Opinion: Students Should Know their Choices at the Polls

Ms. Julia Grant

With the election looming 11 months away, people are tuning in to process the candidates and score them on various topics they care about. 

CVU has a large number of students who will be eligible to vote in this upcoming election, and many of them are looking for a candidate they can stand behind.

 

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The options are becoming slimmer, as the past few weeks have brought the end of the campaign trail for many hopeful Democratic presidential candidates including Kamala Harris, Steve Bullock, and Beto O’Rourke. Among the many reasons for dropping out, these candidates have mostly blamed financial shortages or lack of support substantial enough to keep them in the race.

As the candidate pool narrows, it becomes more imperative that new voters remain informed on the remaining candidates as Election Day approaches rapidly. A better understanding of who’s running for candidacy and their stances on important issues is the best way we as young voters can make an informed decision and fight against political apathy. 

A poll conducted by the Washington Post surveyed young voters (ages 18-34) on the issues that are most important to them and the issues that will get them to the polls. The poll results showed that stances on social justice issues such as environmental issues, reproductive rights, and gun policy are most likely to persuade young voters to get out to the polls and vote for a certain candidate. 

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Project Hoeppner Shares Hope

Ms. Maddie Baker

Although September is the National Month of Suicide Awareness,  devoted to educating and bringing awareness to mental illness and suicide prevention, Project Hoeppner continues to reach out to young people, encouraging the discussion of how young people can get the help they need, sharing hope for anyone who needs help.

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The goal of Project Hoeppner is to increase awareness around the catastrophe that is teen suicide, to offer courage for teens to say, “I need help,” and to help loved ones hear that message and find the help they need. “ We’re committed to supporting teens and their efforts to support each other,” Hoeppner adds, understanding that suicide can happen with few warning signs.

“ Mental health is as important as physical health. Both can make or break a students experience in school,” says Julie Dimmock, the Snelling House guidance counselor here at CVU. Dimmock then continues to explain the importance of being educated about mental illness. “Even though physical illness is easier to recognize mental illness can still knock you off your game.”

In the fall of 2018 CVU had a very close experience with teen suicide when the community lost a close friend and peer, Paul Hoeppner.  After Paul’s death, his family – Sue, Joe, and Marc took initiative and started Project Hoeppner. “ We are so grateful for this community of ours and of Paul’s and the blanket of love that surrounds us,” said Sue Hoeppner, acknowledging that community support sustains them in their grief. Suicide awareness hits a personal note for many, not only because of a connection with Paul but also for the many others in CVU who struggle with mental illness.

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Traditional Teaching Makes Way for the Unusual

Mr. Chandlee Crawford

“One minute, private reasoning time,” says Ben Epstein, clicking his red handheld timer. The room is quiet, with the only noise being the occasional scratch of pencil lead on an “important moments” handout. After a minute passes, a low rumble of voices ruminate in the room as the students, in groups of four, share their thoughts in a counterclockwise rotation, 30 seconds each. Everyone’s voice is heard but Epstein himself, who is walking silently around the room with a stopwatch on his lanyard and a notebook in hand.

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Epstein’s classes are known for being unusual.  They are highly structured to capitalize on the students’ collaboration and creativity, rather than the teacher. No lectures, no homework, no strict mathematical formulas to memorize, students are never sitting alone. Instead, students work through the curriculum from top to bottom with only each other and the occasional queue from Epstein.

While math classrooms tend to be more organized lectures by the teacher, Epstein shifts responsibility so that student voices control their own class. Odd as this practice may be, Epstein’s methods completely conform to the recommendations of best teaching practice – what are considered to be the most effective teaching strategies to maximize. The objective is that the struggle of defining math independently (in groups without teacher input) will allow students to better understand concepts because they developed the math themselves.

“You don’t need to be taking in information that someone else created and then replicating that,” says Epstein, “you can be put in a situation where you might invent those things, and there’s no reason why that can’t be any one of those students that are part of that class.” The connections that students make allow them to build their own strategies for problem solving, rather than copying someone else’s. Those skills are transferable to other areas of math as well.

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New Pub in Town

Newly opened, Bucky’s Pub offers a variety of favorite food options, a comfortable space, and an alternative to the “the usual” in Hinesburg.

After 3:15, CVU students usually flock to local establishments to get a quick bite to eat before games or practice or rehearsal, taking the sidewalk to Jiffy, making the drive a block further to Paisley Hippo or grabbing an iced coffee at the Parkside. 

Bucky’s Pub, located behind Jiffy Mart at Ballards’ Corner Road,  is open Monday through Saturday, 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm, and Sundays,  2:00 pm- 6:00. pm 

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Bucky’s Pub, once named Travia’s was on sale for many years before Tony and Ruchel St. Hilaire purchased the establishment  May 10th, 2019 and officially opened the last week of July, 2019.

The St. Hilaires are Hinesburg residents, who are excited to get to know their community better with good food and a social space to hang out and watch a game or grab a bite to eat between activities. “We heard that Travia’s was for sale and thought it was a great opportunity to transform the space into a welcoming pub for the community,” says Ruchel St. Hilaire, “Both Tony and I enjoy the social atmosphere that can be found in local pubs. It’s nice to see people chatting and interacting, and we wanted to give Hinesburg another option for that to occur, “ 

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Student A.C.T. Looking for New Members to Make Change

Ms. Kate Zoller

“7% of CVU students reported experiencing being physically forced to have sexual intercourse by 12th grade in 2017 according to the schoolwide Youth Risk Behavior Survey,” reads the yellow Student Awareness, Change, & Training Committee (A.C.T.) flyer that hangs in various locations around CVU. This number, which may actually be much higher due to a possible lack of honesty on the survey, calculates out to around 93 students out of the entire CVU population, based on a school population of 1,322. 

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“[Student A.C.T.] want[s] to raise awareness within our community about the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment because it is an issue that affects more people than we know about,” says Hannah Frasure, one of the student leaders of Student A.C.T. The purpose of Student A.C.T., Frasure says, is to garner awareness of the issue of sexual violence in the CVU community. 

The approachableness of the subject is a struggle for society as a whole. “I believe that the club faces the same challenges that this issue faces outside of CVU: a public that knows a little about the issue of sexual violence, but due to a variety of factors, little is done to deal with this problem.” Smith believes that the unapproachableness of the subject is barring people from connecting with the topic and thus, preventing change from being made. Smith says, “I believe that the biggest obstacle we face is a society that trains our men and boys to be strong and take action and our women and girls to be kind and subservient. This leads to the objectification of women…”  For Smith, solving the problem of sexual violence against women is addressing society’s gender roles, a feat he hopes to accomplish by holding classes during RISE that educate students on these gender roles. 

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