Rosalind Franklin & Nicole Gorman, Unsung Heroes in Science

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.

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Rosalind Franklin, The Mother 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.

 

College Tuition: “A Never-Ending Trend Toward Absurdity”?

Ms. Greta Powers, CVC Culture Correspondent

With the recent CVU College Fair, students have the years after graduation on their minds. Questions on tests, applications, and final decisions are occurring even to 9th grader’s. A main worry is the unavoidable fact that college is expensive and getting more expensive every year. It’s well known that college will make a larger dent in one’s wallet than it used to, but just how much extra stress is being put on college students these days? According to Forbes, as of 2013, the total loan debt of students graduating from American colleges is $1 trillion. To say this is an outrageous amount of money would be an understatement. But will college ever be less expensive or are students’ tuitions on a never-ending trend toward further absurdity?

Matthew Seklecki is the Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont and has seen firsthand the effects of a large price tag on college enrollment. He explained where St. Michael’s gets its funding: “We receive the mass majority of our funding from tuition dollars and that runs our funding budget. College is costing more than it used to.” The latter is clear, but it can be hard to understand precisely why college expenses are rising.

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Editorial: We Can’t Legalize Weed – Here’s Why

Mr.  Ethan Duncan

Dear reader,

We cannot legalize marijuana in Vermont (or any other state, for that matter). It is too dangerous to us as people and as a society. The mental and physical harm that it causes is too great, it affects the lives and well-being of America’s future (kids and young adults), and the government, as it is with everything, would be ineffective in controlling the industry.  

Marijuana undeniably has some benefits, which is probably why 22.2 million people have used it in the past month in the US, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. According to Business Insider, glaucoma treatment, epileptic seizure control, and anxiety decrease, are just some of marijuana’s supposed medical benefits. However, it should not be available to the everyday person for recreational purposes because the risks of smoking weed outweigh any potential benefits.

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Image courtesy of ScubaBrett, via Flickr

First of all, the physical and mental harm that marijuana has on a person is simply crushing. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana affects brain development and impairs one’s long-term thinking ability, making it dangerous to young people, especially teenagers, who could suffer for the rest of their lives.

A study by the National Association of Sciences found that people who heavily smoked marijuana during their teenage years lost 8 IQ points on average between age 13 and age 38. Marijuana also causes breathing problems and lung irritation. The American Lung Association states that while they encourage the continued research of marijuana’s potential benefits, they caution the public against smoking marijuana and that it can cause “chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and acute bronchitis.”

It also causes increased heart rate, which makes people more vulnerable to heart attacks. Studies also find that pregnant mothers who have smoked marijuana find their newborns have a lower birth weight on average and a greater chance of behavioral and brain development issues over time. Marijuana, according to LiveScience and the National Institute of Health, causes feelings of fear and panic, hallucinations, trouble concentrating, decreased ability to perform tasks, and decreased motivation. This is especially terrible for a nation in which people are developing a reputation of acting entitled and lazy.

Tim Trevithick, a counselor at CVU, spoke to the physical effects that he has seen in our own communities, stating that, “We have seen kids develop cases of cannabis psychosis. It used to be really rare, and now it is becoming less rare. Marijuana is highly celebrated by the pro-legalization side, but it is really one of the least understood drugs.”  

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Sophomore Engage Day Offers Exercise in Activism

Ms. Alyssa Gorton

In today’s political climate, it can be difficult choosing who and what to believe. Even more difficult is standing up for your own personal convictions in a way that is peaceful, respectful, and powerful. As a 14-17 year old in Vermont, it may seem like there is little to do or to be done due to the voting age. With passion, however, there is always work to be done, especially if you have an affinity for a governmental profession. CVU’s Engage Day is an amazing opportunity to let students get involved in what they’re spirited about, and make connections within the community.

For many students, including myself, social activism is important, seeing as the environment we’ve been forced into is one of ceaseless media coverage, dividing politicians, and up until recently, the silencing of the youth. One of CVU’s workshops titled Social Activism, sparked the interest of both me and many of my friends. No matter what political party you identify with (if any), it’s easy to see that we’re in a time of division and strong opinions, but knowing how you can make a difference in your community is without a doubt empowering to you and those around you.

