout the season. It is up to the managers to set lineups of players that they think will perform the best each week. The players are real people, whose fantasy performance correlates to their performance in real life. Managers can add, drop, or trade players throughout the season to improve their team. The teamsin the fantasy league go head to head each week until a champion is crowned in a playoff. The result of this is an exciting, comprehensive experience that brings people together through their love of sports.
CVU is no exception to the fantasy sports phenomenon. Prince Yodishembo, a senior at CVU, has been playing fantasy sports for several years and has developed some opinions of his own. “Fantasy sports promote a comradery between people,” he says. “It gives people something common to talk about.” Prince is a seasoned veteran when it comes to playing fantasy basketball and competing in the annual March Madness bracket challenges. According to Prince, he is a two-time fantasy basketball champion of his league and, in 2015, had a 73% accurate March Madness bracket. “Fantasy sports prepare people numerically, and it also gets people a lot of analytical practice,” he said.
Since 2008, the CVU art community has participated in the Memory Project, giving back to the world in just one small step through small acts of kindness.
According to the organization’s website, the Memory Project is a charitable non-profit that encourages teachers, students, and solo artists to participate in creating portraits for youth all across the world who have faced significant challenges such as abuse, violence, war, poverty, neglect, and loss of family. “Our participants create these portraits to help children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well-being, and to provide a special childhood memory in the future.”
The portraits that participants create for children in traumatic life situations are meant to encourage self-worth, as well as let them know others see them and their struggles.