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Image courtesy of Alyssa Gorton

The workshop was, without a doubt, run extremely well. That was mostly due to the charisma and kind nature of the selectboard candidate Rebecca (Becca) White, who composed the workshop and interacted with those in the group in a way that was genuine and educational. One of the first things we did as a group was discuss issues that were important to us and put them up on the whiteboard to get a general feel of the room.

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Most people in this room came prepared with a variety of questions to ask about how to get involved in their community. While there are already many ways to get involved at CVU through school clubs and opportunities, some students would either like to seek a more individual approach to activism, or just go above and beyond with their community involvement.

A club new to the CVU scene, Student Justice Committee (SJC), was made with the intention to allow and commit students to seek out and change that which they deem unjust, unfair, or inane. The founders, Sydney Hicks and Asha Hickok, who also helped organize our walkout, stated that their intentions lie within “further pursuing actions based around activism, and inviting students to discuss politics in an open and safe environment,” which is a prime example of the student leadership culture founded within the walls of CVU.

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School Resource Officer Anthony Cambridge Builds Bridges

Mr. Logan Jipner

HINESBURG, VT – Word of a new police presence at CVU has been floating around the school community, lately. People are seeing police more often at school and are curious as to why Anthony Cambridge, CVU’s Student Resource Officer, has been making more regular appearances on school grounds lately.

Officer Cambridge stated, “I’ve actually been there more in the past year compared to the  previous years. I’ve been there more than I’d like to be.”

Cambridge comes to CVU for a variety of reasons. “It’s always something different. Sometimes it’s something stolen, an accident at or near CVU, weapons or drugs or cigarettes (violations of school policy).” In addition he says, “I go to CVU to talk about things that are going on to prevent incidents from occurring.” Cambridge comes to school when he is called to deal with policy violations, but in his current position, he also works alongside students, faculty and the school board on initiatives and training that are meant to be preventative safety measures.

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Anthony Cambridge tests out a new infrared digital thermometer. Photo courtesy of the Citizen.

At first, Officer Cambridge says he didn’t want to be the SRO for CVU. “…my relationship with the school used to be bad, but I should be familiar with the school.” Cambridge expresses that when cops are only seen as punishers, it makes it difficult to build relationships. However, when students learn to appreciate police for all they do to create a safe community, positive relationships between students and local police can become the norm.  

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Club Stalwarts: FBLA Manages Statewide Presence

Mr. Ethan Duncan

Future Business Leaders of America, or FBLA, is a “career and technical student organization, with a focus on business education,” according to Vermont FBLA Treasurer and CVU FBLA President Preston Webb. “What we try to do at CVU is enhance everybody’s business skills through a number of activities… it’s this cool relationship between community service, leadership activities, and collaborative activities.”

Noah Lemieux, Vermont FBLA Vice President and CVU FBLA member, added“If you are at all interested in going into business, or even just having a job, FBLA is a great thing to be a part of.”

 

“As a local officer, being president of CVU FBLA, I help facilitate our meetings, create agendas, try to make it entertaining and try to get stuff done. We’ll do stuff like business trivia and different games as well,” says Webb.

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Image thanks to the Fantastic Ms. (Carol) Fox

Webb is the president of CVU’s chapter, but several other officer positions are available besides president. Local officers help the chapter run its services in and out of school. These positions include vice president, secretary, treasurer, parliamentarian, and more. Members of FBLA are allowed to run for local office and help their local chapter, but also have a chance to participate at the state level through elections at the Vermont State FBLA conferences. Noah Lemieux was elected the 2018 Northern Vice President of Vermont’s FBLA chapter.

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CVU’s Premiere Golf Course Gets Some Respect

Mr. Samuel Comai, CVC Leisure Sports Correspondent

The student body seems to be quick to judge the new frisbee golf course behind CVU. Insults from some CVU students have been aggressive and ill-informed. With misinformation circulating, it is important to put the truth of the course at the forefront of this discussion. The extensive surveying, design, and work put into the course do not match the respect it is getting. Carol Fox of the Wellness Committee, puts forward an honest takef about this fantastic resource.

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In the warmer months of the year, it is common to hear kids complain and insult the “frisbee golf” course. “Why would the school waste $20,000 destroying the forest and putting in a course that will never be used?” some of them wonder. “Think about everything else we could use that money for,” others assert. It is quite obvious that a large percent of the student body is unaware of the facts behind The Hawks Nest. The most widely spread misconception is that $20,000 of the school’s budget was used for the course, which in fact is not where the money came from.

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CVU Cafeteria Shakes it Up

Ms. Sofia Dattillio

Hinesburg, VT— On Monday, January 22nd, CVU students saw a change in their cafeteria with the arrangements of booths, tables, and waste bins after they continuously left behind trash, food, and recycling on tables and between the walls and booths.

Prior to the new arrangement, the custodians were spending too much time picking up after students to make sure that the cafeteria was cleaned up and ready to go for the next day.

According to Marilyn Mashia, one of the CVU custodians, “People were stuffing trash and food between the walls, leaving trays on the floor, [and] just leaving a complete mess.”

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Image by Sofia Datilio

This change allows for the campus supervisors, Tim Albertson, Jamie Hayes, and Seth Emerson, to spread out more within the cafeteria to ensure students are picking up after themselves.

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Student-led Walkout Honors Parkland Victims, Advocates for Change

Mr. Scott A. Stanley

HINESBURG, VT — The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida left the entire country in a state of shock and dismay. School shootings seem to have become more and more frequent since Columbine in 1999, and little has been done to prevent them. On the 14th of March, schools nationwide held walkouts to bring awareness to these atrocities and to push for change. The US Congress’ inability to institute new laws to protect school children have left many frustrated and demanding change. 

Because of a Nor’easter that shut down schools across Vermont, CVU Principal Adam Bunting moved the planned student action to Friday, March 16th. An estimated 600 students and faculty gathered at the entrance to the school.

While there were many people who both supported and opposed the walkout, Principal Adam Bunting decided to allow it. “We did it first obviously to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting, two, to encourage student advocacy, whether it’s one way or another.”

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Learn by Doing At Area Tech Centers

Ms. Makayla Driscoll

Champlain Valley Union High School hosted representatives from Burlington Technical Center and the Center for Technology, Essex on Thursday, February 8th to provide a brief overview of each program the schools offer. Both CTE and BTC provide technical programs based on challenging the comprehension of students 16 years and older, according to Vermont Adult Career and Technical Education Association.

Schools such as CVU, South Burlington High School, Colchester High School, and Essex High School allow students grades 10+ to apply for a program of their choice at either CTE or BTC to further their education in a specific field.  

According to Marie Eddy, one of CVU’s guidance counselor, CTE provides students with programs such as Automotive Technology, Building Technology and Systems, Childhood Education/ Human Services, Computer Animations & Web Design, Computer Systems Technology, Cosmetology, Dental Assisting, Design & Creative Media, Engineering & Architectural Design, Health Informatics, Natural Resources-Forestry and Mechanical, and Professional Foods.

Image courtesy of Big Heavy World

Image courtesy of Big Heavy World

 

Can’t find what you’re looking for at CTE? BTC provides Auto Body Repair, Automotive Science & Tech, Aviation & Aerospace Tech, Computer Systems & Emerging Technologies, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Design & Illustration, Digital Media Lab, Human Services, Medical & Sports Sciences, Programming & Computer Science, and Welding/ Metal Fabrication programs. Between the two centers, everyone is bound to find a program that they’ll enjoy! 

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Scholars Bowl Teams Put a Serious (Intellectual) Smackdown on the Competition

Mr. Henry Caswell, CVC Campus Correspondent

When you think of Champlain Valley Union High School, what usually pops into your head is usually the athletics, the large student body, the strong community, and the wide variety of classes that our available to students. What you might not think of are the clubs, in particular the Scholars Bowl team.  Scholars Bowl is a competition involving questions and answer games where speedy answers are the key to winning.

This year’s team has been the most successful CVU Scholars Bowl team since 2011, according to John Bennett, the CVU Scholars Bowl coach. “We won the novice bracket at the PHAT tournament in December, the JV A and B state championships, the VT NAQT championship on March 9, and finished at least in the final 4 for the 9th time in the past 12 seasons.  Our quarterfinal win over Burlington is already being considered one of the most exciting matches ever. We beat all the other top contenders in the league this season at one time or another and played well in our semi-final loss to Hanover”, Bennet said.  

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Henry Wilson, Thomas Daley, Sam Gelin, Nate Hodgson-Walker, Cooper Birdsall, Zach Loiter, Mark Lang, Andrew Silverman, Mathew Silverman, Evan Beal, Bay Foley Cox, Peter Antinozzi, Milo Cress, Gabe Atkins, Ben Gramling, Isaac Krementsov, Sam Lawrence, Jake Tworog, and Patton Wager are all part of the team that is divided into smaller teams starting with the A team and ending at the F team.

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Snow Daze: Who Makes the Call and How?

Mr. Henry Caswell, CVC Special Ops

Every student at CVU will tell you that call at 6:00 in the morning noting that school has been cancelled is the best feeling ever. Living in Vermont, where snow is very prominent in the winter, students can expect around two or three snow days a year. But students usually never know if they’ll actually have a snow day until the next morning. Educating students and teachers on the factors that our administration takes consideration is important so we know the real chances of a snow day. In addition, it’s important to know who makes those decisions for Champlain Valley Union High School so we know who to hold accountable.

Jeanne Jensen, the COO of the Champlain Valley School District, talked about who makes the decisions around snow days and what factors they look when making the call. Jensen noted that it is the role of the superintendent to cancel school.

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Snow Day Calculator, Magic Eight Ball, or Jean Jensen? What do you rely on to plan your snow day?

When asked what factors are considered, Jensen said the following. “The factors that go into the decision are  the weather forecast from the National Weather Service, and the road conditions from the local town road commissioners – specifically whether or not they have been able (or think they will be able) to make the roads safe for travel.”

 Jensen also mentioned that it is easier to make a decision when the storm has ended overnight or is ending early in the morning. In addition, she said that it’s difficult to predict how the roads will be at 3:00 when we have to make a decision at 4:30 AM. “We never want to bring students to school and not be able to get them home,” Jensen added.

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Booth Shorn, New Boo Ban, and other Novelties at Winter Carnival ’18

This Year’s Winter Carnival Promotes New Changes

 HINESBURG, VT — The annual Winter Carnival that students look forward to was subject to some changes this year that received both positive and negative feedback.

 The Carnival involves many things such as a 3v3 basketball tournament, rail jam (if there’s snow), and many other festivities before the real competition begins. After wandering around the school and experiencing the various activities, students make their way towards the gymnasium for the main events: the trike race and class dances.

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 Before these spectacles occur, classes are separated and the usual rally chants begin to get the students fired up. One of these includes the classic, “We got spirit, yes we do. We got spirit, how ‘bout you?” Students in the chanting section will point towards another class and that class will repeat the chant.

 Normally, once this chant reached the freshman class, the freshmen would be booed regardless of their “spirit quality. This year upperclassmen did not boo the freshmen.

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 The booing was recently addressed as a hazing issue and many people believe that traditions should be changed in order to create a more welcoming environment for all students.

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Home-school to CVU: A Drastic Change for Some

Ms. Greta Powers, CVC Culture Correspondent

Remember how frightening it was on the first day of freshman year at CVU? It was scary. New kids, new classrooms, new building. Now envision that first day of school, but this time, you’ve been home-schooled your entire life. This experience is ten times more frightening. It’s a vision a lot of people shudder at even thinking of. For some students, that scenario is a reality.

Only a small amount of students are home-schooled; statistically, in the 2011-2012 school year only approximately 3% of the K-12 student population was home-schooled, according to National Center for Education Statistics. What would happen if that 3% of students transferred to a public school? Specifically, transferred to a public high school? It’s been seen in pop culture, most famously in Tina Fey’s cult classic film, Mean Girls, but it also happens in real life.

Motivations for homeschooling. Image from Wikicommons.

Motivations for homeschooling. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Take Kelly Malone-Wolfson, for example. She’s a current home 8th grader, and is hoping to attend CVU as a freshman in the fall. The difference between her and many other Chittenden County 8th graders is that Kelly has been home-schooled since 6th grade.

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CVU Mathletics Dept: Mathletes Convene for Showdown at U-32

Mr. Milo Cress

Montpelier, VT – The CVU Math League team has returned from their meet at U-32 High School in Montpelier on January 5th after completing a set of tests designed to challenge and enhance their problem-solving and cooperative skills.

Dylan Gooley, a CVU junior and advanced math specialist, was impressed with his team’s performance. “These math competitions are a great environment for like minded, bright individuals to enjoy their passions. Although lacking in a strong presence of veterans, the CVU math team shows a measure of competitive vigor. At today’s meet, one of the Sophomores on the team, named Jake, scored the legendary perfect score on a test”.

Image smuggled by Milo Cress

Image smuggled out by Milo Cress

According to Charlie MacFadyen, the team’s coach, “Math League provides an opportunity for students who enjoy problem-solving and learning additional topics and techniques in math. We meet every Friday morning. On meet days, students spend the bus ride reviewing the topics for the meet. Each student takes three of 4 12-minute tests, in Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra and Advanced Math. Five students then collaborate on a “team test.” For this meet, those students were Gabe Atkins, Jake Twarog, Delaney Brunvand, Karolina Sienko, and Sunny Premsankar.”

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Caroline Investigates the Importance of Sports

Ms. Caroline McNamara

 

I  like to dance, and my favorite food is pasta and meatballs. I have my parents. Their names are Joe, Sue, and Kim. My siblings are my sisters Mary and Laurel. I have brothers, too. Their names are Seth and Simon and Gostaf.  I also have pets. Daisy and Ruby are dogs, and I have a cat named Stella.  And I  run track in Special Olympics with my dad.

I do the Special Olympics games with the head coach, who is my dad, and two of my sisters are also helping. Special Olympics is a Unified Sports team consisting of young athletes with and without disabilities.  I think it is going to be great doing this with my friends, and we will have so much fun. I would like to win a gold medal and buy a big house with a hot tub. I would buy some food like pasta and meatballs, hamburger and some hot wings, and I would have big parties with my friends.

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CVU Visitors Impressed, Inspired by School Environment

Ms. Nicole Eaton

HINESBURG, VT — On Thursday, December 7th, a group of Hanover High School students came to Champlain Valley Union High School to get ideas for their school. Each student got a tour of the school and got to sit-in on a class or two.

Alice is a sophomore from Norwich, Vermont, and Julia is in her first year at Hanover High.

Alice and Julia were both impressed by the environment at CVU and expressed their positive observations of excitedness. They especially loved the block scheduling and what seems like a “stress free” environment.

The girls loved a lot of things about CVU, but the things that they loved the most was block scheduling and the “stress free” environment.

“CVU’s block scheduling is very cool. It really gives students the opportunity to seek help if they need it and breaks up the week in a nice way,” says Cook. “You have opportunities to try things on different days. It makes sense in a way that our schedule doesn’t from an emotional and stress level standpoint.” she continues.

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Feelgood Administrators Greet Students, Build Community Every Morning

Mr. Hank Caswell

Kathryn Riley and Adam Bunting stand outside almost every morning greeting students as a way to connect with them and make them feel welcome at school. Their efforts have changed the atmosphere throughout the halls and in the classrooms.

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Principal Bunting Welcomes the CVC into his Office

CVU Principal Adam Bunting is one of the administrators who greets students each morning at the doors of CVU. So, my intention first of all is that I enjoy it. What I find is that when I see students coming in in the morning, it reminds me to do my job the best that I can do it because we’ve got these amazing young people coming to school who sometimes are psyched to be here or sometimes not feeling it, but you get this feeling that there’s a lot of potential that’s walking into the building. The other piece to it is that if someone is having a tough day, a lot of times you can pick that out just by making eye contact with somebody. You can pause and connect with them, and if you’re not doing that face to face interaction then you will never get that chance,” he says.

Bunting feels he can get closer to students and develop relationships that wouldn’t have been established without his actions. “I also want it to be some modeling. Let’s step away from some of the electronic devices and actually connect and create a community that’s as welcoming as possible. If we want that, we better act it and live it, both from students and faculty.”

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Advantages of Using Social Media

Ms. Sophia Barton

CVU teachers, students, parents and administrators are using Twitter as a means of real time communication.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical high school student spends his or her day juggling five or more different activities. Students spend half their day at school and also spend time working, socializing, volunteering, and playing sports. The administrators at CVU have a heavy workload as well. CVU’s website states that the school has 1,322 students and 103 faculty. It also offers 150 courses and serves five towns: Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Williston, and St. George.  

The school’s students and staff manage a busy life and schedule everyday. This raises the question of how to communicate, at a minute’s notice, important announcements and information. Some say the answer could be twitter. CVU math teacher and coach, Corinna Hussey, believes that “social media is how people are communicating and it can be a very positive way to connect students, staff, and community.”  Hussey states that, “Information gets out and spreads a lot faster through tweets.  Even if everyone doesn’t read the tweet, it seems that people talk about them.”

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Opinion: Guys Need to be Allies in the Fight against Sexual Violence

Mr. Walter Braun, Guest Editorial Writer

The discussion surrounding sexual harassment is often suppressed by many high school students, teachers, and their parents by virtue of its somewhat “uncomfortable” nature. As a male student of CVU, many would peg me to be the last in line to address this issue in our society. Nevertheless, with two older sisters, younger cousins, and friends who potentially could face some form of sexual misconduct in their separate institutions, I made it my personal goal to initiate the fight against sexual violence and harassment.

For most, seeing a male as one of three co-leaders in the battle against sexual harassment, sexual violence, and rape culture conjures subtle concerns: one in particular being that a man should not be a spokesperson against violence that is, more often than not, targeted at women. From this, it would be easy to say that my role won’t have the same positive impacts as a woman’s, for these potential candidates may (or may not) have directly or indirectly experienced some form of sexual misconduct. To that, I would agree.

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Yet addressing the problematic aspects of our high school, college, and occupational culture has two primary aspects to it: The first, and arguably the most important, is to assist and devote oneself to helping the full recovery of victims. The second aspect is educating the part of society at the root of the problem, young adults, primarily young men (although women can be perpetrators as well).

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Lettuce Club Butts Head With Bureaucracy

Eric (left) and Phaedra (right) doing a test run

Eric (left) and Phaedra (right) doing a test run

Mr. Kai Reinsborough

Eric Couture, a 16 year old sophomore at Champlain Valley Union High School, has a love of lighthearted competition. He’s been involved in theater and music, and plays the tuba, but this is the first project he’s undertaken on his own. “It’s my sense of humor, I have a really terrible sense of humor,” Couture said, in reference to a club he’s proposed that “started off as a joke, and then we started talking to some people about it … so we thought we might as well make it a real club.”

Inspired by an internet post, he’s organizing what he calls “Lettuce Club World Championships 2017.” It’s a competition to see who can eat a head of lettuce the fastest. “It’s a free for all,” Couture explained, “Whoever finishes their lettuce first is president for the next year, and is in charge of organizing the next meeting.”

“Most likely we’ll start before school at 7:45, so less than a half an hour. Half an hour at max. We did a test run yesterday and it took us around 15 minutes, so we’re thinking half an hour should be long enough for most people.” I tuned in to the 9/18 test run on instagram live where Couture and his good friend/co-organizer, Phaedra Miller, each ate a head of lettuce, albeit at a more leisurely pace. “You have to eat the whole lettuce from top to bottom to be able to win. Even that gross part at the bottom.”

Other than organizing the next championship, “There’s no actual useful prize, just bragging rights,” said Couture. “We might get a plastic tiara.”

I asked Couture how he got his club approved by the school. “We haven’t yet …We already have a club advisor, so the last hurdle is getting it approved as a club, and we’re hoping that that happens. We should be hearing about that soon.” TJ Mead, the Chittenden Core health teacher, is lined up to be their advisor.

Dan “Shep” Shepardson, CVU administrator, was hesitant about the idea. “Seems like it’s trying to make a mockery of the co-curricular/club setup,” he said, when reached for comment, “I don’t support any kind of activity that encourages people to do anything to excess.” Though he did say he “[might] be willing to do it as a ‘one time’ thing for a cause/purpose or fun,” he said that he was “doubtful that anyone would actually join a club to do this.”

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